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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.

Tuesday
Mar052019

Guthrie Theater to Mark its 20th Shakespeare Classic with Special March 10 Matinee of As You Like It

All tickets are $10 for this special matinee on Sunday, March 10 at 1 p.m.

The Guthrie Theater is proud to host the 20th year of the Shakespeare Classic As You Like It on Sunday, March 10 at 1 p.m., providing young people, with the recommended age range of 10–17, and their families an opportunity to experience this William Shakespeare romantic comedy filled with music, merriment and mistaken identities.

Established in 1999, this popular event is tailored specifically for young audiences and offers $10 tickets to all patrons, a custom program with backstage details and a meet-and-greet opportunity with actors after the performance. Every order must have at least one but no more than two adults for every young person, ages 17 and under. Tickets are available in person at the Guthrie Box Office or by calling 612.377.2224 or 1.877.44.STAGE (toll-free). Tickets for this performance are not available online.

ABOUT AS YOU LIKE IT

In this charming romantic comedy that centers on Rosalind and Orlando, everything seems to get turned around: lords and ladies are banished from court, brothers are at odds and guises abound in the Forest of Arden. Set in the here and now with the same great Shakespeare text, this amusing and often-musical world of royalty, rebels and clowns comes together in the end to celebrate four weddings between some of the Bard’s most beloved characters.

ABOUT THE SHAKESPEARE CLASSIC

At a 1953 production of Richard III directed by the Guthrie’s namesake, Sir Tyrone Guthrie, Sheila Livingston and her soon-to-be husband Ken attended an evening of Shakespeare at Canada’s Stratford Festival — Livingston’s first encounter with the stage that set her course toward a life in the theater. Livingston found her way to the Guthrie, where she started as a volunteer and eventually became an employee who served the theater for decades. Throughout her tenure, she worked in a variety of roles, including director of artistic relations and director of education. In 1998, former artistic director Joe Dowling established the Kenneth and Sheila Livingston Education Fund in her honor, which has grown significantly over the years due to the ongoing support of countless donors who share Livingston’s passion for creating educational opportunities for young people.

The Livingstons earmarked the funds to introduce more students to more theater experiences, and the Shakespeare Classic was born, premiering with a production of Julius Caesar on March 28, 1999. Livingston’s husband Ken, a theater enthusiast who never missed a Guthrie opening night, passed away the following year. Together with the Guthrie, Livingston and her three daughters vowed to carry the Shakespeare Classic onward in his memory.

In Livingston’s own words: “I am convinced that by exposing children to the pleasures of live theater they will discover a world of wonder and imagination that can only be experienced through this vibrant living art form.”

The Shakespeare Classic is made possible by generous contributions to the Kenneth and Sheila Livingston Education Fund. This production of As You Like It is sponsored by U.S. Bank. The National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest presents Shakespeare in American Communities. The Guthrie is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle and high school students in communities across the United States.

THE GUTHRIE THEATER (Joseph Haj, artistic director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training, dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Under Haj’s leadership, the Guthrie is guided by four core values: Artistic Excellence; Community; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; and Fiscal Responsibility. The Guthrie produces a mix of classic and contemporary plays on three stages and continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance, serving nearly 400,000 patrons annually. In 2006, the Guthrie opened a new home, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Open to the public year-round, it houses three state-of the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms, full-service restaurants and dramatic public lobbies.guthrietheater.org.

Monday
Mar042019

Stone Arch Bridge will be closed 7am-5pm, March 13-15

Closure necessary for Xcel Energy to perform maintenance on overhead power lines

Weather permitting, the Stone Arch Bridge will be closed from 7am to 5pm on March 13, 14 and 15. The closure is necessary for Xcel Energy to perform maintenance on overhead power lines running between towers at Gold Medal Park and Boom Island Park.

Please follow posted detours and stay away from areas where work is being performed. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board appreciates the public's patience while this project is completed.

Monday
Mar042019

Upper Harbor Terminal Plan Approved

The Minneapolis City council approved the concept design & plan for what may be the largest remaining parcel of developable land in Minneapolis.

The 48-acre Upper Harbor Termianl (UHT) site is located along the Mississippi River in north Minneapolis and includes almost a mile of riverfront, generally between 33rd Ave. N. and about 40th Ave. N in the McKinley neighborhood. The site has many positive attributes, including its size, riverfront location and excellent freeway access. However, it also presents many challenges that have complicated the planning process. These include the electrical transmission lines that extend over the site, the rail corridor and Interstate 94 that divide the site from the nearby community, the lack of existing public infrastructure and utilities to serve development, and the presence of existing structures that are potentially eligible for historic designation. The site also is largely surrounded by industrial uses, which makes it more challenging to assess its marketability for potential non-industrial uses.

For the types of private redevelopment, the Concept Plan proposes the following components that would occur in Phase 1 of implementation:

  • An outdoor music performance venue just south of Dowling Ave along the river;
  • A hospitality mixed-use building just north of Dowling Ave along the river;
  • A residential mixed-use complex on the southeast corner of Dowling and Washington Avenues with both market-rate and affordable units;
  • An office mixed-use building on the southwest corner of Dowling and Washington Avenues;
  • An innovative mixed-use building dubbed “The Hub” along the river at about 36th Ave N; and
  • Parking to support the development.

Watch detailed presentation and discussion at City Council meeting:

Download the concept design & plan presentation (4MB):

https://app.box.com/shared/static/29ef7oh0fhffvc67oac3vozku1kzt5oo.pdf

More media coverage:

Minneapolis City Council approves concept plan for riverfront project
The redevelopment would be one of the city's biggest projects in recent years.

Mpls. council backs concept for riverfront development
The Upper Harbor Terminal plan concerns 48 acres of riverfront. It envisions entertainment facilities and affordable housing, and it would restore river access to nearby neighborhoods.

With Minneapolis' first amphitheater, city walks fine line between national and community attraction
Minneapolis riverfront plan has raised concerns for North Siders about their role in redevelopment.

Despite opposition, Minneapolis approves Upper Harbor Terminal amphitheater concept
Residents of North Minneapolis say their views have been ignored during the process.

Everything You Need to Know About Minneapolis' Upper Harbor Terminal Project—And What Happens Next
The massive plan to turn 48 acres of riverfront land into housing, businesses and an outdoor performance venue was approved Friday. Here's a look at the costs and the challenges ahead.

Saturday
Mar022019

February by the Numbers

Downtown real estate market update from Cynthia Froid Group:


Thursday
Feb282019

Starch Madness: Will Your Favorite Cookie ‘Crumble’ Under the Pressure?

Mill City Museum baking bracket gets underway March 1 on Facebook

As the nation gears up for the NCAA Championship game in Minneapolis on April 8, Mill City Museum is inviting the public to visit its Facebook page and vote for their favorite cookie in the first-ever “Starch Madness” competition.

The road to the “Big Dance” will be paved with flour, sugar and chocolate, and there will be lots of dunking, so get the milk ready!

Beginning March 1, the public can nominate their favorite cookies on Facebook with the reveal of the “Awesome Eight” on March 16. Voting gets underway on March 22.

The battle over butter will result in the “Fresh Four," which will head into Mill City Museum's Baking Lab for live baking showdowns on March 30 at 1-3 p.m. and March 31 at 1:30-3:30 p.m. The championship “bakedown” will be held live on Saturday, April 7 at 1:30-3:30 p.m. Watch the live baking battles on Facebook or in person at the museum.

Who will be the Cinderella cookie? Will there be lots of dribbling on the court? Show your cookie pride by liking the Mill City Museum Facebook page and join the action online and at the museum. Watch Facebook for expert commentators announcing the nominations, voting brackets and events.
  
The champion cookie will become Mill City Museum’s official cookie for the year.

About Mill City Museum
Built within the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, a National Historic Landmark, the award-winning Mill City Museum chronicles the flour milling industry that fueled the growth of Minneapolis. The story comes to life through the eight-story Flour Tower, Water Lab, Baking and other hands-on exhibits.

The museum is located at 704 S 2nd Street. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The site is also open Mondays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in July and August. For more information, call 612-341-7555 or visit www.mnhs.org/millcity.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Wednesday
Feb272019

The MSP Film Society announces the award-winning Yuli as the Opening Night Film of the 38th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival,

The MSP Film Society announces the award-winning Yuli as the Opening Night Film of the 38th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, which runs April 4 – 20, 2019. Festival Passes and 6-packs are on sale now at mspfilm.org, with individual ticket sales opening to MSP Film Society Members on March 14 and to the public on March 21.

