May 2020 Board Minutes

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, May 18th, 2020 – 7:00 p.m., Via Zoom

Board members present: Carl Arrell, Pat Collins, Alyssa Thull, Dan Williams, Dirk Nicholson, Bernadette Tomko, Dick Fiala, Brenda Anderson, Brian McDonald, Kellie Hanson

Board members absent: none

Also present: Jennifer Waisanen (MPD), Matt Perry (SWBA), Amy Dray (Tula Spa), Jeremy Schreoder, Jamie Long (State Rep), Scott Endress (Tangletown Gardens and Wise Acre)

Called to order: 7:04


Carl introduced the presenters and explained procedure for the new Zoom meeting format. Board members introduced themselves and talked about why they joined the board.

Property Crime Prevention with Jennifer Waisanen

Jennifer presented on property crime prevention. Burglars prefer being quiet, quick, and invisible. Leaving garages unlocked, valuables near open or unlocked windows, unlocked doors or sliding glass doors, overgrown shrubs/trees, and poorly lit property all provide opportunities for crime. The most common entry method is to kick doors in, the second is breaking a door window, and the third is breaking a regular window. Burglaries increase during the spring and summer due to open windows. Most residential burglaries are during the day while garage burglaries usually happen at night. Burglars don’t want to encounter anyone and usually flee when they do. Home invasions are very rare.

Jennifer recommended that if you are burglarized, stay calm and call 911 immediately. Do not enter the scene before police and don’t touch anything. If officers are able to identify evidence they will call the crime lab to dust for fingerprints.

She explained three lines of defense: the perimeter, the exterior, and interior controls. Finally, your block: if you know your neighbors you’re more likely to call police when you see something strange off your own property.

For perimeter defense, Jennifer noted that fences are the first line. She also said that privacy fences are not helpful for crime prevention, because they prevent neighbors from noticing suspicious behavior. Landscaping should be kept 18-24 inches away from doors and windows, and trees should be trimmed 7 feet or more from ground. She suggested using prickly plants under windows and in egress window wells. Lighting is the most effective crime deterrent available, including doorways, windows, driveways, sidewalks, fire escapes and basement entries. She suggested avoiding very bright lights since they create shadows where burglars can hide. Security cameras have become popular due to their low cost and ability to preserve evidence, and have helped apprehend suspects in the past.

On the exterior, doors should be heavy, solid, and strong. Doors with glass should have additional protection mechanisms. Double hung windows can be a risk even when closed. Jennifer recommend window “pinning” as an additional security measure. Non-egress basement windows should be screwed shut, have bars, or be replaced with glass block, but egress windows should not be obstructed.

Interior controls include locks and alarms. Jennifer reiteratedthat burglars don’t want to be detected so they will usually not take time to defeat strong locks. She suggested deadbolt locks with at least a 1″ throw as best for securing the home, since the frame usually breaks before the door and longer deadbolts prevent that. Alarms are a good deterrent when placed on doors, windows, vents, and skylights.

Multi-unit buildings have unique challenges, especially with doors left open when residents are doing laundry or getting mail. Burglars also remove window air conditioners or “piggy-back” behind residents entering the building. Jennifer suggested locking windows and doors and securing air conditioning units. The most common crimes for multi-unit buildings are bike thefts and storage unit robbery.

Jennifer shared a vacation checklist which suggests not widely sharing travel plans, letting a trusted neighbor know you’ll be away, using a home security system, and placing automatic timers on lights and the TV. Residents can also call the 5th precinct and have their house placed on a vacation list which officers use to provide some extra attention.

Jennifer was asked if home break-in patterns have changed due to COVID-19. She said they have seen fewer home break-ins but no decrease in garage burglaries.

Tangletown Business Perspectives: Matt Perry, Scott Endres, Amy Dray

The Southwest Business Association (SWBA) represents businesses from Xerxes Ave S. to I-35W and 36th Street to 62nd St. Matt said the business climate is extremely tough right now and local businesses are grateful for your support. He suggested checking out and clicking the “help protect our businesses” link.

Matt said the best ways to support local business during COVID-19 include shopping on their websites, purchasing gift cards, and considering a donation to a local favorite or the SWBA. He also suggested sharing your favorite businesses on social media and encouraging others to support them.

Scott shared that this is the most stressful spring they have ever encountered at Tangletown Gardens and Wise Acre Eatery.  Many Wise Acre employees are furloughed while many Tangletown Gardens employees are still working. They do not intend to re-open Wise Acre for in-restaurant service on June 1st due to the small size of the space. The Wise Acre dining room is now a fresh produce market and sells frozen meats like grass-fed beef and pasture raised pork, chicken, and turkey. He said their customer base loves having the option to buy food at the restaurant, but their future is up in the air. They are trying to develop the next generation of what Wise Acre is and don’t think it will be what it has been in short and long term. Scott doesn’t think large numbers of people will immediately attend restaurants on June 1 even if they are open. On the other hand, Tangletown Gardens revolves around seasons which cannot be stopped, and they are fortunate to re-open earlier than many other businesses. Their team members are wearing masks, constantly sanitizing carts and surfaces, limiting the number of people in the building, and encouraging shoppers not to linger too much. They have seen an uptick in business as many more people are gardening.

Scott was asked if their CSA was still available? He said they sold out early this year but there is a waiting list. They are hoping to fill the void by offering fresh produce Wednesday-Sunday from 11am to 6pm at Wise Acre and a weekly outside meat order. Contact them by emailing “Farmer Dean” to get on the email list for pre-orders.

