Category Archives: Uncategorized

Political Activity

To All Neighborhood Organizations:

With the City’s general election less than a year away, there have been a lot of questions about how neighborhood organizations can be involved in increasing voter registration, turnout and education. You can download a copy of NCR’s guide on Neighborhood Organizations and Elections, which answers many of these questions, at this link:

I especially want to remind you that your contracts with the City state that your organization may not engage in political activity. Partisan political activity is also absolutely prohibited by the Internal Revenue Service for all 50l(c)(3) organizations. The City uses the same rules as the IRS in our oversight of the political activities of organizations.

The IRS states that 50l(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” Whether an organization is engaging in prohibited political campaign activity depends on the facts and circumstances in each case. The IRS rules state that the motivation of an organization is not relevant in determining whether the political campaign prohibition has been violated.

The IRS rules cover the publishing of information in organizations’ publications, advertisements in these publications, speakers at organizational events and meetings, and the acts of individuals in their capacity as officers of an organization.

Any activities related to candidates or campaigns for political office must be conducted in a non-partisan manner. For instance, if one candidate is allowed to speak at a meeting of the organization, then all other legally qualified candidates for the same office should be invited to speak. All candidates must be given an equal amount of time on the agenda. Similarly, if a forum is sponsored by the organization, then all candidates must be invited, questions must be prepared and presented in a non-partisan manner, the topics discussed should cover a broad range of issues of interest to the public, each candidate must have the opportunity to present his or her views on the issues discussed, and the moderator must not comment on the questions or otherwise make comments that imply approval or disapproval of any of the candidates or their responses.

Since the IRS prohibition is an absolute bar, it would be wise for your organization to avoid any activity that even hints at partisan participation in a political campaign. If your organization does have an interest in some level of participation in the election process, however, it is strongly suggested that you contact an attorney to ensure that your activity is not a violation of the ban on political activity. Any violation of this ban could result in the revocation of your organization’s tax-exempt status and the cancellation of your organization’s contracts with the City.

Here are some examples from recent years that may put your organization at risk:

  • A candidate shows up at a neighborhood meeting and asks for time to discuss their candidacy. Note that allowing a candidate to even mention their candidacy could violate the IRS’ absolute bar on political activity. We recommend immediately informing the candidate that, while they are welcome to participate, they may not campaign or mention their candidacy in any form.
  • Conducting a candidate forum prior to an endorsing convention can violate the absolute bar, since it would appear to be favoring a group of candidates (e.g., those seeking endorsement from a particular party). We recommend not holding a candidate forum until after the deadline for candidate filings.
  • Introducing an elected official at a neighborhood meeting as a candidate and encouraging (or discouraging) support for that candidate. While an elected official can present at your event in their capacity as an elected official, you should not refer to their candidacy in any way.

Please see the guide on Neighborhood Organizations and Elections for more information, and contact your Neighborhood Support Specialist here at NCR with any questions you may have.


David Rubedor
Director of Neighborhood and Community Relations
ADA Title II Coordinator

Gypsy Moths

Gypsy Moth Treatment 2017

Gypsy Moth treatment map

UPDATED 5-19-2017

  • March 1, 2017 – Public open house held. 18 citizens attended. All questions and/or concerns were addressed
  • March 30, 2017 – Environmental assessment for the project posted publicly. Comments due to either the MDA or USDA by April 29.
  • April 4, 2017  – MDA awarded project aviation to Scott’s Helicopter Service.
  • April 12, 2017 – MDA staff will be presenting project information to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board of Commissioners.
  • Week of April 12 – Press release reminding residents about temporary ban on moving tree and wood debris out of quarantine area. This is a temporary quarantine and is expected to be lifted June 15.
  • Week of April 24 – Postcard reminders to be mailed to all residents within and near the proposed treatment block.
  • FIRST APPLICATION May 11, 2017 – 6AM
  • SECOND APPLICATION scheduled for  Monday, May 22, 2017. If weather conditions become unfavorable over the weekend, there is a chance they could delay until Tuesday morning.
    Should take less than 2 hours to apply

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 16, 2017

MDA planning gypsy moth treatment for Richfield/Minneapolis area in 2017

Public information meeting set for March 1

ST. PAUL, Minn. –The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and partner organizations are planning to tackle a gypsy moth infestation in parts of Richfield and Minneapolis this spring. In anticipation of the treatment, the department is inviting people to learn about the effort at an open house to be held March 1 in Richfield.

