What’s being done about the trash on Lake Hiawatha?

Posted on 27 August 2018 by calvin

Sean Connaughty, Standish resident and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) volunteer steward of Lake Hiawatha, continues to push for a solution to the large amount of trash that drains into the lake.
Since 2015, he’s picked up 4,500 pounds of trash from the lake. That doesn’t include the amount others have picked up.

Connaughty, who also serves on the MPRB Hiawatha Golf Course Community Advisory Committee, plans to continue working with the community and various agencies to help design and develop a new wetland complex and mitigation system for the north pipe storm sewer.

Photo left: Since 2015, Standish resident Sean Connaughty has picked up 4,500 pounds of trash from the lake. That doesn’t include the amount others have picked up. Connaughty, who also serves on the MPRB Hiawatha Golf Course Community Advisory Committee, plans to continue working with the community and various agencies to help design and develop a new wetland complex and mitigation system for the north pipe storm sewer which drains 920 acres of Minneapolis storm sewers into the lake without trash mitigation. (Photo submitted)

Here’s how he envisions an effective mitigation system.

“It must deal with the following pollutants: trash, sediment and waterborne pollutants including chemicals and phosphorous,” Connaughty said. “An effective mitigation system will use limited mechanical intervention to capture trash. It will also slow stormwater flow out of the pipe by using meanders, stream branching, and pond dilution to reduce velocity and drop sediment. Wetlands capture, absorb and transform pollutants.

“Restoring wetlands on the property will also return some of the flood storage capacity to the land that was removed in 1929 when the creek was straightened, the lake dredged and the wetlands filled in to make Hiawatha Golf Course. Restoring wetlands to portions of the property will also reduce the impact of future floods on nearby homes (as shown in recent flood models created by Barr engineering).

“The result of all this work will be a massive improvement in water quality for Lake Hiawatha,” Connaughty said.
He continued, “No longer will 920 acres of South Minneapolis dump its pollution directly into Lake Hiawatha. The newly inundated wetland spaces that aren’t usable for golf will provide new habitat and areas of public access for nongolfers.”

Connaughty also plans to work with the community to design a public art space that is integrated into the natural spaces that are created in these new wetland areas.


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Minnehaha Commons breaks ground

Posted on 27 August 2018 by calvin

On Thurs., Sept. 13, 4pm, community leaders, public officials, neighborhood residents and others will gather at 3001 E. Lake St. to celebrate the groundbreaking of new housing development by Alliance Housing.

By fall 2019, 44 adults, 55 years old or older, will call Minnehaha Commons home. All residents will be very low income; most will have experienced homelessness and may have been screened out by other landlords due to their housing, credit or criminal history. Alliance Housing owns and/or manages similar properties in South and North Minneapolis.

“According to the Wilder Foundation’s homeless survey, seniors are the fastest growing segment of homeless people locally,” said Alliance Housing Inc. Executive Director, Barbara Jeanetta. “Alliance Housing was ahead of the curve when we conceived this project more than ten years ago. Our organization is uniquely positioned to successfully house this population because of our previous experience serving seniors in rooming houses.”

Jeanetta continued, “Our tenant service coordinators and property managers build trusting relationships with tenants, discuss problems, identify options for maintaining housing stability and increasing self-sufficiency, and assist tenants to choose their community services. It is a proven program, and we look forward to bringing this exciting new development and its related support services to serve seniors in south Minneapolis.”

Alliance’s partner, Touchstone Mental Health, will provide a range of support services to ensure tenants can remain stably housed. Cermak Rhoades Architects managed the project design. General Contractors are Watson Forsberg in partnership with TRI Construction. Broen Housing provided financial packaging and preparation. The Longfellow Community Council, Councilmember Cam Gordon, and Representative Jim Davnie welcomed the project to the neighborhood by providing letters of support.

The groundbreaking guests expected to provide brief remarks include Commissioner of DHS Emily Piper, Minneapolis Councilmember Cam Gordon, Alliance’s board chair Ben Olk III, Longfellow Community Council board member Lisa Boyd, and a current Alliance Housing tenant. Ingrid C. Arneson Rasmussen, Pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, will provide a blessing honoring the homeless family that lost their lives when the McMahon Bar, the site of the new building, burned. The development is expected to be completed by September 2019.