Yuli is a dazzling dramatization of the early life and work of legendary Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta. Inspired by Acosta’s 2007 memoir No Way Home, which details his rise from the streets of Havana to the heights of classical ballet. The film was helmed by the distinguished Basque director Icíar Bollaín and adapted for the screen by her frequent collaborator Paul Laverty. Special guest Santiago Alfonso, the acclaimed Cuban choreographer, dancer, and actor, will be in attendance for MSPIFF’s Opening Night festivities, which includes the presentation of Yuli at St. Anthony Main Theatres on Thursday, April 4, 2019, at 7pm, and a party to follow at Jefe Urban Hacienda, featuring live music by celebrated Afro-Caribbean ensemble Malamanya. Tickets to the Opening Night Film include entrance to the party, and go on sale to MSP Film Society Members on March 14 and to the public on March 21.

The MSP Film Society also announces the expansion of their WOMEN & FILM INITIATIVE for the 38th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and the launch of a new Fiscal Sponsorship Program for local women filmmakers, which will charge a mere 1.9% fee, instead of the industry standard of 5-10%.

“When we read that women accounted for only 1.9% of the directors of the 100 top-grossing US films in 2014, this statistic propelled us to find ways within our organization to begin to address this disparity and inequity,” says Susan Smoluchowski, Executive Director of the MSP Film Society. “In 2015, we developed and launched a major MSPIFF program entitled Women & Film to highlight the work of women filmmakers from around the globe. Every year since, a growing number of films directed by women and programs highlighting the work of women filmmakers have been included in our annual MSPIFF line-up, and in 2019 we expand that commitment.”

The 38th MSPIFF will include 75+ films by women directors spanning all programs, from the Opening Night film Yuli, directed by Icíar Bollaín, to the Nextwave program of shorts directed by aspiring teen filmmakers. The MSPIFF Luminaries Tribute to Alice Guy-Blaché on Saturday, April 13, 2019, will include a screening of the riveting documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, directed by Pamela B. Green and narrated by Jodie Foster, followed by the MSPIFF Centerpiece Party at the A-Mill Artist Lofts to celebrate all the women filmmakers and special guests attending this year’s festival, including Ann Hornaday, Chief Film Critic from the Washington Post.

“The MSPIFF Luminaries Tribute Program recognizes notable filmmakers for their contributions to the medium of filmmaking and for artistic talents that have been instrumental in promoting a higher regard for the art of film around the world,” says MSPIFF Programming Director Jesse Bishop. “And no one embodies this spirit more than the pioneering French filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché. We’re excited to also present a collection of her recently-restored films in this year’s festival.”

The MSPIFF Women & Film Initiative strives to increase the number of visiting women filmmakers and members of the film industry each year, and arranges workshops at schools, colleges and universities while they are in attendance, to both increase their visibility and underscore the importance of diversity in filmmaking. Many of our visiting filmmakers will be available for media appearances; details of their schedules will follow in coming weeks.

The 38th MSPIFF runs April 4 - 20, 2019 and showcases over 250 dynamic narrative films, engaging documentaries, and innovative shorts by both emerging and veteran filmmakers hailing from 70+ countries around the world. The complete MSPIFF line-up will be announced on March 14, 2019.

MSPIFF screenings will once again be concentrated at the St. Anthony Main Theatre, taking over all five screens for the full run of the festival. MSPIFF continues to expand the festival’s footprint with screenings and special events to be held the newly-renovated Parkway Theater in South Minneapolis, while also returning to the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis, Film Space at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, and the Marcus Rochester Cinema in Rochester, MN.  

OPENING NIGHT FILM – Thursday, April 4, 2019

YULI

Yuli is the nickname given to a young boy named Carlos Acosta by his father Pedro, who considers him the son of Ogun, an African warrior god. From a young age, Yuli flees any kind of formal education, instead gleaning his schooling on the streets of his run-down neighborhood in Havana. But Pedro knows his son has a natural talent for dance and forces him to attend Cuba’s National Dance School. Despite initially resisting the discipline, Yuli ends up captivated by the world of dance, and begins to forge his own legend as one of the best dancers of his generation. His star rises as he breaks taboos by becoming the first black dancer to interpret some of the most famous roles in esteemed companies, including Romeo in London’s Royal Ballet. Directed by Icíar Bollaín, Yuli premiered at the 2018 San Sebastian Film Festival before screening at the Havana and Palm Springs International Film Festivals.

Acclaimed Cuban choreographer, dancer, and actor Santiago Alfonso will be in attendance!

LUMINARY TRIBUTE to the ORIGINAL WOMAN IN FILM: ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ – Saturday, April 13, 2019

BE NATURAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ

This energetic documentary about the trailblazing filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché is both a tribute and a detective story, tracing the how the first woman director, screenwriter, and producer revolutionized the film industry, made over 1,000 films, then was all but erased from history. Directed by Pamela B. Green and narrated by Jodie Foster, this documentary expertly ensures her game-changing accomplishments will no longer be ignored. Be Natural premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival before screening at Sundance Film Festival last month.

Director Pamela B. Green will be in attendance!

Official Trailer: https://vimeo.com/70380930

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS OF WOMEN & FILM FEATURE TITLES

*Complete MSPIFF line-up will be announced March 14, 2019.

*Updates to Visiting Filmmakers will follow as they are confirmed.

RAISE HELL: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins

Six feet of Texas trouble, Molly Ivins took on Good Old Boy corruption wherever she found it. Director Janice Engel charts her early days, from the Minneapolis Tribune, where Ivins was the first woman police reporter covering the turbulence of the late 60s, to joining the New York Times in the mid-70s, and freelancing everywhere from The Nation to TV Guide. Ivins served up her quality reportage with a heaping dollop of humor, and by the height of her popularity in the early 2000s, she was a best-selling author of seven books, and over 400 newspapers around the country carried her column. Raise Hell premiered last month at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. DIRECTOR WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE!

PERSONAL STATEMENT

Director, Producer and Cinematographer Julie Dressner’s debut feature-length documentary follows three seniors from Brooklyn who are determined to get their entire class to college, even though they aren't sure they are going to make it there themselves. They are working as peer counselors because many of their friends have nowhere else to turn for support. They struggle and they stumble, but refuse to succumb to the barriers that prevent so many low-income students from attending and graduating from college. Personal Statement premiered at the 2018 AFI Docs, where it was the Opening Night Film. DIRECTOR WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE!

HUGH HEFNER’S AFTER DARK: Speaking Out in America

In the wake of both Hefner’s death and the #MeToo movement, Academy Award-winning Filmmaker Brigitte Berman returns to a familiar subject, Hugh Hefner, this time focusing on the Playboy icon’s brief but impactful television ventures. Penthouse and Playboy: After Dark were talk shows that aired in the late 50s and 60’s, respectfully, and featured numerous celebrity guests, musicians, public figures and more. Told through interviews and a collection of riveting archived footage, this documentary makes it clear how and why Hugh Hefner deserves a spot in television history. DIRECTOR WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE!

CRYSTAL SWAN / Хрусталь

The year is 1996. Young Belarusian DJ Velya dreams of starting a new life in Chicago, the place that first inspired her love of music. Desperate to claim her own version of the American Dream, young Velya is instead stuck in farcical limbo. From Director Darya Zhuk, who previously directed the documentary Gogol Bordello NonStop. Crystal Swan is her first narrative feature film, and premiered at the 2018 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. DIRECTOR WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE!

HAIL SATAN?

Director Penny Lane charts the meteoric rise and influence of The Satanic Temple, a religious group catapulted to the spotlight in 2015 after pleading for the removal of the Ten Commandments from the Oklahoma State Capitol in exchange for an 8-foot tall statue of occult deity Baphomet. Both controversial and widely misunderstood in the public consciousness. Lane follows members of the religion with an unbiased gaze as they tell the real story. Hail Satan? premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival. DIRECTOR INVITED!

KATE NASH: Underestimate The Girl

Director Amy Goldstein’s unfiltered documentary follows English punk renegade-turned-TV wresting star Kate Nash through the tumultuous highs and lows in her life, alternating between explosive live performances and vulnerable moments of personal betrayal and insight. Kate Nash: Underestimate The Girl premiered at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival. DIRECTOR INVITED!

AFTERWARD

An examination of the trauma shared between victims and victimizers alike, director and trauma expert Ofra Bloch serves as her own subject director as she visits to Germany, Israel and Palestine to confront her own demons in the wake of the recent surge of anti-Semitism. Afterward premiered at 2018 DOC NYC. DIRECTOR INVITED! 

ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch

Travelling across twenty countries and six continents, filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky explore and investigate the vast, undeniable and lasting human impact on the planet. Anthropocene premiered at 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, followed by Sundance and Berlin.

CORE OF THE WORLD / Serdtse Mira

Egor is a vet at a training facility for hunting dogs in a remote region of Russia, where he is surrounded by foxes, deer, and badgers. He cleans the kennels, oversees the workers, and meets with the clients and treats their dogs. Egor is willing to take on any job to get closer to the facility’s master, and his near and dear. He wants the impossible —to become a member of that family. Core of the World premiered at 2018 San Sebastian, followed by Toronto and Rotterdam International Film Festivals.

THE DAY I LOST MY SHADOW / Yom Adaatou Zouli

In the war torn Damascus countryside, a Syrian pharmacist named Sena is separated for her son. Forced to venture outside of town alongside to siblings, Sena navigates a landscape of brutality, loss and trauma. Working primarily with exiled Syrian cast and crew, first-time director Soudade Kaadan’s cinema vérité style is melded with touches of magic realism. The Day I Lost My Shadow premiered at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, where Kaadan received the Lion of the Future award.

FIG TREE

Ethiopian-Israeli writer-director Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian makes a startlingly confident feature debut with this story of 16-year old Mina, whose Jewish family is planning to flee war-torn Ethiopia for Israel. But this plan leaves out the person Mina loves most: Eli, her Christian boyfriend. Fig Tree premiered at the 2018 Haifa Film Festival, followed by Toronto International Film Festival.

GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY / 柔情史

A hilarious and heartfelt telling of the relationship between mothers and daughters, Yang Mingming’s feature film debut follows duo Wu (played by Yang) and her mother (Nai An) as neurotic writers who are as rebellious as they are codependent. Girls Always Happy premiered at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival. 

THE GOOD GIRLS / Las Niñas Bien
This stunning feature from director Alejandra Márquez Abella highlights the stark reality of Mexico’s financial crisis of 1982 through the eyes of a young couple, Fernando and his socialite wife Sofia (beautifully portrayed by Ilses Sala.) With the world now spinning on its head, they are forced to adjust to a life without wealth. Las Niñas Bien premiered at 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

THE LITTLE COMRADE / Seltsimees Laps

This poignant coming-of-age story shows the effect of the Stalinist terror visited on the Baltic countries in the 1950s from the point of view of a traumatized six-year-old Estonian girl, who sees her school principal mother arrested and taken away at gun-point. Based on autobiographical novels by Leelo Tungal, one of Estonia’s most beloved writers. The Little Comrade has won awards at the Berlin, Locarno, and Busan International Film Festivals.

Wednesday
Feb272019

Minneapolis Police Department’s First Precinct Receives Meet Minneapolis ‘Hospitality Hero’ Award

Award for final quarter of 2018 presented at Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting

The Minneapolis Police Department’s First Precinct has been named the “Hospitality Hero” award winner for the fourth quarter of 2018 by Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association. The award is given quarterly to a member of the Minneapolis hospitality community who has been nominated by their colleagues. This honor is for an individual or organization that has made valuable contributions to the image and culture of Minneapolis through outstanding hospitality and service.

The Minneapolis Police Department First Precinct accepted its Hospitality Hero award for fourth quarter 2018 from Meet Minneapolis at the organization’s Annual Meeting on Feb. 26 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Pictured are: Minneapolis Police Sgt. Rob Illetschko and Lt. William Peterson with Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant.

With a 22 percent reduction in overall crime in the precinct for the year, the officers of the First Precinct have kept visitors, residents and downtown workers safer by employing creative new strategies to reduce crime, according to nominator Tim Murray, owner of Murray’s Steakhouse.

Several of the successful strategies included: partnering with social service agencies to provide effective help for the homeless; working with YouthLink to help youth receive needed services; and establishing a high level of communications with the downtown community by advising safety groups and hosting livability forums.

“The Minneapolis Police Department First Precinct works diligently to provide both the visitors and the locals of downtown with the utmost safety,” said Murray.

The First Precinct also works together with Meet Minneapolis in providing a welcoming environment for visitors and convention groups to enjoy downtown Minneapolis. In December, directed patrols kept downtown safe for the 2018 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships. More than 23,000 college students, coaches and spectators enjoyed events throughout the city, from Target Center and the Minneapolis Convention Center to team pep rallies at several locations.

“The officers and leadership of the First Precinct work diligently to keep downtown safe and vibrant for all our meetings and convention groups, as well as leisure visitors,” said Melvin Tennant, Meet Minneapolis President and CEO. “We couldn’t do what we do without their efforts.”

Tuesday
Feb262019

Meet Minneapolis Celebrates the Positive Impact of Tourism at its 2019 Annual Meeting

 

The organization exceeded its key performance metrics, and its impact helps support more than 36,000 tourism and hospitality jobs in Minneapolis.

Today, Meet Minneapolis unveiled its year-end figures at its 2019 Annual Meeting. The city’s convention and visitors’ bureau exceeded its key performance goals including convention center revenue, hotel room nights, and private revenue. While sharing these insights with partner businesses, elected officials and other attendees, Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant highlighted the positive impact tourism has on the region.

“Our responsibility is to bring visitors to the city, in part, through the more than 600 events Meet Minneapolis secures annually. Yet our impact reaches far beyond that,” explained Tennant. “These events and visitors add millions of dollars in tax revenue for the city to reinvest into the community.”

Tennant continued, “Our work also plays a significant role in supporting the more than 36,000 tourism and hospitality jobs and careers in our city, from hotel workers, printers, and event planners to retailers, transportation providers and more. The hospitality industry provides everything from part-time, flexible work to family-sustaining careers with upward mobility and growth. Tourism matters and is an economic engine that adds to the vibrancy of our city and region.”

Meet Minneapolis Key Performance Indicators for 2018*

  • Group Room Nights: 560,681 nights, or 107% of the goal set for 2018
  • Minneapolis Convention Center Revenue: A record-setting year, with revenue of $22.6 million, eclipsing the goal of $20 million by 112%
  • Private Revenue: $2.9 million, 113% of the stated goal of $2.6 million

The City of Minneapolis and local hotels benefit from the work of Meet Minneapolis. In 2018, the overall hotel occupancy rate was nearly 71 percent. That was an increase from 68.6 percent in 2017, even with the addition of more than 1,400 new rooms between 2016 and 2018. Lodging taxes, alone, generated more than $8 million for the city and local residents. Those tax dollars become city resources to be reinvested into the community.

Minneapolis Convention Center

As the foundation of the hospitality industry in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Convention Center generated $22.6 million in record revenue in 2018. In addition, the Minneapolis Convention Center was one of only five venues honored with the Venue Excellence award from the International Association of Venue Managers. The award goes to the best managed stadiums, arenas, and convention centers in North America.

“The Minneapolis Convention Center is the gateway to the City of Minneapolis for the hundreds of thousands of people who attend the events we host,” said Minneapolis Executive Director Jeff Johnson. “Visitors start here, and then they move deeper into the community, experiencing the city, spending their dollars and supporting the jobs and businesses of people in every part of Minneapolis.”

Impact on community:

  • Support over 8,600 jobs of the more than 36,000 hospitality jobs in Minneapolis
  • Overall attendance for 2018 was nearly 840,000, a 3% increase over 2017
  • Approximately 796 tons of waste was recycled in 2018, 164 more tons than the previous year
  • Annual recycling rate of 60%

Additional Highlights:

  • Sports Minneapolis highlighted its major role in bringing key sports events to the region such as last year’s Super Bowl LII, X Games, WNBA All-Star Game, and the NCAA®Women’s Volleyball Championship. 
  • Seventy (70) future sporting events were secured by Sports Minneapolis in 2018 including:
    • Extension of ESPN’s X Games for 2019 and 2020
    • 2019 USA Taekwondo National Championships
    • 2021 NCAA® Men’s Basketball Regional
    • 2022 NCAA® Women’s Final Four
    • Extension of the Northern Lights Junior Volleyball Qualifier Tournament through 2022
  • Neighborhoods were front-and-center of the re-launched Meet Minneapolis website (www.minneapolis.org), which was visited by more than 2 million people last year.
  • More than a dozen new website guides introduce visitors to places they should know, like the Midwest Global Market on Lake Street, the Cedar Cultural Center in Cedar Riverside and Sammy’s on West Broadway.
  • Over 62,000 visitors from 64 countries and all 50 states stopped into the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center, located in the Centerpoint Energy building at 5th and Nicollet, last year to learn more on where to eat, shop and be entertained.

Awards and Recognition

Meet Minneapolis is pleased to recognize the following groups and individuals: 

  • Lifetime Achievement Award  Presented to John Edman, Director, Explore Minnesota
  • Innovation in Tourism Award – Presented to an individual or organization that contributes to an advancement of the hospitality community that impacts the destination’s visitors and attendees.
    • Award recipients: Greater MSP and the Metropolitan Airports Commission for work to secure new international nonstop airline routes through the Regional Air Service Partnership.
  • President’s Award – Honors and individual or organization that contributes significantly to the visitor experience in Minneapolis.
    • Award recipients: The Minnesota Lynx and Minnesota Timberwolves for bringing the best in women’s professional basketball to Minneapolis for the WNBA All-Star game.
  • Excellence in Meetings, Events & Conventions Award – Highlights an individual, institution or organization whose efforts will result in an impact to the city for future years.
    • Award recipient: Northern Lights Junior Volleyball, which brought nearly 680 teams to the city for a six-day competition. An estimated 50,000 people attended.

To learn more about how tourism and hospitality impact, our community, watch here. To access the 2018 Meet Minneapolis Annual Report, please go here.

* Unaudited. Key performance indicators are verified by an independent auditor.

Tuesday
Feb262019

Is it “Juicy” or “Jucy”?

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

It’s time to reveal a personal secret of mine that not too many people know about. I love cheeseburgers, and I hope my metabolism never changes as I get older so I can keep eating these delicious creations. That being said, as a cheeseburger connoisseur, I cannot think of a better city to live in than Minneapolis. The best thing that has ever been done to two beef patties happened in this city in the 1950’s, and almost 70 years later, it has become a worldwide phenomenon. That’s right, I’m talking about the Juicy Lucy, or is it the Jucy Lucy? That’s a debate that will never be settled.

A Juicy Lucy

The two establishments that claim to be the home of this infamous cheeseburger are Matt’s Bar, on 35th St. and Cedar Ave., and the 5-8 Club, on 58th St. and Cedar Ave. Matt’s opened its doors in 1954, and soon after their Jucy Lucy was created by owner Matt Bristol when a customer asked for a slice of cheese in between two hamburger patties and as soon as the customer bit into it he bellowed out “that’s one juicy Lucy!” It became an over night success and soon after, the “i” in “juicy” found its way out the door. Matt’s claims that “if it’s spelled correctly, you just might be eating a shameless rip-off!”

The 5-8 Club

The 5-8 Club, on the other hand, started as a speakeasy back in 1928 as a result of Prohibition. Not much is known about how the Juicy Lucy started at the 5-8, but it happened at some point in the 1950’s. Just as Matt’s has an opinion on their competition, so does the 5-8. They claim that "if it's spelled right, it's done right.” Is it really Minnesotan if there isn’t any passive aggressiveness? One of the main differences between the two cheeseburgers is the cheese. Where Matt’s only puts American cheese inside their Jucy Lucy’s, the 5-8 also offers pepper jack, Swiss and blue cheeses.

These two establishments have also garnered national attention. In 2008 Time Magazine briefly wrote about the cheeseburgers, in 2009 the Travel Channel show Man vs. Food put the rivalry in the spotlight, and a year later Food Wars, another Travel Channel show, based an episode around the two cheeseburgers. However, Matt’s might have a 1-up on the 5-8. Back in 2014 President Barack Obama paid them a visit to enjoy a Jucy Lucy, fries, and a couple sweet teas. A presidential seal of approval is hard to beat, but the rivalry is still churning.

President Obama visits Matt's Bar in 2014.

Spelling aside, putting cheese between two hamburger patties changed the burger game forever, and finding a Juicy Lucy on a Twin Cities restaurant menu is about as common as a snow storm in February. Thankfully the 5-8 and Matt’s decided to not put a stop to the spread of their creation. From The Blue Door Pub to The Nook, the Juicy Lucy has joined hotdish, lutefisk, and wild rice upon the Mount Rushmore of Minnesotan foods.

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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 mrainvillejr@comcast.net.

Sunday
Feb242019

Downtown Riverfront Living: Lourdes Square

Full river & skyline views at Lourdes Square! Perched above the Mighty Mississippi, this classic townhome is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts & anyone with a green thumb! Private entry, screened porch, terrace, balcony & secret garden make this truly unique & perfect for gardening & entertaining al fresco. Fresh paint, open floorplan & main floor master suite. Attached garage, newly remodeled kitchen, baths & storage. Finished lower level features guest suite with private terrace & family room.

3 bed | 3 bath | 2 parking | 3,862 sf | $1,899,000

Visit this listing online for more details...

Thursday
Feb212019

Register for Spring/Summer Adult Sports and Activities in Minneapolis Parks

Adult Sports

Register for spring/summer sports in Minneapolis Parks! Check out the links below to find a league that works for you:

Dodgeball

When: Sunday afternoons, late March-mid May

Where: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center
Leagues: Co-Ed only

Season: Eight weeks of play, including tournament
Cost: $155

Indoor Soccer

When: Sundays and Tuesdays, mid March-early June

Where: Northeast Ice Arena
Leagues: Co-Ed Sundays, Men's Tuesdays

Season: Eight weeks of play, including tournament
Cost: $765

Kickball

When: Sunday-Thursday, late April-mid July

Where: Bryn Mawr, Keewaydin, Northeast, Nokomis, Pearl, Painter 
Leagues: Co-Ed only

Season: 12 games scheduled, 10 games guaranteed (not counting forfeits)
Cost: $405

Sand Volleyball - Spring

When: Sunday-Friday, late April-early July

Where: Wirth Lake Beach
Leagues: Co-Ed, Open and Women's (four-person and six-person leagues available)

Season: Eight weeks scheduled, plus post-season single-elimination tournament
Cost: $355 6-person; $283 4-person

Sand Volleyball - Summer

When: Sunday-Friday, early July-mid September

Where: Wirth Lake Beach
Leagues: Co-Ed, Open and Women's (four-person and six-person leagues available)

Season: Eight weeks scheduled, plus post-season single-elimination tournament
Cost: $355 six-person; $283 four-person

Softball

When: Sunday-Friday, April-July

Where: Bossen, Bryn Mawr, Carew Field, Logan, Marshall Terrace, Neiman, Northeast, Nokomis
Leagues: Co-Ed, Men's and Women's

Seasons: Six-week doubleheader, eight-week single game, 12-week single game, 12-week doubleheader
Cost: $325-$980; $115 for optional post-season tournament


Officials Needed!

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is always looking to hire more officials for any of the sports listed above! Earn extra cash and stay involved in the sports you love!

To apply or learn more information please contact Anthony DiBella at adibella@minneapolisparks.org or 612-230-6546.

Activities and Classes

Not into sports? Browse hundreds of activities and classes linked below:

Arts

Ceramics, Crafts, Dance, Music, Pottery

Health and Fitness

Aerobics, Barre, Fitness/Strength Training, Martial Arts, Pickleball, Yoga and Zumba

Hobbies, Clubs and Games

Card Games (Bridge, Cribbage, 500), Dog Obedience Classes and Parent Support Groups

Language and Culture

Armored Combat and Cultural Programs

Nature and Environment

Bird Watching, Gardening and Hiking

Special Events

Monthly Dances for Adults with Developmental Disabilities, Tea Party, Voiceover Class

Trips and Tours

Senior Trips to exciting and interesting attractions across the state

Water Activities

Adult Swimming Lessons, Log Rolling and Sailing Lessons

Wednesday
Feb202019

MnSpin Open Now for Music Submissions

Hennepin County Library's digital music platform, MnSpin, open now for local music submissions

Minnesota musicians can join established acts and rising stars on MnSpin, the local music streaming and download platform from your library. MnSpin connects music lovers with our local scene, and Minnesota creators with new audiences.

Submit a song

Minnesota musicians and bands of all genres are invited to submit one music recording by March 27. The song must have been produced in the past five years. A panel of local music experts and library staff will review all submissions, and invite selected artists to make one album available through the online platform. MnSpin artists will sign a license agreement and receive $200.

For full submission details and consideration criteria, see the MnSpin FAQ.

A diverse collection

Currently, MnSpin features more than 1,100 songs on more than 120 albums, covering 18 genres. Following this submission cycle, Hennepin County Library will add as many as 100 more albums. The collection captures the richness of music created in Minnesota and the diversity of Minnesota creators in all genres, including rap and hip-hop, classical, folk, pop and rock, world music and more.

Connect to MnSpin

Anyone can stream from the platform, and Hennepin County Library cardholders can download songs for free. Connect to MnSpin on any device through www.hclib.org/arts-culture.

MnSpin is supported by Friends of the Hennepin County Library.

Sunday
Feb172019

The Mill City Singers + Out of the Box Opera = Opera Gospel Fusion

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Ric Rosow

When you decide to become a part of the Mill City Singers, life changes in very important ways. The first way is that on Saturday afternoons, from 2:00-3:30p on the 8th floor of the Guthrie, you find a sense of hope, and a community of singers who make wonderful music while laughing, hugging, and singing together.         