Ranked among America’s most destructive tree pests, gypsy moth has caused millions of dollars in damage to forests as it has spread from New England to Wisconsin in recent decades. Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest. The pests are common in Wisconsin and are now establishing themselves in Minnesota.

The MDA maintains a monitoring program to watch for start-up infestations, and when an infestation is found, the department conducts aerial treatments of the infestation before it can spread. In 2016, the MDA found an infestation in the northwest corner of Richfield. The MDA implemented a quarantine of the area in November. The department is now developing a treatment plan for an affected area that runs from West 61st Street in Minneapolis on the north to West 67th Street in Richfield on the south, and Washburn Avenue South on the west to Logan Avenue South on the east. (SEE MAP) Details of the area can be found at

The MDA will host an open house to share information with citizens about the threat gypsy moths pose to the environment, and how officials plan to protect the urban forest.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
4:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Sheridan Hills Elementary School
6400 Sheridan Avenue S
Richfield, MN 55423

Over the years, the MDA has successfully treated dozens of gypsy moth infestations across eastern Minnesota from Grand Portage to the Twin Cities to Houston County. These successful treatments help postpone the full-scale invasion of gypsy moth, saving local communities and homeowners money and protecting the health of the state’s urban and natural forests.

For more information on the proposed treatments, go to

MEDIA CONTACT: Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications
651-201-6185 /

Articles & Resources

The Teal Pumpkin Project®

The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.

Why is this important?

Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. It keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!

What do I do if I want to participate?

Participating is simple. Pick up some inexpensive toys, and place a teal pumpkin and/or a free printable sign from FARE outside your home to show that you have non-food treats to hand out.

Is this a big problem?

Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, and a growing public health issue. In the U.S., one in 13 children has a food allergy. For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction.

Virtually any food can cause a reaction. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. Additionally, many miniature or fun-size versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts and some miniature candy items may not have labels, so it is difficult for parents to determine whether these items are safe for their child with food allergies.

Non-food treats provide a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and other conditions for whom candy may present a problem.

The goal is not to exclude candy from the Halloween tradition. The goal is simply to ensure that children with food allergies – and other children for whom candy is not an option – are able to enjoy a safer, happier Halloween.

Can I still pass out candy?

Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.

If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?

You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.

More info, ideas and downloads available online!

Trunk-or-Treat Inspiration

Check out some of these sites for some ideas:

2016 Highlights

  • Set 3 engagement goals:
    (1) Increase involvement in organics recycling in Armatage
    (2) Engage with under-represented residents
    (3) Engage with renters
  • Hosted an organics recycling workshop in June and regularly promote organics through our various forms of communication.
  • Hosted several “happy hour” events to give residents a more casual way to connect with the board and each other.
  • Had our first utility box wrap installed at 60th & Penn.
  • Annual meeting was a bike-theme event with presentations and information from: Bike Fixtation, Perennial Cycle, Midtown Greenway Coalition, Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, and Cycling Museum of Minnesota. (Facebook photo album.)
  • Supported the following improvements at our park: window blinds in the multi-purpose room, reupholstering the lounge furniture, new park staff sign, new park event canopy, new ping pong table
  • Created a new event for charity surrounding our tree lighting in November.
  • Summer Festival improvements: more games for older kids and adults, henna tattoo artist, greater area business involvement (24 tables and sponsorships), gained area church involvement for volunteers to staff a carnival game. (Facebook photo album.)
  • Partnered with our park to host a Halloween event including new Trunk-or-Treating fun! (Facebook photo album.)

2015 Highlights

  • Engaged with our Precinct Inspector as well as our Crime Prevention Specialist, in response to our neighborhood safety priority, including having both as featured speakers at a quarterly safety update.
  • “Spring Fling” theme for our annual meeting, including a presentation from Beez Kneez about pollinators.
  • Quarterly “Safety News” hand delivered to every resident.
  • Focused on block leader recruitment and recruited 14 new leaders. There are only 16 unorganized blocks remaining in the Armatage neighborhood.
  • Transition to a new coordinator mid-year.
  • Development of new, more accessible website.
  • Stronger and more regular use of our email newsletter.
  • Expanded our social media presence and regularly post to Nextdoor, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Lots of changes made to our Summer Festival in the hopes to increase appeal to a broader range of residents and make it easier to run and attend. (Wristbands, raffle, signage, new games, additional inflatables, food trucks, water bottles and station.)

Park Acquisition and Development

The nearly nineteen acres for Armatage Park were purchased September 1, 1948 for $7,500. The land was planned from the outset as a combined development of a park and school following a joint resolution by the park board and school board to develop new park and school complexes together. The primary objective of those joint developments was to provide a park that would double as a playground for the school and a school gym that could be used by the park board when school was not in session. It was the second park and school—Waite Park was the first—developed together by the two boards.

Joint development of the property had been considered as early as 1926, when that section of Minneapolis was annexed from Richfield. With  the annexation, both the park board and school board faced the challenge of providing facilities for the newest section of the city. In 1927, land in the neighborhood had been proposed for development as a park, but property owners in the area opposed the additional tax assessments that would have been needed to pay for the development. With the advent of the Great Depression, followed by World War II, the project was delayed until the late 1940s. When the park and school were finally built in 1952, they were paid for by assessments on property in the neighborhood.

The purchase price of the property paled in comparison to the cost of developing the land for a park and athletic fields. Leveling and grading the property and preparing playing fields cost about $400,000. Because the western border of the park was significantly lower in elevation than Penn Avenue on the east, a lot of earth had to be moved to create level fields.

The original park improvements, completed in 1954, included regional athletic fields, a wading pool, a battery of tennis courts and a warming house and shelter. In 1955 the final touches were put on the park with the blacktopping of a parking lot and the installation of five sections of ten-tier bleachers for the regional athletic fields.

Armatage Park’s shelter was enlarged in 1962-63 and replaced with a new recreation center in 1977. The baseball and softball fields at the park were rebuilt in 1979. Significant renovations to the park property began in 1997 with the addition of a new parking lot and a new gym  attached to the school and recreation center. The new gym opened in 1999.

In 2000 Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) funds were used to commission an eighteen foot-high bronze sculpture by artist Scott Wallace, called “Garden Party,” which was placed in the park. Additional improvements to the playing fields and tennis courts were made in 2004 and a skate park was added. The skate park was one of four created in Minneapolis parks that year.

An irrigation system was added to the baseball/soccer fields at Armatage as part of a playing field upgrade in 2010-11. The hard courts at the park were also resurfaced in 2011.

Park history compiled and written by David C. Smith.

Maude D. Armatage Bio

Armatage was the first woman elected to the park board—and was the only woman on the board for her entire length of service. Armatage was elected to the park board in 1921 in the first general election in which women had the right to vote. She was vice president of the board from 1924 to 1927. She chaired the Privileges and Entertainment Committee in her early years on the park board and when a combined Playground and Entertainment Committee was created in 1928 she chaired that committee until her retirement from the board in 1951.

One of Armatage’s first special assignments as a park commissioner, perhaps reflecting stereotypes of women at the time, was to be responsible for the “artistic selection and arrangement of furnishings at The Chalet,” as noted in the park board’s 1923 annual report. The Chalet was the new golf clubhouse and shelter built at Glenwood (Wirth) Park. Armatage and her uncle, F. A. Dunsmoor, both contributed to the furnishings of the clubhouse.

