Kim Eslinger

David Tinjum

Susan Schaefer

Julie Craven

Joan Bennett

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits 

Doug Verdier

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Minneapolis Riverfront News

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


Restaurant Week Winter 2017: Feb 19 - 24

Time to start planning for the upcoming February 19 - 24 Restaurant Week. Celebrate the best of Twin Cities dining with a week's worth of great deals in the Twin Cities' trendiest and best restaurants. Participating restaurants will present specially priced meals (lunch, dinner, or both) that showcase their culinary offerings in the local dining scenes.

In our neighborhood and near by, visit the following restaurants: SanctuaryGinger Hop, Borough, Haute Dish and Smack Shack.


Eat Ice Cream - Support a Local Charity!

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

Izzy’s 13 Days of Giving

Who isn’t in love with Izzy’s? They have become a neighborhood institution and an integral part of hot summer days in the Mill District, with long lines snaking around the building. However, did you know that Izzy’s gives back to the neighborhood in substantive ways?

This is the fourth year Izzy’s is hosting their February event, 13 Days of Giving. Izzy’s makes their delicious ice cream work to help great causes by teaming up with a diverse group of organizations that are bettering our communities in the Twin Cities and beyond.

A portion of each day’s proceeds will be given to a different organization, and Izzy’s will give out information on the important work they’re doing.

The list of organizations is as follows:

February 1st – Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
February 2nd – Love Your Melon
February 3rd – The BrandLab
February 4th (Minneapolis) – Minneapolis Recreation Development
February 4th (St. Paul) – Make-a-Wish Minnesota
February 5th (Minneapolis) – Children’s Theatre Company
February 5th (St. Paul) – Art Shanty Projects
February 6th – Way to Grow
February 7th – Jacob Wetterling Resource Center
February 8th – Roots for the Home Team
February 9th – Mixed Blood Theatre
February 10th – House of Charity
February 11th (Minneapolis)  – Guthrie Theater Foundation
February 11th (St. Paul) – MN National Organization for Women
February 12th (Minneapolis) – Friends of the Mill District
February 12th (St. Paul) – Second Harvest Heartland
February 13th – Minnesota Environmental Partnership

I hope you noticed February 12th! Friends of the Mill District is in the center of our neighborhood and sponsoring events such as the Friends of the Mill District Singers, Yoga in the Park, and a newly proposed acting troupe of teens from the neighborhood. We need your help and appreciate all the ice cream you would eat...for a great cause. It’s a win-win-win choice. Support a neighborhood business, help a worthwhile neighborhood charity, and eat wonderful ice cream.

Claudia can be reached at


What Does the Future Hold for St. Anthony Falls?

What does the future hold for St. Anthony Falls?

That is the main question to be addressed in a panel discussion titled “Water Over the Dam: The Past, Present, and Future of St. Anthony Falls.” The discussion, co-sponsored by the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership (MRP) and Preserve Minneapolis, will take place at the Mill City Museum, 704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 6-7:30 p.m., as part of MRP’s Riverfront Vitality Forum series.

The public is invited. Admission is free. To allow for planning, registration is encouraged.

When the Army purchased land from Dakota Indians for Fort Snelling in 1805, they made sure the land parcel included St. Anthony Falls. The falls was essential as a source of power to saw timber and grind wheat into flour. Over the next 150 years, industrialists used the power of the falls to build our mighty Mill City. Today, the falls represent different things to different people: a tourist attraction, a pleasant view from their living rooms or the center of a vital cultural heritage. 

“With so much interest in the downtown riverfront, events such as this are essential,” says MRP executive director Kathleen Boe. “It’s vital to talk about the different ways our community depends on the water flowing over St. Anthony Falls and I look forward to the discussion.”

The panel members include:
• Peggy E. Lucas, co-founder of Brighton Development and U of M Regent.
• Darlene St. Clair, professor of American Indian Studies at St. Cloud State University.
• Dan Dressler, public programs manager, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, part of the National Park Service.
• Neal Route, development associate for Dominium, owners of the Pillsbury A-Mill.
• Moderator: Richard Kronick, architectural historian and Preserve Minneapolis board member.

Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing diverse community partners together to shape a vital role for the Mississippi River in enhancing the economic, social and natural life of the City of Minneapolis and to ensure that this development benefits all segments of the community.

Preserve Minneapolis is a nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates Minneapolis’s historic architectural and cultural resources through advocacy, education, and public engagement.


Jim Walsh 'Gold Experience: Following Prince in the '90s' Reading and Book Signing Event

Author Jim Walsh will read from and sign copies of his new book Gold Experience: Following Prince in the '90s at the University of Minnesota Bookstore, Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Avenue on Wednesday, February 22 at 4pm. 

Throughout the 1990s, Prince feuded with his record label, Warner Bros., over his rights as an independent recording artist—and made some of the most brilliant music of his career. During that time, Jim Walsh covered Prince for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and wrote about him passionately, thoughtfully, exhaustively. Here, in real time, is that coverage: a clip-by-clip look back at Prince in the ‘90s. Walsh’s newly unearthed interviews, essays, columns, and reviews make Gold Experience an essential slice of history for fans, scholars, and latecomers to the Minneapolis-born musical genius Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958–April 21, 2016).

Join Walsh at the 1994 NBA All-Star game after party and release bash for the single “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.” Accompany him to the after-hours clubs Erotic City, Glam Slam, and, of course, Paisley Park. Meet Prince’s wife and bandmate Mayte (and while you’re at it, take in the wedding and reception). Enjoy a two-hour sit-down interview with Prince. Explore Prince’s veganism, talk to fans in line for a Target Center show, preview the “Jam of the Year” concert and check in at the after party. The passions and influences, from Mozart to funk godfather Larry Graham; the gigs and the Paisley Park garage sale; Walsh’s open letter to the artist and his reflections on religion and spirituality. This is Prince as few have seen him, reported as only Jim Walsh can: a portrait of the artist from a dizzying array of angles, captured in living color for all time.

Jim Walsh
is a Minneapolis-based writer, journalist, columnist, and songwriter and the author of The Replacements: All Over but the Shouting: An Oral History and, with Dennis Pernu, The Replacements: Waxed-Up Hair and Painted Shoes: The Photographic History. His recent book Bar Yarns and Manic-Depressive Mixtapes: Jim Walsh on Music from Minneapolis to the Outer Limits is published by Minnesota. The former music editor at City Pages and pop music columnist at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, he has published in Rolling Stone, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly, Melody Maker, Billboard, Utne Reader, and has been a recipient of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University.


