July Ending with Fireworks!


It’s been a busy month for most of us and many cities around us. July kicked off with Robbinsdale’s Whiz Bang Days, then New Hope with Duk Duk Daze. The end of the month finale is Crystal Frolics, held annually during the last weekend in July. I serve on the Frolics committee and want to share some highlights:

  • The Search for the Crystal Ball begins Thursday with the first clue. The winner receives $500 in gift cards from area businesses. You need a button to play, and don’t forget to register it! You can purchase one for $2 at Crystal Community Center, Crystal City Hall, Associated Bank, Almsted’s Fresh Market and at the Frolics.
  • Your favorite carnival and service organizations will be there selling food and beverages. New this year is Palm/Tarot Card readings and two new food vendors:  Joshua Sells Kettle Corn and Mountain Mudd Coffee will offer hot/cold/blended coffee, smoothies, and chai tea. The Family Festival on Sunday added more goodies with free tattoos by Crystal Outreach Task Force and a free book giveaway from Friends of Ridgedale Library.
  • Help the NEAR Food Shelf by dunking your favorite city officials in the Mayor’s Dunk Tank – Friday night from 6-9pm! I’ll be one of many sitting inside getting soaked for a great cause. Look for the turquoise barrel and people throwing softballs at it. 🙂


So much fun packed into 4 days – hope to see you there! Get information at the Frolics website or on Facebook. Look for the Sun Post flyer with ride coupons and more online and at at the event. Frolics President Lynn Haney showcases more offerings in this video:




June Storm Updates

Several residents were without power after a severe storm on Sunday, June 11 and Xcel Energy worked to restore power.  A few trees were uprooted causing damage to homes.

(Photo: @mattpassolt via Twitter)

As of Monday afternoon, all traffic signals are operational and there was one branch in the road at 36th and Lee with wires in it.  Thanks to Xcel and Crystal public works crew who are out cleaning up (catch basins, parks, streets, etc), along with neighbors. 

Need to dispose of yard material from the storm? The Maple Grove Yardwaste Site is open seven days a week to accept leaves, branches and other tree debris. Get details here.

Adopt a Storm Drain

You can help prevent local flooding and protect our streams, ponds and lakes by cleaning up a storm drain near your home. West Metro Water Alliance & Hennepin County have a list of tips by “adopting” a storm drain.  Please help by cleaning a drain near you if you see it covered with debris. Thanks!

Storm drain cleaning
(Photo: Bee Rent via Light of Crystal Facebook page)

Golden Valley Lightning Fire

On Monday, June 12, a home to our south on Douglas Drive in Golden Valley was struck by lightning, causing a fire. All are safe, and it was gratifying to see so many reach out through NextDoor and Facebook to help the owners. One of the residents, Karla wrote on NextDoor, “Thank you all for your kindness and all the information! It was our house that was hit by that massive lightning strike. We are very grateful no one was hurt. Hug your loved ones and please check your fire detectors!”

Golden Valley Fire
(Photo: Chad Nelson, KARE11)

Crystal is full of compassionate neighbors who quickly jump into action to help each other in person and online. If you’re not on NextDoor.com, please sign up to connect in your neighborhood. Thank you for all you do to keep our city a great place to live! Together, we weather through any storm.

Keeping Crystal Beautiful, One Plant at a Time!

Spring is here, and it’s fun to see the foliage return with warm temps. Crystal Park and Rec hosted our annual Arbor Day Celebration on May 3, planting a tree at Yunkers Park. Several neighbors showed up to help clean the park, plant a new tree, enjoy hot dogs and take home a tree. Thanks to Crystal Fund for donating the trees, city staff, council and Park & Rec Commission members for helping!

Arbor Day  Arbor Day 2

Crystal’s Outreach Task Force held a Bee Friendly planting event on May 6. Hundreds of pollinator-friendly and drought-resistant plants were donated from Crystal Fund for Community Progress. You’ll find them in planters along Bass Lake Road, Broadway Ave, City Hall and Crystal Community Center. Thanks to volunteers, city staff and Council Member Elizabeth Dahl for organizing!

Bee Friendly planting 1  Bee Friendly Planting 2

Resident Bridget Gavin organized a Crystal Community Plant Swap on May 7 with many more participating this year. Neighbors brought plants to share and some to take home. Bridget is organizing another plant swap on September 24. This event is open to the public — so invite your friends and family to join in – the more participants, the better the plant exchange!

Plant Swap  Plant Swap 2

Finally, don’t miss Crystal Fund’s Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Crystal Community Center, 4800 Douglas Dr. N. Proceeds from the sale go towards improving Crystal’s parks and open spaces. See presentations on pollinator-friendly gardens, proper pruning techniques, sustainable lawns and landscape design. Expert presenters also will be on hand to answer questions.