Armatage was especially active in promoting cooperation between the school board and park board to avoid duplication of facilities and get the most out of spending by both boards. When the park boards and school boards were first considering cooperative development of facilities in the southernmost portion of the city after its annexation from Richfield in 1926, Armatage visited Detroit on behalf of the park board to view the results of cooperative efforts there. When the possibility of developing joint facilities was renewed after nearly two decades of depression and war, Armatage sponsored a joint resolution between the park board and school board in 1948 that led directly to cooperative development of Waite, Armatage, Kenny and Cleveland parks and schools.

Armatage lived near Lake Harriet in a nine-family community called the “Colony.” According to research by Tom Balcom, nine families built homes on land given to them in 1893 by Charles Loring in the 4600 block of Fremont Avenue in the hopes that initial development would lead to more families wanting to build homes in the area.

In addition to her work on the park board, Armatage was a local leader of Campfire Girls and was on the national board of directors of that organization.

Upon her retirement in 1951 at the age of 81, the park board passed a resolution honoring Armatage’s service on the board, noting that “it is to her, more than to any other person, that the people of the City of Minneapolis owe a debt of gratitude for the promotion of the integrated school and park idea.” The 1951 annual report also noted that she had “championed many activities and diversions for the recreation of youth which are commonplace in the recreation program of today.”

September 22, 2016 eNews

September Meeting Highlights

  • Armatage Park
    • Volleyball registrations available and starting soon. Winter sports registration will open early October for basketball and more, including skating lessons!
    • New Halloween event (Friday, Oct 28 • 6:00-8:30p) to include a pumpkin carving contest and Trunk-or-Treating. Watch for details coming soon!
    • Open gym time for toddlers was requested for this winter. Details to be determined.
    • Dinner and a Movie available monthly for area families!
    • Fire & Ice is scheduled for January 20 (weather permitting).
  • ANA Supported Funding
    • Portable indoor/outdoor projection screen (for meetings and possible new community events)
    • Hydration Station for park/school fountain near the gym.
    • Window blinds for the multi-purpose room
    • Reupholstering park lounge furniture
  • Will be lighting trees near the warming house entrance this winter. A tree-lighting event will be planned in conjunction with a charity.
  • City Council Updates: The Mayor’s Budget Proposal has been released, so will be the main focus in the coming weeks. There is a new head of Public Works and Council Member Palmisano will be doing a tour of Ward 13 to highlight areas in need of improvement and to share examples of past successes.
  • Safety
    • Our new MPD 5th Precinct Inspector will be at our November meeting.
    • Statistically crime is down in our area over last year.
    • Planning underway for a block leader workshop/listening post in early 2017.
  • Engagement Activities
    • We will continue to host a neighborhood happy hour at Cafe Maude. Considering holding them the first Thursday of every-other month.
    • Renter workshop/event series planning underway. Details to come.

Utility Box Wrap

To help deter graffiti and enhance the visual interest, the ANA installed our first unity box wrap atht he corner of 60th & Penn. This only was able to happen with the wonderful volunteer leadership from Cynthia. Know other boxes that might be a good candidate? Let us know!

Kids Voting Minneapolis

Volunteers are needed to help at Armatage on November 8. The shifts run from 2-5p and 5-8p. Anyone 16 and older can volunteer! Prefer 2 people per shift. You can sign up online if you are interested in helping.

Kids Voting Minneapolis is a community-based, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to empower students in Minneapolis with the skills and confidence to embrace civic involvement and become active citizens as adults.

Addressing Barriers to Community Solar

Thursday, October 27, 2016
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
1644 Larpenteur Avenue West, Falcon Heights

In 2013, Minnesota passed legislation allowing companies to enable community solar garden programs. Since then, consumer subscribership in community solar gardens has demonstrated tremendous interest, but also has revealed a host of financial, regulatory, and social barriers. Participants at this event will explore lessons learned from the implementation of Minnesota’s community solar programs and ways to address barriers to more wide-spread community solar deployment. Register or learn more »

Hang Out in Minneapolis Parks

If you’ve visited many Minneapolis parks in the past year or two and noticed hammocks hanging from trees, you may have wondered, “Can we do that?”