"Celebrating the Voting Rights Act in Minnesota" on display in Hennepin Gallery thru February 27

Via an e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

The exhibition by the Hennepin History Museum features a series of panels focusing on local advocacy on behalf of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The panels are supplemented by an assortment of archival materials related to African American life in Minnesota and Hennepin County in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. These include copies of Beacon and Topic magazines, both mid-century African American publications featuring accomplished black community members and writers. The exhibition also includes a 1947 report on the state of housing and the discriminatory housing practices facing black Minnesotans in Hennepin County and across the state.

The Hennepin Gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Hennepin County Government Center, A-level, 300. S. Sixth St., Minneapolis. The exhibit is sponsored by and a project of the Communications Department. 

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at

Discover how we're making a difference in our communities at


VIDA Online Design introduces Susan Schaefer's Kabbalah Aleph Collection

VIDA, an e-commerce platform that promotes socially responsible shopping, has selected local Minneapolis artist, writer and journalist, Susan Schaefer's Kabbalah Aleph collection of wearable art for their curated design line.

VIDA, founded by Pakistan native Umaimah Mendhro and launched in 2014, connects artists with craftspeople and manufacturers to source and design products, bringing global consciousness and "an impeccable sense of taste to style-seekers through carefully selected artistic partnerships and luxurious, responsibly produced clothing and accessories—starting with a line of tops and scarves," says Mendhro.

VIDA does more than simply cater to fashion enthusiasts – it brings real-world benefits to the people working on its products ensuring that the people producing its products receive livable wages along with literacy and math programs. CEO Mendhro believes today's consumers care deeply about the way in which clothing is made, and that it's important for shoppers to feel connected with the items they buy. She emphasizes how this goes beyond monetary compensation - scarf-makers in Karachi, Pakistan, for instance, earn literacy classes for every 15 scarves produced. A designer is even able to see how many workers will receive classes based on purchases of her products.

Schaefer, more familiar to Twin Citians as a communications business and civic leader, has added visual arts to generate her visual and verbal storytelling practice.

Currently a featured columnist with a well-received series on the Twin Cities' Creative Class for The Southwest Journal and The Journal, and an intermittent photographer and reporter for the online non-profit Mill City Times, Schaefer is also a continuing education student in the University of Minnesota’s (UMN) Fine Arts Department. This past summer, she graduated from St. Catherine’s highly regarded Women’s Art Institute’s Summer Studio Intensive.

Yiddish Immigrant Connection

The Kabbalah Aleph design centrally featured in Schaefer’s inaugural VIDA collection is taken directly from her Recollection: My Lost Yiddish Civilization, a diptych installation featuring ten individually collaged panels arranged in two columns of five, with an artistic nod to the Ten Commandments. Constructed as a remembrance of her own lost Yiddish ancestry and culture, the piece was shown in a group show this past summer at UMN’s Quarter Gallery, adjacent to the Katherine E. Nash Gallery located in Arts Quarter of the West Bank campus.

Recollection: My Lost Yiddish Civilization uses rare archival Schaefer family photographs, ink drawings on paper, fine art papers, found papers, and newsprint. Schaefer taught herself Hebrew script and calligraphy for this project. For VIDA, she scanned a photo of the Hebrew Aleph panel.

"The lost history of the Yiddish civilization is my history, and the mysticism of the Kabbalah my spiritual center. In these trying times where the topic of immigration is a global concern, I’m thrilled that the pieces I will showcase through VIDA have this integral connection to the real life of my family of refugees and immigrants.”

The divine meaning in Hebrew letters

For this particular VIDA collection, the significance of the Hebrew letter Aleph is central. 

Renowned author Paulo Cohelo explains that Hebrew alphabet is not simply a collection of abstract linguistic elements like the English alphabet. All Hebrew letters have names and identities, and in post-Biblical times, numerical values. Cohelo writes, “The Hebrew alphabet contains the precise plan of the principles of creation - each letter a crystallization of one of the aspects of manifestation of the divine word that in turn corresponds to a number and is connected to the creative forces in the universe. The first three mother letters, Aleph, Mem and Shin, form the Divine prime trinity representing the three dimensions of space."

Most important is Aleph whose numerical value of 111 contains the trinity and is also the constant of the magic square of six. 111 = 1 + 10 +100. Symbolically this means that Alephcombines the divine, the spiritual and the physical world. “The mystical precepts of the Kabbalah lean much on these meanings. Wearing my design is fitting for these times when we can all use some extra divine connection,” says Schaefer.

Schaefer's leadership roles include: serving as President of the Public Relations Society of America, Minnesota, chair of the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce’s esteemed Leadership Minneapolis™ program, as well as founder of its Creative Class Public Affairs Committee, and as the executive board member of the Seward Neighborhood Group. For the University of St. Thomas she created and taught the Master’s of Business Communications (MBC) Program’s first public relations curriculum, and is adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Catherine’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) and lecturer in St. Kate’s Leadership Institute.

Schaefer embraces her growing arts reputation. She is active in NEMAA and WARM, has been in a number of juried exhibitions, and beginning March 21st she will have solo photography show at the Birchwood Cafe’s Gallery in her former Seward Neighborhood, her second solo show in six months.

- - -

Editor’s Note: VIDA offers a generous wholesale arrangement for those purchasing multiples. 15% off 5-9 units of a design (code: ARTIST15), 25% for 10-19 (code: ARTIST19), and 35% for 20 or more units (code: ARTIST35). The code appears in the check out window.

For more information contact Susan Schaefer,


Izzy’s 4th Annual 13 Days of Giving going on now, February 1 - 13

For the fourth year running Izzy’s 13 Days of Giving will make tasty scoops work towards great causes, teaming up with a diverse group of organizations that are bettering our communities in the Twin Cities and beyond. A portion of each day’s proceeds will go towards a different organization. The list and order of organizations is posted below, and you can find more info on each organization on Izzy's Events page.

February 1st – Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
February 2nd – Love Your Melon
February 3rd – The BrandLab
February 4th (Minneapolis) – Minneapolis Recreation Development
February 4th (St. Paul) – Make-a-Wish Minnesota
February 5th (Minneapolis) – Children’s Theatre Company
February 5th (St. Paul) – Art Shanty Projects
February 6th – Way to Grow
February 7th – Jacob Wetterling Resource Center
February 8th – Roots for the Home Team
February 9th – Mixed Blood Theatre
February 10th – House of Charity
February 11th (Minneapolis)  – Guthrie Theater Foundation
February 11th (St. Paul) – MN National Organization for Women
February 12th (Minneapolis) – Friends of the Mill District
February 12th (St. Paul) – Second Harvest Heartland
February 13th – Minnesota Environmental Partnership

Izzy’s Ice Cream is located at 1100 Second Street South.


Informational Safety Message from the 1st Precinct

Via a January 30 e-newsletter from Renee Allen, Crime Prevention Specialist with the Minneapolis Police Department, First Precinct:

The theft of a purse or wallet are among the most common crimes. Many thefts are considered crimes of opportunity. You can reduce the opportunity by not leaving your purse unattended; don’t leave it hanging on the back of a chair or by being distracted. If you are carrying a small clutch/wristlet type purse, DO NOT walk with it dangling by the small strap; keep it secured in your hand or pocket. Stay aware of your surroundings and who may be near you. Coffee shops, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, or while walking are all places where the opportunity for theft can occur.

Ask yourself these important questions:

- What was in your wallet or purse?
- Do you know your credit card numbers?
- Do you know the number to call to cancel your credit cards?
- Is your Social Security Card missing?
- Are you missing a check book or ATM card?
- How can I get a new Driver's License?

A great way to have an answer to all of these questions and more is to have an inventory sheet for your financial belongings. This, obviously, needs to be made before a theft occurs, and should be stored in a safe place other than your wallet! 


If possible, keep your phone separate and secured with a lock code.

If your wallet or purse is lost or stolen you should take a few simple actions immediately. A thief most likely will attempt to use your cards within the first hour or two after your items are taken.

Call your credit card company and cancel your cards.
For Discover, call 800-347-2683 (800-DISCOVER); for American Express, call 800-528-4800 for Green card or 800-327-2177 for a Gold card; for Visa/Mastercard you must contact the bank that issued your credit card. This information is probably on your latest bill. If you know the bank name but not the 800 number, call 800-555-1212.

Check for unauthorized activity on your credit cards.
You will want to know amounts, times/dates, and location of all unauthorized activity of your credit cards.

Contact your bank and advise them of any ATM cards or checks that were stolen.
You'll need to know the name of your bank, your account number and which checks are missing.
What were your last few transactions on your ATM card?

Contact the Social Security Administration for a new card.
(800-772-1213) or

Contact all 3 major credit monitoring agencies:
· Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; or
· Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289; or
· Experian: 1-888-397-3742; or

Contact the MN Department of Public Safety/Drivers Licenses.

Contact the Police at 911 or 311 to file a report.

For questions, contact:
Renee Allen,  Crime Prevention Specialist
Minneapolis Police Department, First Precinct
(612) 673-5163


SweetArt Salon des Refusés 2017 at the Northrup King Building

SweetArt Salon des Refusés 2017 - Chocolate, Sweets, Prizes and SweetArt!

Dates: Opening Reception, Thursday, February 2nd - 5:00-9:00 pm
           Saturday, February 4th - Noon - 4:00 pm
           Saturday, February 11th - Noon - 4:00 pm

You're invited to a night of delicious fun, exquisite art and a tiny bit of art history on the 3rd Floor Gallery of the Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson Street NE.

The organizers want YOU to jury the SweetArt Salon des refusés show! Audience jurors will be eligible for a drawing of one of six $50 certificates for delectable dining at fine local NE Minneapolis restaurants. Enjoy a dessert, admire the art and make your decisions! Cash prizes will be awarded to the artists of the top three audience choices: 

First place - $600
Second place - $400
Third place - $200

The SweetArt Salon des Refusés is sponsored by Cedarwoods Foundation, Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA) and the Northrup King Building.


See zAmya’s 2017 Reality Roadshow, Who Wants to Be a Homeless Millionaire?, at one of the two Final Shows, Jan 30 and 31

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

You have only a few more chances to see the current zAmya production, Who Wants to Be a Homeless Millionaire?.  They will be performing at the Capri Theater, 2027 West Broadway, on Monday, January 30 at 7:30pm; and at the Ebenezer Park Apartments, 2700 Park Avenue, on January 31, at 2:00pm.

The 2017 Reality Roadshow takes media stereotypes of homelessness and turns them inside out, exposing the true stories of the streets. With a multi-talented cast of actors, most of whom are or have been homeless; this show will educate and entertain.

Homelessness is a broad topic directly affecting over 10,000 on a nightly basis in Minnesota and indirectly impacting all Minnesotans. This show covers many related issues including foster care, veteran homelessness, shelter systems, addiction and 6 Simple Steps to Living in Your Car. With humor, drama and a song and dance or two, The Reality Roadshow challenges the notion that, in this richest of nations, we must compete for the resources we need to survive.

All Performances are FREE of charge and freewill donations are accepted. $10 bus cards offered at performances for those in need.

Claudia can be reached at


Hippy Feet: Making a Difference One Pair of Socks at a Time

Article by Claudia Kittock

Michael Mader is extraordinary.  He graduated from college in June of 2016, began a new company in September, and by the end of 2016 had manufactured and distributed over 3000 pairs of high quality socks, half of those going to people who are experiencing homelessness. How did this happen? The sequence of events leading up to this point in time are even more extraordinary.

Michael has always been known for his long hair, colorful attire, and even more colorful socks. He loved to ride his longboard, and during one such outing in the summer of 2015, took a horrendous fall that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. Michael needed to take a full semester off from college due to the seriousness of his injury. During that semester, Michael was limited to long, slow walks, and endless hours of resting while watching TV.

One day, while impatiently waiting for his injury to heal, Michael watched an ad for Salvation Army that explained how socks are the most requested, but least donated, clothing item to shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Michael immediately realized he could do something about it.

Michael (left) talks with a homeless man.

When he returned to college in January of 2016, he told his advisor that he wanted to finish all 30 credits that he needed to graduate, and he wanted to finish them in one semester. Michael also told his advisor that he planned to start a company that made socks, and for every pair of socks he sold, he would donate one to a shelter for people experiencing homeless. His advisor explained that this couldn’t be done in one semester, and while it was a worthwhile idea, was a long shot. So, Michael walked down the hallway and knocked on a different professor’s door.  She heard him out, and said, “Let’s do it!”

