Kim Eslinger

David Tinjum

Ryan Ojard
Staff Photographer

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits
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Merle Minda
Small Business Columnist
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Michael Rainville Jr.
History Columnist
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Brianna Ojard

Meg Forney

Doug Verdier

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Minneapolis Riverfront News

Covering life, work, and play in the Historic Mill District and Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront neighborhoods. Have an opinion, local news or events to share?  Contact us.


Key North, Beloved Northeast Minneapolis Boutique, is “Retiring the Brand”

Article and photos by Merle Minda

Key North, Beloved Northeast Minneapolis Boutique, is “Retiring the Brand”
Markdowns begin Monday, November 19; 13-year run comes to an end

Beloved Northeast Minneapolis women’s clothing boutique Key North will close its location at 515 1st Avenue NE as of January 31, 2019. Markdowns on all new fall and winter merchandise will begin at 30 percent off starting Monday, November 19. Further reductions to come. Key North has been in the forefront of carrying top quality and unique fashion design for its devoted customers; merchandise carefully selected in markets from Milan to Paris, New York City and Los Angeles.

Owners and partners of Key North are, left: Katie Greene and, right, Gwen Engelbert

Owners and partners Katie Greene and Gwen Engelbert are sad to see their ‘bricks and mortar’ location come to an end, but will be pursuing other innovative plans to carry their unique perspectives and dedication forward.

Partner Katie Greene noted, “The current retail climate conflicts with our mission of working directly with clients who value quality and original design. Retail now depends so heavily on social media and e-commerce marketing/discounting – that is not what we are about.” She continued, “We are deeply grateful for the relationships and loyalty we have enjoyed with our customers over the years; stay tuned for our next chapter!" 

Throughout its time, Key North maintained an ethical model of quality goods made by well-paid people. “No sweatshops for our goods,” stated partner Gwen Engelbert.

Front window of Key North

The imminent closing of Key North comes as a double whammy to the Northeast Business District, following the recently announced closing of Bibelot in the same neighborhood, leaving the retail scene here fairly desolate.

Some quotes from their treasured customers:

• “Fought the good fight! Such a lovely thing to have their store; their attention to detail and quality goods was from their heart.” Clareyse N.

• “My go-to place for brands I can’t find elsewhere. Everyone asks me where I shop.” Mary T.

• “Makes me sad.” Heather D.

• “Love the store and their product choices.” Merle M.

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About Merle Minda

Journalist and free-lance writer Merle Minda writes about travel, business, people profiles and other subjects for a number of national and regional publications, including Delta SKY, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business, Star Tribune, Twin Cities Statement, Minnesota Monthly, and now Mill City Times. She can be reached at or on the web.


What Happens When Rivers Merge?

One of the articles in the most recent e-newsletter from Friends of the Mississippi River (Special Places: Confluences where great rivers merge) includes aerial shots of the Mississippi River merging with other rivers. It's interesting to see how different the water quality can be between two rivers. We witnessed this first hand during a pontoon ride with forest rangers a few years ago, but it's even more stunning to see from above:

It's an informative article - please click on the link to read about it and view additional pictures.


In the News - Downtown & the Riverfront Neighborhoods

Our weekly digest of stories about Downtown Minneapolis and the Central Riverfront neighborhoods:


10-ton sculpture ready to swoop into Nicollet Mall
"Nimbus" will be the crowning touch of the remake of Nicollet.

Hennepin County restores historic flagpole monument at downtown Armory
Group of veterans who work for the county helped with the new design.

Walker Art Center hires New York curator as its new boss
Mary Ceruti has run the SculptureCenter, a haven for contemporary artists, for the past two decades.

Weekend closure of I-35W in Minneapolis will be last of the year
Here’s a promise from the Minnesota Department of Transportation: This weekend’s closure of Interstate 35W between the Crosstown and Interstate 94 from Friday night to Monday morning will be the last one in 2018.

Click to read more ...


The Week Ahead in Mill City

Each week we provide an easy to reference list of events and activities for the week ahead in the Historic Mill District and Minneapolis Riverfront Neighborhoods.  Have an event to share?  Submit your events here...

Monday, November 19

Tuesday, November 20

Wednesday, November  21

Thursday, November 22

Friday, November 23

Saturday, November  24

Sunday, November 25



Article by Claudia Kittock 

I have always loved Thanksgiving. When I was a little girl growing up on the farm it meant days of cooking and baking, scrubbing our home from top to bottom, and then being inundated with relatives. It was chaotic, fragrant, and filled with love and chaos, not to mention the leftovers!

Our Thanksgivings have changed, as is true for all of us. They are still filled with love and chaos, but maybe a bit quieter and that is good, too. What remains the same is that it is a wonderful moment to pause and remember everything in life that we need to acknowledge with hearts filled with thankfulness.

Almost 4 years ago, a group of friends decided to start a charity, Friends of the Mill District. We wanted to be an active part of creating a community for everyone, and found out that the blessings we have received by doing this work is beyond anything any of us could have imagined. I want to pause in my life for a few moments and tell you about just a few of those blessings, and remember how incredibly thankful we all are.

The Guthrie Theater Education department helped us begin a group called Mill City Players. We brought together a group of potential actors from YouthLink and from Cedar Riverside. After two successful productions with the Guthrie, we all decided that we needed to grow in a different way. We were so very blessed by the relationship with the Guthrie and so grateful that they continue to provide our young people with tickets to Guthrie plays. They also donate a rehearsal space for the Mill City Singers every week. How lucky are we to have the Guthrie as our partner?

