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.


Nonprofit Spotlight: Elpis Enterprises

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock 

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

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

Paul Ramsour, Executive Director, Elpis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).



Street Closures for November 23 and 25 Races

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



Black Friday and Small Business Saturday Specials at Minneapolis Visitor Information

Via an e-newsletter from Meet Minneapolis: 

By shopping locally, more money stays in the community plus customers have the opportunity to receive a free ornament and tote bag

Mark your calendars for Minneapolis Visitor Information’s two-day sale on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Specializing in Minneapolis, and Minnesota-themed gifts from Love From Minneapolis, Minneapolis Visitor Information customers will receive a free tote bag with a $30 purchase, and the first 50 guests, on both days, will receive a Minnesota-shaped ornament with a qualifying purchase. Celebrate the importance of supporting small businesses, as well as local products.

Times: Friday, Nov. 24 from 10am to 6pm and Saturday, Nov. 25 from Noon to 5pm

Location: 505 Nicollet Mall, Suite 100, directly across from the METRO Nicollet station

• Free Minnesota-shaped ornament and tote bag with $30 purchase (first 50 customers each day)

• Free tote bag with $30 purchase (all customers)

Minneapolis Visitor Information includes three services in one convenient location on Nicollet at 5th Street:

Shop: Love From Minneapolis offers Minneapolis- and Minnesota-themed apparel, art, specialty foods, souvenirs and gifts, including many made by local artisans. Products are also available at:

Move: Move Minneapolis (formerly the Commuter Connection) provides services to commuters, carpool information, transit passes, schedules and maps, MNPass and bicycling commuting information and accessories. Visitors seeking help with transit options should make this their first stop downtown.

Find: Meet Minneapolis staff is available to answer questions, share visitor maps and provide suggestions about things to do in Minneapolis and the surrounding area. The Visitor Information Center in the Minneapolis Convention Center also is available to provide similar information to visitors and convention attendees.


Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit to the greater Minneapolis area.

Connect with Meet Minneapolis: OnlineFacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest, and for deals and exclusive experiences:


2017-2018 Snow Emergency Info Sources

If you didn't receive the 2017-2018 Minneapolis Snow Emergency Brochure in the mail, you can find the information online and subscribe to various update options:

Hotline - Call the automated 612-348-SNOW (7669) hotline to find out if a Snow Emergency has been declared. If a Snow Emergency is in effect, the hotline will have information on that day’s parking restrictions that drivers need to follow to avoid tickets and tows.

  • The City’s website - Go to to find out whether a Snow Emergency has been declared and for a wealth of information on Snow Emergencies in many languages. Also, check out the street lookup, which lets you put in an address or a neighborhood to see where you can park during a Snow Emergency.
  • Phone alerts - Minneapolis uses a phone alert system to notify residents when Snow Emergencies are declared. It is an automated notification system that can place thousands of calls per hour. You can add your cellphone or unlisted landline number to the alert system by signing up at
  • Email alerts - You can sign up to get Snow Emergency alerts automatically emailed to you. Go to for more details.
  • App for Android devices and iPhones – Drivers who have Android devices or iPhones can download the Snow Emergency app. During a Snow Emergency, the app will tell them the parking rules for that day. It also has a street lookup, which lets them see where they can park on that day by street address or by having the device’s GPS pinpoint their location.
  • The media - News releases are sent to the media so TV, radio stations and other news outlets can inform their viewers and listeners that a Snow Emergency is in effect.
  • Cable TV - Tune in to cable channels 14 and 79. These channels will have information in several languages when a Snow Emergency is declared.
  • Facebook and Twitter – Like Minneapolis Snow Emergency on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Both the Twitter and Facebook pages will tell fans and followers when a Snow Emergency is declared.
  • Sunday

    Now Open: Nicollet Mall

    An in-depth look at the new Nicollet Mall
    After $50 million and 28 disruptive months of construction, the barriers have finally come down on Nicollet Mall, marking its third remake in a half-century.

    Two-plus years in the making: Nicollet Mall back in business
    Nicollet Mall reopened at noon Thursday, marking the end of a construction headache that's cost millions of dollars and closed the downtown Minneapolis corridor for more than two years.

    Watch: Nicollet Mall opens after 2 years of construction
    Nicollet Mall reopened, marking the end of a construction headache that's cost millions of dollars and closed the downtown Minneapolis corridor for more than two years.

    The new and improved Nicollet Mall is finally unveiled
    It will be an asset for downtown Minneapolis, but public safety is still a concern.

    Mary Tyler Moore statue is back on Nicollet Mall
    She's back. The beloved bronze statue of Mary Tyler Moore exuberantly tossing her hat into the air is back at its original home at Nicollet Mall and 7th Street in Minneapolis. On Saturday morning, she smiled and tossed it under a dusting of snow.

    Metro Transit buses to return to Nicollet Mall Dec. 2 — for a bit
    They'll be detoured again for a month as of Jan. 15 due to the Super Bowl.

    One weird trick to fix downtown Minneapolis
    Have you walked around downtown lately? I don't know. It's not great. The Nicollet Mall reconstruction is, without a doubt, something that has happened. Some of the streets have improved and will continue to improve in the next few years. A number of new Starbuckses have recently opened.


    2nd Annual Winterfest on Second Street is December 2!

    Article by Claudia Kittock

    The 2nd Annual Winterfest on Second Street is Saturday, December 2, from 11:00am - 1:00pm. Winterfest is sponsored by the Friends of the Mill District, a small, neighborhood charity with a mission to build community in the Mill District. This event takes place in conjunction with the Mill City Farmers Market (held inside the Mill City Museum) and is a gathering of neighbors with horse and carriage rides, hot chocolate, sledding (in Gold Medal Park, dependent on snow cover) and caroling. The caroling is organized and led by the Mill City Singers, and we invite anyone interested to join us. We will have lyric sheets and stroll 2nd Street S, singing songs of the season.

    We also want to support our neighbors. In this wonderful Mill District, 26% of our population lives below the poverty level. Often invisible in this neighborhood of plenty, we want to make sure everyone is seen and everyone is supported.

    Please consider supporting our neighbors in need by dropping off donations at Cynthia Froid Group, located at 702 2nd Street S, across from the Mill City Museum. People Serving People is always in need of diapers, outerwear, and other things. YouthLink needs hats, mittens, and many other items. Donations of money and/or gift cards can also be dropped off.

    If you love to sing, join the Mill City Singers for caroling during Winterfest. We will begin at the Guthrie, stopping to sing at various locations along 2nd Street. Come sing with us - all are welcome! You don’t have to be a member of the Singers to participate. We just want to sing together.


    Be Grateful!

    Article by Claudia Kittock

    If you sing with the Mill City Singers, you are familiar with the gorgeous song, simply titled, Be Grateful. This is a time of year when all of us are reminded of the things that bring us joy, the things that are so profoundly important every day of our lives. I do the work I do because I believe in social justice and equality. I believe that I am required to do this work. I was born lucky and I didn’t choose that luck. I was born to parents who loved me, provided a home for me, and urged me to read and to learn. Some people are not born with that luck through no choice of their own. I am required to give that luck back. What I have learned is that for every bit of effort and every bit of investment, it comes back to me 1000 times.           

    I am honored to work with people experiencing homelessness. While that may seem odd in an essay on thankfulness, it is not. I have received more ‘thank yous’ and more thankfulness than in any other part of my life. I laugh every single day that I am with the youth, and the hugs are never ending. The strength I see every day inspires me to work harder and to do better.

    I am honored to write this column for the incredible Mill City Times. Dave Tinjum urged me to write for a year before I said ‘yes’. He wanted me to tell the stories I hear as I go about my advocacy work. Why am I grateful? Because every single week I am honored to talk with people who are doing the work of social justice, not for show, not for money, and certainly not for glory. They do the work because it is the right thing to do, and I get to be reminded that our world is filled with people like this.

    This year in the life of Friends of the Mill District there were many things that require thankfulness. As many of you know, we offered Yoga in the Park from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I was, again, approached by a yoga teacher who asked if she could teach the class for free! She assured me she would take charge of the schedule and find other teachers on the days she couldn’t be there. ALL of that was done for free, for a contribution to building community, for ‘doing the right thing’. Wow!!

    The Mill City Singers continues to delight and touch both singers and audiences. In the past year, we have grown from an average of 41 singers in each rehearsal to 49. There has been no publicity to seek new singers, and yet we add people every single week. Our roster now includes 191 singers. Performances this year included the Capri Theater, the Loring Park Music Fest, a Twins game, caroling for Winterfest, and we have been asked to be a community partner with the Minnesota Orchestra.

    We launched a new project in August of this year, the Mill City Youth Players. The actors come from the Cedar Riverside neighborhood and from YouthLink. We had 24 actors who participated and put on a sold-out production in the Dowling Theater at the Guthrie on August 24. It was phenomenal! The second session began on November 15 and will continue with rehearsals at the Guthrie, culminating in 3 performances!  There will be 2 performances on January 25, a matinee and an evening performance and will culminate with an evening performance on January 26. Put these dates on your calendar - you won’t want to miss it.

    With new endeavors come new challenges. Our biggest challenge this year was finding the money to pay the salaries for the professionals who lead the Mill City Singers and the Mill City Youth Players. Because of the incredible outpouring of love and support from the ‘friends’ of these programs, we were able to find the financial support we needed. We are so very thankful to each and every one of you who help us. The name of our charity has proved very appropriate! You truly are friends of the Mill District and we are profoundly grateful for your friendship.

    There are always ways to get and/or stay involved:

    • Bring dinner for the actors at the Guthrie. We make sure there is a dinner for them after each rehearsal and ask you to stay and talk with them. Not only is it great fun, but you will be reminded just how much teenagers eat! If interested, please contact me at
    • Sing with us! If you think you can’t sing, you are probably wrong, and even so, the Mill City Singers is open to all. No charge, no expectations but to come with a full heart ready to sing with joy and to make friends.  Contact me at
    • Support us financially so that these programs can continue. You can donate through GiveMN at
    • Send a check made out to Friends of the Mill District to: Claudia Kittock, 212 10th Avenue S, Apt. 102, Minneapolis, MN 55415

    Be grateful! It matters in how you go through life, and a heart full of gratitude is one way to change the world around you.


    Cynthia Froid Group Office is a Convenient Donation Drop Off Point in the Mill District

    As many of you know, Cindy Froid offers her Cynthia Froid Group office at 709 2nd Street S as a drop location for donations to People Serving People and YouthLink. Collection boxes are located inside, the office is open during business hours, Monday through Friday.

    If you'd like to contribute, below are some helpful ideas for items that will truly make a difference to those who are currently stuggling:

    YouthLink wish list includes:

    • Feminine professional attire and masculine button-up shirts 
      o At this time they are currently at capacity with masculine professional attire and are not able to take masculine dress pants and suits.
    • Winter clothing, age appropriate 
      o Urgent need: coats and winter jackets, masculine jeans, long-sleeve and T-shirts, fashionable young feminine clothing 
    • New bras and underwear (all sizes, men's only boxer briefs, women's any style) 
      o Please note - used underwear and socks are not accepted. 
    • New backpacks 
    • Gift cards, $10.00 value (Aldi gift cards for groceries would be especially helpful) 
    • Baby wipes


    People Serving People’s top 10 needs include:

    • Air mattresses 
    • Baby carrier (front pack) 
    • Baggies: snack size 
    • CaCoats: boys size 5-12; girls 2T-5T; and adult XL-5XL 
    • Diapers: sizes 5 & 6; pullups 3T,4T,5T (Huggies is preferred brand) 
    • Gloves and mittens (any size, child and adult) 
    • Sanitary napkins (with wings) and tampons (super size) 
    • Sheets & blankets: sizes T/F/Q 
    • Similac: Advance/Iron/Fortified/Sensitive  
    • Baby powder 
    • Towels: wash cloths, hand and bath sizes 

    Please consider helping a neighbor in need of a hand, support and understanding.

    Thank you!


    Washington Avenue Reconstruction is Complete!

    Generic Save the Date AB banner

    Meet the new Washington Avenue

    Hennepin County, in coordination with the City of Minneapolis and Downtown Improvement District, has completed reconstruction of Washington Avenue South (County Road 152) between Hennepin Avenue and 5th Avenue South.

    The project began in 2016 with utility relocation work. For the past two years, crews completed work along the project corridor. The new Washington Avenue features the following upgrades:

    For people driving:
    •New pavement, resulting in improved driving experiences
    •New medians and curbs, as well as refreshed striping, which help define roadway better
    •Dedicated turn lanes at key intersections

    For people biking:
    •One-way dedicated bike lanes in both directions
    •Specialty striping for bike lanes
    •Special bike traffic signals

    For people walking:
    •New concrete sidewalks
    •More dedicated space

    The reconstruction also provided the opportunity to upgrade curb ramps and crosswalk signals to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities act, as well as the following improvements for safety:
    •Shortened crossing distances for people walking
    •Behind-the-curb bike lanes
    •Striping and stop bars that provide safe distance for all road users

    In addition, there is enhanced streetscaping elements, like new pavers, trees and other landscaping. Granite benches, repurposed from Nicollet Avenue, also were added to the corridor.

    More information is available at

    Visual images of the new Washington Avenue

    original renderingEarly artist's rendering of new Washington Avenue design.

    renderView of completed Washington Avenue in front of 4th Avenue block, roughly approximating the artist's rendering.

    signalsView of completed Washington Avenue with all permanent signals functioning, including traffic, pedestrian and cycle track.


    MCBA announces Shop Open Book! events - Tuesdays, Nov 28-Dec 19

    Via a November 14 e-newsletter from the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA):

    Shop Open Book! with Milkweed Books and The Shop at MCBA

    Tuesdays: Nov 28 - Dec 196pm-8pm
    Open Book, First Floor

    Milkweed Books and MCBA are pleased to present Shop Open Book!, a series of lively literary shopping events in the Open Book building. Join us for evenings of festive drinks, special deals, art activities, and more. Find something special for the bookworms on your listyourself included.


    Big Changes for Northern Spark 2018

    Via a November 14 e-newsletter from Northern

    The Night Librarians, The Night Library, Northern Spark 2017. Photo: Dusty Hoskovec

    As the seven year arc of Northern Spark indicates, we don’t often do the same thing twice. We’ve moved the festival around the Twin Cities, experimenting with size, site and theme. Being itinerate and experimental is part of our DNA at Northern, much like the artists we support. In this spirit, we’re trying something different this year. We’re making the festival two nights, Friday and Saturday, and starting at dusk – 9:02 pm, but closing up shop at 2 am. 

    Why? We love the dawn as much as the 2% of Northern Spark attendees who stay until the end, but after some very bad weather and several years of barely dodging thunderstorms, we want to ensure that the effort artists put into their projects is not washed out by increasingly volatile weather.

    We know from all the years past that a lot of magic and connection can be experienced by the time 2 am strikes, so we hope you join us in this trial. We’re also moving to the third weekend of June, so mark your calendars for two nights of late-night adventure on June 15 and 16, 2018, 9:02 pm - 2 am.

    Northern Spark 2018 theme: COMMONALITY

    Ruthann Godollei, News Flash Flash Cards, Northern Spark 2017. Photo: Anna Min of Min Enterprises Photography, LLC.

    The theme of this year’s festival takes its cue from its venues: The Commons, the Minneapolis Central Library and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. What is a 21st century commons? A 21st century library that serves everyone? A pedestrian friendly avenue that is friendly to anyone?

    At a time when the darkest parts of our collective identity surface daily in public forms — overt racism, no-big-deal sexism, challenges to our rights to free speech, policies that fly in the face of climate science — we at Northern are committed to providing platforms that resist these ideas, that open dialogue and create relationships. What do we have in common? More specifically in the context of Northern Spark, what do we share when we gather together in physical space?

    Are you an arts and culture organization who would like to be involved? Send a note to to talk to us.


    2017 Election Recap

    Media coverage on the 2017 Minneapolis elections:

    'People wanted a fresh start': Election ushers in new mayor and five new council members in Minneapolis
    It took a while, but once Minneapolis election results started flowing on Wednesday, the winners came in quick succession.

    New Minneapolis leaders pledge work on affordable housing, public safety and police reform
    At Minneapolis City Hall under at least the last two administrations, the mayor’s office has been largely closed to the City Council.

    Jacob Frey wins mayor election in Minneapolis
    Mpls. mayor-elect triumphant, conciliatory after bruising campaign.

    Frey elected mayor
    Jacob Frey, who led in first-choice votes on election night, was declared the unofficial winner of the 2017 mayoral contest Wednesday.

    Mayor-elect Frey calls for end to 'ideological purity' in Mpls.
    Minneapolis mayor-elect said he would seek to quell pointed rhetoric and showcase the city's strengths during the Super Bowl.

    Voters elect Fletcher in Ward 3
    Fletcher, a technology consultant who lives in Downtown East, won over Socialist Alternative candidate Ginger Jentzen in a third round of voting. Jentzen appeared to lead at first, garnering 34 percent of first-choice voters to Fletcher’s 28 percent, according to unofficial election results.

    Goodman wins again
    Council Member Lisa Goodman is heading into her sixth council term after receiving 52 percent of first-choice votes.

    Reich wins third term in Ward 1 race
    Council Member Kevin Reich will get a third term in leading the East Side on the Minneapolis City Council.


    Scenes from the November 11 Mill City Farmers Market 

    The Mill City Farmers Market kicked off their 2017-2018 Winter Season on November 11 inside the Mill City Museum. (Just like the outdoor market, only without the wind, rain, snow and cold!) :D

    You'll find everything you need to get thru the Holidays at the November 18, December 2, 9 and 16 markets. 2018 dates are: January 13 and 27, February 10, March 10 and 24, and April 14 and 28. 

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

    November 11, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market


    Hippy Feet Expands Products and Partnerships to Combat Homelessness

    Article by Claudia Kittock, photos provided by Hippy Feet

    Last January, I followed up on a chance meeting, and had coffee with Michael Mader, one of the most amazing young men I have ever been honored to know. Michael started a company, Hippy Feet, after a very serious head injury that forced him to take an entire semester away from college during his senior year. While Michael was recovering, he read an ad from the Salvation Army about the incredible need for socks. Socks are the least donated item, and the most needed at homeless shelters. Michael’s reaction to the ad was atypical. “I can do something about that!” Michael thought, and boy has he ever!

    Michael returned to college with a mission. Finish college and start a company that manufactured socks. For every sock purchased through Hippy Feet, Michael planned to donate one to someone experiencing homelessness. In the first 18 months of business, Hippy Feet has succeeded expectations and is ahead of the place Michael believed it would be. They have sold and given away over 14,800 socks! 7,400 sold and 7,400 donated, and in case you think Michael is now doing full-time administration, you would be wrong. Michael continues to go out on the street, meeting people and personally handing out socks.

    His new focus is developing employment for people experiencing homelessness. He hopes to create at least 10 new jobs this year. Hippy Feet is expanding their employment model starting with what they are calling “Pop Up Employment”. Michael is working with YouthLink to employ 3-5 young people once a week for a month. Hippy Feet would bring socks, tags, and packaging materials to YouthLink and teach the youth how to get the socks packaged and ready to be sent out. The goal is to provide work on an immediate basis that would result in income to support daily needs.

    Additionally, Hippy Feet is currently fundraising to raise enough money to buy an embroidery machine, which would be housed at Elpis Enterprises. Once purchased, they will partner with Elpis Enterprises to employ homeless youth, provide training on that machine, and then be able to offer new employment based on the skills learned during the training. Elpis Enterprises (Elpis is Greek for Hope) is a Saint Paul-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides job training, work experience and job placement for homeless or precariously-housed young people ages 16-23. Youth build skills, experience and relationships in the community, and develop as individuals and potential employees by working in real enterprises gaining the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to overcome homelessness and become contributing members of our community.

    Expanding apparel choices is also a goal of Hippy Feet. If you check the website you will note the addition of hats, with American made, organic cotton. Sweatshirts are expected before Black Friday.

    Some of the collaborative work they are doing includes a partnership with My Sister. My Sister supports women who are survivors of sex trafficking, and in partnering with Hippy Feet, hopes to further highlight this issue, particularly during the upcoming Super Bowl.

    As exciting as the work is, the only way for it to go forward is through your help. How can you help?
    · Learn more about Hippy Feet
    · Buy Hippy Feet at
    · Get involved in supporting programs that help people experiencing homelessness including YouthLinkMy Sister, or any other program doing the work.

    We are stronger together. This is a solvable problem. Wouldn’t it be exciting to be the first major city in the United States to eradicate homelessness? It can be done if we all work together! We are stronger together.

    Claudia can be reached at


    My North Series - 52 Minnesota Stories Leading up to the 2018 Super Bowl (Episodes 36 - 40)

    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 36-40 - click here to see more!


    TONIGHT (Nov 9) - Open House for Water Works Project at Nicollet Island Pavilion

    Open House planned to discuss progression of project design, programming, food vendor and schedule

    The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is hosting an open house to give an update on the Water Works project on Thursday, Nov. 9, 6-8 pm at the Nicollet Island Pavilion, 40 Power Street.

    At 6:15 pm, members of the Water Works project team will give a brief presentation highlighting features of the park project design and give general project updates. Also, Frank Haney, culinary ethnobotanist and Indigenous chef from The Sioux Chef team, will be present to discuss the food concept selected for the indoor pavilion at Water Works. Limited samples of The Sioux Chef food will be available.

    The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Minneapolis Parks Foundation (MPF) invite all interested members of the public to attend and comment on the Water Works project. Families are welcome!

    About this project

    Water Works is a transformative park development project on the downtown side of St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge that will bring significant new historic, cultural, and recreational amenities to the Central Riverfront.


    ZeSa Expands Class Offerings to Include Balance Builder and Yoga

    I've been taking balance classes at ZeSa Fitness for over a year, and can attest to how beneficial it has been in improving my coordination and overall fitness. During class, the body is fully engaged as we balance on various levels of "Activators" (pictured below), while lifting weights, doing crunches and other moves.

    They've recently added two new classes that will appeal to those who may be intimidated by the equipment or buff models shown on their website and Facebook page.

    The first new offering is ZESA Balance Builder, is a class that starts from the ground up and is specifically designed to improve balance, strength and flexibility, all of which are so important for day to day activities and functional movement. All moves in this class can be done on their mats or on their newly developed Stimulators, which provide all the benefits of Activators, but at a low level of instability. This basic class is perfect for seniors, those recovering from an injury, or anyone who would like to begin gradually to improve their balance. 

    Shown standing on the flat-bottomed Stimulators, Jeff started taking classes a few months ago and has since progressed to Level I Activators (with rounded bottoms) and participates in the ZeSa Power Class.

    In addition to better balance, other benefits include:

    • Faster reaction time
    • Improved coordination
    • Stronger bones and muscles
    • Better brain function

    Beginning November 13, ZeSa Balance Builder classes will be held Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:30am.

    Their second new offering is YOGAclass for all levels, performed on their large cushioned mats. This flowing sequence of yoga poses links breath and movement together. You’ll cultivate awareness to help the mind and body achieve balance, while actively building core strength and flexibility. (I've added this class to my weekly routine in addition to the ZeSa Power session.)

    YOGA classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:00am.

    If you'd like to check out either of these new classes, now is the perfect time! ZeSa has a First Week Free promotion (applicable to just the ZeSa Balance Builder and YOGA). They also offer First Class Free, applicable to any class.

    ZeSa Fitness is located at 1024 Washington Avenue S, in the retail level of the Bridgewater Lofts. Learn more at (keep in mind, the video and pictures portray participants in the ZeSa Power Pro Class and advanced Yoga Class - not the Balance Builder or new YOGA classes). Private sessions are also available. Contact Cindy Vavra at or 507-461-0681 if questions.


    Tomorrow, November 7 - VOTE! 

    Tomorrow, November 7, we will be electing our Mayor, Council Members, Park Board, and Board of Estimates and Taxation.

    Hennepin County elections officials will check-in voters using a secure e-poll book system in all Hennepin County cities that have elections. Watch this video to learn more:

    Voters can register or update their registration when they vote (proof of residence is required to register). Find out what’s needed to register at the appropriate polling place.

    Election results get reported after polls close. Both Election Day and absentee ballots are counted for a specific precinct. All results are posted on the Secretary of State’s election results website.

    County elections staff work with city and school board staff to ensure that every ballot, no matter how it was cast, is counted and verified before reporting election results. To ensure integrity of the ballot counting process, elections workers do not leave their counting location until all votes are counted and reported. For more information about elections in Hennepin County, visit




    We view these candidates as having the best combination of experience & policy positions affecting Downtown & adjacent communities, as well as our #1 ranked Park System.

    Mayor: Jacob Frey

    City Council Ward 3: Tim Bildsoe

    City Council Ward 6: Abdi Warsame

    City Council Ward 7: Lisa Goodman

    Park Board District 4: Tom Nordyke

    Park Board at Large #1: Meg Forney

    Park Board at Large #2: Mike Derus

    Park Board at Large #3: LaTrisha Vetaw

    Regardless of your choices, vote tomorrow!


    Classic Italian Eating at Geno’s Northeast

    Article and Photos by Merle Minda

    Look up for Geno’s signWalking or driving past, you could miss Geno’s in the blink of an eye. This new restaurant is located a few steps past the Lund’s parking lot entrance on 4th Street SE between NE Central and Hennepin Avenues, but if you get to Hennepin you have gone too far. Look for a biggish red sign high above the entrance and you will see Geno’s below.

    It is worth finding for many reasons. First, really delicious and classic Italian food at more than moderate pricing. Also, there is a warm ambience about the place as it is decked out in black and white with splashes of red. The long bar with comfy bar stools is fully stocked and also serves specialty drinks plus red and white wines on tap!

    Very cute placeVery cute place

    General Manager Nick Kelly tells me that everything in the place is thoroughly thought through and intentional. Owned by the Taphouse Group, which also owns restaurants in Uptown and south Minneapolis, this is their first venture into Italian. And it works very well.

    General Manager Nick Kelly

    Here is the drill, Geno’s-style: First, you choose your “vessel” or plate – could also be an Artisan sourdough sandwich or a Kaiser roll. Step 2, you pick your main course or the “goods”. Everything from chicken to eggplant, pork chops or meatballs. Then you get two sides making for a very full platter. Sides include everything from potatoes or spaghetti to salad or soup. You could add appetizers, or just go for spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna. Desserts too. All of this for as little as $15.00 depending on your choices.

    White bean bruschetta, yumWhite bean bruschetta, yum

    A slushy cocktailThey use limoncello too, one of my favorite liqueurs. You’ll find a limoncello “slushy” or it’s in the Cannoli dessert with mascarpone. I had a limoncello sour cocktail which was wonderful. Because they are on tap, wines are kept at the perfect 45 degrees for whites and 62 degrees for reds; they serve wines from Italy, Argentina and California.

    The food is great – the Italian fries are tossed with truffle oil and parsley; the soups are a tasty red pepper, a mushroom bisque and pesto chicken noodle; nice salads and both the spaghetti and lasagna are delicious. What is the secret of their tomato sauce? I could not find out. And then there are the meatballs! Really, I mean really delicious.

    Spaghetti and a big meatballSpaghetti and a big meatball


    Definitely give it a try. Geno’s is located at 12 4th Street SE; 612-236-4335, and on the web at Their hours are amazing: open all day from 11AM – 10PM Sunday through Thursday. But open and cooking 11AM until 2AM Friday and Saturday nights. This is the perfect spot when you are hungry late night.

    On the doorOn the door

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

    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.