May 2016 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins


May 2016 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN

MAY 2016



Hennepin County is a great place to work!

Browse open positions or sign up to receive job notification emails from the county.

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Reminder: First half property taxes are due May 16, 2016 (due to the 15th falling on a Sunday).

Visit our website for more information.


Linda Higgins
Commissioner, District 2

Tina Sanz
Principal Aide

Roshonda Royston
Administrative Secretary

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For past issues of my monthly newsletter, visit my webpage.


District 2 serves the cities of Golden Valley,Medicine Lake, north and northeast Minneapolis, southeast Plymouth andSt. Anthony.

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It has been a bittersweet month in District 2. We lit the Hennepin County Lowry Bridge purple as we mourned the loss of the tremendously talented and loved Prince (I love the picture below, don’t you?). Looking forward, I’m excited that we are getting ready to welcome the Farmers Market to the Hennepin County Plaza (see story below).

Be sure to check out all the great upcoming events this month, and think about subscribing to other interesting topics offered by Hennepin County.


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Lowry Bridge purple

Lowry Bridge. April 21 photo by Philip Hussong, Hennepin County

Top stories

Farmers Market at the Government Center!

On Thursdays in 2016 from May 5 through November 10, stop by the Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza (between 7th and 6th Streets on 3rd Avenue S) as the Nicollet Mall Farmers Market has relocated there during the Nicollet Mall project. TheFarmers Market will be open from 6 am to 6 pm, and will include all the fresh product, flowers and assortments of goods that you’ve come to expect. With the South Plaza easily accessible by walking, biking, light rail and several bus lines, it is easy to stop by throughout the year.

The market will augment efforts to bring downtown workers and commuters to Government Center events over the lunch hour, which will include Summer on the Plaza music, a new Little Free Library, and on Wednesdays lawn games and food vendors.

farmers market

Farmers markets offer a multitude of benefits. One is fighting hunger and improving the health of those who receive nutrition assistance. Through the USDA’s WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), WIC participants are able to access locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs that promote the wellbeing and health of themselves and their children.

In addition, the Minnesota Legislature approved the “Healthy Eating Here at Home” bill (also referred to as HEHAH) in 2015. The bill provides matching funds for SNAP recipients to use at farmers markets. The Market Bucks program is administered by Hunger Solutions Minnesota. The new program rolls out at all participating farmers markets in spring 2016. See more


Board approves protection of pollinators

The board recently approved a resolution co-authored by Commissioners Higgins, Randy Johnson, Callison, Greene, and McLaughlin directing the Public Works Department to protect and expand pollinator-friendly habitat by limiting the use of systemic insecticides, such as neonicotinoids on county-owned property, and requiring that new plants and trees installed on county-owned property are free of the pesticide. As part of the resolution, members of the board also encourage county residents, school districts, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to implement pollinator-friendly best practices on their properties. Read more about the resolution to protect pollinators.

webber park library

Joyful groundbreaking at new Webber Park Library

Over one hundred community members attended the groundbreaking April 12 for the new 8,300 square foot Webber Park Library at 4440 Humboldt Avenue North in Minneapolis.

The $10.5 million building project will be twice the size of the previous Webber Park Library and five times larger than the current temporary library in Camden Center.

This new library has had a significant journey already. After a merger, a recession and a structural failure, I am proud to report that construction work is now underway.

The new space will feature:

  • Enhanced areas for kids and teens
  • Accessible indoor and outdoor gathering spaces
  • A large meeting room and two smaller conference rooms
  • And twice the number of computers as the previous Webber Park Library.

I am particularly excited about the outdoor reading area, where children and adults can relax with a book and enjoy the warm weather near Victory Memorial Parkway.

One of the highlights of the event, was when all of the neighborhood kids came up to shovel some dirt. Their smiles and excitement remind us why we work to create these spaces of opportunity and learning for our residents.

We are all looking forward to the grand opening event in summer 2017!


Energy Assistance Program (EAP) Extended to July 1, 2016; crisis maximum increased

Because funds are available this year, the Energy Assistance Program has the opportunity to renew the program to serve more households and increase assistance.

These changes include extending the application deadline to July 1, 2016, and increasing the maximum Crisis benefit from $500 to $1,000. These changes are effective immediately.

