This week I will update you on the efforts to improve public safety in the 3rd Ward and the City as a whole. A very big step towards the future of public safety was taken this week with the Council voting to confirm Dr. Cedric Alexander’s appointment as our first Commissioner of Community Safety. While some Council Members voted against Dr. Alexander, I voted yes and promised him that I will give him my support as he manages and implements the needed changes in our public safety system.
This week I spoke with family members of the victims of violent crimes. I felt is was necessary to listen to how their lives have been impacted and changed by these senseless acts of violence.
Last week a pilot project started in Dinkytown that creates pedestrian only zones. This project has been spearheaded by the University of Minnesota and my office and the rest of the City will be monitoring the results to understand the impact on crime levels and patronage of businesses in the area.
A big thank you to super organizer Aileen Johnson who has helped establish another walking club in the Mill District. Volunteers started the first organized walk on Thursday night. The walking clubs are an excellent opportunity to meet your neighbors and strengthen the relationship with community members and businesses. The East Hennepin area is now organizing their own walking group.
As I made my way around the Ward on National Night Out, I had the opportunity to speak to many residents. I enjoyed hearing from all of you what our office can do to help with issues. As always, Henry, Ryan and I are here to serve you and we look forward to hearing from you.
Saturday, August 20 from 9:30-11:30 on the Elsie’s patio (8th and Marshall St NE).
Primary election is Aug. 9, early voting open through Aug. 8
The statewide primary election is this Tuesday, Aug. 9. Minneapolis voters will cast ballots for primary races, including U.S. representative for District 5, governor/lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general as well as seats in the Minnesota Legislature, county offices and Minneapolis School Board members.
Early voting open through Aug. 8
Early voting for the primary continues through Monday, Aug. 9. If you’re a Minneapolis voter, you can cast your early ballot or drop off your completed mail-in ballot at the Early Vote Center, 980 E. Hennepin Ave., or at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 Sixth St. S. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. now through Friday, Aug. 5, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6. On Monday, Aug. 8 – the day before the primary – hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Both early vote centers are closed Aug. 9.
Confirm your polling place location for primary day
Many Minneapolis voters will have new polling place locations because of the redistricting process. On primary day, Aug. 9, anyone who hasn’t voted early can only vote at their assigned polling places. All polling places are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Find your polling place at pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.
Completed mail-in ballots cannot be dropped off at your polling place on the day of primary voting. However, you’ll still be able to vote at your polling place with a new ballot.
After polls close Aug. 9, totals of the in-person polling place votes and absentee votes will be merged into one unofficial vote total for each precinct. Those totals will be posted to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.
City Council approves layout for Hennepin Avenue South reconstruction
The City Council has approved a layout for the Hennepin Avenue South project, which will reconstruct a 1.4 mile-stretch of Hennepin between West Lake Street and Douglas Avenue.
The recommended layout will create safer and more comfortable areas for pedestrians, a two-way bikeway between Lake Street and Franklin Avenue, two transit priority lanes, two vehicle lanes with left turn lanes at key intersections, and parking and loading bays where possible.
The layout approval process included discussion over implementing and operating the transit priority lanes proposed to support needs and goals around speed and reliability for the METRO E Line, a planned bus rapid transit line.
The City Council approved a resolution supporting an operational plan that advances the goals of the City’s Transportation Action Plan, including a citywide goal of 25% of trips taken by transit in 2030 and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 80% by 2050.
The resolution also outlines a commitment to have the transit priority lanes operate for at least six hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. once the reconstruction project is complete. Currently, the Hennepin bus lanes are only operational 7-9 a.m. (northbound) and 4-6:30 p.m. (southbound) on weekdays. A transition to all-day, bus-only lanes will not begin for at least 24 months after the construction.
The detailed design, engineering and refining area parking solutions will occur over the next two years with reconstruction of the corridor beginning in 2024.
As the community safety commissioner, Alexander will oversee the mayor’s newly proposed Office of Community Safety, which would integrate five departments: 911, Fire, the Office of Emergency Management, Police, and Neighborhood Safety, which would include the Office of Violence Prevention. The office is one of the major elements of Mayor Frey’s proposed executive government structure.
Alexander, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology, brings more than 40 years of executive leadership in civil service, law enforcement and public safety to this new role. He has previously served as the director of public safety for DeKalb County in Georgia where he oversaw police, fire, emergency response and 911. He also served as the chief of police and later deputy mayor for the City of Rochester, New York, the president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and a member of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Alexander’s first official day will be Monday, Aug. 8.
Mayor issues executive order on reproductive rights
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed Executive Order 2022-01 Aug. 3 prohibiting City of Minneapolis staff and departments from working with, or providing information to, jurisdictions that provide less freedom than Minnesota does and are pursuing legal action against people seeking reproductive health care or providers of reproductive health care in Minneapolis. This is Mayor Frey’s first executive order under the new government structure.
When Minneapolis voters decided to change the structure of the City of Minneapolis government last fall, the mayor became the chief executive officer with general executive and administrative authority. With that change, the mayor is now able to issue executive orders to provide direction, clarity or instruction within the City administration.
The Aug. 4 episode features information about an upcoming violence prevention training Saturday, Aug. 20; how to provide feedback on a new City Climate and Equity Plan and the importance of watering trees when there’s less than an inch of rain in a week.
