A Hennepin County advisory group says that the county needs more mental health services and that there should be more crisis training for police.

Those were among the findings of a report on unmet mental health needs presented June 6 to the County Board by the Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council, a 23-member group of mental health consumers, family members and providers that advises county leaders on policy, programs and services.

“We know the challenges that individuals with mental health have on a regular basis just navigating our system and making sure the right supports are in the community,” Jennifer DeCubellis, deputy administrator of health and human services for Hennepin County, said at the meeting.

The top four priorities, according to the report: Increase crisis intervention and de-escalation skills for law enforcement officers; ensure that mental health providers reflect the diverse populations they serve; expand housing for people with mental illness; and increase access to psychiatric medications.

The report also proposes to increase education to reduce the stigma of mental illness, boost mental health services for older adults, find more jobs for people with mental illness and provide more support for people with mental illness in the criminal justice system.

Hennepin County Medical Center is nearing completion of a new 16-bed mental health crisis center, and more law enforcement officers are getting trained on how to de-escalate mental health crises as they face a rising number of mental health calls.



Commission to host inclusivity training

The Bloomington Human Rights Commission will host two public presentations on inclusivity and perspective-building on Tuesday.

The presentations will be led by transgender activist and speaker Ellen Krug. One panel will focus on the transgender community and offer insights from Krug’s personal transition story; the second panel, called “Gray Area Thinking,” will look at how humans group together.

“How can we get beyond grouping and labeling of other humans according to the color of their skin, the religion they practice or the country in which they were born?” the event information read.

The presentations will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Schneider Theater, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Road. Register online at bit.ly/2rUzMS4; for more information, call 952-563-8733.

Miguel Otárola


Century Plaza to be developed for mixed uses

A developer is looking to close in coming months on its $9.4 million purchase of Century Plaza from Hennepin County, county leaders said at a County Board meeting June 6.

Developer Doug Hoskin of DEHL Properties LLC told the County Board that the 1930s-era building will be redeveloped for potential uses including senior housing, events and office space.

The downtown Minneapolis building, nearly 300,000 square feet, fills a full city block near hotels and the Convention Center.

“This is a great outcome,” Commissioner Mike Opat said at the meeting. “[I] look forward to closing on this deal and I’m sure the property will be reconfigured somehow, maybe change hands again. But it’s good for us to not let it languish.”

The county had received four proposals and one letter of interest from prospective buyers, but DEHL’s offer included the highest price and fastest closing date. Sale proceeds likely will go into the county’s human services fund.

The building housed a high school and offices before the county bought it in 1996 for its human services department.



Reward offered for info on property crimes

The Edina Crime Prevention Fund is offering a $3,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of the suspect or suspects responsible for recent property crimes in the city.

Edina police have seen an increase in home burglaries, stolen cars and thefts from vehicles since April, most of them in the northeast part of the city. Doors were unlocked in most of the reported crimes.

Sgt. Nate Mendel said police have increased patrols in the area. They are asking residents to lock homes and cars and to keep outside lights on at night.

“Residents are the eyes and ears of our city,” Mendel said in a statement. “The more they can share with us, the better.”

Anyone with information about the crimes or possible suspects may contact Edina police at 952-826-1600.

Miguel Otárola

Golden Valley

City hosting public safety demonstrations

Golden Valley police and firefighters are hosting several public safety events starting Wednesday.

Crews will perform a burn and auto extrication demonstration during an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the fire station at 7800 Golden Valley Road. The event will feature fire truck tours, animal rescue training and displays.

Police officers and firefighters also are scheduled to start their summer visits of local parks. They will be at Gearty Park at 11 a.m. Thursday and at Wesley Park at 2:30 p.m. on June 29.

Miguel Otárola


VA to hold town hall for veterans

Leaders with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will take questions and listen to concerns of veterans at a town hall meeting to be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Participants will include representatives from the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, the St. Paul office of the Veterans Benefits Administration and Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

The meeting, open to the public, will be held in the lower level auditorium at the Whipple Federal Building, Hwy. 55 and Minnehaha Avenue, near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Security checks will be conducted on those attending the forum.

Kevin Duchschere