Amy said Tula Spa is currently closed and waiting for cosmetology board recommendations on reopening procedures. Tula only has two treatment rooms which allows better social distancing for clients and employees. Tula also has an online shop with organic spa kits available for purchase and curbside pickup. They are grateful for all the support. Amy was asked how she anticipates their services working safely upon reopening. She answered that they are waiting for official recommendations from the cosmetology board, will follow aesthetician protocols, have regular inspections, and regular sanitation. Employees will wear gloves and masks and will listen to clients and make sure everyone feels safe.

Councilmember Schroeder

Jeremy and the council are working with county, state and federal governments to get resources the City needs. The City has received zero funding from the CARES Act so far, and is using current funding to support businesses and housing. The city has focused small business efforts on technical help to apply to state and federal aid and adjusting city regulations like outdoor seating. The City wants to be ready immediately when State restrictions are lifted. Housing support has focused on getting money out the door more quickly for families in need, especially those with children. The council is looking at re-adjusting the budget as they do not expect large revenue-generating events like X-Games and Final Four to happen and want to address that early to prevent fewer cuts later.

Jeremy spent much of last year on affordable housing and sustainability. He co-authored an inclusionary zoning ordinance which requires developments over a certain number of units to include affordable ones. He worked on the Envision Project to pass zoning reforms to create deeply affordable housing with manufactured solutions, which isn’t a new concept but isn’t widely used yet. He was a co-author of the climate emergency ordinance that passed last year to help the City break down silos between the Sustainability Office, Public Works, and other departments. He also sponsored a “social cost of carbon” ordinance which requires the city to factor the cost of carbon into the purchasing. For example, current purchasing of fleet cars excludes electric because the cost of carbon emissions is not factored into the vehicle’s long-term cost. Jeremy is working to encourage developers to include environmental considerations and carbon reductions in new development plans and is making sure that costs aren’t passed on to home owners. He worked with Councilmember Gordon to pass an energy disclosure ordinance to better compare Minneapolis houses during real-estate transactions. He also worked on biochar, rain gardens, and carbon sequestration.

Jeremy is currently working on an opportunity-to-purchase act to allow tenants a chance to buy their dwelling if/when it comes up for sale.

State Representative Jamie Long

Jamie represents Tangletown residents south of 50th Street. He shared that the Legislature has been meeting remotely for the last few months and wrapped up their current session last night. They have recently been focused exclusively on COVID-19. The legislature worked with the state to help roll out a pandemic assistance program to provide relief to contractors and self-employed workers and funding for food shelves. The legislature also passed significant funding for hospitals, health care needs, and small business emergency loan programs. It also created a grant program for child-care providers which was quickly exhausted and will likely be renewed. Jamie has been focused on energy assistance from energy and water utilities. He also worked on state elections improvements (including the upcoming primary) to ensure safe elections unlike Wisconsin’s recent primary. Hoped for full mail-in elections which didn’t happen but was able to get more time for absentee ballots and additional polling places.

He was successful in helping pass a $15 million bill for a solar rewards program which pays about 25% of the cost of adding solar to your own home. He is working hard to help determine how CARES Act funding gets distributed to local governments and was able to prevent passage of Senate bills targeting Hennepin County’s share. He helped pass an insulin affordability act and prescription drug price transparency act. He also helped raise the tobacco sales age to 21 and put in place more clarity for stores and others around tobacco sales. Minnesota is the first state in the country to ban tri-chloro ethylene. Unfortunately the legislature was unable to pass a bonding bill which included funding for bus rapid transit lines (eg France between Edina and Minneapolis) and was unable to approve new state worker contracts. The legislature will likely be back in special session on June 12th when the Governor extends emergency powers.

Jamie was asked how elections will be made safer. He said there are now more polling locations and more time to process absentee ballots. But he also said election judges will be scarce as many are seniors and they are understandably apprehensive about volunteering now.

Committee Initiatives Updates

Spaces: the committee is trying to focus on keeping the neighborhood attractive and functional. Accomplishments include Spring Spruce-up and Autumn Alley Cleanup. The second Spring Spruce-up last weekend was reduced in scope due to COVID-19 but the committee is looking at expanding the Autumn Alley Cleanup. It continues to organize volunteers to work on landscaping and maintenance at Washburn Water Tower and will add new signage there. The committee is also looking forward to addressing traffic safety concerns around schools.

Sustainability: the committee received a grant last year for sustainability outreach and education. Activities funded by this grant increased organics recycling participation from 59% in April 2019 to 65% in April 2020. 117 storm drains have been adopted in the neighborhood. The committee’s energy rebate program has processed $5,500 in rebates for $50,000 worth of energy improvements. The committee has also received a grant from Hennepin County to help offset installation costs for rain gardens and bioswales.

Engagement: Over the last year, the committee held very well attended events like the 4th of July, Tangletown Street Party, and Winterfest. Unfortunately these events must change format and the committee is looking for ways to continue engagement during COVID-19.

Officer Reports:

Treasurer – Brian reported a current deficit of about $800. Year-to-date income shows sufficient funds and TNA will be able to support ongoing initiatives even though event revenue will greatly decline. Expenses will be lower due to lack of events. Carl reported that Neighborhoods 2020 will reduce future funding to 1/3 current levels and encouraged residents to submit public feedback about how TNA has improved the neighborhood to the City.

Carl also highlighted TNA’s response to COVID-19 including our community support network and our promotion of local businesses, area captain program, and food drive in May.

Board Elections

Board members up for election but wishing to continue included Carl Arrell, Brian McDonald, Kellie Hanson, Dan Williams, and Pat Collins. New nominations included Jon Dejong, Heather Grovum, Lori Gobrud, Dan Trienen, and Joan Staveley. No board seats were contended.

A Zoom poll was held proposing to accept the full slate of candidates. All poll respondents in favor, none opposed. Full slate elected to the TNA board.

Door Prizes

Sally handed out door prizes to attendees.

Adjourned: 9:02

Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary