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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.


Construction on Minneapolis' First Rooftop Garden Scheduled for People Serving People

People Serving People(PSP), located at 614 South 3rd Street, provides emergency housing and community services that assist families experiencing homelessness in becoming self-sufficient and reconnected with the community. 

At the March 21 Chefs for Change fund raising dinner at PSP, we learned about urban gardening and plans for the upcoming PSP Rooftop Garden Project - the first of it's kind in Minneapolis.  The garden will be used to grow vegetables and herbs for meals served at PSP.  It will also be integrated with their Culinary and Early Childhood Programs.

The evening started with a view of the rooftop prior to start of the project:

Chefs for Change Dinner at People Serving People DSC05208

We were welcomed by Craig Lewis, President/CEO, and over the course of the evening we heard from people involved with this project.  Below, Nick Schneider, a Chef at Spoonriver, presented information on Urban Agriculture in our community and other cities and countries.  One example he cited was Growing Power, Incin Milwaukee. Nick will serve as PSP's Project Manager for the Rooftop Garden Project.

Chefs for Change Dinner at People Serving People DSC05211

Chefs for Change Dinner at People Serving People DSC05224

Above, Brenda Langton of Spoonriver described the organic courses she and her team created for the evening.   She shared her passion on topics such as teaching people the importance of sustainable and organic food production, healthy eating to counter the countries growing rate of obesity, and the Mill City Farmers Market (which Brenda founded in 2006).

Ecological Gardensof Minneapolis has been contracted for the Rooftop Garden Project.  Their cornerstone rooftop farm is located in Richfield.  Lindsay Rebhan (below),  Designer and Project Manager from Ecological Gardens, described the planning and materials needed for this project.

Chefs for Change Dinner at People Serving People DSC05247 

Lindsay explained the various needs and challenges they consider when planning for a harsh environment such as the roof of a 10-story downtown building.  That list includes, but is not limited to:  Incorporating self-watering containers, maximizing sun angles, raised beds with light soil, onsite composting, "insectory islands" which grow flowers to attract bees and other beneficial insects required for healthy gardening, and trellises for vertical gardening.

Mill City Times plans to post weekly pictures of the project progress from start to finish.

Chefs for Change Dinner at People Serving People DSC05256

Above, Linnea Tweed, Executive Director of Mill City Commons, spoke about the value of community to Mill City Commons members and Mill City residents, and the importance of being involved with fund raising activities for organizations such as People Serving People.

Amy Jenkins, PSP Director of Development, fielded a Q & A session at the end of the night.  One person inquired as to how this project differs from the Central Library roof.  Amy explained the library has a "green roof", with the purpose of moderating the building temperature and preventing rain run off from transporting pollutants to the river.  That green roof is not constructed to handle food production.

Regarding the Chefs for Change event, Amy stated, "We are excited about how much interest this event generated for the Rooftop Garden.  This project is revolutionary in so many ways and will have a positive impact on our community and the families at People Serving People.   We look forward to future events that will involve key leaders in our community and an Open House in August to celebrate the harvest.”

Unrelated to the Rooftop Garden Project, I'd like to add a suggestion.  As you plan your philanthropic activities this year, please consider contributing items on PSP's ongoing Donation Needs List:
• Alarm Clocks
• Blankets, Quilts, Comforters, Bedspreads
• Feminine hygiene products
• Sleeping bags
• Inflatable mattresses
• Children's books (new or gently used)
• Formula (powdered)
• Strollers
• Diapers (sizes 3 through 6)
• Wipes
• Pull Ups

Also, to get a first hand look at the incredible work being done at PSP, the next 'Arms Around Our Shelter' tour is scheduled for 8:30am to 9:00am on Thursday, March 31. Coffee and breakfast will be served after the tour. You'll see what's being done to help end family homelessness.


Tonight - Panel Discussion: Is This Love? Wuthering Heights, the Opera at The Loft

Time: 7:00pm

Location: The Loft, 1011 Washington Avenue South

Panel Discussion: Is This Love? Wuthering Heights, the opera

In tandem with the Minnesota Opera’s production of the opera Wuthering Heights, a panel of experts pose the question “Is This Love?” focusing on the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine.