The first step was to enter college competitions. Michael entered his business plan in his college competition. He came in second out of 2 submissions, but finishing second meant he could now submit it to the statewide competition. At the state level, Michael was able to place 1st, which qualified him for the national competition and he received a $25,000 prize to begin his business. AND he finished 30 credits (a full year of full time work) in one semester!  

When I asked him "Why homelessness?"
he responded, "Why not?  We should
all be concerned!”

Michael graduated in June of 2016, moved to Minneapolis and promptly went to work on creating Hippy Feet. He lives with 2 roommates and his 2 cats, and does all of his work in his apartment. The socks, made from recycled material, are manufactured in North Carolina and then sent to a company in Green Bay to be embroidered. They are then shipped to Michael’s apartment where he ties each in recycled twine, attaches a recycled tag with an explanation of Hippy Feet and sends them to customers.  By the end of 2016, Michael had sold 1500 pairs of socks and distributed another 1500 to people at YouthLink, Listening House, and Women’s Advocates of St. Paul.

Their mission is: “Hippy Feet is a social organization dedicated to serving the homeless community. Socks are among the most requested items at homeless shelters and are crucial to the overall wellbeing of someone facing homelessness. This need, among other hardships faced by the homeless, is one we aim to address. For every pair of socks sold, another will be donated to a homeless shelter. Not only are we passionate about giving back to those in need, but we also strongly believe in preserving our environment and supporting our local economy. Each pair of socks is constructed of environmentally friendly materials and made in the USA.”

Hippy Feet was at Holidazzle, and will be at Red Bull Crashed Ice on February 4. Michael has also organized volunteers to walk the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul handing out socks to people who appear to be in need.  He hopes to continue to create more volunteer opportunities for people to do more outreach this summer.

Michael has also dedicated his business to hiring people who are transitioning from homelessness.  He is in the process of applying for 501©3 status, and when that is granted he'll be able to expand his plan and provide further employment opportunity to the homeless community.

This is truly an extraordinary young man, with an exciting business. I bought 5 pairs to give out as Christmas gifts, and I can attest to the quality of these socks. It’s impossible to meet Michael and not be excited about what he is doing.  When I asked him "Why homelessness?"’ he responded "Why not?  We should all be concerned!”

How can you help this exciting business? There are a number of ways:

• Visit his website at
• Follow Hippy Feet on Facebookand Instagram (@hippyfeetsocks).
• Buy socks!
• Contact Michael at with questions, comments, and ideas to help him expand his business.
• Stay tuned for additional volunteer opportunities!

Claudia can be reached at


Exploring the Upper River: Sheridan Memorial Park

Article by Kathleen Boe, Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership

Exploring the Upper River

A look at places that are hidden gems along the Minneapolis Riverfront

At the end of 13th Street NE in Minneapolis is one of the city’s hidden gems: Sheridan Memorial Park.

Head west, down 13th Street, past the old Grain Belt brewery and you find yourself in Sheridan Memorial Park. One of the newest parks in the city of Minneapolis, the park was dedicated just over two years ago. It is an important place, not just for Northeast Minneapolis or the city as a whole, but the entire state.

Sheridan Memorial Park is dominated visually by the orange globe in the center. The real significance is that it serves as a veterans memorial park for the entire state of Minnesota – recognizing those who served in 10 conflicts the U.S. has been involved with since statehood – starting with the Civil War.

The Sheridan Neighborhood Association worked with World War II veterans to get this accomplished. The veterans’ stories can literally be found all around the memorial. Pillars around the perimeter of the memorial give a brief synopsis of each conflict, along with a veteran’s personal story. The pillars also record the number of Minnesotans killed in each conflict, from seven in the Persian Gulf War to 104 Minnesota soldiers and militia and 30-50 Dakota warriors in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 to 7,903 in World War II.

Each also prominently features a bronze casting of the face of a veteran of the conflict. The Civil War pillar cites Patrick Henry Taylor, who was a sergeant in the First Minnesota Regiment. His brother, Isaac, was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg. “Isaac has not fallen in vain. He died for a noble cause. As we laid him down, I remarked, ‘Well, Isaac, all I can give you is a soldier’s grave.’ I then sat down on a stone while two comrades buried him.”

The most touching pillar is from World War II, featuring a casting of the face of Howard Weller, who was the last surviving member of a group of more than a dozen people, headed by Ed Karbo, Sr., who got the ball rolling on a veterans memorial. Weller, who lived in northeast Minneapolis for more than 50 years, is depicted with oxygen tubes to help him breathe.

Although the memorial is in place, the park itself is still a work in progress.  The Minneapolis Park Board plans to expand this park as part of the continued expansion of parkland along the east bank of the Mississippi River. The Park Board was awarded a federal grant of $500,000 to help fund improvements in the form of a picnic shelter, restrooms and a playground at Sheridan Memorial Park.

The park is accessible not just by car, but by foot or bicycle along the new East Bank Trail. It’s a reasonable walk from Boom Island, along the river through the former Scherer site and past Graco. From the overlook on the edge of the park you can see the river and see across the river to where more green space sits, in front of Broadway Pizza, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Lifesource building. Parkland is expanding to the northern reaches of the City.

While you’re there, warm up with a drink at SiP Coffeebar, or if you’re craving something different, try Bunny’s Bar and Grill. You won’t regret it.

I'll be back each month to talk about some other unsung spaces along the Upper River.

Kathleen Boe is Executive Director of the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership. She can be reached at via email, or on the web.


City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Select Development Team to Pursue Redevelopment of Upper Harbor Terminal Site

Via a January 27 News Release form the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board:

The City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) have selected a master developer team to work with them to pursue redevelopment of the 48-acre City-owned Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) site. The selection was approved by the City Council on January 13 and by the MPRB on January 25, and the Mayor of Minneapolis has concurred with both actions.

The team selected as master developer is led by United Properties and also includes THOR Development and First Avenue Productions. All three of the partners are local firms with extensive experience and capacity that were key factors in their selection.

“I am very excited to work with United Properties, THOR and First Avenue as their redevelopment concept for Upper Harbor takes form,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for North Minneapolis with much yet to be done, so the community should and will continue to be fully involved in what happens at Upper Harbor. I look forward to the day when the residents of North Minneapolis have full access to the beautiful riverfront, world-class amenities, and the many economic opportunities that this redevelopment has the potential for.”

