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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.


Washington Avenue Reconstruction Update

Generic Save the Date AB bannerVia an August 3 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Road striping begins on Washington Avenue Monday

On Monday, August 7, crews will begin a two to three week process for striping lanes of Washington Avenue (County Road 152).

Expect noise
For this project, the striping will be done in stages. First, a grinder will be used to create grooves for the new road lines. Then, painting trucks will place the reflective paint on top of the grooves to form lines.

Please be aware that this work will be noisy. The grinder can be loud and may be used as late as 10 p.m.

Painter trucks will be working overnight to help cut down on traffic impacts. These trucks are not as loud as the grinder machine, but residents should still prepare for some construction-related noise during this time.

Expect delays

Striping will be completed under traffic - both during the day and at night. This means crews will be working alongside traffic. Lane restrictions, including at intersections with flaggers, will occur as striping progresses along Washington Avenue.

Motorists and pedestrians should expect some delays during this work.

Last weekend, crews paved the final layer of bituminous, or pavement, on eastbound lanes of Washington Avenue.

Detour remains in place

The existing detour will remain in place as crews complete striping work.


For the remainder of the work, motorists should stay alert and follow the signs posted around the area.
• All eastbound through traffic must use the detour of 2nd Avenue, 4th Street South and 5th Avenue.
• Continued lane restrictions in intersections at 3rd, 4th and 5th Avenues are expected.


In addition, bicyclists should continue to stay off the cycle track until the project announces they are open. It is anticipated the lanes will open in August.


North Loop Street and Pedestrian Improvement Project Surveys

The City of Minneapolis is undertaking two major North Loop projects: One to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, and the second to improve the condition of several neighborhood streets.
Intended to improve pedestrian and bicycle crossways at 22 intersections in the North Loop area by adding a combination of curb extensions, pedestrian crossing medians, Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS), ADA compliant curb ramps, durable crosswalk markings, and upgrades to existing signals to add leading pedestrian intervals. 
The City will be reconstructing several streets in the North Loop along with pedestrian spot improvements at about a dozen additional intersections. Public Works staff will be engaging with the community and business owners this summer and fall to gather input and to incorporate this feedback into a recommended design. 
Currently in the planning stages, both projects are scheduled to be completed in 2019. The City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works is holding a series of public meetings to gather feedback regarding the proposed project. Please see for days and times for these meetings.
North Loop Pedestrian Improvement North Loop Paving Project

Nominations Now Being Accepted for mpls downtown council’s 2025 Plan Leadership Awards

Via an August 2 News Release from the mpls downtown council:

The mpls downtown council(mdc) announced today it is accepting nominees for its annual 2025 Plan Leadership Awards, which will be handed out on Wednesday, October 11 at the mdc gala.

For the fourth straight year, mdc will give 2025 Plan Leadership Awards to individuals, organizations or initiatives as a way to recognize their extraordinary efforts in creating a vibrant and thriving downtown community.

Awards will be given in focus areas related to The 2025 Plan: development, greening & public realm, downtown experience, transportation, ending street homelessness and community gathering and exchange of ideas. An annual 2025 Plan Impact Award is also given to an individual, organization or initiative that greatly impacted and advanced multiple areas of The 2025 Plan.

“The mpls downtown council’s 2025 Plan had very ambitious goals from the outset, but thanks to members of our community volunteering their time and energy we’ve seen great progress in our 10 key initiatives,” said Steve Cramer, mpls downtown council president & ceo. “We applaud those who give their time and talents toward helping better our downtown community, and we’re excited to reward their efforts at our upcoming mdc gala.”

Nominations for this year’s 2025 Plan Leadership Awards are now open and can be submitted online by visiting Nominations will be accepted today through Tuesday, August 22 at 5 pm.

Award recipients will be announced the week of September 27, with awards being presented at the mdc gala on October 11.

For more information on The 2025 Plan and its initiatives, visit For a list of last year’s 2025 Plan Leadership Award winners, visit Follow along for more information on social media by visiting @mplsdowntown on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #mplsdowntown and #2025plan.