In the late spring, we hired James A. Williams as our Artistic Director. He brought with him Patricia Brown and Ahanti Young. Each of these artists brings incredible artistry to our actors and are highly skilled teachers. What isn’t included in their job descriptions is how much each has come to care about the young people. Every actor comes into a safe space for every rehearsal and learns how to be a stronger and better person. They are fed every day and leave with hugs and with messages about their power.

The Mill City Singers, founded in 2015, has grown from 29 singers to 268. If you are a ‘friend’ of the Mill District, we want you to be a singer. 2018 was an incredible season with performances at the Bold Hope in the North Super Bowl event, at Orchestra Hall, at the Ordway, and at the Loring Park Music Festival, just to name a few. We are a unique group of friends. The singing, led by the incredible JD Steele and Fred Steele, is why we come together, but the sense of community and friendship helps us stay.

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) continues to support us with grants to help us do our work.  It is no small thing to start each year with seed money from MRAC. We wouldn’t be the Friends without MRAC.

Our community supports us in surprising ways, most of it without asking. In the past year we have been contacted by Minnesota Orchestra, the Ordway, the Guthrie, the Mill City Museum, ESPN, McKinney Roe, the Hennepin County Library, MacPhail Center for Music, Bobby and Steve’s, Izzy’s, Trader Joe’s, Enso Taiko, YouthLink, 10,000 Things, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), and the Minnesota Twins. Each group wanted to help us and did. If you had told me this would happen when we began the Friends, I would have been sure you were wrong.

Our individual donors are incredible. We are only 3 years old, and when the Friends began, I was told by more experienced people that no one would take a chance on us for at least the first 4 years. Well, our group of donors hadn’t heard that. Every year our mission has grown and our donors have continued to support us with more and more funding to help us do more.

I know that my heart has grown 3 sizes since I began this work. I am honored by the experiences I continue to have. I am reminded every day that people are incredibly good. I am reminded that people want to help, often just needing someone to show them where they are needed.

Thank you, donors. Thank you, artistic staff - JD Steele, Fred Steele, James A. Williams, Patricia Brown, and Ahanti Young. Thank you, actors. You make me anxious to get up every day and so very grateful at the end of the day that I got to spend time with each of you. Thank you, community. We are stronger together. As Paul Wellstone so famously said, “We all do better when we all do better.”

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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).

Witnessing Waves, Featuring Local Artist Alison Price, on MN Original, November 17

Witnessing Waves on MNOriginal
Alison Price's Witnessing Waves series is featured on MN Original, Saturday, November 19, 6pm on TPT2 - PBS.  Price shares, "The Mississippi River Gorge and her wealth of heritage trees have always intrigued me. This series pays respect to the gentle witnesses of migration and settlement along our mighty river, these magnificent, steadfast, and welcoming trees. The trees acknowledge the contribution of all of our respective backgrounds and ancestries. Our families have all traveled to this place, the Twin Cities. It is our collective heritage that makes our community a culturally rich and diverse place to call home." 
. . . . . . .
The Witnessing Waves series is currently at two Minneapolis locations:
Tres Leches Art Gallery in the Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson Street NE
Vinaigrette, 5006 Xerxes Avenue S

North Mississippi Regional Park sample programming for November, December and January

Winter Break Day Camps for Kids

Register kids ages 6-12 for naturalist-led day camps on no school days throughout the year! Explore outdoors, get messy and learn by doing. Spend days off in nature's classroom while having fun playing in the park at North Mississippi.

WILD WINTER SURVIVAL W-F  December 26-28  8am-4pm

Develop your wilderness skills by learning to trek through snow on snowshoes, craft survival shelters, track animal signs and more. We'll explore outdoors, play games and make art. Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild winter world? Registration Fee $90.  Activity #87904

FROZEN PLANET  W-F  December 2-4  8am-4pm

Are you curious about the wonders of the cosmos? Then, embark on an adventure through the cold depths of outer space...with the help of your imagination. Learn about amazing astronomical phenomena, complete missions with your crew and conduct experiments for extreme environments. Sign up to be the ultimate space explorer! Registration Fee $90.  Activity #93993

Day camp is based out of Kroening Interpretive Center. Every day please bring a lunch, snack and water bottle. Dress for the weather and a mess.

Special Events

  • Nature’s Black Friday Fun - Nov 23  11am-3pm   Ditch the mall crawl and opt outside this year! We’ll have naturalist programming and self-guided nature exploration activities. Hike the park, build a fort, go on a scavenger hunt, play games and more! Activities will be based out of Kroening Interpretive Center. FREE for All Ages. Activity #87899
  • Winter Solstice Celebration -  Friday Dec 21  5:30-7:30pm  Rejoice the coming of longer days with an evening of celestial fun. Make a luminary and enjoy the warm glow of a bonfire while sipping hot spiced cider! Learn why the amount of light changes throughout the year and which winter constellations to look for in the sky. Plus grab a winter phenology bingo card to play throughout the season. Get bingo and bring it back to the Nature Center for a prize!  All Ages. $5 – Kids under 13 free.  Activity #87900

Nature Nuts Play Group Wednesdays

Come with your little one to play and have fun in nature with other children and parents/guardians. During this four week series each day will be different, but will have nature themes involving plants, animals, and seasons. Enjoy the fall together! For kids up to age 5 with an adult. Registration Fee $16 (for 4 weeks of classes)

Nov 28 - Dec 19  10:45 - 11:45am   Activity #87896

 Jan 16 - Feb 6  10:45 - 11:45am   Activity #93925

Nature Programs

Bird Watching

Join us for a morning of bird watching! We’ll hike through prairie, woodland and along the river while keeping our eyes and ears open for our feathered friends. First Saturday Each Month. Binoculars provided.

