The City Council designated Robbinsdale a “welcoming city” to immigrants and refugees this month.

A resolution, unanimously approved Oct. 17 by the council, states that city employees won’t ask a resident’s immigration or citizenship status unless it “relates to a legitimate law enforcement purpose,” and that the city will “promote policies and programs to foster inclusion for all.”

Mayor Regan Murphy said the resolution reaffirms a recent survey showing that a large majority of Robbinsdale residents feel safe and supported in the city.

“This resolution is important just to solidify how we feel as a community,” he said.

Council members, who first looked at the resolution over the summer, thanked Robbinsdale police and the city’s human rights commission for their revisions.

Several other cities, including Richfield, St. Louis Park and St. Cloud, have issued similar resolutions following the 2016 presidential election and the Trump administration’s statements on immigration.

Miguel Otárola


Board OKs design contract for regional medical examiner's facility

The Hennepin County Board has approved a contract for the initial design of a new regional medical examiner’s facility in Minnetonka, anticipated to open in 2020.

The county will enter into a $755,498 contract with Leo A Daly to complete the first phase of design work. The county is seeking $26.2 million in state bonding for the $57.8 million project, which may begin construction as early as August 2019.

At 69,000 square feet, the proposed facility would be considerably larger than the current medical examiner’s office in downtown Minneapolis. It would be located on county property next to the County Home School, near Interstate 494 and County Road 62.

County officials say that a larger, improved facility will equip staffers to handle growing case volumes and help train, recruit and retain the most qualified forensic science professionals.

The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office is the largest in the state and serves Dakota and Scott counties as well as Hennepin.

David Chanen


Tullius named general manager at Southdale

Southdale Center in Edina has selected a new general manager to take over its day-to-day operations.

Judy Tullius was promoted to the role Monday by Simon Property Group, the company that owns Southdale. She will oversee duties ranging from community relations to the mall’s security and marketing.

Tullius has worked for Simon since 1997 and has more than 30 years of experience in retail, according to the company. She most recently held a management position at Bay Park Square Mall in Green Bay, Wis.

She arrives at Southdale as the shopping center is adding a Life Time gym, which is replacing a closed J.C. Penney store, and a Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel, said Robert Guerra, regional vice president for Simon. Southdale, at Hwy. 62 and France Avenue, includes 120 stores and a movie theater.

Miguel Otárola


Commission rejects housing proposal

The Plymouth Planning Commission voted to recommend that the city reject a proposal for a three-story affordable housing complex near Hwy. 55.

The commission rejected a rezoning request and site plan by developer Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative at its Oct. 18 meeting. The faith-based group wants to build 47 apartments in an area just south of Old Rockford Road and Hwy. 55 for families that make between $20,000 and $45,000 a year.

Commissioners questioned the safety of the area, especially for children playing outside near the highway. They were also concerned with access to an adjacent commercial district, which would require cars to go through a private parking lot.

“I’m going to challenge you to go back to the drawing board,” Commissioner Julie Witt told the developers. “I do think there’s a place for you here.”

The City Council is expected to act on the recommendation in November.

Miguel Otárola

Hennepin County

Johnson named corrections head

Catherine Johnson has been appointed director of Hennepin County’s Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation. The appointment takes effect in December.

Johnson will succeed Chet Cooper, who began a new job as assistant county administrator and chief operating officer in September.

Johnson has 22 years of leadership experience with the Minneapolis police, including 3rd Precinct inspector and division commander. She is co-chairwoman of the Hennepin County Adult Detention Initiative, an effort to reduce disparities in the criminal justice system.


Medical examiner's office gets award for health impact

The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office recently received national recognition for identifying a powerful opioid, carfentanil, as the cause of multiple overdose-related deaths.

Dr. Rebecca Wilcoxon, the assistant medical examiner, accepted the Susan P. Baker Public Health Impact Award last week at the National Association of Medical Examiner’s annual scientific meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The medical examiner’s office this year identified the drug as the cause of 11 overdose-related deaths and worked with agencies at all levels to organize a public health response. Carfentanil, a drug 100 times more potent than the already dangerous fentanyl, cannot yet be detected using routine toxicology tests.