About the mpls downtown council:

Founded in 1955, and one of the most historic central business associations in the nation, the mpls downtown council (mdc) is a membership-based entity that works to create an extraordinary downtown. The mdc’s collaborative developments of Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan was designed to help downtown businesses, community leaders and citizens build on downtown assets and implement future goals. For more information, please visit

About The 2025 Plan:

Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan is a vehicle to help leaders and citizens build on downtown’s assets and guide downtown Minneapolis’ development. This includes initiatives to double downtown’s residential population, transform Nicollet Mall into a must-see destination, create a compelling and walkable environment around the clock, lead the nation in transportation options, end street homelessness, forge connections with the University of Minnesota and more. For more information on the 2025 Plan and its initiatives, visit, and The 2025 Plan is a mpls downtown council initiative introduced in 2011.


Macroinvertebrate Sampling with the MWMO

Via an August 2 e-newsletter from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO):

Macroinvertebrate Sampling

Macroinvertebrate Sampling with the MWMO

Just like people, macroinvertebrates (think dragonflies, crayfish, mussels, insects, etc.) need clean water to live. These types of macroinvertebrates live in our lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands, and collecting data on them, like recording and counting the different species present, can tell us about the health of our waterbodies.   

Know of any 9th-12th graders who might be interested in macroinvertebrate sampling? We offer a free macroinvertebrate sampling program for youth groups from 10 to 30 participants. We provide the sampling equipment, and you provide the people power! 

Find out more!


Now Showing & Coming Soon to the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul

Now Showing & Coming Soon to the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul’s St. Anthony Main Theatre #3





OPENING AUGUST 28: WASTELAND (link not yet available)



NTL: SALOMÉ - Aug 5, 1pm


WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME? - Aug 9, 7pm, in partnership with Sound Unseen


NTL: ANGELS IN AMERICA PART 2, PERESTROIKA - Auu 21, 7pm + Aug 26, 1pm

MAY IT LAST: A PORTRAIT OF THE AVETT BROTHERS - Sept 12, 7pm and 9:40pm + Sept 13, 7pm and 9:40pm

FENCES - Sept 7 - First Thursday Films @ the Capri. Showing at the Capri Theater - 2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis 55411

RAISING BERTIE - Oct 5 - First Thursday Films @ the Capri. Showing at the Capri Theater - 2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis 55411


Westbound Side of Lowry Tunnel on I-94 to Close Overnight August 2

 MnDOT logoVia an August 1 e-newsletter from MNDot:

Overnight closure details
MnDOT will be cleaning the westbound side of the Lowry Hill Tunnel on I-94 in Minneapolis overnight Wed, Aug. 2.

This means westbound I-94 at the Lowry Tunnel will be closed from 10 p.m. Wed, Aug. 2 to 5 a.m. Thu, Aug. 3. The detour is the Hennepin/Lyndale exit.

Also, beginning tomorrow (Aug. 2), the ramp from westbound I-94 to Washington/Broadway Ave. is closed through Fri, Aug. 12. The detour is Dowling Ave. to Second St. 

More about this project
This is part of the I-94 Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center project that started March 20.  More information about the upcoming third stage of the tunnel work will come out Wed, Aug. 2. Click here for more details.

Hennepin County to Kick Off 100-Day Challenge on Youth Homelessness

Via a July 31 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Throughout the next 100 days, Hennepin County will join numerous community partners and four other U.S. communities in a challenge to combat youth homelessness.

The challenge goal is to help 150 youth between the ages of 16 - 24 exit homelessness into safe and stable housing. Of this group of youth, 75 percent will secure employment.

Hennepin County joins Baltimore, Maryland; Columbus, Ohio; Palm Beach County, Florida; and Louisville, Kentucky, in this nationwide challenge.  
On August 2 at 10:00am, sponsors of the challenge - Hennepin County, The Link and the Minneapolis Downtown Council - and other community partners will kick off the challenge by hosting a press conference at the Youth Opportunity Center, 41 North 12th Street.

The following people will make remarks during the press conference:
• David Hewitt, director of Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness and sponsor of the 100-day challenge
• Beth Holger-Ambrose, executive director of The Link and sponsor of the 100-day challenge
• Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and sponsor of the 100-day challenge
• Lele and Symmie of The Link and members of the 100-day challenge team
• Marion Greene, Hennepin County Commissioner
Speakers will also be available following the press conference for individual interviews. 
The nationwide challenge is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and private philanthropic partners. The challenge is administered by A Way Home America, The Rapid Results Instituteand HomeBase.

