Staff Directory 261800211

Emma Nelson

Reporter | Minneapolis
Phone: 612-673-4509
Location: St. Paul City Hall
Other languages: Spanish

St. Paul reporter Emma Nelson joined the Star Tribune in 2014, and has covered local government beats from Scott and Dakota counties to Minneapolis City Hall. She has also been part of reporting teams that covered the aftermath of the Norwood Teague sexual harassment scandal and the death of Prince.


A St. Paul native, Nelson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism. She plays violin and acoustic guitar, and in college recorded an album that no-one is allowed to listen to. She lives in the Corcoran neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Recent content from Emma Nelson
City Council Member Kassim Busuri, left, was sworn in by City Clerk Shari Moore at St. Paul City Hall on Feb. 6, 2019 in St. Paul. Busuri, a local edu

St. Paul council member asks for 'compassion' after release of anti-gay comments

St. Paul Council member asks for compassion over old remarks against gays.

Former leaders of St. Paul police watchdog group ask NAACP to step in

They said the NAACP and community members must ask for changes to police oversight in St. Paul.

St. Paul approves long-term plan with more density

The City Council approved the 2040 Comprehensive Plan unanimously.
Five St. Paul police officers were fired after allegedly failing to stop an assault by a former St. Paul officer, Tou Cha, at Checkerbar Food & Liquor

Lawyer for ex-cop says evidence on fired officers wasn't provided

Tou Cha's lawyer says the Ramsey County Attorney's Office should have told him a probe of the five St. Paul officers was happening as he was negotiating a plea deal for his client.
Hennepin Co. officials, HCMC to hold closed-door session

Hennepin Co. officials, HCMC to hold closed-door session

The meeting comes days after the Star Tribune reported that the hospital continued to sedate people with ketamine and collect data for a study months after hospital leaders said they would halt their research.
Five St. Paul police officers were fired after allegedly failing to stop an assault by a former St. Paul officer, Tou Cha, at an East Side bar he owns

St. Paul chief broke law detailing officers' firings, union says

Axtell criticized for discussing details of officer firings
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell announced the firing of five police officers for failing to intervene in an assault last year.

Five St. Paul police officers fired for failing to stop assault

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell declined to go into specifics about the incident, citing data privacy laws. He called it "an ugly day in our department's history."
Hillcrest opened as a municipal golf course in 1921. Steamfitters Pipefitters Local 455 bought the East Side property in 2011 and closed the golf club

St. Paul Port Authority to buy former golf course site on East Side

St. Paul Port Authority seeks to issue $10M in bonds to buy Hillcrest.

St. Paul police watchdog group says complaints were withheld

A recently released report by the St. Paul misconduct investigators identifies serious problems.

St. Paul to fill seats on police oversight commission

Three people have now resigned from the group.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter as he addressed a recent summit put on by the St. Paul's Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission.

St. Paul police oversight leaders resign, saying officials didn't support work

In a letter, they outlined concerns about Mayor Melvin Carter's leadership and support of their work.
Vincent Keahna

Vietnam-era veteran Vincent Keahna, who held fast to American Indian tradition, dies at 82

A member of the Meskwaki Nation, Keahna is remembered as a talented fancy dancer and a man who earned the regard of those who knew him.
St. Paul workers who’ve filed complaints with the city about Earned Sick and Safe Time violations at their workplaces and organizers demonstrated re

St. Paul lifeguard accuses city of violating its own labor rules

Benjamin Smith says the city didn't inform him of his right to paid sick days.
Gary Unger, a member of the local district council board, is among the East Side residents who want to see the former golf course developed. The pollu

City of St. Paul may buy former Hillcrest Golf Club after pollution discovered

Study found mercury from fungicides in the soil at the former East Side course.

St. Paul to investigate after learning of unlicensed short-term rental platform

TripAdvisor has hundreds of rental listings but no permit as the city requires.
MJ Capers, 16, a former employee of Burger King who has filed a complaint with the city, wiped away tears while speaking during a demonstration at St.

Workers call on St. Paul to beef up enforcement of sick time rules

Sympathetic City Council members say the city needs to do more to ensure compliance
City Council Member Kassim Busuri, left, was sworn in by City Clerk Shari Moore at St. Paul City Hall in February.

St. Paul Council Member Kassim Busuri loses some council responsibilities

The interim council member was removed from a public safety work group.
Interim City Council Member Kassim Busuri, seen in February, joined the Ward Six race last week, despite an earlier pledge not to seek the seat.

Interim council member's Ward 6 candidacy shakes up St. Paul City Hall

Praise and outrage follow interim City Council member's pursuit of seat.
Jim and Bonnie Berquist and son Mike at their old office — Mike’s new one —in Inver Grove Heights.

St. Paul organized trash system's start was their end, longtime hauler says

Once, they knew all their customers. Now, Ken Berquist & Son Disposal has been folded into Houston-based Waste Management.
City Council Member Kassim Busuri, left, was sworn in by City Clerk Shari Moore at St. Paul City Hall in February.

Interim St. Paul council member who promised not to run now says he will

Now some council members are calling for the resignation of Kassim Busuri.
Officer Benny Williams

Longtime St. Paul police officer who worked as mayor's bodyguard dies at 59

Officer Benny Williams joined the St. Paul Police Department in 1992.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown in 2018, announced the creation of a housing trust fund last year as part of his first budget.

St. Paul's affordable housing efforts come into focus

A new $10 million trust fund aims to make renting, buying more affordable.
Over the weekend, delegates endorsed Council President Amy Brendmoen, left, in the Fifth Ward and Council Member Jane Prince in the Seventh Ward at th

Council members Amy Brendmoen, Jane Prince garner St. Paul DFL endorsement

Party's ward conventions over the weekend give a boost to the incumbents.
Victor Hernandez of Highland Park purchased $40 of pulltabs from Kianna Tichy in March at Skinner's Bar in St. Paul.

St. Paul to steer charitable gambling revenue to low-income youth

To qualify for funds, programs must show they serve youth in need.
St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thao (Star Tribune file)

St. Paul DFLers endorse Council Member Dai Thao

Two challengers walked out of the convention, saying it was unfair.
The water had been shut off a few times in the 20-plus years that Tammy Soler owned this house on Magnolia Ave. E. in St. Paul. When a condemnation no

Failing to pay water bills can get your house condemned in St. Paul

A few days after a resident's water is shut off, the city sends a condemnation notice.
A strong westerly wind kicked up snow Sunday afternoon drifting it over area roads and parking lots. A St. Paul resident used a snow blower in an atte

St. Paul asks residents to weigh in on alley plowing

The capital city has never plowed alleys, and is asking residents whether that should change.
The exterior of Common Good Books, the book store owned by Garrison Keillor on Snelling Ave. at Grand Ave. in St. Paul Wednesday afternoon.

Garrison Keillor's bookstore in St. Paul gets new owner, name

St. Paul native Nick Ballas has bought the store at Snelling and Grand avenues and renamed it Next Chapter Booksellers.
Dozens of St. Paul residents are fighting their first garbage bills under the city’s new organized collection system.

St. Paul residents turn out at City Hall to fight trash bills

Some residents have opted not to pay their bills as a form of protest against the city's new organized collection system.
"We are going to build this community together," St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said as he addressed Tuesday night's summit.

St. Paul police oversight board tries to turn a page as misconduct findings rise

Clunky transition has review committee working to gain trust of St. Paul residents.
More than half of St. Paul’s public works budget for organized trash collection in 2019 will go toward paying residents’ delinquent bills. St. Pau

St. Paul tallies up millions in delinquent trash bills

Many who oppose city hauling aren't paying.
A Green Line light-rail train waited for passengers at the U.S. Bank Stadium station. The Green Line has run 24 hours a day, but a proposal is looking

Metro Transit may cut late-night Green Line service during week

The transit agency's proposal would cut service between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. weekdays.
St. Paul City Council Member Rebecca Noecker, whose ward includes downtown, is sponsoring the proposal.

St. Paul moves to loosen rules on bars near churches and downtown schools

A public hearing will take place Wednesday at City Hall.
Mayor Melvin Carter called on all the neighborhood kids at the grand opening to cut the big ribbon with the big scissors. On the left, Senator Foung H

'This is not April Fools': St. Paul celebrates rec center's revival

Residents of the area, along with their elected officials, pushed the city to bring parks and recreation programs back to Highwood Hills, which was shuttered in 2008. The major turning point came in August, when Carter announced he was allocating $200,000 in his 2019 budget for Highwood Hills.
Pedestrians in St. Paul came out to view the flooding at Harriet Island Regional Park and the flowing Mississippi River on Monday afternoon.