“The Upper Harbor Terminal site represents an unprecedented opportunity to unlock public riverfront access in North Minneapolis,” said MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller. “We are thrilled to keep moving forward in our mission to provide equitable access to Minneapolis’ world-class environmental resources.”

“This is a well-known, highly regarded development team that has provided us with an exciting vision for the Upper Harbor,” said Council President Barbara Johnson, “I look forward to the opportunities this project will bring for North Minneapolis.”

“I’m impressed that three highly regarded local companies have banded together to try and get this complicated project started; if anyone can succeed they will!” said Ward 7 Council Member Lisa Goodman, Chair of the Minneapolis Community Development & Regulatory Services Committee.

The Council and MPRB actions also authorized their staffs to negotiate a three-party exclusive rights agreement with the development team. This agreement will guide the site planning process that the City, MPRB and development team will complete, with community input, to formulate a coordinated plan and implementation strategy. The goal is to transform the site from its previous use as a barge-shipping terminal to a new mixture of riverfront parkland and private development. Once the terms of this exclusive rights agreement are negotiated, City Council and MPRB authorization to execute the agreement will be sought.

The selection of the development team is not an approval of the initial development program that was submitted by the team. These development concepts will be used as a starting point for the site planning process, but extensive community input remains to be completed, and many factors need to be thoroughly evaluated to determine what will actually be feasible and desirable. Future Council and MPRB actions will be needed to approve the actual development plan and a multitude of implementation steps.

The MPRB and City will host a community open house and meeting at which the public may provide input as to what would make the redevelopment equitable and what community engagement approaches should be used for the planning process. This meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 31 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the MPRB headquarters, 2117 W. River Road N., Nokomis Conference Room (first floor). 

From 6:00-7:30 p.m. it will be an open house format where attendees will be able to visit various stations and share their feedback about community engagement and equitable development as well as learn about other MPRB projects and planning initiatives in the Upper River including the North Service Area Master Plan; 26th Avenue N. Overlook and Greenway; Scherer Bros site; RecQuest; Great Northern Greenway, and more. From 7:30-9:00 p.m., discussions about the project will continue as part of the monthly meeting of the Above the Falls Community Advisory Committee. Light refreshments will be provided, and the event will be family-friendly.

For information about the Upper Harbor Terminal site, the January 31 open house, and the request for qualifications process to seek a developer visit the Upper Harbor terminal website.


Meet Minneapolis Marks the Passing of Mary Tyler Moore

Via a January 25 e-newsletter from Meet Minneapolis:

Mary Tyler Moore statue at Minneapolis Visitor Information honors the character who turned the world on with her smile

Meet Minneapolis is mourning the passing of Mary Tyler Moore, whose 1970s sitcom put Minneapolis on the map in the now-classic Mary Tyler Moore Show. During her long and successful career, she starred in more than 50 television shows and 15 films, winning six Emmys, a Tony Award and an Academy Award nomination.

“Mary Tyler Moore played the most famous TV resident Minneapolis has ever had,” said Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant. “Mary Richards was a character so many people looked up to for her independence, her humor and her spirit. To have her associated with our city has been an honor over the years.

“The 1970s were a time when IDS Center was rising from the ground, Nicollet Mall was still new, and lots of change was coming to Minneapolis,” Tennant said. “The Mary Tyler Moore show, with its images of Minneapolis and frequent references to the city, really brought our growing city onto a national stage. For many people who don’t live here, the Mary Tyler Moore show is what created the image they have in their head of our city—the downtown streetscape, our lakes and parks, the Crystal Court, Basil’s Restaurant and the Kenwood house with the apartment everyone loved. Mary Tyler Moore and her most famous character are indelibly tied to Minneapolis.”

The Mary Tyler Moore statue

Minneapolis Visitor Information is proud to be the home of the Mary Tyler Moore statue, which has been beloved by tourists and locals since TV Land first placed the statue on Nicollet Mall in 2001. It captures the iconic moment Mary throws her tam in the air during the opening credits. The statue, formerly located at Nicollet and 7th Street, moved into the visitor center during the reconstruction of Nicollet.

Locals and visitors who want to see the statue can stop in Minneapolis Visitor Information, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends, at 505 Nicollet. The center is located in the CenterPoint Energy Building, right off the Nicollet Mall METRO station. Visitors will be allowed to place flowers near the statue to commemorate Mary’s life.

To learn more about Mary Tyler Moore’s connections to Minneapolis, visit


Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit to the greater Minneapolis area. 

Meet Minneapolis is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International.

Find out more:

Online: and


On Twitter:

On Pinterest


Report Those Potholes!

Holy cow - There are some nasty potholes out there! (Okay, this picture isn't an actual Minneapolis pothole, but it sure feels like it when you can't avoid bottoming out in a particularly deep one.)

According to a recent e-newsletter from 3rd Ward City Council Member Frey, an extra $1 million is being allocated for pothole repair to accelerate patching up our streets.

The City encourages residents to report these alignment killers. You can do so here:


Here's the Full 10-day Itinerary for The Great Northern, Jan 26 - Feb 4

The Great Northern, presented by Target, will officially kick off this week and bring the people of Saint Paul and Minneapolis together to embrace the cold and celebrate winter in the great outdoors. The celebration begins Thursday, Jan. 26, with 10 days of outdoor events spotlighting iconic Minnesota traditions, original food and arts programming, and much more.

In addition to unveiling the full list of events, Metro Transit has announced its partnership with the Saint Paul Winter Carnival on Saturday, Jan. 28 and Saturday, Feb. 4, and the City of Lakes Luminary Loppet Race on Saturday, Feb. 4, and will provide free rides to the events. The free, downloadable pass can be used to travel on any Metro Transit bus or rail route from noon to 10 p.m. on those dates for guests to enjoy all the winter fun. In addition, the new Hewing Hotel is offering a discounted room rate to anyone attending The Great Northern events. Whether it is a winter staycation or a visit to Saint Paul and Minneapolis, these offers are yet another reason to experience how we do winter in the North.

The Great Northern is a new collaborative winter experience founded by event leaders from the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival, and Eric Dayton of Askov Finlayson. The Great Northern was created to champion winter and help reposition the season from a liability to one of our greatest assets. Its foundational winter experiences and new programming celebrate Minnesota's unique offerings and further enhance the state's reputation as a national destination for winter activity at its best.

Below is a sampling of food, arts and entertainment programming to showcase the breadth of events across Saint Paul and Minneapolis. For a complete calendar of events, visit

Thursday, January 12 – Sunday, February 19

Fire & Ice: A Winter Carnival Art Show
A special exhibition of creations from more than 75 local artists. More information here.
Date: Thursday, January 12 – Sunday, February 19
Location: AZ Gallery, 308 Prince Street, Saint Paul
Time: Thursday and Friday, 5 – 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Thursday, January 26 – Sunday, January 29

Saint Paul Winter Carnival Ice Carving Contest in Rice Park
One of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival’s signature events, these beautiful ice carving masterpieces are created by area artists. Viewing starts at the beginning of the competition and goes through Saturday, February 4.
Date: Thursday, January 26 – Sunday, January 29
Location: Rice Park
Time: Multi-Block Competition: 7 p.m. Thursday, January 26 – 7 p.m. Saturday, January 28
Individual Block Competition: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday, January 29
Cost: Free

Friday, January 27 – Sunday, January 29

Hard Rock Café and Labatt Blue Blue Zone at the U.S. Pond Hockey Tournament
Fans and players at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships can kick back at the Hard Rock Café and stop by the Labatt Blue Blue Zone, voted one of the ‘World’s Best Hockey Bars.’
Time: Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lake Nokomis
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available for purchase

Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Contest
The competition begins on Friday, January 27 at 8 a.m. and ends Sunday, January 29 at 1 p.m., with viewing available through Saturday, February 4. For more information, please visit
Date: Friday, January 27 – Sunday, January 29
Location: Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Time: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
Cost: Free

Saturday, January 28 – Sunday, January 29

2017 Winter Jazz Festival
The 2017 Winter Jazz Festival is an outdoor music festival across Saint Paul. For more information, please visit
Date: Saturday, January 28 – Sunday, January 29
Location:St. Paul Hotel, Street Space at TPT, Vieux Carre, Golden’s Lowertown, Black Dog Café, and Rice Park
Time: Performances start at 5 p.m. Saturday, January 28, see website for complete schedule.
Cost: $15

Sunday, January 29

B-Lectric Presented by Northern and Barbette
Northern and French bistro, Barbette, are teaming up to bring custom ice walls, light-based art and much more to Uptown for one night only. For details, please visit
Date: Sunday, January 29
Location: Barbette, 1600 W Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 
Time: 4:30 – 9 p.m., projections begin at 5:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Monday, January 30

A Winter Table from The Bachelor Farmer, Spoon and Stable, and Meritage
The Bachelor Farmer’s Paul Berglund and Spoon and Stable’s Gavin Kaysen will present an elegant seven-course outdoor dining experience, complete with luminaries, bonfires, and more.
Date: Monday, January 30 at 5:30 p.m.
Location: North First Street in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis
Tickets:$395 (incl. all tax, gratuity, valet and beverage pairings), to purchase, visit:

Monday, January 30 – Friday, February 5

Living Banners and Words for WinterPresented by Northern with support from The Minneapolis Foundation and the Downtown Improvement District

The Minneapolis Foundation and the Downtown Council team up with Northern Spark to bring two poetry-inspired installations, Living Banners by Piotr Szyhalski and Words for Winter, to the Nicollet Mall. The word-laden works will kick off with a spectacular recorded sound and light show in Peavey Plaza on January 30.
Date: Monday, January 30 – Friday, February 5
Location: Nicollet Mall 
Time: All day. Sound and light shows on January 30 are hourly, starting at 5:20 p.m. Final showing at 8:20 p.m.
Cost: Free

Tuesday, January 31

Saint Paul Winter Carnival Frozen Family Fun Night
Frozen Family Fun Night features live music from Koo Koo Kanga Roo, visits from the Saint Paul Mounted Police, Winter Carnival Junior Royalty, and more.
Time: 5 – 8 p.m.
Location: Rice Park
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available for purchase

Saint Paul Chef’s Experience from Saint Dinette, Revival, and Corner Table
Join Chef Thomas Boemer of Corner Table and Revival, and Chef Adam Eaton of Saint Dinette for a French Canadian-inspired, outdoor winter feast. Craft beverages available for purchase from master minds Tim Niver, Laurel Elm, and Nick Rancone.
Time: 6 – 9 p.m.
Location: Saint Paul Farmers Market
Tickets:$30 (incl. entry, tax and food), to purchase, visit:

Wednesday, February 1

Ice to Spice Boca Chica Restaurante y Cantina and El Burrito Mercado Present Cinco Night in Rice Park
Cinco de Mayo takes over Rice Park, where guests can enjoy authentic tamales, elotes, a jalapeno eating contest and live music.
Time: 5 – 8 p.m.
Location: Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Rice Park
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available for purchase.

Surly Kraftskivan from Brewer’s Table and Heirloom, featuring 612 Sauna Society
Surly’s Executive Chef Jorge Guzman and Wyatt Evans of Saint Paul’s Heirloom host a wintery outdoor Kraftskivan crayfish party at Surly Brewing Co. Guests can also experience the nation’s first community-owned mobile sauna, courtesy of 612 Sauna Society.  
Time: 6 – 9 p.m.
Location: Surly Brewing Co. Beer Garden
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available on-site and for pre-purchase here.  

Wednesday, February 1 – Saturday, February 4

The Frozen Film Festival
Presented by the Saint Paul Film Festival, the Second Annual Frozen Film Festival celebrates independent film, while enhancing the global recognition of Saint Paul as an artistic center for the Midwest. More information at
Date: Wednesday, February 1 – Saturday, February 4
Location: Weyerhaeuser Auditorium and TPT Street Space
Time: Screening times can be found here
Cost:VIP Passes to attend any film or festival event are $99, but individual tickets are also available.

Thursday, February 2

“Not Your Father’s” Happy Hour
Enjoy a Not Your Father’s Root Beer or Ginger Ale, beer, or wine, while Saint Paul’s own Black Market BBQ will be serving up Not Your Father’s Root Beer glazed ribs and live music from White Iron Band.
Time: 5 – 8 p.m.
Location:  Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Rice Park
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available for purchase. 

Friday, February 3 – Sunday, February 5

Surly Beer Garden & Food Trucks
Fans and participants can enjoy a Surly Beer and grab a bite to eat from a selection of local food trucks in the Loppet Village during the three-day City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival.
Time: Friday, 5 – 9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Loppet Village Area
Tickets: Free festival, food and beverage available for purchase.