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at  
Discover how we're making a difference in our communities at


Downtown Kicks Off August 1 National Night Out with 3pm - 5pm Event 

Via a July 31 News Release:

What: National Night Out Kickoff Event
When: Tuesday, August 1, 3-5 pm
Where: Mayo Clinic Square (Corner of Hennepin Avenue and 6th Street North)

National Night Out is an annual event that brings communities and law enforcement together in an effort to get to know one another while raising awareness about how to keep neighborhoods safe. The mpls downtown council and Mpls Downtown Improvement District, with support from Target, are hosting the fourth annual NNO Kickoff Event in downtown, bringing those who live, work and play in our community together for an afternoon of fun and education about how to help each other stay safe.

The NNO Kickoff Event will include:
- Appearances by local law enforcement and public officials
- A pop-up electronic basketball game
- Free giveaways
- Free frozen treats
- Time/Location list of NNO Events in the City of Minneapolis on August 1

Since 1984, Minneapolis has become a national leader in National Night Out participation. Last year, Minneapolis had more than 1,200 registered NNO confirmed events—the most by a city with a population 300,000+ in the country. This year, there will be roughly 20 NNO events in downtown neighborhoods alone.

For more information and additional details on this year’s National Night Out event, follow @mplsdowntown or @MinneapolisDID on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #mplsdowntown and #NNO.


Abiitan Mill City Now Offering Respite Care

Via a July 31 News Release from Ecumen:

Abiitan Mill City Now Offering Respite Service

Abiitan Mill City, a luxury senior living community in Downtown Minneapolis, is now offering a respite program for those who need short-term assisted living or memory care services.

Respite care is especially designed for people still recovering from surgery or illness after a hospital discharge or for the loved ones of caregivers who need a break. Also, respite is a practical way to experience Abiitan for those thinking about moving into the community.

At Abiitan, respite care residents receive a personalized care plan for stays as short as one week. For a daily rate of $330, respite residents receive a furnished room and services such as three meals per day, weekly housekeeping and laundry, linens and towels, medication management, assistance organizing transportation to scheduled destinations, an emergency call system and a 24-hour caregiving staff, personal assistance for bathing and dressing, and activity programs. Special health care services may be arranged on request.
For caregivers, respite care provides a break from the typical care routine – giving a caregiver downtime while providing the person who needs care with continued attention from qualified staff and access to all the amenities and activities available.

“Respite care offers a safe bridge between the hospital and home,” said Erwan Moison, Abiitan Executive Director. “Respite also is a great way for caregivers to receive a break with the peace of mind that their loved ones will be well cared for and safe.”

Abiitan Mill City, located at 428 S. 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55401, offers assisted living services, rehabilitation and skilled nursing care and memory care. For more information call 612-378-0200 or visit

About Ecumen
Ecumen is one of the nation’s top 25 largest non-profit providers of senior housing and aging services. Based in Shoreview, Minn., Ecumen operates 36 communities in 8 states — Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Idaho, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee.  Ecumen provides a variety of senior housing options and services including independent living, assisted living, short-term rehabilitation and long-term care communities as well as at-home and community-based services including home care and hospice. Dedicated to empowering individuals to lead richer, fuller lives, Ecumen prides itself on innovation and radically changing the way aging is viewed and understood.  Ecumen, founded more than 150 years ago, was named “Best Places to Work” 10 times by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and one of Minnesota’s Top Workplaces by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly Magazine. To stay up-to-date on the latest news, find us on Facebook or visit


Update: Fuji Ya - Water Works


Download Staff Report...

Park Board gives final approval for first Water Works phase design

BACKGROUND. The site is located in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District. The site was once occupied by the Bassett’s Second Sawmill, the Columbia Flour Mill and the Occidental Feed Mill. Portions of each of these mills remain on the site. In 1961, Reiko Weston purchased the property. In 1967-68, she built the Fuji Ya Restaurant incorporating portions of the Bassett’s Second Sawmill and Columbia Flour Mill into the design of the restaurant structure. Today, the applicant is proposing to selectively demolish the Fuji Ya Restaurant and stabilize the remaining mills in order to incorporate them into the design of a new park building on the site.

APPLICANT’S PROPOSAL. The Fuji Ya building envelope and portions of its structure are in poor condition with little integrity remaining to the interior. Much of the Fuji Ya building will be carefully deconstructed and removed with select structural components left in place to ensure the continued integrity of the underlying historic mill structures and remnants. Wood posts and beams will be salvaged from the Fuji Ya building and stored for reuse in the Water Works project. Following removals, the historic mill structures and remnants (consisting of the Bassett Saw Mill Engine House, Columbia Flour Mill Boiler Room, and a segment of the Columbia Flour Mill foundation) will be temporarily stabilized, secured, and protected for future interpretation within the Water Works project site at Mill Ruins Park. How the mills will be interpreted and engaged within the new park is still in the early planning stages.

Prior to deconstructing the Fuji Ya building, a Minnesota Historic Property Record will be submitted to the Minnesota Historic Preservation Office including descriptions of the building’s character defining features and conditions at time of removal, the building’s history, archival photographs, copies of Fuji Ya plans from all three phases of construction, and current field-measured drawings.


Update: General Mils Site

The project site occupies an entire city block and is located in the Marcy Holmes Neighborhood within the bounds of the East Hennepin Activity Center. The block is bounded to the north by University Avenue SE, an adopted Community Corridor in the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan. Existing zoning on the site is currently the I1 Light Industrial District and the Industrial Living Overlay District. The site today is occupied by a surface parking lot. The site is also located within the St. Anthony Falls Historic District which was designated as a local and national historic district in 1971.


Project images...

Download staff report...

Doran, CSM buy General Mills land near riverfront

Developers update plans for tower, more at General Mills site near river in Minneapolis

PROJECT DESCRIPTION The proposed project is a full block residential development consisting of a 20-story tower and a 6-story L-shaped structure surrounding a parking garage with 1 level of underground parking and 1 level of at-grade parking. The tower fronts along University Avenue SE, while the 6 story structures front along 3rd Avenue SE and 2nd Street SE. The structure is lined on the 3rd Avenue SE, 2nd Avenue SE, and 3rd Street SE elevations with walk-up townhomes. The total number of proposed residential units is 359. There are 13 townhomes, 139 apartments in the 6 story structure and 207 apartments in the 20 story tower. In addition to the landscaping around the perimeter of the site, the project is proposing a significant amount of outdoor amenities available to the residents. These include an outdoor pool, outdoor spa, grilling stations, putting green, bocce ball, fire pits, gathering spaces, and two private pocket parks at grade level.


Update: 333 E Hennepin Ave

This project was reviewed at the July 17 meeting of the Planning Commission:


Site & building images...

Download staff report, including site plan...

Mortenson returns with plans for 26-story apt tower


The applicant is proposing a 26-story, mixed use building with 4,930 square feet of ground floor commercial space fronting along Hennepin Avenue E, 1,618 square feet of retail space along 4th Street NE and 282 dwelling units.

The site is approximately 32,004 square feet in area (0.75 acres).  There are 282 parking stalls proposed within an above-grade parking structure that is incorporated into the building.  The building is designed with a three-story base that includes retail, residential units and parking and a 23-story tower, for a total of 26 stories.

The tower portion is situated on the northeast side of the site, stepping back 20 feet from the building wall along Hennepin Avenue E.  The first floor of the building includes retail along Hennepin Avenue E and 4th Street NE, amenity space and parking.  The residential lobby is intended to flow from the retail space as one large open area.  The main residential and commercial entrance is located at the corner of Hennepin Avenue E and 4th Street NE.

The entrance is recessed approximately 4.5 feet from the front property lines along Hennepin Avenue and 4th Street NE.  The remainder of the 4th Street NE frontage will include the residential lobby, elevators, a retail space and parking.

The parking structure will be screened from Hennepin Avenue E with residential units on all floors and screened on the first floor along 4th Street NE with a retail space. The exposed portions of the parking structure will be screened with a metal panel and artistic elements. Additional residential amenity space is provided on the seventh floor. 


Ironclad Breaks Ground at Chicago & Washington


The Ironclad project broke ground recently at the corner of Washington & Chicago.


Constructed in 1867, The Union Grain Elevator (or “Elevator E”) that once stood on the site was one of the earliest and largest wood grain elevators built in Minneapolis (able to hold up to 130,000 bushels of grain). The elevator was located directly on the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Saint Paul railway that ran towards the adjacent Mill District along the Mississippi. After just 10 years of use, The Union elevator was burned to the ground, reconstructed, and IRON CLAD to better protect the structure against future fires.


View site & building images...

Download the staff report (40MB)...

Ironclad hotel, apartment project approved by city of Minneapolis


SITE DESCRIPTION AND PRESENT USE. The subject property is currently a surface parking lot located at Chicago Avenue and Washington Avenue South. The property was historically used by the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Saint Paul Railway as a connection into the rail facilities in the Mill District and was the site of a grain elevator. In 1884, the company built a viaduct to carry depot-bound trains over Washington Avenue near 8th Avenue South. The viaduct was demolished in 1984, but remnants of the stone wall that supported the viaduct remain along Washington and Chicago Avenues. The site is irregularly shaped due to the former location of the railroad.

SURROUNDING PROPERTIES AND NEIGHBORHOOD. The property is surrounded by a mix of uses, including residential units, restaurants, hotels, and offices. Surrounding zoning is mostly B4N Downtown Neighborhood District and C3A Community Activity Center District. There are several surface parking lots in the surrounding area, though some are currently being redeveloped. The site is about one block from the Downtown East light rail station and several bus routes serve the immediate area.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION. The applicant is proposing to construct a mixed use building including 171 dwelling units, a hotel with 148 rooms, approximately 8,000 square feet of retail space, and 388 parking spaces. Additionally, the applicant is proposing a second phase of residential development including approximately 38,000 square feet of additional space and 20 more dwelling units along 9th Avenue South. The initial residential portion would be 14 stories or 148 feet in height. The hotel would be 8 stories or 90 feet tall. The parking spaces would be incorporated in two levels of underground parking and two levels of above grade parking at the rear of the property. This area would be accessed by a curb cut on Chicago Avenue and another curb cut on 9th Avenue South. A valet drop-off would be incorporated at the ground level in the parking structure. Amenities for the hotel and residential uses are proposed above the parking structure at the third floor. The residential portion of the building would be located on the northeast portion of the site along Washington Avenue South and the hotel would be on the northwest side along Chicago Avenue.

The applicant is retaining a significant portion of the existing limestone retaining wall from the historic viaduct, though some deconstruction and reconstruction will be required to allow for construction activities for the building. About 300 linear feet of the wall currently wraps the perimeter of the site along the property lines at Chicago and Washington. Approximately 200 linear feet of the wall would be kept along Chicago and Washington with the proposed new construction. Additional limestone blocks will be utilized as decorative landscape pieces on the site and in the adjacent public right-of-way.

Removal of a portion of the wall allows for direct access from the public sidewalk to the retail spaces on Washington Avenue. The proposal also includes an 18 foot wide walkway along the northeast portion of the property that accesses an additional retail space and provides a pedestrian connection from 9th Avenue South to Washington Avenue. Additionally, the applicant is proposing significant improvements to the public realm along 9th Avenue South.


Scenes from the July 29 Mill City Farmers Market

One of life's simple pleasures - fresh sweet corn - arrived at the July 29 Mill City Farmers Market.

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

...and a few ears even made their way to Northern Fires' pizza oven!

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Thank you to MCFM sponsor Lakewinds Food Co-op! In addition to handing out free shopping totes at the July 29 Market, they introduced shoppers to Lakewinds' new Maker to Market program, plus Jill Holter served as the guest chef for the Mill City Cooks demo. The Maker to Market program currently includes four local companies: Caldo Foods, Gyst, Little Red Hen and Señoras de Salsa. Lakewinds staff provided samples of the Caldo Foods' carota and harissa products, and Jill included Caldo harissa and Gyst pickled golden beets in her demo recipes.

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Freak Flag Foods (try saying that 3 times as fast as you can!) is new at the 2017 Mill City Farmers Market. They offer three sauces to "spread it, mix it, dollop or dip it". Look for a separate post on Freak Flag Foods later this week on our Farmers Market blog.

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Below, a member of Mixed Precipitation warmed up before they entertained shoppers with an excerpt performance from this seasons Picnic Operetta, ‘Philemon and Baucis–Planet in Peril’.

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Liz Plambeck of Universal Pants creates women's and children's clothing using up-cycled clothing, vintage fabric, table linens, and hand-me-down fabric that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Thank you to Allina Health for sponsoring the Meet Your Vegetables program!

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Above, Michael Keyes & Jim Krans provided music from 11a-1p.

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

I snagged the last carton of seedless European style sandwich pickles (the Cadillac of cukes, IMO), but Deanna assured me there will be more at her Swede Lake Farms booth next week. 

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Milly the goat!

July 29, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market


My North Series - 52 Minnesota Stories Leading up to the 2018 Super Bowl (Episodes 21-25)

Count down to Super Bowl 52 with this weekly video series of 52 love letters to Minnesota from notable Minnesotans. My North is an editorial video series created by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and presented by Explore Minnesota. Hear from tastemakers and stylemakers. Artists and athletes. Authors and entertainers. These are their odes to the state they love. Below are episodes 21-25 - click here to see more!


Hippy Feet Gallery Event Celebrates Talented YouthLink Kids

Article by Claudia Kittock, Event photos by Rick Kittock

Think of your best pair of socks. Think of how comfortable they are and how much better they make you feel. Now imagine wearing those same pair of socks every single minute of every day for a month. They wouldn’t feel so warm and comforting then, would they? Socks are the most needed article of clothing for people experiencing homelessness, and the least donated. 

Enter Michael Mader, an extraordinary man. His intelligence and his hugely compassionate heart are immediately apparent. Michael is young, only a bit more than a year out of college, but what he is accomplished in that time is stunning. 

While sidelined with a traumatic brain injury from a skateboard accident, Michael came up an idea to manufacture socks, and for every pair of socks sold, he would donate a pair to someone experiencing homelessness. Michael was known for his outrageous socks, and decided to turn it into a business. After recovering from his accident, he returned to college, eager to finish his coursework and ‘get on with it’. He did just that. Finishing almost two semesters of work in one, and launching his company, Hippy Feet.

In the first 4 months of business, Hippy Feet sold over 3000 pairs of socks, and donated another 3000 pairs. Michael not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. He and others walk the streets of Minneapolis handing out socks to people in need. When I asked Michael why he thought of people experiencing homelessness, he was puzzled. “Why wouldn’t I think of them?” he answered.

Of course, his early success was not enough for Michael. He created a photography project for young people at YouthLink. Participants were given disposable cameras and asked to return the camera once the roll of film was completely filled. The 16 youth were asked to take photos that documented their day to day experiences as a homeless or formerly homeless individual. Each person was asked to write a quick journal about each photo. When the photographers filled the entire camera roll, they returned the camera and a copy of their journal entries to YouthLink. They received varying forms of compensation for their work.

The Hippy Feet team developed the photos and prepared them for the “gallery” event, Mile in My Socks, which was held on July 27 at Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul. The photos were displayed and sold at a silent auction. The proceeds from the sale of the photo were divided in 3 ways. An equal percentage was donated to YouthLink and to Elpis Enterprises, a non-profit partner of Hippy Feet that provides employment and job training to homeless youth. The remainder of the proceeds will be given back to the individual artist who took the photos as a form of commission

Anthony, a Mile in My Socks project contributor, discusses one of his photos with an event attendee.

We were there and the event was amazing. Each of the photographs told a different part of the story of people experiencing homelessness. The experience of homelessness is different for each individual, and the photographs from these artists were as different as their experience. One artist told me that his grandmother was a photographer, and he hoped that even though she died several years ago, she somehow saw what he was doing. We hope so too. She would be so very proud!

How can you help?

·  Buy Hippy Feet socks. Not only do they help someone in need, they are terrific socks.  

·  Learn more about YouthLink.

·  Join a group of us in participating in the September 24 Night of Hope. There will be more information about this event soon. Give it some thought!

Claudia can be reached at


Washington Avenue Reconstruction Update

Generic Save the Date AB banner

Via a July 27 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Saturday paving on Washington Avenue 

Starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 29, crews will pave the final layer on eastbound lanes of Washington Avenues. 

Expect noise and vibrations

Residents and businesses in the area should be aware that this work will be noisy and there will be vibrations. Bituminous paving is loud and involves a lot of truck operations. The vibrating roller used to smooth out and compact the pavement often shakes the ground.

Expect delays

The paving will be completed under traffic. This means crews will be working alongside traffic. Lane restrictions, including at intersections with flaggers, will occur as paving progresses along Washington Avenue. 

This work is expected to last the duration of the day, weather permitting.

In addition to the county's paving efforts, the City of Minneapolis will be seal coating 3rd Avenue South on Saturday, July 29. The city expects that the 3rd Avenue work will only last the day, weather permitting.

Motorists and pedestrians should expect some delays on Saturday.

Last week, crews paved the first two layers of bituminous, or pavement, on eastbound lanes of Washington Avenue.

Detour remains in place

There is more work that needs to be completed before all lanes can fully open, including special striping for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists throughout the corridor.

As a result, the existing detour will remain in place as crews complete some paving and striping work.


For the remainder of the work, motorists should stay alert and follow the signs posted around the area.

All eastbound through traffic must use the detour of 2nd Avenue, 4th Street South and 5th Avenue.

Continued lane restrictions in intersections at 3rd, 4th and 5th Avenues are expected.


In addition, bicyclists should continue to stay off the cycle track until the project announces they are open. It is anticipated the lanes will open in August.

Contact us


The MPRB Wants You to Know: Summer is Sand Wasp Season!

Via a July 27 e-newsletter form the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board:

Summer means warms days, sunshine and sand wasps. This is the time of year when some park users may see sand wasps swarm and burrow into the sand in tot lots, playgrounds and other Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) properties where sand is present.

Unlike yellow jackets and other types of wasps, sand wasps are not aggressive. While female sand wasps are capable of stinging, they will only do so to defend themselves. Male sand wasps can aggressively guard a territory and will challenge other males (even people) but they lack a stinger cannot harm humans.

Photo Courtesy of the UofM Bee LabSand wasps are small, typically close to 1/2 inch in length and are typically black and yellow. Sand wasps nest individually in burrows but often nest in one small area.

Removing sand wasp nests with pesticides would close the affected area for an extended period and then likely leave trace amounts of pesticides in the sand. Since sand wasps are typically not aggressive, MPRB staff most often recommend leaving them alone until the nesting time is over and they die naturally.

(Note: sightings of other stinging wasps that pose a threat can be reported to Customer Service at 612-230-6400. After verification, MPRB staff may use natural methods to encourage wasps to abandon the nest.)

In addition to sand wasps, other bees and bee hives may be found in the parks. Please be alert and avoid those areas as much as possible. For more information about bees, please visit the University of Minnesota Bee Lab website


Applications Now Being Accepted for Master Water Stewards Program

Master Water Stewards holding sign

Via a July 26 News Release from Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO):

Looking for a few good neighbors to protect water quality

All across the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area, neighbors are joining together to improve the health of water in their communities and beyond. By becoming trained and certified as Master Water Stewards, they have dreamed up, created and installed projects beyond what they thought possible. Applications are now being accepted for the next cohort of Master Water Stewards who want to make a real difference in their community. 

Freshwater Society developed the Master Water Stewards program in 2013 to equip citizens with the knowledge and skills needed to help improve water quality at the grassroots level. The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) is one of many local watersheds sponsoring MWS classes, and is offering them free-of-charge to eligible residents.

“The Master Water Stewards program is designed to equip ordinary citizens with the skills they need to become leaders for clean water in their community,” said MWMO Executive Director Doug Snyder. “We at the MWMO are proud of our Master Water Stewards and their grassroots efforts to protect our water resources from polluted runoff.”

Master Water Stewards are certified by participating in a broad training curriculum led by experts in the fields of hydrology, stormwater management, water policy, community-based social marketing, and raingarden assessment and installation. They must complete a capstone project that captures rainfall and allows more water to soak into the ground, and lead a community outreach event. Stewards then become a point of knowledge and influence in their communities.

Local graduates include people like Brittany Faust and Kristine Maurer, whose runoff-absorbing landscape at a local café earned an award from the Freshwater Society. Ian Lamers and Liz Reiser built a stormwater treatment train in a residential backyard, while Erin Thomasson and Kathy Johannes lobbied local leaders to consider stormwater management when reviewing development proposals. 

These are just a few examples of Master Water Stewards who are now volunteering their time to protect and improve water quality and habitat in their communities. 

To learn more, citizens can visit or attend an upcoming information session at one of the following locations (all applicants welcome at any of the following sessions):

  • August 14, 2017 – Freshwater Society, 5:30-6:30 pm, 2424 W. Territorial Rd., Ste. B., St. Paul, MN 55114
  • August 29, 2017 – Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, 5:30-6:30 pm, 2522 Marshall Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
  • September 19, 2017 – Nine Mile Creek Watershed District, 5:30-6:30 pm, 12800 Gerard Dr., Eden Prairie, MN 55346

Or find more dates and times here: 


Master Water Stewards volunteer 50 hours of community service in their initial year of certification, at least 25 hours each subsequent year, and attend eight hours of continuing education to maintain their certification. To date, stewards have accomplished a tremendous amount through their service. They have:

  • Connected with thousands of people through outreach and educational events.
  • Installed or planned more than 83 projects, including rain gardens, rain barrels, cisterns, a dry creek bed, and a permeable driveway.
  • Prevented more than 1.2 million gallons of polluted stormwater runoff from entering our lakes, rivers, and creeks each year! In the process, these efforts remove silt, leaves, plant material, animal waste, automobile gas and oil spillage, excess salt and other pollutants.

Northeast Minneapolis Icon Celebrates 15 Years of Local and National Prominence


The Sample Room offers “15 Days of Celebration”
$15 sample plate and select beverages at throwback
prices. Running through Sunday, August 6, 2017

Back in July 2002 – fifteen years before the craft-beer boom, before the rehabbing of industrial buildings into tap rooms, fitness centers, workplaces and art galleries, and before becoming a foodie haven for local, organic and small-batch – four partners opened what would become a northeast Minneapolis neighborhood icon: The Sample Room. In July of 2002, Darren Ennis, Sheba C.E. Fideler (co-owners in Sheba Inc, an award-winning event production and graphic design/branding agency), Jim Rosenberg and Christine Bravo initiated and anchored the Minneapolis neighborhood’s renaissance.

“Jim and Christine lived next door and saw the promise of Nordeast,” says The Sample Room co-owner/managing partner Darren Ennis. “After creating our food-forward concept of small plates, which had the legs and appeal for all demographics, the key was to continue executing that concept at a high level while continuing to evolve.”

Since opening, the team has transformed a dark brick, two-story, former beer sampling station and bar on Marshall Avenue into an urban enclave. The Sample Room inducted a fresh menu concept new to the Twin Cities that paid homage to the original Sample Room: small plates of meats, seafood, cheeses and vegetables, sourced from local and often organic farms and makers, along with beverage samplers, or “flights” of wine, scotch and tequila. The restaurant later added beer and spirits flights and an extensive cocktail program.

The plaudits came quickly, from such national publications as the Wall Street Journal, the Travel Network and Food Channel, with Anthony Bourdain also paying a visit. “None of that ensures our longevity, if we’re not, day in and day out, rocking true to form and executing our concept to our highest ability,” Ennis says.

Rather than rest on its laurels, The Sample Room is gearing up for the next 15 years: they currently are partnering with Mississippi Park Connection to utilize Sample Docks for kayak parking and are exploring expansion of service to the docks; expansion of the patio and second level to include Sample Lounge and private event space; and entertainment and events in Gluek Park including yoga, MN Morel Fest, and more.

Serving cocktails and eats daily, The Sample Room is located on the Mississippi River at 2124 Marshall Street NE in a restored turn-of-the century brick building that offers skyline views. Follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Flickr.

The Sample Room opens 11:00am Mon–Fri, 10:30am Sat & Sun
Kitchen is open until 10:30pm Sun–Thurs, Midnight Fri & Sat
Bar is open until Midnight Sun–Thurs, 1:00am Fri & Sat
Brunch is served 10:30am–4:00pm Sat & Sun 
Happy Hours are 3:00pm–6:00pm Mon–Fri, 10:00pm–Midnight Sun–Thurs