The second change that occurs is that you go places and do things that you never thought would be part of your life. Appearances at Orchestra Hall, the Ordway, the Loring Park Music Fest, Holidazzle, the MacPhail Music Matters Luncheon, and singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Twins games are just a few examples. On Saturday, February 9th, another first happened for the Singers. We were part of an opera, literally and figuratively, front and center! 

A heavy snow could not deter the audience from attending.

Noah Eisenberg and Jim Berman, opera aficionados and great friends, have spent decades of their friendship going to operas and delighting in the wonder of the sights and sounds of opera. As time progressed, Noah and Jim discussed a mutual concern about how to introduce opera to younger people and by introducing it, make sure to show the humor, the showmanship, and the skill needed to be a performer in the world of opera. So along with artistic director David Lefkowich, Noah and Jim formed Out of The Box Opera, whose mission is to bring opera to new audiences in new ways.

The Mill City Singers performed in their signature hand painted scarves.

After several very successful shows, the idea was hatched to have an opera fusion event. J.D. Steele was a judge in the first Out Of the Box Opera Cage Match, so he became part of this discussion and suggested an Opera Gospel fusion, featuring the Mill City Singers, and opera stars. That is what happened on February 9th at the Wiseman Art Museum, because...what says opera and gospel more than a museum? Yes, creativity abounds at every turn.

Tenor Dominique Wooten, front center, with the Mill City Singers.

Michele Crowder and J.D. Steele with the Mill City Singers.

Soprano Alexandra RazskazoffDominique Wooten and Alexandra Razskazoff were the featured singers, alternating arias with gospel songs sung by the Mill City Singers. Then came the fusions pieces, led by Tonia Hughes and J.D. Steele with the Singers singing back up in the choruses.

It was a sold-out performance with an enthusiastic audience, and the evening ended with a rendition of Oh Happy Day that will not soon be forgotten. Even the audience joined in, as it was impossible to resist the magic of the evening.

Sound like fun?  It is, and so much more. The Singers are free and open to anyone who loves singing. If you are interested, please contact Claudia Kittock at cjkittock@gmail.com. Be warned if you come - the magic is difficult to resist!

This event was also covered by the Minnesota Daily.

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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

 

Sunday
Feb172019

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

My Policy Priorities for 2019

The City Council began meeting in 2019 on January 7, and this Friday, February 15, marks the end of our third full cycle. As my first newsletter of the year, this is a great opportunity to outline some of my policy priorities that I'll be working on in 2019 -- many of these are covered in more detail in stories below this one, so read on:

  • The Public Works Department will spend most of this year developing our next 10-year Transportation Action Plan, which builds on the foundation of the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan to identify specific strategies and actions we need to pursue to meet those goals. 

I'll be following this process very closely, and I encourage everyone in Ward 3 and across the City to add your input to it. Join me at Honey (at 205 E. Hennepin) next Wednesday the 20th from 5:00 - 7:30 for my first Ward 3 Happy Hour, where I'll discuss the Transportation Action Plan with Public Works staff.

  • Last year, I started the process for a Data Privacy ordinance, and I will be working to develop that ordinance this year. One aspect of that ordinance will be our use of surveillance technology; the Public Safety Committee recently received a report on our use of cameras, which served as a good starting point for this discussion.
  • Residents have recently shone light on data available through the Police Department's data dashboards that show clear inequities in some of our traffic stops, specifically for equipment violations. I think this issue is one worth digging into to see if we can pursue our public safety goals in a more equitable and effective fashion, and that's going to take time and effort to do right. 
  • Affordable housing has been a top priority of mine since day one, and that hasn't changed from last year. We have a good set of affordable housing projects in the pipeline in Ward 3 in the next few years, but we need to accelerate our pace and I will continue to seek the inclusion of affordable units in every project I possibly can.
  • One specific housing-related policy that I am interested in pursuing this year is a workable definition of housing affordability for students and student housing, which is of particular relevance in our Ward and a thorny problem to tackle. Our current affordability definitions by median income could have the perverse effect of most benefiting those students with the highest debt load, and penalizing those who are working their way through school and who most need access to affordable housing.    
  • I was thrilled to hear that Minneapolis and Saint Paul got selected last year for Bloomberg Philanthropies' American Cities Climate Challenge, and I am super excited that one of our areas of work that they'll be helping us develop is on transportation hubs and Mobility as a Service. If we are going to meet the challenge of climate change head-on, we need to continue to decrease our use of cars by allowing folks to get around in other ways: walking, biking, on public transit, on scooters, via car-share (like HourCar), via ride-hail services like Uber & Lyft, and in ways we haven't thought of yet -- AND we need to make all of those options as seamless as possible. That's what our transportation hub and Mobility as a Serviceinitiatives are all about.

There's lots more that I expect will be coming through the City Council this year, and more that I'll be working on. If there's a policy item that you think should be a priority for me this year, contact my office and I'd love to hear more about it.


Help Shape Our Transportation Action Plan

 

Multi-modal transportation options

On January 22, Public Works staff presented to the City Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee a vision for developing the next Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan. It will identify specific strategies and actions the City and our partners need to take within the next decade to implement the transportation policies of the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which has been sent to the Metropolitan Council for review.

The Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan will guide transportation decisions to ensure alignment with these goals: safety, equity, prosperity, climate, mobility and active partnerships. It’s focused on the following topics: advanced mobility, pedestrian, bicycle, transit, freight, street operations and street design.

Public Works will conduct community engagement to gather input and feedback on the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan throughout the year. A draft plan will be released later in 2019, and staff will seek official public comment on it at that time. Staff is expected to submit the plan to the City Council for approval in late 2020.

Please join me at a Ward 3 Happy Hour to learn more about the Transportation Action Plan and share your feedback to help shape it:

Wednesday, February 20

5:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Honey, 205 E. Hennepin Ave.

RSVP on Facebook or just show up!

Visit go.minneapolismn.gov to learn more about the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan and upcoming engagement opportunities, or search #gompls on social media.


Weigh in on "Neighborhoods 2020"

 

The public comment period is open for the Neighborhoods 2020 framework recommendationson neighborhood programming, funding and governance structure for the City’s 70 officially recognized neighborhood organizations in 2020 and beyond. The public comment period runs through March 31.

The recommendations align with the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which states that “Minneapolis will have an equitable civic participation system that enfranchises everyone, recognizes the core and vital service neighborhood organizations provide to the City of Minneapolis, and builds people’s long-term capacity to organize and improve their lives and neighborhoods.”

Goals include:

  • Organizations reflecting the communities they serve.
  • Simplifying participation for all.
  • Saving money and staff time for participating organizations.

The public can comment in person at community information meetings or in writing. All meetings will have interpreters available and will take public comments. Meeting dates include:

  • Feb. 27 6-8 p.m.: Eastside Services, 1700 Second St. NE (held in English)
  • March 8 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Harrison Community Center, 503 Irving Ave. N. (held in Lao and Hmong)
  • March 13 6-8 p.m.: Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center, 505 15th Ave. S. (held in Somali)
  • March 15 6-8 p.m.: Waite House, 2323 11th Ave. S. (held in Spanish)

Additional meetings will be scheduled in multiple languages. See the most up-to-date list at Minneapolismn.gov/ncr/2020. The final policy recommendations are tentatively scheduled to go before the City Council in April.

More information is available at minneapolismn.gov/ncr/2020. The Neighborhoods 2020 framework recommendations are online in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong. 


Traffic Stops for Equipment Violations

 

Council Members Fletcher, Jenkins, and Ellison at a Public Safety Committee hearing in 2018

Photo credit: Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

In the Public Safety Committee meeting on February 6, we heard from a number of community members raising concerns about racial bias in traffic stops, both in who gets stopped, and in which stops get escalated to searches. The Star Tribune covered the discussion in this story.

A group called the Racial Justice Network is organizing to demand a moratorium on equipment violation stops (for things like a broken tail-light) as a strategy for reducing racial profiling. We also heard from community members who have heard from MPD that these traffic stops are an important tool for getting guns off the streets, and asked us to prioritize that over people's concerns about profiling and harassment. As I said during the meeting, I think that's a false choice.

We owe it to all of our residents to design smart, effective public safety strategies to get guns off the street and eliminate gun violence in our community.

**AND**

We owe it to all of our residents to treat everyone fairly, and to make every department in our city a resource, rather than a cause of harassment and fear.

So, the real question is this: are traffic stops an effective tool for reducing gun violence? MPD presented some limited data, and based on what we know right now, it's hard to argue that they are. In 2018, we made 40,000 traffic stops and recovered 97 weapons.