Saturday, February 4

The 8th Annual Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival
Minnesota’s biggest outdoor beer festival is an annual tradition, complete with craft beer from 120+ breweries, live music, gourmet meat and cheese showcase from Lunds and Byerlys, and local food trucks.
Time: 2:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Location: Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Tickets: 21+ event, to purchase tickets, visit:

Luminary Loppet
Lake of the Isles will be transformed into a luminary wonderland for participants to ski, snowshoe, or stroll around to see hundreds of luminaries and ice structures, before heading to the REI Luminary Party.
Date: Saturday, February 4
Location: Lake of the Isles
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $26/adult and $12/youth through January 31, $30/adult and $20/youth through February 4. 
Register here.

Post-Luminary Party
Luminary Loppet participants displaying their glow stick can enjoy a live outdoor concert—with Surly beer and a selection of local food trucks. 
Time: 7 – 10 p.m.
Location: Lagoon between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles
Tickets:Concert/Party is free for Luminary Loppet participants displaying their glow stick, $10 for everyone else. Food and beverage available for purchase. More Information.

For more information about The Great Northern and its partnering organizations, and to sign up for updates, visit and connect with The Great Northern on Facebook and Instagram@TheGreatNorthernFestival, and on Twitter@GreatNorthern.


The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival Returns April 2017


Via a January 24 Press Release from The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul:

The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul today announced the dates for the 36th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. This year’s lineup will feature the latest bold, exciting and moving works from new and veteran filmmakers from around the world. The festival returns April 13-29, 2017 to cinemas throughout the Twin Cities.

This year, the festival — one of the longest-running in the nation — will expand to include select screenings at the Capri Theater in Minneapolis, in addition to showing at the St. Anthony Main Theatre, the Uptown Theatre and Metropolitan State University’s Film Space. Other additions include a virtual reality exhibition and experimental film program, a program of films by African and African American filmmakers supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a selection of Finnish films in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Finland, and a showcase of new international television series.

For 36 years, the staff of The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul has scoured international film festivals — from Sundance and Toronto to Berlin, Palm Springs, Busan, Guadalajara and San Sebastian — to bring a unique slate of international films to the Twin Cities that might otherwise never be screened in this market. Last year’s record-breaking 45,158 attendees explored films from 72 countries.

“For 36 years, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival has helped to cultivate this region’s appreciation of international cinema, delivering audiences to remote and renowned locations around the globe, building bridges between cultures, geographies, people, and communities,” said Susan Smoluchowski, Executive Director of the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, MSPIFF’s non-profit parent organization. “This year, the festival’s lineup will feature an exciting slate of new, groundbreaking works in every genre, from both new and experienced filmmakers from around the world as well as standout talent from our local filmmaking community.”

The complete festival schedule will be announced March 23.  Festival Passes and 6-packs are on sale now through, with individual ticket sales opening on March 23 to Film Society Members and to the public on March 30.  Discounts up to 10 percent off apply for early bird pass purchases. MSPIFF is presented by the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, a dynamic 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to fostering a knowledgeable and vibrant appreciation of the art of film and its power to inform and transform individuals and communities.

The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival is generously supported by the Star Tribune, Cedarwoods Foundation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Minnesota State Arts Board Legacy Amendment Funding, National Endowment for the Arts, McKnight Foundation, US Bank, Indeed Brewing Company, Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, numerous international Consulates, and the 2,000+ Members of the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul.


Smith & Porter Opens for Dinner Tonight, January 24

Opening for dinner tonight, January 24, at 428 South 2nd Street in the new Abiitan Mill City building, Smith & Porter will offer evening dining with contemporary entrées and small plates, vegetarian options and a full bar with a tailored selection of wines and locally crafted spirits and beers.

They will be open for dinner seven days a week, and reservations can be made through OpenTable.  The restaurant is two blocks from the Guthrie Theater and the Mill City Museum, and across the street from the MacPhail Center for Music.

The Executive Chef is Kirt Akerstrom, who most recently was Executive Chef at Red Cow. Akerstrom previously was the Corporate Executive Chef for the Alex’s/Bonfire brand. He also has 12 years experience in Asian fusion cooking that includes all the cuisines of Southeast Asia, and was classically trained at Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

The restaurant concept and menu was developed in consultation with prominent Chef Pat Weber, whose Mise en Place consulting business has worked with top Minneapolis restaurants, including Birchwood Café and Smack Shack.

John Gleason is the Food & Beverage Director at Smith & Porter. Most recently he managed the opening of Giordano’s Pizza in Uptown Minneapolis after opening three locations in Chicago.

The General Manager is Nick Patraw, who previously managed Ling and Louie’s and Giordano’s in the Twin Cities. He also was general manager at CopperWynd Luxury Resort in Scottsdale, AZ.

Smith & Porter’s sister concept, the Porter Café, located adjacent to the restaurant, will open in early February, 2017.  It will offer the Mill City Neighborhood a breakfast and lunch option, with barista-inspired warm and cold beverages, daily features and specially prepared entrées, along with grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options. The café will be open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Smith & Porter is on Facebook, Instagram and Yelp. The restaurant’s website will soon be live at


Renowned Local Artist Aldo Moroni Presents “Forty Years” Exhibition and Events

Solo exhibition “Forty Years” features works created by Aldo Moroni

Renowned local artist, Aldo Moroni, is celebrating his 40th year as professional fine artist by presenting a collection of 40 works of art. Most are ceramic wall sculpture sconces that light up (a sample of which is pictured above). There will also be a collection of free standing ceramic garden sculptures. Moroni’s images are architectural, and reflect his lifelong love affair with the city history and architecture.

The featured work is a very large 10 foot long, 4 foot tall, ceramic mountain scape populated with hundreds of small scale buildings. This work will be under construction throughout the show run, with Moroni on site between 11:00am and 2:00pm Monday through Friday as he creates this massive work. The mountain scape is titled “The Wrath of Vanity”. The piece shows bold, threatening skyscrapers surrounding and looking down on a ghetto of dilapidated burned out buildings. It is about the haves and the have-nots. It is about power and the abuse of power. Some of the skyscrapers have names emblazoned across them, such as Frump Tower, Chump Tower and Grump Tower. Per Moroni, "Yes, this is political!" 

The opening reception is Wednesday, January 25, 4:00pm - 9:00pm at ChinDian, 1500 East Hennepin Avenue, with courtesy appetizers and a cash bar.

Exhibition dates: January 25 -­ February 15
Hours: Monday ­ Thursday 11:00am ­ 2:30pm
            Friday 11:00am ­ 2:30pm
            Saturday 5:00pm ­ 9:00pm
            Sunday CLOSED

Associated events at ChinDian include:

Gallery Artist Talk
February 8, 2:00pm - 3:00pm Tea service
Moroni will present a 1 hour discussion with images of his 40-year experience in the art world. Names will be named and stories will be told.

Valentine Singles Night (Couples can sneak in!)
February 14, 5:00pm -­ 9:00pm
This one is a party. It’s about meeting and greeting new people. Attendees who would like to have dinner should call ahead and reserve a table, 612-676-1818.
Parking: Free lot, metered on-street

Moroni's first museum exhibition, "Scale and Environment, ten sculptors", was curated by Martin Friedman and was presented at The Walker Art Center in 1979. Moroni has an international following, but has always been based in Minneapolis. He is a fellow of Arts Midwest, The National Endowment for The Arts, The Minnesota State Arts Board, The McKnight Foundation, The Bush Foundation and others. His works are included in more than 50 public collections and thousands of private collections, and has had more than 100 exhibitions across the country. He can be reached at or 612-806-7719.


Demetrius Young - a People Serving People Success Story

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

I was honored to be in the audience on a night when Demetrius Young, a former guest of People Serving People, gave a speech about his experiences there. If you have ever wondered about the experience of being homeless as a child, or about the impact People Serving People has on the guests who stay there, please read these words from Demetrius:

"My family and I came here to Minnesota to start a new life, my mom had previously lived up here many years ago and knew that she wanted to come back. We came here with no money and on perhaps the coldest day of the entire month of November. As children my two sisters and I were cold, frightened, and completely oblivious to the fact that my mom felt all these emotions as well. We were lost and wandering around downtown Minneapolis looking for century plaza carrying heavy luggage. Now it’s bad enough to carry heavy luggage but to do it on a freezing cold day was even worse. We sat down to rest in front of the fountain on 10th and Nicollet and my mom had admitted to me later that at that moment she wanted to give up because we had been wandering for hours. At that moment a lady who I consider an angel came up to my mom and said “you look lost where are you headed?” my mom told her and she said well you are in luck if you keep walking that way a couple of more blocks you will run right into it.

It was through Century plaza that we found People Serving People and the wonderful people who worked there. It was there that even in the chaos of us being displaced that I felt as a family we were safe. While my mom had a goal for us not to spend Christmas there, I feel had it not been for the case managers and other supportive staff we would have not completed that goal. While we did leave and get our own place, my mom applied for the transitional housing program that was offered where at the end of the program you get to move into a town house.

While in the program my sisters and I got to participate in a mentorship program where college students would come and hang out with us and just spend time. It was here that I first thought about going to college.

It had been a while since I had been back to visit People Serving People, as my family moved back to Chicago to help take care of my grandma when she got sick. I reconnected with People Serving People through my summer internship that I had working with Mayor Hodges and her talking is teaching initiative. I had kept in touch with Margo who was one of the angels that really helped my family with school supplies and just caring about where we went in life.

I don’t like to think of an alternative for myself and my life because I feel that everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen but I know that my mom, my sisters and myself would not be the people we are today without People Serving People.

I am a senior graduating in the spring from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota with a degree in human services because I want to help people the way I was helped.

I want you to know that what you do no matter how little matters, because it mattered to me. 

Thank you."

Demetrius is one of thousands of people who have benefited from the help they received at People Serving People. Located in the Mill District at 614 3rd Street South, it is designed to help homeless and at-risk children and their families manage crisis situations and build a strong foundation for their long-term success. It is the largest and most comprehensive, family-focused homeless shelter in Minnesota. The 10-story building has 99 emergency housing units and 10 two-bedroom supportive housing apartments. According to the recent “Homelessness in Minnesota” study by Wilder Research, children with parents continue to make up over one-third of the state’s homeless population. The 99 emergency housing units are consistently at or near capacity.

People Serving People statistics for 2015:

  • Served 3,086 individuals in 1,125 families experiencing homelessness
  • Served, on average, 348 guests each day  
  • Served families 41 days as an average length of stay
  • 16 years old was the average age of all guests
  • 59% of guests were children, 6 years old was the average age of the children
  • 415 children enrolled in the early childhood development classrooms
  • 790 children learned, enjoyed, and connected with peers in after-school enrichment and activities
  • 238 parents found employment
  • 305 parents learned and supported each other in parent engagement
  • 271 guests participated in mental health skills and support groups
  • 10 low-income adults graduated from our Culinary Arts Training program
  • 5,000 volunteers donated 30,009 volunteer hours
  • 235,669 meals were served
  • 35-40 school buses arrived daily to transport children to schools in Hennepin County

People Serving People fills a vital niche in our community. Without them, families would have few resources.  They manage to serve the entire family and provide resources and support for each member of each family during their stay. People Serving People takes a comprehensive approach to helping families experiencing homelessness. They begin with the basics, providing families with a safe place to stay, access to basic toiletries, and three nutritious meals a day in their kitchen/dining hall. When immediate basic needs are met, families can begin to address the barriers they face to achieving stability.

As a part of their efforts to increase the stability of children in the community, People Serving People is embarking on a new external initiative, the Center of Excellence. This initiative not only expands their physical presence to two sites, it also marks a shift in their service population to include children and families at-risk of becoming homeless. Operating upstream of the shelter system will help stabilize families to prevent them from becoming homeless. The Center is located in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, within the Lutheran Social Services Center for Changing Lives building. It will feature early education, school-age support, and parental engagement services to homeless and at-risk children and their families. In addition to building on their strength providing direct care services, the Center will feature research, development, and training to improve the field of family resilience and trauma-informed education and service. People Serving People plans to scale up the Center, beginning with early childhood classrooms opening this spring.

How can you help? People Serving People’s work is fueled by the generosity of volunteers and donors. Check out the many ways of getting involved at their website,

Claudia can be reached at

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Editor's note:

People Serving People has two upcoming Chefs for Change events during which you have the opportunity to tour the facility prior to enjoying a fabulous multi-course meal. Click on the link to learn more!

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