Diana Postlethwite is chair of the St. Olaf English department and a Bronte scholar. She has taught Wuthering Heights many times.

Sarah Hoppe is co-owner and staff psychologist at Grove Pyschotherapy in Minneapolis, specializing in couple’s communication, parent/child issues and backgrounds of abuse of various kinds.

Eric Simonson is the stage director for the Minnesota Opera’s production of Wuthering Heights as well as an Academy Award-winning filmmaker.

Cosponsored with the Minnesota Opera and MinnPost Book Club Club.


Ramps and West River Parkway Closures While LRT Bridge is Built Over I-35W

MINNEAPOLIS - March 25, 2011 - Announcement from the Metropolitan Council - Central Corridor Project Office

Two Interstate 35W ramps will close for several months as crews prepare to build a bridge over the interstate to join Central Corridor and Hiawatha Light Rail Transit tracks.

On March 30,  the Fourth Street ramp to southbound I-35W will close until July 2011. The alternate route is the entrance ramp from eastbound Washington Avenue to southbound 35W.

On April 4, the ramp from northbound I-35W to the Washington Avenue East Bank exit will close until the end of November 2012. An alternate route to the East Bank will be the Fourth Street SE/University Avenue SE exit from I-35W.

West River Parkway to close for two days in April

Other closures are in store for adjacent areas to the east.  Work to strengthen the Washington Avenue Bridge to carry Central Corridor trains will close West River Parkway and the adjacent bike trail April 5 and 6.  These closures will be from 7:00am to 7:00pm both days. The closures will facilitate work on the bridge piers.
Cedar ramp to westbound Third to close mid-April to mid-September

In mid to late April, work will close the Cedar Avenue ramp to westbound Third Street until mid-September 2011 when it will reopen in a new configuration with two-way traffic. Detour information will be provided in future weekly construction updates for Minneapolis at under the construction section.

The work will relocate the Metro Transit bus stop to the southwest ramp; no other changes are planned to bus service as a result of the ramp closure. This work is the first phase of rebuilding the ramps and creating a signalized intersection just west of Cedar Avenue. Central Corridor tracks will be built in the middle of Washington Avenue under Cedar Avenue where they will turn and head south to where they will merge with Hiawatha tracks on an existing bridge over I-35W between the Cedar Riverside and Metrodome stations.
More detailed information will be made available about additional ramp closures and detours for this area at and distributed via a weekly electronic construction update. The public can sign up for these updates online.
About the project: 

The Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project will link downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis along Washington and University avenues via the state Capitol and the University of Minnesota. Construction began in late summer 2010 on the planned 11-mile Central Corridor line, and service will begin in 2014. The line will connect with the Hiawatha LRT line at the Metrodome station in Minneapolis and the Northstar commuter rail line at the Target Field Station. The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Central Corridor Management Committee, which includes commissioners from Ramsey and Hennepin counties, the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, provides advice and oversight. Funding is provided by the Federal Transit Administration, Counties Transit Improvement Board, state of Minnesota, Ramsey and Hennepin counties' regional railroad authorities, city of St. Paul, Metropolitan Council and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. The Central Corridor LRT Project website is


Countdown to May 7 Opening Day at the Mill City Farmers Market!

We're only 6 short weeks away from the May 7 Opening Day at the 2011 Mill City Farmers Market!

Every Saturday until opening day, we'll be posting pictures from the 2010 MCFM to help get you in the mood...

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

Mill City Farmers Market 2010 

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

 See you there!  :) 


This Weekend in Mill City / March 25 - 27

Events this weekend in and around the Historic Mill District of Minneapolis and across the Stone Arch Bridge in Old St. Anthony.

Friday, March 25

'What Follows What Came Before' Opening Reception at MCBA

Wine Tasting at Sorella Wine & Spirits

Live Music at the Aster Cafe

Saturday, March 26

Washburn A Mill Tour at Mill City Museum

Central Library Spring Clearance Sale: $.25 per book! (7 days - ends April 1)

Publication Reading: Kevin Fenton and Christine Sneed at The Loft

Live Music at the Aster Cafe

Sunday, March 27

Library of the Early Mind Documentary at Central Library

"Material Meets Metaphor" with Richard Minsky at MCBA

Live Music at the Aster Cafe

Weekend Brunch

Saturday & Sunday

Brunch at Spoonriver
750 South 2nd St (at Chicago Ave S)
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Reservations recommended

10:00am - 2:00pm

See the menu...

Saturday & Sunday

Brunch at the Aster Cafe
St. Anthony Main
125 SE Main Street
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Until 2pm.

See the menu...


Brunch at Spill the Wine
1101 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415

brunch buffet 10am- 2pm Sunday
$12/person (kids 3 and under eat free, 4-12 years are 1/2 price!)

includes: eggs, bacon, french toast, hash browns, fresh salad and fruit, pastries, build your own omlette bar and more...

featuring absolut bloody bar for $5.

also offering fair trade coffee and full bar.


MacPhail Center for Music Seeks CEO

MacPhail Center for Music, one of the largest and most dynamic community music schools in the country, seeks an exceptional Chief Executive Officer to lead the Center at an exciting and ambitious moment in its history. MacPhail seeks an enterprising and inspiring leader who will grow the organization and explore opportunities to leverage the organization's considerable strengths, working in partnership with a dedicated board of directors, faculty and staff.

Established in 1907, MacPhail is the premier center for music education in the Upper Midwest. It serves over 8,400 students of all ages, employs more than 170 teaching artists, and partners with 64 school and community service organizations to deliver high-quality music education programs to a wide range of audiences. MacPhail is a stable and steadily growing nonprofit arts organization committed to a mission of high quality teaching, educational access, and service to the community. The state-of-the-art performance and teaching headquarters is located at 501 South 2nd Street.

Click here for more information.


Tonight - Jazz Thursday at MacPhail Center for Music

Q&A with artists 7–7:30 p.m.
Concert begins at 8 p.m.; tickets $10 Adult, $5 Youth

Concert IV: Meditations on Integration

Featuring: Adam Linz, bass; Bryan Nichols, piano; Michael Lewis, saxophones; Chris Thompson, saxophones; Greg Lewis, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; J.T. Bates, drums;
Featuring Special Guests: The Dakota Combo

The large combo setting provided Mingus with the opportunity to showcase the virtuosity of his musicians. From Meditations to Revelations this was the size group that drove the most important ensemble of its time. The 1964 world tour would prove to be one of the most important in the history of jazz.


My First RealRyder Spin Class at 501SP1N

Andrea finally convinced me to try a 45 minute RealRyder class at 501SP1N. The instructor for Tuesday's 7pm RealRyder class is Kristi Hicks.  Kristi also utilizes Andrea as her Personal Trainer, and will be the subject of an upcoming success story.

You may recall from previous postings that the RealRydercycle is more intense than a regular spin bike in that it allows you to turn and move as though you're riding a real bike - thus providing a full body work out.  It's a unique experience, and I felt a little wobbly during this first class.  Even though I wasn't able to keep up with Kristi - I let my limited coordination and a touch of "saddle soreness" hold me back - I quickly worked up a sweat.  The music was butt-kickin', and the class ended with a thorough stretch routine. 

I must say the people who do RealRyder are a happy bunch.  If you're looking for a group cardio experience, it's a great place to start.  If you're new to spinning (or, like me, haven't been on a bike in years), I would definitely suggest requesting a padded seat cover.  Also, it might be helpful to wear a pair of gloves - I noticed several people in class wore them. Even though the handle bars are padded, my hands got a little sore. Kristi intermittently incorporates push ups in her routine, which puts some pressure on the hands (again, just depends how hard you're working).

Click here for a list of all the classes offered at 501SP1N.  If you're not sure which class/classes would be best for you, 501SP1N's partner, 501F1T, offers a 1 Free Week Pass, which allows you to try as many Spin Classes you can handle, along with access to 501F1T's facility and 1 G-Werx Group Strength Class.


Tomorrow - Tasting Menu Benefit Dinner for March of Dimes at Sanctuary

What's new at Sanctuary?  Eat well, have fun and do good!   Eating especially fabulous Tasting Menus for a Cause!



American Academy of Neurology Preparing to Break Ground for New Headquarters in the Mill District

The first piece of construction equipment was moved into place a few days ago.  The start of construction can't be far behind.


