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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.


Explore local music and expand your Minnesota playlist with MnSpin

Via a December 13 e-newsletter from Hennepin County Library:

MnSpin - It's like iTunes, but free!

This week, Hennepin County Library is launching MnSpin, a new music streaming and download platform that will give music lovers and seekers access to 50-plus curated albums by local artists and groups. 

“Libraries have a long tradition of making music available to patrons, including sheet music, vinyl records, cassettes or CDs,” said Library Director Lois Langer Thompson. “This project makes local music available to our patrons in a 21st century format – by streaming and download. We have such a rich and diverse local music scene, and any music lover can find something new and exciting through MnSpin.” 

Inspired by models already cranking on library websites based in places like Seattle, Portland and Nashville, Hennepin County Library worked with Madison-based MUSICat to create a platform to accept contributions from musicians. The library recruited a diverse group of curators to pare 325 disparate contributions into a collection that reflects our community’s varied and vibrant music scene. 

A playlist picked for you

Five curators included local music leaders and library staff members who have deep roots in the Twin Cities music scene: 

  • Maria Jette, vocal performer of classical and contemporary music 
  • Jessica Rau, program and artistic director for the Minneapolis’ Cedar Cultural Center
  • J.D. Steele, member of The Steeles and director of the MacPhail Community Youth Choir 
  • Matt Dahl, Hennepin County Library specialist
  • Chris Latchana, Hennepin County Library office specialist 

Steele said he joined the effort because it sounded exciting to shed light on emerging artists and established artists who continue to produce great work. He listened to music from each one of the artists who made the first cut.

“The diversity was quite mind boggling,” he said. “It showed that we have a very diverse music scene that often gets overlooked when people focus on the ‘Minneapolis sound.’ The Minneapolis sound is more than one sound.”

Learn more about our curators.

A ticket to listen

Your Hennepin County Library card is a ticket to stream or download music from MnSpin; and music lovers everywhere can discover and stream music created in our hometowns. For decades, Minnesotans have been musical innovators. Hennepin County Library is proud to play a part in spreading the word about new, sometimes undiscovered, and always varied music that is constantly being created in Minnesota. 

The final MnSpin collection includes, rock, hip-hop, folk, country, R&B, jazz and more. Some of the artists are brand new to the Twin Cities scene; others have been recording and performing in major venues for years.

Shreya Preeti, of Minneapolis, finished recording and producing her album, “Entrance,” last spring. Since then, she not only submitted the album to MnSpin, she had a debut performance at 7th Street Entry, as well as two other well-received Twin Cities gigs, before beginning a stint in graduate school in Chicago. 

She describes her sound as R&B with a pop influence, but notes that she is committed to incorporating any sound she likes into her own style, which she calls, “a love child of being in Minneapolis and listening to great music,” Preeti said. “Minneapolis is already such a big music scene and I want to be part of that.”  

The Friends of the Hennepin County Library, the system’s funding partner, provided a $200 per-album stipend for each act.  

Find the names of the other inaugural artists at MnSpin, or browse from  


City of Minneapolis STEP-UP Youth Employment Program Now Accepting Applications for 2018 Summer Internship Placements

Via a December 11 e-newsletter from the City of Minneapolis:

City of Minneapolis STEP-UP Youth Employment Program Now Accepting Applications for 2018 Summer Internship Placements

The City of Minneapolis youth employment program STEP-UP began accepting applications for 2018 summer internship placements today.  Eligible Minneapolis youth ages 14-21 who are interested in participating in the 2018 STEP-UP class have until Feb. 16, 2018, to complete an application online.

"Today I’m seeing STEP-UP come full circle through a new generation of young professionals in this city—young professionals who are still benefitting from the skills and connections they gained through STEP-UP years ago," said Mayor Betsy Hodges, "And as Minneapolis grows and changes, it is up to us to continue to provide opportunities for our young people so they can join that network of young professionals thriving in our city."

“Providing opportunity for all is key to ensuring that Minneapolis is on the leading edge of creativity in cities,” said Ward 3 Council Member and Mayor-elect Jacob Frey. “Youth employment programs like STEP-UP are crucial not just to advancing racial equity and economic inclusion, but to ensuring that future employers will be able to harness the full potential of their diverse and talented workforce.”

STEP-UP is one of the country’s premier youth employment programs, serving Minneapolis youth who face some of the greatest barriers to employment. Since the program was launched, it has provided over 27,000 internship opportunities. In addition to  summer jobs with more than 220 top Twin Cities companies, nonprofits and public agencies, STEP-UP offers work-readiness training, mock interviews, advanced-level internships and industry-specific career opportunities that help interns integrate their career exposure with post-secondary education and career planning. 

“STEP-UP taught me how to participate in a professional work environment. I learned small skills throughout my internship, such as how to write emails in an appropriate and professional manner and how to manage time and complete tasks on my own. My internship made me feel more confident to apply for college and future jobs,” said Esanda, a STEP-UP intern at Artspace.

Prior to being placed in their internships, youth receive work-readiness training certified by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce that prepares them for a professional work environment. Returning interns receive advanced training that helps them deepen their professional skills. Throughout their internship, they gain valuable on-the job skills, make strong professional connections, and become exposed to careers they may have not otherwise accessed without STEP-UP.