$10.8 million in funding was provided by a variety of sources including a State of Minnesota Department of Human Services Live Well at Home grant, Minnesota Housing’s Housing Infrastructure Bonds and 4% tax credits. The City of Minneapolis’ Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Hennepin County’s Affordable Housing Incentive Fund, the Metropolitan Council’s Livable Communities Local Housing Incentives Account, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines’s Affordable Housing Program also provided financial support. Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Thrivent, and the Sisters of Carondelet provided early support.

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Extend the Greenway Partnership commissions bridge study

Posted on 27 August 2018 by calvin

The Midtown Greenway is a 5-1/2 mile long bicycle and pedestrian trail through the heart of South Minneapolis. The trail begins near Lake Calhoun at Chowen Ave., and travels east across the city. It currently ends at W. River Pkwy. near 27th St. in the north Longfellow neighborhood. More than 35 organizations from both Minneapolis and St. Paul are working together in the newly formed Extend the Greenway Partnership. Their goal is to extend the Midtown Greenway over the Mississippi River and through St. Paul.

Photo right: The Short Line Railroad Bridge as seen from the beach near 27th St. and W. River Pkwy. The question being asked in the engineering study currently underway is, “What would it take to make this bridge safe for public use, as an extension of the Midtown Greenway into St. Paul?” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

The extension of the Greenway would convert the Short Line Railroad Bridge (just north of 27th St.) into a bicycle and pedestrian bridge. Up for consideration is whether or not the train would continue to use the railroad tracks. CP Rail owns and operates the bridge; it runs one train per day there, on average, and serves three remaining customers along the Hiawatha Ave. corridor.

Soren Jensen, executive director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, said, “We’re pleased to report that a drone we hired to begin our engineering study of the Short Line Railroad Bridge was launched in late July. Information captured by the drone will be used to create a 3-D map of the bridge. Engineers from the local firm Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. will complete the study, estimating the cost and efforts needed to make the bridge safe for biking and walking. We anticipate that the study will be finished in late summer.”

“I’ve been with the Midtown Greenway Coalition for seven years,” Jensen continued, “and the question I get asked most frequently is, ‘Why doesn’t the Greenway cross over into St. Paul?’

Jensen provides the answer, “Apparently, when the final stage of the Greenway was completed ten years ago (the section that runs through Seward and Longfellow), Hennepin County commissioned an engineering study of the bridge. They determined that it had structural flaws, but they didn’t estimate what it would cost to make the bridge safe for public use. There are many of us who thought it warranted another look. We believe this extension would benefit a lot of people because the Greenway is a major commuter corridor. It would be a tremendous addition to the Twin Cities biking infrastructure.”

Jensen concluded, “We didn’t want this to be just an effort of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, so we built a solid partnership of organizations across both sides of the river. Our partners reached out to all of their members and supporters on social media with the details of this project. We ran a crowd-funding campaign for one month, with a goal of raising $45,000 to hire two drones and an operator, and to use the expertise of Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. to conduct the engineering study. Thanks to the reach of our partner organizations, we exceeded our goal and raised $47,000. Some of our partners in (or very near) Longfellow include The Birchwood Café, Brackett Neighbors, Hiawatha Academies, the Longfellow Community Council, Seward Re-Design, and Nice Ride Minnesota.”

All organizations who share this vision are welcome to join the Extend the Greenway Partnership. The partnership seeks to include elected officials, government agencies, neighborhood groups, non-profits, and businesses from both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

For more information or to join the partnership, email Soren Jensen at Check the website at to learn the date and location of the next public meeting in September. The results of the engineering study will be discussed at that time.

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DanceCo plans October performance

Posted on 27 August 2018 by calvin

Following the success of its first self-produced performance last October, DanceCo is premiering “Which Witch is Which??” to Minnesota audiences in October.

DanceCo, a dance-theater company in the Twin Cities, was built on the creative vision and collective experience of Longfellow residents, husband-and-wife team Brittany and Matthew Keefe. DanceCo’s creative focus is to produce original dance for young audiences and their families.

“Which Witch is Which?? is an interactive whodunit-style dance-theater piece with wizards, witches, muggles and a lot of fun. Can you help solve the case of the missing key? ” —Matthew Keefe

Featured performers include Heather Cadigan-Brockman, Nicky Coelho, Benjamin Johnson, Stephanie Fellner, Brittany Keefe, Hannah Benditt and Rebecca Surmont.

There will be pre-show workshops (20 minutes before curtain) teaching the audience dance moves to become part of the show and, new this year, a craft to help transform the kids into magicians.

The Keefe’s are seasoned dance professionals with roots in the Twin Cities. Their collective work ranges from performing with numerous professional dance companies to teaching, choreography, stage management, administration and leadership roles. Complete bios can be found online at

“Which Witch is Which??” will premiere at the Avalon Theater, 1500 E. Lake St., Oct. 16-21, 2018.

Tickets $10 for kids, $12 for adults, with free lap passes for 2 years and under. You can purchase tickets online at, or at

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BARK!ART: Dog & Art Festival slated Sept. 15-16

Posted on 27 August 2018 by calvin

Off-Leash Area, 3540 34th Ave. S., will sponsor their inaugural BARK!ART Dog & Art Festival, Sat., Sept. 15, 12-8pm and Sun., Sept. 16, 12pm-5pm at the Off-Leash Art Box. The festival is a two-day event for dogs and their art-loving families and friends in the Nokomis neighborhood.

BARK!ART brings together two communities beloved by Off-Leash Area—dogs and art—together in a fall festival featuring all-ages outdoor talent shows, dog-related business and artist booths, and a new production by Off-Leash Area that features a live dog. BARK!ART will be hosted by Off-Leash Area along with community partner Canine Coach.

Headlining BARK!ART will be the new mainstage production by Off-Leash Area called “Paws and Effect,” starring a real dog! “Paws and Effect” is a family-friendly production exploring the journey of a girl who doesn’t fit in and a stray dog she befriends who teaches her how to show love and acceptance to others. Featuring OLA’s signature award-winning interdisciplinary style, the performance will blend company choreographer, Jennifer Ilse’s highly theatrical movement with Paul Herwig’s elaborate visual set design using live projected animation. It’s a show for audiences comprised of adults, kids, and their dogs. “Paws and Effect” will feature dog-friendly seating, along with opportunities for audience participation (or should we say ‘pawticipation!’).

The BARK!ART Talent Show will offer folks from throughout the community an opportunity to share their talents with performances featuring their own dogs. BARK!ART’s Talent Show will invite participants to create an original performance with themselves and their dog. Finalists will compete for a best-in-show “Lily Award.” BARK!ART will round out its festival activities with booths featuring businesses and artisans specializing in goods and services for dogs, dog families, and dog-lovers. Community partner Canine Coach will be on site conducting interactive dog training and agility demonstrations.

BARK!ART Dog & Art Festival will take place indoors and outdoors at the Off-Leash Art Box, the Twin Cities newest alternative performing arts space. The Art Box is an intimate and fully equipped dance & theater space located in the Nokomis neighborhood, less than a mile from the Minnehaha Regional Dog Park.


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Transition Longfellow plans Movie Night, Parent Group in Sept.

Posted on 27 August 2018 by calvin

The volunteers with Transition Longfellow create opportunities for South Minneapolis neighbors to get to know one another while also learning how to live more sustainably and prepare for changes ahead. Visit for more details on these and other activities.

Transition Parents & Kids Play Group meets Sat., Sept. 1, 10am-noon, at Longfellow Park, 3435 36th Ave. S. Join with other parents who are concerned about raising resilient kids, living a sustainable, less consumer-oriented, low-waste family life. Share conversation, resources, and ideas. In September, the group will be visiting a farmers market or a farm to learn about sustainable food production.