  • Winter Birds - Dec 1   9-10:30am   Discover the winter bird cast of characters. Activity #87877
  • Winter Woodpeckers - Jan 5    4-5:30pm   Go on the lookout for the bright flashes of woodpeckers on the bare trees. Ages 8 & up. Activity #93949

Outdoor Exploration & Nature Art

  • Ginger-bird Houses - Dec 8 1:30-3pm   Invite birds into your backyard this winter by crafting an edible snack house for them. These feeders are a lovely decoration and a great food source for our bird friends that brave the cold.  $10 all supplies included. Kids under 13 free.  Activity #87891
  • Fur, Tracks and Scat - Dec 29  1-2:30pm
  • New Year Resolutions Hike - Jan 5  1-2:30pm   Do you have a New Year’s Resolution to be more active, to go outside more, or try new things? Take the first step on a naturalist-led snowshoe hike along our prairie, woodland, and river trails and start the year off right!  Activity #93959
  • Sleep, Flee, Freeze  Dec 16  1:30-3pm    
  • Winter Arts & Animals - Jan 13  1-3pm   

Family Funday Sundays

  • Turkey Time -  Nov 25  1:30-3pm  Get ready for goofy gobbles as we discover more about turkeys! Play games and have fun investigating feathers, tail fans, snoods and feet to learn more about these big birds.  Activity#87880

Public programs are FREE for all ages

Unless otherwise noted. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a registered adult

Free Snowshoeing each Weekend

Beginning December 22*, get some wonderful exercise while recreating in nature by checking out a pair of snowshoes to explore the park! Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required.

Saturdays 11am-1pm  /  Sundays 1-3pm

*Depending on snow conditions: at least 6 inches of snow on the ground is needed

More Ways to Enjoy the Park

Stop by the front desk to check out binoculars, nature activity packs and nature guides.
Talk with a naturalist to meet and learn about our education animals.
Celebrate your birthday with us!

Like North Mississippi on Facebook to stay in the loop about what’s happening in our park! Learn more about North Mississippi Regional Park at our website

Winter Building Hours:
9am - 4pm Tues & Thurs
10am - 4pm Wed, Fri & Sat
12pm - 4pm Sunday
Closed Monday


Contact Info: Kroening Interpretive Center at North Mississippi Regional Park, 4900 Mississippi Court; Phone: 612-370-4844, Email: 


Join MCBA for New Editions, Nov 30 & Dec 1

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) invites the community to attend New Editions, a two-day event that celebrates and fosters the collection of book art. Over 130 new original works—from chapbooks and zines, to broadsides, artist’s books, and fine press editions—will be available for viewing and purchase. The curated offerings will include something for everyone, from the most seasoned collector to the newest enthusiast, with items at a wide variety of prices.

New Editions begins on Friday, November 30 from 6-9pm with a special preview night. Be the first to explore and purchase a curated collection of bookish works from Minnesota and around the country. At 7pm, learn more about the importance of collecting book art from a panel of artists, featuring Harriet Bart, Regula Russelle, and Gaylord Schanilec, and moderated by Karen Wirth. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, craft wine and beer, and creative company with other book and art lovers. Tickets are $50 and available for purchase on MCBA’s website or in The Shop at MCBA. Each ticket holder receives a commemorative limited edition broadside printed by Laura Brown during the event.

New Editions continues with a public sale on Saturday, December 1 from 10am-4pm. Attendees will be able to find special gifts for those on their shopping list, or treat themselves to a unique work of art. Saturday’s event is free and open to the public, and seasonal refreshments will be provided.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K-12 students and teachers. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions.

Artist panel bios:

Harriet Bart creates evocative content through the narrative power of objects, the theater of installation, and the intimacy of artist’s books. Her installations, objects, and books have been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Germany. She has completed more than a dozen public art commissions in the United States, Japan, and Israel. She is a guest lecturer, curator, and founding member of the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Arts in Minneapolis, MN. Bart has been the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, NEA Arts Midwest, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Since 2000 she has published twelve fine-press artist’s books and won three Minnesota Book Awards. Her work is included in many museum, university, and private collections, including: Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Weisman Art Museum, Jewish Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry. She is a current McKnight Visual Arts Fellow. In 2020 The Weisman Art Museum will present a retrospective of Harriet Bart’s work.

Regula Russelle is a Minnesota Book Artist award winner for her body of work and contributions to the book arts community. Her work has been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. Regula’s work can be found in public collections, on kitchen bulletin boards, and in the occasional handbag. These days, she enjoys packing large questions into tiny books and zines — work that is affordable, and sometimes free. In addition, she is also an enthusiastic collector of books and zines, most of these happily purchased for under $75.

Gaylord Schanilec, noted for his color wood engravings, established his own press, Midnight Paper Sales, in 1980. Since then he has published more than 25 books under his imprint, as well as accepted numerous commissions including works for The Gregynog Press in Wales and the Grolier Club of New York. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Carl Hertzog award for excellence in book design, and the Gregynog prize. He is an Honorary Member of the Double Crown Club, and an active member of the Typophiles, the Ampersand Club, and the Fine Press Book Association. His work is represented in most major book arts collections in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and the archive of his working materials is held at the University of Minnesota.