“STEP-UP gave me the experience of what it is like working in a hospital. I saw the daily routines of hospital personnel in my clinic and got a feeling for what it's like working a real job, 8 a.m. -4 p.m.,” said Syvie, a STEP-UP intern at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC).

“Our managers who work directly with STEP-UP interns are the luckiest people in the bank,” says Jennie Carlson, Executive Vice President for Human Resources at U.S. Bancorp. “They love their work with the interns and they learn a lot from them in terms of intergenerational and multicultural viewpoints. They also get to serve as mentors and role models for their interns, and they get to be reverse mentored in many ways, too. So it’s a win-win for us, and our managers absolutely love doing it.” U.S. Bank has participated in STEP-UP since it was founded in 2004, and has hired 398 interns, more than other private sector employer.

In 2017, STEP-UP placed more than 1,600 Minneapolis youth in jobs with over 220 businesses, public agencies, and nonprofits. Youth represented in the 2017 class were 91 percent youth of color, 51 percent youth from recent immigrant families, and 17 percent youth with disabilities or other significant barriers to employment. Twenty-three percent spoke fluently in a language in addition to English, representing 32 different languages from 35 different countries.

Businesses, public agencies and nonprofits interested in employing interns in 2018 can find information on the City of Minneapolis STEP-UP website

STEP-UP is a City of Minneapolis program in partnership with AchieveMpls. Other major partners include the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and Project for Pride in Living.

To learn more about STEP-UP, or to access the online STEP-UP application, visit the City of Minneapolis website.  You can also follow STEP-UP on Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat @STEPUPMpls or like them on Facebook or join the conversation at #STEPUPMpls.


Nonprofit Spotlight: Hope Community

Article by Claudia Kittock, Photos by Rick Kittock

There is Hope

I don’t remember hearing the words ‘Hope Community’ for the first time, but I do remember hearing it from many people who work in the nonprofit sector. When I made an appointment to interview Will Delaney, Associate Director, and Shannon Smith Jones, Executive Director, I expected to hear a story I have heard before. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Hope Community is unique, interesting, and exciting.

If you've driven Franklin Avenue going west, and come to the intersection of Franklin and Portland, I’m sure you have noticed the transformation that has occurred on those 4 corners. The transformation has happened because of Hope Community. They own most of the 4 blocks that make up those 4 corners, with a mission to "create connections that strengthen the power of community members and communities. We cultivate community leaders, build community capacity, care for the places and spaces we develop, and pursue equity and diversity in all we do.”

That area of Minneapolis is unique. 100 years ago it was a neighborhood populated with Norwegian and Swedish immigrants, and has remained a beacon for immigrants from all nations. When the freeway was built, dividing the neighborhood, it also drained resources. In the 1960s, Phillips became a neighbor of Native Americans and African Americans moving from the South. It was and remains the largest urban population of Native Americans in the United States. Today the immigrants are from Latin America and East Africa.

Forty years ago, Char Madigan and Rita Steinhagen opened St. Joseph’s House, affectionately known as the Red House, a shelter operated by looking at people as assets, powerful actors in their own lives. They were determined to listen to people and to view people as part of the solution. Instead of doing things FOR people, she was determined to do things with people in need.

After a series of listening sessions in the early 1990s, it became clear that resisting gentrification was a central issue. Once gentrification begins in a community, prices go up, and the people who live there are often priced out of their homes. The people of Phillips were determined that it would not happen there.

The shelter closed in 1994, and Hope Community determined to modify their approach by focusing on:

  • Place
  • People

Place includes the redevelopment of the 4 corners of the Franklin-Portland intersection. Aeon in partnership with Hope built 300 units of housing. 70% are permanently affordable, and the remaining 30% are market rate. Commercial spaces were created which include a market, a day care, and a 7500 square foot community garden.

The People approach is based on the model begun with Char Madigan. Community organizing, health, food work, and discussions are just a few things Hope does in this unique approach. One example is the Parks and Power initiative. 700 Hope participants (trained leaders, volunteers, organizers, and community members) are working for racial equity in the city park systems and influencing priorities for park investments. Another example is the investment in the local food economy. 156 community members are creating the building blocks of an equitable, neighborhood-scale food system.

There are so many fascinating aspects to Hope Community, it is impossible to discuss all of them in this article. This is a dynamic community adjacent to the Mill District. Interested? Here’s how to help:

• Learn more. Read about Hope at
• Arrange a visit
• Become a volunteer
• Donate at
• Become involved in any or all of the programs offered there.  There are no limitations.

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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).



One Stop Holiday Shopping at the Mill City Farmers Market - December 9 and 16

Be sure to make time for the December 9 and 16 Mill City Farmers Markets inside the Mill City Museum (10a - 1p both Saturdays). You'll find an abundance of items to check off your Holiday list, including:


December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Gift Boxes!

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market


December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market


December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market


December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

While you're there, soak up some food knowledge from local chefs and organizations!

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

...and enjoy a little music. :)

December 2, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Inside markets continue thru the winter: January 13 and 27, February 10, March 10 and 14, and April 14 and 28.



Know Before You Go initiative designed to help people get the most from their Super Bowl experience

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) and community stakeholders announced the “Know Before You Go” Initiative this past Monday. The coordinated effort provides travel tips and a wealth of information for Super Bowl visitors and Minnesotans who live and work in the Twin Cities to make travel plans during the 10-day Super Bowl festival, from Jan. 26 through Feb. 4, 2018. 

