Hennepn County Commisioner Irene Fernando: News from District 2
March 5, 2021
Greetings! We hope our newsletter serves as a resource for staying connected to Hennepin County activities and staying updated on county news and services.
As always, please reach out with questions, comments, or to learn more about how to get involved.
Statement on Militarization of Downtown Minneapolis for Upcoming Chauvin Trial
Read my statement on the militarization of Downtown Minneapolis for the upcoming Chauvin trial. It outlines my view on the approach being taken, as well as the limitations on Hennepin County Commissioners’ decision-making authority.
I am concerned at how government leaders at all levels are collectively presenting in preparation for the trial. There has been an immense emphasis placed on the security of buildings and physical spaces, and no clear emphasis placed on healing or community voices. I stand with the community members who oppose the militarization of our downtown community. And I am deeply concerned about recent Hennepin County signage that may criminalize, among other things, the use of sidewalk chalk and making noise.
I have informed Sheriff Hutchinson’s office that I condemn the use of chemical irritants or less-lethal ammunition on any crowd. I oppose the use of kettling and believe that increased law enforcement and military presence do not guarantee a safe or peaceful situation for everyone.
*Osseo and St. Bonifacius libraries will begin accepting returns on March 22. Due to their small size, indoor capacity limits can only accommodate staff at this time. Holds pickup for items in the Osseo and St. Bonifacius collections will be available at nearby libraries.
Renew your expired driver’s license
Did your license or ID expire during the pandemic? Be sure to renew before the expiration extension ends March 31.
Appointments are required for in-person services. In many cases, you can renew easily online.
Projects receive funding to clean up contaminated sites
In February, the county board awarded $1.6 million of Environmental Response Fund grants to clean up contaminated sites where environmental costs hinder site improvements.
Projects supported by ERF grants provide a variety of community benefits, including creating affordable and moderately priced housing, supporting economic development, developing green space, and making infrastructure improvements. Many ERF grants address environmental contamination in communities with significant disparities in health, including low income areas and communities of color. Some of these sites become a catalyst for new development in neighboring areas, which can help address racial disparities in housing, employment, and income.
As a major economic center for 150 years, the county has a concentration of contaminated sites. Much of this contamination was caused by chemical spills or improper disposal of hazardous waste prior to the existence of environmental regulations. These improper disposal practices of the past can still cause soil and groundwater pollution that present environmental risks today.
Learn more about the Environmental Response Fund and see a list of grant recipients at www.hennepin.us/ERF