The Book Group meets Thurs., Sept. 13, 6:30pm, at Moon Palace Books (3032 Minnehaha Ave.) to discuss “The End We Start From,” by Megan Hunter. In this short novel, the reader is taken along on the journey of so many refugees fleeing flood, fire or civil unrest. The mother telling this tale of escape from a London now underwater is making the dangerous trip with a newborn. The author has done a masterful job of capturing the laser focus of a new parent and the search for safety amidst uncertainty experienced by so many refugees. A quick and compelling read. (This book is newly available in paperback on Sept 1; Moon Palace will have copies available.)

Movie Night is scheduled for Fri., Sept. 21, with a potluck at 6:30, and a movie at 7-9pm at Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church, 4101 37th Ave. S. Share a potluck meal, then watch the documentary “Joanna Macy and the Great Turning.” Macy shares her understanding of these times we live in, when everything we treasure seems to be at risk. This is not a film about despair, but about the opportunity we have to come alive to our truest power and participate in the Great Turning, the third major revolution of human existence, after the agricultural and industrial revolutions. The good news is: that’s what’s happening all around the world. “Arguably the greatest interview of our time with one the wisest women of our time. Heartbreakingly inspiring, practical and transcendental, transformative words that Joanna Macy has conjoined so beautifully in her life and work,” Paul Hawken, author of “DrawDown.” Donation accepted.

Each Friday, Transition Longfellow sends out a Step-by-Step Preparedness Email with actions you can take that week to become more prepared for extreme weather. Sign up for the series at the website,, where you can also find past emails.

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Nokomis Days blends Monarch Fest, Big Tent Event and block party

Posted on 27 August 2018 by calvin

Nokomis Days
Discover Nokomis Days on Sept. 8 and 9 in the Nokomis East neighborhood! Spend the weekend exploring our quiet, family-oriented community through three celebrations that highlight different facets of Nokomis East.

Start with the Minneapolis Monarch Festival on Sat., Sept. 8, 10am-4pm, with art, dancing, music and make and take activities. The festival happens at 49th St. and Woodlawn Blvd.

Then, enjoy a glass of beer and live music while your kids visit the balloon artist, face painters, and caricature artist at the Lake Nokomis Community School Big Tent Event. It’s hours of fun in the Oxendale’s Market (5025 S. 34th Ave.) parking lot on Sat., Sept. 8, 5:30-10pm.

Cap off the weekend with a visit on Sun., Sept. 9 to the Nokomis Block Party hosted by the Nokomis East Business Association. This event is packed with local foods, arts and crafts, music, games, kids activities, raffles, and more. Head to Oxendale’s Market at 5025 S. 34th Ave. from 11am-3pm.

Monarch Festival – Festival de la Monarca 2018
This year’s 10th Anniversary Minneapolis Monarch Festival will occur on Sat., Sept. 8, 10am-4pm. The Festival celebrates the monarch butterfly’s amazing 2,300-mile migration from

Photo right: Monarch Festival file photo from 2017.

Minnesota to Mexico with music, food, dance, hands-on art, native plant sales, and plenty of opportunities to get up-close with monarch butterflies, learn about their habitats, and what you can do to make a difference.

Festival participants can listen to music from Salsa Del Soul and other acts, make their own art print, get up-close with monarch caterpillars, tag and release a monarch butterfly, play games, and much more.

Visit the Minneapolis Monarch Festival website at for the full line-up of music, food, art, activities, and native plant sale information. These activities are all free and open to the public. No registration is required.

The Festival will be held just east of the Lake Nokomis Community Center in the area surrounded by E. Minnehaha Pkwy., Woodlawn Blvd., and E. Nokomis Pkwy. The festival is co-hosted by the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Apply for a NENA Board Seat
NENA is seeking applicants for the vacant Board seat from the Minnehaha neighborhood. If you live (homeowner and renter) in the Minnehaha neighborhood, you can nominate yourself (most common); or any NENA member can nominate a Minnehaha neighborhood resident as an applicant for the Board. Completed nomination forms are due on Wed., Sept. 12.