Super Bowl planners expect more than one million people to visit Minnesota for game-related activities during the 10-day festival. Know Before You Go includes a dedicated website with recommended routes to downtown Minneapolis, user-friendly maps with information about road closures, information about increased transit options, directions on how to secure convenient parking, and more. 

“We have been preparing for several years to invite the world to Minnesota for a safe and successful Super Bowl,” said Kyle Chank, VP of Operations and Logistics, MNSBHC. “The events and activities are still a few months away, but we want to begin providing information now, so people have the tools they need to make Super Bowl plans. Our goal is to minimize the impact and maximize the fun – for our Super Bowl visitors, and for all Minnesotans who live, work and play in the Twin Cities.” 

Know Before You Go features information about the range of transportation options and increased service information that will be offered during the 10-day festival, including expanded Light Rail service connecting the Mall of America to downtown Minneapolis. 

“Metro Transit and our team of 3,500 staff members are excited to host the national and international fans that will fill our communities for the 10 days of Super Bowl festivities,” said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb. “Helping people travel safely and efficiently from place to place is what we do best. As we have done on so many occasions, we stand ready to give fans a worry-free lift to Super Bowl events, while continuing our service to local riders traveling to work, school and other destinations important to their daily lives.”

While there will be Super Bowl events across the Twin Cities, downtown Minneapolis will be a major hub of Super Bowl activity, including the game itself at U.S. Bank Stadium. Know Before You Go includes maps outlining the most efficient and convenient routes to downtown Minneapolis for the game, as well as information about limited road closures associated with Super Bowl events and activities. Know Before You Go also includes parking information so visitors can plan ahead and even purchase convenient parking through a Pre-Paid Parking App.

“The City has worked closely with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, NFL and other partners to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone in our city,” said Jon Wertjes, director of traffic and parking services for the City of Minneapolis. “This collaboration has created a traffic plan for Super Bowl festivities that minimizes disruptions to traffic and parking as much as possible.” 

Information will be added and updated at as the game approaches. 

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Editors note - This article is shared from a DMNA e-newsletter. I do not know the original source. 


Buses will replace Blue & Green Line trains December 9-11

Rider Alerts with Metro Transit Logo

Due to scheduled maintenance and testing, buses will replace trains beginning Saturday, Dec. 9 during a partial shutdown on the METRO Blue & Green Line.

Customers can board replacement buses near the affected stations. Buses run on similar schedules as trains but can take more time.  Customers are urged to plan accordingly.

From 3:30am Saturday, Dec. 9 until 3:30am Monday, Dec. 11, buses will replace Blue and Green Line trains for these stations:

Blue Line
38th Street (Northbound only until 3:30 a.m. Sunday)
Lake St./Midtown (Until 3:30 a.m. Sunday)
Franklin Ave. (Northbound only after 3:30 a.m. Sunday)

Green Line
Stadium Village (Westbound Only)
East Bank
West Bank

Downtown Mpls. - Shared stations
U.S. Bank Stadium 
Government Plaza
Nicollet Mall
Warehouse-Hennepin Avenue
Target Field

See maps for boarding locations


'TESTIFY: Americana from Slavery to Today' debuts at Cargill Hall Gallery at Central Library

Exhibit of art and artifacts from the Diane and Alan Page Collection reframes the current conversation about racial justice, coinciding with Super Bowl LII

Football Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, along with Diane Sims Page, Executive Director of the Page Education Foundation, will publicly present TESTIFY, a preview of their collection of Americana. The wide-ranging exhibit will feature art and artifacts from pivotal eras in American history while also providing a platform for visitors to share their thoughts, feelings and personal experiences.

The exhibit will be open January 8-February 6, in Cargill Hall at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

Inspired by the recent resurgence of racial tension in our country, TESTIFY gives context and definition to the conversation, serving as a reminder of the history that brings us to today.

“Before reconciliation there must be truth – and the truth can be ugly,” said Justice Page. “But we cannot be reconciled and move forward if an increasingly louder group of people continue to deflect, minimize and sweep history under the rug.”

TESTIFY'S message of hope

“At a time when the past seems ever more present, the 100-plus objects in the exhibit will juxtapose artifacts from our often-painful, shared history with inspiring imagery and works of art that help us rise above it,” said Diane Page. “My hope is that by coming to grips with our past we can come together in the future.”

Objects in the exhibit include:

• A slave collar used in Virginia in the 1820s. This brutal artifact is a sharp contrast to the irreverent depictions of slaves that soon flooded into popular culture.
• An Abraham Lincoln funeral banner from 1865. The declaration “Our Country Shall Be One Country” greeted the funeral procession as it carried the slain president across the country.
• Works by Carrie Mae Weems, Charles White and Clementine Hunter, which reclaim the African-American narrative and reflect a strong, specific and beautiful history of self-representation.

Be moved

The exhibit will also include a “Testification Station,” an interactive display in front of a massing of Jim Crow-era signage and memorabilia, where visitors will be invited to testify to their experiences on a judgment-free platform.

The public is invited to an opening viewing and reception, sponsored by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library, on Thursday, January 11, 7 to 8 p.m., at Minneapolis Central Library.