Depending on income and family size (for example, a single person household of under $1,995/month), applicants may be eligible for EAP assistance with heating bills, Energy Related Repairs (ERR) Program, or the Gas Affordability Program.

To apply, or for more information, call 952-930-3541, or visit one of the Community Action Program of Hennepin offices located throughout Hennepin County (note the hours of operation).

Step to It

Spring is here – Step To It!

The Step To It Challenge is a four-week physical activity campaign. Track your activity and record steps on the Step To Itwebsite.

The challenge runs from May 1 – 28 in Hennepin County and participating communities.

MinnesotaTwins: Proud sponsors of the challenge

The Minnesota Twins join Hennepin County and participating communities as proud sponsors of the 2016 Step To It Challenge. Winning participants from each community will be recognized during a Twins game this summer and can win Twins tickets.

2016 participating communities

Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Crystal, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Little Earth of United Tribes, Maple Grove, Maple Plain, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, New Hope, Orono, Osseo, Plymouth, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Rogers, Southside Q-Health/Sabathani, St. Louis Park, and Shorewood. If you don’t see your community listed but would still like to participate, sign up as a “non-participating community”.

Learn more

Visit the Step To It website to see a quick video with T.C. Bear and get more information

pat fallon

Late business leader Pat Fallon supports brain injury research at HCMC

The late Twin Cities advertising executive Pat Fallon left a bequest supporting traumatic brain injury research at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). The Hennepin Health Foundation announced a major gift from Pat to support the Rockswold Kaplan Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury Research at HCMC.

Fallon’s son, Duffy, was treated by HCMC in 2011 for a brain injury as a result of a hockey accident. At the time, Pat Fallon said they’d had a series of medical appointments elsewhere that brought little progress and a lot of frustration. “Our world changed once we got to HCMC’s Traumatic Brain Injury Center. Instead of telling him what he couldn’t do, the doctor said, ‘Duffy, I can help you.’’’ Today, Duffy has recovered fully and is a student at Boston College. Read more of this post

cdc health survey

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Some 350 Hennepin County residents are being contacted this spring to take part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).  Who knows? You might be one of them.

Conducted by visiting staff from the National Centers for Health Statistics, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NHANES is an essential survey of our nation’s health and nutrition status. In existence since 1960, the survey has provided valuable information for more than 55 years on the prevalence of major diseases, risk factors for diseases, and the relationship between nutrition and overall health of all people living in the United States.

More than 5,000 people, nationwide, will participate this year, so the 350 or so from Hennepin County will represent about 7 percent of the national cross section of participants.  Survey staff first collect information through interviews scheduled in each randomly selected participant’s home. Then they schedule appointments to collect health measurements from participants at a Mobile Examination Center temporarily set up in Minneapolis.

When NHANES staff contact local residents, they should know that they’ll be contributing valuable information to a pool of information collected nationally. They’ll also learn things about their own health, all the while knowing that all information obtained in the survey is held in the strictest confidence and will be used only for statistical purposes. See more information.

Golden Valley seeks fire fighters

Golden Valley seeks fire fighter candidates

The call is out for additional members to join the Golden Valley fire fighter team. If you are 18 years or older and live within 6 minutes of a Golden Valley fire station, this may be for you.

For more than 70 years, Golden Valley residents have relied on so-called ordinary people to protect the community. The Golden Valley Fire Department takes pride in its top-notch firefighters, facilities, equipment, and training. Golden Valley welcomes applications from men and women from all walks of life to continue this tradition of service.

2016 recruitment timeline

Events held at Fire Station 1, 7800 Golden Valley Rd.

  • Recruitment Meeting: Thur, May 5, 6:30 pm
  • Fire Recruitment Expo: Thur, June 9, 6-10 pm

The recruitment timeline is subject to change, based on the needs of the city. For more information including additional timeline dates, visit

Chair Callison

State of the County address

County Board Chair Jan Callison delivered a State of the County address at the Hopkins Center for the Arts on April 19. The audience included many of our partners in local government, business and the nonprofit world, as well as staff, volunteers and residents.

We hope that you also will join us as we continue work to make this county a better place to live, work and visit. To see the video or read a transcript, visit

teen job fair

Hennepin County Career Connections-Minneapolis Teen Job and Opportunity Fair

Saturday, April 30
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, with presentations at 12, 1 and 2 pm
Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis MN

The Minneapolis Teen Job and Opportunity Fair is an opportunity for teens ages 14 to 19 to connect with businesses and organizations for information about jobs, employment training, internships, and volunteer opportunities. Some of the employers will be accepting applications and interviewing at the job fair. Others will require an on-line application. Attendees will be welcome to use computers at the library to complete applications.

The Teen Job Fair is free and open to the public. Preregistration is not required. Parents, guardians, counselors, and teachers are welcome to attend the event.

The Teen Job and Opportunity Fair is produced by City of Minneapolis department of Community Planning and Economic Development, Hennepin County Library, AchieveMpls, Minneapolis WorkForce Centers, Lunds and Byerly’s, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis Youth Congress, and Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board, EMERGE, and East Side Neighborhood Services.

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Board news

April 12

Agreement seals deal for summer farmer’s market at Government Center

The County Board approved an agreement with the Central Minnesota Vegetables Growers Association and the Downtown Council to relocate the Thursday downtown Minneapolis Farmer’s Market to the South Plaza of the Government Center (see story above).

Board approves new structure for suburban community action group

The Hennepin County Board voted to approve the amended articles of incorporation for Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin County. CAPSH approved the amended articles last year. The community action agency works across suburban Hennepin County to improve the lives of low-income people.  Late last year, CAPSH was designated by the Minneapolis City Council as the community action agency in the city of Minneapolis. Based on this change, CAPSH will seek administrative approval of the designation by the Minnesota Department of Human Services as the community action agency for the City of Minneapolis.

Read more about the changes to Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin County.

Federal grant will fund clinics’ work at homeless shelters

The county board voted to accept a $5.4 million grant from the federal Health Resources Administration to continue the Hennepin County Health Care for the Homeless. The board also approved an additional appropriation of $352,574 to increase staffing. The Public Health program, which operates clinics in nine homeless shelters, served 4,443 patients in 2014, over the course of 11,707 visits.

Read more about the grant to fund Health Care for the Homeless.

April 26

Lease agreement moves workforce center forward

The County Board voted to approve lease agreements and operational costs for spaces related to the Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center, a one-stop shop for educational and workforce resources and a pipeline to employment with identified public and private sector employers. The Cedar Riverside facility will be an opportunity center for all, with special outreach to diverse communities, including the East African community. The agreements are for a 4,996 square feet primary center on the street level of an existing mixed use building located at 515 15th Avenue, Minneapolis. The first year’s occupancy costs, including rent and utilities is estimated at $105,000. The other sublease agreements require Minneapolis Community and Technical College and Emerge to contribute $70,000 during the first year to reflect their use of space at the center. Read more about the lease agreement.

Grant will fund water safety educational activities

The board voted to approve a $120,165 grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to help offset the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office’s costs to provide boat and water safety activities.

Read more about the grant.

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St. Anthony

  • Saturday, May 7, 9am-noon
    Spring clean up day. Get rid of unwanted items. For a list of items, visit
    St. Anthony Public Works Garage
    3801 Chandler Drive, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, May 7, 10am-2pm
    Marching Band Blitz. The Patriots Marching Band will represent our community in local parades this summer and perform in the Pittsfield & Wakefield Massachusetts 4th of July Parades. For more information, visit
  • Saturday, May 7, 7:30pm
    Orchestra concert. Dessert and silent auction. $10. For more information, call 612-788-3516.
    St. Anthony Community Center
    3301 Silver Lake Road, St. Anthony


  • Friday, April 29, 4-8pm
    Arbor Day Celebration. Help plant more than 130 new trees. Beer garden, free dinner for kids (while supplies last), a tree-themed nature play area, giant checkers, tree-sized ladder golf, and rope-and-saddle tree climbing. Tree planting excursions every half hour beginning at 4:30pm. Kickball games begin at 5pm, and a tree planting ceremony is scheduled for 6pm.
    Logan Park
    690 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, May 5 and Friday, May 6, 9am-5pm and Saturday, May 7, 9am-2pm
    Weed It and Reap. Pick up debris near local businesses, sidewalks, boulevards, area parks and neighborhood streets. NE Chamber will provide vests, gloves, garbage bags, and area assignments. Volunteers will receive t-shirts. Pre-registration is appreciated by or contacting Christine Levens at612-378-0050 or
    Tom’s Style and Tanning
    938 Lowry Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, May 7, 11am-2pm
    WingDing. The neighborhood celebration will include eco exhibits, nature presentations, master gardeners, free bicycle check-up clinic, arts-and-craft activities, sports camp, carnival games, food, live music, spring plant swap, and a chicken wings contest. Contest participants should drop off a dozen wings at the recreation center kitchen by 11am. Judging and awards will be at noon. In case of rain, events will be held inside Northeast Middle School. For more information, email Chris Pratt at To pre-register for the sports camp for all ages, email
    Audubon Park
    1320 29th Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, May 12, 5-8pm
    Wine Tasting. Wine, food, entertainment, and silent auction.  $45 in advance, $50 at the door. For tickets, visit
  • Monday, May 16, 4-7pm
    Open House. Visit Officers from the Minneapolis Police 2nd Precinct. Food and beverages available.
    Minneapolis Police 2nd Precinct
    1911 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Friday, May 20, 5-10pm, Saturday, May 21, noon-8pm, and Sunday, May 22, noon-5pm
    Art-A-Whirl. Free. Tour art studios, galleries and purchase original art. For artist directory and guide, visit
  • Saturday, May 21, 8am
    Foodie 4 Mile. Registration is open. $25 early bird special. To register and for more information, visit
    B.F. Nelson Park
    400 Marshall Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, May 21, noon-8pm
    Art Park. Free. Art sale and activities.
    Beltrami Park
    1111 Summer Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Now through June 6
    Spanish classes. Beginner and advanced classes. To register, visit


  • Saturday, May 7, 10am-noon
    Open House and Resource Fair. Staff will be on hand to share information and answer questions about programs, resources, job opportunities and other Park Board offerings. Register for activities and sports leagues, or buy a parking permit. Kids’ activities, a truck display, food, bounce house and more.
    Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Headquarters
    2117 West River Road, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, May 21, 1-4pm
    Raingarden workshop. Free. Planting pollinators, with an overview of a do-it-yourself approach to raingardens and native plants. To register or for a full list of locations, or call 651-699-2426.
    North Regional Library
    1315 Lowry Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, May 26 – 1-4pm
    Job Fair.
    Minneapolis Urban League
    2100 N Plymouth Avenue, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, May 26, 7pm
    Memorial concert. Hear the Robbinsdale City Band play music to honor our veterans.
    Victory Memorial Flagpole
    45th Avenue and Xerxes Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Every third Saturday of the month, food distribution 8-9:30am and hot meals 3-5pm. Also, a summer food program for kids under 18. For more information, call 612-521-1749.
    1729 Lyndale Avenue N, Minneapolis

North Loop

  • Thursday, April 28, 7-10pm
    Best of the Twin Cities. Celebrate Minnesota favorites. Pose on the red carpet, complimentary food samples, live music and other entertainment. For tickets and more information, visit
    International Market Square
    275 Market Street, Minneapolis
  • Tuesday, May 3, 4:30pm
    Public hearing. Hear information and make comments regarding 721 N 1st Street, in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District.
    Minneapolis City Hall
    350 S 5th Street, Room 317, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, May 7, 5:30am-9:30pm
    Open studios art event. Free and open to the public. See new work made in ceramics, drawing, installation, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. The art is for sale.
    Traffic Zone Center for Visual Arts
    250 3rd Avenue N, Minneapolis

Bryn Mawr

  • Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8
    Festival of garage sales. For more information,

Golden Valley

  • Wednesday, May 4 6-8pm
    Bike rodeo. Bring your bicycle for a free safety check and take a riding skills test. Bike helmet fitting, refreshments, music, McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky the Fire Dog, and door prizes. Ages 12 & under with adult.
    Sonnesyn Elementary School
    3421 Boone Avenue North, New Hope
  • Saturday, May 14, 10am-noon
    Vehicle fair. See a variety of vehicles up close, from emergency to construction vehicles. To register,

Medicine Lake


  • Sunday, May 1 – noon-2:30pm
    Kids garage sale. Children’s toys, clothes and games. Open to the public.
    Plymouth Creek Center
    14800 34th Avenue N, Plymouth
  • Tuesday, May 3, 11am-noon