Kim Eslinger

David Tinjum

Susan Schaefer

Julie Craven

Joan Bennett

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits 

Doug Verdier

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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.


My North Series - 52 Minnesota Stories Leading up to the 2018 Super Bowl

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 the first five videos - click here to see more


Today: Community Gathering and Remarks Acknowleding the End of the Heading Home Hennepin 10-year Plan to End Homelessness

Heading home header

There will be a community gathering and remarks acknowleding the end of the Heading Home Hennepin 10-year plan to end homelessness, a project of Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis today, March 29, at the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue. Refreshments will be served at 4:00pm, program begins 5:00pm. Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the church

The project's mission was to help those facing homelessness find safe, decent and affordable housing and the supports needed to sustain it. This celebration will recognize the efforts made to achieve this mission and look forward to the work that remains.

Speakers include:
• Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis mayor and member of the Heading Home Hennepin Executive Committee
• Kimberly Carpenter, member of the Heading Home Hennepin Executive Committee
• Gail Dorfman, executive director of St. Stephens Human Services and original co-chair of the Heading Home Hennepin plan
• Jim Gertmenian, former head pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church and original co-chair of the Heading Home Hennepin plan
• David Hewitt, director of the Office to End Homelessness

Learn more about Heading Home Hennepin.


Dozens of Organizations Will Recruit Employees at April 3 Career Fair at Central Library

Dozens of organizations will recruit employees at next week's career fair

Job-seekers can connect with actively-recruiting companies at a career fair Monday, April 3, sponsored by Hennepin County Work and Economic Resource Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Event details:
• Monday, April 3
• 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
• Minneapolis Central Library, 2nd Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall

Job-seekers are encouraged to dress professionally and bring copies of their resume.

This career fair is part of a series of events to pair employers looking for workers with employees looking for job opportunities. All participating businesses are aiming to fill multiple openings.

Recruiters from nearly 40 organizations will attend the career fair, including:
• ACR Homes  • Augustana Care   • Carefree Living  • City of Minneapolis  • CobornsDelivers  • Comcast • Cub Foods  • Delta Global Services  • Doherty Staffing  • Domino’s  • DoubleTree by Hilton - Bloomington  Minneapolis South  • DoubleTree by Hilton - Minneapolis Park Place  • DoubleTree by Hilton - Minneapolis North  • Ebenezer Society  • Family Dollar • FedEx Ground  • First Student • First Transit • Goodwill-Easter Seals  • HMSHost • Hennepin County • Hilton Minneapolis  • Hyatt Regency Minneapolis • Indrotec • Mall of America • Minneapolis Marriott City Center  • Monterrey Security • Options Family and Behavior Services • PeopleReady • Select Comfort • Sojos pet food • Super America • SUPERVALU Distribution Center • Swissport North America • Target (downtown) • United States Postal Service • UPS • WIS International
• YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities

This location is served by several bus routes. To find the best one, visit or call 612-373-3333.


Portion of Eastbound Washington Avenue to close Monday, March 27 thru June 1 

Eastbound Washington Avenue from Hennepin Avenue to Fifth Avenue South will close on Monday, March 27 afternoon until June 1. Westbound Washington Avenue will continue to have two lanes of traffic open.

A detour using Hennepin avenue to Fourth Street to Fifth Avenue South and then back to eastbound Washington Avenue will be in place.

This is a Hennepin County project. More information on this project is available at


Men in Trees!

Our neighbor Kathy Franzen captured a crew working on the trees in Gold Medal Park. (I'd want to be the guy with the ladder!)  :)


Nonprofit Spotlight: Dr. Heather Huseby of YouthLink

Article by Claudia Kittock 

Editor's note - This is the sixth in a series of articles spotlighting local nonprofits.

Dr. Heather Huseby is a force of nature.  She heads YouthLink and is a fierce advocate for the youth who use the services there. When I met Dr. Heather, she taught me that the most important thing we can do for the youth is to gently but firmly nudge them back onto a path, a future, and to support the journey. YouthLink does that. The people there share Dr. Huseby’s vision, and being part of the journey of the young people who come to YouthLink is an honor. I am proud to say I know her and proud to share her with the readers of Mill City Times.

How did you get this position?

