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Merle Minda
Small Business Columnist
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Michael Rainville Jr.
History Columnist
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Meg Forney
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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.

Friday
May252018

Public Tours will be part of St. Anthony Falls Laboratory 80 Year Anniversary Celebration

For anyone who has traversed the Stone Arch Bridge and wondered, "What is that place?" - here's your chance to find out first hand! Public tours will be part of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) 80 year celebration. Below are the tour dates, registration links, and a description of what to expect.

Tours of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory:
Thursday, June 21, 3:00 PM
Thursday, July 19, 3:00 PM
Thursday, August 16, 3:00 PM
Thursday, September 20, 3:00 PM
Thursday, October 18, 3:00PM

The St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL), through which the Mississippi River runs, is an interdisciplinary fluid mechanics research and educational facility of the College of Science and Engineering at the UMN. These public tours through this historic facility will showcase the experimental facilities and research projects.

Once registered, you will receive an email a day or two prior to the scheduled tour with details of where to meet your tour group. There is no cost to attend, but donations are welcomed through this link (suggested donation of $5 per participant).

Preparing for the tour:

- Please wear closed-toe shoes - no flip flops or sandals. Be prepared to stand and walk for the duration of the tour (1+ hour). SAFL does have an elevator to assist those with some mobility restrictions - please list that concern when you sign up for a tour.
- Parking is reserved for SAFL personnel only (unless you require a handicap space). Off-site parking options include:
    - Garage: 212 SE 2nd Avenue
    - Lot: 200 University Avenue SE
    - Metered street parking is available along SE Main Street, portions of SE 3rd Avenue, and 2nd Street SE
    - Bike racks are available

NOTE: Are you interested in touring the SAFL but are unavailable for the listed public tour dates/times? Please provide your contact information and you will be contacted with other potential tour dates/times throughout Summer/Fall 2018.

Thursday
May242018

AchieveMpls Volunteer Opportunity: Seeking Graduation Coaches for Minneapolis High School Students

Via a recent Press Release from AchieveMpls:

AchieveMpls, the nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), is recruiting adult volunteers to serve as Graduation Coaches for 9th and 12th grade students in MPS schools during the 2018-19 school year. Whether you're a young professional or a retiree, an executive or an artist, we're looking for caring, open-minded adults who enjoy working with young people.

Research shows that a supportive adult can powerfully impact a young person’s academic and personal success. Students with mentors are more likely to feel connected to school, have better self-esteem and experience greater success in setting and achieving their goals. But one in three young people will grow up without this kind of additional adult support. 

AchieveMpls Graduation Coaches help close this gap by providing personalized guidance to MPS students twice each month in a classroom setting throughout the academic year, from September - May. Coaches meet with individual 12th grade students or small groups of 9th graders to help them transition into and out of high school and build the skills and confidence they need to be successful in school and beyond. Coaches can also offer additional monitored support via email between sessions. 

All Graduation Coaches receive volunteer training, program curriculum and ongoing supervision and support throughout the school year.

For more information about the program, participant videos and application form, visit   www.achievempls.org/GraduationCoaches or contact Amy Shapiro at ashapiro@achievempls.org or 612-455-1550.  All applications are due Friday, June 15. Volunteers from diverse communities are particularly encouraged to apply.

About AchieveMpls
As the strategic nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), AchieveMpls rallies community support to inspire and equip Minneapolis students for careers, college and life. We manage Career & College Centers in 11 MPS high schools, train and place over 1,600 young people in paid STEP-UP internships with 200+ employers each year, engage hundreds of volunteers as Graduation Coaches and career exploration volunteers, raise support for MPS strategic priorities, and manage MPS school and department funds. Join us a volunteer, employer, donor or partner at www.achievempls.org.

Become an AchieveMpls Graduation Coach for the 2018-19 School Year
The single most important factor in a young person’s success is a consistent relationship with a caring, supportive adult—but unfortunately one in three young people grows up without a mentor. AchieveMpls Graduation Coaches help fill this gap by providing personalized support to 9th and 12th grade Minneapolis Public Schools students as they transition into and out of high school and build the skills and confidence they need to be successful in school and beyond.  Graduation Coaches volunteer for two classroom hours each month throughout the school year with a small group of 9th graders or one-on-one with 12th grade students. We provide the curriculum, structure and training—you bring the wisdom and encouragement! Apply today at www.achievempls.org/GradCoaches. For more information, contact Amy Shapiro at ashapiro@achievempls.org or 612-455-1550.
 

Wednesday
May232018

Minneapolis Parks Add More “Good Chairs”

This summer, more than 150 “Good Chairs” will be in 12 Minneapolis parks, including the shores of Lake Bde Maka Ska.Via a May 23 News Release:

This Memorial Day week, volunteer-led nonprofit, The Minneapolis Good Chair Project, will be expanding in its third year to provide up to 150 custom wooden chairs to 12 Minneapolis parks. Given the popularity of the free-standing chairs, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board invited the nonprofit to place more chairs throughout its acclaimed parks system through September.

In addition to its first locations in Currie Park and Lake of the Isles, park patrons can find a comfortable place to sit and recharge at:

  • Bottineau Field
  • Powderhorn Park
  • Keewaydin Park
  • North Commons
  • Fairview Park
  • Cleveland Park
  • Lake Nokomis
  • Lake Bde Maka Ska
  • Seward Parklet
  • Cedar Lake/Hidden Beach

After multiple requests, Good Chairs are now available for purchase for memorials and personal use, including personalized engraved messaging. The chairs cost $1,500 and can purchased by contacting the designer and builder, Minneapolis-based, Willie Willette Works. Proceeds will support the construction of more chairs for public use.

This summer, the chairs will also serve as a platform for leaders of local nonprofits to be filmed in a video series called, “Who’s in the Good Chair?” The videos will be shared on social media and through paid media placements to generate more awareness of the good works being done in our community. Executive directors from a diverse set of organizations such as the Soo Visual Arts Center, The Brand Lab, Ann Kim with Young Joni and Lola restaurants and Amol Dixit with Hot Indian Foods, will share their mission while being filmed sitting in a Good Chair.

The program, started by retired General Mills’ chief marketing officer, Mark Addicks, is designed to equip the Minneapolis parks system with high-end chairs that help foster community connections and personal reflection through engraved phrases such as “Sit. Share. Debate. Engage,” and “Sit. Breathe. Contemplate. Meditate.”      

“We’re honored to work the city to expand the program to all corners of the city,” said Mark Addicks, founder of the nonprofit. “From popular parks like Bde Maka Ska and Lake Nokomis, to Currie Park in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and Fairview Park on the north side, the chairs are now adding more resources for residents throughout the entire Minneapolis community.”

To learn more, or to make a donation, visit the nonprofit’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Wednesday
May232018

Minneapolis Repeats as Nation’s Best Park System, According to The Trust for Public Land’s 2018 ParkScore® Index 

Via a May 23 e-newsletter from Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board:

Minneapolis has the best park system in the United States, according to The Trust for Public Land’s 7th annual ParkScore® index, which was released today by the nonprofit organization.

Minneapolis narrowly edged Saint Paul to earn top honors. A different regional rivalry claimed third and fourth place, as Washington, DC, barely outscored Arlington, Virginia, to hold on to third. In another big move, Chicago cracked the top 10 for the first time in ParkScore history.

“We’re honored by the top ranking for the sixth year in a row! My motto is ‘playing for life’ and parks are a vital resource for youth, adults and families throughout the city. We are committed to serving the diverse needs of our residents, and we’re proud of the initiatives we’ve taken to continually assess and improve our park facilities and the services we provide the community,” said Mary Merrill, Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

“Minneapolis will always be a great city in a park. From quality of life, to safe recreational space, to tourism—our parks are critical to who we are as a city. I’m thrilled that our park system continues to earn accolades. We have world class parks and the world is taking notice,” added Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

“Saint Paul is excited to be recognized again as a world-class park city,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “We are proud of what we have achieved and are grateful for the partnership we have built with the Trust for Public Land. I believe that parks play an important role in both social and environmental resilience and am glad that the Twin Cities have set a high standard for what a successful park system looks like.”

Monday
May212018

Nicollet Springtacular event set for Wednesday, May 23 #OnNicollet

Via a May 21 e-newsletter from the mpls downtown council:

Image result for Nicollet Springtacular

Spring is here, and the mpls downtown council and Mpls Downtown Improvement District invite the public to celebrate warmer weather and a new Nicollet as part of the Nicollet Springtacular.

The event will take place this Wednesday, May 23 from 11:30 am-1:30 pm #OnNicollet between 9th and 10th streets. The public is invited to stop by and enjoy a sampling of the activations that will be held regularly #OnNicollet throughout the year, including:

  • Nicollet Farmers Market
  • Nicollet Makers Market
  • Street Show
  • Mobile bike library feat. Minneapolis Central Librarians       
  • ACTivation: zAmya Theatre Project
  • YMCA outdoor fitness classes
  • Guided Architecture and Weird Nicollet Tours
  • And more

The festivities will take place near several outdoor patio locations including Haskell’s Wine Bar, Randle’s Restaurant, The Local, Barrio, and The Newsroom. The public is invited to come out and enjoy the festivities during their lunch hour and also listen to a special performance by The Grateful Red, a high-energy horn band comprised of Target employees that play classic and modern hits.

“The new Nicollet is an incredible asset for our city, and with nice weather finally here we are thrilled to invite the public out to see first-hand what you can expect throughout the summer,” said Steve Cramer, president & CEO of the mpls downtown council and Mpls Downtown Improvement District. “We’re grateful for the public-private partnership that helped Nicollet transform into this must-see destination, and we’re excited to invite the public to enjoy new DID-led activities and programming that add to Nicollet’s overall vibrant experience.”

Throughout the year, the public is encouraged to share their experiences using the hashtag #OnNicollet. Nicollet’s activations during 2018 will include:

Nicollet Farmers Market: The beloved Minneapolis Farmers Market returned to Nicollet in 2018 after a three-year construction hiatus. Stop by Nicollet from 6th to 9th Streets each Thursday from 6 am-6 pm through October.

Nicollet Makers Market: This unique craft market preview featuring handmade goods from local artists debuted #OnNicollet last year and returns in 2018 on a routine basis between 7th and 8th streets. Enjoy the Makers Market on the second and fourth Wednesdays, June 13 through October 10, from 10:30 am-2:30 pm.

Street Show: Watch for the official Street Show wagons and catch informal, busking-style live performances #OnNicollet from local musicians, dancers and others. Street Show will take place Wednesday through Fridays, May through September during lunchtime, happy hours and occasional event nights.

Mobile bike library prototype featuring Minneapolis Central Librarians: In partnership with the Minneapolis Central Library, you’ll be able to enjoy this impressive outreach tool featuring fun activities and specially-curated library collections during the Nicollet Farmers and Makers markets and throughout the summer. Families will enjoy Storytime with the Mobile Bike Librarians on Thursdays at 10 am through Aug. 30 at the Nicollet Reading Room in front of the YWCA.

