Minneapolis Connects August Newsletter

Minneapolis Connects: News and information from Minneapolis Neighborhood and Community Relations

August, 2017

Best Wishes, Ayianna Kennerly!

Image of Ayianna at a police community relations series she organized

NCR bids a fond farewell to Ayianna Kennerly, our African American Community Specialist. Ayianna is leaving this summer to pursue graduate work in public health at the University of North Texas in Fort Worth where she will be studying infectious disease epidemiology.

Ayianna came to NCR in 2014 as our first African American Community Specialist, having previously worked for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and for U.S. Senator Al Franken on global health emergencies and human rights violations in Africa.  Ayianna’s major projects at NCR included police and community relations trust building, North Minneapolis Public Safety Fair and Public Safety Job Fair, and tenant engagement work focusing on tenants’ right and increasing tenant participation on neighborhood boards. She also coordinated the 2017 Community Connections Conference.  

Please join us in wishing Ayianna well in her new adventure.

2017 NCR Learning Labs Update

Image of learning lab flyer

NCR is pleased to announce that the Community Connections Learning Lab Series is now officially underway.  The series of eight courses is meant to be an introduction to equitable community engagement and the audience is City staff, Neighborhood staff, boards, and volunteers from the community.  Participants can take the whole series and receive a “Community Connector” certificate or take selected classes as needed.  Labs are offered both day and evening for maximum flexibility.  

For more information see the NCEC Presentation, Download the Flyer  and/or visit the NCR Training Web Page to register.  You may also contact – 612-673-3737 or email ncr@minneapolismn.gov

Neighborhoods 2020 Update

Image of participants at a neighborhoods 2020 meeting

The Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) and the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department (NCR) partnered with neighborhood organizations and cultural groups across the city in hosting a series of five meetings to discuss the future role of neighborhood organizations. Through the organizing and outreach of our partners, more than 500 people attended the five community conversations. In addition, NCR held two additional meetings: one with Lao and Hmong community members at Harrison Community Center; and another with Latino and American Indian community members at Waite House. A total of 583 people signed in at the seven meetings. NCR also offered an online survey to gather additional input. 

Thank you to the many partners and individuals that worked with NCR and the NCEC to make this outreach a success. Citizens For a Loring Park Community, Lind Bohanon Neighborhood Association, Logan Park Neighborhood Association, Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, and Whittier Alliance served as fiscal agents and helped organize the meetings and helped with communication. Plymouth Church, the Northeast Armory, the Abubakar-As-Saddique Islamic Center and Whittier Park provided fantastic meeting spaces. Abubakar-As-Saddique Islamic Center, the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Native American Community Development Institute all assisted with promotion.

NCR has worked with the NCEC to prepare a Draft Summary of Findings. Please note that this is a draft, and is subject to change. You can review the Draft Summary of Findings, Raw Data, and Open Ended Comments on the NCR Web Site.

The next meeting of the NCEC Neighborhoods 2020 Committee will be Monday August 14th at 6pm in the 2nd Floor Conference Room of Crown Roller Mill.

For more information regarding the Neighborhoods 2020 Project, contact robert.thompson@minneapolismn.gov or call 612-673-3737.

Meet the newly elected NCEC Executive Committee

Image of guest speaker at a NCEC meeting

The July 25th Meeting of the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) marked the beginning of a new commission cycle. As a result of the new cycle, an election was held to select the members of this year’s Executive Committee. The new committee is Nicholas Cichowicz, Raya Esmaeili, Marcus Mills and Jeff Strand.

Executive Committee Members:

Nicholas Cichowicz: Chair

Nick Cichowicz has lived in Minneapolis since 2008 and is serving his second term as the elected District 5 commissioner. His professional and volunteer background is focused on non-profit management, fundraising and community building. Currently he serves as the Executive Director of WATCH, a Minneapolis based court monitoring and judicial policy organization.  He served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA) Board from 2012 -2016, where he has served as Board Chair for two years.

Raya Esmaeili: Vice Chair

Raya Esmaeili grew up in Tehran, Iran, where she studied Urban Planning, before moving to Minneapolis for a master’s degree. She graduated from Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2011 with an Urban and Regional Planning degree. After working and interning at a few nonprofits in the city, she started working at the Metropolitan Council in 2013, where she works on land use and density related projects with local planners in the Twin Cities region. Raya lives in the CARAG neighborhood and has served on the commission since July of 2015.

Marcus Mills: 2nd Vice Chair

Marcus Mills became involved in local politics and community activism in 2011, when a friend informed him of the fact that their neighborhood association was engaging in discriminatory practices toward students and renters.  This information came as a surprise due to the fact that in the decade he lived there, he was unaware of the existence of a neighborhood organization.  The Revelation that no intentional outreach was done to him because he is a renter led to Commissioner Mills being involved for the purposes of equity, outreach, inclusion and the betterment of the city’s neighborhoods, communities, habitat and residents ever since. Marcus lives in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood and has served on the commission since 2016.