I left my position as the Executive Director at Normandale Community College to become an independent consultant. As soon as I did, someone from the community called and encouraged me to consider an opening for a part-time consultant position at YouthLink. At the time, YouthLink was experiencing leadership and organizational difficulties. Coming from 30 years in higher education nonprofit leadership presented some interesting challenges and opportunities. Fortunately, I was hired as a consultant for 15 hours a week to bring alignment to the organizational vision and mission. After two years and hundreds of hours, the board offered me the position of Executive Director on a full-time basis. Our vision and mission was set, our strategic goals were aligned, and our commitment to always keep the needs of young people at the center of our work was a common value. 

One thing that stood out in my mind, and still remains in my mind today, was when I walked into what was then the drop-in for my interview for the part-time consultant position. There was a young woman sitting in the drop-in eating her lunch who looked exactly like my daughter. I asked a case manager about her and was told what they were able to tell me – she was homeless, waiting for housing with big dreams and hopes for her future but a lot of barriers in her way. That young woman I saw in the drop-in remains in my heart to this day as a reminder of why I am doing what I do.

What do you do in your current position?

In my current position, I make sure we are in compliance financially with our budget, that we secure and raise funds needed to meet and exceed our goals, and that we remain compliant to the fiduciary guidelines set by the nonprofit standards and laws of the state of Minnesota. It is my responsibility to ensure that our organization remains aligned with our vision and mission, including designing, building, and maintaining programming that transforms young people (16-24) experiencing homelessness into self-sustaining pathways of learning and work. The more than 2,013 unique young people we serve have a light and we want to help them shine - we will help them transform that spark into reality for their aspirations for the future. 

"I’d want others to know that any investment 
made is an investment in the future. These
young people are the next community leaders
and it’s worth the investment for our communities."

It is my job to make sure the outstanding, dedicated, and excellent staff members at YouthLink have the resources they need to implement the nine evidence-based principles for working with youth – and that they are able to work in an inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment at all times. Finally, my position requires that I work directly with the board of directors to provide the information and knowledge necessary for this group of dedicated volunteers to follow the governance policies and bylaws. My job is making sure the young people we serve receive services of integrity, excellence, and self-empowerment.

What are you doing that is working?

For me, it is vital to always remain focused on a bold, clear, and consistent vision and always remember the bottom line is “what impact will this make on the young people we serve?” When we do that, and when we do that on a consistent basis, it works. When we are sidetracked and lose sight of our vision - when a vision gets buried, water-downed, diffused - conflict and fragmentation happens. 

What do you want the politicians of our city/county/state/country to know about the work you do? How can they help?

I want to say there are key public and elected officials who already know a great deal about our work; they continue to help bring about significant change for young people experiencing homelessness. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the leadership of Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman for her foresight and vision to bring together YouthLink and Project for Pride in Living (PPL) around the idea of creating permanent supportive housing for young people experiencing housing. Her dedication and advocacy is a significant reason “Downtown View” - our new five-story, 47-bed housing facility for 18-24 year young people - will open on site at YouthLink by spring 2018. Council Member Goodman, Council Member John Quincy, along with the entire City Council led by Council President Barbara Johnson has continually supported the YouthLink-PPL project.

Those involved with the workings of Hennepin County have also done much to support YouthLink’s work. Our partnership with the county goes back to the start of the agency more than 40 years ago. The commitment and dedication of the Hennepin County Board to ending homelessness has had significant impact on our work in finding solutions for young people experiencing homeless. In 2010, the Hennepin County Board provided financial support for YouthLink to become the host site of the Youth Opportunity Center. Board Chair Jan Callison, along with other key board members, have encouraged YouthLink and county staff to work together to find options for supporting the new YouthLink-PPL housing project. Our partnership with Hennepin County is a key to our progress.

