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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.


Quick History: 1805 - Lieutenant Zebulan Pike Negotiates a Treaty with the Dakota / Mill City History

1805 - Lieutenant Zebulan Pike negotiates a treaty with the Dakota, who cede territory that includes St. Anthony Falls.

Lieutenant Zebulon Pike becomes the first representative of the young United States to appear in Minnesota. While surveying the Louisiana Purchase, Pike buys a sliver of land--"for a song," he says--from the Dakota. The small area will become the first U.S. outpost in the region, but it is another 14 years before the army follows and begins Fort Snelling.

Above: Courtesy of Mill City Museum



20 Seats Available for the June 19 PSP Chefs for Change Dinner

As of today, only 20 seats remain for the June 19 People Serving People Chefs for Change: A Chef's Table Culinary Experience

Join People Serving People for a dinner hosted by Cosmos restaurant and Executive Chef Timothy Fischer, who brings his award-winning culinary talent to a chef's table experience of a 4-5 course meal with wine pairings.

Dinner is 7:00pm-9:00pm at People Serving People, 614 South 3rd Street. Click here for Tickets

All proceeds help homeless and at-risk children and their families manage crisis situations and build a strong foundation for their long-term success.

RSVP or Questions: Contact Mallory at 612.277.0256 or, or visit


Tips for Keeping Yourself and Pets Safe in Extreme Heat

From the City of Minneapolis website:

With extreme hot temperatures in the forecast, Minneapolis City officials want to remind everyone how to handle the heat. Heat-related illness happens when the body isn’t able to cool itself. Seniors, small children and people with physical disabilities are the most vulnerable to heat-related illness, but everyone should take steps to stay safe in extreme heat.

The Minneapolis Health Department works closely with other local jurisdictions and the Minnesota Department of Health to help people prepare for extreme heat events. Minneapolis has an emergency plan that is used to respond when a heat advisory or warning is called by the National Weather Service. The plan is coordinated with a metro-wide notification plan that reaches out to agencies that serve vulnerable populations.

Tips for preventing heat-related illness during extreme heat:

• Drink more fluids. Drinking fluids helps your body cool itself. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid drinking liquids with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. They can actually cause your body to lose more fluid. Remind anyone you are responsible for to drink more water.

• Never leave any person or animals in a closed, parked vehicle.

• Wear lightweight, loose-fitted clothing.

• Check on your neighbors who may be at risk. Visit seniors and other vulnerable neighbors at least twice a day and look closely for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Seek medical advice immediately if you notice nausea, weakness, disorientation, rapid pulse and dry skin.

• Take an air conditioning break. Air conditioning is your best defense against heat-related illness. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles. For a list of public, air-conditioned buildings for those who don’t have air conditioning in their homes, go to the City of Minneapolis Health Department’s extreme heat preparedness web page at

• Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest. Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. If you must be outside, try to limit your activity to morning and evening hours, pace your activity and take frequent breaks in the shade, drink plenty of fluids, and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen.

• Don’t rely on an electric fan. Electric fans may seem to provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Using wet cloths, showers or baths, or a spray of mist on exposed skin will help cool your body temperature.

Protect your pets

The temperature inside a car can change drastically in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t have to be that hot outside for the temperature inside a vehicle to become dangerous to animals left inside – even with windows cracked. Animals left in vehicles can suffer from heatstroke and irreparable organ and brain damage. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control urges pet owners to take special precautions to protect their animals when the heat index is so high. Here are a few tips to keep your pets safe and alive:
• Keep your pet inside and out of the direct sun.
• Be sure your pet has enough clean, cool water.
• Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car for any period of time. On a warm day, the temperature in a car can exceed 120 degrees in a matter of minutes – even with the windows partially open.

If you see an animal outside or in a car exhibiting signs of heat stress, call Minneapolis Animal Care & Control (MACC) immediately – in Minneapolis, dial 311 (612-673-3000). If you believe the situation to be life-threatening, please call 911.

For more information on heat-related illness and how to prevent it, visit the Minneapolis Health Department website.


Public is Welcome at the June 14 Peavey Plaza Stakeholder Meeting

Photo Copyright The Cultural Landscape Foundation 

The City of Minneapolis is moving forward with schematic design development for the renovation of Peavey Plaza. A number of changes are proposed, including new access ramps, fountain rehabilitation, planting and tree modifications, and raising the level of the pool basin. Check out the designs on the City’s Peavey Plaza webpage.

A June 14 Stakeholder Progress meeting will be held at 4:00pm in the Green Room of Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall. All interested parties are welcome to hear project updates and provide input on the rehabilitation of Peavey Plaza.

The goal is to have construction work done by the end of 2018.


Six Opportunities to Participate in Mill Ruins Park Habitat Restoration Activities

Looking for something fun and rewarding to do on a Saturday morning? Consider joining the National Park Service (NPS) volunteer crew for habitat restoration activities in Mill Ruins Park.

Typical NPS Mill Ruins volunteer activities include invasive species removal, occasional planting, and caring for native species that have been planted by other volunteers. 

These drop-in volunteer events will take place at Mill Ruins Park from 9am-12pm on the following Saturdays throughout the summer and fall:

June 24 - July 15 - August 19 - September 9 and 23 - October 14

Gloves, tools, and instruction will be provided. Volunteers bring a water bottle, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, and clothes that can get dirty. Chat with a ranger or NPS volunteer crew leader, play in the dirt, and feel good knowing that your efforts are helping to improve the national park in our backyard!

Questions? Contact Ranger Erin Steinhibel at Per Erin, "We are so proud of our volunteers - they even won an award from the Minneapolis Park Board last season because of all their hard work!" 


Agenda for June 8 NIEBNA Board Meeting inc's 2 Development Presentations

Neighborhood Association

The regular board meeting of the Nicollet Island - East Bank Neighborhood Association (NIEBNA) will be held 6:30pm Thursday, June 8 at DeLaSalle High School, 1 DeLaSalle Place on Nicollet Island. (Use leftmost door closest to Downtown.)

Presentations will be made by Mortenson on the US Bank Site development and FE EQUUS Developers on the residential/commercial mixed-use development at East Hennepin and Central Avenue.

Full Agenda 


Local artist Mark Mallman to perform today at Pianos on Parade downtown 

Mark Mallman FREE piano performance

Tuesday, June 6  12:00pm – 1:00pm

Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza (3rd Avenue S & 7th Street S)

Local artist Mark Mallman, known for his marathon music performances that once reached 78 consecutive hours of playing, will be performing at the Pianos on Parade piano located at Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza.

Since 1998, Mallman’s live performances has helped him become a must-see draw. He has his own star on First Avenue, and he has release eight full-length studio albums. Pianos on Parade performance is FREE and open to the public.

Mallman performed his song, “Minneapolis,” and filmed a music video playing all 25 Pianos on Parade over the weekend and posted the video online. You can view it at

Pianos on Parade offers pianos painted by local artists with a “summer in downtown Minneapolis” theme at 25 different locations in our city’s core. The pianos are free for public use daily from June 1 through June 30, and each piano will have a free outdoor performance on Tuesdays in June from 12 pm – 1 pm. More information on Pianos on Parade, produced by the Minneapolis Downtown Council and Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID) in partnership with Keys 4/4 Kids, can be found at

For more information on the Minneapolis Downtown Council, follow @mplsdowntown on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Interact with them using the hashtags #mymplsdt and #pianosonparade.


Check out the Hennepin Gallery "Hats Off to Hennepin County" Exhibit

Via a June 5 Hennepin County e-newsletter:

Hats Off to Hennepin County

Mary Tyler Moore was famous for tossing her hat to the wind, but many local celebrities, civic employees, and residents were smart enough to actually hold on to them – we tend to be practical here. The Hennepin History Museum will share part of its hat collection in a new exhibit in downtown Minneapolis. See Barbara Flanagan’s hardhat from a construction project; a top hat belonging to Robert Fremont “Fish” Jones, creator of the Longfellow House and Longfellow Zoo; a 1950s Yellow Cab driver’s hat; an 1860s mourning bonnet; a fireman’s helmet; and more. Wear your own hat for better viewing.