Those stops are disproportionately in neighborhoods in North Minneapolis, and are disproportionately stopping African American drivers. People know when they're being targeted unfairly, and each time someone is pulled over with a brake light as a pretext to question them and maybe search their vehicle, it adds to a sense of mistrust that makes it harder to solve crimes and address the violence we're trying to prevent.

This is against a backdrop of a 70% drop in traffic stops city-wide, after we cut our traffic enforcement unit. My office routinely receives requests for increased safety enforcement to curb dangerous driving behaviors in more affluent neighborhoods. The impression in many parts of the city is that we don't do traffic stops at all, and in other parts, that we stop people all the time, but using traffic safety as a pretext.

So, I'm not ready to support it yet, but I'm inclined to take the community demand for a moratorium on equipment stops very seriously. We could achieve a similar traffic safety outcome (informing vehicle owners their light is out) with a postcard, rather than a stop that exposes a driver to potential escalation.

Before we commit to something like that, we need more data and more specific information from MPD, and I'm going to work to get it. Specifically, we need to know how many of these stops are pretext stops, as opposed to traffic enforcement for traffic enforcement's sake. We can be fairly sure that the percentage is very high, but drilling down into how this works in practice will help us understand whether there are legitimate public safety reasons to do something short of a moratorium.

I'm also always open to constructive suggestions from community and from MPD about better ways to eliminate racial bias from our policing practices, and approach community safety in a smarter way that builds trust and makes everyone safer.

You can view the committee meeting, including public testimony, here.

You can view MPD's data dashboard here (and, if I may brag for a minute, our Police Department under Chief Arradondo's leadership has one of the best, most transparent open data platforms in the country for police data).

Please continue to share your thoughts and feedback with me at steve.fletcher@minneapolismn.gov.


Should MPD purchase security cameras from Verizon that got installed for the Super Bowl?

 

One of the components of hosting a Super Bowl is providing a very high level of security, which often includes new technology and surveillance capacity. In Minneapolis, there are 20 cameras that were added by Verizon last year that have not yet been taken down. The Minneapolis Police Department is now considering a proposal from Verizon to sell us the cameras so that we can leave them up, rather than take them down.

I want to make sure we have a real public discussion of this, especially because constituents raised concerns last year about temporary Super Bowl-related surveillance becoming permanent. We received a report from MPD in the Public Safety committee on February 6 that outlined our current surveillance capacity: how many cameras we already have (212), where they are located, who can access them, and how they are used.

Surveillance cameras are a complex issue. I'm someone who takes privacy concerns very seriously, and worries about the way these cameras might be used. I'm critically aware that data privacy is one of the major issues of our time, and that cameras take on a different meaning in the age of high-resolution digital images, facial recognition and other software advances that are here or on their way. (For the record, none of our current surveillance capacity has the ability to be run through facial recognition software. That's not something we do, or can do.)

If we were just making this decision based on what makes me feel comfortable, we would not install any surveillance cameras, and we would take down the Verizon cameras, most of which are aimed at my neighborhood along Washington and near the stadium in Downtown East.

That said... I've also heard from constituents who wish we had more cameras, and who express feeling safer when they know someone is watching. I've received a few calls this year in this office when something bad has happened from constituents hoping that we have footage of an incident. While it's not an approach I share, we shouldn't discount anyone's concerns in this discussion. I want to take seriously both people's right to privacy, and people's desire to feel safe.

It's possible this specific decision won't even be about privacy - we might find out Verizon wants too much money, or the cameras are placed in way that's not helpful to us, and it doesn't make sense, regardless. That said, we're planning to have a deeper conversation about surveillance and data privacy generally this year, and since this proposal is coming up now, I'm hoping we can use this as a launching point for that conversation. So... if you're someone who has strong feelings about surveillance cameras, send me an e-mail at steve.fletcher@minneapolismn.gov.


Crash Study Will Help Inform "Vision Zero" Action Plan

 

Vision Zero

On January 22, Public Works staff also presented findings from the Vision Zero Crash Study to the City Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee. The data will help guide infrastructure investments and inform the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan, which is under development to advance the City’s goal of eliminating traffic deaths and severe injuries on City streets by 2027.

Key findings from the Vision Zero Crash Study include:

  • An average of 11 people were killed and 84 more suffered a life-altering injury on Minneapolis streets each year from 2007 to 2015.
  • Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users followed by bicyclists. Eleven percent of reported pedestrian crashes resulted in a severe injury or death compared to 5 percent for bicycle crashes and 1 percent for vehicle crashes.
  • Crashes and injuries in Minneapolis are concentrated on a small percentage of streets. Seventy-five percent of severe and fatal pedestrian crashes happened on 5 percent of streets, 81 percent of severe and fatal bicycle crashes happened on 3 percent of streets, and 63 percent of severe and fatal vehicle crashes happened on 4 percent of streets.
  • Crashes are disproportionately concentrated in low-income neighborhoods with a majority of people of color. Native Americans are most disproportionately impacted by traffic deaths.

We had a robust discussion about this in committee, and will keep pushing for safety improvements at the intersections listed on the crash data map, as well as proactive work to prevent more intersections from being added to that map. MinnPost covered this report and our committee hearing on it very well in this article; I recommend giving it a read.

The Vision Zero Crash Study complements the 2017 Pedestrian Crash Study commissioned by the Public Works Department that analyzed more than 3,000 pedestrian-motorist crash records over 10 years from 2007 to 2016. The data from the crash studies will help shape the Vision Zero Action Plan and Transportation Action Plan. The two action plans are moving ahead on the same timeline and provide action steps for reaching the vision outlined in the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan that will guide growth in the city over the next two decades.

The City of Minneapolis officially became a Vision Zero city in September 2017 when the City Council passed a resolution setting a goal of eliminating traffic deaths and injuries within 10 years. Traffic deaths and severe injuries are unacceptable and preventable. Minneapolis has joined more than 30 other cities across the country, including Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; New York City; Portland, Oregon; Seattle and Washington, in pledging to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

The City’s Vision Zero Action Plan will put equity at its forefront and provide extra focus on protecting the most vulnerable users of the roadways: pedestrians and bicyclists. A Vision Zero Task Force made up of City leaders from several departments is guiding work on the plan and engaging local and regional stakeholders to consider the best approaches in street design, education, encouraging behavior changes, enforcement and legislative solutions to make the transportation network safer for everyone.

Learn about ways to get involved: visionzerompls.com.


City Council passes ordinance for residential energy disclosure

 

When new policies take effect, consumers will have energy information before buying or renting

Starting over the next few years, homebuyers and renters will be able to learn energy information about a Minneapolis home or apartment before they sign on the dotted line. The Minneapolis City Council approved three policies that combined touch all housing types in the city:

  • Residential Energy Benchmarking: A requirement that extends the existing commercial benchmarking ordinance to cover residential buildings 50,000 square feet and larger and requires an energy evaluation of properties with high savings potential. This policy will be phased in based on building size, with the first compliance date being June 1, 2019 for buildings 100,000 square feet and larger.
  • Time of Rent Energy Disclosure: A requirement at the time of rent for residential building owners to disclose average energy cost per square foot. This policy will go into effect in 2021.
  • Time of Sale Energy Disclosure: a requirement to include energy efficiency characteristics as part of the already-required Truth in Sale of Housing (TISH) report when selling a home. This covers information on the home’s insulation, heating system and windows. This policy will go into effect in 2020.

The goals of these policies are to reduce overall housing costs, ensure homeowners and renters have reliable information about their energy costs when deciding where to live, and reduce carbon emissions. These policies are recommended in Minneapolis’ Climate Action Plan and will help the City make progress toward its community-wide greenhouse gas reduction goals. Minneapolis joins nearly 20 other cities in adopting residential energy benchmarking for large buildings.

  • Learn more about the requirements and rules for benchmarking and time of rent energy disclosure.
  • Learn more about the requirements for time of sale energy disclosure.

Plug in to savings

Several programs are available to help property owners reduce energy use including:

  • Homeowners:
    • Can get a visit from the Home Energy Squad. The program is available at a low cost for all homes, and the City offers residents in Green Zones no-cost visits to improve energy efficiency for single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes. At the visit, energy experts identify opportunities to save energy and make some energy-efficient improvements on the spot.
    • Can access zero-interest financing made available from the City for eligible energy efficiency improvements.
  • Rental property owners:
    • Can participate in the Multifamily Building Efficiency Program. This free, utility-funded program provides multifamily buildings (five or more units) with an assessment to identify energy-saving opportunities, directly install several energy-saving measures for immediate savings, and offer financial incentives for buildings that meet energy saving targets including covering up to 80 percent of the costs for energy upgrades in qualifying low-income housing.
    • Can participate in the 4d Affordable Housing Incentive Program, which helps apartment building owners obtain property tax reductions if they agree to keep 20 percent or more of their rental units affordable. The program also helps owners make existing buildings greener through cost sharing for energy efficiency improvements and solar installations.
  • Large multifamily and commercial properties can participate in the Green Cost Share energy efficiency program. The City offers a funding match of 20-30 percent up to $50,000 (not to be repaid) for residential buildings with four units or more and commercial buildings that increase energy efficiency.