I’d want others to know that any investment made is an investment in the future. These young people are the next community leaders and it’s worth the investment for our communities. The cost of making a difference with these youth is doable. It’s not a cost that is exorbitant and with just a small investment, the return is huge. A recent break-even analysis completed by Dr. Steven Foldes studied the economic burden of youth homelessness in Minnesota, focusing on the short- and long-term costs to taxpayers and society. The study examined comprehensive costs of more than 1,400 16-to-24 year olds who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless that visited YouthLink in 2011. The study found that all annual and support costs for the entire group can be covered if 89 youth (only 6.1% of the total young people in the study) were to earn enough so that they no longer need any public support, beginning at age 20. (Information on the dollar cost of homelessness can be found here:

One thing public officials and others can do to help is actually visit YouthLink to learn more about the young people we serve. But talking about the issue and not ignoring it can do the most help. Politicians can help by allowing youth service providers and the youth themselves to testify about the work being done; they can help by letting us bring legislation to them that they’ll accept; and letting us expand the legislation that we currently have. I really do want to thank the legislature for expanding funding for the runaway and homeless youth act, but there is still more to do, particularly in transformative services in programming and housing that we have that is making a difference and changing the lives of youth.

Individuals, community and business groups are all welcome to learn more about the young people we serve by visiting us at YouthLink, volunteering time to help in one of the many areas of need, or sleeping out at our annual Night of Hope Sleep Out. One example of making a difference is the support being provided by the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA) to YouthLink. Starting in mid-2017, the new housing project will begin to ramp up by composing a team of navigators and coaches who will guide the residents toward their aspirations. Provided through a generous gift from the DMNA, this also means we will have additional peer outreach and staff outreach workers ready to go when the youth are ready to enter their new homes in Spring 2018.

Claudia can be reached at


Exploring the Upper River: LifeSource

Article by Kathleen Boe, Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership

Exploring the Upper River

A look at hidden gems along the Minneapolis Riverfront

LifeSource is an organization with a special mission and a special place in the hearts and minds of many people.

The organization manages organ, eye and tissue donation across the Upper Midwest, serving Minnesota, the Dakotas and areas of western Wisconsin. They work with hospitals and with the community to support the families of donors and encourage donor registration.

LifeSource also occupies a pretty special place along the Mississippi River in North Minneapolis. It’s at the end of the road, for now, along the west side of the river – driving along West River Road, the parkway and the bike trail come to an end right outside.

The organization moved here from St. Paul and broke ground on a sparkling new campus along the river in 2013. They were very taken by the view, and the sense of calm, and how that tied into the mission of helping both families who have lost loved ones and those who have benefited from organ donation.

The interior was designed with the families’ experience in mind. But on the outside, they took this to another level. The campus includes a memorial garden, which contains a wall remembering those who donated organs, eyes or tissue, as well as garden benches which serve to help memorialize donors as well.

And here’s where the site comes into play, because I’m really struck by the river in that area. It’s a wonderful view of the river because you can see south to the Broadway Avenue Bridge and the Plymouth Avenue Bridge and downtown. We often think of making connections with the river from downtown, but there’s a sense of magnificence when you see the river from this area. You get a bigger impression of the river’s role in the city.

Orvin “Ole” Olson ParkThe LifeSource Healing Garden offers people a chance to take a pause and take in what this river is. It’s wide, it’s powerful, and it’s a view of what the river should be: banked by parkland on both sides. Orvin “Ole” Olson Park sits between LifeSource and the river, ensuring that a clear view will be enjoyed by all for years to come.

Broadway Pizza, of course, is right nearby. But with further exploring, take another drive down Broadway to visit Breaking Bread Café or pick up a cookie at Cookie Cart. These are both locations that not only serve great food, but serve as job creation and job training centers, helping young people get the skills they need to be successful in the work force.

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


Ice Cream Flavor Idea Submissions for Izzy's 2017 People's Flavor Awards Due by April 23

Have you ever thought, "This would be a fantastic ice cream flavor!"?

If so, enter your idea in the 2017 People's Flavor Awards, an Izzy’s tradition held every-other summer. They're currently gathering customer submissions thru April 23, and finalists will be notified around May 9. The contest will conclude on Fathers Day, June 18, at Izzy's People’s Flavor Tasting Event in Minneapolis.

Four finalists are chosen from six categories (Kids, Chocolate, Mix-Ins, Fruit, Baked Goods, and Specialties). Izzy's team makes the ice cream, and customers vote at the contest. Ballots are counted and winners are announced in each category, including a Best in Show.

The next time you get a scoop of Chubby Bunny or Irish Moxie, just remember - those flavors resulted from previous People's Flavor Awards! Will you have the next winning flavor sensation?


MacPhail Summer Camps - For Ages 3 to Adult!