Basic Facts:

  • Features 26 hats
  • Time period ranges from 1840s through 1950s
  • Highlights include hats sold at local department stores: Dayton’s, Young Quinlan, Donaldson’s
  • Uniform hats include a nursing cap worn at Glen Lake Sanatorium in Minnetonka, a nineteenth century Minneapolis fireman’s hat, and a felted police offer’s hat
  • All hats come from Hennepin History Museum’s permanent collections. We use these hats to tell the stories of the people who have lived and worked in Hennepin County over the years.

The public is invited to “Get hands-on with Hennepin County history” on Friday, June 23, at the Hennepin County Government Center, Skyway Level, from noon – 1 p.m. Wear your own favorite hat and stop by for a photo, and view additional hats from the Museum’s collection.

The Hennepin Gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Hennepin County Government Center, A-level, 300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis. The exhibit is sponsored by and a project of Hennepin County Communications.


Selling Mill City / 1951 Gold Medal Flour Commercial [Video]

Television commercial circa 1951:


Scenes from the June 3 Mill City Farmers Market

Loon Organics presented the first Sun Gold cherry tomatoes (a.k.a nature's candy) of the season at the June 3 Mill City Farmers Market. Marty from Sunrise Flour Mill, another shopper and I were lucky enough to snap up the very last 4 boxes. Timing is everything!

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

It was a perfect day for Sonny's Ice Cream to make their first appearance of the 2017 Market season.

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Art vendor Steel Autumn Studios debuted at the June 3 Market. Josh Neurer (below left) is a talented metal artist who turns scrap metal into unique indoor/outdoor pieces, and his brother Jake (below, right) handles sales and operations. Look for a "Get to Know" post on our Farmers Market blog later this week.

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

The first strawberries of the season were found at the Bean Market stand.

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Sign up for the weekly Mill City Beet e-newsletter - it's sent out each Wednesday and includes the full line up for the upcoming Saturday.

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Find GVY Fresh Produce next to Sunshine Harvest Farm, with the Stone Arch Bridge as a their backdrop. They brought the first peas to the 2017 Market.

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Smoked salmon and trout from Star Prairie Trout Farm are perfect for salads, spreads, sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres and more. Find them every Saturday in the train shed.

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

The intoxicating scent of peonies filled the air!

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Happiness is a full market basket. :D

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

The MCFM was the first Zero Waste market in Minnesota. That means everything that isn't recyclable is compostable, including the eating utensils, cups, plates and bowls.

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

I'm pretty sure your dog would love a smoked bone from Barkley's Bistro!

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Milly the goat!

June 3, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market


Volunteers Needed for June 11 Downtown Open Streets Minneapolis

Via a June 2 e-newsletter from the City of Minneapolis:

Join us June 11th for Downtown Open Streets! Open Streets Minneapolis gives residents an opportunity to explore their neighborhood and local businesses in a safe, fun, and family-friendly way. It encourages the use of active transportation and healthy living, and has a goal of giving residents an opportunity to rethink our streets as public space. With almost one hundred businesses, community groups, and performers on the street - there's something for everyone to enjoy!

Downtown Open Streets needs 100 Volunteers to fire up the event!

Volunteering is the best way to experience Open Streets Minneapolis.Get your free 2017 Open Streets Mpls T-shirt  by volunteering as a Street Ambassador (the most fun job!), Planeteer, Pop-up Protected Bikeway Crew Member or another important volunteer position! There are many fun volunteer options to chose from, so hurry and snag yours before we close the sign up on June 7th! It's a great way for families, neighbors, and friends to volunteer together. Sign up today!

Downtown Open Streets Minneapolis June 11th, 2017 11:00am - 5:00pm 1st Ave N and Washington Ave Downtown


Humans of Hennepin County Library - A Series by Stephanie Glaros

Via a June 2 e-newsletter from Friends of the Hennepin County Library:

For the past few months, Stephanie Glaros, creator of the popular Humans of Minneapolis blog and book of the same name, partnered with Friends of HCL to create a series of heartfelt stories that capture the spirit, energy, and transformational power of our Library:  Humans of Hennepin County Library. So far the response has been overwhelming, with more than 23,000 Facebook likes and thousands more shares and comments.

We want to thank ALL of our participants for sharing their enthusiasm for our Library and their personal library experiences with us. We also want to thank YOU our donors, for your commitment to supporting our Library and the countless people itserves.

Do YOU have a library story to share? We'd love to hear from you! Please write to and tell us what the library has meant to you in your life.

Here's Everything You Need to Plan Your June 10 Northern Spark Adventure!

With 7 sites to see, it's important to plan your transportation to and around Northern Spark this year. All festival sites are walkable from METRO Green Line stations. Some contain compact programmed areas, and others are more spread out. Get ready to ride and walk!

Here are some things to do in advance to make festival navigation easy:

1. Plan your route!
Take a look at the festival areas using our zoomable maps. Make a customized list of the projects you want to visit with our My Night feature. Or stop at any festival Info Tent and pick up a paper map. As long as you find your way to the METRO Green Line, you’ll find the festival.

2. Download a free pass for use on all Metro Transit light rail and bus lines.  
Riding the train is easy! Either print out the downloadable pass or be prepared to show the digital version on your smartphone to a Metro Transit operator if asked.

Free passes are viable from 8:00pm - 6:30am. Service on the METRO Green Line runs regularly until 1:00am, then every half hour until 4:00am.

Ticket machines are located on each train platform if you forget to download a pass or your phone runs out of juice. The Northern Spark Festival Map also functions as a free pass for the METRO Green Line ONLY.

PLEASE NOTE that only the METRO Green Line service runs 24 hours. METRO Blue Line and bus routes end at varying times. Need help planning your trip? Use Metro Transit’s Trip Planner or call 612-373-333, TTY 651-291-0904

3. Park and ride (or walk or cycle).
Drive close to the METRO Green Line, park and ride, walk or cycle your way through the festival.

Tune up your bike and get between festival sites on two wheels. Don’t forget a bike lock, light and helmet. Find Nice Ride stations near some festival locations at

If you plan to drive a vehicle to the festival, be aware of these street closures: in Lowertown: Broadway St. between 4th St E and 5th St E. In Little Africa: Sherburne Ave between Snelling Ave and N Asbury St. In Minneapolis at the Commons: Portland Ave between 4th St and 5th Street.

Street closures take place beginning at 9:00am on Saturday, June 10, through 9:00am on Sunday, June 11.

4. Charge up your phone!
Some Northern Spark projects require the use of a smartphone. Make sure yours is charged and ready to play!

5. Bring a water bottle, or if you forget...
Northern Spark food vendors will not be selling bottled water. Fill up your reusable container or get a one-of-a-kind recycled (washed and sanitized) water bottle at festival Info Tents. Find Tap Mpls stations in Minneapolis and Anthropocene Water Stations in St. Paul.

6. Weather reminder: Northern Spark happens rain or (star) shine.
Visit and follow on social media for night-of changes due to weather.


AchieveMpls Seeks Volunteers to Serve as Graduation Coaches 

Via a July 2 e-newsletter from AchieveMpls:

AchieveMpls Seeks Volunteers to Serve as Graduation Coaches for 9th and 12th Grade Students in Minneapolis Public Schools

AchieveMpls, the nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), is looking for adult volunteers to serve as Graduation Coaches for 9th and 12th grade students in MPS schools during the 2017-18 school year. Whether you're a college student or a retiree, an executive or an artist, we're looking for supportive and open-minded adults who enjoy working with young people.

Graduation Coaches provide one-on-one mentoring to 12th grade students or small groups of 9th graders twice each month during the school day in a classroom setting. They offer additional support via email between sessions. A commitment of 4-6 hours per month throughout the school year is required.

Coaches help students stay on track, build study skills and academic confidence and graduate on time. They also support students in developing healthy peer relationships, connecting with resources and exploring their best options for life after high school—whether that means two or four-year college, technical school, apprenticeships, work experience or other opportunities.

AchieveMpls provides volunteer orientation, program curriculum and ongoing guidance and support throughout the year.

For more information about the program, participant videos and application form, visit or contact Amy Shapiro at or 612-455-1550. All applications are due Friday, June 16.

About AchieveMpls
As the strategic nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), our shared goal is every student career and college ready. Each year we offer personalized planning resources and support for 9,000 students through our Career & College Centers in MPS high schools, provide 750 paid internships and work readiness training for Minneapolis youth through the STEP-UP Achieve youth employment program (part of the City of Minneapolis STEP-UP program), connect 800 community volunteers with students as Graduation Coaches and career exploration volunteers, raise support for MPS strategic priorities, and manage MPS school and department funds.


Washington Avenue Reconstruction Project Update

Via a June 1 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Partial eastbound Washington Avenue reopening

Beginning June 2, before the morning rush hour, eastbound Washington Avenue will reopen from Hennepin Avenue to 2nd Avenue. At 2nd Avenue, traffic will be routed to the existing detour using 4th Street and 5th Avenue.

Ongoing eastbound lane work

Pavement has been removed on eastbound Washington Avenue from 3rd Avenue through 5th Avenue. Crews continue replacing storm sewer pipes and watermains underneath the roadway. Additional utility crews will be relocating telecommunications, gas and electric utilities in the project area.

Crews digging down on eastbound lanes to expose pipes, watermains and utilities.

Stay safe

Motorists should continue to exercise caution while driving through the area. All roadway users should obey speed limits and limit distractions. Traffic changes, construction crews, equipment and work areas near the roadway can create unexpected situations. Bicyclists and pedestrians please continue to adhere to signage throughout the project site directing alternate routes and detours. 

Ways to stay informed

Want a quick update or have questions about the Washington Avenue reconstruction project? There is a number you can call for a brief recorded update. Or, if you want to speak with project staff. Give us a call and we will see how we can help.

Phone: 612-543-3722


2017 Mississippi River Paddle Share Season is Here! Reserve a Kayak Online

The Mississippi River Paddle Share is a new and exciting recreational and transportation opportunity for people who don’t own a boat and want a safe and enjoyable river experience. This is a first of its kind in a national park and in the country.

Three options:

  1. North Mississippi Regional Park to Boom Island Park
    (Friday - Monday)
    Rent a single-person or two-person kayak (for $25 or $40, respectively, for three hours) from North Mississippi Regional Park and paddle 3.9 miles to the return stations located at Boom Island Park. All kayaks and equipment must be returned to Boom Island Park by the end of your rental period.
  2. Lowry Avenue Bridge to Boom Island Park
    (Friday - Monday)
    Rent a single-person kayak (for $20 for three hours) from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization and paddle 1.7 miles to the return stations located at Boom Island Park. All kayaks and equipment must be returned to Boom Island Park by the end of your rental period.
  3. Coming Soon!
    Hidden Falls Regional Park to Harriet Island Regional Park
    (Friday - Monday)
    Rent a single-person or tandem kayak (for $25 or $40, respectively, for three hours) at Hidden Falls Regional Park and paddle 6.3 miles to the return stations located at Kelley’s Landing at Harriet Island Regional Park. All kayaks and equipment must be returned to the appropriate locker at Harriet Island by the end of your rental period.

Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition is now Our Streets Minneapolis

Via a May 31 News Release:

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition is now Our Streets Minneapolis. The name change comes after the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition announced last fall its expansion to work on walking issues as well as biking.

“After eight years of successfully advocating for safer bicycle infrastructure, our new name and mission really underlines the importance of walking advocacy to this organization as we move forward,” said LaTrisha Vetaw, Our Streets Minneapolis Board President. “The expansion of our work and rebrand aligns with the Coalition’s goal to reach out to and better serve communities of color. I see this change as a big win for the community members I work with daily. We are excited to continue working to bring people together to support a great city for everyone.

The rebranding comes after months of conversations following the announcement of the expansion to serve those walking and rolling, and includes an expanded mission, vision, and priorities.


Our Streets Minneapolis works for a city where biking, walking, and rolling are easy and comfortable for everyone.


We envision a city where:

  • Biking, walking, and rolling are easy and joyful for people of all backgrounds and identities in all parts of Minneapolis;

  • Streets and trails are vibrant community spaces with people walking and biking year-round;

  • Kids and families feel safe and comfortable walking and biking to neighborhood schools, parks, and businesses;

  • Older adults and people with mobility challenges are healthy, independent, and connected with their communities through streets and sidewalks designed for them; and

  • Abundant biking and walking contributes to happy people, a healthy environment, and a strong economy.

Our Streets Minneapolis’s initial priorities for walking and rolling include working to:

  • Make street crossings safer for people walking and rolling;

  • Improve winter sidewalk maintenance; and

  • Improve stop lights for people walking.

Our Streets Minneapolis, formerly the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, formed in 2009. It unites a network of more than 12,000 people and 1,300 volunteers. Our Streets Minneapolis organizes Open Streets Minneapolis events, which in 2016 attracted more than 80,000 people to walk, bike, and play in car-free streets for a weekend day. The first Open Streets Minneapolis event of 2017 is Sunday, June 4 on Lyndale Avenue. Our Streets Minneapolis also engages community members for protected bikeways, safer street crossings for people walking and rolling, and other improvements that make our streets safer and more inviting for everyone.

- - - - - - - -

Get Your Our Streets Minneapolis Spoke Card

Get yours at Open Streets Lyndale June 4 (by 31st Street) or Open Streets downtown June 11!


Homeless Youth to Compete in National Street Soccer USA Cup June 9-11

Via a May 31 News Release:

It’s more than a game for Minneapolis homeless youth competing in National Street Soccer USA

Overcoming all odds, local YouthLink’s team sets out to win 6th national championship

Sports have always been a means for young people to play and compete, while teaching them how to win and how to lose. Sports build character through team-building, comradery, trust and friendship through practice, competition and lots of hard work. But for youth experiencing homelessness, opportunities to participate in high-level organized sports are minimal.

Enter Street Soccer USA, a national organization that uses soccer as part of social change to help transition homeless teens and young adults into safer, healthier communities. Each year, Street Soccer USA holds a national series featuring teams consisting of homeless youth and at-risk young adults.  And a Minneapolis team is on its way to this year’s tournament in Philadelphia. 

The 2017 Street Soccer USA Cup Series kicks off with the “National Cup” in Philadelphia June 9-11, followed by the “Times Square Cup” in New York City on July 15 with the final tournament in San Francisco on August 5-6.

The Minneapolis team is named Up Top and is sponsored by YouthLink, a local nonprofit that helps young people between the ages of 16 and 24 on their journeys from homeless to hopeful. The team has participated in the tournament for nine years. Last May, Up Top won its fifth national championship with a come-from-behind victory to clinch the title.

Up Top’s team was created in 2008, led by Coach Jose Acuna, YouthLink’s outreach manager and longest-serving employee.

“Street Soccer USA is a program that uses soccer to help youth achieve their goals,” says Coach Jose. “The same rules we use on the soccer field, we use in real life. We also find that team sports are a special way to help build a critical support system needed by these kids.”