Find the complete list of programs here.


Development Proposals before the Heritage Preservation Commission

 

I have heard from lots of people in the Ward about two different development proposals that will go before the Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) soon:

  • a proposal by Doran Cos & CSM at 311 2nd St SE, the former site of the General Mills Riverside Technical Facility, for a large housing development; and
  • a proposal by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis for a large "Heritage Landing Parking Ramp" on the site of a surface parking lot that they own at 24 2nd Ave N.

The Doran proposal had a public hearing at the HPC meeting on January 22nd, and is currently scheduled to return to the HPC for additional public comment, and final discussion and action on March 6.

The Federal Reserve proposal went before the HPC for informational discussion on January 22nd, and will need to return to the HPC for a public hearing, discussion, and final action.

The HPC is the first step for both of these proposals, which will still need to go to the City Planning Commission for further review and land use approval.

I encourage everyone to continue to share your thoughts about these projects with me -- positive, negative, and in between - at Steve.Fletcher@minneapolismn.gov.


Minneapolis Fire Department EMS Pathways Academy Student Internship Program

 

MFD EMT Academy dates


City and U.S. Department of Labor Join Forces to Step Up Labor Standards Enforcement

 

The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and U.S. Department of Labor signed an agreement formalizing their commitment to collaborate on investigations and public awareness of labor standards, including the City’s minimum wage ordinance.

The agreement will increase the capacity of both City and federal officials to enforce labor standards in Minneapolis to protect all workers and ensure that abusive employers seeking unfair competitive advantages are held accountable.

The collaboration comes as the City recognizes the one-year anniversary of the minimum wage ordinance.

More than 4,000 workers received back wages or new benefits because of investigations by the City’s Labor Standards Enforcement Division in 2018.

The City’s minimum wage ordinance has a phase-in schedule requiring large businesses to pay $15 an hour by 2022 and small businesses by 2024. Currently, the minimum wage is $10.25 for businesses with 100 or fewer employees and $11.25 for employers with more than 100 workers. The next minimum wage increase takes effect July 1, 2019.

Violations of the minimum wage ordinance can be reported by calling 311 or filling out an online form, or in person at City Hall, Room 239.

The ordinance supports the City’s goals of promoting inclusive economic growth by reducing economic and racial disparities. For more information about the ordinance, visit minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov, call 311 or email minwage@minneapolismn.gov.


Central Riverfront Bridge Repair Projects

 

Third Avenue Bridge

On January 14, I co-hosted a meeting with State Senator Kari Dziedzic, along with staff from both the Minneapolis Public Works Department and the Minnesota Department of Transportation, about the upcoming central riverfront bridge repair projects on the 10th Avenue, 3rd Avenue, and Stone Arch bridges.

The City project on the 10th Avenue bridge is scheduled to go first, with a full closure of the bridge expected for all of calendar year 2020 and project completion in the first half of 2021.

MnDOT's project on the 3rd Avenue bridge will begin in late 2020, with a full closure of the bridge expected to begin in 2021. A full closure of two years is expected, with a total project duration of 30 months.

The City and MnDOT are coordinating as closely as possible to prevent an overlap in the full closure of the two bridges if at all possible.

The Stone Arch Bridge, also owned by MnDOT, is also in need of significant repairs. Senator Dziedzic was able to share at our meeting that that project is now fully funded, which is outstanding news. The full details and timeline of that repair project are yet to be determined, but we are hopeful that it will NOT need to be fully closed to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

You can view and download the three presentations here (links are to PDFs):


Hennepin Ave Reconstruction Downtown Begins This Spring

 

Hennepin Downtown reconstruction project

Reconstruction of Hennepin Avenue downtown begins this spring with utility work from 12th St. to 7th St. The general schedule of this project is for a year of utility work followed by a year of street reconstruction, for each of two segments from South to North: 12th St. to 7th St., followed by 7th St. to Washington Ave.

At this time, project staff plan to maintain open lanes during the utility work (this year for 12th to 7th; 2021 for 7th to Washington) but full closure during the street reconstruction (next year for 12th to 7th; 2022 for 7th to Washington).

For more project information, a more detailed schedule, or to sign up for email updates, go to hennepindowntown.com


Sister City Delegation to Harbin, China

 

Council Member Steve Fletcher and Council Member Kevin Reich on a Minneapolis delegation to Harbin, China

At the beginning of January, I had the honor of joining the Minneapolis delegation to Harbin, China for a convening of their Sister Cities at their 35th Annual Snow and Ice Festival. Harbin has been one of our more active "sister city" relationships, and I think we succeeded in representing the city well, and deepening that friendship.

The government of Harbin showed us remarkable hospitality, arranging formal meetings with their leadership, a conference of all of their sister cities at which we all presented, a tour of the Harbin city hall, a visit to their urban planning institute and the Harbin Jewish Museum, a walk through China's longest outdoor pedestrian mall, as well as their new indoor shopping mall (which includes a curling rink and the world's largest indoor ski slope), and of course, the snow and ice festival itself.

It's a worthwhile exercise to visit unfamiliar places and see things that challenge your assumptions about your own city. As would be true of any city, I saw some things that I really liked that we could learn from Harbin, as well as some things that I wouldn't want Minneapolis to emulate. I was impressed with the multitude of seasonal uses they make of the river as a place to play, as a natural resource, as a center of activity. I really liked their Central Avenue, which is a car-free pedestrian street in the center of their downtown. Some of the modern architecture is big and bold and beautiful.

Most of all, I appreciated the unapologetic pride Harbin takes in its seasons. They proclaim to the world that they have a "strong winter", and they make it a real asset. People travel from all over China and the rest of the world to experience Harbin's winter, and Harbin makes that really fun, not just at the festival, but all over the city. That spirit's given me a little more energy to appreciate our own strong winter, and to think about the possibilities to turn our weather into more of an asset for residents and visitors.

You can see a set of photos from the trip on my Facebook Page.


UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Ward 3 Happy Hour on Wednesday, February 20

 

Transportation Action Plan

Please join me at my first Ward 3 Happy Hour next Wednesday, February 20 to learn more about the Transportation Action Plan and share your feedback to help shape it!

More details in the 2nd story of this newsletter.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 20 from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Honey, 205 E. Hennepin Ave.

You can RSVP on Facebook or just show up!


Good Morning Ward 3 returns on March 20

 

Kramarczuk's

This year, we'll be holding Good Morning Ward 3 and Ward 3 Happy Hour events in alternating months, usually on the third Wednesday of each month.

Our next Good Morning Ward 3 will be:

Wednesday, March 20th -- 7:30 - 9:00 A.M.

Kramarczuk's, 215 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

See you then! 


Coffee With Your Council Member

 

Council Member Fletcher holds regular open community office hours at 5:00 p.m., normally on Wednesdays, at a rotating neighborhood coffee shop in Ward 3 for constituents to drop by, ask questions, and raise any issues you see in the community.

All are welcome! RSVP on Facebook or just show up. If you want to discuss a specific issue or project, email david.zaffrann@minneapolismn.gov and we'll add you to the agenda.

Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for all the details on future scheduled events, or contact our office at 612-673-2203.

Saturday
Feb162019

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival Returns April 4 - 20

The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul recently announced the 38th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF), from April 4 - 20, 2019. MSPIFF is the largest annual arts events in the region, Minnesota’s largest film event, and one of the longest-running film festivals in the country. Each year, the festival showcases the latest films by both emerging and veteran filmmakers from around the globe, totaling more than 250 bold, exciting films from 70+ countries.

MSPIFF screenings will once again be concentrated at the St. Anthony Main Theatre, taking over the five screens for the full run of the festival. MSPIFF continues to expand the festival’s footprint with screenings and special events to be held the newly-renovated Parkway Theater in South Minneapolis, and returning to the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis, Film Space at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, and the Marcus Rochester Cinema in Rochester, MN.
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The programming staff of MPSIFF has been scouring international film festivals from Sundance to Berlin, Palm Springs to Toronto, San Francisco to San Sebastian, in addition to sifting through well over a thousand film submissions, to bring its characteristically unique slate of films to Minnesota—films that reflect issues of global and local interest and that would otherwise never be experienced in Twin Cities theaters.
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The complete MSPIFF line-up will be announced on March 14, and will be on view at mspfilm.org. Festival Passes and 6-packs are on sale now at mspfilm.org, with individual ticket sales opening to Film Society Members on March 14 and to the public on March 21.
Thursday
Feb142019

Draft Minneapolis Parks Ecological System Plan opens for 45-day Comment Period

Via a February 14 e-announcement from Minneapolis Park and Rec Board:

Project will set vision for more environmentally friendly Minneapolis parks and public land 

Today, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) published the draft Ecological System Plan for a 45-day public comment period ending Sunday, April 1, 2019. This plan was created to set a vision for making more environmentally friendly parks and public land in Minneapolis.

Follow the links below to view and comment on the updated plan. It's also available to view in person along with paper surveys at the following locations: Carl W. Kroening Interpretive Center, Kenwood Community Center, Lake Nokomis Community Center, Luxton Recreation Center, Lynnhurst Recreation Center, Mary Merrill MPRB Headquarters, North Commons Recreation Center, Northeast Recreation Center and Powderhorn Recreation Center.

Draft Ecological System Plan:

Ch. 1: Introduction

Ch. 2: Water

Ch. 3: Air

Ch. 4: Land

Ch. 5: Life

Ch. 6: Recommendations

Appendix: Maps

Comment on Draft Ecological System Plan

After the public comment period closes, MPRB staff will compile and analyze feedback received and potentially adjust the plan. Then the Board of Commissioners will host a public hearing before considering its approval.

About this project

The Ecological Systems Plan, in conjunction with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, will set a vision for making Minneapolis parks and public lands more friendly to the environment.

Thursday
Feb142019

Minnesota Makers Downtown Store Grand Opening at the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center on Feb 19

The Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center on Nicollet and 5th Street is pleased to announce a grand opening celebration for Minnesota Makers. The event will feature Minnesota artists, a ribbon cutting ceremony, artist showcases and giveaways. Free food samples will be available, as well. Local artists will be onsite throughout the day offering samples of their work; Fast Mary’s, Dancing Bear Chocolate and Bolton Bees are just a few of the artists scheduled to attend.

Festivities take place Tuesday, February 19, 10 - 10:20 a.m. (10-minute program and ribbon-cutting ceremony); artists will be in store until 6 p.m. Location: 505 Nicollet Mall, Suite 100, directly across from the METRO Nicollet station. 

Minnesota Makers features the work of more than 100 Minnesota artists from all over the state, including Minneapolis-centric items like prints, clothing and wood products. Guests shopping at the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center location also will find illustrations by Adam Turman, screen prints by Brian Giehl of Dogfish Media and cutting boards and games by Al Walker of Savanna Woods available for purchase.

The opportunity to purchase locally made products and artwork is just part of what makes the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center unique for visitors, downtown workers and local residents. Visitor center staff answers questions and shares information on what to see and do around Minneapolis, provides maps and has transit resources including all-day $5 transit passes. To get the most out of visiting Minneapolis, consider the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center your one-stop resource. 

For more information on the official grand opening of Minnesota Makers retail, the event invitation is available on Facebook, or visit www.minnesotamakers.net/

Tuesday
Feb122019

Boom Island: One Thing After Another

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

Minneapolis skyline from Boom Island

Boom Island, a once bustling industrial island that has transformed into a large, quaint park. It is home to kayaks and canoes, perfect picnic spots, and great views of the Minneapolis riverfront and skyline. A lot has happened throughout the decades upon these 22.5 acres from 5K’s to concerts, and the history of this land is as much a part of humankind history as it is Minneapolis history.

Before humans started developing Boom Island, it was not a very attractive piece of real estate. The back channel of the island was very shallow which meant it was only a true island during high water, and during the rest of the time it was quite swampy. While little to no activity occurred on the island, a very important site lies just across the back channel. During the first decade of the 20th century a team from the Minnesota Historical Society travelled the state to inventory Native American mounds, pottery shards, stone pictographs, and everything in between. One of their discoveries was an ancient burial mound that was found 15 feet beneath the surface near the northwest corner of present-day B.F. Nelson Park. The soil layer that the bones and relics were found in dated the time of burial to the last glacial period, which ended roughly 12,000 years ago. It is somewhat eerie yet amazing to think that humans have found beauty in the back channels of the Minneapolis riverfront for thousands of years.

It was only when pioneers began settling the area that Boom Island saw significant use. During the years leading up to the establishment of the Village of St. Anthony in 1849, a Mdewakanton Dakota woman, who was in Cloud Man’s band on the shores of Lake Bde Maka Ska, ran a ferry service from Boom Island across the river to the area around the mouth of Bassett Creek using her log canoe. Once the first Hennepin Avenue Bridge opened in 1855, there was no need for a ferry service anymore, but Boom Island gradually transformed into Minneapolis’ lumber milling industry. During the industry’s peak, there were too many sawmills to count, so to make things easier the lumberjacks up in northern Minnesota would apply company stamps to the logs they cut down before they tossed them into the Mississippi. Once the logs floated down to Minneapolis, a boom, which is a bunch of logs chained together across the river from bank to bank, caught the logs at Boom Island where the sawmills would then find their company stamped logs and cut them into lumber. It was a log boom, not an explosion or Fourth of July fireworks, that provided the name for the island.

As the forests of Minnesota started to dwindle, the logging industry slowed down significantly. To make matters worse, in 1893, Minneapolis’ largest fire devastated the area, and most of the debris from the fire was bulldozed into the back channel of the island, which permanently connected it to the east bank. 

Boom Island when the railway owned it. Facing east, taken roughly where the current pedestrian bridge is; roundhouse can be seen in the background.

The turn of the century slowly saw Boom Island change from a sawmill hub to a rail hub. The Wisconsin Central Railway turned the island into a train yard with roughly 28 tracks and a roundhouse. The trains would enter the island via the current pedestrian bridge that connects Boom Island to Nicollet Island. The railway abandoned the train yard in the early 1970s, and the city quickly acquired the land. A few years later that land came close to being used for Interstate 335, which would connect I-94 to I-35W, but the local neighborhood had different plans and became the first neighborhood board to stop a federal project in the US.

After a decade of other industries occupying Boom Island, it was sold to the Minneapolis Park Board in 1982 for $2.6 million. During the clean up of the area, the Park Board also considered digging out the back channel to make it a true island once again, however, that would have been far too expensive. The park was opened in 1987 and was officially completed in 1988. Since then it has been a place to enjoy a walk along the river, launch a boat, have a party, and fly a kite. Important events have also taken place on Boom Island since it has turned into a park. Numerous concerts have been performed on the island from The Pointer Sisters and the Oak Ridge Boys to Hippo Campus and Chance The Rapper. In 1996, the Olympic torch relay made a pit stop at the park to spend the night before heading out on its way to Atlanta.

Credit: Michael Rainville. Jr. Taken at the February 10 Klobuchar event.

Most recently, on a very snowy Sunday along the riverfront, Boom Island became the starting point for Senator Amy Klobuchar’s 2020 presidential campaign. A lot has happened on this 22.5-acre piece of land, and I’m sure there will be more to come.

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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 mrainvillejr@comcast.net.

Tuesday
Feb122019

Black Sheep and Whole Foods February promo to support Hennepin County Libraries

Have an appetite for reading? Stop by Black Sheep Pizza or Whole Foods this month!

  

 

Pizza and groceries for you and support for our Library - it's a win-win!
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Black Sheep Pizza: Order a cheese pizza (item #1 on the menu) by February 28 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit our Library.
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Whole Foods: Bring your own shopping bag to any Twin Cities location through March 31 and you can donate your 10 cent bag credit to our Library.
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Check out Black Sheep Pizza's menu here and find your nearest Whole Foods location here
Monday
Feb112019

Jack Link's announces Valentine's Day “Kiss my SAS(quatch)” event to support Secondhand Hounds

Help Furry Friends this Valentine’s Day at Jack Link’s Sasquatch Kissing Booth

Fundraiser to Benefit Local Secondhand Hounds Pet Adoption At Minneapolis Target Center

 

This Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) Jack Link’s protein snacks is asking local Minneapolis shoppers, “Are you brave enough to kiss the Sas?” To benefit local Minnetonka charity, Secondhand Hounds, the Sasquatch will be hosting his very own kissing booth at the Wildside Store in Minneapolis’ Target Center, 600 N 1st Avenue. For every kiss the Sasquatch receives, Jack Link’s will donate $1 to Second Hand Hounds pet adoption agency.

In addition, furry canine friends from Secondhand Hounds will be on-site and available to meet visitors.

The Wildside store will also be open all day selling last-minute Valentine’s Day essentials, like the clever Jack Link's I Love Sasquatch Gift Box.

Hours of the event are 11:30am – 1:30pm and 3:00pm - 5:30pm.