Nineteen farmers markets and mini markets operate in Minneapolis this year. The City of Minneapolis has an online interactive map that makes it easy to find farmers markets all over the city. Clicking on the map pins at www.minneapolismn.gov/farmersmarkets will show the address, season dates, opening times and web address for each market.
An important economic engine, the markets operating in Minneapolis together represented more than $10 million in vendor sales with more than 450 vendors in 2021. The 2021 market vendors in Minneapolis welcomed an estimated 900,000 visitors. Buying food directly at a farmers market strengthens the connection between the business and the customer; in 2021, 95.4% of products sold were produced or made by the vendor.
Local produce is fresh, nutritious and affordable. Most of the markets accept SNAP-EBT (“electronic benefits transfer”) cards as payment, as well as Market Bucks, which provides $20 more for healthy food to market shoppers using SNAP-EBT. In 2021, customers at the Farmers Markets of Minneapolis redeemed more than $180,000 in Market Bucks and SNAP/EBT, showing expanded access to fresh, healthy food for Minneapolis residents who experience food insecurity and receive federal food assistance. Forty-four percent of market vendors donated leftover produce to hunger relief programs in 2021.
Many Minneapolis residents can reach a farmers market on foot or by bicycle, which is good exercise and doesn’t pollute. Many of the farmers markets also serve to build community with prepared food, environment-themed educational activities and music.
Celebrate National Black Business Month
Celebrate National Black Business Month by supporting Black-owned businesses and hearing from Black business owners.
Strive Publishing is a new bookstore in the IDS Center founded to help solve the need for culturally relevant children’s books and underrepresentation of Black authors in book publishing. Find author celebration events and store hours, and shop online on the Strive Publishing website.
Put more money in your pocket. The average family of four spends $1,800 every year on food they end up throwing away. The challenge will help you learn easy, practical skills so you can spend your money on more important things.
Earn prizes. The challenge will offer multiple opportunities to entered a raffle to win a prize, such as a gift certificate to a local grocery store or co-op, or a low-waste grocery shopping kit.
Make it social. When you sign up, you can start a team and invite your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to take the challenge with you.
Combat climate change. This may come as a surprise, but reducing food waste is one of the most important actions we can take to address climate change.
Attend free events. Events include a Q&A on Instagram with Hennepin Environment, a produce preservation demonstration with Chef Christopher Loew and more.
Weekly Events at Peavey Plaza August 7 – August 13, 2022
Minnesota Orchestra: Summer at Orchestra Hall Sunday, August 7. Summer at Orchestra Hall is a new take on the Minnesota Orchestra’s traditional summer festival, celebrating the Orchestra’s home in the city and its proximity to the revitalized Peavey Plaza. The community is invited to participate in special food experiences and free entertainment by outstanding local performers at Peavey Plaza. For more information: minnesotaorchestra.org/summer.
YWCA Minneapolis Yoga on the Plaza Tuesday, August 9 from 5:30-6:30pm
Flow into summer with FREE yoga classes at Peavey Plaza (weather permitting). Bring a water, mat and towel. Members and nonmembers are welcome to attend. Nonmembers that attend receive a FREE three-day trial fitness pass to any of our three fitness locations. Plus, join YWCA Minneapolis as a member for just $15! Registration recommended: greenminneapolis.org/event/ywca-minneapolis-yoga-on-the-plaza-13/.
Minnesota Horn Quartet Wednesday, August 10 from 12-1pm
Emerging as one of the Midwest’s premiere brass ensembles, the Minnesota Horn Quartet (MNHQ) was founded in 2017 by Allyson Partin, William Eisenberg, Matthew Renz, and N. Jennings White. While MNHQ plays the classics, both major works and transcriptions, they also explore jazz and popular music as part of their mission to expand the repertoire of horn quartet music.
MNspin Musician of the Week: Leslie Rich and the Rocket Soul Choir Thursday, August 11 from 12-1pm
Leslie Rich (vocals, guitar, keyboards) grew up in Northern Ireland, listening to a mix of indie rock, acoustic songwriters and traditional Celtic music. He founded the Rocket Soul Choir in 1994, mainly as an acoustic response to the heavy, guitar-driven, Irish bands cropping up at that time. Even while Leslie recorded solo albums, played in other projects and relocated to Minneapolis, the Rocket Soul Choir continued in various configurations over the years–always with the mission to create stripped-down rock.
Enzyrose Thursday, August 11 from 6:30-7:30pm
Minneapolis native, Enzyrose, is proving to be one of its brightest talents. Laying her life in music through effortless versatility and fearless honesty, the young star continues to defy the norm.. Whether it’s an intimate serenade on a relaxing chord progression or a blazing freestyle on upbeat percussion, she relays her message – the truth.
Children’s Theatre Company Story Theatre Saturday, August 13 at 12-12:30 & 12:30-1pm
Join Children’s Theatre Company for summertime fun at Peavey Plaza! Through imaginative play, collaborative storytelling, music, and family engagement, we’ll explore beloved children’s books together. Laugh, dance, and discover along with your family and friends.
For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please call 311 at 612-673-3000.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000.
TTY users can call 612-263-6850.
Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-673-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.