The exhibit was curated by the Pages in conversation with local curatorial consultants, and is presented with the support of the Friends of the Hennepin County Library, the Minnesota Vikings, The McKnight Foundation, the Pohlad Family Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation and Robins Kaplan LLP.
The Diane and Alan Page Collection

The Diane and Alan Page Collection is a selection of art and artifacts that paints a portrait of race relations and representation in the 19th through 21st centuries. Gathered by Diane and Alan Page over decades of civic engagement and very personal work in their community, the collection reflects their belief that even as we face the most painful aspects of our past so that they will not be repeated, we must also find bright moments of transcendence that point another way forward.

Cargill Hall

An exhibition space located in Minneapolis Central Library, Cargill Hall presents exhibits and related programs in support of the library's mission to "nourish minds, transform lives, and build community together." Six major exhibits are presented annually, drawing from exhibits on loan from other institutions, exhibits curated by community partners, and exhibits featuring library collections. Topics may be interdisciplinary and include visual art, history, culture, literature and science.

TESTIFY: Americana from Slavery to Today from The Diane and Alan Page Collection

January 8 – February 6

Hennepin County Library–Minneapolis Central, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
The gallery will be open during library hours.

The exhibit will be open January 8-February 6, in Cargill Hall at Hennepin County Library—Minneapolis Central, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.


December 11 Career Fair at Minneapolis Convention Center

Via an e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Find your next job at free career fair

Connect with employers hiring for jobs in transportation, customer service, healthcare, sales, maintenance and more. 

Event details

This location is served by several bus routes. Visit or or call 612-373-3333 for more details.

Job-seekers are encouraged to dress professionally and bring copies of their resumes.

Career fair features

  • More than 40 employers 
  • Tips for career fair success
  • An employer panel
  • Job search assistance
  • Lunch and refreshments

Attending employers 

  • ACR Homes
  • Alliance Home Health Care & Nursing Services
  • American Security & Investigations
  • Augustana Care
  • Café Zupas
  • Cintas
  • CobornsDelivers
  • Delaware North
  • Delta Global Services
  • Doherty Staffing
  • Dominos
  • DoubleTree Hotel St. Paul
  • Dungarvin
  • Embassy Suites Minneapolis Airport
  • Endeavor Air
  • FedEx Ground
  • First Student
  • First Transit
  • Goodwill-Easter Seals
  • Hennepin County
  • HMS Host
  • Indrotec
  • Integrated Deicing Services
  • Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront
  • Macy’s
  • Mall of America
  • Marsden Building Maintenance
  • Menards – Golden Valley
  • Metropolitan Council
  • Orion Associates
  • Osseo Area Schools
  • Pinnacle Services Inc.
  • Prescription Landscape Inc./Arteka Outdoor Services
  • Sheraton Minneapolis West
  • Sky Zone Trampoline Park
  • Sojos Pet Food
  • St. Paul Public Schools
  • Swissport
  • Target stores
  • Toys R Us – Minnetonka
  • TSA
  • UPS
  • Waste Management
  • Wells Fargo
  • WIS International
  • YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities

More information

View full event schedule. Learn more at


“Water Connects Us All” is on display in the Hennepin Gallery thru January 17, 2018

“Water Connects Us All” is on display in the Hennepin Gallery thru January 17, 2018

This exhibit includes 2- and 3-dimensional sculptures arranged in vignettes, and features puppets from In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. Each element is connected with a simple narrative, written in various languages, designed to draw the viewer into deeper considerations of their own relationship to water and our own best humanity in protecting our water.

Themes portrayed in the exhibit include:
- How much water do we need and use?
- Is water a right, or a privilege?
- What is our relationship to the surrounding watersheds?
- Where does our water come from, and where does it go?
The exhibit is curated by Sandy Spieler, founder and artistic leader at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater and founder and director of the annual MayDay parade and ceremony.

Special events:

"Cabinets of Water Curiosities”

January 12, Noon - 1:00pm, Hennepin County Government Center Skyway Level

This event will focus on the sharing of water, and will feature five boxes of water curiosities that allow people to open doors, peek in, and talk with each other. The audience will also be able to “find each other” through the sharing of water.    

“Nibi (Water) Walks – Taking Steps to Recognize, Heal, and Protect Water at the Center of Life” Brown Bag Talk

Sharon Day, Ojibwe leader of Nibi Water Walks and Executive Director of the Indigenous People’s Task Force

Karen Galles, Hennepin County Environment & Energy, Land & Water Unit Supervisor

January 17, Noon - 1:00pm, Hennepin County Government Center Auditorium, A-level

"We walk for the water, and as we heal the water we heal all of life."

Nibi (Water) Walks are indigenous-led, extended ceremonies where every step is taken in prayer and gratitude for water, the life giving force. Sharon Day has led Nibi Walks along the St. Louis, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and other rivers and will share photographs and stories from the walks as well as wisdom around Ojibwe perspectives on the connection between water and all life. This presentation will conclude with some concrete steps we can all take to heal water from Hennepin County's Land and Water Unit.

This exhibition and corresponding events are supported by the Hennepin County Multicultural Arts Committee (MCAC). MCAC was created by the Hennepin County Board in 1995 as part of the organization’s response to the Minneapolis Initiative Against Racism. MCAC sponsors art displays, performances, discussions and exhibits representing Hennepin County’s diverse cultural canvas.

For this exhibition and corresponding events, MCAC is receiving support from Forecast Public Art, a non-profit arts organization that activates people, networks and proven practices to advance the transformational power of arts in public life.

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 Forecast Public Art and the Hennepin County Multicultural Arts Committee.

Contact:, Phone: 612-348-3848, Map


Gift Shopping in Mill City Museums

Article and photos by Merle Minda

We are lucky. Living in Mill City and in the North Loop near the river means we have immediate access to all kinds of boutique shopping. But as the holidays approach, don’t overlook the incredible museum shopping we have right on our doorstep. I made a tour of four such shops and was amazed and even thrilled by the wide variety and unique gift options. My criteria were: unique and original merchandise; a special theme or perspective related to their museum purpose, and merchandise that perhaps could not be found elsewhere.

The Guthrie Theater Store

Guthrie Theater Store Director of Retail and Buyer Kay McGuireThis isn’t strictly a museum shop but it meets all the criteria. First and perhaps unexpected is rather fabulous and original jewelry made by local artists – earrings, necklaces and even watches (which I was not expecting). There is a wide variety of well-made Guthrie gear, from sweatshirts to warm winter hats.

The shop is themed to past and especially current Guthrie productions. Shakespeare and Shakespeare stuff, natch, including coloring books for children. Endless fun gift ideas including calendars, CDs and books, theater books and scripts. Right now their Noel Coward section, relating to the current Blithe Spirit production, includes Coward’s marvelous autobiographies beginning with Present Indicative.

Noel Coward section

A Scrooge for your tree!Plus little jeweled cases, Lady Macbeth soap, puzzles; Christmas ornaments with even a Scrooge for your tree.

Pretty business card holderThe shop is always open during on-stage productions, so matinees and evenings, plus some added hours. The store is located at 818 South 2nd Street, inside the theater on the main floor. Shop select Guthrie items anytime online at Call 612.225.6300 or e-mail


Mill City Museum Store

Phoebe Gray, visitors services associate at Mill City Museum StoreJust down the block from Guthrie are the wonderful Mill City Museum and its equally wonderful Museum Store.

This museum is all about the history of flour and milling in Minneapolis on the river. So, lots of baking stuff – from Bundt pans to measuring spoons. Interesting and unusual cookbooks, especially the new The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen cookbook. Other books focus on Minnesota history, fiction and non-fiction, plus aprons and all sorts of cooking gadgets, pots and pans for holiday cooking.

The Mill City Museum Store includes all sorts of holiday traditions items

A giclée original printThe shop also has some original giclée prints of on the river subjects, including the Stone Arch Bridge and Gold Medal sign. Fun stocking stuffers and toys for kids too.

Here is where you buy tickets for the not-to-be-missed Flour Tower elevator show. Open museum hours, Tuesday – Saturday from 10-5; Sunday from 12-5. Email at Check out the schedule for the Holiday Baking Workshops in the downstairs kitchen too.

Lots of puzzles and games for kids

The gotta-have wild rice section

100% wooly blankets and scarves

Two Shops at Open Book

If you haven’t discovered Open Book as yet, now is the time. Founded by four non-profit book organizations, there is always much to see and do, classes, readings, performances, book launches, etc. Located at 1011 Washington Avenue, with fairly easy street parking and an adjacent small lot, Open Book also houses two wonderful shops for gift buying.

Milkweed Books

Acclaimed local publisher Milkweed Editions opened this lovely bookshop last year inside Open Book. The book selection is eclectic with numerous literary best-sellers, Milkweed-published books, many small and independent press titles, a good poetry selection and some children’s books.

Daley Farr, bookseller and events coordinator at Milkweed Books

Good books and gift ideas galore here at Milkweed BooksOften book choices are recommended by “someone we trust,” says Daley Farr, bookseller and events coordinator. I did not escape without buying two new books for myself but I will be going back to do some gift-buying. Books can be ordered by phone or online. During my visit I saw a huge pile of stuffed envelopes with book orders to be mailed out. On main floor of Open Book, on-line orders at or call at 612-215-2540.

The Shop at MCBA (Minnesota Center for Book Arts)

Hand-made marbled paperAnother terrific gift shop. Everything is unusual or original, including a large selection of hand-made and marbled papers; jewelry, one-of-a kind journals, for calligraphy, thoughts or leather-covered.

Also, a wall of “Zines”, hand created and often self-published booklets on a raft of subjects.

Wall of “Zines” hand made and hand published

Jennifer Bowman, The Shop at MCBA stafferStaffer Jill Weese led me through the selection of gorgeous hand-made cards, prints and ‘how-to’ materials for making your own book. Should you have an emerging book maker on your list, the shop also gives classes in book binding and marbling.

I fell in love with a small box that was “cartonnage” style, covered in hand-made paper. Perfect for earrings, I thought. Bring a list and shop for your special gifts here.

Merle’s favorite cartonnage box with hand-made paper

Located just inside the entrance of Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue S, open Mon, Wed – Sat: 9:30 am – 6:30 pm; Tuesday, 9:30 am – 9 pm, and Sunday 12-5 pm.; contact them at 612-215-2520, email at, or online at

Special Note: Through December 19th, these two shops will both have extended hours and offer discounts – make a purchase of any retail item from one shop and get 10% off your second purchase at the other! 

My delightful shopping trip took me two and a half hours to visit all four stores. So get going, shopping list in hand, and make your purchases from one or more of these four terrific museum shops.

Editors note: Click here for more photos and larger images.