ACTivation: zAmya Theater Project: The acclaimed zAmya Theater Project will provide sidewalk theater vignettes #OnNicollet Tuesdays from 11 am-1 pm between 6th and 8th Streets. The zAmya Theater Project uses community-based theater to build an understanding and connection to people with and without experience in homelessness.

The Douglas Dayton YMCA at Gaviidae will be hosting free fitness classes on select Wednesdays this summer. On June 6, July 11, August 1 and September 5 from 12 pm-1 pm, they’ll alternate hosting yoga and Oula classes at Xcel Energy’s plaza at 5th and Nicollet. Try a dance fitness Oula class, their newest program, demonstrated by certified YMCA instructors at this Wednesday’s Springtacular at 11:30 am.

Nicollet Go Tours: Take one of our free, self-guided audio tours and learn more about what makes Minneapolis’ most well-trodden street so interesting.  Get the inside scoop about our famous buildings on the Nicollet Architecture tour. Learn the story behind the public art and Mary Tyler Moore’s famous hat toss on the Nicollet Public Art Tour. Coming in June is the story behind the new design of Nicollet’s public spaces, and the Weird Nicollet tour, featuring rare and peculiar stories about our downtown main street. All the tours will be available through the free IZI app and at www.onnicollet.com/stories. This Wednesday, you can hear direct from the tour creators themselves as architectural historian Richard Kronick and urban geographer Bill Lindeke offer rare in person experiences of the Nicollet Architecture (11:30 a.m.) and Weird Nicollet tours (12:30 p.m.).

Mpls DID unveils pop-up drop-in center

In addition to the Nicollet Springtacular event on Wednesday, the Mpls Downtown Improvement District will officially open its pop-up satellite office located #OnNicollet at the street level of Gaviidae Common.  The satellite office will offer information about the DID and its initiatives, have Ambassadors on hand, and provide an additional DID resource for downtown patrons. The satellite office will be open Mondays-Fridays from 8 am-9 pm and Saturdays from 3-9 pm.

2025 plan quarterly forum set for 4:30 pm at Randle’s

The mpls downtown council will also host its 2025 plan quarterly forum on Wednesday, May 23 at Randle’s Restaurant. The event will focus on greening and public realm progress since the 2025 plan’s inception in 2011, impacting development, downtown experience, transportation and other facets of downtown life in the process. The event will begin at 4:30 pm and include the following panel: 

  • Steve Cramer, mpls downtown council & DID (moderator)
  • Robin Hutcheson, City of Minneapolis Public Works
  • Jim Vos, Cresa Minneapolis
  • Tom Whitlock, Damon Farber Associates; 2025 plan downtown experience committee chair
  • David Wilson, Accenture; 2025 plan greening & public realm committee chair, Green Minneapolis board chair

For more information on The 2025 Plan’s initiatives, follow @mplsdowntown on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #mplsdowntown and #2025plan. For more information #OnNicollet’s programming, public art installations, new features and more, visit www.onnicollet.com or follow @mplsdid on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #OnNicollet.

About the mpls downtown council:

Founded in 1955, and one of the most historic central business associations in the nation, the mpls downtown council (mdc) is a membership-based entity that works to create an extraordinary downtown. The mdc’s collaborative developments of Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan was designed to help downtown businesses, community leaders and citizens build on downtown assets and implement future goals. For more information, please visit mplsdowntown.com.

About the Mpls Downtown Improvement District:

Founded in early 2009, after more than five years of formative planning and advocacy by the downtown business community, the Mpls DID delivers higher levels of service to make downtown cleaner, greener, safer and more vibrant throughout a 120-block area, as is the case with most Business Improvement Districts. For more information, visit http://www.mplsdid.com/.

About The 2025 Plan:

Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan is a vehicle to help leaders and citizens build on downtown’s assets and guide downtown Minneapolis’ development. This includes initiatives to double downtown’s residential population, transform Nicollet into a must-see destination, create a compelling and walkable environment around the clock, lead the nation in transportation options, end street homelessness, forge connections with the University of Minnesota and more. For more information on the 2025 Plan and its initiatives, visit mplsdowntown.com/2025plan. The 2025 Plan is a mpls downtown council initiative introduced in 2011 

Sunday
May202018

Deep Sewer Tunnel Cleaning Project

Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) will be cleaning six large diameter sanitary sewer interceptors in Minneapolis and St. Paul between in June 2017 and December 2018. (Full map)

Between May and June, MCES will be cleaning the interceptor pipes beneath Washington Avenue between 11th Avenue and 35W. There will be periodic lane closures near the work zone. Work hours on this site will occur during off-peak traffic times. Overnight cleaning work may occur.

Cleaning activities will include inspecting the pipes with CCTV and sonar equipment to confirm quantities and locations where debris will be removed; cleaning the pipes using high velocity water jetting equipment and removing debris with pumps; drying the debris; and hauling it to a licensed landfill. Jetting and debris removal will be conducted through existing access structures with minimal surface disruption and pavement restoration. Work will be conducted in existing rights of way under traffic, or overnights to minimize traffic disruption.

Questions? Email info@deeptunnelcleaningproject.com or call 612-352-9774.

Sunday
May202018

Scenes from the May 19 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

Like the sign says - it's asparagus time! :D

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

Shoppers met two new vendors at the May 19 MCFM: Red Clover Herbal Apothecary Farm and Double Dog Kombucha. We will feature each of them separately on our Farmers Market blog in the near future.

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

Here's a treat for the 2018 season: Joe from Eversharp will be on hand for select Market dates. Joe is the guy to see for anything and everything you need to know about knives - from what type of knife to use for the job at hand, the best surfaces to cut on, sharpening techniques, etc. 

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

Below, Beth Dooley prepares ingredients for her Mill City Cooks demo. Beth worked with Sean Sherman on the nationally acclaimed The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen cookbook.