Plant Sale

Spring Cleaning – Options for Donations


Thanks to neighbor Kirk W. who asked me if bulk curbside pickup was scheduled this year. It’s a popular way to get rid of stuff, and is offered every other year. Our next bulk pickup will be in 2018. In the meantime, here are a few ways to get rid of unwanted items:

  1. If you have light household items or clothing, Simple Recycling will pick those items up with your regular recycling. If you didn’t get the orange plastic bags from them,  call 866-835-5068 or pick up bags at City Hall (4141 Douglas) at their reception desk.
  2. If you’d rather donate to charity, Bibles For Missions (36th & Noble Ave.) and ARC are two area non-profits who accept many items for drop-off. Disabled American Vets (DAV) and a few other charity organizations will pick items up at your home. Or view options and schedule a free home pickup service at DonateStuff.com.
  3. Drop off items at the Brooklyn Park transfer station off 169 and Brooklyn Blvd. Here’s a link to see what items they accept (most are no charge except appliances/tires — just bring your drivers license). Also, if you have motor oil, paint or similar items, this is the place to drop them off.
  4. Post your item (for sale or free) on NextDoor.com or put a Free sign on the item and place on the curb. Many have great success with this option! If you’re not familiar, NextDoor is a free app for your phone or desktop where you sign up in your neighborhood.

I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any other suggestions or questions by contacting me. Enjoy that reclaimed space!

March Fundraising Madness!

Besides basketball, March was a busy month for area events and fundraisers — all exceeding their goals. The annual Empty Bowls Robbinsdale fundraiser was held March 7 at Cooper High School, and broke a record for donations to PRISM and NEAR food shelves! It was an honor to be asked to serve as a greeter this year.


Light of Crystal held their 4th annual  bowling tournament at Doyles March 11, raising over $2,000 towards donating to community projects. Thanks to Shawn Smith and Rebekah Daly Smith with LoC volunteers!


The first inaugural Crystal Ball was held March 18, organized by the Community Outreach Task Force. This group of citizen volunteers worked with city staff and council to create an affordable evening of delicious food by Milton’s, music by The R Factor, and celebration of Crystal’s residents – four who received Neighbor awards for their giving spirits. Congratulations to John Jeffy, the McHenry family (pictured), Shaun and Heather O’Hara, and Bruce Gaertner! Money and pantry items were also raised for our local NEAR food shelf.


Also on March 19, Firefighters Fighting Hunger Food Drive was another big success, collecting 2,851 pounds of food and over $6,500. Pictured is a group volunteer photo from West Metro Fire District. There is still time to donate and get your monetary donations matched. You can bring your donations to West Metro HQ at 4251 Xylon Ave. N. in New Hope or go directly to The Food Group, NEAR, PRISM or any of the other local food-shelves.


Bowling for Rocco, our Crystal K9 raised over $4,100 on March 19 for his ongoing care and training. Hard to believe he’s 5 years old already, and last year assisted with over 50 arrests. Good boy! Thanks to all who organized and donated, and for VFW Post 494 for hosting the lunch.


On a special note: many bowling events and tournaments have been at Doyle’s Bowling & Lounge, and we will miss them greatly when they close this spring. Cornerstone Church has bought the property to renovate and open this fall, moving from their southern Crystal location. Thanks to owner Rita Gardner and all the staff for the great memories!

For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.


Simple Recycling pilot program begins Feb. 13

Simple Recycling

Did you receive orange bags and a card from Simple Recycling? The Hennepin County/Crystal pilot program begins the week of Feb. 13 – it’s optional and free. Put clothing, shoes and household items in an orange bag and place next to your recycling can. They’ll replace the bag when they pick up.

If you’d rather donate to an organization of your choice, please do so. This is an alternative, and a way to discard old towels, shoes, sheets, etc. that would otherwise end up in a landfill. > Get info on Simple Recycling here.

January 3 Update

My first council meeting was Tuesday, Jan. 3 after being sworn in. West Metro Fire Auxiliary awarded two residents for the Crystal Sparkles holiday lighting contest – congratulations! Council members were appointed as liaisons to various commissions, and I will serve with the Environmental Quality Commission. Replacement equipment and vehicles were approved for purchasing (items approved last year for the 2017 budget). These were big ticket items, but it was very appreciated that they came in 24% under budget.  You can read the full recap at City of Crystal via Facebook.

During announcements, I gave an update on the Jaimes family, who lost their belongings and family pet in a fire the day after Christmas. Neighbors are asking how they can help, and a family friend set up a GoFundMe account. Insurance covered some items, but neither of their older cars lost in the fire. They are staying at a hotel, and hope to return to their rebuilt home in 6 months. The Jaimes are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. Thank you!

Read moreJanuary 3 Update