The answer is YES, with limitations and a few guidelines:

  • Hammocks may only be used during regular park hours
  • Hammocks are temporary. Anyone hanging a hammock must promptly remove it each time they are done using it
  • Hammocks do not damage property
  • Hammocks do not damage vegetation or trees
  • Hammocks do not restrict the free use of the parks, or create a hazard to buildings, park or pathway use

Hammock users should be aware of two Park Board ordinances related to vegetation and trees:
PB2-2. – Molesting vegetation. 
No person not an employee of the board shall pick or cut any wild or cultivated flower, or cut, break or in any way injure or deface any tree, shrub or plant within the limits of any park or parkway; nor carry within or out of any park or parkway any wild flower, tree, shrub, plant or any newly plucked branch or portion thereof, or any soil or material of any kind. (Code 1960, As Amend., § 1010.030)
PB10-9. – Damaging trees. 
No person shall remove, destroy, cut, deface, trim or in any way injure or interfere with any tree or shrub on any of the avenues, streets or public grounds, including parks and parkways, without a permit from the general superintendent of parks. (Code 1960, As Amend., § 1020.090)

August 10, 2016 eNews

Thanks for an awesome festival!

Mother Nature served up a perfect summer evening for approximately 2,000 area residents to join us at Armatage park to enjoy our 20th summer festival! You can see some photos on our website or Facebook (more to come!) and please share your photos, too!

We also were given a digital goody bag for everyone to enjoy. Check it out!

This event takes dozens of volunteers, and we can’t thank them enough for all of their help. Plus, we have the best park crew — thanks to all their hard work! If you have an ideas for our 2017 summer festival, or would like to get involved in helping making it happen, please contact our coordinator (info below).

Police activity overnight near 54th/Xerxes

Update about police activity in Armatage last night from our police liaison, Jennifer W.

At approximately 11:30 pm last night Minneapolis police were called to assist Edina Police on a chase. They were pursuing a stolen vehicle that came near 54th/Xerxes, but originally started in Richfield. The occupants fled from the vehicle near 54/Xerxes. Suspects were two 13-14 year old males. Several officers were out, including K9 and the State Patrol Helicopter. After over an hour of searching it doesn’t sound like any arrests were made though, unfortunately.

Burglary Trend

Protect Yourself from Home Burglaries

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office extends a warning to residents in Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Edina, St. Louis Park, Bloomington and the neighboring communities about a recent home burglary trend.

The Sheriff’s Office has analyzed information from dozens of home burglaries that show a recent spike in several communities in Hennepin County. The thieves in the recent home break-ins appear to be gaining access into homes from attached garages.

Based on reports from several home burglaries, it appears the thieves will do one of the following:

  • Remove garage door openers from vehicles parked in driveways (unlocked vehicles and locked vehicles) or open garage doors using a vehicle’s built-in home-link transmitter
  • Enter a garage though an already open garage door
  • Kick-in an exterior garage service door

Once the burglars have access to the garage, they will enter the home through the interior garage access door.

These types of home break-ins have been reported at all times of day and night, and both when individuals are home and away.

Once the thieves have access to a home, they will target small, yet highly valuable items such as cash, wallets, purses, and jewelry. In several instances, homeowners did not initially realize they had been the target of a home burglary due to the lack of evidence of a forced entry.

Tips to avoid becoming a target of home burglary:

  • Always lock your vehicles when parked in a driveway or garage
  • Protect your vehicles with an anti-theft device if not already equipped with one
  • Secure your garage door openers in your house when possible
  • Do not leave your garage door openers visible in your vehicles
  • Close your garage doors when not home or when the garage is not in plain view
  • Lock exterior service doors to garages – reinforce service doors with security bars or deadbolts if possible
  • Lock interior access doors that lead into houses – reinforce access doors with deadbolts if possible
  • Lock home entry doors when you are not home