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

Milly the goat:

May 19, 2018 Mill City Farmers Market

Sunday
May202018

In the News - Downtown & the Riverfront Neighborhoods

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

WEEK OF MAY 21, 2018

Hall’s Island returns to Northeast riverfront
The island north of the Plymouth Avenue Bridge isn’t new to the Mississippi River, but it hasn’t been there for over half a century.

Sherman Associates breaks ground on Vicinity
The latest housing project to break ground in the Mill District features a mix of market-rate apartments, affordable housing and for-sale townhomes.

Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis closes for a yearlong, $10 million "face-lift"
Work began Monday on a $10 million renovation of Peavey Plaza, the sunken park next to Orchestra Hall and across the street from Brit's Pub on Nicollet Mall.

Hennepin County Government Center plaza fountain should be flowing after Memorial Day
Spring repairs cause a month's delay in filling the popular downtown Minneapolis fountain.

Minneapolis wins more big-time praise as a vacation destination
A few months after a major media outlet touted Minneapolis as a must-see travel destination, a big-time online travel site is echoing that sentiment.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May202018

The Week Ahead in Mill City

Saturday
May192018

Northside Boxing Club Fulfills Dreams

Article and photos by Merle Minda

Visionary founder Ryan BurnetRyan Burnet is best known as a restaurateur plus other endeavors around town, with popular restaurants such as Bar La Grassa, Burch Steak, and Crisp & Green in his stable. But there was something else on the mind of this successful 38-year old businessman – boxing. He had picked up the sport when he was younger, loved it and even boxed competitively for a bit. Something about boxing was in him and he decided to do something more – for kids who could benefit from the determination, discipline and mental challenges the sport provides.

Thus the non-profit Northside Boxing Club* was born. Indefatigable, Ryan found and totally rehabbed an old fire house on the Minneapolis North Side; the place was boarded up and “a complete wreck inside; it needed everything,” says Ryan. But it was dry and secure, with 10,000 square feet that could be utilized. And Ryan went on a mission, raising $850,000 in a year-long capital campaign to outfit and equip this new boxing gym, bringing the sport to Northside kids who wanted to participate.

The old firehouse has been transformed into the Northside Boxing Club.

Now, two years later, the Northside Boxing Club is running at full speed. The program is free to boys and girls, ages 9-21, from nearby neighborhoods. The gym accommodates about 40 kids in two after-school periods, 4:00 to 5:30pm and 6:00 to 7:00pm. The kids are truly dedicated and are there nearly every day after school. Open boxing happens on Friday afternoons. Training varies and includes boxing drills, running and strength conditioning, and technique work. Each daily session ends with a healthy meal, also free to participants.

Coach Moe Kayongo works with kids.

Coach Phil Williams (right) and one of his young boxing students demonstrate their logo/hands up position which means "overcoming struggle."

Professional boxing experts serve as coaches who are also deeply involved with these young people. Coaches Phil Williams and Moe Kayongo are in it for the long haul and are there every day during boxing hours, also serving as role models, counselors, friends and parental figures at times. Both are professional boxers who know the sport well.

“Boxing parallels life,” says Phil Williams. “You get out of it what you put in; that’s what we teach here. We push these kids by believing in them and helping them to find their own motivation,” Phil continues. 

15-year-old Trell shows off his National Championship award belt.

And the kids love every minute. Phil says he often has to push them to go home at the end of the day…"I am home!” they often say. 15-year old Trell is a freshman at North Community School. He won a local boxing competition in his age group; the gym then sent him to the national competitions in Independence, MO, where he won the national championship. Everyone is very proud of his success.

Sparring in the ring, watched closely by Moe. 

The main floor has a beautifully equipped regulation boxing ring, surrounded by a raft of boxing equipment. The kids I saw were involved every moment – no sitting around. Exercising, all kinds of boxing practice – either with a coach or under a coach’s watchful eye – not a moment is wasted. There is a quiet room for study and a yoga studio on the second floor. Dinner comes at the end of practice and the food is good; from restaurant Bar La Grassa the day I was there.

Senior high school student Chello gets ready for his boxing mitts to be put on.

Young man with a plan works out solo. 

“These kids have to learn to eat good food too,” Phil notes. “And that means eating well for health, not just chips and candy bars. We teach everything we can here.” Phil says, “Boxing reflects life, you can apply it to your life. But you can’t cheat it!”

Happy boxing participant says "I love it here."

Girls box too!The club’s stated Mission is “to effect positive change in North Minneapolis youth through boxing and physical fitness.” They have a vision too, because this effort is all about vision and motivation. Their Vision is to “create a community of hopeful and empowered youth, who achieve self-discipline, confidence, compassion and respect.” Pretty big words for a boxing club, but then this is no ordinary such space. 17-year-old participant Meti, a high school senior, said “the coaches here push you but they believe in you, they see potential in you. But you have to put in the work.” Founder Ryan Burnet is continuing his funding efforts for next year; he is so pleased with the continued positive community response.

Northside Boxing Club is located at 33rd and James Avenue North in Minneapolis. Classes are free for Northside kids, but adults can also join for a monthly fee or by volunteering. More information online.

*Note: This club was originally called Fighting Chance Boxing Club, and later rebranded as Northside Boxing Club.

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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 mminda@earthlink.net or TravelOverEasy.com on the web.

Saturday
May192018

Welcome to Downtown View

Article by Claudia Kittock

Mike (a pseudonym) is a young man I have known for 2 years, and he has had a difficult life. He has experienced homelessness for most of that time, and, as you might expect, life has been hard. Mike has almost 2 years of college finished, but the rigors of homelessness have interfered in almost every imaginable way. As a regular client at the drop-in at YouthLink, Mike learned about the possibility of housing at Downtown View and applied. He moved in about a month ago and life has changed for him in almost every way.

