Minnehaha Ave bike lane moves ahead: With reservations

The County’s plans for the Minnehaha Avenue reconstruction, slated to begin in 2015, has passed through the Transportation and Public Works Committee and is now moving on to the City Council. The plans would install a buffered bike lane on the roadway, which would provide a 1.5 foot buffer between vehicle traffic and cyclists as well as shorter pedestrian crossings.

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Seward Co-op plans expansion to Franklin Creamery

When the Seward Co-op moved into its new space on Franklin in January of 2009, it was expecting that in five years sales would be at $20 million. Not yet at the five year mark, it has far surpassed that projection with sales at $30.5 million. It’s not just sales that have exceeded expectations for the Co-op. The number of owner has more than doubled since 2009, from 4,500 to 11,500.Co-op at CapacityThis exponential growth has tested the limits of the Co-op’s current production capabilities in the bakery and meat department and has placed office space and meeting rooms at a premium. It’s these cramped quarters that sent leadership in search of a second location that would provide much-needed space. Continue Reading

Landscaping restoration planned for Hiawatha Avenue, open houses set for Dec. 4 and 9

The County is planning on restoring the landscaping on Hiawatha Avenue between 32nd Street and 46th Street. Tonight will be the first of two open houses where residents are invited to view the plans, ask questions, and provide comments.Robb Luckow from Housing, Community Works, & Transit explained on the Hennepin County website the reason for the new plantings, “The landscaping along Hiawatha Avenue is showing its age. The trees are in poor condition and provide inadequate tree cover. The corridor welcomes travelers to Minneapolis, yet lacks aesthetic appeal.”The County is working with consultants from LHB to develop the restoration plan, conduct soil testing, identify plants and trees best suited for the roadway, and develop a planting scheme.The landscaping plan is expected to be completed in early 2014. Planting could begin in spring or summer, depending on funding.Learn MoreThere will be two open houses where you can learn more about current plans:Wednesday, Dec. Continue Reading

Welcome to the Small World: A view from behind the lens

In the world of minis, there are close encounters with bugs that seem prehistoric, adventures in far off places, and seemingly impossible tasks – like milking a cow. Photographer Kurt Moses and his wife, Edwige, began documenting the life of minis several years ago on their site Un Petite Monde (A Small World). But it wasn’t until Moses shared his photos with Longfellow resident and graphic designer Kelly McManus that the idea for the book Welcome to the Small World: A Book of Big Surprises! was born. McManus wrote little stories for each of the images and compiled them all into a book.

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Wearing flip flops in a snowstorm: Reentry program needs winter clothes

The men that walk through the doors at the Volunteers of America building at 27th Avenue and Lake Street sometimes arrive with a bankers box with their personal belongings. Most often, they arrive with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, but that doesn’t mean that they are dressed for the weather.Amy Moore, VOA Social Services Coordinator, recalls one client who arrived in a snow storm wearing a windbreaker, t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops. Another client who she describes as tall and skinny had a winter coat, but it was an 8X.Changing Beliefs and AttitudesThe majority of the VOA’s clients are from federal prison and are going through its reentry program. Some have spent 9 months in prison, others 30 years. The program is designed to help them re-acclimate to society and all that that entails, including finding a job, clothes, housing, and healthcare.“How we accomplish this is through programming,” explained Moore. Continue Reading

Minnehaha Ave plans postponed: Minneapolis Transportation and Public Works Committee wants further review

In a turn of events, the City’s Transportation and Public Works Committee decided to postpone their approval of Hennepin County’s plans for Minnehaha Avenue until December.Earlier in the week, Loren Olson, Councilperson Colvin Roy’s aide, announced that there would be time in the committee’s agenda for residents to voice their comments about the reconstruction plans, which is not something that is typically part of the process.After the public hearing portion, Colvin Roy proposed that the approval of Hennepin County’s plans for Minnehaha be postponed until December for further staff review.We had a chance to ask Councilperson Colvin Roy a few questions about the postponement and what she hopes will be accomplished in the next few weeks. While she doesn’t believe that the plans will see dramatic changes immediately, she did note that she wants to explore how the roadway could be transitioned to a protected bikeway in the next few years.This article is reposted from TCDP media partner My Broadsheet. Check out the links below for other recent My Broadsheet stories:Election Results – Ward 2, 6, 9, & 12Tracy Singleton – Charlie Award WinnerWhy did you decide to propose that the T&PW decision on Minnehaha Avenue be postponed?I postponed city action on the municipal consent for the county’s Minnehaha Avenue reconstruction plan to allow time to examine a possible design that would preserve the option for a cycle track in the future without the expense of a full reconstruction of the street. The idea came from the Bicycle Advisory Committee and I want to give it a real chance. This road will serve us for the next 50 years and if we can design it to be flexible for the future, all the better.What kind of discussion do you believe is still needed regarding the roadway?We are at the point of details: the many community meetings raised questions, some of which have been answered, but the design may still be improved. Continue Reading

Churches target abusive payday loans, plan to offer alternative

A small payday lending storefront that opened just around the corner of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Longfellow caught the attention of Pastor Jay Carlson. “I hadn’t paid attention to payday storefronts in our neighborhood and when that opened up I saw many more in our neighborhood not far from here,” he explained. “And, if you drive down Lake Street, there are lots of places where you can get a payday loan.”This awareness started a conversation with church leaders and congregants about payday lending. “We’ve certainly known about people struggling in our congregation financially, especially since the recession of five years or so ago,” said Carlson. In-depth research done by the group that convinced them that this lending model was placing borrowers in financial quicksand.Parish Organizing Leader Meghan Olsen Biebighauser said that many borrowers who are living paycheck to paycheck have difficulty paying back the loan when it comes due, and take out another short-term loan to pay for the first. Continue Reading

Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Market: Opening next summer on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis

Next summer, a new marketplace will open on Franklin Avenue and will bring art, food, and music to a very unlikely location – the median between Cedar Avenue and S. 17th Avenue.The project is the result of a $435,000 ArtPlace grant and the work of the Native American Community Development Institute. NACDI Vice President Andy Hestness explained at a recent project unveiling that the Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Market is designed to bring the Ventura Village and Seward neighborhoods together and create a pedestrian-friendly roadway, something that the presence of a light rail station has not been able to do on its own. He commented, “People originally thought that plopping the light rail here would create a new paradigm. We’ve been waiting for years for this to happen, and it never did. We finally decided that we were going to do it ourselves, since no one was going to do it for us.”Jay Bad Heart Bull, NACDI president, explained that for the light rail to be strong and successful, there needs to be a strong pedestrian presence. Continue Reading

Public hearing on Minnehaha Ave reconstruction Tuesday, Nov. 18

The plans for reconstructing Minnehaha Avenue have been a source of contention since they were first unveiled this past March.Some Minnehaha Avenue businesses are opposed to the planned bumpouts, since they will reduce the number of parking spots. Some cyclists are in favor of installing cycle tracks along the roadway, citing safety and the City’s goal for 30 miles of protected bikeways. Some residents are concerned about the loss of trees and walkability.This coming Tuesday, residents will have the opportunity to state their opinions on the reconstruction project at a public hearing of the Transportation and Public Works Committee. T&PW will bring their decision on the project to the entire City Council on Dec. 6, 2013.This article is reposted from TCDP media partner My Broadsheet. Continue Reading

Rebecca’s Bakery: Seward’s newest gem

Nestled between Verdant Tea and Shega Foods is an unassuming gem – a small Italian bakery where owner Assegedech “Asse” Kidane deftly creates crostatas with perfectly golden crusts, decorated layer and Bundt cakes, and Nutella-filled zeppole (Italian-style doughnuts).Kidane learned her craft through many years spent immersed in the Italian culture. Growing up in Ethiopia, she attended a Catholic girls school that was run by Italian missionaries, which first introduced her to Italian traditions and cooking. Later, she and her husband Tesh Belayneh lived in Italy – first in Bologna and then in Rome. During those years she worked as a nanny and would bake for the families. She commented, “With them [Italians] you learn that you bake for Christmas, you bake for everything.”This article is reposted from TCDP media partner My Broadsheet. Continue Reading