Neighbors of Note

We asked readers to nominate people in the community for our inaugural Neighbors of Note feature. Thanks to all who sent in nominations highlighting the work of these special people in our community. They deserve our praise, especially since their work often flies under the radar. Happy holidays to everyone in Journal land! We so appreciate your support and wish you a wonderful 2012. Here are the stories of this year’s Neighbors of Note, as told by their nominators.

Bob Crook // Nominated by Julie Kendrick

I’d like to nominate Bob Crook and his team at Lehman’s Garage as a Neighbor of Note.

Over many years of less-than-fortunate car ownership, Bob has cared for my clunkers with wisdom, prudence and good sense. He often provides a ‘just as good’ workaround option for me, when a full-budget solution reduces me to tears. He provides gentle education to address my complete automotive stupidity, and he seems to take a genuine delight in my freaky car decor (I’m that green VW Beetle with the polka dots and dashboard grotto). I can’t say that I’m ever happy to spend my money on car repairs, but I always know that I am working with a trusted professional when I take ‘Dottie’ in for a visit with Bob.

Julie Cohen // Nominated by Zack Farley

Julie is worthy of this honor because she has (and continues) to put tireless energy and effort toward caring for our Uptown community. From her superior service on the CARAG Neighborhood board for two years, to her continuing role in leading the Neighborhood Livability & Engagement Committee and to her seemingly never-ending volunteer efforts throughout the Uptown area, her dedication to our city is relentless and admirable. Julie is always the first to raise her hand to take on yet another project. Julie goes above and beyond pretty much anyone else in southwest Minneapolis to make sure her community is one we can continue to love and enjoy.

Notable efforts as of late include organizing a Community Kickball Game, visiting all 13 National Night Out block parties in the CARAG neighborhood, organizing a Kids of CARAG Car Wash (raising money for the neighborhood), planning a Midtown Greenway Clean-Up, volunteering at the Hennepin-Lake Community Wine Tasting. … I could go on for a while. If there is an event that has taken place in the CARAG neighborhood over the last two-plus years, you can bet Julie Cohen was a part of its execution and success. To sum up: JULIE does a LOT for this area and I believe she deserves great recognition for stepping up time and time again. It is ALL volunteer time and she commits this time out of love for our great city. She deserves our praise.

Justin Eibenholzl // Nominated by Jennifer Gisslen Lee

Justin Eibenholzl of the Armatage neighborhood has worked as environmental coordinator for the Southeast Como neigborhood in Minneapolis for over 10 years. Through his collaborative work for Como, he has been able to accomplish significant environmental results that benefit all of us that live and work in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding communities.

He was an instrumental member of the Clean Energy Now campaign to convert the Xcel Riverside plant (and others in the metro) from coal to natural gas. He has been working for several years in partnership with others concerned about the health and environmental impacts of garbage burning at the HERC incinerator in downtown Minneapolis.

He was the lead staff in securing three “Good Neighbor Agreements” with Rock-Tenn, Greatbatch Globe Tool and Ritrama to significantly reduce air emissions from their plants in the city.

Because of Justin’s work, SECIA and the three companies received a Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention in 2008.

Justin came up with the idea of creating a bulk purchase program for solar thermal systems and worked with Innovative Power Systems to get 17 systems installed in Minneapolis and St. Paul by 2007. He was the project creator and lead staff for Como’s Move-in/Move-out Neighborhood Free Store pilot program in 2010 and 2011, which served SE residents and University of Minnesota students.

In addition to all of these specific accomplishments, Justin has served as an important resource for many neighborhood associations, elected officials and city staff on environmental issues over the years.
I would like to nominate the librarians of Walker Library. We go to the library all the time, and no matter when we go or what we do there, the librarians are always friendly and helpful. Sandra, the children’s librarian, is especially wonderful. The children’s programs that they put on that are free and open to the public are always engaging and cover a huge variety of topics from building with Legos, learning about spiders or juggling. It seems every trip to the library provides some sort of treasure or surprise: a book, a DVD, the chance to learn something new, a craft, a museum pass or even tickets to the State Fair.

Librarians at Walker Library in Uptown // Nominated by Wendy Auldrich

Whenever I go to pick up books they are well organized and easy to find, and I doubt that’s an easy job. If I ever need a recommendation or help finding a book on a specific topic they seem happy to stop what they are doing and provide assistance. The library would still be a boon to the neighborhood with less welcoming people working there, but the fact that they consistency provide the level of customer service they do, makes me think of the Walker Library as one of the most valuable assets of our neighborhood. Thank you.