Kim Eslinger

David Tinjum

Ryan Ojard
Staff Photographer

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits
Email Claudia...

Merle Minda
Small Business Columnist
Email Merle...

Kathleen Boe
River Matters Columnist

Meg Forney

Doug Verdier

Mill City Times is a not-for-profit community service.  We do not sell advertising on this site.

Cultural Cornerstones
Search Mill City
Recent News
Front Page Archives

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.


The Foundry Home Goods – Unique, Delightful Home Products

Article and photos by Merle Minda

The Foundry Home Goods – Unique, Delightful Home Products
Shop to Expand to be Five Times Larger by Labor Day

Minnesota girl Anna Hillegass skipped college, going right from high school to New York City where she landed a plum styling job in the fabled Holly Hunt Design Showroom. She loved New York and her job but had a hankering to come home to Minneapolis. And that she did, making her mark by creating The Foundry Home Goods five years ago in the North Loop.


Anna HillegassAnna Hillegass

Located almost kitty-corner from the Bachelor Farmer on North 1st Street, The Foundry Home Goods has made its mark with a steady base of admirers and customers.

Anna’s carefully selected choices of home products, finishes and fabrics are unique in the Twin Cities. From natural wood products to Swedish brushes, from Spanish glassware to Japanese towels, the array makes it almost impossible to leave without a purchase.

Vegetable and other brushes

Glassware Display

More Displays

Product Display

Many products are sourced from Scandinavia; others stem from travels to Japan, France and elsewhere. Some are one-of-a-kind; when they’re gone, they’re gone.

“I look for products that are useful for every day, around your sink for example, but are also products that last and are nice to look at,” says Anna. Anna stays away from trade shows but continually adds products that are well-made and of natural materials. Prices are reasonable as well.

Discussing how she landed in the North Loop is interesting, because her father actually owned the Foundry Building at one time. (The building was a working foundry much earlier.) So it seemed like a natural spot for her to begin her vision of putting together useful products made by other artists and designers.

The shop includes products and ideas for Bed/Bath, Kitchens; Tableware/Dining; Beds and Utilities. I also saw a number of colorfully designed toys and puzzles during my visits. Many are exclusive to The Foundry Home Goods. In truth, as you keep walking about, many and more things catch your eye that you would love to own.

“I am a very visual person;” Anna continues, “visuals are important to me in putting together these offerings. In our new space we will have more room to expand and add.”

Yes, you read that right. The store is soon making a short-term move and will be open down their block for a few weeks while their current space on the corner is remodeled and enlarged to literally five times their current square footage. They will be adding product indeed, such as furniture to start; still working with Anna’s vision of items that are “simple, useful and beautiful.”

Meanwhile Anna and her key helpers are there daily; often with Anna’s beloved chocolate lab dogs, Tulip and Ruby, on site. Anna herself lives in the building above the shop. 

Anna Photo

The new and enlarged The Foundry Home Goods will be open from Labor Day forward.

The Foundry Home Goods is located at 125 North 1st Street Minneapolis, MN 55401, 612-333-8484.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

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.


Mill City Youth Players Debut at the Guthrie Theater on August 24 with a Free Performance

Article by Claudia Kittock, Photos by Rick Kittock

There is an exciting program at the Guthrie. It started last week and will culminate on Thursday, August 24th. Join us for a one-night, one-hour performance titled Be You, Be Seen, Belong, created by young adults from YouthLink and youth residents of the Cedar Riverside neighborhood.

Through a two-week intensive class on acting and theater craft, the participants formed the Mill City Youth Players and have written and developed an original theater piece inspired by their personal stories, featuring music dance, spoken word and more. As the culmination of their efforts, they will perform for an audience for the first time. Stay for a discussion after the performance to learn about the players and the creation of this special event.

Jessica Finney, teaching artist at the Guthrie, provides direction to the young actors.

The Mill City Youth Players is a pilot program established by the Friends of the Mill District, YouthLink MN and the Guthrie Theater.  It was begun as a way to build community within the younger population in our city.  We know that bringing people together to make art seems to make all barriers disappear.

Tickets are free, but reservations are required. Call the Guthrie Box Office at 612-377-2224 to reserve tickets today. The performance will be held in the Dowling Studio, so seating is limited and tickets are going fast.  We want to show these young actors a full house.  Please get your tickets now.

Claudia can be reached at


Submissions for the 2025 Plan Leadership Awards due by August 22

Each year, the mpls downtown council recognizes and honors leadership by individuals, organizations and initiatives alike through their 2025 Plan Leadership Awards. This year’s awards will be given out on Wednesday, October 11, at the mpls downtown council gala. Nominations for 2025 Plan Leadership Awards focus on the areas of development, greening & public realm, downtown experience, transportation, ending street homelessness, festival of ideas (MiX) and 2025 Plan Impact Award (given to an individual, organization or initiative that greatly impacted multiple areas of the 2025 Plan) are now open.

Click here for more information on the 2025 Plan. Submissions are due by Tuesday, August 22 at 5 p.m.


Minnesota Twins Introduce Somali Youth to Baseball

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

Most of you know about Webster Elementary, the first public elementary school for the downtown attendance area. How many of you know about another school that was here far earlier? The Cedar Riverside Community School, the 5th charter school in the country, is in its 23rd year.

Beginning in 1986, a large scale housing development project in much of the neighborhood brought a large population of families with young children to the neighborhood. As many of the units in this development were scheduled for Section Eight Housing, the number of children remained large in the immediate future. Approximately half the Cedar Riverside neighborhood resided in the Riverside Plaza Housing Project and the large number of Section Eight units guaranteed a continued population of children.

In 1989, the West Bank Community Development Corporation (CDC) developed a network of day-care houses, using community resources in housing opportunities to respond to the needs of the families. Local service agencies, the Currie Center and the People’s Center, had also increased their programming for children. In the winter of 1991, parents and school teachers in the community began discussing the need for a local school. In May of 1991, the West Bank CDC continued its history of supporting family services and agreed to act as the fiscal agent for the proposed school. With CDC backing, a series of community meetings had been held to access the needs of neighborhood families in regards to a school, and a proposal for a charter school was written.

Cedar Riverside Community School began in 1993. It is located in the heart of the Cedar Riverside Plaza housing complex. This location has had a powerful impact upon the school’s evolution. The school serves a population overwhelmingly from immigrant families who come from homes where English is not the first language. Some of the more prevalent issues many of the students have to overcome in addition to learning English when they come to CRCS include interrupted schooling, immigration, culture shock, separation from family members, poverty, and trauma caused by war. These are significant obstacles to students, families, and staff when providing for each child’s education and growth.

I learned about the school and its powerful mission from Jennifer Wigchers Weber, the school outreach director. Jennifer is also the originator and coach for the sports program. I found out about the Sports Check It Out program from Jennifer, and learned that while she has successfully launched many sports programs, baseball was still difficult. So, I contacted my favorite member of the Minnesota Twins organization, my husband, Rick.

The Minnesota Twins are an interesting organization, and while fielding a competitive team is the central theme of their business, there is much more that goes on at the field. Did you know there is a tour department and a Learning Through Baseball education department? The Twins give tours throughout the ballpark, and offer classes to students about the science of baseball, the language of baseball, the history of baseball, and many more.

This week, a group of students from the Cedar Riverside Community School were given a tour of Target Field by Rick. Baseball is not a familiar sport for people from Somalia. With the generous support of Josh Ortiz of Community Programs, along with Forrest Brandt of the Tour Department, the students were taken to the Target Station. The tour guides taught the children baseball fundamentals using wiffle ball equipment donated by the Twins. As you can see from the pictures, it didn’t take long before they were playing with all the zest of kids everywhere.

This group took that equipment back to the Community School and to the Sports Check It Out library so that a whole new generation of neighborhood kids can learn and play together. It was an amazing day!

What can you do? Read the following invitation, and if interested in being part of it, please RSVP to Jennifer Weber (Coach Weber) at

         We are starting a new tradition this year at Cedar Riverside Community School by hosting a Back To School Kick Off with all our students, families, staff, community members and partners.
        Our first day of school is Monday, August 28th and our kick off celebration will begin at 7:00 am with a meet and greet as all our students gather on the plaza.
        At 7:30 am our students and teachers will be be off to class for day one of the 2017-18 school year. Our hope is to fill the plaza with cheers, posters, hand shakes, high fives and hugs as they take the first steps towards the amazing year of learning that awaits them at CRCS.
        Our school will be hosting a breakfast and community gathering in our lunchroom starting at 7:45 am. As a community school we look forward to hosting this event for everyone that has invested time, talents and care into our school and students. We hope that it will be a big step towards creating dialogue between the parents, community members and partners that all mean so much to our day to day work.
        We look forward to sharing this time and experience with you and sincerely hope you can attend.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Claudia can be reached at


Coming in September: "Illuminate The Lock" at the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

Here's something to add to your September calendar! Enjoy two weekends of art with Illuminate The Lock at the Upper Saint Anthony Lock & Dam, 1 Portland Avenue, on September 15, 16, 29 and 30. These free events are organized by the Mississippi Park ConnectionNorthern, and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, with support from St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

WEEKEND ONE: Illuminate the Lock: Aaron Dysart, Surface
Date: September 15 & 16 
Time: 8:00pm-10:30pm

The 49-foot tall chamber of Upper Saint Anthony Falls Lock and Dam will become a canvas for experimental artworks during this two-part series. Surface by artist Aaron Dysart kicks off the series, using years of handwritten data recorded by Army Corps of Engineers staff at the Lock as the basis for a light show. Daily pool heights and lockages will translate into shifting colors projected on atmospheric effects created in the lock chamber. The spectacle will display the 52-year operating history of this iconic Minneapolis space through near daily observations by the people who tended it. Dysart’s presentation is also part of Here and There presented by The Soap Factory.

WEEKEND TWO: Illuminate the Lock: Andrea Carlson, The Uncompromising Hand
Date: September 29 & 30
Time: 8:00pm-10:30pm

The 49-foot tall chamber of Upper Saint Anthony Falls Lock and Dam will become a canvas for experimental artworks during this two-part series. Part two features The Uncompromising Hand by Andrea Carlson and engages Spirit Island, a limestone island and Dakota sacred site that was once in the Mississippi River near the current Lock and Dam. The lock wall will come alive with a hand drawn animation based on six photographs of the island from the MN Historical Society’s collection, which plot the island’s lengthy dismantle between the 1890’s and 1960’s. Text in Dakota and Ojibwe will accompany the animation. 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Questions? Contact Katie Nyberg at 651-293-0200 or


Marcy-Holmes' First Congregational Church of Minnesota Preservation Project Completed

Via an August 17 News Release:

First Congregational Church of Minnesota Celebrates the Completion of its Building Preservation Project, Made Possible by one of the Largest Historic Preservation Grants Ever Given by the Minnesota Historical Society.

On Sunday, August 27, 2017, First Congregational Church of Minnesota, United Church of Christ, will celebrate the completion of its most recent historic preservation project, paid for in part by a $387,000 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant administered by the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS). The grant is one of the largest historic preservation grants ever awarded by the MHS.

With its dramatic steeple, which can be seen from I-35W and beyond, First Congregational Church has long been a landmark in Southeast Minneapolis. The church was established in 1851 as the First Congregational Church of St. Anthony and the current structure was dedicated in 1888. It was built out of Lake Superior red sandstone quarried from Bayfield, WI, and was designed by noted church architect Warren H. Hayes. 

In addition to the towering spire, notable architectural features of the church include a sliding wall between the sanctuary and the adjoining social hall; a sloping, circular floor plan; many “Richardsonian Romanesque” elements that were popular at the time; and dramatic stained glass windows designed by the art director of the Tiffany Glass Company.

Now nearly 130 years old, the church building has required extensive maintenance over the years, including replacing the steeple after a lightning strike and adding an accessible side entrance. The goal of the most recent project, conducted by Macdonald and Mack Architects, was to make the building water tight. Elements of the project included patching and reinforcing stones, repointing mortar joints, adding new slate shingles on the three minor spires, repairing or replacing roof ridges, and repairing storm windows. One highlight of the project was when workers discovered three beautiful stained glass windows that had been covered up by storm windows.

Penny Petersen, author of Hiding in Plain Sight: Minneapolis’ First Neighborhood, said preserving the church is important for appreciating the history of both the city and the state. “Many prominent city and state leaders attended First Church, including three-term Governor John Pillsbury and University president Cyrus Northrop,” she said. “It’s a beautifully designed, well-loved building that plays an important role in our history and in our visual literacy.” 

Jane McBride, Principal Minister, said the building improvements will allow the congregation to continue its work in the community. “Even as we restore slate, glass and sandstone, we work to integrate our ministry with our building and to cultivate a vision of opening this space more authentically to the wider community,” she said.

The August 27 celebration will begin with a litany of blessing and thanksgiving at the 10:00am worship service and continue at 11:00am with refreshments and tours of the church. All are welcome to attend, explore the building and see firsthand how this historic church is continuing to play a vital role in the present community.

About First Congregational Church of Minnesota

First Congregational Church of Minnesota, United Church of Christ, is a progressive Christian community that gathers to listen, speak and then act, with a spirit of compassion, justice and stewardship. The church is located at 500 8th Avenue SE, Minneapolis, in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.


Better Parks Thanks to the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20)

Via an August e-newsletter from Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board:

NPP20 funds garden care and a range of other maintenance at neighborhood parks

Gateway Park garden maintenanceGateway Park, Downtown

This summer, gardeners have been making the rounds more often at neighborhood parks, thanks to a historic 2016 agreement between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the City of Minneapolis.

The 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20) protects current levels of park funding for 20 years and provides $11 million in additional funds annually. That includes $3 million to increase maintenance at all 160 neighborhood parks, funding care for planted areas, turf and trees; plus more inspections and repairs for playgrounds, pavement, plumbing systems, buildings and more.

While increasing maintenance makes for more appealing parks, it's also good economic sense: A wide range of park facilities can last longer and work better with regular maintenance. Over time, increased maintenance through NPP20 can reduce the need for costlier replacements, improving efficiency and sustainability throughout the neighborhood park system.

Every neighborhood deserves a great park.

NPP20 is a historic agreement between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the City of Minneapolis. It helps address racial and economic equity across 160 neighborhood parks and provides $11 million annually to maintain, repair and replace facilities.


Haunted Basement Tickets Now on Sale - New Location for 2017

Tickets for the 2017 Haunted Basement are now on sale! This will be the 11th year of production, and you'll find them at a new location: Building 9 of 2010 East Hennepin Avenue.

Performances will begain Friday, September 29, and run through Halloween; with performances on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays of each week, and a final show on Tuesday, October 31. All shows begin at 6:30pm, with performances running later into the night on Fridays, Saturdays and Halloween.

They have some new tricks up their sleeves this year, but will still offer some familiar experiences, such at the ‘Fraidy Cat tours and the Blind Invocation. The ‘Fraidy Cat tours are an opportunity to explore the Basement environs in lights-on, no-scare surroundings. These tours are also an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with the set and costume designs of the Haunted Basement.

For those on the opposite end of the fear spectrum who desire a little added oomph to their Haunted Basement visit, the Blind Invocation option will once again provide brave patrons with a one-of-a-kind solo experience, complete with exclusive Easter egg environments and adventures designed only for Blind Invocation ticket holders.

Tickets for the Haunted Basement are $25 for Thursdays and Sundays, and $27 for Fridays, Saturdays, and Halloween. Enhanced experience Blind Invocation tickets are $40. The Haunted Basement is an 18+ with ID event. ‘Fraidy Cat admission is $15, with tours available on Wednesday, October 18 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, and Sundays on October 22 and 29, from 11:00am to 1:00pm. )‘Fraidy Cat tours are open to patrons of all ages, but parental guidance is always suggested.)


City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Launch Six Interactive Map Tours That Make it Easy to Explore Public Art in the City

Via an August 15 News Release:

There are hundreds of public artworks to visit in Minneapolis. The City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) have created six interactive map tours to make exploring the approximately 300 works in their public art collections by auto, bike or walking easy and fun. 

To celebrate the launch of these new interactive maps, on Thursday, August 17 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. City and MPRB staff, artists, Art Commissioners, neighborhood organizations, and other community members will be taking an abbreviated Nice Ride tour of two of the works of public art.

The tour will begin at the 35W Bridge Remembrance Garden designed by the landscape architecture firm oslund and assoc.  From this location, participants will ride bikes provided for the occasion by Nice Ride across the Stone Arch Bridge to the Marcy-Homes Gateway and Sixth Avenue Stroll. The group will be met by artist Aldo Moroni and author Penny Petersen whose book “Hiding in Plain Sight,” inspired Moroni’s sculptural buildings.

City and MPRB staff will demonstrate the new interactive maps.

For those interested in exploring these new unique tours, each is geographically organized and within each tour you will find detailed information about each artwork and directions to the works through Google Maps.  A tour goer can choose to follow the numbered tour order provided, or follow their own order and visit individual artworks that piqued their interest.

To find out the number of artworks, featured artists, and length of each unique visit this interactive the Minneapolis Public Art Tour interactive website. Tour goers are encouraged to share their adventures using hashtag #TourMplsArt.

Thursday, August 17, 2017 Agenda:

11:00am - 11:15am
Gather at 35W Remembrance Garden (across from Gold Medal Park)

11:15am - 11:25am
Nice Ride group ride across Stone Arch Bridge

Arrive at Marcy-Holmes Gateway (501 SE Main Street, Minneapolis, MN 55414)

11:30am – 12:00pm
- Aldo Moroni creator of Six Avenue Stroll
- Penny Petersen author “Hiding in Plain Sight”
- City and MPRB Staff demonstrate new interactive Public Art Tour maps  

City and MPRB Staff demonstrate new interactive Public Art Tour maps                      

Also located in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood within walking distance of the media event is Tilted Bowl by artist Seitu Jones.


Updates from Friends of the Mill District

Article by Claudia Kittock

Mill City Singers

Remember the Friends of the Mill District Singers? What a title! Well, we discovered that no one got our name right, and have now changed the name of our group to the Mill City Singers. Better, right?

We are a group of friends and neighbors who gather to sing together on Saturday afternoons from 2:00-3:30. We are led by the magical JD Steele, and accompanied by the amazing Fred Steele.

This year’s session will begin September 9. Rehearsals are held on the 8th floor of the Guthrie theater. It is free and open to everyone. Don’t worry if you don’t think you can sing. JD’s magic will surprise you. He takes a group of ‘ordinary’ singers and puts us together in a way that makes beautiful music.

There are performances throughout the year, but attendance is not mandatory. We know that we all lead complicated lives, so being gone from some rehearsals and/or performances is not an impediment to being part of our group.

If you are interested in joining us, please contact Claudia Kittock at Give it a try! If you can resist the magic, it is not a problem. However, I’m betting you can’t resist and you WILL be back! 

Yoga in the Park

Have you noticed a devoted group of neighbors, practicing yoga every Saturday morning in Gold Medal Park?  It is the Yoga in the Park program, begun and sponsored by the Friends of the Mill District. In its 3rd year, the program has grown, and is now averaging 43 practitioners every week.

The teachers are certified instructors who volunteer their time to teach yoga in this gorgeous setting. We are so grateful to them for their help.

The program begins on Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day weekend, September 2. We meet every Saturday at 9am and is free and open to anyone interested.

There are 3 more Saturdays in this summer’s program and we urge each one of you to give it a try. A beautiful setting, skilled teachers, free and open, and right in your backyard. We hope to see you there.

Partnership with the Guthrie Theater And YouthLink

The Friends of the Mill District, in collaboration with the Guthrie Theater and YouthLink, will begin a pilot project on August 14. It is a 2-week intensive class on acting and other aspects of the theater.  The culmination of this project will occur on August 24 at 7:30pm with a performance in the Dowling Studio.

The young people in this program will write and perform their own work. Each actor will play a significant role in the writing, performance, and even the naming of this group of actors. We are hoping this pilot project will become a year-round class.

Rehearsals will be held on August 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23 and 24 from 4pm-6pm on the 8th floor of the Guthrie. Transportation and meals will be provided by the Friends of the Mill District with contributions from members of the community.

Jessica Finney, teaching artist at the Guthrie, has been hired to serve as the director. Jess was a founder and Producing Director for Emigrant Theater (City Pages Best Independent Theater 2007), where she staged a number of plays. A strong supporter of new plays, she regularly directs workshops at the Playwrights’ Center. A frequent mentor for Pillsbury House Theatre’s Chicago Avenue Project, she has also worked on Pericles and A Christmas Carol (Guthrie). She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab and has trained with Augusto Boal. She has stage managed for the Jungle, Mixed Blood, Guthrie, and Park Square, among others. Jess recently earned her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and continues to use the arts as a tool for transformation while working with children, couples, and families.

We invited the neighborhood to help provide meals, and within 12 hours we had more than enough volunteers. Just one of the many reasons why this is an amazing place to live.

Please reserve August 24 at 7:30 to attend the performance. We are planning a ‘talk back’ after the performance and hope everyone will attend. Tickets are free and will be available at the Guthrie box office. Details will follow.

Claudia can be reached at


New Sculpture in Gold Medal Park: "NAUTILUS, 1976" by Charles Ginnever

"NAUTILUS, 1976" by Charles Ginnever

"NAUTILUS, 1976" by Charles Ginnever

The design for Charles Ginnever's mammoth steel sculpture was inspired by one of nature's unique primitive structures: the spiraling, chambered shell of the marine mollusk known as the nautilus. Like Richard Serra's Five Plates, Two Poles, also constructed from massive plates of industrial Cor-Ten steel, the sculpture's seemingly precarious balance merely suggests impending collapse. To understand its spatially complex form the viewer must circle around the piece, tracing the spiral motion of the progressively sized chambers to discover the secret of its design: six flat parallelograms, folded at regularly increasing intervals, that are welded together. Ginnever got the idea for folding flat sheets into a three-dimensional object--abstract yet suggesting a real figure--from Japanese origami, the decorative art of cut-and-folded paper. The changing light and seasons interact with the sculpture's surfaces to create subtly shifting visual effects.

"NAUTILUS, 1976" by Charles Ginnever

"NAUTILUS, 1976" by Charles Ginnever

"NAUTILUS, 1976" by Charles Ginnever

"NAUTILUS, 1976" by Charles Ginnever

"NAUTILUS, 1976" by Charles Ginnever


In the News - Downtown & the Riverfront Neighborhoods


Minneapolis' landmark Jesus mural is crumbling — can it be saved?
One of Minneapolis' most prominent public paintings is falling apart.

Urban castle in downtown Minneapolis might become 'destination brewery'
The one-of-a-kind house that's just steps from U.S. Bank Stadium has been described as "Tim Burton meets Lord of the Rings."

No, really (say Minneapolis officials): The new Nicollet Mall is on track to be finished by November
In March, when the city and the Minneapolis Downtown Council kicked off a promotional campaign aimed at easing concerns over the Nicollet Mall redo, they promised that the two-year, $50 million construction project would be “substantially complete” by November.

100-Day Challenge seeks new strategies to end homelessness
The clock is ticking on an ambitious plan for Hennepin County to quickly develop new strategies and partnerships for ending youth homelessness.

Click to read more ...


The Week Ahead in Mill City


Scenes from the August 12 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Whatever you want to call it - Romanesco broccoli, Roman cauliflower, Broccolo Romanesco, Romanesque cauliflower, Broccoflower or simply Romanesco - it is a most welcome sight! Combining the best of brocolli and cauliflower, it's a mild, delicious late summer vegetable for roasting, grilling or nibbling raw.

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

An unexpected treat - beautiful artichokes from GVY Fresh Produce.

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Chef Nettie Colon mixed up a batch of sweet corn ice cream during the Mill City Cooks demo.

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Bitter melons from the Bean Market. Do a little Googling to learn about them!

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Tickets are still available for the September 10 Harvest Social

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market\

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Gorgeous celery!

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Milly the goat!

August 12, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market


Tours, New Exhibits and More at Capitol Grand Opening This Weekend

Via an e-newsletter from the Minnesota Historical Society:

The Minnesota Historical Society and Minnesota Department of Administration are thrilled to celebrate four years of restoration work at the Minnesota State Capitol's Grand Opening Celebration this weekend, Aug. 11-13. 

Visitors can enjoy free tours of the restored Capitol led by MNHS interpreters throughout the weekend, which include special behind-the-scenes glimpses of locations like the Governor's Office and Senate and House Retiring Rooms. Forty-five-minute tours start at the MNHS Information Desk every half hour Friday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

MNHS also invites the public to view the new exhibit “Reconciling History: Views on Two Minnesota Paintings” on the third floor in room 317A. This new exhibit space features two paintings formerly displayed in the Governor's Reception Room, "Father Hennepin Discovering the Falls of St. Anthony" and "The Treaty of Traverse des Sioux," with more robust interpretation, historic context and a range of current perspectives on the artwork, including those of American Indians. 

On the third floor in rooms 317 and 317B, visitors can discover two new panel exhibits from MNHS, curated in partnership with the Cass Gilbert Society, on the Capitol’s construction, history and restoration.

MNHS Press author and National Register Historian Denis Gardener will sign copies of his new book "Our Minnesota State Capitol" throughout the weekend in the Capitol's museum store Friday 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-12 p.m.


Work Begins Soon to Unlock Mill Remnants Featured in Future Water Works Park Project

An indoor pavilion featuring repurposed mill remnants will be a central feature of Water Works

Work to locate/assess buried mill walls begins in August; deconstruction of Fuji Ya building begins in September

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Minneapolis Parks Foundation today announced the start of new archaeological work in preparation for construction of Water Works, a transformative riverfront park project within Mill Ruins Park.

Work begins soon on, and adjacent to, the old Fuji-Ya building, located at the corner of 1st Street and 5th Avenue S, near the Stone Arch Bridge and West River Parkway. Archaeological exploration is necessary to fully locate and assess the condition of the former Bassett, Columbia and Occidental mill remnants. The mill walls are planned to be integrated into a new indoor riverfront pavilion and outdoor gathering spaces included in the updated Water Works design.
View Concept Design

In September 2017, careful deconstruction of the Fuji Ya building begins. Full-scale construction of Water Works will take place in 2018. The first phase of Water Works, called the Mezzanine Phase, will be complete and open to the public in 2019.

“We’re incredibly excited to have this opportunity to explore, unearth and adapt fascinating pieces of buried Minneapolis history for a new era of riverfront vitality,” says Jayne Miller, MPRB Superintendent. “These mills helped build Minneapolis into an industrial powerhouse and soon they’ll rejoin the Central Riverfront as part of its revitalization into a world-class cultural attraction.”

The Mezzanine Phase encompasses about 2.5 acres, from West River Parkway to 1st Street S, and 3rd Avenue S to Fifth Avenue S. It includes a new indoor riverfront pavilion with a food vendor, rooftop terrace and plantings, city steps overlooking the Mississippi River, outdoor play areas and gathering spaces, a connection to the Mill City Quarter woonerf and improved biking and walking connections. The Riverside Phase will follow the Mezzanine Phase and is expected to begin in 2021.

“Water Works will be a place for gathering and communing, just as Owamni Yomni or St. Anthony Falls has drawn people for millennia,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, which aligns community vision and philanthropic investment to bring parks to life and communities together. “By creating space for people and peoples to tell their stories, we’re honoring the site’s rich history even as we provide for new opportunities to connect to nature and each other for this generation and generations to come.”

The balance between park development and tree removal will be thoughtfully considered throughout construction on this project. Some trees need to be removed due to poor health, site circulation or grading, or interference with the buried cultural and historic resources that will be unearthed and showcased as part of Water Works. The site will be replanted with a diverse mix of trees using urban forestry best practices under the supervision of MPRB Arborists.

Through the Parks Foundation, the majority of Mezzanine Phase funding will be provided by philanthropic investment. In 2015, the Parks Foundation launched the RiverFirst Capital Campaign, which has to-date raised $12.3M in philanthropic gifts and commitments.

About this project

Water Works is a transformative park development project adjacent to St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge that will bring significant new historic, cultural, and recreational amenities to one of the most iconic locations in Minneapolis.


Raise a Monarch That Will Go to Mexico!

Article and photo submitted by Jenny Winkelman

Volunteers are needed to raise adult butterflies for the 9th annual Minneapolis Monarch Festival – Festival de la Monarca™ on September 9, 2017.

At the Festival, the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab will release over 100 butterflies marked with a small, weatherproof identification sticker (tag). The tagged adult monarchs, raised from eggs by volunteers, will be part of a large scale study of the monarch’s migration. Monarchs tagged and released at the Festival are raised in small numbers from eggs collected in the wild. These individuals will be physiologically programmed for migration. Also, since wild monarch populations are now perilously small, they are particularly vulnerable to disease or genetic adaptations, which can be introduced from large rearing operations.

A one-and-a-half-hour training teaches volunteers about monarch biology and best rearing practices for each stage of the monarch life cycle. Each person will receive three monarch eggs and all equipment needed to raise an adult from an egg and bring it to the Festival. Two training sessions will be held, both at the Lake Nokomis Community Center, 2401 Minnehaha Parkway, in Minneapolis:

Training Session 1:  Saturday, August 12, 10:00am-11:30pm
   Register here:

Training Session 2:  Wednesday, August 16, 6:00pm-7:30pm
   Register here:

Training costs $5 per person to cover staff time, rearing supplies, and eggs. Class sizes are limited, so register soon! Spanish speakers are welcome. Classes will be conducted in English and training materials are available in both languages.

“Anyone can sign up for a session. We welcome those with zero experience wishing to learn, as well as those with years of experience wishing to ask specific questions or just hone their skills,” says staff at the Monarch Lab. Kids are especially welcome to participate. However, one requirement for successful rearing is access to a consistent source of non-treated milkweed.

Most tagged butterflies are recovered in Mexico, where local residents are hired to find them. However, many more monarchs are tagged than found. Data about these butterflies is collected by Monarch Watch and used to learn about monarch orientation and navigation, and estimate their populations.

The Minneapolis Monarch Festival – Festival de la Monarca™ celebrates the 2,300 mile monarch migration from Minnesota to Mexico, and will take place at Lake Nokomis on September 9 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. This bilingual, family oriented event features hands-on learning, art activities with local artists, and a musical lineup with Salsa del Sol and Ballet Folklorico. The monarch and habitat exhibits offer many ideas for actions that will help preserve the iconic monarch butterfly and its migration.

Contact for rearing monarchs:
Aislyn Keyes, University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Contact for information about the Festival:
MaryLynn Pulscher, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board


News from the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA)

Excerpts from an August 8 -newsletter from MCBA:

Open Book Takedown, August 14–18

In the spirit of community and letting everyone’s voices be heard, visit us between Monday, August 14 and Friday, August 18 and choose up to five prints from the Open Book Takeover to take with you free of charge! Pick from thousands of letterpress posters printed by Amos and others. Must be present to collect prints. Free and open to the public.

Fall Classes Now Online
Feed your curiosity and stretch your creativity at MCBA! In addition to our ever-popular bookbinding, papermaking, and letterpress printing classes, this fall we're offering some brand new things! Kick-start your creative journaling practice with Nichole Rae from the Art of Daily Practice, learn how to make woven baskets with marbled paper, and more! Classes fill up quickly, so register soon.


Exploring the Upper River: Paddle Share

Article by Kathleen Boe, Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership

Exploring the Upper River

 A look at hidden gems along the Minneapolis Riverfront

This monthly series has been about areas along the river – places to visit alongside the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. But it’s also possible to take that one step further.

People ask, can I swim in the Mississippi River, can I fish in it, can I touch it with my toe. And the reality is, yes, you can fish. You can swim in the mighty Mississippi – given, of course, the appropriate level of care and caution. 

But there’s another easy way to get on the river as well, and that’s with the Mississippi River Paddle Share program.  

This is one of the new cool things you can do on the river: renting a kayak. It was originated by the National Park Service and it’s overseen by the Mississippi Parks Connection. It’s everyone’s opportunity to get out on the river.

Photo: the National Park Service

There are two options now, and there’s a third on the way.

You can start at North Mississippi Regional Park, at the north end of the Minneapolis riverfront and rent a single-person or two-person kayak for a three-hour span. The return station is at Boom Island Park, just under four miles down the river. The paddling itself should take around half that time, so there is plenty of time to relax and observe.

The other option is to start at the Lowry Avenue Bridge, at the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization building, and paddle a little less than two miles down to Boom Island. This station has only single-person kayaks, but the price is a little lower. It’s under an hour to get to Boom Island, so there’s plenty of time to actually go upstream a little bit and see the heron rookery before heading downstream.

Each rental location has everything you need – the kayak, a life jacket for each person and a paddle. You reserve your kayak online at

If you don’t have your own kayak and you want to get out on the river, this is a cool way to do that. Soon there will be a third option as well, to start at Hidden Falls Regional Park and continue down to Harriet Island in St. Paul.

The history of our river is really about the pathway, where the river was the centerpiece around how you would get somewhere. You would start by going along the river, then fan out from there.

Over time we’ve changed that. Instead, we approach the river from our neighborhoods and now perhaps we see the river as a border we can’t go across.

One of the things that’s great about this program is that it’s an opportunity to get people actually on the river. This is your chance to be in it.

This area is pretty neat because the water isn’t very deep. Depending on the day, it’s a nice current as well. If you’re going from point A to point B, you are going downstream the whole way.

With the lock closed, there’s no commercial traffic on this part of the river, either. It’s a very peaceful way to see the Mississippi. You see the river and the shoreline from an entirely different viewpoint. You can see into people’s yards and into the industrial area. There’s something about the character of the river up here that’s unique in its own way and you get that sense when you’re on the river, in a kayak.

Photo: the National Park Service

Given the leisurely time frames – a three-hour rental for a ride that takes less than half that – you have plenty of time to stop somewhere along the way. Or, after you take the kayak out at Boom Island, hop on a Nice Ride bike and stop somewhere on the way back to your car. There are many options, not the least of which would be the Northeast Yacht Club, 1029 Bar, Elsie’s or The Draft Horse.

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


Water Works Site Preparation Begins in Early August

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board anticipates that soon after Friday, August 4, fencing will be installed near the north parking lot adjacent to the Fuji-Ya building to secure that area for exploratory archeological work. The process should be completed during August, and when complete this fencing will be removed. 
During archeological activity, some trees need to be removed due to poor health or interference with the buried mill remnants that will be unearthed and protected as part of the future park. Throughout construction on this project, the balance between park development and tree removal will be thoughtfully considered; new plantings will of course be made as phase 1 nears completion.
Following the archaeological work, in September, fencing will be re-installed to secure a perimeter around the Fuji-Ya building, and careful deconstruction of the structure will begin. This work is anticipated to continue through February 2018.
In November 2017, more significant archaeological excavations are planned in the parking lots just north of the Fuji-Ya building. This work is anticipated to last until mid-December and will continue in the spring of 2018. Excavation in these areas will be permanent and the areas will be fenced and closed until project completion.
While this activity is not full-scale construction, some disruption to routine may occur. The sidewalk adjacent to the park along First St. may be closed and there may be intermittent, temporary disruptions to one lane of traffic. 
For information about construction activities, residents are encouraged to sign up for project notifications on the Park Board's website, via