Mississippi River flood fight could cost St. Paul $750,000

Public works crews have built the barriers along the Mississippi River downtown.
Sara Hunter, a St. Paul public housing resident who was nearly evicted in January because of a cockroach infestation that she was unable to fix, said

Twin Cities metro cities try carrot, stick to deal with hoarding, avoid evictions

As city and county officials enforce codes designed to keep residents safe, they often confront mental and physical disabilities, aging and poverty.
John Kuester, Elk River school board member

Organizer John Kuester, 78, who helped tackle rural and community issues, has died

John Kuester knew how to keep calm. Whether he was attending a big community meeting or sitting around a dining room table, Kuester would often…
Harriet Island flooding in June 2014 in St. Paul.

St. Paul braces for Mississippi River flooding with emergency declaration

The City Council approved Mayor Melvin Carter's emergency declaration.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter used his annual address to detail a slew of public safety initiatives, while also celebrating the successes of his first

St. Paul mayor announces public safety plans in State of Our City address

Melvin Carter detailed a slew of public safety initiatives — some underway and some yet to begin.
A fallen chunk of concrete forced the closure of the RiverCentre parking ramp in May 2018.

St. Paul to pay $300,000 for consultants on RiverCentre parking ramp

City officials must decide whether to salvage the aging RiverCentre ramp or tear it down.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter to give State of Our City address

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter will deliver his second State of Our City address Thursday evening. The address is part of the State of Our…
In 2016, students gathered at Wells Fargo Family Plaza in downtown St. Paul for the 16th annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival.

Ambassadors, events will liven up downtown St. Paul this summer

A Downtown Alliance pilot program will fund staff, activities and beautification efforts downtown.
(Clockwise) St. Paul City Council members Rebecca Noecker, Mitra Jalali Nelson and Chris Tolbert won DFL endorsements on Sunday.

'This is just the beginning': St. Paul DFL backs 3 for City Council

Mitra Jalali Nelson, Rebecca Noecker and Chris Tolbert won the party's nod Sunday.
St. Paul DFL caucuses are planned for Sunday afternoon, followed immediately by conventions, in three wards where only incumbents are seeking the part

St. Paul council candidates head into DFL caucuses, conventions

City Council incumbents seek party endorsement.
A Caesar salad prepared at Cossetta last month in St. Paul.

St. Paul bans takeout containers that can't be recycled or composted

Restaurants will have until 2021 to comply with the policy.
Victor Hernandez of Highland Park purchased $40 of pulltabs Wednesday at Skinner's Bar in St.Paul.

St. Paul considers restricting gambling proceeds for low-income youth

City officials want money to go to youth living in areas of concentrated poverty.
A Ramsey County corrections officer is seen in bodycam video punching and kneeing a prisoner who is restrained.

New video shows Ramsey County jailer punching, kneeing handcuffed prisoner

Travis VanDeWiele pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and resigned.
Hundreds attended the MN Gun Owners Caucus Defend the Second Amendment rally at Capitol on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Hundreds rally at Minnesota Capitol against proposed gun-control laws

A House committee will hear two gun control bills Wednesday.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown in 2018, said in an interview said his “community-first” public safety approach encompasses a wide range of po

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter's record on police reform disappoints advocates

The first-term St. Paul mayor defended his commitment to improving public safety.
St. Paul's Carter, council challenge Minneapolis leaders to a snowball fight

St. Paul's Carter, council challenge Minneapolis leaders to a snowball fight

The East vs. West snowball fight is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Cossetta, on West 7th, uses black plastic containers that would be banned under the new rule. Owner Dave Cossetta said that will add to his costs.

St. Paul restaurants brace for restrictions on takeout containers

Following the lead of two neighbors, St. Paul is expected to approve ban on nonrecyclable containers.
City Council Member Kassim Busuri, left, was sworn in by City Clerk Shari Moore at St. Paul City Hall, Wednesday, February 6, 2019 in St. Paul, MN. Bu

St. Paul has its first Somali-American City Council member

Kassim Busuri, a youth educator, was sworn in Wednesday at City Hall.
St. Paul principal city planner Lucy Thompson, center, shown in 2015. “Now people are telling us, ‘We want you to go farther, to be even bolder,�

St. Paulites call for more aggressive 2040 plan

Some push for density, affordable housing policies.

Buyer of troubled St. Paul parking ramp was FBI informant on Chicago corruption

Capital City Plaza Parking Ramp is being sold after failing to make enough money to pay the debt used to build it.
St. Paul Superintendent Joe Gothard, left, and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

St. Paul, Ramsey Co., school district cancel data-sharing deal over fears of racial profiling

Some feared program would unfairly profile "at-risk" youth.

St. Paul City Council stalls Concordia's purchase of a Midway building

St. Paul officials worry about losing tax revenue.
St. Paul City Council Member Dan Bostrom in 2015.

St. Paul City Council chooses East Side educator to fill interim seat

Kassim Busuri will serve until the end of 2019, filling the seat vacated last year by Dan Bostrom.
Minnesotans seen voting on Election Day 2018.

Appeals court deals setback to citizen push for even-year elections in St. Paul

Court upholds ruling that St. Paul petition fell short of required signatures.
Dan Bostrom's exit from the St. Paul City Council has created the need for an interim council member.

Seven finalists seeking interim St. Paul City Council seat

St. Paul residents seeking to fill the Sixth Ward City Council seat recently vacated by Dan Bostrom will make their case at City Hall on…

St. Paul residents call for more aggressive 2040 Comp Plan

Speakers at Friday's public hearing said they want more housing density and transit.
Halle Martin, 22, a student at Concordia University, looked for a book at the Rondo Community Library in St. Paul on Monday afternoon.

St. Paul library late fees scrapped

Patrons in St. Paul no longer have to pay late fees, and the policy gets rave reviews.
Nancy Przymus, from right, holds a sign against the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, as her neighbor Blue Delliquanti holds a Neighbors for More Neighbors sig

After success with Mpls. 2040 plan, Neighbors for More Neighbors pops up in St. Paul

East-metro members say they want to influence planners and policymakers in the way that Minneapolis advocates did last year.
Eckerly

Cedar-Riverside activist Eunice Eckerly dies at 80

Eunice Eckerly talked to everyone she met. And, more important, she listened. “She would ask questions and find out what the person was like. She…
A small detail depicting a white frontiersman and an American Indian from one of the four murals in the St. Paul City Council Chambers painted in 1933

St. Paul leaders move forward on new murals for City Hall

City leaders say the 1930s works of art do not reflect the community today.
(Top left to right, clockwise) St. Paul City Council Members Mitra Jalali Nelson, Rebecca Noecker, Amy Brendmoen, Jane Prince and Dai Thao are all see

'There's a lot we'd like to see finished': Majority of St. Paul City Council seeking re-election

Every City Council seat is up for a vote in 2019, and Dan Bostrom is retiring.
After winning approval of his first budget, Mayor Melvin Carter says he’s looking ahead to next year.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter: $600M budget has to deliver

A double-digit property tax levy increase has raised anxiety and the pressure on City Hall.
St. Paul City Council Member Dan Bostrom in 2015

St. Paul City Council's Bostrom to step down, opening East Side seat

Dan Bostrom announced his retirement at the close of Wednesday's meeting.
The new St. Paul police hires included in the 2019 budget approved Wednesday by the City Council will expand the force from 626 to 635 sworn officers,

St. Paul City Council approves budget that expands police force, despite opposition

Dozens of residents had spoken out against hiring additional officers.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter giving his first State of the City address in May.

St. Paul Council, mayor agree on budget with a double-digit tax levy hike

A typical St. Paul homeowner will pay $67 more in property taxes in 2019, under the budget deal expected to pass next week.
Allianz Field, shown in October. St. Paul City Council members and neighborhood leaders are calling on Minnesota United to pay into a “community ben

Allianz Field neighbors call on Minnesota United to bankroll community fund

Local leaders, businesses want Minnesota United to contribute to the area.
City Council President Amy Brendmoen said the murals reflect a perspective that is “really very white and very male.”

St. Paul, Ramsey County rethink 1930s 'very white and very male' murals at City Hall

The four murals from the 1930s depicting a voyageur, a steamboat captain, a railroad surveyor and a laborer.
As the push for a $15-an-hour minimum wage spreads, local leaders and businesses in other Minnesota cities are paying attention.

$15 minimum wage fight sets sights on all of Minnesota

After success in St. Paul and Minneapolis, battle expands to rest of state.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter smiled after signing the $15 minimum wage ordinance.

St. Paul City Council passes $15 minimum wage, and mayor signs it

St. Paul joined a growing number of local governments across the country that have decided to exceed state and federal minimums.
Supporters of the $15 minimum wage for St. Paul rallied in front of Walmart in the Midway area of St. Paul last year.

St. Paul expected to pass $15 wage this week, sans tipped-worker exemption

The St. Paul City Council is expected to follow in Minneapolis' footsteps Wednesday and approve a citywide $15 minimum wage without an exemption for tipped workers.
Supporters of the $15 minimum wage for St. Paul rallied in front of Walmart in the Midway area in November of last year.

St. Paul City Council hears passionate testimony on $15 minimum wage

St. Paul City Council discussion centers on who will receive it, and when.
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