January 2019 Update

We’re in the middle of a sub-zero arctic blast – a good time to remind us all to dress warmly, keep an eye on our kids and pets outside, and have emergency provisions in your car. Crystal Police linked to this site with good tips on cold weather safety.

At our recent January 15 council meeting, the subject of traffic sign changes was discussed. Two residents came to speak on the topic that night and CCX Media recently reported on the changes and why:

Public Works Director Mark Ray took me on a tour last month to review some of the changes and how intersections were evaluated before a change was made. They are also re-purposing signs to replace faded and worn ones around the city. Mark and city staff are monitoring any issues with traffic sign changes. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact him at mark.ray@crystalmn.gov or 763-531-1160.

There are a few restaurant changes occurring around town. Wendy’s closed late fall and “Cajun Ocean” will be moving in. A new Taco Bell will be coming to Crystal Shopping Center this year (in the north parking area of Target), and recently Broadway Pizza closed – we’re working on a new restaurant or business to open there soon.

With not much snow this winter, our outdoor activities are hampered but the skating rinks are in great condition. Check with Crystal Park/Rec to confirm if warming houses are open during sub-zero temperatures. Hopefully more snow will come for better sliding at Valley Place Park! See what other Park/Rec events are offered.

A big welcome to our new City Council members, Therese Kiser (Ward 1) and Brendan Banks (Ward 2) who began their 4-year terms this month. I am honored to begin my third year as your Section 1 city council representative.


Thanks to Beacon Academy’s Student Council members for leading the Pledge of Allegiance and an update at our Jan. 15 council meeting! If your group is interested, please let me or the city know and we’ll arrange it.

Beacon Acedemy

Upcoming Events:

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Bowling Fundraiser: Sunday, Jan. 27, 11am-1pm at New Hope Bowl, followed by lunch and bowling prizes at the Crystal VFW. Only $20 per person, with proceeds helping local military service members and their families. For more info, see BTYR’s Facebook page.

Family Sweetheart Sock Hop: Friday, Feb. 8, 7-8:30pm. Families with kids ages 12 and under can flashback to the 50’s and 60’s. Kidsdance will lead interactive dance, win prizes and more. Visit Park/Rec’s Facebook page for details!

Light of Crystal’s Halfway Happy Hour is Friday, Feb. 15, 5-7:00pm at the Crystal VFW on Bass Lake Road. All are welcome – LoC is an active and diverse group that promotes city pride and community building. Join their Facebook group page here.

Moon Walk: Tuesday, Feb. 19. Ages 8 and older are invited on a special walk (all youth must attend with an adult). Explore the natural world at night. Dress for the weather and walking on snowy and unmaintained trails. Three Rivers Park District staff will guide the walk. Free, but limited space – visit Crystal Park/Rec by Feb. 14 for details and to register.

Stay warm, and enjoy winter events here and around the metro! For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.


January 2018 Update

Happy New Year! Here is a quick roundup of highlights this month:

We had our first snow emergency on Jan. 15, and a big shout out of thanks to public works staff and plow crews for a fast clearing of roads and trails!  I had a chance to thank Jeff as he cleared trails at Valley Place Park.

Snow plow

With the cold also comes broken water mains. We’ve had two so far this year and water is shut off to repair the lines (average is 5 hours). This can affect several homes near the broken main. Click here for contact info if you notice a water main break or sewer back up.

Free Safety Check for Seniors: Get a no-cost home assessment if you’re age 60+ and living in suburban Hennepin County. This check is provided by HOME (Household & Outside Maintenance for Elderly). Call 952-746-4046, email home@seniorcommunity.org or visit their website.

Do you have a neighbor who goes above and beyond – shovels driveways, fixes things, helps with kids? Here’s your chance to reward them: nominate them for our annual Neighbors Recognizing Neighbors award! Winners will receive a gift basket and be recognized at the Crystal Ball on March 24. Click here to nominate them by Feb. 14.

Our Crystal Cub Foods is getting a makeover! The store will be open during remodeling and expected to be finished in May. CCX Media has an update:

Upcoming Events

Quad Community Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is hosting its annual bowling fundraiser on Sunday, Jan. 28 at the New Hope Bowl to help veterans and families in Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope and Robbinsdale. Click here for details

Tickets are on sale now for the 2nd Annual Crystal Ball – Sat., March 24 – a fun night for adults to enjoy live music, dinner and celebrate our community. The R Factor Band is back this year – the best in the Twin Cities! We’ll also be accepting cash and pantry donations for NEAR Food Shelf. Click here for details and to order tickets – purchase for dinner and the music, or just the music.

Suffering from cabin fever? Check out Crystal Recreation’s fun activities for kids and adults! Get more info and register here.

Robbinsdale Area Schools Community Education has more activities! Get details at their website.

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

October Update: Street Cleanup, New Signs, Building Community

Leaves are falling and many neighbors are helping to compost or pick them up. Fall street sweeping is underway in Crystal, and Public Works staff asks to avoid parking on the street during the day when possible and keep trash, recycling and yard waste containers out of the street or gutter on collection day. More on street cleaning:

The old neighborhood signs are being replaced with new signage that is much easier to read. They also highlight our new city flag design — the star’s 14 points represent our 14 neighborhoods.  The signs are paid for from the Economic Development Authority (EDA) fund. City Council is currently discussing updating our city look to help people know where they’re at in Crystal. Blue street signs were recently placed above some street signs to help locate city parks.

Neighborhood signs

This year’s West Metro Fire Open House was another success on Oct. 14 at Station No. 3 in New Hope. Visitors enjoyed demonstrations, fire-related activities, safety and equipment displays from North Memorial, the K-9 Unit and more. Find out more about our fire department here: http://www.wmfrd.org/

(photo by Council Member Jeff Kolb)

On October 14, I joined representatives and staff from area cities for a Blue Line light rail development tour. We visited St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Eden Prairie and Bloomington. Each station is adding customized projects that fit the area for usage, for example Bloomington’s stop near Health Partners had a park area and green space. Others had parking, retail, and housing projects planned. Thanks to Hennepin County and Metro Transit for a very informative tour, along with ideas for Crystal’s proposed station at Bass Lake Road and Cty. Rd 81.

Light rail tour

Crystal is home to many different houses of faith, and I was honored to be invited to Refuge International Ministries’ service October 15 by visiting Bishop Wesley Smith (pictured with me below), who I met in 2013. Refuge International’s Senior Pastor Zephaniah Kaffey serves on the Multicultural Advisory Committee with Crystal PD. MAC meets monthly with police personnel to discuss topics important to their communities, build mutual trust, and open up communication. For more information of Refuge International Ministries (6412 45th Ave. N), call 763-232-3063.

Bishop Smith at Refuge Int'l Ministries

Upcoming Events:

It’s getting colder and daylight is getting shorter, so head over to Crystal Recreation and sign up for fun activities throughout fall and winter! Visit their Facebook page for the latest updates. See all fall recreation offerings in the brochure — view it online.

There are openings on city commissions, including Planning, Community Outreach Task Force, and Environmental Quality. These volunteer positions require just a few hours a month, and it’s a chance for you to have a voice in advising the city. Application deadlines are due Oct. 30 and interviews begin in November. See all open positions here.

New to Crystal or want to get to know your neighbors? Try out a Halfway Happy Hour with Light of Crystal, an active and diverse group that promotes city pride and community building. The next HHH is Wed., Nov. 15 at the Crystal VFW on Bass Lake Rd, beginning at 5:00pm. All are welcome – find out more about LoC here.

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

Enjoy a happy and safe Halloween!

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.