YouthLink Downtown View Grand Opening

Downtown View is officially open. A 10-year project that was fought for, planned for, and hoped for is finished. Located next door to YouthLink, it is operated by Project for Pride in Living (PPL), is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering low-income people to become self-reliant through integrated services. The mission is in part dedicated to “...providing transformative affordable housing and employment readiness services.” PPL began as an affordable housing developer and has since become a robust multi-service agency that today serves more than 13,000 low-income people annually. YouthLink clients are part of that mission through Downtown View.

YouthLink Downtown View Grand OpeningDr. Heather Huseby addressed the hundreds of attendees at the May 15 Downtown View grand opening celebration.

YouthLink Downtown View Grand OpeningPaul Williams discusses the Downtown View project and the work of Project for Pride in Living.

YouthLink operates a drop-in center for youth ages 16-24 who are experiencing homelessness. With over 40 years of experience connecting young people with a community of resources and support, YouthLink is uniquely poised to be a powerful resource. Whether it is providing basic needs, like a hot shower or a warm meal, assistance with employment or educational goals, accessing mental and physical health resources, or finding supportive housing, there are navigators that can and will help young people at all stages of their journey.

The power in the word ‘home’ is beyond description.

Downtown View fills a critical need of housing for youth experiencing homelessness. Housing is only the first step. Providing services to help create a holistic, positive, vibrant community that makes it possible for youth to engage with new opportunities, broaden their horizons, and build self-esteem is all part of Downtown View.  

Housing first matters! Once someone has the stability of a place to sleep, a physical transformation occurs. Remember Mike? He has not only found housing, he is working 35 hours a week, and exploring a return to college. I ran into him a few weeks ago. We chatted about his work, what he is going to have for dinner, what movies he had seen, all the things you talk about with a friend. I asked where he has headed and he said, “Home!” That moment will stay with me forever. The power in the word ‘home’ is beyond description.

If you agree that housing is a right, here are ways you can help:

• Call YouthLink at 612-252-1200
• Purchase pre-selected items for the young people thru YouthLink's Wish List on Amazon. Items will conveniently be shipped directly to YouthLink.
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Downtown View offers two housing options - single units and quad units. Both come with basic housekeeping items, such as sheets, cleaning products and cooking gear. Below is a single unit ready for move in.
YouthLink Downtown View Grand Opening
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YouthLink Downtown View Grand Opening
In quad units, there are four private bedrooms and a shared kitchen/living area:
YouthLink Downtown View Grand Opening
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YouthLink Downtown View Grand Opening

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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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Contact: claudia@millcitymedia.org

 

Friday
May182018

Opportunity to Join the Neighborhoods 2020 Work Groups

Via a May 17 e-newsletter from the City of Minneapolis:

Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights and Engagement Committee (PECE) Approves 2020 Work Group Structure

Neighborhoods 2020 Meeting Sign in English and Spanish

On May 14, 2018 NCR presented the updated Neighborhoods 2020 Roadmap and public comments to the PECE committee of the Minneapolis City Council. PECE approved the establishment of  work groups to develop the next stage of Neighborhoods 2020 policy.

The Neighborhoods 2020 web page has been updated with the revised roadmapwork group overview and applicationpublic comment reportPECE presentationPECE video and an updated timeline.

Next Steps & How to Join Work Groups
Neighborhoods 2020 Timeline

NCR is excited to invite neighborhoods and residents to get involved in the next steps, which you can view in the adjacent timeline. From June to August, groups will develop policy, and from August to November, they will solicit public comment on their drafts. The work team will include the following three work groups:

  1. Program Guidelines, Funding and Implementation (16 members)
  2. Governance Advisory Structure for Neighborhood and Community Engagement (17 members)
  3. Citywide Community Engagement Policy (16 members)

Apply by June 4, 2018 to serve for six months on one of the inaugural Neighborhoods 2020 work groups. You can submit your application via email to ncr@minneapolismn.gov or by postal mail or in person to 105 5th Ave. S. Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55401. Overview and application form

 

Work Group Composition & Selection Process

The PECE approval of the Neighborhoods 2020 work groups included the following structure: 

  • 2 City Council representatives on each work group will be appointed by Council President Bender.
  • 1 mayoral representative will be appointed by Mayor Frey.
  • 2 Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission representatives and (1-2)* Neighborhood Revitalization Program Policy Board representatives will be selected by each body at their May 2018 board meetings.
  • 3 cultural community representatives, 5 neighborhood representatives, and 2 representatives on equity and undoing racism will apply through an open application process and will be chosen by a committee of the Chair of the Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights and Engagement Committee, 2 NCEC members and 2 NCR staff.**

*The work group on Governance Advisory Structure for Neighborhood and Community Engagement  will be comprised of 2 Neighborhood Revitalization Program Policy Board representatives.

**City staff will serve as non-voting subject matter experts. 

If you have questions, please contact the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department at 612-673-3737 or email to ncr@minneapolismn.gov.

Friday
May182018

Mississippi River Paddle Share Season Opens May 26

Mississippi River Paddle Share is a recreational and transportation opportunity for people who don’t own a boat and want a safe and enjoyable river experience. This is a first of its kind in a national park and in the country. 

 

Be sure to stop by The Sample Room in Minneapolis if you're paddling between Boom Island and North Mississippi Regional Park. The dock behind The Sample Room has kayak parking designated for Paddle Share. Bring your Paddle Share PFD (life jacket) and receive 20% off your total tab.

