Archive | IN THE NEWS

RR crossing at 35th finally fixed

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Here is a before photo showing the potholes and damage to the surface of 33rd. (Photo submitted)

The notoriously bad railroad track crossings off of 35th St.and Hiawatha have finally been fixed. “It took a lot of effort, but I was able to get this moved up by several years,” remarked Ward 12 Council Member Andrew Johnson.

What was the initial schedule for this project?
Johnson: When I first came into office, this wasn’t in the five-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) to fund the repair work. I worked with Public Works at that time to get it added to the CIP, but it was scheduled for 2021. Working with then Mayor Hodges we were able to get it moved up in the CIP to 2019 (as part of the budget process for FY2016). I think it helped driving her Deputy Chief of Staff over the tracks several times!

A new surface means a smoother ride for those traveling over the tracks. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

What were the challenges?
Johnson: As Public Works began working on this, the reality of getting agreement from multiple companies (including the railroads) made it challenging. Another complication was the news that ADM is closing their mill at the corner of 35th (the Nokomis mill) in the near future, which meant that they didn’t want to pay for a permanent fix on a track they would soon no longer need. General Mills also recently sold some silos at the corner of 38th Street and indicated an openness to having it removed. So we were at somewhat of a crossroads on whether to proceed this year or wait for the ADM and General Mills tracks to eventually be abandoned so that they could be removed to make for an even better experience.
This road sees more than 6,500 vehicles a day though, and it has been a major road headache in our community for years, so it was important to proceed with the permanent concrete and steel solution for the track we knew would remain, fix the asphalt grading and improve the crossing for the rest of the tracks, and get the administrative ball rolling on removing these additional tracks in the coming year or two.
Public Works also identified other opportunities for this stretch of road to make it more friendly for users, which they are interested in incorporating into the next phase of work. Kudos to Public Works for how quickly they got this done once construction started!
It’s also worth noting that 33rd Street is getting permanent fixes right now too.

What do residents think about the work?
Johnson: I have heard from many residents since this work wrapped up and they are delighted that the tracks are finally fixed! It’s icing on the cake that we’ll see even more improvements in the next few years here. Glad to see this done!
~ Compiled by Tesha M. Christensen.

Comments Off on RR crossing at 35th finally fixed

Rebuilding Together, Every Third Saturday partner to renovate Veterans Center

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Every Third Saturday, a nonprofit organization benefitting homeless and struggling Vetera

More than two dozen volunteers pitched in on Saturday, Aug. 3 to build a community garden and paint at Every Third Saturday’s new facility for veterans at 5400 43rd Ave. S. It is expected to open later this fall. (Photo submitted)

ns, has a shiny, new space – inside and out – thanks to volunteers from Rebuilding Together Twin Cities and other partners.
More than two dozen volunteers pitched in on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 to build a community garden, paint the fence and the building at Every Third Saturday’s new facility for veterans at 5400 43rd Ave. S.
Tom and Jessi McKenna are grateful for all the volunteer support renovating their new location.
“We are eternally grateful to Rebuilding Together Twin Cities and Republic Services volunteers for helping us spruce up our new location,” said Tom McKenna, a veterans advocate and Co-Founder of Every Third Saturday. “The new facility will expand our capacity to serve more veterans in need.”
Since 2010, Every Third Saturday has been helping homeless veterans by providing basic necessities including clothing, toiletry items and blankets.
The new building will provide the physical space where community among veterans can be created, explained McKenna. “Much more than walls and a floor, the VREC (Veterans Resource and Empowerment Center) will be a place where veterans can find support, healing, and purpose. Anytime vets are connecting with each other face to face, great things happen, and this new space will ensure the atmosphere exists for those connections to happen,” he said.

Every Third Saturday hopes to open in the fall, possibly Veteran’s Day. More at
Partnering on the project was Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, Republic Services, Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV), and the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA), MidCountry Bank, Boston Scientific, and Biffs.
“Our goal is to stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods by providing safe and welcoming spaces for communities to gather,” said Kathy Greiner, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Twin Cities. “We were proud to help Every Third Saturday improve its new facility for veterans.”

Comments Off on Rebuilding Together, Every Third Saturday partner to renovate Veterans Center

Minnehaha Academy’s rebuilt Upper School opens doors

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

On Aug. 21, 2019, Minnehaha Academy opened its doors to students of its newly rebuilt Upper School for the start of the 2019-20 school year.
Along with incoming freshmen, it will be the first time sophomores and juniors will experience student life at Minnehaha Academy’s historic campus at 3100 West River Parkway in Minneapolis.
It will be a homecoming for seniors who have not gone to school at the 3100 campus since their freshmen year before the tragic gas explosion on Aug. 2, 2017.
“The new Upper School reflects our celebrated history, while meeting the current and future needs of our students, faculty and staff,” said Minnehaha Academy President Dr. Donna Harris. “We are thrilled to welcome everyone back to where we’ve called home for over 100 years, and we are excited for what the next century will bring to Minnehaha Academy.”
An environmentally-conscious approach was taken for the design of the Upper School. Windows facing the Mississippi River are installed with bird-safe glass and window glazing to prevent collisions with migratory birds. Landscape architecture has been integrated throughout the campus to promote local wildlife, pollinator habitats and outdoor science curriculum. Also, a new drainage system minimizes the effects of soil erosion and runoff on the local ecosystem. Outside, over 100 new trees have been planted alongside several replanted after the explosion.
Efforts were made to integrate the school’s history into the new campus. Artifacts like an original sign, cornerstones and historic lockers are featured in the new building. Recovered stair treads are used as the base for two olive trees planted in the commons area, allowing students to literally follow the path of alumni. Salvaged trees during construction are bring repurposed for interior design use.
The building itself has beenconstructed from unique, handmade bricks similar to those used in Minnehaha Academy’s other school buildings.
“A school’s physical environment greatly impacts teaching and learning, and that research and understanding has played a significant role in this process,” said Upper School Principal Jason Wenschlag. “We took a student-centered approach to the Upper School design, and we have a bright future of reimagined teaching and learning at Minnehaha Academy.”
Minnehaha Academy community hosted a “Celebration Walk” with a ribbon cutting and open house at the rebuilt 3100 campus on Aug. 19.

The new building at 3100 W River Pkwy as viewed from the E. 32nd St. parking lot next to the auditorium. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Comments Off on Minnehaha Academy’s rebuilt Upper School opens doors

Sign missing

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

The front sign for the Danish American Center at 3030 W. River Pkwy. is missing. At left is Bent Paulsen, who hand made the sign. It was revealed to the DAC community at Danish Day, June 7, 2009. “It is still missing and we have no clue where it could be,” remarked Diane Graves. “We thought if the neighbors would just be aware if they see it in an alley or discarded somewhere they might be able to let us know. Or, maybe someone saw it being taken down or transported.” (Photo submitted)

Comments Off on Sign missing

View from the Messenger: Make your neighborhood your brand

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen


We were vacationing up along the North Shore last month and it was a great time of the year to see those iconic spots that make Minnesota the great state it is: the views at Gooseberry Falls, the crafts of Grand Marais, ships pulling into the Duluth harbor, the sea gulls serenading the tourists along Lake Superior, and the list goes on. The North Shore is like a picture postcard at every turn.
As we stopped in at various merchants in and around the North Shore I was struck at how often the North Shore, a vacation destination that draws visitors from around the state and the country, still proudly promotes its own “Buy Local” campaign. Businesses religiously remind local residents that they need their support to be successful.
But that Buy Local state of mind is not unique to the North Shore. I think it goes without saying that many residents and business owners believe that their own neighborhood is the best place to live and work. I know that’s true of the Longfellow and Nokomis neighborhoods. I think it’s also true that when given the opportunity, many residents want to do whatever they can to support their local merchants. They know the stability of their neighborhood and their city depends on the vitality of their business community.
That’s why when advertisers ask me what they should promote in their advertising, I usually tell them that in addition to their products and services, they also should promote the fact that they are longtime Longfellow Nokomis businesses that are devoted to the community and devoted to making their community the best place to live and the best place to do business. And I believe those businesses that partner with local schools and charities to “give back” through special promotions where a portion of the proceeds goes to the charity make a strong statement that they are committed to the community in which their business is located.
Now when Longfellow Nokomis business owners ask me about what the best options are for them to advertise in the Messenger, the answer can get a bit complicated. In addition to a run of press ad in the paper, we also offer clients inserts and online advertising. Sometimes a marketing plan might call for a mix of options that might include print, radio, TV, social media, and so forth.
And while there’s no doubt that a full page ad with color is bound to attract the attention of our readers, the story of advertising is much the story of the tortoise and the hare. While there is always that temptation of wanting to get to the finish line faster than anyone else, the magic of advertising is really about the long game. It’s about having a presence in your local media on a regular basis for the long haul. And when Messenger readers finally have the need to buy their next home or that pepperoni pizza for tonight’s dinner, and maybe can’t remember your name or your contact information, they will pick up a copy of the Messenger and see your ad.
But in addition to those fine products and services that businesses are offering, I hope businesses also know to convey their local ties and community investment when they advertise their wares. Certainly mammoth companies like McDonald’s, Apple, WalMart, or Heinz Ketchup will always be companies that capture market share in their respective industries, but there are times when being the local guy, the merchant down the street, can be an important selling point in the equation.
Make your neighborhood your business. And be sure to share that message in your advertising in the Messenger and in other media. It’s a message that your customers will appreciate and respond to. And to our loyal Messenger readers, don’t forget to support local businesses, and particularly, those businesses that make a statement by advertising in the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger. They are asking for your business, reinforcing the fact that they are a community minded business, and need your support to thrive in our community. And we need those same advertisers to hear that from you.
As always, thanks to our loyal advertisers to making advertising in the Messenger a priority in their marketing plans. And thanks to our loyal readers who take the time to keep up on important community news in the Messenger and also take the time to support our advertisers with their pocketbook.

Comments Off on View from the Messenger: Make your neighborhood your brand

Meet Our Staff: Writing about environmental issues

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

by Margie O’Loughlin

I’ve worked as a reporter for the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger and Midway Como Monitor since 2015. I came into the job with a fledgling interest in community activism, a 20+ year career as a photographer, and a life-long love affair with newspapers.
As the years have passed, one topic has grown in importance for me as a reporter. I’m grateful that our new owner/publisher, Tesha Christensen, has let me take ownership of a few pages in each issue of both papers – and dedicate them to environmental stories happening close to home. We’ve dubbed these pages RRR, which stands for Rebuild, Repair, and Recycle, and we hope they’ll keep you informed about ways your neighbors are taking action.
Minnesota is one of the more aggressive states nation-wide in its efforts to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, and many other initiatives. In this time of growing concern over the climate crisis, we want our newspapers to be an intelligent, clear-thinking, and practical resource. Are you trying out a new idea or product in your home that you think our readers might want to hear about? Let us know!
I’ve gone on two public tours recently that have strengthened my commitment to writing about environmental issues: at Eureka Recycling in Northeast Minneapolis, and the Hennepin County Energy Recovery Center in Downtown Minneapolis. Seeing mountains of recyclable materials and waste in these facilities was convicting, to say the least. I stopped thinking in a theoretical way about the amount of waste my own small household produces, and vowed to make better choices for the environment. Both tours are open to the public, with a little advance planning, and are offered free of charge. Check out these websites to learn more or to sign up:
I just completed the Climate Reality Leadership Training held at the Minneapolis Convention Center Aug. 2-4, hosted by founder and former vice president Al Gore. There were 1,400 people in attendance from 32 countries around the world. Participants ranged in age from 13-86, and we’ve now joined the ranks of more than 20,000 trained Climate Reality leaders worldwide.
Within one year of completing the training, graduates are required to perform 10 acts of climate leadership. These acts can be anything from giving a formal presentation, to writing a blog post, to submitting a letter to the editor, to organizing a climate action campaign, to meeting with local community leaders.
My main act of leadership in 2019 will be working as an artist –in-residence at Eureka Recycling this fall. I’m offering a quilting workshop there on Nov. 2, and will create three wall hangings for Eureka’s education space – with the help of 15 community participants. The cost of admission to the workshop is one cotton garment that would otherwise be destined for the trash. We’ll talk about the growing problem of textiles in the waste stream, due to fast fashion (on the production side) and overconsumption (on the consumer side.)
This summer, my husband and I are trying to live plastic free, which has been eye-opening and, in some ways, kind of fun. I’ve discovered the best milk I’ve ever tasted, produced by Autumn Wood Farms of Forest Lake. It’s available in half gallon glass bottles at Oxendale’s Market in East Nokomis, and the Mississippi Market Co-op in St. Paul. My husband came home from PetCo in Highland Park last week, proudly carrying a re-fillable 30-pound plastic pail of cat litter. We’re learning about all kinds of new products, including tooth powder from the bulk bin at Tare Market (to avoid tooth paste packaged in non-recyclable tubes.) Who knew?
If there’s one thing I came away from the Climate Reality training with, it’s this. Dr. Jonathan Doyle, founder and CEO of the non-profit Project Drawdown, said, “We have to solve the climate crisis with our heads and with our hearts. But, especially, we have to solve it with our hands.” I believe there’s a way for every one of us to make a positive contribution to this movement, according to our circumstances.
I look forward to sharing what I learn along the way.

Comments Off on Meet Our Staff: Writing about environmental issues

Nokomis business owner levels the playing field for people of color with mental health and addiction issues

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Matching clients of color with therapists of color

As an adult, Katy Armendariz has delved into how she lost her cultural identity after being adopted from Korea, and she’s working to help others sort through various types of trauma through that lens. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Nokomis resident Katy Armendariz wanted to start an agency that would level the playing field for people of color seeking help with mental health issues, and diminish the disparities between them and the dominant culture.
And so she did.
She started Minnesota CarePartner, located at the old Central Medical Building at I-94 and Lexington on the Saint Paul side of the river. Starting with a couple of part-time therapists, the agency has grown to 55 employees.
But this did not happen overnight, and along the way, Armendariz has struggled with her own traumas and issues while forging a path forward in building and strengthening Minnesota CarePartner.

Stripped of cultural identity
“I am from Korea,” she said in a recent interview, as she described her background. “My birth mom was homeless and had a mental health condition. She couldn’t parent, so she gave birth and then walked out of the hospital.”
Armendariz was first placed in an orphanage and then foster care, and eventually was adopted by a Minnesota couple.
“There were good intentions, but I was completely stripped of my cultural identity,” she recalled. “They denied any racial experience I had. I was exposed to a lot of comments growing up, and I started to grow very critical of the systems that create disparities between who is adopting and who is being adopted.”
Armendariz noted that oftentimes the child’s adoptive parents did not know how to do their hair, did not know much about their culture, and did not raise them around people who looked like them.

Burn out leads to new business
She attained her master’s degree and became licensed and started working as an Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) worker, then became a therapist. “But I was unfulfilled; it was just a burnout,” she said.
“I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay in the social work field,” she continued, “so I went out and got my real estate license when I was pregnant with my second son. One week after I had given birth to him, I held my first open house. And I hated it, really hated it. I decided I didn’t want to do that.”
Armendariz was drawn back to the field of social work, but she determined she wanted to provide mental health services for individuals who faced disparities and families at risk of child protection services.
“In Minnesota, 85 percent of child protection services are with families of color,” she said, “in a system that is unfair and unequal.”
Armendariz went out and applied for a business name, got a tax ID and got certified for ARMHS and Children’s Therapeutic Services and Supports (CTSS.)
“I hired a therapist part-time, I made some flyers and brochures and set up a website, and I went out to several counties and told them what we wanted to do. And it just exploded. We now have 55 employees.”

Roots in Recovery
Minnesota CarePartner has a unique outpatient program, according to Armendariz.
“It is not a typical Minnesota model,” she said. “We take a social justice approach, where we validate and support.”
The program reaches out to people where they are, staff meeting with them in their homes or homeless shelters or libraries. “A lot of our clients have been underserved and over oppressed,” she said, “and programs designed by the dominant race don’t always work for people of color.”
As well as addressing mental health concerns, Armendariz’s agency has set up its own substance abuse program called Roots in Recovery. The program, which started last December, now admits 200 participants. The substance recovery, also, approaches things from a cultural standpoint, according to Armendariz.
“We deal with the experiences, systematic and traumatic, that contribute to addiction,” she said. “We take some of the more violent clients who have been kicked out of other programs. We will help them.”

Her own addiction
As Armendariz continued to build her organization, she struggled with her own problems with addiction.
“I was doing payroll, billing, hiring, marketing, clinical supervision and compliance, raising a family and dealing with a lot of unresolved trauma, and I started drinking a lot of wine. It became an addiction. I went to treatment, and it was one of the best things I could have done.”

Coffee Rehab
As the substance abuse program for Minnesota CarePartner took off, Armendariz started planning for a project that could employ addicts as they grew in their sobriety. She wanted to start a coffee house called Coffee Rehab, run and operated by individuals in recovery.
“I did a Kickstarter and found a location on East Lake St. in Minneapolis,” she said.
She had support from her Twelth Ward council member Andrew Johnson, who said the following about her proposal: “For anyone struggling with addiction, knowing they are not alone and getting support from others can make a huge difference. Having Coffee Rehab in our neighborhood is going to help many people on their path towards healthier and happier lives. It’s truly an asset for our community.”
Mayor Jacob Frey and Chef Andrew Zimmern were also supporters. She got T-shirts made. But the location fell through.
“It was kind of a sign I needed to slow down,” Armendariz said. ”Í needed to clean up in any areas where we are struggling.” She said that in a couple years, when her current lease is up, she will look again for a location that can house her agency and the coffee house.

Reflecting community they serve
Regarding her agency, Armendariz said, “I wanted to reflect the community we serve.” She said she looks for staff members who may speak the same language, share a similar background and look like the clients they work with.
“It is hard during a therapy session to have to use an interpreter,” she noted.
It is Armendariz’s hope that Minnesota will make an investment in communities of color, offer more opportunities for clinicians of color and help them get into school.
“We apply the same standards to all people, but starting out I had less credibility and more issues getting off the ground,” she said.
Looking back a few years to when she began her agency, Armendariz said she was not certain she had what it took to run a company. “Who am I, to think I can do this?” she recalled asking herself. “But through the process of recovery and sobriety, watching things fall into place and attracting a great staff, I know I can do this.”
Currently Minnesota CarePartner provides addiction services for adults only, but in mid-September this will include an adolescent program that will help children suffering from addiction. For mental health treatment, the agency treats all ages, including babies.

Exactly what she’s supposed to be doing
Armendariz said initially one of her biggest challenges was retaining staff. “There’s a big staff turnover when you don’t offer PTO or benefits,” she said. She also realized she was doing too many things at once and wearing too many hats. “When you do too many things, you can’t do everything with quality,” she said.
“But now I have an administrative team, a clinical supervisor and staff. I can wear the hat of manager.”
She added, “Being a start-up is really hard. People want to judge you and criticize you, and it is hard to build from the ground up.”
Right now, Armendariz said she feels amazing. “I am in a perfect spot, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing,”
She said one of the greatest rewards she has felt has been seeing a culture at her company that is truly a safe space for clinicians and counselors of color, as well as others. “We have fun.”
“The staff members now stay because they get the mission and they believe in it,” Armendariz said. “Finally, after blood, sweat and tears and being out in the arena, I am glad now things are shaping up.”

Comments Off on Nokomis business owner levels the playing field for people of color with mental health and addiction issues

Shared mobility changing how people get around

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Nice Ride/Lyft now offers two types of bicycles, scooters and Ebikes in rapidly shifting market

Luci Daum Design Dresses, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 22, 2018.

Nice Ride planned to offer 3,000 Ebikes this summer in Minneapolis, but in such a rapidly changing market they weren’t able to deliver.
It’s both frustrating and exciting for Nice Ride’s Bill Dossett, who has been along for the ride since former Mayor R.T. Rybak first suggested Minneapolis needed a shared bicycle system and he should get involved.
Nice Ride partnered with Motivate (now owned by Lyft) in July 2018 with the understanding that it would provide 3,000 new dockless bikes for 2019. They provided 1,500 regular pedal bikes and then proposed an alternative for the rest: pedal-assist Ebikes. The agreement was then modified for 1,800 Ebikes instead.
However, Lyft has had trouble fulfilling that order. There have been three versions of its Ebike this year, pointed out Dossett. Lyft recalled most of its second version fleet in April due to faulty front brakes. The third, The Watson, is in development and receiving major upgrades.
Minneapolis is one of the only cities in the country to have the Watson – and there are only 50 here.
They will be part of demonstrations at various events, including Open Streets, but won’t be available for rent until next spring when the full shipment of Ebikes is expected.
“My frustration is we don’t have the Ebikes,” acknowledged Dossett.
But he’s excited by the possibilities for how Ebikes will shift the shared mobility marketplace, and offer users more options.

Twists and turns
Dossett has been part of the shared mobility journey in Minneapolis since 2008 when you couldn’t ride a bike down Nicollet Mall.
He was among a group of local active-living advocates led by the Loppet Foundation and supported by the city of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department that launched Nice Ride in 2010. While bike share has been around for about 40 years, they were inspired by the subscription program Paris implemented in 2007.
They operated 65 stations with 700 bikes in that first season. Nice Ride grew to 200 stations with 1,850 bikes in 2017. (More at
“There have been a million twists and turns,” said Dossett.
The first bikes were funded by $2 million in federal funds and $1 million from Blue Cross. They knew from the start that they wouldn’t earn enough in subscription fees to cover all the costs, so they solicitied about $200,000 a year in station sponsorships from companies such as Target, Seward Co-op and Peace Coffee.
They were driven by experimentation. They tried out pilot projects in Greater Minnesota including Bemidji and Rochester. And in the middle of it, apps happened.
The biggest challenge arose two years ago: dockless systems and much cheaper bicycles came on the scene. Bikes been selling for $1,100 and were now only $40 because they didn’t need as much technology. They had shifted from a smart bike to a smart dock, pointed out Dossett. China led the way, and saw bike share numbers jump from zero to 25 million in less than two years.
Nice Ride made the decision to get away from operation (although it still holds the official license agreement with the city through August 2021), and hire another firm to do that piece. They selected Motivate International, the largest operator of bike sharing in North America, to operate the green bikes and deliver a dockless (blue) bike pilot. Nice Ride’s board and only staff member Bill Dossett then entered a new role as mobility manager, serving as the bridge between public sector goals and private investment. Their goals are order in the right of way, quality and reliability, and equity, said Dossett.
“We knew that the technology was going to continue to evolve,” observed Dossett, so they sought to structure their contract with Motivate in a way that allowed for that. “We didn’t think it would change this much.”

How do you grow bike share use?
The question Nice Ride posed was: “How can we get a lot more people to use bike share for transportation?”
A typical user will only bike to work for a certain distance and after that they think it is too far or they worry about arriving sweaty. The Ebikes solve that problem by helping a rider get farther. Dossett hopes that Ebikes will be used by people in the suburbs to transport themselves the 20 miles into the city, or by those in smaller cities to travel within those areas.
He clarified that the Nice Ride offers pedal-assist Ebikes. They work effortlessly, engaging based on how hard the rider is pedaling, and can mean the rider doesn’t necessarily know when its working. Instead, they feel like “Wow! I have Superman legs,” observed Dossett.
The assist stops after a rider has reached 18 miles per hour. they can go faster on the bike – but only with their own power. The Ebikes do not have a throttle like scooters.

Dockless pedal bikes
One of the next steps is to work out the kinks in storage and return of the dockless bikes and scooters.
As Nice Ride was planning how to implement its dockless system, they were driven by an idea. “Our goal was to be the one city in the world that came up with a rational way to manage right-of-way,” stated Dossett.
“It hasn’t worked perfectly.”
Contributing to the issue is that the expectations for scooters and bikes are different. With a scooter, you can leave it at your destination. The bike is expected to be left at the virtual station that the rider finds on the app.
When blue bikes are left at other locations, they can usually be found – but not always. If the batteries run all the way down the GPS no longer works. Other times, the 2G network fails.
So, if you see a bike or scooter where you don’t think it belongs, check for the number on the device and call it or 311. (Please note that there are several companies in the Twin Cities that offer scooters, not just Nice Ride/Lyft).
Rainy weather delayed the the installation of hubs this summer, and the system didn’t reach 250 hubs until July.
Nice Ride has been happy with the quality of the bikes and Lyft’s team of in-shop and on-street mechanics who are maintaining each fleet at a level higher than the nonprofit was able to achieve in prior years.
Moving forward, Nice Ride is working to make things simpler for riders.
“If we want increased participation in bike sharing, we have to make it simple to find a bike and end a trip,” observed Dossett in an Aug. 19 memo. “If we want to enforce parking requirements with penalties, compliance must be easy and intuitive.”

The Scooter Experience
Scooters have come on the scene fast, and Dossett thinks they are here to stay.
“This is a way to get people out of cars and using more sustainable transportation.”
He added, “This is what consumers want, and we need to figure out how to get there.”
That leaves policy makers and businesses to figure out what the rules will be for this new type of shared mobility, particularly as it relates to scooters left lying on sidewalks and blocking right-of-way. Our Streets, the city’s Bicycle Advisory Commitee and others will really start to ask those questions this fall and gather input from residents, according to Dossett.
Right now, JUMP, Lyft, Spin, and Lime are operating about 2,000 scooters in Minneapolis, governed by contracts with the city.
Companies are required to collect scooters starting at 10 p.m. The scooters may be re-deployed beginning at 5 a.m. the following day.
From August to November of 2018, the city of Minneapolis permitted a scooter pilot with up to 400 scooters available for shared use throughout Minneapolis. Almost 75,000 people took over 225,000 trips during the 4-month pilot period.
Minnesota Statute 169.225 (passed in 2018) outlines where motorized foot scooters can operate:
• Must follow the same traffic laws as bicyclists
• Cannot be ridden on the sidewalk
• Can be ridden in bike lanes, paths, and trails unless signs prohibit
• Ride as close as is practicable to the right-hand side of the road
“Scooters help make the case for why we need more and better bike lanes,” observed Dossett.

Shared mobility to keep
Last year, there were 70 different companies with new capital working on shared mobility options, including Ford.
Dossett predicts that over the next few years, cities will increasingly design streets, sidewalks, and boulevards to createspace for shared micromobility parking, and will likely require that shared vehicles be parked in those spaces, particularly in downtowns.
Micro mobility and shared mobility options are only going to continue to grow and develop, believes Dossett. He foresees more electric cars and smaller cars coming onto the scene.
“You’re going to see a lot of experimentation,” he said.
~ Contact editor at

Comments Off on Shared mobility changing how people get around

MPRB shuts down Nokomis Beach for summer after confirmed cases of E. coli

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Disease investigators at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have identified a total of 49 people so far who became ill with diarrhea after swimming at Lake Nokomis. The total includes the three initial lab-confirmed cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) announced Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019.
The cases include both children and adults, with about 20% of cases younger than 10 years old. In all cases, people became ill after swimming at the lake between July 16 and Aug. 11. No one has been hospitalized.
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) officials said the Nokomis beaches will remain closed for the rest of the swimming season out of an abundance of caution. Health officials said they would need to see no illnesses reported for at least 16 days (two incubation periods of 8 days) before they could say there was no longer a risk of STEC spreading through water at the beaches.
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of STEC infection – diarrhea (often bloody), stomach cramps, no or low-grade fever – should see a health care provider.
Health officials remind all Minnesotans that anyone who has diarrhea should not go swimming in any body of water.

Comments Off on MPRB shuts down Nokomis Beach for summer after confirmed cases of E. coli

Go your own way on LoLa Art Crawl, Sept. 21 & 22

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Here comes LoLa! Sept. 21–22, 10 a.m.–5p.m. both days. The LoLa Art Crawl is a friendly neighborhood art tour among the bungalows, gardens, and small indie businesses of the Longfellow neighborhood.
A total of 116 artists and makers will be showing and selling their work at homes and businesses throughout Greater Longfellow, with most of the 56 sites hosting two or more artists together. Participating artists live and/or work in Longfellow, or are guests of these neighborhood artists.
Longfellow is an easy neighborhood to navigate, with lots of transit options, bike lanes and quiet side streets, and plenty of free curbside parking. It’s tucked into Minneapolis’s southeast corner, bordered by the Midtown Greenway on the north, Minnehaha Falls to the south, Hiawatha Ave. on the west, and Mississippi River to the east.
While the ambitious art lover could visit all 56 sites over the two days, touring by bike or by car, those who prefer a more leisurely experience or who need to plan around transit will find helpful information and a map in the directory, to design their personal mini crawl. Directories are available after Labor Day at neighborhood businesses and on the website,, and at participating sites during the event. Don’t worry if you don’t have a map at the start of the day, just look for the bright yellow LoLa signs to find a site, start your tour, and get a directory.
You could also start your crawl by first visiting one of Longfellow’s many cafés (some of which will be hosting artists), pick up a directory there, and enjoy some food and drink while you make your plans.
The League of Longfellow Artists (LoLa), formed in 2009 and incorporated as a nonprofit in 2017, is a volunteer-run organization of artists who live or work in Longfellow. Its mission is to partner with neighborhood arts organizations, nonprofits, small businesses, and residents to design and host a variety of events and activities that support Longfellow artists at any stage in their creative lives, and invite and encourage community participation in the arts. Find out more at

Comments Off on Go your own way on LoLa Art Crawl, Sept. 21 & 22