Up Top was named by a former player as a nod to Minnesota’s placement on the map. It also represents where the team wanted to be in the league. Up Top is unique among the United States teams because of its diverse mixture of religions, nationalities and experiences. The team includes members of the Twin Cities’ large Somali population and others who are refugees and asylum seekers. The one common thread among all team members is that they have experienced homelessness prior to joining the team.

The team’s diversity uses its differences to learn and grow together. 

“We practice indoors at Gethsemane Episcopal Church’s basketball court. Many of our players are Muslim and some are Catholics,” said Coach Jose. “We have great discussions about theology and religion as a unique way to learn and to create an inclusive environment. Soccer really is an international language.”

No matter what’s happening on or off the court, Coach Jose marvels about how they work together and support each other.

“We’ve worked very hard to create harmony.  In last year’s national tournament, we were losing 4–1,” recalled Coach Jose. “It would have been so easy for a team to get discouraged, but these guys knew their opportunities would come. We teach them to be patient and stick with the plan – and that you cannot give up.”

Coach Jose is hopeful that he and YouthLink can restart the Street Soccer USA women’s team, which was suspended due to lack of funding. The women’s team claimed the national championship title all three years it competed.

After this month’s tournament in Philadelphia, players will be chosen to represent the United States in the Homeless World Cup to be held August 29 – September 5, 2017 in Oslo, Norway. In past years, Up Top players were selected to play in World Cups in Brazil, Italy, Poland, France, Mexico, Netherlands and Scotland.

About YouthLink

For over 40 years, YouthLink ( has provided a safe and supportive refuge, along with the resources needed by young people experiencing homelessness. Last year, more than 2,200 young people from the Twin Cities accessed YouthLink—which is also home of the Youth Opportunity Center (YOC)—in downtown Minneapolis. At the YOC, YouthLink and over 30 community partner agencies come together to provide a holistic array of services to help young people become educated, employable, and stably housed. 


Twin Cities River Rats Return to the Mississippi June 1!


The 2017 Twin Cities River Rats shows are scheduled for 7pm Thursday nights through August, and take place at 1758 West River Road (between the Plymouth and Broadway bridges).

The River Rats perform an hour long show combining various water skiing acts with skits and music. Acts include Barefooting, Pyramids, Doubles, and more. All shows are free and concessions are available.

6:30pm – Development show: River Rat members under the age of 18 and our new members get the opportunity to perform for the crowd before jumping into the “big” show.

7:00pm – The Big Show: The ski show is a 1 hour long themed-show. In between daring and beautiful acts on water, a storyline unfolds. Audience participation is encouraged!

8:00pm – Photos: Photo opportunities with the cast of the show, visit with the skiers, and even take a ride in our “triple-rig” boat.

Their home site is located just north of downtown Minneapolis on the Mississippi River. The hillside along the river provides excellent viewing for the best show in the Twin Cites. Grab a blanket or a chair and come on down! Directions 



June 5 Career Fair Will Connect Job-seekers with Recruiting Employers

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

Event details

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

This location is served by several bus routes. Visit or or call 612-373-3333 for more details.

Participating employers

All participating businesses are aiming to fill multiple openings. Recruiters from the following organizations will attend the career fair:

  • ACR Homes
  • Atlas Staffing
  • Caribou Coffee
  • CobornsDelivers
  • Comcast
  • Delta Global Services
  • Doherty Staffing Solutions
  • Domino’s
  • Endeavor Air
  • Family Dollar
  • First Student
  • Frito Lay
  • Goodwill-Easter Seals
  • Hennepin County
  • HMSHost
  • Indrotec
  • Jerry’s Enterprises
  • Living Well Disability Services
  • Mains’l Services
  • Mall of America
  • Mary T. Inc.
  • Minneapolis Marriott Southwest
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts Distribution Center
  • Pinnacle Services
  • SUPERVALU Distribution Center
  • United States Postal Service
  • WIS International
  • Wells Fargo

Find out more about Hennepin County employment services.

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