Karen Wirth’s work explores the relationships between words, objects, and space through artist’s books, sculpture, installation, public art, and critical writing. Her work has been exhibited extensively in collections in the United States, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Walker Art Center, and in Africa and Europe through the US State Department. Wirth co-designed four Minneapolis light rail transit stations and she served as the artist administrator for conceptual design. She co-designed and co-fabricated the Gail See Staircase at Open Book in Minneapolis. Wirth is a founding board member of the College Book Art Association and served on the board of Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Wirth’s artist’s books are in public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art Library, the Getty Center, and Yale University. Her writing has been included in many journals and magazines, including the Journal of Artists’ Books and Places magazine. Wirth has been awarded Bush, McKnight, Jerome, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and an American Council on Education Leadership Fellowship. She is the Interim President and professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She received an MFA in sculpture from the University of Minnesota and a BFA in art education from the University of Wisconsin. Certified to teach K–12 art, she has taught at every level from preschool to graduate school.


MPRB is Looking For Winter Sports Coaches

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is seeking enthusiastic volunteer coaches for youth hockey, basketball and wrestling.

- Practices start in December
- Athletes are ages 6-18 
- Teams practice 1-2 times per week
- Games are scheduled for a weeknight and/or Saturdays (January-February or March)
- MPRB will provide orientation for all new coaches
- Can't coach this winter? We'll need coaches for Baseball, Softball, T-ball, and Track & Field next spring/summer

Click here to receive more information or to express interest in MPRB volunteer opportunities.  Contact (612) 230-6493 or


Hennepin County Now Accepting Applications for Citizen Advisory Board Volunteers

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners is recruiting volunteers for 28 citizen advisory board positions through its annual open appointment process.

Each fall, the board appoints residents to volunteer service positions on advisory boards, commissions, councils and special task forces. Appointees advise commissioners and help set policy on a variety of topics.

Current Openings:

  • Adult Mental Health Advisory Council – 11 vacancies
  • County Extension Committee (University of Minnesota Extension) – four vacancies
  • Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County – two vacancies (open to local elected officials)
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Board – three vacancies
  • Human Resources Board – three vacancies
  • Library Board – three vacancies
  • Mental Commitment Attorney Panel Advisory Board – one vacancy
  • Three Rivers Park District Board of Commissioners – one vacancy

Application process:

Apply online at

Hennepin County will accept applications through December 31, 2018.

The board will conduct interviews beginning in January 2019.


A Gingerbread Wonderland Awaits You at Norway House, Nov 17-Jan 6

Gingerbread houses, called pepperkake in Norway, are a quintessential feature of the Norwegian holiday season.

The Norway House’s 4th annual Holiday tradition - Gingerbread Wonderland - happens November 17, 2018 - January 6, 2019. Look for familiar buildings and landmarks from the Twin Cities and beyond, created by everyone from local bakeries to families and first-time gingerbread baking enthusiasts. Everyone is encouraged to enter their very own creation, regardless of their baking level. (Entries due by November 15.) The Norway House is located at 913 E Franklin Avenue. 612.871.2211 Facebook


Beginning November 17, the Gingerbread Wonderland is open:

10:00A - 4:00P, Tuesdays-Saturdays
11:00A - 3:00M, Sundays
Closed Mondays, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. 

The Pioneers Monument

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

Growing up in Northeast Minneapolis, I frequently passed by the stone sculpture depicting a family of pioneers on the corner of 5th Avenue and Marshall Street. It seemed like an odd place for a work of art, but I never really thought anything of it. As I grew older and the sculpture moved across the street to B.F. Nelson Park, I had to find out how this giant piece of granite found its way to Northeast. The journey of one of Minneapolis’ most forgotten icons is interesting to say the least, and it started half a mile south on the other side of the river in front of the downtown Minneapolis Post Office.

 1936 grand ceremony officially opening Pioneer Square.

The Great Depression was one of America’s darkest times, and while Minneapolis was not affected as much as other major cities, it still had its pockets of troubles. One of these areas was the block between 1st and 2nd Streets and Marquette and 2nd Avenues, which is now occupied by The Churchill Apartments. The city bought the block in the early 1930’s, installed walkways, benches, and a lawn, and in 1936, a grand ceremony took place to officially open Pioneer Square. This ceremony also celebrated the 103rd anniversary of the birth of Charles Loring, the first president of the Minneapolis Park Board. The focal point of the ceremony was the unveiling of a monument carved by the famous Norwegian-American Sculptor John Karl Daniels, and once the granddaughter of Charles Loring was done with her speech, the giant sheet was lifted off the sculpture and those in attendance were amazed by the grand monument.

John Karl DanielsFunded by the Pillsbury family, John Karl Daniels’ 23-foot-tall, 500-ton St. Cloud granite sculpture towered over the rest of the park and greeted patrons of the post office as they made their way to its entrance. The sculptor depicted a pioneer family consisting of a father with a plow, a mother with a baby, and a sitting grandfather with an axe and rifle. Three generations of pioneers. Three generations of those who paved the way for the city’s residents. The back of the monument also has a relief that depicts Father Louis Hennepin receiving a peace pipe from a Dakota chief, another important moment of Minneapolis history.