All the Minneapolis and St. Paul stations are aligned with Nice Ride bike share stations. For a separate fee, you can paddle one way and bike back along this great river. Transit service and ride share is available from the other locations.

See www.rivertripplanner.org for transit and bike share options, including schedules and locations.

Thursday
May172018

Yoga in Gold Medal Park Returns May 26

Article by Claudia Kittock, photo by Rick Kittock 

Yoga in Gold Medal Park is returning. We will meet on Saturdays, May 26th thru September 1st.  Each session will begin at 9 a.m. and end before 10.  Grab your mat (or a towel), a neighbor, and meet us by the orange sculpture. 

The sessions are free of charge and sponsored by the Friends of the Mill District charity. Come salute the sun and enjoy the beauty of our neighborhood with your friends and neighbors. Questions and comments can be sent to cjkittock@gmail.com.

Thursday
May172018

Green Minneapolis Announces The Commons 2018 Summer Season

Via a May 17 News Release from Green Minneapolis:

Green Minneapolis has released The Commons 2018 Summer Season of programming and events. Green Minneapolis is under contract with the City of Minneapolis to operate, maintain, and program the 4.2 acre downtown green space.

2017 was a successful first full year of operation.  The Commons hosted 68 free community events, fulfilling the vision of an active and vibrant downtown park, and welcomed over 500,000 guests, not including attendees of stadium events. The summer kicked off with Northern Spark, an overnight festival celebrating the Twin Cities’ thriving arts community, and concluded with a free performance by the Minnesota Orchestra with over 3,500 people from diverse communities gathered together to share an evening of food, music, and enjoyment.

“In Minneapolis, we do summer better than anyone and The Commons park adds immensely to that status,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “Whether it’s Northern Spark, a movie night, or just a place to hang out with a partner, The Commons is the perfect place to gather — a kitchen table of our downtown.”

“Increasingly, people who live in the neighborhood, work downtown, or visit on the weekend are enjoying time in The Commons,” said Ward 3 Council Member Steve Fletcher. “I’m excited for all of the events and programs that the summer has in store and look forward to seeing so many people come together from across Minneapolis to enjoy them.”

In 2018, The Commons will continue its programs with the Mill City Farmers Market, Minnesota Orchestra, Northern Lights.mn, MacPhail Center for Music and Fly Feet Running. Green Minneapolis is proud to announce new partnerships with Minnesota Sinfonia, CreativeMornings/Minneapolis and Mixed Blood Theatre, among other local entities.

Gathering input from community members and partner organizations, Green Minneapolis developed new events that include hip hop performances, a morning lecture series, lawn game leagues, and additional fitness classes. Graywolf Press poet Gretchen Marquette will serve as The Commons’ 2018 Poet In Residence, taking inspiration from the surrounding city and writing in the park each week. She will also host a series of outdoor poetry readings and lead writing workshops for all ages.

Daily, The Commons is #YourDowntownOasis. Site amenities include a large building block set for children, a splash pad fountain, umbrellas for shade, table tennis, reading and games carts.  Food trucks are regularly available.

The Commons is also a site for events produced by other entities, including the X Games and other stadium related activations, festivals and private parties.

“We are grateful for the sponsors and in-kind partners that have made this level of programming possible.  Programming and sponsorship are essential to the operations of The Commons, to create the active and engaging destination park envisioned by City leaders,” said Beth Shogren, executive director of Green Minneapolis.

Green Minneapolis raised $14M in private donations to enable the construction of The Commons.  No additional construction will occur this year. 

“The Commons is a prime example of the power of public-private partnerships.  Because of the vision and generous contribution from many individuals and businesses in our community, the City was able to replace surface parking lots with a vibrant urban park for all its citizens,” said David Wilson, board chair for Green Minneapolis.  “We are proud of our partnership with the City and look forward to welcoming more people to The Commons this season.”

The full 2018 Summer Season is attached. See www.commonsmpls.com/activities for updates and additions.

Thursday
May172018

Explore Downtown Living - Saturday, May 19

Free residential tours + exclusive deals from local businesses headline Explore Downtown Living on Saturday, May 19

Explore Downtown Living is this Saturday, May 19 from 10 am-5 pm, and includes the Central Business District, East Town, Loring Park, North Loop and Northeast neighborhoods.

Back for its fourth year, Explore Downtown Living is a FREE event that lets you tour Downtown Minneapolis and all it has to offer at your own pace. On May 19, visit 20 residential communities and see their roof decks, residential units, party rooms, fitness centers & more up close—all while learning about their surrounding neighborhoods and getting a sense of what the community has to offer.

New properties taking part in May’s event include East EndThe M on Hennepin (atop Nye’s) and Nordhaus.

Sign up for Explore Downtown Living at www.exploredtliving.com, and use an online interactive map to help you navigate around downtown. View the full list of participating properties on the interactive map: www.exploredtliving.com/map.

Through four previous events, Explore Downtown Living showcased more than 17,000 unit tours. During May’s event, you can get there (and around downtown) for FREE courtesy of Metro Transit’s Free Ride Pass. Print the pass at www.exploredtliving.com.

Participants can also enjoy promotions, deals and freebies from approximately 20 local businesses. The full list of restaurants, retail shops, fitness organizations and more can be viewed at www.exploredtliving.com/partner-offers.

Explore Downtown Living is produced by the mpls downtown council’s Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan’s Development Committee in partnership with Target, VON91, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and the Mpls Downtown Improvement District. It’s goal is to help the 2025 plan’s efforts to double the downtown population by the year 2025.

Wednesday
May162018

The Essential Guide to Bicycling in the Central Riverfront Neighborhoods

Submitted article by Jane Sandwood, freelance writer

Minneapolis is one of the top five best places to bicycle in the country. There are 97 miles of off-street bikeways and 129 miles of on-street bike lanes. Much of that is right here in the Central Riverfront neighborhoods. Here is what you need to know if you want to take advantage of our bikeable city.

Register Your Bike

You likely already have a bicycle and a helmet. If you don’t have a bike, check out this guide to find one that is right for you. Once you have a bicycle, you should register it with the Minneapolis Police Department. Many of the thousands of bikes that are stolen or lost in the city each year are recovered. If the MPD has your bike on record, it will be returned to you. It is free and easy to register your bike. You can register your bike online or by calling 311. To make registration go more smoothly, make sure you have your bike’s serial number handy.

Protect Your Bike

While Minneapolis’s Finest do an excellent job of recovering stolen or lost bikes, they are not perfect. If you have invested money in your ride, it only makes sense to invest in protecting your bike from theft. In addition to choosing a top-of-the-line lock, it is also recommended to install a GPS tracker on your bike. These are affordable devices that cost around $100 upfront. There may also be monthly fees associated with the tracking service. But, it’s well worth the cost because if your bike is stolen, you can easily find its whereabouts and pass this info along to the authorities.

Join the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee

From the West River Parkway and the Stone Arch Bridge to 3rd Avenue, there are plenty of bikeways in the Central Riverfront neighborhoods. Much of the success of the city’s bicycling community can be attributed to the work of the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee. This group meets on a monthly basis. They exist to promote recreational and commuter bicycling through advocating for infrastructural improvements and serving as a liaison to neighborhoods, businesses, and cyclists.

You can get involved by attending meetings or joining the committee. There are spots opening up soon. With the tips above, you will be well on your way to enjoying one of the best cities in the country for bicycling. 

Monday
May142018

The Journey of the Merriam Street Bridge

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

As one can imagine, bridges are very important for cities along rivers, and Minneapolis is no exception. We have bridges for trains, pedestrians, and vehicles. They are a must, especially if you live on an island. From 1855 to 1987, the only bridge vehicles and pedestrians could cross to get to Nicollet Island was the Hennepin Avenue Bridge, but in the Spring of 1987, that changed.

Old Broadway Bridge 

In 1887, the second iteration of the Broadway Avenue Bridge was completed, and it lasted roughly 100 years. As the city grew, so did the need for larger bridges, so in 1985, they tore it down to make way for a the new, and current bridge. However, not all of it was lost forever. County officials, including the cousin of yours truly, John Derus, thought it would be a great idea to somehow save one of the spans of the old Broadway Bridge and move it down river to connect the lower east side of Nicollet Island to St. Anthony Main, and in September of 1986, they did just that. Picking out the best-looking span of the old bridge, they lowered it onto two barges to be floated down the river. Of course, a grand moment like this needed to be celebrated, so officials from the county and city had an event to send off the old truss. As Kate Parry of the Star Tribune said, “Sam Sivanich, chairman of the Hennepin County Board, leaned over to christen the fragment of the old Broadway Bridge [and] cracked a $2.89 bottle of pink champagne against the barge.” This was an expense that I’m sure all the taxpayers could get behind.

During the short journey to the back channel of Nicollet Island, a huge rainstorm passed over central Minnesota, and it wasn’t until the old truss was under the Burlington Northern Santa Fe bridge, now a pedestrian only bridge that connects Nicollet and Boom islands, when the Mississippi River started to rise. Well, the old truss got stuck, and the river kept rising! In order to make sure their bridge was not destroyed, BNSF parked five locomotives on the bridge just to weigh it down until the river level lowered and the old truss could continue its journey to its new home.

Merriam Street Bridge Minneapolis

This plaque can be found on the Merriam Street Bridge

Finally, on a Thursday in July of 1987, the Merriam Street Bridge opened. Joe Kimball, also from the Star Tribune, noted that the first vehicle across the “new” bridge was a horse-drawn carriage. Not only did this make the island more accessible, it opened up that part of the riverfront for further park development. Spanning roughly 256 feet, the Merriam Street Bridge seems like it was built for that part of the river. Oddly enough, the makers of the bridge were the King Iron Bridge Company, who also constructed the old 10th Avenue Bridge, and a plaque from its time as a span of the old Broadway Avenue Bridge is still present that lists the year, the company, and city engineer.

Bridges are important, our city’s history is important, and in 1986-87, an important decision was made to save both. Next time you cross the Merriam Street Bridge, take your time to look at it and appreciate it’s 19th century American architecture that helped settlers move West. It’s not just a fancy truss bridge. It’s history.

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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 5+ years.

He can be reached at mrainvillejr@comcast.net.

Monday
May142018

Hennepin County Public Health Seeks Data and Solutions

Via a May 14 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

How healthy are we? Hennepin County Public Health seeks data and solutions

Between How healthy are we? Hennepin County Public Health seeks data and solutionsMay and September 2018, 40,000 randomly selected Hennepin County households will receive the 2018 SHAPE survey in the mail. Residents who visit Hennepin County human service centers will also be invited to take the SHAPE survey in-person. (SHAPE stands for Survey of the Health of All the Population and the Environment). The short survey will ask residents anonymous, confidential questions about their health, diet, exercise, lifestyle and ability to get health care.

For 20 years, SHAPE has improved health 

Conducted every four years by Hennepin County Public Health and now in its 20th year, SHAPE provides the most comprehensive overview available of the unique health issues facing the county’s diverse population.

SHAPE data is then used by dozens of community organizations to develop and fund programs that improve community health.