The NENA Board of Directors will review all applications and appoint a new Board member at its Sept. 27 meeting. This is a replacement appointment serving from September 2018 to April 2020.

Visit for more information and an application.

Fall Neighborhood Cleanup
Litter is not only unsightly, but it also can have devastating effects on local water quality. Join us for a neighborhood cleanup and get to know the NENA Green Initiatives Committee. The event is on Sat., Sept. 22, from 10am–12:30pm at the Crosstown Covenant Church parking lot (5540 30th Ave. S.). Volunteers that show up between 10– 10:30am get free coffee and doughnuts. Bring a pair of gloves you do not mind getting dirty. RSVP on the NENA Facebook event page or just show up!

BARK!ART Dog & Art Festival
Announcing BARK!ART Dog & Art Festival, Sat., Sept 15, 12-8pm and Sun., Sept. 16 from 12-5pm at Off-Leash Area’s Art Box, 4200 E. 54th St. E. This new two-day family festival will be hosted by Off-Leash Area with community partner Canine Coach. BARK!ART will bring two communities beloved by Off-Leash Area—dogs and art—together in a festival featuring all-ages outdoor talent shows, dog-related business and artist booths, and a new production by Off-Leash Area called “Paws and Effect,” starring a dog!

Learn more by visiting the BARK!ART Festival page at The festival is supported by a 2018 MRAC grant.

Sign up for NENA News
Get your neighborhood news delivered to your inbox every other Wednesday. Sign up today at Once you sign up, you’ll receive updates on news and happenings for your neighborhood.

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Ten-year celebration becomes forerunner of next decade

Posted on 23 July 2018 by calvin

It has been ten years since Gandhi Mahal, an Indian restaurant that serves a sustainable and seasonal menu, opened its doors at 3009 27th Ave. S. At a recent anniversary celebration, owner Ruhel Islam welcomed the community to share in the restaurant’s success over the past decade, as it has grown some of its own food through community gardens and a basement aquaponics system that has produced vegetables, herbs, and tilapia.

But Gandhi Mahal is not a business that rests upon its laurels, and in a recent interview Alex Christensen and Khadija Siddiqui, aquaponics co-managers, shared some of the plans the restaurant has moving forward.

Christensen originally became involved with Gandhi Mahal through one of the backyard gardens that provides produce during the local growing season. He started working with the aquaponics system a year and a half ago.

Photo right: Claudia Santoyo, Gary Shaich, Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and Ruhel Islam at anniversary fundraiser. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Siddiqui became involved through her connection with Pangea Theater, 711 Lake St. She said the theater owners and founders are old friends of Ruhel and were having dinner at the restaurant. A tour of the current aquaponics system was given, and Siddiqui began volunteering. “I officially came on the staff in January,” she said.

The aquaponics system in the basement below the restaurant started in 2014. “Pretty quickly after I came on, Ruhel started talking about wanting to expand the system,” Christensen related. “He wanted it to grow into something bigger. We have been exploring what that could mean.”

Christensen said there is a basement space under the property that is just south of the restaurant, a property Islam also owns. “That became the focus of our expansion ideas, and ever since then, it has just been a matter of figuring out how to maximize the space. What’s special about the current aquaponics system is that it’s accessible; you can walk down there from the restaurant. That’s great, and a lot of people do that. We want to still have that accessibility, but really want to zero in on the productivity part of it,” Christensen continued.

He said it had not been managed with an eye toward production for a while. “It is something that as an industry, as a science, as a form of agriculture, is really about feeding people. We wanted to design the expansion with that in mind.”

“The system right now,” said Siddiqui, “I would see as a grand experiment. It is jammed into an urban space where it is surviving and thriving even though it is in a space where it was not meant to be. With expanding, the larger focus will be on creating a space where it is meant to be. If it is thriving now, think of what it could be with more space.”

Christensen noted that it is important to realize that the aquaponics system cannot meet the needs of the restaurant, nor will that ever happen. The scale of it is just far too small. “It’s also important to recognize we are not going to try to grow rice, because it would just not be efficient whatsoever, at the rate this restaurant goes through rice.”

He said that at the outset of the expansion plan, they sat down and talked about what made sense to focus on. “Where in the past it has been an experiment growing a couple dozen kinds of different things, we are trying to narrow that scope to focus on things the restaurant needs, and it helps if they are fresh. So we will focus on things like cilantro, where you want something really potent and fresh and ripe-flavored. Or things like chilis, with the same idea, and salad greens for the salad bar and lunch buffet, or cooking greens as well.”

He said the expanded system will highlight four or five things in addition to tilapia. “We will leave room for some herbs and tea, and a few fun things,” he added. “Instead of having tiny ingredients from 20 different things, we wanted 100 percent of just a few. It’s an easier story for us to tell, and easier for us to manage.”

Photo left: Fernando Anderson samples some of the food at Gandhi Mahal anniversary fundraiser. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Siddiqui said the restaurant used to serve an aquaponics salad, made with aquaponics greens. “If we can create whole salads or supplement all the chilis, that will be super cool,” she said.

She said the new space is being built by scratch from the ground up in the space next door to the restaurant. “It is connected by a stairway and is on the other side of the wall from Gandhi Mahal’s banquet room,” Siddiqui said.

“We don’t have a super hard and fast deadline, so we want to take the time to do it right and improve the space before we move everything in there,” explained Christensen.

“There are a lot of challenges to growing in a basement to begin with. Even more challenging when that basement is in a building that is over 100 years old. It’s also a challenge when it is just us. So we have been taking the time to do everything from filling in cracks to priming and painting the room so we don’t have to worry about mold issues.”

They are also getting a proper HVAC system installed to make it more comfortable for people to work in the space, but also to improve pollination and the building itself.

Siddiqui reflected on all the good things that have happened with the current aquaponics system, with tours being conducted. “Now we can plan and design what we want, so we can physically have humans in this room. We are trying to keep future growth and expansion in mind, with room to experiment a little bit,” she said.

The backyard gardens will continue, according to Christensen. There is one official and flagship garden and ten to twelve backyard gardens, in which people volunteer to grow cauliflower or potatoes and bring the harvested crop into the restaurant.

Another big part of the expansion will be fish. “With the expansion, tilapia will be harvestable up to the restaurant so we can start three or four tanks with the fish in various stages,” Siddiqui stated.

“I really appreciate being able to be a part of all the things Ruhel is trying to do,” Christensen said. “Bees on the roof, backyard gardens, solar energy—he is very ambitious in a community-oriented way. I get a lot of energy and inspiration, and really value it.”

Siddiqui said Islam takes a lot of risks, but they are good risks. “We’re a risk,” she said. “But whatever it is, Ruhel says we will just do it, and it will be done. He has some faith in it, and he disseminates that out to everyone around him. He says it will be fine, and we will do it.”

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Hi-Lake intersection will soon sprout wings with lift from GoodSpace

Posted on 23 July 2018 by calvin

Above: Greta McLain, co-owner of GoodSpace Murals, said, “I feel so lucky to have been raised in South Minneapolis, and to have been part of so many positive changes here. I learned to make mosaic in Argentina; I went to school in California; I worked for a time in Philadelphia; but for me, this is home.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

GoodSpace Murals, a local arts initiative, held a community workshop at the Hi-Lake Transit Plaza on July 11, just below the busy light rail station. GoodSpace co-owners Greta McLain, Candida Gonzales, and staff talked with people passing by about their plans to improve the blighted intersection. They also gathered stories about cultural identity from people in the neighborhood, and plan to incorporate what they gathered into their finished art pieces.

What will emerge in the fall is a series of large-scale monarch butterflies on both sides of the sidewalk on E. Lake St. at the Hi-Lake intersection. A combination of steel sculpture and mosaic, the installations will add an organic, artistic texture to the industrial-feeling walkway underneath the Metro Transit Bridge.

McLain explained, “We envision the butterflies at Hi-Lake as a gateway to the many public art projects being created along Lake St. this summer. Funding from the Lake Street Council and Metro Transit has made our project possible.”

“We’ll be collaborating with metalworker Paul Tinetti on the sculptures,” McLain said. “His business, Tinetti Custom Steel and Woodworks, is located in the Ivy Building, like ours. The project design hasn’t been finalized, but we envision large, suspended, steel-cut monarch clusters on both sides of the underpass, and two flying butterflies with their wings outstretched. There will be mirror pieces inlaid in the monarch wings, and cascading off the butterflies onto the underside of the bridge. The monarchs will also have traditional textural patterns from different cultures in our neighborhood inlaid in their wings.”

The butterfly sculptures are part of a two-part project honoring the immigrant history of Lake St. “At the July 11 community workshop,” McLain explained, “people were asked to lay colorful mosaic pieces in support of immigrants in our community. They collaborated with one another to make 2’x 3’ mosaic tile butterflies. The butterflies symbolize our natural migrations. We all came from somewhere! Once completed, the butterflies will be installed up and down E. Lake St.”

McLain was born and raised in the Powderhorn neighborhood of South Minneapolis. She’s a proud graduate of South High School, where two of her murals hang.

“I’ve been a community muralist for 15 years,” she said. “I always knew I could do good work on the artistic end, but I needed someone who could manage all the other stuff.

My strength is in being ‘on the wall’; which means painting. I met Candida Gonzales four years ago through a project. She was working as a coordinator for Community Ed through Minneapolis Public Schools and was known for being good at nurturing community relationships and administration. Two years ago, we formed GoodSpace, and we currently have a staff of 16 independent artist contractors.”

“Why the name GoodSpace? When we first moved into our studio warehouse at 2637 27th Ave. S., people kept coming in and saying, ‘Wow, this is a really good space!’ It just kind of stuck. In the last two years, we’ve completed 30 projects—mostly locally. This is exactly what I want to be doing. My art practice is? This is it.”

For more information on the installation of the butterflies in the Hi-Lake underpass this October, check the Lake Street Council’s Face Book page (Make on Lake Projects). For more information on the work of GoodSpace Murals, visit

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Three candidates seek District 4 Hennepin County Board seat

Posted on 23 July 2018 by calvin

Three South Minneapolis residents are vying for the District 4 Commissioner seat, and the field will be narrowed to two after the primary on Aug. 14.
Any race in Hennepin County that has more than two candidates will be narrowed by a primary election.

Angela Conley
Angela Conley seeks to be the first ever Black Commissioner to serve Hennepin County.

If elected, Conley promises to amplify community voices in decision-making. She would also prioritize a massive reduction in the amount of inequity across all county departments, and seek to make the 4th district seat on the County Board a true reflection of the diverse communities it serves and a safe place for all to inform policy decisions.

Toward that end, she would form the first-ever Hennepin County Racial Equity Advisory Council.

Conley believes that it is critical to preserve families through social service programs that offer career guidance, housing, health care and other supports. She supports passing the African-American Family Preservation Act (HF3973).

She believes that the lack of housing affects too many people of color, indigenous people, and immigrants, and would lead housing reform to address this crisis.
Conley used to be that single mother on the bus with a stroller and says she understands the importance of a strong public transportation system.

Conley has spent many years of her working life as a social worker covered by a collective bargaining agreement; with AFSCME during her earlier years at Hennepin County, and then MAPE during her years working for the state of Minnesota. “My deep labor roots have shown me that when we lock arms together, we can move mountains,” said Conley. “The cornerstone of this campaign is building community power, and nowhere is that power more visible than in the achievements of working people collectively bargaining for better lives for themselves and their families.”

She would seek to address “the epidemic of state-sanctioned violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous populations” by eliminating the cash bail system and enacting policy that requires low-level offenses be met with restorative justice instead of jail.

Conley also supports common-sense clean air and water solutions.

Born and raised in South Minneapolis, Conley currently rents a home in the Bryant neighborhood with her four children.

“For nearly 20 years I have worked tirelessly to change systems at the macro level, both at the state and county, in ways that are holistic, person-first and seamless,” said Conley.

Past volunteer work includes President of Bryant Neighborhood Organization, and two years on the Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council. Endorsements include Take Action MN, Women Winning, Survivors Lead, Our Revolution – Twin Cities, Minnesota Young DFL, and an “A” rating from the Stonewall DFL Caucus.

Megan Kuhl-Stennes
Endorsed by the Green Party, Megan Kuhl-Stennes has spent the past ten years cultivating a family, an urban farm, and a passion for zero waste.

“I have devoted my professional life to moving us to zero waste, which centers on designing and managing products and processes in a way that eliminates threats to our health and the environment. The principles and values of zero waste can guide decisions beyond how we treat physical objects,” stated Kuhl-Stennes.

Her priorities include implementation of a truly zero waste plan within the county; community engagement and empowerment to make all people in the county active agents in establishing and implementing priorities; affordable child care that will also build capacity for small, family-owned businesses and working parents; urban food systems and access to high quality, local, organic food; a basic income guarantee to establish a universal, unconditional, regular payment from the county that would be enough to live on; and implementation of ranked choice voting in Hennepin County.

She advocates for decriminalizing the personal possession, use, or sale of all drugs for those 18 and older and shifting resources from these “racist practices of criminalization to more effective preventative health approaches” to decrease drug abuse and the conditions that lead to addiction.

“Instead of simply maintaining the status quo, we have the resources, money, and energy to make far-reaching changes that address the root causes of community concerns: income inequality, climate change, lack of accessible and effective health care, and lack of access to quality housing,” said Kuhl-Stennes.

Raised in Dubuque, Iowa, she graduated from the College of St. Benedict-Saint John’s University with a degree in environmental studies and a minor in theology. Following college, she lived in the Phillips neighborhood during a year of volunteer service with the St. Joseph Worker Program, and has owned a home in East Phillips Neighborhood since 2010 with her partner and three-year-old son.

As a 10-year employee of Eureka Recycling, Kuhl-Stennes works in customer service, community engagement, and advocacy. At Eureka, she pushed to stop recent legislative attempts to preempt local laws and led the fight in 2017 against the preemption of plastic bag bans and fees at the state legislature.

Other experience includes: Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community, Community Council member (2012-2013), and chair (2014-2015); Eco Education, Board of Directors member (2011-2013); Minnesota Environmental Fund, Board of Directors member (2017-current); and 5th Congressional District Green Party, Steering Committee member (2011-2014, 2016-2017).

Peter McLaughlin
Peter McLaughlin has focused on investing Hennepin County resources in ways that will build a strong, urban, regional center.

He championed the Hiawatha LRT when nobody thought it could be built, and continues to support building out the LRT system. He presently serves as chair of the Counties Transit Improvement Board, which advocates for the expansion of the transit system.

McLaughlin helped develop a comprehensive county bicycle transportation plan and create a bicycle gap funding program to expand non-motorized transportation options. He advocated for the construction of Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis, which serves multiple light rail, commuter rail, and intercity passenger rail lines, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders.

He worked to achieve a merger with the Hennepin County Library System when the system was shuttering libraries and supported renovating and modernizing its buildings.
McLaughlin authored the resolution making Hennepin County one of the founding members of Cool Counties, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

He serves as chair of Fort Snelling Upper Post Task Force, Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, and County Administration Committee. His priorities also include workforce development as retiring Baby Boomers could mean the loss of 32% of Hennepin County’s workforce.

“Thank you for supporting my work on economic and social justice, elimination of the education gap, fair taxes, and a transportation system that is reliable, affordable and sustainable,” said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1971, and his master’s degree from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 1977. He moved to Minnesota in 1975 and resides in the Standish-Ericsson neighborhood with his wife and daughter.

Over the years he has started and joined many community service organizations, including Phillips Partnership and the Midtown Community Works Partnership; and he’s served on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners since 1991. Before that, McLaughlin served three terms in the Minnesota Legislature.

He has been endorsed by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, AFSCME Minnesota Council 5, and the Hennepin County staff line workers, among others. He also received  an “A” rating from the Stonewall DFL Caucus.

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