Your shrubs are some type of Taxus sp. As stated above, there is healthy new growth at the tips, so your plant is growing normally.
You could have browning of older needles/leaves simply because Yews will shed old needles annually. There is also something called snow that afflicts Minnesota landscapes every winter. Plants near roof lines often absorb the impact of snow/ice falling from said roofs, which can be damaged and then display this damage as dead wood or broken branches come spring.
There is probably a combination of such things going on here. Observe more of the seasonal occurrences in your landscape, report them here, and then assistance can be more targeted to your needs.