While the small park was nice to have in that part of town, it quickly drew interest for other uses. In the early 1940’s, a parking ramp was proposed for the site, and in 1951, a public atomic bomb shelter was even considered. The lack of maintenance on the park made it a less than ideal place to visit. A 74-year-old John Karl Daniels even got a ladder, bucket, and mop, and cleaned his artwork himself. As the years went on it became evident that the small park was more of a nuisance, and in 1967 it became no more. The Pioneer Monument was the only thing salvaged from the park, but moving it was a tall task. It was initially offered to anyone willing to move it, which greatly upset a now 90-year-old John Karl Daniels, as he thought his sculpture deserved much better.

The second home for the Pioneer Monument was a small triangular piece of land on 5th Avenue and Marshall Street NE. Not the best spot for such a sculpture. The very small triangular park was at a curve in the road, and many cars ended up crashing right into the monument. Also, the base the monument was put on was not properly built and started to sink into the ground as the decades passed. This once grand sculpture was now a forgotten piece of Minneapolis history. However, in 1993, the Saint Anthony West Neighborhood Organization board, which previously stopped the Interstate 335 expansion, now led by Michael Rainville, Sr., began discussing the possibility of raising money to move the monument. It took another ten years for plans to take shape, and the fundraising began. Finally, in 2010, the neighborhood board raised $75,000 to move the monument, clean it, and prepare its new spot across the street in the new B.F. Nelson Park.

B.F. Nelson Park with the statue and skyline in the background. Photo credit Twin Cities Property Finder 

Seventy-four years and two parks later, the Pioneers Monument found its new, permanent home. While it’s a far cry from its original spot next to the downtown Minneapolis Post Office, the redeveloped B.F. Nelson Park is the perfect fit for this sculpture. John Karl Daniels can now rest easy knowing one of his most prideful works of art is being taken care of in a park that offers great views of the Mississippi riverfront. Now that the leaves have fallen, take a hike through B.F. Nelson, stop in front of the Pioneers Monument, and gaze at the perfect backdrop to this statue, the Minneapolis skyline.

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About Michael Rainville, Jr.

A 6th generation Minneapolitan, Michael Rainville Jr. received his B.A. in History from the University of St. Thomas, and is currently enrolled in their M.A. in Art History and Certificate in Museum Studies programs.

Michael is also a lead guide at Mobile Entertainment LLC, giving Segway tours of the Minneapolis riverfront for 6+ years.

He can be reached at


10th Annual Give to the Max Day is November 15

A letter from Jake Blumberg, Executive Director, GiveMN:

Dear friends,

Generosity isn’t new to Minnesota. We take pride in our reputation of civic engagement, near the top of national lists of highest voter turnout and charitable giving year after year.

When we started Give to the Max Day in 2009, it was meant to be a one-time event to help raise awareness for the new But after $14 million was donated in just 24 hours, we knew something truly special had just happened in Minnesota.

10 Years of Give to the Max Day from GiveMN on Vimeo.

You’ve help to build Minnesota’s giving holiday from the ground up. More than 300,000 generous people like you have given $10, $100, $1,000 or more at a time, adding up to nearly $200 million through to support more than 10,000 organizations all across the state.

For us, Give to the Max Day is a celebration of generosity in countless ways. We see groups of volunteers come together to pack meals for 24 hours straight. We hear from teachers who use the day to teach the importance of giving back, even offering students their own $5 and $10 Golden Tickets. There are countless displays of generosity each year as we shine a light on what’s good in our communities.

Support your favorite causes for GTMD18

As we get ready for the 10th annual Give to the Max Day this Thursday, we encourage you to reflect on the causes you are passionate about, whether it’s a national or statewide movement, or a neighborhood group down the street. Your donations will help them continue to meet their missions, but we also hope in the days to come you will consider volunteering, donating goods and clothing…realizing generosity in all its forms.

On behalf of Minnesota’s nonprofits and schools, thank you for your support on Give to the Max Day, and all year round.


Jake Blumberg
Executive Director, GiveMN
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2018 Holidazzle is Just Around the Corner!

It's not too early to start planning your 2018 Holidazzle experience.  Find all the info you need at

2018 Holidazzle dates and times:

. . . .

Friday, November 23-Sunday, November 25

Thursday, November 29-Sunday, December 2

Thursday, December 6-Sunday, December 9

Thursday, December 13-Sunday, December 16

Thursday, December 20-Sunday, December 23

. . . . .

Thursdays from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Fridays from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Sundays from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. 


November 11 Event Will Recognize 100th Anniversary of World War I Armistice

Via a November 9 announcement form Hennepin County:

The community will join in recognizing Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of World War I armistice on Sunday, November 11, along Victory Memorial Drive.

The armistice ended fighting on land, sea and air between U.S. allies and their last opponent, Germany.

Event details

  • Sunday, November 11, 10 a.m.
  • Flagpole plaza at 45th Avenue North and Victory Memorial Drive

Featured program

  • Prominent speakers on the war’s local history
  • Musician Robert Robinson
  • 21-gun salute
  • Moment of silence at 11 a.m.

View the full event program (PDF)

The flagpole will cast a shadow on the plaza around 11 a.m., weather permitting.

Hennepin County is sponsoring this event in collaboration with the City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and City of Robbinsdale.

More about Victory Memorial Drive

Trees and monuments along Victory Memorial Drive honor the 568 Hennepin County service men and women who died in World War I. Dedicated to fallen soldiers in 1921 and rededicated in 2011, the drive is located in the northwest area of Minneapolis and the eastern border of Robbinsdale.

Learn more about the memorial’s history at


Happy Thanks-Swimming! Come Swim a 5K on Thanksgiving Day

Via a November 9 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board:

Why run a Thanksgiving 5K when you can swim it?! Join us for Happy Thanks-Swimming 5K, a new event being held at the Phillips Aquatics Center on Thanksgiving Day. It is all about swimming, fun and putting a new spin on the Turkey Day 5K.

  • Participants will choose a lane that best fits their timing needs and swim 75 x 75s.
  • All abilities are welcome, and you can swim as much or as little as you wish.
  • Cost: $40 ($5 discount for Open Swim Club members)

Take Thanksgiving by the drumstick and do a 5K in the water. It's a great way to stay fit this fall and kick off a healthy holiday season!

Event details

Date: Thursday, November 22, 2018

Time: Select one of two time slots: 8-10 am or 10 am-noon

Location: Phillips Aquatics Center
Address: 2323 11th Avenue South, Minneapolis

Cost: $40 ($5 discount for Open Swim Club members)


Hennepin County Voter Turnout Results

Via a November 7 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Unofficial election results were 100% reported for all of Hennepin County as of 2:43 a.m.

Total ballots cast in Hennepin County

In the 2018 election, 631,100 people cast a ballot in Hennepin County. Of these, 182,400 cast absentee ballots and 448,700 voted at their polling place on Election Day.

Voter turnout

Voter turnout in Hennepin County was 77 percent of registered voters.

For Comparison:

  2018 2016 2014
Total ballots cast 631,100 685,000 451,800
Absentee ballots cast 182,400 203,400 56,000
Election Day ballots cast 448,700 481,600 395,800
Voter turnout 77% 81% 59%


All results are available on Hennepin County’s election results webpage and all statewide results are available at the Secretary of State’s election results webpage.

Election results become official at the canvassing board meeting, set for November 13, 2018.

For more information about elections and voting in Hennepin County, visit


November E-Newsletter from 3rd Ward Council Member Steve Fletcher

A Note from Steve

On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Frey opened the Council meeting by reading the names of the people killed in a racially motivated shooting in Kentucky, and in an anti-Semitic shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

As shaken as I am, and as I know many of you are by the alarming events of the last couple of weeks, I'm also full of gratitude to be part of a community full of people who really show up for each other in difficult times. As an elected representative, as a resident of the city, and as a Jew, I have had many occasions to feel proud of the compassion, the clarity of values, and the generosity on display in Minneapolis.

I’ve heard from many of you looking for ways to be a comfort to people who are feeling fear and grief.  I’ve also heard from many you wanting to do something about the hateful rhetoric and dog-whistle politics that are empowering white supremacists around the country, and about the easy access these murderers have to assault weapons.

If there are ways that our office can provide comfort and support in this moment of grief and anxiety, please do not hesitate to let us know.  We will continue to work toward our vision of a city that is inclusive, supportive, and safe for everyone, and would welcome your input and collaboration in our work.

In the meantime, all of the work of the city continues. This week, we passed multiple groundbreaking ordinance changes on housing, aimed at stabilizing existing affordable housing, incentivizing more affordable housing, and preventing needless evictions. This marks the beginning of an exciting slate of tenants' rights and affordable housing work making its way through the council in the coming months.

This month will also include public hearings before the City Council on the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan and the 2019 Budget. More on both of those below.

En Avant,


Vote Early!

TOMORROW — Tuesday, November 6 — is Election Day! Please VOTE!


  • Downtown Early Vote Center, 217 S. Third St., in downtown Minneapolis.
  • East Early Vote Center in the University of Minnesota Field House Lobby, 1800 University Ave SE.
  • North Early Vote Center at the Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave. N.
  • South Early Vote Center at Regents Assembly Church, 810 W. 31st St.

Absentee Voting is Easy: any voter can vote early with an absentee ballot; no reason is required. If you plan to vote absentee by mail, please allow enough time to complete the process, which can take longer than seven days. Absentee ballot applications are available at and may be submitted anytime throughout the year.


Sample Ballot: state law allows voters to bring materials into the polls to help complete your ballot — and the sample ballot is the single, best tool available for this purpose. Your sample ballot is customized to your specific ward and precinct, and you can get yours at

THANK YOU for being a voter!

WEDNESDAY: Join Me for a Ward 3 Community Forum on the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

On Monday, October, 29, the Minneapolis Planning Commission took four hours of public comments from over 110 people on the City's draft Comprehensive Plan, Minneapolis 2040. The Planning Commission then adopted a set of amendments and voted, 8-1, to forward the plan to the City Council for our consideration.

The City Council will have our own public hearing on the 14th, but first, join me on Wednesday for a community forum in Ward 3!

I will be joined by Heather Worthington, Director of Long Range Planning in the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development.

Together, we will discuss how the draft Comprehensive Plan has changed based on over 10,000 comments received during the 90-day public comment period earlier this year, and take further questions and comments. 

Community Forum on Minneapolis 2040, the City's Draft Comprehensive Plan
THIS WEDNESDAY, November 7 from 6:00 - 8:00 P.M.
University Baptist Church, 1219 University Ave SE


To see the full draft plan and what has changed in it, go to

Additional public comments on this revised draft can be submitted to the Planning Commission and City Council online. CPED staff will not be making any further revisions to the plan; any further edits will be made by the Planning Commission or City Council as formal amendments.