Today - Spring Break Feature Film Revival at Central Library

Times: 11:00am and 2:00pm

Location: Pohlad Hall, Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall

Expand your attention span and enjoy our first feature length childish film!  The extras: Submit a child's drawing based on one of this month's films to the Childish Films drawing contest!

A revival of feature-length films for kids and grown-ups to enjoy together on the big screen, with many shows lined up for local schools' Spring Break.

All ages welcome at all films. Children under the age of 12 should be accompanied by an adult. Attendees can submit a drawing at each film to be included in our Childish Films Online Art Show.


March 22, Tuesday, 11:00am
My Neighbor Totoro (Ages 5+): Set in the Japanese countryside, this inventive, award-winning anime features two young sisters, friendly spirits, and a cat bus. Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, Walt Disney Pictures, 1988, Rated G, 86 min.

March 22, Tuesday, 2:00pm
The Secret of Roan Inish (Ages 5+): An Irish girl from a small fishing village explores the mysterious island legend about a seal who becomes a human. Dir. John Sayles, Samuel Goldwyn Films, 1994, Rated PG, 103 min.


Winter Parking Restrictions End in Minneapolis 

On May 21, the City of Minneapolis issued this parking update:

Effective immediately, Minneapolis has lifted the Winter Parking Restrictions. The restrictions went into effect on Dec. 17, 2010 after snow accumulations narrowed many streets, making it difficult for fire trucks, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles to navigate in some neighborhoods. Limiting parking to one side of most neighborhood streets created more reliable access for emergency responses.
Our recent mild temperatures and sunnier days have melted snow along city streets, widening them far enough that the Fire Chief, Public Works officials, and other public safety officials have determined the restrictions can be lifted. With this melting, we are now seeing better conditions on most city streets.

Beginning March 21, normal parking rules again apply on city streets. Signs added to some narrower Snow Emergency routes that limited parking to one side of the streets will soon be removed, however drivers should continue to follow those posted signs as long as they are in place.
It was the seventh snowiest winter in Minneapolis with the city receiving more than 80 inches of snow from Nov. 2010 to March 2011, and the City declared eight Snow Emergencies – a record. The public’s cooperation in following the restrictions greatly aided emergency responders in their work to serve folks in Minneapolis.
Although the Winter Parking Restrictions have been lifted, it is still possible to have additional Snow Emergencies until April 1 (by ordinance the City can’t declare Snow Emergencies after April 1). Drivers should be mindful of the normal Snow Emergency rules and procedures and check the City’s 348-SNOW hotline, the Web, or the many other Snow Emergency notification tools if we receive more snowfall.
For questions, contact:
Renee Allen, Crime Prevention Specialist
Minneapolis Police Department, First Precinct
(612) 673-5163


Yoga Insights with Victoria Rico

Submitted by Victoria Rico

Spotlight on two Minneapolis Yoga Instructors:  John Robert Shaw and Inanna Jessup

John Robert Shaw

John is sincere in saying that the yoga journey has positively influenced many aspects of his life and physical being along withthose with whom he has practiced and had the honor to teach. The opportunity to practice and teach Bikram and Corepower yoga is a supreme blessing that continues to and will forever impact his earthly and spiritual existence.

Inanna Jessup

“What I love about teaching yoga is the ability to move energy through a room, and through a community. I love that when people walk through the studio doors, they feel at home.  They feel THIS is a part of their day where they can be themselves and take CARE of themselves.  It is such an honor to be a part of that experience.”


While the featured yogi have divergent stories, it is interesting that both John and Inanna were initially drawn to Bikram Yoga.  The Bikram (Hot Yoga) practice is intense, systematic, evenly paced and meditative.   John took a Bikram class looking to refresh his body and mind after over 25 years as a runner, biker, and health club rat.

Inanna, who spent years as a competitive gymnast, found herself in Philadelphia, in fashion design school.  After 8 hours hunched over a sewing machine, hot yoga was the perfect holistic medicine for neck and back pain from previous gymnastics injuries.  Please look for both John and Inanna on the schedule at CorePower Yoga at 501 Washington Avenue South.  To learn more about their extensive teacher training, please look for them on the CorePower Yoga website.  If you live in the neighborhood please ask about special pricing on yoga classes.

