Early Voting Begins, COVID Vaccine Incentives, and more — The Heart of Minneapolis — September 24, 2021

CM FLetcher





Ward 3 Friends - 

Every election is important, and this election is no different. There is a lot on the ballot this year, and as always I encourage everyone to vote. Early voting has begun at Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services at 980 E. Hennepin Avenue (very close to Ward 3!) and by mail; you can learn about all of your options at https://vote.minneapolismn.gov.

We approved polling places at today's Council meeting, and Ward 3, Precinct 7 (North Loop) has a new polling place: Twin Cities International School at 277 12th Avenue N. There is also a new voting precinct since the last municipal election, which is Precinct 13 in Dinkytown. Their polling place is University Lutheran Church of Hope at 601 13th Avenue SE.

What's your voting plan?

En avant,


Explore this Issue of the Heart of Minneapolis:

Early Voting Begins for November 2nd Municipal Election

I Voted Stickers - 09.2021

Image Courtesy of @VoteMpls Twitter Page

Early voting began last week, Friday September 17th, for the November 2nd municipal election. Ballots may be cast early by mail or in person at the Early Vote Center, 980 E. Hennepin Ave. 

The City is mailing thousands of requested mail-in ballots to Minneapolis voters. Voters who applied early should allow seven to 10 days for their ballot to arrive. Voters who applied this week should allow 15-20 days for their ballot to arrive.

All mail ballots need to be received by Election Day (Nov. 2) for them to count. If voters choose to deliver their ballot in person to the Elections & Voter Services office, it still must be returned by 3 p.m. on Nov. 2. Mail ballots cannot be dropped off at polling places on Election Day.

Voting at the Early Vote Center

The Early Vote Center, 980 E. Hennepin Ave., makes early in-person voting more convenient for Minneapolis voters. It’s especially helpful to people who need language support or other special accommodations, such as curbside voting. While we are in a pandemic, voting early can help people avoid lines and crowds at polling places on the day of the election.

The Early Vote Center’s hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The center will have extended hours for the final two weeks of voting, including Saturday and Sunday hours. For the last seven days of early voting, the City will open two additional Early Vote Centers. All early voting hours and locations are posted on the Elections & Voter Services website: vote.minneapolismn.gov.

980 East Hennepin is on a number of bus routes that connect to Downtown Minneapolis:

Voting by Mail

You must complete a mail ballot application on paper this year.

The State of Minnesota's online ballot application is not available for use during local elections. We apologize for this inconvenience.

We recommend applying for a mail ballot at least 14 days before Election Day. 

Return your completed application to us:

Download the 2021 mail ballot application

If you're unable to download and complete the paper application, you have a few options. 

Minneapolis Elections began mailing requested ballots on September 17 when early voting started. You can use the online ballot tracking tool to confirm we received your application. You can also use this tool to track your ballot once it's mailed out to you and after you return it.

Voters can save time by taking these three steps

  1. Make sure you’re registered to vote, or pre-register at least 21 days before the election. Voters can register or check the status of their registrations at vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/register.
  2. Download and complete the absentee ballot application form in advance and bring it when you go to vote early. Find the request form at vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/bymail.
  3. Look at a sample ballot ahead of time; even bring it to refer to when you go to vote. Find your sample ballot at vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/ballot.


$0.05 Carryout Bag Fee Ordinance Reinstated October 1st

Carryout Bag Fee

On Oct. 1, a City ordinance requiring a 5 cent fee for each carryout bag provided by a store goes into effect. Enforcement had paused temporarily when the pandemic began. Carryout bags include any plastic, compostable, paper and reusable bags provided by the store.

Shoppers should bring their own bags

Shoppers can avoid paying the fee by bringing their own bags with them to the store. This fee is only charged when a store provides a new bag to a customer at checkout. Customers are welcome to reuse any bags they already have.

When shoppers bring their own bags, they:

  • Help prevent plastic and other litter from landing in tree branches, public spaces, storm drains and water bodies.
  • Reduce the need to harvest new raw materials including trees and petroleum.
  • Reduce clogs in recycling machinery.

The ordinance requires retail establishments to charge the customer at least 5 cents for each carryout bag. Retailers are not required to give discounts to customers for bringing their own bags.


