Monthly updates for Minneapolis Ward 12
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Council Member Andrew Johnson

Upcoming Events

4/21 - Longfellow Annual Meeting
4/25 - Earth Day Cleanup

4/28 - Nokomis East Annual Meeting
4/30 - Future of Standish-Ericsson Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Meeting

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Updates from Andrew

Reminder: Spring street sweeping begins soon! Don't get towed! Scroll down for more info.

Last Thursday Mayor Hodges gave her second State of the City address to the City Council (you can watch it here). I was honored to be recognized by the Mayor for two initiatives we have been working on together. The first is making Minneapolis more business-friendly; over the next few months we'll be rolling out a number of changes in this regard, everything from cleaning up more antiquated ordinances to customer service and process improvements to make it easier for businesses to start, succeed, and grow. The second is the working families agenda, which includes considering measures such as earned sick leave, fair scheduling, and combating wage theft; if properly implemented, such measures are not just good for workers, but also benefit businesses by increasing productivity, reducing absenteeism, and improving the economic strength of the community. I look forward to continuing to work with our Ward 12 business associations and community members on both of these important initiatives, and as always, I welcome any feedback you have.

Finally, I took two votes last week which were covered more than usual by the media, so I thought I would share. The first was on the new City logo, which I voted against; I think this was/is a waste of City resources and the logo we had was good enough. Second was an additional $24.5 million for the Target Center renovation, which I also voted against and have explained in detail here.

Wishing you a wonderful spring!

Northrop and Roosevelt Funding Update
I have heard from many parents who have questions and concerns over the proposed school budgets for Northrop and Roosevelt High. I've been working with my partners on the Minneapolis Public Schools Board and have this update to share from MPS staff:

Families at Northrop and Roosevelt have expressed concern around budget changes for the upcoming school year, and we want to separate the facts from any rumor or speculation. While both schools have received increases in their budgets compared to last year, the differences reside in the overall mix of funding. In a letter to families in late March, Northrop principal Tara FitzGerald explained that the school’s budget increased by over $200,000 for next school year, despite reductions in Title I, compensatory education and ELL dollars for the school. In response to the changing enrollment of the school, media education moved into an integrated classroom model as an enhanced part of the core curriculum. Similarly, at Roosevelt, principal Michael Bradley has communicated that the mix of funding changed, but the school still received over $360,000 more than its allocation for the prior year. 

Anyone with further questions is encouraged to contact the schools directly by phone. For Northrop, call (612) 668-4520 and for Roosevelt, dial (612) 668-4800. 
Minnehaha Avenue Reconstruction Updates 

Starting later in April, Hennepin County will start work on the reconstruction of Minnehaha Avenue, which is scheduled to be completed in November of 2016. There are many ways to receive updates on the project or learn more details including where work will be taking place and planned detours. There is a website for the project, as well as a hotline (612-930-4211), email for questions, and the option to sign up online to receive project updates.

The first portion of work, from April to July 2015 will start at 46th Street East heading north to 42nd Street East. Throughout the project, access to local businesses will be maintained, along with sidewalk access. Other work happening along the Minnehaha corridor includes City of Minneapolis cleaning and lining the water main from 38th Street to Lake Street  and Center Point Energy gas pipe replacement
Spring street sweeping begins
During the week of April 14, residents will start to see signs of the comprehensive spring street sweep. Residents can look online to see when street sweeping will happen on their block. Note that the schedule is subject to change, so it is best to look at day or two before a block is scheduled to be swept. Each spring and fall, Public Works crews sweep every mile of the City's more than 1,100 miles of streets,curb to curb, to help keep neighborhoods clean and livable and to protect our waterways. Each spring, crews also sweep the nearly 400 miles of alleys as well. Leaves and other debris on the streets can clog storm drains and pollute local lakes and rivers. Street sweeping usually takes about four weeks to complete. City crews will post "No Parking" signs at least 24 hours before sweeping any streets. Parking will be banned from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the day a street is swept. Vehicles not removed will be towed to the Minneapolis Impound Lot.
Find a Local Farmers Market
With over two dozen farmers markets, city residents can find fresh produce and local goods at locations across the city. The best resource to find a list of all the local markets, their locations, and websites is the Homegrown Minneapolis website. To keep up on the city's efforts to grow access to more healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods, sign up for news from Homegrown Minneapolis on the city website. The Minnesota Grown directory also has a comprehensive list of local farmers markets and their websites, many of which include links to their social media sites where residents can keep up on the latest news with the markets they frequent. 
Reduce Waste Through Organics Recycling
Starting as early as August of this year, Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling customers will be able to recycle organics such as fruits, vegetables, bones, meat, breads, eggshells and other food scraps. To take part, residents must sign up by contacting Solid Waste and Recycling at 612-673-2917 or by email. Organics recycling will begin in two phases, with 25 percent of customers having this service available in August 2015, and the rest in spring 2016. The phases are by area for the most efficient collection routes. For any residents who don't have organics recycling pickup at their home, organics can be brought to one of five organics recycling drop-off sites. Learn more about this program on the city website.  
Yard waste pickup starts in April
Yard waste collection begins April 13, with the same pickup as garbage day. Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling customers can set compostable bags of yard waste (such as leaves and grass clippings), bundles of brush, and reusable yard waste containers next to their garbage carts by 6 a.m. on garbage collection day. Branches and leaves must be tied with string or twine, bagged in compostable bags or placed loose in reusable containers. Branches must be less than three inches each in diameter and less than three feet long. Bundles must weigh less than 40 pounds. All compostable bags and reusable containers must be 33 gallons or less and weigh less than 40 pounds.

All bagged yard waste put out for collection must now be in compostable bags, such as Kraft (paper) bags or compostable plastic bags, or reusable containers. Anyone who prefers not to purchase compostable bags may place unbagged yard waste in a reusable container with sturdy handles. Each container must be approximately 33 gallons in size and at least 26 inches high. Other options include dropping off yard waste at a compost facility and taking the bag back home, or composting yard waste at home and using the nutrient-rich compost for gardens and lawns. For questions about leaf and brush pickup, call 612-673-2917 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or look online for more information. 
Public Art Opportunities
The 2015 instructions and guidelines for public art permits, artist-designed utility boxes, and "Paint the Pavement" projects are now available on the city's website. This includes the timeline for the three cycles, April/May, June/July, and August/September, each with a two month process for approval. Online materials include many examples of past projects from neighborhoods and other groups. Applying early in the season is encouraged. 

Improving Water Through Alley Gardens

Residents close to Lake Nokomis have the opportunity to improve the quality of water of the lake through transforming their alleyways with installations of rain gardens, permeable pavement, and native plantings. These improvements aim to make alleys more pedestrian friendly community spaces that also serve an ecological function. Neighbors interested in participating can email to get involved. They can also check out a "Blooming Alley" between 50th and 51st Streets and 16th and 17th Avenues to see what their alley could look like. Metro Blooms will be hosting a number of Alley Get-Togethers around Lake Nokomis this spring for blocks that express interest. There are also additional opportunities for up to ten residents in the Standish Ericsson neighborhood to have a majority of rain garden installation costs paid for. Residents citywide who are interested in learning more about rain gardens can sign up for a $15 workshop through Metro Blooms.

Large items collection for spring cleaning

For anyone ambitious about their spring cleaning, remember that all Minneapolis solid waste and recycling customers can put large and bulky items out to be collected from their curb or alley. Up to two electronics, appliances, mattresses, box springs or other items that are 50 percent or more metal can be placed at the collection point on recycling day. Residents must make sure to mark them “for Solid Waste & Recycling.” The crew will place a sticker on them, and a separate crew will come the following business day to pick them up for recycling. For residents that are unable to set the item out early, call Solid Waste & Recycling at 612-673-2917 and put the item out by 6 a.m. the day after  recycling collection. The Solid Waste & Recycling customer service team is available to help from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Residents who want to dispose of non-recyclable large or bulky items, can place up to two pieces at the collection point on any garbage day. They must be marked “for Solid Waste” and the garbage crew will pick them up for disposal when the garbage cart is emptied. For any items residents are unsure what to do with, they can look them up online

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