Click here for the full article, including an in-depth Q&A with both yogi, under the Mill City Times Fitness Blog.


Tonight - Chefs for Change at People Serving People

Time: 6:30pm Tour; 7:00pm Dinner

Location:  People Serving People, 614 South 3rd Street

Reservations Required

All are welcome for a lively discussion about urban farming and local and sustainable food production. This special Chefs for Change dinner is hosted by Brenda Langton of Spoonriver and will feature bountiful garden hors d'œuvres, wine and discussion. The focus of discussion will be on urban gardening and the development of a rooftop garden at People Serving People. Attendees will experience the unique flavor of Spoonriver, as well as learn about issues affecting the local community.

Hosted by Mill City Commons


Mill City Farmers Market is Hiring Day Staff for the 2011 Season

The Mill City Farmers Market is currently hiring day staff for the 2011 market season.  Click on these links for more info:

- Market Day Staff: Info Booth

- Market Day Staff: Kitchen



Vikings Stadium Update - Stadium Bill expected this week.

Speaking at a Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission meeting on Thursday, commission Chairman Ted Mondale said he expects a bill to be introduced at the Minnesota Legislature this week.  The bill will probably be site neutral.  Hennepin and Ramsey Counties are expected to be the main contenders.


Metrodome Roof Update

Work will start this week on installing the new roof on the Metrodome.  The cost, covered by insurance is estimate to be $27.7 million.  Affiliated FM, the insurer, deposited the first $10 million on Thursday.

Watch for an ongoing series of pictures of the work in progress here on Mill City Times.


Super Sweet Grapefruit - Another Reason to Visit Mill City Market Grocery & Deli

I've been enjoying the grapefruit from Mill City Market Grocery and Deliat least 5 days a week for about a month now.   Even though they count as part of the 'daily five', they seem more like a naughty dessert because they're so incredibly sweet.  Yum!


Countdown to May 7 Opening Day at the Mill City Farmers Market!

We're only 7 short weeks away from the May 7 Opening Day at the 2011 Mill City Farmers Market!

Every Saturday until opening day, we'll be posting pictures and videos from the 2010 MCFM to help get you in the mood...

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

Mill City Farmers Market 2010


See you there!  :)


The Benefits of Being a Mill City Commons Member - An Ongoing Series 

Dave and I became members of Mill City Commons earlier this year.  We joined for a number of reasons, including the ability to attend interesting member-only events, meet fascinating people, and to have more of a hands on role in helping with their various fundraising activities. 

The latest members-only event we attended was a tour of the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center(HERC), located at 417 North 5th Street (next to Target Field).  Mark Zaban, a Hennepin County Engineer, provided our group with the history of HERC, an overview of how garbage is converted to energy, numerous facts and figures, and a walking tour through the actual facility. 

You may recall one of the concerns for Target Field's location was that Twins fans would be assaulted with foul air from HERC.  That turned out to be a non-issue.  In fact, standing just outside the building there was no indication that it was a waste conversion facility.  That's because there are a number of pollution control mechanisms in place.

Imagine 15 football fields, each piled 15 feet high with garbage.  According to Mark, that's how much landfill space is saved each year by processing garbage at HERC.  Unfortunately, it's cheaper to throw garbage in a landfill than it is to run a facility like HERC. 

Below are a few pictures from our tour.  View the full set of pictures here.

Mill City Commons Tour of HERC DSC05112

The below graph tells a disturbing story.  The production of plastics (Generation) has sky-rocketed since 1960, yet the amount being recycled (Recovery) is still just a blip on the radar.

Mill City Commons Tour of HERC DSC05118

Mill City Commons Tour of HERC DSC05120

Mill City Commons Tour of HERC DSC05130

Mill City Commons Tour of HERC DSC05153

Mill City Commons Tour of HERC DSC05159

Mill City Commons Tour of HERC DSC05187 

Mill City Commons Tour of HERC DSC05190

HERC operates 24/7.  Below, Michael mans a bank of monitors and keeps in contact with workers in other areas of the facility.

Mill City Commons Tour of HERC DSC05160

To learn more about Mill City Commons, please visit the website, or contact Linnea at 612-455-3329 or