Jeff Strand: Secretary

Jeff Strand became active in neighborhoods and community work shortly after moving to the Shingle Creek neighborhood with his now-husband Kim Jeppesen in 1989. He was one of the founders of Shingle Creek Neighborhood Association in 1992 as the former NRP program was getting organized in several North Minneapolis neighborhoods. Commissioner Strand has been an elected director of SCNA and served as chair from 1997-2006. He was one of the founding members of the NCEC as a Council appointee, but also served as the elected District 1 neighborhoods representative. In addition, he has served on many other City and neighborhood boards and commissions including as a neighborhood representative on the former NRP Policy Board from 2011 to 2010, the first non-elected official chair of the reconstituted NRP Policy Board and as the chair for DFL Senate District 59. Jeff first served on NCEC from 2009-2015 before rejoining in 2016.

Additionally at the July 25th meeting, the commission approved the 2016-2017 term annual report which can be viewed here

For more information on the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission including past work and upcoming meeting dates please visit their website.  

2017 Disability Rights March and Rally

Image of Participants at the ADA event

July 26th marked the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To commemorate the anniversary, the Minnesota State Council on Disability hosted a Disability Rights March and Rally.

The purpose of the rally was to proclaim the importance of the ADA, disability rights and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society. The event had 200+ people in attendance, and began at the Minnesota History Center and ended at the Minnesota State Capitol. The event featured speakers and entertainment along with dignitaries, officials and community leaders.

Signed in 1990, the ADA is a landmark civil rights law aimed at eliminating barriers and discrimination against people with disabilities.

Windom, Tangletown work towards making Minneapolis PERC free

Image of LaMac Cleaners staff receiving checks

On July 21, representatives from the Tangletown Neighborhood Association and the Windom Community Council presented LaMac Cleaners with checks totaling $10,000. The funds support LaMac’s work to switch out their PERC (Perchloroethylene) machine to one that is non-toxic.

PERC, a manufactured chemical primarily used for dry cleaning, poses a host of health and environmental concerns. With LaMac’s switch to a non-toxic machine, there are just three dry cleaners in Minneapolis that still have PERC systems. City Health Department staff hope that Minneapolis will soon be the first major U.S. city to be PERC-free.

LaMac paid for about half the cost of the new equipment. The project was also supported by a $35,000 grant from the City’s Environmental Initiatives Program.  The collaboration is being praised as a new way to solve environmental problems and an exciting example for how communities, non-profits, government and business can work together for a cleaner, healthier, and economically strong city.

Submit a route idea for 2018 Open Streets season

The City of Minneapolis and the City’s Open Streets event organizer, Our Streets Minneapolis, are seeking route ideas for the 2018 Open Streets season. Anybody can submit an idea.

Organizations can also share their interest in being a local route host. Applications are due Sept. 21, 2017.

Applicants with proposed routes that meet the goals of Open Streets will be considered and contacted by early November.

For more information and to submit an idea for a 2018 route, visit the Open Streets website.

Since 2011 when the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition hosted the first Open Streets event on a 2-mile stretch of Lyndale Avenue South, the initiative has grown considerably, drawing 81,000 people to eight events in 2016.

The goals of Open Streets include growing community connections, civic pride and community engagement, celebrating the city's diversity, inspiring healthy living, stimulating local business and promoting active transportation.

Having a backyard fire? Follow the law and be a good neighbor

This time of year, some of us are spending more time outside and enjoying outdoor fires. Following these Minneapolis laws will help keep our neighborhoods safe and livable:

  • Outdoor fires are permitted between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Keep fire small: less than three feet in diameter and two feet high.
  • Postpone a fire when Minneapolis is under an air pollution advisory. Fires release fine particles that contribute to air pollution and are implicated in a number of health problems including strokes, heart attacks and asthma. Sign up for air quality alerts at http://mn.enviroflash.info.
  • Burn only untreated, unpainted, dry wood. Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris, because the smoke can be toxic. www.minneapolismn.gov/environment/air/airquality
  • Fire must be at least 25 feet away from a structure or combustible material and in a fire ring or pit with edges more than six inches high.
  • Have a hose or fire extinguisher present.
  • Postpone the fire when the wind exceeds 10 mph.
  • Fire must be constantly attended by someone 18 years or older and completely out before being abandoned.

Illegal open burning or recreational fires could result in fines that start at $200.

Be a good neighbor

These simple suggestions could help neighbors be considerate of each other when having a fire:

  • Letting neighbors know when planning a fire.
  • Postponing a fire when smoke will blow directly at a neighbor’s house or when still weather conditions prevent smoke from moving away at all.

Below are links to videos in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong on how to have a safe bonfire in Minneapolis:

Bonfires in the City
Here's what you need to know when having a small outdoor fire in Minneapolis.

Hluav taws los yog bonfire hauv nroog (Bonfires in the City, Hmong)
Ntwam no yuav qhia koj txoj cov hluav taws nyob nruam zoo hauv nroog Minneapolis.

Qor-yo gub ka magaalada (Bonfires in the City, Somali)
Waa tanaa waxaad u baahantahey mar ka aad dooney-sid in aad dibada ku shidid dab gudaha miniyaabolis.

Fogatas en la Ciudad (Bonfires in the City, Spanish)
Esto es lo que tienes que saber cuándo hagas una fogata en Minneapolis.

For more information on recreational fires or to register a complaint about a recreational fire, call 311 or email Minneapolis311@minneapolismn.gov, or to register a complaint about a recreational fire outside 311 hours, call 911. The Fire and Police departments are authorized to extinguish a fire immediately if it is hazardous.

For the Minneapolis law on recreational fires, visit the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Chapter 178 at www.minneapolismn.gov/government/ord/index.htm.

Sick and safe time ordinance now in effect

For healthy workers, healthy businesses and healthy communities, a new ordinance protecting time off for people who get sick and work in Minneapolis has taken effect. Employers with six or more workers will be required to provide time off at a minimum threshold of at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employers with five or fewer workers must also provide sick time, but it may be unpaid. The goal of the ordinance is to protect public health and prevent workers from being penalized because of illness or a need to care for a sick loved one.

Until this law took effect, four out of 10 Minneapolis workers lacked access to paid sick time.

With some exceptions, the new ordinance governs all employers in Minneapolis and includes full-time, part-time and temporary workers and paid interns.​ Other requirements include:

  • Workers may use leave for their own health and certain family members’ health.
  • Victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking may use leave to receive medical treatment and other necessary services.
  • Workers may use leave to care for family members during emergency closure of school or place of care, including for inclement weather.
  • Workers will accrue one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked until they accrue 48 hours per year or 80 hours overall including carryover during additional years.

Paid time off, sick, vacation or other types of leave used at employee discretion often qualify as “sick and safe time.” Employees who already receive such leave in sufficient amounts do not receive additional time off under the new law. The 40 percent of employees – often part-time workers – who previously lacked such access will now receive it, and the ordinance creates a minimum standard of protection for everyone.

Paid sick and safe time is intended to:

Ensure that workers can address their own health needs and the health needs of their families.

  • Reduce public and private health care costs by enabling workers to seek early and routine medical care for themselves and their family members.
  • Make Minneapolis a more secure and productive community.
  • Safeguard the public welfare, health, safety and prosperity of Minneapolis’ residents, workers and visitors.

People who work in Minneapolis whose employers don’t provide the sick and safe time required by the new law can call 311 or visit www.minneapolismn.gov/sicktimeinfo to ask a question or file a complaint with the Labor Standards Enforcement Division of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. 

Note: In a lawsuit brought against the City of Minneapolis in the case of Minnesota Chamber of Commerce et al v. City of Minneapolis, Court File No. 27-cv-16-15051, the Hennepin County District Court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the City of Minneapolis from enforcing the Sick and Safe Time Ordinance against any “employer resident outside the geographic boundaries of the City.” This case is currently on appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. This temporary injunction order will be applied until further action of the court.


8/1: National Night Out

8/1-8/2: Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples' Decade of Water Summit

8/2: Lake Hiawatha Neighborhood Festival

8/3: Tubman’s Annual Wing Ding

8/3: Lynnhurst Summer Festival

8/3 & 8/9: Southeast Asian Community - Community Connections Learning Lab

8/3 & 8/15: Police Cadet Job Openings - Information Session

8/5-8/6: Powderhorn Art Fair

8/6: Open Streets Northeast

8/7: Come Build Neighborhood Power

8/8: Prospect Park Summer Celebration

8/10: Kingfield Pizza & Improv in the Garden

8/10: Live on the Drive

8/10: Southside Investment Cooperative - Informational Meeting

8/12: Cleveland Party in the Park

8/13: Armatage Summer Festival

8/14: ECCO Happy Hour

8/23: Indeed We Can: Bingo and Beer for Logan Park Neighborhood

8/24: East African Community - Community Connections Learning Lab

8/26: Urban League Family Day

8/26: CIDNA Park Siding Park Gardening

8/27: Open Streets Franklin

8/30: Latino Community - Community Connections Learning Lab

Neighborhood and Community Relations Department

Director, David Rubedor 
Crown Roller Mill, Room 425
105 5th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 673-3737