MacPhail summer camps blend high-quality instruction from experienced teaching artists with the fun and excitement of making music with other students who love music. There are camps for absolute beginners to advanced players in early childhood music, chamber music, piano, voice, composition, jazz and rock. Great for ages 3-adult.
New camps this year include Broken Instruments Camp, Encore String Orchestra Camp and a guitar camp for kids with no prior experience.

Click here for schedule.


Note Schedules for Buses Replacing Light Rail Trains During Track Maintenance, Repairs

Via a March 23 e-newsletter:

Buses replacing light rail trains to allow for track maintenance, repairs

Track work will improve light rail service in downtown Minneapolis, elsewhere

The first of several scheduled partial light rail shutdowns that will allow for track maintenance and repairs will take place this weekend.

Buses will replace light rail trains between the METRO Green Line’s Stadium Village and Snelling Avenue stations from 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24, through 3 a.m. on Monday, March 27. Replacement buses will operate on a similar schedule as trains but customers are encouraged to make extra time for their trips.

Light rail service will continue as scheduled on the Blue Line and on portions of the Green Line not impacted by the shutdown. 

This weekend's shutdown will allow for track repairs near Prior and University avenues. Additional track maintenance and improvements will require additional partial light rail shutdowns in the coming months.

Buses will replace Green Line trains between the Target Field and Stadium Village stations and Blue Line trains between the Target Field and Franklin Avenue stations on the following dates:

  • Friday, April 7, through Monday, April 10
  • Thursday, June 1, through Monday, June 5
  • Friday, June 23, through Monday, July 3

Buses will also replace Blue Line trains between the Franklin Avenue and 38th Street stations between Friday, May 12, and Monday, May 15.

The upcoming light rail shutdowns will begin in the evening and conclude early in the morning to minimize the customer impact. To the extent possible, major events have also been avoided. 

If there are weather-driven delays, the shutdowns may move to alternate dates.

Light rail service is being suspended for a variety of maintenance activities, including rail replacement, concrete and fence repairs and the construction of new track sections that will allow trains to move from one side of the track to the other in downtown Minneapolis.

There will also be lighting improvements at the Warehouse/Hennepin Avenue and Nicollet Mall stations and a new pedestrian barrier installed at the Warehouse/Hennepin Avenue Station.

Metro Transit staff will be at stations throughout the shutdowns to direct customers to replacement bus service. More information can also be found at

Customers can stay informed about planned service changes by signing up for email or text Rider Alerts at

For Trip Planning assistance call the Transit Information Center at 612-373-3333.  

Contact: Howie Padilla,, 612-349-7089


The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music, Walker Art Center and Schubert Club Mix present Roomful of Teeth at Aria, April 5

Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth and sonic experimentalist Nick Zammuto (The Books) assemble a custom-built evening of sound explorations in a world premiere collaboration commissioned by the SPCO’s Liquid Music, Walker Art Center and Schubert Club Mix. In addition, the vocal ensemble performs the Minnesota premiere of Partita for 8 Voices, group member Caroline Shaw’s mesmerizing Pulitzer Prize-winning composition. The event takes place Wednesday, April 5, at Aria, 105 N First Street.

“We’re thrilled to join the line-up of world class, groundbreaking artists this year and are especially honored to be co-presented by Liquid Music, The Schubert Club and Walker Art Center, three of our favorite arts organizations in the country,” says Roomful of Teeth member Brad Wells. “Our collaboration with Nick Zammuto promises to elicit sounds and grooves that could only manifest in such a thoughtfully supported and artfully curated production.  Nick’s brilliance – creating intricate, tech-based grooves that seem to levitate – will be on full display in this new work. The piece features magical moments in which individual singers from Teeth are spotlighted as well as vast flowing musical tapestries for the whole group.”

Nick Zammuto explains that Self one, his new piece for Roomful of Teeth, “cycles between solos sung through a pitch/delay unit with an analog synth accompaniment, and highly rhythmic ensemble sections.” Nick elaborates that the the piece is about “finding our identities within a digital house of mirrors.”  
Wednesday, April 5, at Aria, 105 N First Street

“Roomful of Teeth’s Twin Cities’ debut is long overdue,” says Liquid Music curator Kate Nordstrum. “To make up for lost time, The Schubert Club, Walker and Liquid Music are banding together to commission a new work for the ensemble and jointly present the collaboration. We’re all great admirers of Nick Zammuto’s musical mind and so when we heard that Roomful of Teeth were hoping to work with him, we jumped on the opportunity. Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Partita for 8 Voices will also be featured on the program, a special and electric piece that will sound and feel amazing at Aria.”

Roomful of Teeth is a GRAMMY-winning vocal project dedicated to mining the expressive potential of the human voice. Through study with masters from singing traditions the world over, the eight-voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an ongoing commissioning process, forges a new repertoire without borders.  

Nick Zammuto was one-half of the beloved experimental collage-pop duo, the Books. He lives and works in the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont, where he writes, records, mixes and masters his records in a small tractor garage converted into a studio. Just yards away from his studio is his house, which he designed and built himself, and large gardens where he and his wife manage to grow most of their own food for their three sons. This self-sufficiency and constant drawing of inspiration from his surroundings is synonymous with his musical vision; a statement about returning to a life in balance, while at the same time pushing the capacity of cutting-edge music technology to extend human emotion, rather than suppress it. Making music that sounds and feels like no one else is nothing new for Zammuto, but making music that doesn't even sound like his own past is a whole other impressive feat in itself.

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music Series develops innovative new projects with iconoclastic artists in unique presentation formats. Liquid Music performances invite adventurous audiences to discover the new and the fascinating within the flourishing landscape of contemporary chamber music. 

Schubert Club Mix is an innovative series presented by the Schubert Club that takes the formality out of classical music. Audiences are treated to remarkable and intimate performances with relevant artists who are influencing the musical landscape of today.

The Walker Art Center is catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences, the Walker Art Center examines the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities. Established in 1927 as the Walker Art Gallery, in 1940 it adopted a new name and focused on modern and contemporary art exhibitions as well as screenings, performances and public programs. Today the Walker is one of the top-five most visited modern and contemporary art centers in the U.S. Multidisciplinary in focus, it is equally committed to advancing artistic innovation and interdisciplinary scholarship as it is with increasing access to lifelong learning in the arts. Led by Senior Curator Philip Bither since 1997, the Walker’s Performing Arts program under his tenure has been defined by its commitment to the increasingly blurred lines between artistic disciplines, including contemporary dance, new music-theatre, performance art, experimental theatre, avant-jazz, contemporary classical music, new global sounds and alternative rock and pop.


Preservation Alliance to Host Transit-Focused Tour Series

Via a March 21 Press Release from the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM):

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) is excited to announce three tours along transit lines in the Twin Cities this year. The tours are cultural and social explorations of major train or bus routes - Blue Line, A Line, and Green Line – and their immediate surroundings.
Tours will focus on the architecture, history, and development along each corridor. Tour groups will hop on and off the train or bus to explore nearby buildings and neighborhoods. Kristin Anderson, art and architecture professor at Augsburg College, will lead the tours, with commentary from Lucy Galbraith, Director of Transit Oriented Development at MetroTransit.
The series kicks off with a Blue Line tour on Saturday April 8th, featuring an exclusive tour of Target Field. The Twins are on the road, so it is a perfect time to explore the stadium and celebrate the return of baseball season. Entrance to Target Field is included in the registration fee for this tour.
Registration is available online through the Preservation Alliance of MN website, or Facebook page. Tickets are sold individually for each tour, not as a package. Sustaining Donors to PAM receive free admission to these tours.
Transit Tour #1: Blue Line $25
Saturday, April 8th, 9am-12pm
Meet at Target Field  (includes Target Field tour)
Transit Tour #2: A Line $20
Saturday, September 16th, 9am-12pm

Transit Tour #3: Green Line $20
Saturday, October 14th, 9am-12pm

Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) is a statewide nonprofit organization that leads and inspires people to connect to valued places in their communities. Whether it’s an old home or storefront on the corner, a rural community’s old high school, or an urban neighborhood’s long-retired factory, PAM works to preserve and protect the bond felt by community members toward these places, the memories such places represent, and the distinct characteristics they display. 
This project has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.


MPRB Announces the Ecological System Plan will Restart March 28

Via an March 20 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) are preparing the first-ever Ecological System Plan. This plan will set a vision for making parks and public lands more friendly to the environment.
An appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will resume its meetings, with the first scheduled on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 4:30-6 pm at MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road. The public may attend and participate in CAC meetings.