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About Merle Minda

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


Water Works Update: Schematic Design Approved; Partnership with The Sioux Chef Formalized with Letter of Intent

Nov. 29 Board actions set stage for 2018 groundbreaking

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MRPB) marked another important milestone in the Water Works riverfront park project yesterday, when MPRB Commissioners approved phase 1 schematic design and a Letter of Intent (LOI) with The Sioux Chef. These actions ensure that Water Works stays on course for its anticipated fall 2018 groundbreaking and 2019 grand opening.

Water Works is a park development project overlooking St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge. One of the signature projects in the RiverFirst vision, Water Works will bring visitor services and recreational and cultural amenities to one of Minnesota’s most highly-visited destinations.

The LOI with The Sioux Chef formalizes the parties’ intent to partner, announced last September, on the Water Works restaurant and event venue. The Sioux Chef is a diverse, Indigenous-led team committed to revitalizing Native American cuisine and reclaiming an important culinary tradition that has been long buried and often inaccessible. The restaurant’s working title will be Owamni: An Indigenous Kitchen and it will be the first year-round, full service food venue within the Minneapolis park system. In addition to the restaurant, The Sioux Chef plans to create events and educational opportunities to amplify diverse voices into a larger dialogue about Native American cultures, the river, and cuisine.

Water Works design development is being completed by Minneapolis-based Damon Farber Landscape Architects with HGA Architects and Engineers and a multidisciplinary team that also includes expertise in cultural resources, programming, and engineering.

Project Funding

The philanthropic community is largely funding the Water Works Mezzanine Phase with contributions to the RiverFirst Capital Campaign. To date, the Parks Foundation has raised $13.1 million to complete two signature river projects and anticipates raising the remaining $4.8 million by June 1, 2018.

The General Mills Foundation made the lead corporate contribution to RiverFirst in 2016, with a $3 million gift. More than a hundred individuals and companies have already joined General Mills in support of the campaign, including RBC Wealth Management and US Bank. Most recently, Target committed $150,000 to the RiverFirst Campaign in support of Water Works and new connections from North Minneapolis to the Mississippi River.

Campaign gifts of $100,000 or more are being matched by the Pohlad Family Foundation, though the Parks Foundation welcomes gifts of any size. Interested donors are encouraged to learn more about how to participate in this landmark campaign by visiting the Parks Foundation’s Major Gifts page on its website. 

Schematic Design Details

The schematic design illustrates what will be constructed within the Mezzanine Phase of the Water Works project and is an important step on the path to construction. In undergoing schematic design, the design team makes choices about project details while holding true to the intent, program, and quality originally envisioned.

The pavilion will include a green roof, meeting room, and the restaurant. On the park grounds, and adjacent to the pavilion, city steps will provide a place for contemplation and programming, while a south plaza will be a gateway to the Central Riverfront. The wooded hillside on the north end of the site will retain its character and be enhanced with native vegetation, including plants with edible or medicinal value, and a direct trail link into downtown promotes access and circulation.

Site prep continues into 2018

The MPRB has begun preparing the Water Works site for its 2018 construction start. Selective deconstruction of the Fuji-Ya building began in October and will continue through February 2018. Large timbers from the building are being salvaged and will be repurposed in the stair and lobby area. Excavation of mill remnants that have been filled with soil and debris for over 80 years will begin next April.


Buses Return to Nicollet Mall Saturday, December 2

Via a December 1 e-newsletter from the City of Minneapolis:

With the completion of the new Nicollet, buses will return to the mall on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Metro Transit routes 10, 11, 17, 18, 25 and 59 will return to Nicollet after operating on Hennepin Avenue since late 2015 while Nicollet was under construction.

Now that normal operations have returned to Nicollet, it’s important for drivers, pedestrians and other users of the mall to exercise extra caution and be aware of their surroundings.

Metro Transit will be adding a dozen new shelters on Nicollet later this year with heat, light and real-time displays. Hybrid rides and free rides on some routes will remain features on the mall.

For additional information about routes, visit Metro Transit’s website.

The new Nicollet, completed the end of November, features twice the amount of greenery with nearly 250 new trees, new LED lighting, a more elegant and sustainable streetscape and the city’s largest display of public artwork outside of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.


Long-term Plan for all Non-riverfront Downtown Minneapolis Parks Approved

Skyline over Loring PondLoring Park is one of five existing parks featured in the Downtown Service Area Master Plan

Plan will guide development of existing downtown neighborhood parks and potential new parkland

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Commissioners approved the Downtown Service Area Master Plan (DSAMP), a document that will guide outdoor improvements at all non-riverfront downtown parks for the next 20-30 years. Click the links below to view plans for each of these five parks:

Elliot Park
Franklin Steele Square
Gateway Park
Loring Park
Park Avenue Triangle

It also plans for the potential acquisition and development of new parks or park-like spaces within Downtown Minneapolis.

The Downtown Service Area Master Plan

The plan is divided into six chapters, which can be viewed by clicking the links below:

Imagining the Next Generation of Neighborhood Parks
The DSAMP is one of five geographically organized master plans that will collectively design or redesign every neighborhood park in Minneapolis. The South Service Area Master Plan, which covers all neighborhood parks south of downtown and east of I-35W, was approved in September 2016. This is the second approved MPRB service area master plan.
Community engagement for the North Service Area Master Plan (North Minneapolis) and East of the River Park Master Plan (Northeast/Southeast Minneapolis) are underway. Check out the links above to get involved! Development of the Southwest Service Area Master Plan begins in 2018. 