Here is the planned calendar of remaining public meetings for the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan:

  • Wednesday, November 14, 4:30 P.M. — City Council Public Hearing
  • Monday, November 26, 10:00 A.M. — City Council Committee of the Whole Special Meeting — Council Members can offer amendments; no public comments will be taken
  • Wednesday, December 5, 1:30 P.M. — City Council Committee of the Whole Regular Meeting — Council Members can offer amendments; no public comments will be taken
  • Friday, December 7, 9:30 A.M. — City Council Regular Meeting (final meeting planned for 2018) — final Council action (vote) on Comprehensive Plan

2019 Budget Update

The Budget Committee of the City Council has concluded hearing departmental presentations on Mayor Jacob Frey's proposed 2019 budget, and held our first public hearing on Thursday, November 1st. THANK YOU to everyone who attended to share your comments on the proposed 2019 budget.

Here are the remaining City Council meetings for the 2019 Budget:

  • Wednesday, November 28 — Adjourned City Council Meeting — Public Hearing on Property Tax Levy and Budget
  • Friday, November 30 — Budget Committee Meeting — the City Council will mark up the proposed budget; no public comments will be taken
  • Wednesday, December 5, 6:05 P.M. — Adjourned City Council Meeting — Public Hearing and Final Action (adoption) on 2019 Budget

Comments can also be submitted online on the City’s website, or you can send me your comments and ideas on the Mayor's proposed 2019 budget directly at or to my office at 612-673-2203.

Visit the City’s budget website to learn more. You can also watch budget hearings on Minneapolis City Council TV. Tune to SD channel 14 or HD channel 799 on Comcast or SD channel 8001 or HD channel 8501 on CenturyLink. You can also watch archived meetings on the City of Minneapolis YouTube channel.

Update on Navigation Center for People Experiencing Homelessness

Last month, the City Council approved a 1.25-acre site at 2109 Cedar Ave. in south Minneapolis as a temporary site for a Navigation Center that will provide a safe and service-rich environment for single adults living at the Franklin/Hiawatha homeless encampment who face challenges connecting to traditional shelter housing.

Since then, the Council has had continued discussions about this project as it moves forward: we approved $1.5 million in funding towards the construction of this shelter, we voted to suspend procurement rules to better enable us to meet our goal of opening the Navigation Center by early December, and we voted to create a City-led work group for this project. I am one of four City Council Members serving on that work group.

Until the center opens, there are no plans to close the encampment. Ongoing outreach efforts at the encampment continue to focus primarily on public health and safety, especially as the weather gets colder, in addition to assessments to help people secure emergency shelter and supportive housing. At this point all but one of the families with children at the encampment have been placed in transitional housing; the navigation center is intended to serve single adults.

Click here for more information on how you can support people at the Franklin/Hiawatha Encampment.

"Making Downtown Fun Again"

The Star Tribune wrote an in-depth story on some of the work we've been doing as a city around downtown nightlife.

We know from the downtown crime stats - violent crime down over 20% and property crime down by nearly 50% year-to-date - that things have been improving, and that's been the result of a lot of collaborative work by Mayor Jacob Frey's office, the City Council, the Warehouse District Business Association, the Downtown Improvement District, the Minneapolis Police Department, city staff in Business Licensing, Public Health and Public Works, Minneapolis Mad DadsSt. Stephen's Human ServicesYouthLink MN, and more.

Hoping this is the first of many positive stories about the Warehouse District. We'll keep working to make downtown nightlife better and better. You should come enjoy it!

Bloomberg Selects Minneapolis for American Cities Climate Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies named Minneapolis among its American Cities Climate Challengewinners for resources and technical support to help achieve ambitious climate goals.

Bloomberg will provide winners with robust technical assistance and a support package valued at $2.5 million per city. The resources include a philanthropy-funded team member to facilitate the development and passage of high impact policies, training for senior leadership to assist with implementation of their proposed climate plans, and public engagement support.

Minneapolis plans to improve transit reliability and user experience; encourage new mobility options such as bikeshare, electric bikeshare, more electric vehicle charging, and electric vehicle education and incentives; and implement a comprehensive citywide solar strategy including a focus on onsite and community solar garden subscriptions for low-income residents.

The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge builds on the America’s Pledge initiative, which aims to keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement.

Xcel Energy Terminates Grant Contract & Power Purchase Agreement with Crown Hydro

In August, the Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to order Xcel Energy to terminate their grant contract with Crown Hydro. This week, Xcel announced that not only are they terminating that grant contract, but they are also terminating their power purchase agreement with Crown Hydro as well.

This is great news, and a big win for everyone in our community -- but especially those who have spent years building an alternative vision for our central riverfront -- one that celebrates the Falls as an accessible community benefit for all.

It is up to all of us – residents, community organizations, and elected officials alike – to make sure that it remains accessible and vibrant for generations to come. I'll keep working with Mayor Jacob Frey, the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership, Friends of the Lock and Dam, and more to protect and improve a riverfront we can all enjoy.

Read more here from Twin Cities Business.

Replacement of West River Parkway Wood Plank Trail

85-foot section of wood plank trail will be replaced over 2-3 weeks; parkway remains open

The second phase of a project that will eventually replace all planks on the West River Parkway Wood Plank Trail began in late October. Construction is expected to take two to three weeks to complete.

Closures and Detours

  • During construction, the east (river) side of West River Parkway Trail will be closed between Portland Avenue and 11th Avenue South. The parkway will remain open.
  • Pedestrians will use a detour to the sidewalk across the parkway. 
  • Bicyclists may choose to use the parkway or travel south one block and use the bike lane on Second Street.
  • Motorists traveling in this area must use caution and share the road with bicycle traffic.