What is the Ecological Systems Plan?

The Ecological System Plan will seek to first understand the ecology of the city and watershed, then plan for parks and public lands management and improvements that benefit both humans and nature.
It will address specific threats such as climate change, decreasing water quality, explosion of invasive species, increasing runoff, and fragmentation of habitat. It will envision a more environmentally sound way of managing the impacts of the city, so that the city can be cleaner, greener, cooler, and more efficient.

Specifically, the ecological system plan will:
• Compile, create, and illustrate citywide ecological data;
• Craft a vision for natural resources and public lands within the watershed and city;
• Outline guiding principles for management; and
• Challenge the community to rethink the city around them—from the local neighborhood park to the Grand Rounds to backyards—in terms of ecological function, benefit, and health.

Get Involved

In addition to attending the first CAC meeting, the public may provide input and stay informed about the project in the following ways:
• Visit the project page to stay up to date on the project and see some of the amazing maps and drawings we plan to create.
• Attend any of the planned community events that will take place in the parks over the next year as the Ecological System Plan project page takes shape. More details will be made available on the project website as these events are scheduled and planned.
Sign up to receive email updates or, if you are already a subscriber, add “Ecological System Plan” to your subscription preferences.

Ellen Kennedy
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
Phone: 612-230-6577


Magical History Tour 2017 Segway Season is Officially Underway

The Magical History Tour Historic Riverfront Segway Tours are now open for reservations, and they are offering some specials to get the season underway:

1) Pricing based on weather:  The outside high temperature is the price you pay for the tour (see website for details).

2) Birding Tour: The March / April tours run along the Mississippi River, a causeway for major bird migration in North America. 325 bird species use the Mississippi flyway to migrate North and South each year. With over 15 nesting pairs in Minneapolis you may even get to see a Bald Eagle!

Click here for reservations.



Nonprofit Spotlight: Supportive Services for Veteran Families at St. Stephen’s

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

Editor's note - This is the fifth in a series of articles spotlighting local nonprofits.

When my husband and I moved to downtown Minneapolis, I knew very little about homelessness.  I had been part of helping a few college students who lost their housing, but that was in rural Minnesota where homelessness is completely hidden. My first exposure as a Minneapolis resident was at a meeting hosted by St. Stephen’s. I was incredulous. How could veterans be homeless? How can we live in a city with so much and yet have people who served our country living under bridge decks?  It made no sense.

As my information grew, so did a realization that if I didn’t know, there were plenty of other people who didn’t know. Luckily for me, Mill City Times provides me with the chance to tell the stories I hear and to share the work of people who are devoted to ending homelessness in Minneapolis. I know it can be done as I have seen the plans. It needs to be done, and veteran homelessness is showing signs of real decline because of the great work being done by groups like St. Stephen’s.

I met Jeni Kuhfuss during a visit to St. Stephen’s to discuss the program they have for assisting veterans in finding housing and jobs. The Supportive Services for Veteran Families team was formed about three years ago with two outreach workers, and has expanded to offer a full range of services through the addition of Rapid Rehousing and Prevention Workers who can focus more on housing. Prevention workers assist veterans who are still housed, but are in danger of losing their housing. It is clear that prevention is far more effective than dealing with people who have already lost their housing.

Jeni Kuhfuss, John Tribbett and Brit CulpThe Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been assisting veterans for over 25 years. Each year MACV receives more than 25,000 contacts, inquiries and requests from veterans across the state. In 2014, MACV comprehensively served 1,810 veterans and their families throughout Minnesota who were homeless or experiencing a crisis that could lead to homelessness – and the need for services continues to rise. MACV did a unique thing by reaching out to service providers, like St. Stephens, who already were implementing best practices for homelessness outreach and housing services. They partnered with providers to ensure that veterans were targeted with these services already being implemented in the community, instead of reinventing the process.

St. Stephen’s is just one of the groups that partner with MACV, and part of MACV’s success has been their willingness to share their expertise for providing services to veterans with the expertise of community agencies who have established best practices for working with the homeless population so that veterans are served well by both entities.

Justin, a veteran from the Vietnam era, explained how difficult life can be after serving in the military, particularly in a war. Life doesn’t make as much sense as it did, and the memories of things seen and experienced don’t go away. Relationships can be problematic, and maintaining employment tends to be an ongoing problem. However, as Justin asked, "Why are we still debating housing? Shouldn’t people who served their country have a place to sleep at night? It just doesn’t make sense!”

