On a sunny Thursday morning in early April – that one day the sun was out, before it snowed again and then again – I drove up to a quiet neighborhood in South Minneapolis. On the corner a well-kept three story apartment building stood among the single family homes on the rest of the block. I met Mayor Murphy on the sidewalk just outside the building and, after being buzzed through the security door, we went up half flight of stairs.

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For years I have heard predictions that the two District 281 high school hockey teams would combine. My friends with kids in the Armstrong/Cooper Youth Hockey Association have seen this coming for many years, and have been discussing and arguing when it would eventually happen. It seems the time has arrived. The number of players continues to drop and the school district has been holding meetings concerning how to combine the two programs for the 2014⁄2015 school year.

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My wife walked in the door and before she even set down the shopping bags asked “What’s going on at 35th and Grimes, right by Tim’s house?” As much as I like to think I know everything, I was at a loss this time. As she described the police cars, ambulance and crime scene tape the concern and questions immediately started. And knowing the speed of Facebook, Twitter and the old fashioned grapevine I headed out to see if I could get some info before the news hit and the rumors started.

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Police Chief

The news about the police chief today is beyond surprising. Shocking doesn’t even describe it very well. The council was told that the chief of police Steve Smith offered his resignation to the city manager this morning, and she accepted. We did not receive any additional information. Fortunately Robbinsdale has extremely qualified leadership from Captain Jim Franzen who will step in and lead the department as interim Chief. The police will continue to operate at the high level we all expect.

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My mom loves to walk along Crystal Lake whenever she can, moving her routine inside only after the temperature falls too far and the snow piles too high. She’ll get out a couple times a day in the summertime, and then let me know about all the people she ran into, how pretty the lake looks and all the ducks and geese she sees along the way. It was one of the things that made the move to Robbinsdale easier for her, and the thing she likes the best about her new home.

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I talk to a lot of people about Robbinsdale – co-workers primarily, but lots of other folks too. My family is pretty tired of it actually, but I never hesitate to ask people if they have been to one of our great restaurants, Hackenmueller’s, or any number of the other fantastic places in town. My informal poll has told me two things – anyone that has been here loves our downtown, and our city pride is well known.

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Shop Robbinsdale!

Being an engaged citizen of Robbinsdale, I am certain you are aware that the City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month. And after the first meeting of each month, the council has been holding a regular work session. Work session’s differ from regular Council meetings in a number of ways – they are far less formal than regular meetings for one, and they allow council members to discuss ideas or concerns that may have popped up, but don’t require “official” action like a new ordinance or approval of funding.

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Pat Backen

The People, Issues and events of Robbinsdale

Council Member and Software Engineer

Robbinsdale MN