Guide to Winter Driving in Minneapolis from Alexander's Import Auto Repair

We've been spoiled by the recent non-winter driving conditions, but we all know what's eventually coming...

Alexander's Import Auto Repair would like to help keep Minneapolis drivers safe this winter, and recently posted Your Guide to Winter Driving in Minneapolis on their website. It covers Minneapolis snow emergency rules, safe winter driving tips, checklists for keeping your vehicle winter-ready, emergency kit items to keep on hand and other helpful content.

A little planning will pay off!


MPRB Seeks Residents Interested in Serving on a Community Advisory Committee

Via a November 29 e-newsletter from Minneapolsi Park and Rec Board:

Applications for 2018 appointments are due Friday, December 22, 2017

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Board of Commissioners is seeking applications for appointments to five ongoing community advisory committees:

- Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Board – One Appointment
- Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee – Three Appointments
- Neighborhood & Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) – One Appointment
- Minneapolis Tree Advisory Commission – Four Appointments
- HomeGrown Food Council – One Appointment

Service commitment may vary based upon needs, expectations and policy goals. However, most advisory committee members can expect to approximately 10-15 hours of work per month. Most terms are two years and all board and commission members are not subject to term limits.

Some Boards/Commissions have a need for specialized skills, but most people will find a Board or Commission that is a great fit for their knowledge base. Public members of Board and Commissions are people who may not have regular, ongoing experience in a specific topic area, but have a general interest in a Board or Commission’s work area. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about an area of interest and contribute a perspective that is fresh and unique to the service area.

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m., Friday, December 22, 2017. Following submission, applicants will receive an email confirming receipt of the application and describing the general process for appointment. Appointments for open positions will be made at the January 2, 2018 business meeting of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. For a full description of each committee and to complete the application please visit:

Applicants with questions about the appointments process should email their questions to or contact Radious Guess at 612-230-6419.

Radious Guess
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Community Outreach, Equity and Inclusion Manager


Nature Awaits You at the North Mississippi Regional Park

Kroening Winter

What's Happening at North Mississippi Regional Park in December?

What a fantastic area to get fresh air and exercise while connecting with nature. Public programs are FREE for all ages (unless noted otherwise). Here's what you can look forward to in December and beyond at the Kroening Interpretive Center at North Mississippi Regional Park:

Early Birding - Saturday, Dec. 2nd 9-10:30am

Join us for a morning of bird watching! We’ll hike through prairie, woodland and along the river while keeping our eyes and ears open for our feathered friends. Binoculars provided if needed. Activity #76672

Nature Art: Ginger-Bird Houses - Saturday, Dec. 9th 1:30-3pm

Invite birds into your backyard this winter by crafting an edible snack house for them. These feeders are a lovely decoration and a great food source for our bird friends that brave the cold. *$10 all supplies included. Activity #76685

Family Funday: All About Evergreens - Sunday, Dec. 17th 1-2:30pm

A dash of color in our winter wonderland, evergreens come in many shapes, sizes and shades of green. Find out how they differ from broad leaf trees and the various ways people have utilized them over time. Join us in an exploration of the evergreens. Activity #76682

OPEN SNOWSHOEING Saturday, Dec. 23rd & 30th 11-3pm

Get into the spirit of the season by borrowing a pair of snowshoes to explore the park! Activities available both days:  Dec. 23rd look for signs in the snow with our Track Hunt and Dec 30th borrow a pair of binoculars too and try birding on snowshoes. Activity #76704  &  Activity #76705

Winter Whimsy:  December 27th - 29th 8am-4pm

Discover the fantastical winter world around you.  It’s full of mystical animals, frozen sorcery and adventure.  Develop wilderness survival skills, determine which animal is your familiar friend, build a fortress and more, but something’s amiss. Can you help solve the puzzle?  Activity #76716  Registration Fee $90

Wild Winter Survival:  January 2nd - 5th 8am-4pm

Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild winter world? Develop your wilderness skills by learning to trek through snow on snowshoes, craft survival shelters, track animal signs and more!  Activity #81472  Registration Fee $120

New! Nature Nuts Play Group Fridays

Come with your little one to play and have fun in nature with other children and parents/guardians. Each day is different, but will have nature themes about animals, plants, and seasons. Enjoy the outdoors together all winter! Ages: For kids 6 and under with an adult.

This is an Adult/Child interactive program. Registration Fee $15

Winter weather is always changing! Wear clothes and shoes for playing outside.

December 1st - December 22nd  11:30am-12:30pm Activity #76710

Also January 12th - February 2nd 2:30-3:30pm Activity #81729

More Ways to Enjoy the Park

Stop by the front desk to check out binoculars, nature activity packs and nature guides. Or, talk with a naturalist to meet and learn about the education animals.

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

Winter building hours: Tuesday- Saturday 10am-4pm; Sunday 12-4pm; Monday CLOSED

Contact Info: Kroening Interpretive Center at North Mississippi Regional Park, 4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis, MN 55430  Phone: 612-370-4844, Email:


Hennepin County Government Center Holiday Music Dates and Times

The Hennepin County Government Center will continue its annual tradition of season and holiday performances, free and open to the public. Music will be performed on the Skyway Level of Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S 6th Street.


December 5, 12 and 20
City-County Chorus  Noon - 1pm
Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis and 4th Judicial District Court employees perform a variety of songs of the season

December 13
Ameriprise Holiday Choir, Noon - 1pm
Sponsored by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. since 1986, 25 members performing secular, Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa holiday songs

December 19
Chippewa Middle School, Noon - 12:45pm
8th grade string orchestra students perform Hanukah and Christmas music


Super Bowl LIVE, a 10-day Festival Leading up to Super Bowl LII, will take place on Nicollet Mall

Nicollet Mall will be the site of a 10-day fan festival, Super Bowl LIVE, leading up to Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018. Super Bowl LIVE will include 5 free live concerts, national broadcast activations, food and fun, and showcase Minnesota's Bold North brand. It will stretch six blocks on Nicollet Mall, from 12th Street S to 6th Street S, with each block offering unique Super Bowl opportunities. Click here for more info.

Fans will see larger-than-life ice sculptures, national broadcast sets like NBC and ESPN, and stages where both local and national acts will perform throughout the 10-day festival.

Hours of operation:
Friday, January 26         4:00pm-10:00pm
Saturday, January 27     10:00am-10:00pm
Sunday, January 28       10:00am-9:00pm
Monday, January 29       4:00pm-9:00pm
Tuesday, January 30       4:00pm-9:00pm
Wednesday, January 31  4:00pm-9:00pm
Thursday, February 1     4:00pm-10:00pm
Friday, February 2         10:00am-10:00pm
Saturday, February 3     10:00am-10:00pm
Sunday, February 4       12:00pm-3:00pm 

Nonprofit Spotlight: Elpis Enterprises

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock 

Every parent knows that raising a competent, caring teenager is complicated. Helping that young person navigate the world of work is even more difficult. Imagine having to traverse adulthood without the support of family, without the guideposts of a warm bed, without the thousands of conversations parents have with their children, and without a model that holds down a steady job.

I first learned about Elpis Enterprises when I interviewed people working for Woodchuck. Elpis helps provide workers for Woodchuck, and is currently in talks with Michael Mader of Hippy Feet to expand their training program to include workers who will work for Hippy Feet.

Paul Ramsour, Executive Director, Elpis

Elpis is the Greek word for hope, and Paul Ramsour and everyone at Elpis Enterprises works to provide hope through job training. Paul started Elpis through his work with the Minneapolis Jaycees Charitable Foundation. He helped raise money for them and was asked to design youth programs. After setting up a focus group and learning about the best practices from professionals who run youth programs, Paul began to imagine a network for youth to learn entrepreneurial skills.

The entire enterprise began when Paul was asked to host a table at a festival in Whittier Park. He got the idea of selling birdfeeders. Paul bought boards and cut kits, and brought them to a group of young people. The birdfeeders sold out, and a concept was born.

Paul’s friend, Mike Patrick, suggested using repurposed wood and became a ‘wood warrior’ driving around the city looking for people taking down fences and throwing out wood. Even though Mike was in a wheelchair, he was able to get help in loading the wood into his van, and brought it to Paul.

All of this early work was done in volunteers’ garages and in-home shops, borrowing tools as they went. The first space was in the building now occupied by People Serving People. Tools were bought and for 1-2 years, the business of Elpis was making and selling bird feeders.

A hobby screen printing machine was donated and, again, through trial and error and a lot of hard work, the people of Elpis learned to print t-shirts. That, too, was successful, and with a grant from the Minneapolis Jaycees, Elpis was able to buy the first screen printing press.

In 2002, Elpis Enterprises was granted 501(c)3 status, and became focused on not just making and selling products, but on teaching young people the business of business. Elpis moved to its current location in Saint Paul in 2005.

Meanwhile, Paul Ramsour spent almost 10 years working at YouthLink, learning about and supporting young people with significant difficulties getting and keeping employment. The time there was invaluable and when a 2014 grant from the Bremer Foundation made it possible to hire a full-time time staff person, Paul became that person.

By 2015, Elpis was able to hire a career counselor to help the young people learn what being employed means, how to learn from mistakes and make the changes necessary to become a good employee. Elpis holds about 150 workshops a year, educating 3000-4000 young people around the metro.  

At present, 8-10 young people at a time work at Elpis to learn job skills and work in either woodworking or screen printing. There are 3 cohorts of young people every year, coupled with field trips to other businesses, and work on resumes and placements files with interview skills as a key component.

Elpis has moved beyond crisis employment to becoming a bridge to support young people on the journey they choose. This is an important place for youth to build skills, experiences, and relationships in the community. They develop as individuals and potential employees by working in real enterprises gaining the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to overcome homelessness and become contributing members of our community.

Exciting? Needed? How can you help support Elpis Enterprises?
• Volunteer - Elpis is looking for volunteers who can share their expertise and suggest businesses that would be interested in being part of the work.
• Donate - Go to
• Learn more - Go to

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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).



Street Closures for November 23 and 25 Races

Please note these street closures for the following two races:
Thursday, November 23 - Turkey Day 5K
West River Parkway - N 4th Ave to 11th Ave S
Saturday, November 25 - Moustache Run
Main Street - 6th Ave SE to Plymouth Ave
West River Parkway - Plymouth Ave to E 38th St
Stone Arch Bridge


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