Project Details

  • Last year approximately 100 linear feet of planks were replaced. This work is Phase II, which will replace another 85 linear feet.
  • The new planks are made from Douglas Fir, replacing the old White Oak planks.
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board maintenance and planning staff are evaluating the new plank design before replacing the entire plank trail, which will occur as funding becomes available.

Minnesota Cold Weather Rule Has Begun for the Winter

The Minnesota cold weather rule begins for the season Oct. 15. The rule protects residential customers who have difficulty paying their natural gas bills from having their natural gas service disconnected between Oct. 15 and April 15. Residential customers must contact CenterPoint Energy to set up a payment plan.

Who should call?

Customers who anticipate having trouble paying their entire natural gas bill, have received a notice of proposed disconnection, or need gas service reconnected are all urged to call CenterPoint Energy to establish a payment plan. A payment plan will include what is owed and the amount to be billed. The plan will also take into consideration a customer’s financial situation and any other special circumstances.

Other helpful information:

  • In addition to calling CenterPoint Energy to discuss and establish a payment plan, company representatives are available to refer customers to social service agencies who may have energy assistance funds.
  • Customers can also sign up for CenterPoint Energy’s average monthly billing plan, which spreads natural gas costs throughout the year. Customers can sign up online through My Account at or by calling CenterPoint Energy.
  • The Minnesota Department of Commerce maintains a website that provides information on energy efficiency and heating assistance programs.
  • Customers interested in helping others pay their natural gas bills can support the Salvation Army’s HeatShare program. Visit The Salvation Army’s website to make a donation.

Call CenterPoint Energy at 612-372-4680 or 1-800-729-6164 to set up a payment plan. Find more information at



2018-2019 Snow Emergency Information

Winter can strike at any time, and being prepared for it might save you a few headaches, inconvenience and money.

By now you should have received the Snow Emergency Information mailer from the City of Minneapolis, but if you didn't (or didn't save it), there are a number of ways to keep up to date on weather-related restrictions, etc.

Go to and you'll find it all: If a Snow ER is in effect, the Snow ER hotline (612-348-7669), towed vehicle info, instructions for downloading the Snow ER app and more.


Envision Community Concept Combines Healthcare and Housing

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

Several months ago, I was honored to meet with a group called Street Voices of Change. Begun in 2016 with about 12 people meeting in a church basement, it has grown into 3 overflowing groups meeting every week at various churches throughout downtown Minneapolis. Street Voices groups are made up of people who experienced homelessness and want to invest in and empower each other to build a “loving community that recognizes the trauma of homelessness and seek to restore dignity in every aspect of the experience.”

A few years before Street Voices began their work, Hennepin Healthcare formed an innovation team called Upstream Health Innovations. Upstream’s mission is to “empower patients to lead healthy lives by partnering with the community to build capacity and foster the health innovations that create equity and improve outcomes.”

Dr. William Walsh, Upstream’s Deputy Chief Innovation Officer and a practicing physician, sees homelessness as a situation that profoundly impacts a person’s health and creates financial strain on the healthcare system. He believes the healthcare system could help provide housing for the patients whose health is most impacted by homelessness, but the high cost of housing makes this investment unfavorable. Upstream recognized that innovation is needed for the healthcare system to help house the homeless.

Dr. William Walsh explaining the planning process for the Envision Community concept

Dr. Walsh conducting a recent collaboration meeting

A collaborative group, including Upstream Health Innovations, started to work on ways for the healthcare system to participate in housing. This work was guided by Street Voices members, the true experts in the situation of homelessness who wanted to create viable housing for themselves and others experiencing housing instability. They called their initiative “Envision Community.”

Envision Community proposes a new type of housing for Hennepin County. Four things make Envision Community different than other housing in Hennepin County:
- Utilizing tiny home architecture in the form of pods.
- There will be pods designed for single adults. 
- There will be pods designed for couples.
- There will be a common house with shared bathrooms, a kitchen and common space for all residents to gather.
More pods can be added to the existing community at any time as the community grows.

Architectural models of the 'tiny house' pods

The population goals are to house a diverse community from across the housing stability spectrum. Envision is designed to include 20% chronically homeless who are the highest utilizers of healthcare, 20% people who have never experienced homelessness and would choose to live in this community, and 60% people who are experiencing homelessness and are not high healthcare utilizers.

During the design process, the collaborative recognized that housing alone is not enough. An accepting, flexible community is essential to create stability and belonging for people who become housed. This is what converts a house into a home. Without this, many people return to the streets seeking freedom and friendship. Because of the importance of community, Envision functions as an intentional community, sharing common values with the intention to live out those values on a daily basis.

It took a broad community to develop this concept. Key collaborators like the Minnesota Design Center, Alchemy Architects and the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, assisted the Street Voices members by adding their industry-specific knowledge to help turn the Street Voices members’ needs, desires, and experience of what works into a viable solution. The United Health Foundation, the McKnight Foundation’s Region and Communities Program, Julia Dayton, and the Dayton Hudson endowment at the Minnesota Design Center generously funded portions of the project. 

Drawings of the planned community

Fascinating? I agree. Next steps include finding land for the initial demonstration community and raising additional funds. If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact Dr. Walsh at

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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).
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Editor's Note: The Star Tribune also ran an article on this topic: