Firefighters put out a fire at a Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport parking ramp that sent a dark plume of smoke into the sky Sunday afternoon.
Crews arrived after 12:30 p.m. at the Orange parking ramp, next to Terminal 2, to find a vehicle had caught fire on the third level, said Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesperson Jeff Lea. The fire had spread to a second vehicle. Both were unattended.
A photo posted on social media showed dark smoke billowing from the garage.
Firefighters were able to quickly put out the fire, the cause of which is unknown, Lea said.
Minneapolis City Council budget amendments set some ‘unrealistic’ expectations of Office of Community Safety, commissioner says
Ahead of a final vote on the City of Minneapolis’ 2024 budget on Tuesday, recent amendments have set high expectations of a year-old city department.
Minneapolis Community Safety Commissioner Todd Barnette on Saturday said his office will “have to evaluate” whether it can implement all of the amendments directed at the Office of Community Safety in the latest version of the budget.
“There’s a lot of expectations being put on the Office of Community Safety in this budget,” City Council Vice President Linea Palmisano said during a Friday afternoon Budget Committee meeting, one of multiple meetings on Thursday and Friday.
$13.5 million worth of projects were designated to Barnette’s department over the course of 2024. That money came from a pool of $19 million that the Minnesota Legislature allocated to the city for public safety earlier this year.
Some of the amendments made by council members this week addressed ongoing work, like setting aside $4 million to eventually implement plans in development that would make the future 3rd Police Precinct into a comprehensive Community Safety Center.
Other amendments would require hiring new positions or an RFP process, including a couple of proposals for neighborhood-specific safety coordinators and one more manpower for Metro Transit safety.
“Some of these amendments, I think, will line up with what we’re trying to do with this ‘Safe and Thriving Communities’ Report as we bring that report to reality,” Barnette said on Saturday, adding, “But I can say that it’s not realistic that we’re going to get to all of those projects through conclusion in a year.”
“What I hope that people can understand is that I want us to get this right,” Barnette continued. “And I want it to be thoughtful and mindful about this comprehensive plan, and not go after what’s shiny and new.”
Budget Committee Chair Emily Koski, who called the amendments “historic investments” on Friday, responded on Saturday.
“We have another budget cycle at the end of next year, where we can continue to monitor and evaluate where we’re at,” she said.
Asked if that meant she’s “not too concerned” that all of the amendments are completely implemented by the end of 2024, Koski said, “I don’t know if ‘concern’ is the right word to use. I’m open. And I want to make sure that we’re starting these projects, some of them have already had a lot of discussions. “
If all the public safety amendments are approved on Tuesday, that would leave $5.5 million from the one-time state investment. That was set aside for future use.
Top of mind for Barnette would be using some of that money to raise salaries at the Minneapolis Police Department.
“We have to have a competitive salary for the police in order to draw law enforcement applicants to us,” he said.
There’s a “high likelihood” some money goes to bonuses or incentives, but not officer pay, Koski said, citing the one-time nature of the state investment.
The final vote on the budget is scheduled for Tuesday.
Minneapolis has $8M to help people remove ash trees, but no relief for those paying off removals now
A federal grant will provide Minneapolis with $8 million to remove ash trees on private properties in disadvantaged neighborhoods, a significant relief effort for homeowners who would be otherwise assessed hundreds of dollars in removal costs.
But those resources can’t be used retroactively — meaning there’s no relief in sight for thousands of homeowners who are paying off tree removals previously ordered by the city.
They include Amoke Kubat, who reluctantly removed two ash trees from her North Side yard that city inspectors tagged in 2021 as infested with emerald ash borer, leaving her with two large stumps and a $6,000 bill. She’s glad the federal funding will help homeowners with future tree removals, but thinks the process of identifying and removing infested trees is flawed.
“The bottom line is, the ship has sailed for me. It’s on my bill,” she said.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the agency that condemns infested trees on private property, has condemned more than 18,000 ash trees since 2013, with homeowners either paying up front for their removal or the city handling the job and then assessing their property taxes.
Tree removal assessments total more than $7.3 million, according to the Park Board.
Homeowners in more affluent neighborhoods typically pay out of pocket for a contractor to remove a tree, according to Park Board data. But residents of low-income neighborhoods, such as in north Minneapolis, disproportionately pay for tree removal via assessments and then see increased monthly costs. The $8 million funding is targeted at residents in such neighborhoods.
“We’re really grateful to have these resources,” said Kelly Muellman, environmental manager with the Minneapolis Health Department.
Several homeowners told Park Board officials at an October meeting that removal costs hurt their family budgets and that people of color, seniors and low-income residents were particularly affected.
North Side homeowner Melissa Newman, who paid $3,100 to have three ash trees taken down in 2021, told the Sahan Journal: “I inherited the tree trying to create the American dream of homeownership.”
City officials applied for the U.S. Forest Service grant, funded by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, in coordination with the Park Board. The $8 million will help hundreds of households, but the money could go fast; the city and Park Board are pursuing a $500,000 state grant for the same purpose.
The funding applies to U.S. census tracts considered to be environmental justice areas, where Minneapolis officials say at least 12,000 trees grow on private property.
The average tree removal in Minneapolis costs around $1,500, and the funding will cover the cost of removal, stump grinding and tree replacement. The city’s tree program manager, Sydney Schaaf, said officials are waiting for more details on how the grant can be used.
North Side residents disproportionately paid for tree removal via assessments, Park Board data show. More than half of the roughly 3,000 households citywide that paid for tree removal via property tax assessments in 2021 were in north Minneapolis. North Side homeowners also have seen high rates of tree condemnation.
The Park Board doesn’t target parts of the city for ash tree condemnation, said Philip Potyondy, sustainable forestry coordinator for the Park Board. “This has impacted people in every part of Minneapolis,” he said.
Newman said she would have been happy to spend $200 every couple of years to treat her trees to prevent infestation. But the Park Board doesn’t tell people that’s an option, and the Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution in 2010 advising against using insecticides to treat emerald ash borer, Forestry Director Ralph Sievert told the Park Board.
One day this summer, a crew showed up at Willis White’s house in the Jordan neighborhood — much to his surprise — to cut down a massive ash tree in his backyard. The final assessment came to more than $7,500 after fees and interest, according to a records request, making it the seventh most expensive removal handled by Minneapolis since 2013.
Nearly 900 assessments were done this year, amounting to about $2 million, before the Park Board paused the process in May to make changes. The board now requires removal companies to first examine the trees in an effort to get more competitive bids, Potyondy said. And the city offers homeowners the choice of repaying the tree removal debt on their property taxes over five, 10 or 20 years, reducing the monthly cost.
Park Board Superintendent Al Bangoura said he’s working with philanthropic groups to secure relief funding for people already paying assessments. “This is an absolute priority of mine,” he said.
Newman said she’s not unwilling to pay the cost of removal, but no alternatives were offered and no answers given about why her trees needed special removal techniques. She doesn’t want to see her neighbors get price-gouged, and she’s angry that no relief is coming to people who are paying off assessments.
“It’s such a slap in the face,” she said.
About the partnership
This story comes to you from Sahan Journal, a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to covering Minnesota’s immigrants and communities of color. Sign up for a free newsletter to receive Sahan’s stories in your inbox.
Room at the inn: Community welcomes the formerly homeless home to south Minneapolis
It was the housewarming before the homecoming.
Dozens of volunteers lined long tables at Richfield United Methodist Church in south Minneapolis, filling gift bags with items their new neighbors might need on move-in day. Bedding. Cleaning supplies. Home goods for people who had been without a home until Minneapolis made room at the former Metro Inn.
The old motel became a refuge during the pandemic when Hennepin County bought the property for use as a shelter. Now Agate Housing and Services is turning the site into low-income, permanent housing — 38 tidy one-room apartments for people exiting homelessness.
But there’s a difference between being housed and feeling at home. Everyone says they want affordable housing. Not everyone welcomes it to the neighborhood.
In south Minneapolis, the welcome started at the church down the street.
“The welcome from the neighborhood has been amazing,” said Sarah Byers, Agate’s property manager at the site.
The seedy old motel had been a south Lyndale Ave. eyesore for years. As word of Agate’s project spread, church members stepped up to help. They volunteered to sew curtains, crochet potholders, even come in and help make up the beds and tidy the apartments with Agate staff.
When the congregation of the 170-year-old church chose Love Your Neighbor as a motto, they meant it.
“People of the church who have kind hearts, for years they would ask, ‘Are there ways we can reach out to the population there?’” said the Rev. Nate Melcher, the church’s senior pastor. “There was never a way we could do that safely, confidently.”
As the congregation gathered to pack the welcome baskets, Melcher captured a photo of his 9-year-old daughter working beside a 90-year-old church member, working together to welcome the stranger.
“God has given us the great gift of love,” he said. “The best way to thank you for a great gift is to get out there and share it.”
Not every affordable housing project gets a reception this warm in this town.
“I’ve been in some terrible meetings in my career,” said Kyle Hanson, Agate’s executive director. “I’ve gone into neighborhood groups with a proposal for housing and I’ve been yelled at, screamed at. … This welcome has been very different.”
Here, they’re making welcome baskets.
“Think about it,” Hanson said. “If you’re moving out of an encampment or a shelter, you’re not going to have a lot of the things you’re going to need on day one and are probably not going to have the funds to go out and buy them like most of the rest of us.”
But these 38 people will have new blankets, sheets, towels, a shower curtain waiting to welcome them home.
“The gospels are filled with stories of Jesus inviting the most marginalized people, not just to live near him, but to eat with him around the same table,” said the Rev. Hope Hutchison, the church’s director of Children and Family Ministries.
“And doesn’t that make us safer? Doesn’t that dispel the fear?” Melcher said. “When you get to know the people you live around?”
Hennepin County used federal COVID-19 relief funds to purchase half a dozen motels for use as emergency shelters during the pandemic. All of them are in the process of being converted into deeply affordable housing. Agate — the nonprofit created by the merger of House of Charity and St. Stephen’s Human Services — purchased the renovated property from the county as a $900,000 forgivable loan.
The single-room units will be rented for between $425 and $550 a month to people who earn a fraction of south Minneapolis’s median income, many straight from homelessness. The property will have communal kitchens, free laundry and access to support services.
Agate is working now to hire a full-time caretaker for the property. With a little luck, they might be able to welcome their first residents home for the holidays.
Thirty-eight units of affordable housing might not sound like much in a city where almost none of the housing is affordable.
“People say, ‘Thirty-eight? Well that’s not going to solve anything,’” said Byers, who left a career in luxury property management to work with Agate. “It’s going to solve something amazing for those 38 people.”
Wisconsin is Fifth Most Solitaire Obsessed State – OnFocus
Manchin Statement on Continued Efforts to Keep West Virginia’s Postal Facility in the State | U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia
Don Day Wyoming Weather Forecast: Sunday, December 3, 2023
Spain Cracks Down on North Korean Cryptocurrency Conspiracy
China finance regulator to speed reform of small, mid-sized financial institutions – Times of India
Colorado Rockies game no. 116 thread: Zac Gallen vs José Ureña
See it: Tesla crashes into Columbus convention center at 70 mph
Fox News Politics: Georgia the whole day through
Death of missing Oregon girl found in stream ruled homicide
At least 2 dead as tornadoes hit Alabama, damage homes across Southeast
DeSantis says conservatives won’t be ‘gaslit’ by ‘people who think we’re dumb’ after Newsom debate
Explosion during Catholic mass in Philippines kills three, injures nine
Iran-linked cyberattacks threaten equipment used in U.S. water systems and factories
DeSantis loses another super PAC official, the second in the last 2 weeks to leave his presidential campaign
Major harnessing of trolls shows threat to Hungarian democracy is real
Science1 week ago
USC neuroscientist faces scrutiny following allegations of data manipulation
Business1 week ago
As most stores close for Thanksgiving, Black Friday may bring the biggest crowds since before COVID
Business1 week ago
Column: An exhaustive debunking of the dumbest myths about Social Security
Movie Reviews1 week ago
Movie Review | Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler shine in latest ‘Hunger Games’ movie
Politics1 week ago
Pope Francis dines with transgender women for Vatican luncheon
Politics1 week ago
Sen Kennedy’s IQ dig at VP Harris sparks backlash from White House, DNC
Technology1 week ago
The best Black Friday deals you can still get for under $25
World1 week ago
Violent protests in Dublin after children injured in knife attack