  • Vendors at farmers markets and other temporary events.
  • Restaurants or other businesses (such as salons or dry cleaners) where retail sales are clearly a secondary activity.
  • Produce bags or other bags used for bulk items, meats, baked goods, flowers, prescriptions, liquor sleeves, etc.
  • Secondhand bags.
  • Customers participating in a federal or state food assistance program.

For more information about the ordinance, call 311 or visit the City of Minneapolis website.


Upcoming Community Conversations with Council Member Fletcher

Event Header Image

Based on guidance from our Public Health Department, we will continue in-person meetings for Ward 3 residents to drop in, ask questions, discuss any issues you see in the community, or just have a chat with your neighbors. We'll attempt to use outdoor seating where it's an option, and encourage everyone attending to bring masks in case weather or circumstance forces us inside.

Open Session

Thursday, September 30th — 5:00PM

LOCATION: HENNEPIN GOVERNMENT PLAZA - 352 S 5th St, Minneapolis, MN 55415

In case of inclement weather, we will be meeting in the new Minneapolis Public Service Building (505 S 4th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55415) with masksBring your comments, concerns, and questions to this meet-up conversation with Council Member Steve Fletcher. Also: take the opportunity if you haven't yet to get a glimpse of the beautiful, new, award-winning Public Service Building!

Plan your route: Bus, bike, drive, or walk.

Questions? Having difficulties joining the meeting? Email nickolaus.stumo-langer@minneapolismn.gov.


Metropolitan Council Seeks Public Comment for Bicycle Networks Update

Biking on Stone Arch Bridge

Photo Credit: Minneapolis Parks / Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis (CC 2.0)

Regional Bicycle Transportation Network

The Met Council is updating the Regional Bicycle Transportation Network (RBTN) and Regional Bicycle Barriers to align with changes in local bicycle plans. These systems are part of the Regional Solicitation project selection criteria and are one piece of the draft application packet.

We will receive comments on updates to the RBTN and Regional Bicycle Barriers, at the link above through 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18.

The Met Council will consider modifying the Transportation Policy Plan with the final map updates in early 2022.


City of Minneapolis & Hennepin County Launch Hennepin Homeownership Preservation Program

Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis announced this week that they are partnering with the Minnesota Homeownership Center to create and administer the Hennepin Homeownership Preservation Program (HHPP).

HHPP is promoting foreclosure prevention advising to Hennepin County homeowners, and limited financial assistance may be available under certain circumstances. Application to the program can be made online at HennepinHPP.com, or by calling 651-236-8952.

Once eligibility for HHPP has been confirmed, applicants will be referred to a foreclosure prevention advisor with a Minnesota Homeownership Center network partner. These organizations include Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES), LSS Financial Counseling, Neighborhood Development Alliance, NeighborWorks Home Partners, PRG Inc. and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. Foreclosure prevention advising is required in order to be eligible for any potential financial assistance.

HHPP is providing limited financial assistance under the following conditions:

  • Individual is experiencing a housing emergency, defined as being unable to pay a bill that may affect their ability to live in the home.
  • Individual can self-certify they have experienced COVID-related financial loss such as loss of income, increased health care costs or additional costs associated with working from home.
  • Individual owns an owner-occupied property in Hennepin County.
  • Individual can self-certify they had a gross annual income of at or below 50 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) at the time a past due payment was missed.
  • Individual must be able to demonstrate ability to pay housing expenses moving forward.
  • Individual must participate in foreclosure prevention advising via the Minnesota Homeownership Center and its partners listed above.

Past due bills eligible for potential financial relief include the following, with due dates between January 21, 2020 and fifteen days after initial HHPP intake:

  • Mortgage principle and interest payments
    • Foreclosure prevention advisor will first work with the applicant to secure an affordable long-term loss mitigation strategy
  • Property taxes and homeowners insurance (including escrow shortages)
  • Homeowner Association dues
  • Manufactured home lot rent and payments
  • Contract for Deed payments
  • Late fees and legal fees required to prevent foreclosure
  • Garbage and water service bills
    • Gas and electric bills are not eligible for relief under HHPP as they are eligible under other existing programs. Referrals will be made.

The maximum amount available to any household through HHPP is $35,000. Payments will be made directly to the entity owed the funds.


New Mobile App Gives Minnesotans Access to their Immunization Records, Including COVID-19 Vaccination

Docket Screenshot

Minnesotans can now easily access their immunization record through their smartphones or other mobile devices by using an app called Docket. Docket lets residents with a Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) record securely view and share their immunization records.

Minnesota’s immunization information system combines all immunizations a person has received into a single record, even if they were given by different health care providers in Minnesota. Anyone who has a MIIC record can use the Docket app to access their records, including their COVID-19 vaccination. The app provides a PDF document of the immunization record that can be saved to your mobile device, printed, emailed or texted as needed.

Anyone who wants or needs access to their immunization record and does not have a smartphone or does not want to use the app can still request their immunization record from Minnesota Department of Health or their health care provider. For more information, visit Find My Immunization Record.

Docket is free and available for download in Apple and Android app stores.


Free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics, Testing, City & County Offering Rewards

Roll Up Your Sleeves MN

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its recommendations for COVID-19 safety including wearing a mask indoors in public if you’re in an area of substantial or high transmission. Minneapolis is in an area of substantial transmission, and masks are required indoors in

Face coverings also continue to be required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on public transportation, including school buses.

The CDC now recommends that people with certain immunocompromising conditions that received the mRNA vaccine get an additional dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Those who qualify should get the same vaccine product (either Moderna or Pfizer), and the third dose should be given at least 28 days after your second dose of vaccine. There is currently not enough data to recommend that people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive an additional dose at this time.

Back-To-School Vaccines Recommended, School-Based Testing Rolls Out

Our kids deserve a worry-free, safe fall back in the classroom, participating in sports and doing activities with friends. Children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, get sick, spread the virus to others, and have severe outcomes from their infection. Since children under 12 years of age are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and children age 12 to 15 are only recently eligible, there is an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission in school settings.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) strongly recommends vaccination for those ages 12 and older. In addition to the consistent use of layered mitigation strategies to help limit the spread of COVID-19, vaccinations also support in-person learning and protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including children, students, teachers, staff, and members of their households.

In-person learning is critical to a child’s well-being. Getting kids vaccinated is the best way to keep our students safe and healthy while they are in school. If you’re 12 or older, get your vaccine today. #VaxToSchoolMN 💪 

Testing at school makes access to tests more equitable, which is one of the many reasons the State of Minnesota encourages all schools to create their own testing program and have helped provide the resources to do so. Schools will be able to choose from the following tests to create their own testing programs:

  • BinaxNOW Professional and Over-the-Counter: individual, rapid antigen test.
  • Cue: individual rapid molecular nasal swab test.
  • Vault: individual molecular saliva test.
  • Battelle: pooled molecular nasal swab test.
  • Hot Spot Testing: Schools can work with their local public health or MDH to request a temporary testing location in response to local outbreaks.

You can read more about each test option on MDH’s website at COVID-19 Testing During the 2021-22 School Year.

Get Vaccinated!

The strongest defense against the Delta variant is through vaccination. Get a free COVID-19 vaccine at a Minneapolis Health Department clinic. Walk-ins are welcome, and the vaccinations are free. You don’t need insurance, you don’t need an appointment and you don’t need an ID. Questions about the vaccines? Watch and share this video for 11 things you should know about COVID-19 vaccines.

Upcoming clinics

  • North Community YMCA, 1711 W. Broadway Ave. (mobile vaccination clinic) 4-7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, and Monday, Oct. 18 Pfizer (12 and older) Registration
  • Park Avenue United Methodist Church, 3400 Park Ave. 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Oct. 2 and Oct. 23 Pfizer (12 and older)

Find more information, updates and new free community vaccinations on the City website.

Other ways to get a vaccine

Vaccines work. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, get a free vaccine as soon as you can. About nine out of 10 Americans live within 5 miles of a COVID-19 vaccination site.

Sick and safe time covers vaccine appointments

Accrued sick and safe time hours can be used to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and recover from any side effects. Learn more about the City's Sick and Safe Time ordinance.


Questions about the vaccines? Find answers on the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Vaccine Incentives Added

Minnesota has launched an onsite incentive program at certain COVID-19 vaccine clinics serving communities hardest hit by the pandemic. In specific local communities, vaccine recipients will get $100 incentives immediately onsite rather than having to go online. Nearly 50 COVID-19 Community Coordinators (CCCs), community clinics and federally qualified health centers will be participating in the program. COVID-19 Community Coordinators and clinics offering onsite incentives will provide more information to their communities and patients about incentives available to them.

 As the delta variant continues to spread across our communities and children return to school, it’s more important than ever that our neighbors in communities already hit hardest by COVID-19 have access to reliable information, vaccination and support to make the best decision for themselves, their families and their community.

Find more information and official rules on the travel voucher incentive on the State of Minnesota website.

Nearly 80,000 Minnesotans who received their first dose between July 30 and Aug. 22 signed up for a $100 Visa gift card as part of a statewide giveaway. At the Minnesota State Fair, more than 3,110 fairgoers received their vaccine and claimed a $100 Visa gift card onsite.

Free COVID-19 Tests

With the variants driving faster COVID transmission at the same time people are going back to school, clubs and other gathering places, testing is an important tool in protecting ourselves and each other along with vaccinations, wearing masks correctly, keeping 6 feet from anyone you don’t live with and washing hands. If you’re traveling to certain destinations or attending some events, you’ll have to prove you’re fully vaccinated or have a recent negative test.

Updated Minnesota Department of Health guidance for who should get tested

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after one dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Find the updated testing recommendations under “Who Should Get Tested” on the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 testing webpages.

Free COVID-19 tests

COVID-19 testing is free. Do not eat, drink or use tobacco products for 30 minutes before taking a COVID-19 saliva test.

Community testing sites are available at no cost to all Minnesotans. Hospitals, clinics and pharmacies may have different pay structures, so be sure to contact both the testing site and your health insurance company ahead of your visit to make sure you won’t be charged for a test.

To get tested for COVID-19

You can also use this directory to find a testing location near you.


Latinx (Hispanic) Month Events

Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month

Latino Heritage Month recognizes the significant contributions Latinos have made to the United States. Sept. 15, the first day of Latino Heritage Month, is significant because it marks the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence Sept. 16 and Chile does Sept. 18.

Meet Minneapolis has list of activities for Latino Heritage month and a guide to Latino restaurants, arts studios and businesses on its website.

This Latino Heritage Month, you can also watch two panel discussions on citizenship and the history of U.S. immigration from Latin America.

Citizenship Day event

  • 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 17 (a recording will also be available)
  • Join the City of Minneapolis Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and the City of Saint Paul’s Immigrant and Refugee Program for an online event focused on how to become a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process. Watch the online event live or afterwards on the City’s Facebook page.

Immigration to the U.S. from Latin America: yesterday and today

  • 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Tuesday, Sep. 21
  • Representatives from the City's immigration legal service partners (Volunteer Lawyers Network and Mid Minnesota Legal Aid) will take us through recent immigration history and current events, including current legal pathways and possibilities on the horizon for people from Latin America.
  • Watch the online event over Microsoft Teams.


Energy Assistance Funds Available

Water Assistance Graphic

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is expanding the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program to pay water and sewer bills for Minnesotans who apply and qualify for energy assistance. Commerce is using $15 million in additional American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding designated for water assistance. Commerce has expanded income eligibility to help more Minnesotans than ever before pay costs to heat and cool their homes, power their lights and electricity, provide fuel delivery, and, if needed, repair or replace homeowners’ heating systems. Water assistance applications available now.

Customers apply for water, energy, and weatherization assistance with one application.

Questions? Contact your local Energy Assistance Program Service Provider or the Minnesota Department of Commerce at eheat.doc@state.mn.us.




Minneapolis wins CityHealth Gold Medal for Robust Public Health Policies

The City of Minneapolis received a gold medal rating from CityHealth for improving the health and well-being of its residents by adopting local policies that can make real, lasting impacts in one’s everyday quality of life.

Minneapolis joins CityHealth’s 10 gold medal cities, which include Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; Louisville, Kentucky; New York; San Antonio; San Francisco and Seattle.

Minneapolis was awarded an overall gold medal plus individual gold medals in six of the nine policy categories on which CityHealth bases its ratings. The City of Minneapolis received individual gold medals in these policies: Complete Streets, Earned Sick Leave, Healthy Food Procurement, High-Quality, Accessible Pre-K, Safer Alcohol Sales, & Tobacco 21.

The City also won medals in:


Keynote Speaker, Panelist Announced for Trans Equity Summit, October 3-4

Save the dates Oct. 3-4 for the eighth annual Trans Equity Summit: Routes to Joy, Community, and Social Change. This year's Trans Equity Summit keynote speaker is Erica Woodland, a licensed clinical social worker who has worked at the intersections of movements for racial, gender, economic, trans and queer justice and liberation for more than 15 years. Our panelists will be Erin Sharkey, Ms. July 23rd, G. Nic Rider and Nomi Badboy with moderator Quinn Villagomez aka Shimmer.

The keynote and panel will be virtual.

Find more information, including registration links in all four languages, and watch for updates on the City of Minneapolis website.

7th Annual Trans Equity Summit


Litter Cleanup

Free Supplies When You Clean Up Litter

You can make a difference in your neighborhood and our beautiful city when you volunteer to pick up trash before leaves fall and the snow flies. The City of Minneapolis will provide free gloves, trash bags and litter grabbers when you:

  • Clean up public sidewalks, curbs and boulevards.
  • Clean storm grates.
  • Put bagged litter inside your garbage cart or dumpster for pickup.

You can go solo or volunteer with your family and neighbors. Please allow 14 days for the delivery of your supplies.


University of Minnesota Small Grant Opportunities for Promoting Health Equity

The small grant programs ($2,000, and $5,000) are designed for community partners to jump-start their projects that promote health equity for their communities, with help from UMN researchers and resources. Examples of potential projects include:

  • Convening community experts and leaders to develop research agendas
  • Gathering data, implementing a new program, or measuring results
  • Creating forums for community input and engagement.

You can learn more and apply at z.umn.edu/CTSI-CEARCH.

We match prospective and current community researchers with University researchers based on intersecting health interests as well as complementary skills and expertise. If you are interested, complete a consultation request (z.umn.edu/CEARCH_Consult) or contact us with any questions (cearch@umn.edu).

Health Equity


Rooftop Solar

Survey: Reaching 100% Renewable Electricity

We are in a climate crisis. To fight climate change, Minneapolis has developed a draft 100% Renewable Electricity Plan to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy and needs to know your priorities.

The goals include, but are not limited to: powering every City-owned building (by 2023) and all homes and buildings (by 2030) with renewable electricity, producing 30% all renewable electricity locally through rooftop solar and community solar gardens.

Some in our city – including renters, people with lower incomes, Black people, Indigenous people, people of color and immigrants – are more vulnerable to climate change. The recently released draft plan suggests ways we can achieve the 100% renewable electricity goals in a way that helps everyone.

Read the draft plan on the City website, and send your comments by Oct. 15. Comments will be considered in preparing a final plan for City Council approval.


Survey: Shaping an Equitable Food System

Help shape our local food system and food economy to be more equitable, climate resilient, just and sustainable. Join in virtual discussions or take a survey online. Homegrown Minneapolis is holding deep dive virtual discussion sessions focused on the proposed pathways for the Minneapolis Food Action Plan in development.

Upcoming Food Action Plan topics and virtual event dates

  • Decrease wasted food and improve management of food scraps 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6 Learn more and RSVP (RSVP requested but not required)
  • Create food system jobs and small business opportunities 3-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12 Learn more and RSVP (RSVP requested but not required)
  • Continue studying our food system to create innovative solutions to advance plan outcomes 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20 Learn more and RSVP (RSVP requested but not required)
Farmer's Market



Owámni Falling Water Festival on Saturday, October 9th from 1-5pm

Join us on Saturday, October 9, from 1 – 5 p.m. at Father Hennepin Bluff Park (420 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN) and at the NEW Water Works Park (333 1st Street S., Minneapolis 55401) for the Owámni: Falling Water Festival, a celebration of indigenous Minnesota cultures, Owámni is what the Dakota called the area at St. Anthony Falls.  It means, “whirling or falling water” in the Dakota language, making it an appropriate name for this festival along the Mississippi River.

 This free, family-friendly event, co-presented by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and the St Anthony Falls Heritage Board, celebrates indigenous Minnesota culture with music, art, food, and more! Enjoy the many event offerings with the opportunity to learn more about artifacts from the Minnesota History Center’s collection; picnic in the park with Native foods from Owamni by the Sioux Chef and other food vendors.

Job Opportunities:

City of Minneapolis

Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact (add your information here including: department, contact person, phone and email). 

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-673-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

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