“Collecting this information from thousands of households every four years is among the best ways for us to track our progress toward becoming a health community,” said Susan Palchick, Hennepin County Public Health director. “Anyone who receives the survey in the mail, or who is invited to take the survey at a human service center, is encouraged to take the time – about 15 minutes – to respond to the questions.”

SHAPE works in your community

In past years, SHAPE data has been used to guide health initiatives:

  • Identify populations disproportionately impacted by tobacco (e.g., people living in multi-unit housing) in order to shape tobacco cessation efforts and policies
  • Identify Hennepin County food deserts and expand people’s access to healthy food in these areas
  • Identify areas and populations within Hennepin County with high rates of chronic disease and obesity and increase opportunities for physical activity 

Learn more about SHAPE and review the results from previous surveys at www.hennepin.us/shape.

Learn more about data gathered from past surveys and get a copy of the questions.

Sunday
May132018

Hennepin County Walking, Biking and Rolling Progress Report

Via an e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Welcome to the new Hennepin County walk, bike, roll newsletter! You are receiving this mailing because you told us you wanted to hear news and updates related to walking, biking and accessibilty in the county. We hope you find the items below informative and interesting. Please send any feedback or suggestions to ride@hennepin.us.

2017 bicycle and pedestrian progress report

Biking, walking and rolling are an important part of everyday life for many Hennepin County residents. Whether it is for transportation, recreation or physical activity, we work to create options for getting around that are safe, comfortable and efficient for more people.

Every year, we invest in our growing network of sidewalks, trails and bikeways. In 2017, the county bikeway network grew by 18 miles with 22 projects completed and three priority gaps in the network closed. We also installed or upgraded 485 sidewalk ramps and added 70 accessible pedestrian signals.

Check out the full report to learn more about how Hennepin County worked to serve people walking, biking and rolling in 2017.

 

May is Bike Month!

Every year in May, people of all bicycling abilities and experience levels celebrate the many benefits of bicycling. Whether you’re trying biking for the first time, or you’re a seasoned cyclist, May is the month to discover and appreciate all the reasons to ride. What are yours?

Bike month events

- Femme/Trans/Women rider day: Sunday, May 13
- Nice Ride day: Thursday, May 17
- Twin Cities bike to work day: Friday, May 18
- Family bike day: Saturday, May 26
For even more ways to celebrate bike month this May, visit mplsbikemonth.org
.

Washington Avenue cycle track garners national recognition

Woman riding bike on Washington Avenue cycle track near Hennepin Avenue

Completed in 2017, the Washington Avenue cycle track project added dedicated off-street bikeways to both sides of Washington Avenue between Hennepin and 5th avenues in downtown Minneapolis.

The first cycle track of its kind in Hennepin County, this new high-comfort bikeway connects to existing bike lanes on Washington Avenue to the west, and new buffered bike lanes, also installed in 2017, to the east. The project was named one of America's 10 best new bikeways of 2017 by PeopleForBikes. The Franklin Avenue Bridge also made the list in 2016.

Washington Avenue bicycle traffic signal survey

New bicycle-specific traffic signals were also installed as part of the Washington Avenue reconstruction and cycle track project in 2017. These signals are intended to help reduce conflicts and confusion by separately controlling movements of people biking and driving.

To continue improving signal function, we invite you to take a short survey about your experience with these new signals.

Take the survey now

Biking and walking improvements underway in 2018

66th Street (County Road 53), Richfield

Several construction projects are underway in 2018 that include major improvements for people biking, walking and rolling in Hennepin County.

Three miles of new protected on-street bike lanes and shared off-street trails are coming to Richfield in 2019. These high-comfort bikeways will serve local business districts, jobs, schools and other key destinations. Other pedestrian improvements include new wider sidewalks, green boulevards, enhanced intersections with shortened crossing distances, updated signals and high-visibility crosswalks. More

Bottineau Boulevard (County Road 81), Brooklyn Park

New shared paths for biking and walking will extend the Crystal Lake Regional Trail. The segment between 63rd and West Broadway avenues is under construction. Similar improvements between West Broadway and 83rd avenues are planned for 2019. More

Douglas Drive (County Road 102), Golden Valley

New shared paths and on-street bike lanes were added between Highway 55 and Medicine Lake Road in 2017. Final work will be completed in summer 2018. More

Flying Cloud Drive (County Road 61), Eden Prairie and Chanhassen

A new shared path between Charlson Road and Highway 101 along the north side of the roadway will fill a gap in the trail network between Shakopee and Eden Prairie. More

Lake Street Connections (County Road 3), Minneapolis

As part of the MnDOT 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown project, Hennepin County is adding wider sidewalks, improved pedestrian ramps, and intersections that are easier to cross along Lake Street near I-35W. A future phase of this project will also add a trail connection from the planned transit station at I-35W and Lake Street to the Midtown Greenway. More

Pinto Drive (County Roads 115 and 116), Medina

A new shared path will be added to Pinto Drive, as well as sidewalk ramps at intersections near Highway 55. More

Planning for bike and pedestrian connections along the future Bottineau LRT route

A man and woman getting off the Light Rail Transit train with their bikes in downtown Minneapolis

Combining your bike trip with a ride on the bus or train is a great way to extend your range on two wheels. Hennepin County is planning for the future of biking and transit in the region. We're working with residents and cities along the planned Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension) to improve biking, walking, and rolling connections near future stations.

Show us where walking and biking improvements are needed along the corridor:

Visit the Bottineau connectivity wikimap

County bike map gets fresh look in 2018

Back side of the new 2018 county bike map                    

The Hennepin County bike map has a new look and even more helpful info and features in 2018.

They're hot off the presses and will be hitting the stands at your local county library and other locations across the county soon.

You can also grab one at any number of summer community events like Open Streets.