Michael, who served in Desert Storm, told me about the difficulties of reintegration. As he said, “I don’t know anyone who served their country and expects a handout. What we do need is help!  Help with jobs, with training, with education, and finding a place to live that we can afford while we resettle our lives.”

The SSVF program is providing assistance for almost 150 veterans, and the most difficult problem is finding housing. It can take the professionals at St. Stephen’s as much as 2 months to find an apartment. As Jeni explained, “Housing is the start of the conversation.” Once someone has a place to sleep and to call home, the conversation can and does expand to other areas of life where help is needed. These conversations include issues of health, employment, and issues of chemical use and/or addiction. According to 2016 figures by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the nation has cut homelessness among veterans by 47 percent since 2010. Minnesota identified 644 homeless veterans on a single night in 2010, and 279 in January 2016 - a 57% reduction.

Often the veterans are elderly. Since the beginning of 2017, according to SSVF data entry, about 52% of the veterans assisted are age 55 and older. The outreach workers are running into these veterans sleeping outside and in shelter, often finding that they need more than just housing services, but we can make a start with housing and then help them connect with other supports they may need.

What would ending homelessness look like? Experts agree that it would be when the support system in place could find housing and other types of support within a short period of time for every new person identified.

How can you help?  There are many ways to support this work:
Learn more about St. Stephen’s and the work they do.
• Donations are important. Household items, kitchen supplies, toiletries and clothing are all welcome. They can be dropped off at St. Stephen’s at 2309 Nicollet Avenue.
• Advocate for legislation providing services for mental and chemical health.

Claudia can be reached at


Franklin Avenue Bridge Update

Via an March 17, 2017, Hennepin County e-newsletter:

Restoration work to resume on Monday, March 20

Starting Monday, March 20, construction activity beneath the Franklin Avenue Bridge will resume. Crews will start with moving barges, lifts and other construction equipment into place. During 2017, they will complete concrete restoration on the main span arches, complete watermain related work and paint the entire bridge structure. The impacts to bridge users during this work is expected to be minimal. There are no long-term closures scheduled.
About this project
When complete this fall, the Franklin Avenue Bridge will replicate the original 1923 designs. The restored deck and supporting structure will ensure additional years of use for the historic bridge and vital community connector. Last year, the new bridge deck was completed and opened. It incorporates features such as separated on-road bike lanes, walkways, overlook nooks and historic-style lighting.

Friends of the Hennepin County Library Announces the 2017 Talk of the Stacks Lineup

Presented by The Minneapolis Foundation
and sponsored by Star Tribune

Talk of the Stacks takes place in Pohlad Hall at Minneapolis Central Library, featuring guest authors who speak on a variety of topics ranging from a coming-of-age story penned by a former Hollywood teen heartthrob, to an award-winning debut novel about the immigrant experience, to a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist's take on social and political expression.

Events are free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served. Doors open at 6:15pm and programs begin at 7pm.

Andrew McCarthy
Wednesday, April 12, 7pm
Hollywood actor, director and travel writer will discuss his debut YA novel, Just Fly Away

Andrew McCarthy is an award-winning travel writer, author, director and actor. He has appeared in dozens of films including the 80s cult classics Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo's Fire. He is an acclaimed TV director, having helmed
Orange is the New Black, The Blacklist, and
Grace and Frankie among others. An award-winning travel writer and an editor-at-large at National Geographic Traveler, his travel memoir, The Longest Way Home, was a New York Times. His debut novel, Just Fly Away, tells the story of one girl's discovery of family secrets, first love, and finding one's way in the world.

Lisa Ko
Tuesday, June 13, 7pm
Author of the award-winning debut novel The Leavers, will examine themes of immigration, borders, and belonging

Lisa Ko is the author of The Leavers, the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. A vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging, The Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he's loved has been taken away-and how one woman learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

Steve Sack
Thursday, August 17, 7pm
Pulitzer Prize-winning Star Tribune Editorial cartoonist launches new book

Steve Sack has been the Star Tribune's editorial cartoonist since 1981 and was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Cartooning. Sack is known for his diverse collection of cartoons, original style, and clever ideas that drive home his unmistakable point of view.

Larry Olmsted
Thursday, October 5, 7pm
A conversation on food, health, and answering the question "What are you really eating?"

Larry Olmsted is an award-winning journalist and author. His book Real Food, Fake Food: Why You Don't Know What You're Eating & What You Can Do About It brings readers into the world of the unregulated food industry, revealing the shocking deception that extends from high-end foods to everyday staples.

Chris Riemenschneider
Thursday, November 2, 7pm
The Story of Minneapolis Music with Daniel Corrigan & Danny Sigelman

Chris Riemenschneider, music reporter for the Star Tribune, will celebrate the launch of his new book First Avenue: Minnesota's Mainroom. It's the story of one of the longest running clubs in American rock 'n' roll, and perhaps the most recognizable venue in Minnesota. He'll be joined in conversation with Daniel Corrigan and Danny Sigelman, co-creators of Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis to examine the ever evolving Minneapolis music scene.


Road Closures for March 18 Hot Dash 5K and 10 Mile

Please note the following street closures for Saturday, March 18, for the Hot Dash 5K & 10 Mile, from approximately 7:30am-1:00pm:

Stone Arch Bridge, NE Main Street - 6th Ave SE to Hennepin Ave, West River Parkway - Plymouth Ave to E 27th Ave.

Click here to view a course map.


Reminder: I-94 Project Work Begins Monday, March 20

 MnDOT logo

I-94 project work begins Monday, March 20

On Monday, work will start under bridges. Also, lane restrictions are planned on eastbound I-94 from just west of Shingle Creek Pkwy toward Hwy 252. Traffic will be reduced to two lanes.

The $46.3 million maintenance and preservation project includes work on 50 bridges, including the Lowry Tunnel, and resurfaces nine miles of the interstate.

Motorists will see lane restrictions for much of the spring, summer and fall. Traffic restrictions and ramp and road closures will regularly change throughout the project. Motorists should plan ahead, prepare for delays and pay attention to work zones.

More about this project

Visit the project website for updates on traffic impacts:


Take Miller Lite Free Rides on St. Patrick's Day!


In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day,
Miller Lite Free Rides® will be available
on all Metro Transit routes

The Original Lite Beer is teaming up with Metro Transit to offer Miller Lite Free Rides to everyone on St. Patrick’s Day. In partnership with J.J. Taylor Distributing, Miller Lite Free Rides will be available on all Metro Transit routes Friday, March 17, between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. the following morning.

“This year marks the 20thyear that we’ve partnered with Metro Transit to offer Miller Lite Free Rides to everyone in the Twin Cities,” said Diane Wagner, MillerCoors alcohol responsibility manager. “Our goal is to keep roadways safe with our Free Rides program while raising awareness that drunk driving is completely preventable.” 

Since 1997, the program has provided more than 1 million Free Rides to consumers in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding communities. Free Rides are offered for St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve celebrations. The program has gained the support of local and state law enforcement and elected officials. Miller Lite Free Rides will also be offered in Milwaukee, Wis. on St. Patrick’s Day.

“Minnesota is lucky to have a partnership with MillerCoors for 20 years in the Twin Cities, and are grateful for the commitment they have made to keep our residents and visitors safe,” said Speaker Kurt Daudt

“With dozens of bus routes and two light rail lines providing frequent service in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding communities, our transit system provides safety, convenience and value,” said Brian Lamb, Metro Transit General Manager. “We want to remind our community to let us be your designated driver and celebrate St. Patrick’s responsibly.”

“As a long standing member of the community, J.J. Taylor Distributing is proud to play a role in bringing this important drunk driving prevention program back to Minneapolis and St. Paul for the 20th year,” said Billie Jo Smith of J.J. Taylor Distributing. 

MillerCoors partner J.J. Taylor Distributing is also sponsoring the Minneapolis St. Patrick’s Day Association (MSPDA) Parade. The parade route this year is running North to South along Marquette Avenue, starting at South 6th Street and concluding at South 11th Street. There is a $25 entry fee and proceeds will go to The American Diabetes Association.

In holding true to Miller Lite’s commitment to doing good in our communities, the Miller Lite Free Rides program has provided more than 5.8 million people nationwide with a safe ride home and is part of MillerCoors overall commitment to preventing drunk driving. For more information, visit