Monday, June 28, 2010

EcoVillage Tree Nursery Open to All of NoMi!

Post and photos by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director

Several weeks ago, the EcoVillage Tree Nursery received a new supply of trees, and I received a fresh supply of Polish sausage for my efforts. The sausage didn't last long at all, but many trees are still there. Pictured above are the first two non-Hawthornites to pick up their trees this summer. Parts of this post originally appeared on the Johnny Northside blog. However, on Hawthorne Voices, we will detail which trees, and how many, are left.

Initially, the trees were reserved for Hawthorne residents only. The reason being that Hawthorne residents and members have been the ones working on the EcoVillage, and some neighborhood funding has been used for this project. So our neighbors should get some benefit from that.

There are still quite a few nice trees left though, and if you want one, here's how it works.

First, in order to qualify, you must be a property owner who lives in north Minneapolis. If demand is high, preference will be given to owner-occupants, but for now any property owner is eligible. Second, and this is important: even though the trees are free, DO NOT JUST GO AND PICK ONE UP. The city of Minneapolis wants to track where these trees go, and if they survive at similar rates to other parts of the city.

So if you want a tree, please call the Hawthorne office at 612-529-6033 or email me at to set up a time for a pick-up. The nursery is not secured, so we're going on the honor system here. We'll need to get the address where the tree will be planted, as well as contact information.

Also, as you can see from the photo above, you'll need either a pickup truck or a van/SUV with a window that can be opened. Or a wheelbarrow. I've seen people cart their trees away in those too. But trees are available to any NoMi resident! Come and get 'em!

Pictured above is the Burgundy Belle Maple (click for an image of what a mature one looks like). There are three of those trees currently available.

Below is a Regal Prince Oak. There are three of those left as well. However, two of the three have red ribbons around them. Those weren't there before, so it may be that one of the EcoVillage or other community partners has reserved them. Please do not take trees with a red ribbon until this has been clarified.

Here we have a Greenspire Linden. There are eight Greenspire trees available.

There are fourteen Redmond Linden trees in the nursery, but two are marked with a red ribbon and may therefore be reserved already.

There are four Kentucky Coffeetrees still in the nursery as well.

We have one Accolade Elm left.

And there is one Swamp White Oak still available.

Call the Hawthorne office at 612-529-6033 to set up a time to pick up your new tree!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Community Energy Services: A Bright Idea

Post and photos by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director

Earlier this year, the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council and Community Energy Services jointly sponsored two workshops to get residents energy-efficient and environmentally friendly home upgrades. The home visit and materials are valued at $400, and require a $20 co-pay. But the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council has offered to cover the co-pay for the first 150 residents who sign up. There's still plenty of space left for the materials and visits to be completely free to you!

Here's the catch: to qualify, you must be an owner-occupant of the Hawthorne neighborhood, and you must attend a CES workshop. The next workshop is set to take place on Tuesday, June 29th, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. (they usually finish earlier) at Farview Park. If you are interested in attending, contact Kyle Boehm at 612-219-7334 or

Pictured above are some photos from the home visit done with Hawthorne board member and blogger John Hoff.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Drug Use Issues at 915 22nd Ave N

Post and photos by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director

A Hawthorne resident called me today to inform the neighborhood council about drug use happening at the back door of 915 22nd Ave N. This property, owned by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, is being cleaned out after arson was suspected some time ago. The neighborhood would like to see the structure demolished and have the property lines redrawn at 2126 and 2128 Dupont to create two properties that continue all the way to the alley.

In the meantime, block club members and residents have started up a community garden nearby, with the help of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council and Urban Homeworks. Block club participants report drug use activity happening at all hours of the day.

Where things become tricky is that the rear doorway where the activity takes place is quite literally impossible to see from the street or the alley. One has to go around the corner just to see the alcove. Naturally, residents are hesitant to do so, worried about who or what they might encounter.

Phone calls have been made to CM Hofstede, Minnesota Housing, and the 4th Precinct. Having virtually no witnesses to the activity makes official reporting problematic. Our goal at this time is to get the cleanup crew to formally report to the MPD that they found upwards of 40-50 needles on the back steps so that there is at least a trail of documentation. Any residents who see signs of illicit activity, even lurking, at this property, are urged to call 911.