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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
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.
Server Talia Bartley rang up a table at Saint Dinette in St. Paul.

St. Paul Council reportedly would exempt tipped workers from wage ordinance

Lobby group says any $15 minimum wage passed will likely have a tipped-worker exemption.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, right, and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

Mpls., St. Paul mayors eye land sales to fund housing projects

Weeks away from approving multimillion-dollar affordable housing plans, leaders in Minneapolis and St. Paul are still figuring out how to pay for them without raising property taxes.

St. Paul gets 6-month extension on 2040 comprehensive plan

City won't submit its final plan to the Met Council until June.

St. Paul, state of Minnesota to hold job fair to recruit workers

Governments focus on increasing diversity; job fair set for Saturday.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (right) and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter to announce that the Twin Ci

Minneapolis and St. Paul announce new efforts to combat climate change

Minneapolis and St. Paul are among 20 cities receiving support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Bloomberg also called on cities to fight gun violence.
Di Chen, pillar of Minnesota's Chinese community, dies at 89

Di Chen, pillar of Minnesota's Chinese community, dies at 89

In Minnesota, he became a leader in the field of electrical engineering.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown giving his first State of the City address in May.

St. Paul mayor proposes new city office to serve low-income residents

Melvin Carter's budget seeks $333,000 to create a new Office of Financial Empowerment.
The setting sun illuminated the St. Paul skyline, with city hall on the left, as seen from Harriet Island Park.

One step at a time, St. Paul nurturing big downtown dreams

Local government officials are courting startups, planning park improvements, budgeting to rebuild streets and advocating for more transit. Long term, they envision major projects — including new skyscrapers — that would transform the face of the city.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter took a selfie with supporters of a citywide $15 minimum wage outside City Hall on Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

Mayor Melvin Carter joins rally for $15 minimum wage in St. Paul

The proposed ordinance was on the City Council agenda for the first time Wednesday.
Jessica Kingston

Former St. Paul human rights director accused police of sabotaging oversight

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter joins Police Chief Todd Axtell in denying Jessica Kingston's allegations.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown at his State of the City address.

St. Paul Mayor Carter proposes $15 minimum wage, including for tipped workers

The ordinance, which would cover all full-time workers, would be phased in over five to nine years.
The year-end party for Urban Flower Field at Pedro Park in St. Paul in 2016.

St. Paul moves forward with office development, downtown park

Ackerberg Group to help fund St. Paul park, develop building next door.
Travis Temke plans to transform this Fire Station No. 10, into a taproom and coffee shop in St. Paul.

Firehouse buyer in St. Paul defaulted on loan for Faribault brewery

He's now in line for St. Paul loan to buy old firehouse.
Travis Temke plans to transform Fire Station No. 10, which dates from 1885, into a taproom and coffee shop in St. Paul.

Taproom looks to resuscitate historic St. Paul firehouse

W. 7th area of St. Paul seeing development surge.
Rep. John Lesch in a 2015 file photo.

Judge denies Rep. John Lesch's motion to dismiss defamation suit

Judge Frank Magill said Lesch's arguments for dismissing St. Paul City Attorney Lyndsey Olson's case against him weren't sufficient.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

St. Paul City Council sets maximum tax levy hike at 11.5% but says it will be lower

Mayor Melvin Carter asked for the jump in the property tax levy in his first budget.
A photo taken inside Double Dragon Foods by city of St. Paul inspectors on Sept. 18.

Owner appeals after St. Paul closes Double Dragon Foods, condemns building after inspection

St. Paul inspectors found unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
Mayor Melvin Carter watched as Gloria Massey practiced new skills at the Rec Tech Lab at Hallie Q. Brown.

St. Paul opens computer labs at recreation centers

The six "Rec Tech Labs" will offer computer skills classes and certifications.
As in Minneapolis last year, tipped workers in St. Paul — servers, bartenders, baristas — are at odds over whether their tips should count toward

Tipped workers at odds over St. Paul's minimum wage

Rallies in St. Paul drew supporters, opponents of counting tips as wages.
Mayor Melvin Carter announced in a June 27 Facebook post that the city would not put on a July 4 fireworks show.

Carter declined last-minute offers to fund St. Paul fireworks

Mayor Melvin Carter's office declined multiple offers to help pull together a July 4 fireworks display in St. Paul after he announced in late June that the annual event would not happen.
Rick Mickschl, left, and Isaac Stensland inspected work done on an addition at Humboldt High School last week in St. Paul.

As construction booms, St. Paul has backlog of 59K permits

A backlog of nearly 59,000 permits hangs over city's building safety examiners.
Student walk on campus at Macalester College.

St. Paul private colleges fret over $15 minimum wage for work-study students

Private colleges and universities may have to raise tuition to pay students higher wages.
Supporters of the $15 minimum wage for St. Paul rallied in front of Walmart in the Midway area of St. Paul in November.

Citizens League report recommends St. Paul adopt a $15 minimum wage

Support appears strong, but route to setting pay level remains unsettled.
City Clerk Shari Moore swore in Mitra Jalali Nelson in front of her mother, Sooki Jalali, and her campaign manager Garrison McMurtrey.

Mitra Jalali Nelson sworn in as St. Paul City Council member

The 32-year-old will represent the city's Fourth Ward.
In 2016, a year-end party was held for Urban Flower Field at Pedro Park in St. Paul.

Friends of Pedro Park sue St. Paul

A parcel that was to be made into a park was sold.
Under an agreement with the city, 15 trash haulers will each take a portion of St. Paul based on their market share.

Ramsey County judge will hear motion to dismiss St. Paul trash lawsuit

City attorney argued that a citizen misinterpreted Minnesota law in the suit.
A crew from the St. Paul parks and recreation department removed ash trees along Juno Avenue earlier this month in St. Paul.

St. Paul mayor wants to more than double spending to fight emerald ash borer

Even with a funding boost, the Parks Department will likely continue to fall behind on removing ash trees.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

St. Paul eyes taxes, cuts to fill 2019 budget gap

Mayor's new budget calls for 11.5% tax levy increase.
Mitra Nelson has won the Ward 4 race for the St. Paul City Council.

Mitra Jalali Nelson wins St. Paul City Council seat

The 32-year-old is expected to take office in September.
With Lime in St. Paul, riders can pick up and drop off the bikes anywhere, with the use of a smartphone app.

Dockless bikes arrive in St. Paul

There will be 800 bikes for pickup and dropoff anywhere.
St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thao and his attorney Joe Dixon say that Thao didn’t knowingly break the law when he helped a Hmong woman vote in N

Judge hears pre-trial arguments in Dai Thao voting case

Both sides agree council member helped woman vote, but dispute his intent.
Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar, left, and Rashida Tlaib, a congressional candidate in Detroit.

Former Project Veritas staffer crashes Ilhan Omar campaign event in Minneapolis

A campaign event for state Rep. Ilhan Omar was disrupted Saturday night when Laura Loomer, a conservative media personality with a history of attacking Muslims…
Ed Smith

Ed Smith, would-be loner and World War II veteran, dies at 92

Those who knew him describe a man whose life was colored by tragedy from the beginning, but punctuated until the end by moments of grace.
Candidate David Martinez surrounded himself with notes before a St. Paul Ward 4 debate last month began. Beside him are fellow candidates Shirley Erst

Tumultuous St. Paul City Council race reaches the finish line

Both Shirley Erstad and Mitra Nelson have garnered strong support.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter proposed a $606 million city budget for 2019 and an 11.5 percent property tax levy increase.

St. Paul mayor proposes 2019 budget with more money for housing, parks, police investigations

Melvin Carter's first budget includes an 11.5% property tax levy increase.
David Martinez

St. Paul City Council candidate David Martinez arrested over violating protection order

David Martinez, 38, allegedly visited his children's school.
FILE -- A scooter on the sidewalk in downtown San Francisco, April 16, 2018. Doctors and public health workers in San Francisco are preparing to track

A second fleet of electric scooters lands in St. Paul

About a month after Bird arrived without warning, Lime has placed 150 scooters around the city.
Two people walked by as a crew removed ash trees along Juno Avenue last week in St. Paul. “This is really devastating for us,” one resident said.

As emerald ash borer spreads, cities can't plant trees fast enough

St. Paul and Minneapolis have lost tens of thousands of ash trees, and the urban canopy won't be restored for decades.
Candidate David Martinez surrounded himself with notes before the St. Paul Ward 4 debate began Monday. Beside him are fellow candidates Shirley Erstad

St. Paul Fourth Ward forum stays on track after tumultuous few weeks

After a bumpy July and a canceled appearance, the St. Paul candidates tackled issues facing city.
Nelsie Yang, right, and Dan Bostrom

St. Paul City Council campaign begins more than a year before Election Day

The 2019 race for St. Paul City Council got an early start Monday when a community organizer announced her candidacy for the East Side seat held by the council's longest-serving member.
Sean Sherman, the 2018 James Beard award-winning Sioux Chef, showed Tajah Tempest, center, and Saba Andualem how to roll up meatballs at Urban Roots i

From garden to table, Urban Roots teaches teens to grow, cook and love their food

Teen interns in St. Paul learn skills from local chefs that will help them after school – and beyond.
Three Bird scooters at 9th and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis.

St. Paul orders scooters removed from sidewalks until rules adopted next month

A pilot program starting in August will give scooter vendors temporary licenses to operate in the city.
St. Paul City Council President Amy Brendmoen said all council members see housing as a priority.

St. Paul considers a slew of housing policies — including more fourplexes

City Council to explore viability of multiunit buildings amid single-family homes.
David Martinez

St. Paul City Council candidate Martinez released from jail

Martinez has said he will not drop out of the race for St. Paul's 4th Ward seat.
David Martinez

St. Paul candidate forum canceled after jailed candidate says he'll stay in race

The Wednesday evening forum would have included all three candidates for the Fourth Ward seat.
David Martinez

Candidate's behavior, arrest shake up quiet St. Paul City Council race

He denies posting seminude photo of his wife on his website.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown at Johnson High School after giving his first State of the City address.

St. Paul City Hall grapples with hiring — and keeping — women and people of color

Data reveal persistent challenges in closing race and gender gaps.
Sophie Konewko and Megan Albers took two Bird scooters for a ride through downtown Minneapolis.

St. Paul in standoff with company over electric scooters

Bird Rides Inc. dropped the scooters into the Twin Cities without official permission this week, and Minneapolis and St. Paul scrambled to react. St. Paul wants them gone until they can figure out how to regulate them.
David Martinez

St. Paul City Council candidate banned from Target Field for a year

David Martinez, 38, was detained at the stadium after swearing and lunging at a security guard.
iStockphoto.com Teenage hands holding cigarette outdoor.

St. Paul condos voted to go smoke-free; then smokers got on the board

The aftermath of the scuttled smoking ban has pitted neighbor against neighbor at Gallery Tower.

St. Paul offers $500,000 in loans to businesses in poor neighborhoods

The goal is to create jobs.
Inside the George Latimer Central Library overlooking Rice Park and The Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul.

St. Paul City Council candidate banned from libraries for a month after arrest

David Martinez was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct at George Latimer Central Library.

Airbnb launches effort to help St. Paul hosts get licensed

The city and company have teamed to educate hosts about rental regulations.
Rep. John Lesch

Attorney for Rep. John Lesch makes the case for dismissing defamation suit

St. Paul city attorney says legislator attacked her credentials, reputation.
Fallen chunk of concrete forced the closure of the RiverCentre parking ramp.

St. Paul's RiverCentre parking ramp is reopening — slowly

The top level of the downtown St. Paul ramp reopened Thursday.
Protestors for Nationwide Fight for $15 Day of Disruption at a Minneapolis McDonald's. A Minneapolis City Council ordinance kicks in this month that p

St. Paul expected to join Minneapolis with $15 minimum wage

City is expected to follow the lead of Minneapolis, others around country.
Fireworks display over downtown St. Paul in 2008, when they were part of the Taste of Minnesota festival.

St. Paul Mayor Carter snuffs out July 4 fireworks

"The fact of the matter is that we just don't have $100,000 to spend blowing up rockets over our city," he said.
In an interview, St. Mayor Melvin Carter said he’s considering the police chief’s request for 50 new officers alongside other city needs as he cra

St. Paul mayor skeptical about hiring 50 new police officers but not ruling it out

In an interview, Melvin Carter said he's considering the request alongside other city needs as he crafts a budget.
Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. announced Monday that it will develop the site of the former Ford assembly plant in St. Paul.

Ryan Cos. to develop massive former Ford site in St. Paul

The Minneapolis-based company announced Monday that it will work with the city of St Paul on a development plan. It's the latest step toward transforming the 122-acre parcel in the Highland Park neighborhood into a high-density urban village.
The March to Protect Children and Families Wednesday made its way down E. 7th Street in St. Paul toward City Hall.

Despite Trump's reversal, Minn. activists say fight over immigration policies isn't over

The battle of over separating immigrant children from their parents may be over but Minnesota activists and others say the bigger fight over proposed immigration reforms and policies is still on.
Mitra Jalali Nelson

In St. Paul City Council race, Mitra Jalali Nelson attracts donors from outside the city

DFL aide to U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison leads fundraising.
St. Paul leaders think the city doesn’t need any more businesses selling cigarettes and other tobacco products.

St. Paul wants a cap on businesses allowed to sell cigarettes

Proposal is part of effort to reduce tobacco sales.
A man parking his car outside of his home.

St. Paul seeks to simplify hodgepodge of parking rules

A proposed ordinance would apply single set of rules wherever residential parking permits are required.

St. Paul City Council approves U visa ordinance to help immigrant crime victims

The law is intended to support immigrants who have been the victims of crimes.
“We don’t want another ghost bike,” said Tom Basgen, one of the St. Paul residents who’s organizing for safer bike lanes on Summit Avenue. Bas

Fight is on for safer biking on Summit Avenue

Riders, neighbors especially want to improve the busy intersection with Snelling.
St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thao, left, walked with his attorney Joe Dixon, right, from the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center following his he

Attorney for St. Paul Council Member Dai Thao asks for case to be dismissed

Dai Thao did not knowingly break the law, and the case against him violates federal law, his attorney said.
Shirley Erstad, left, and Mitra Nelson.

St. Paul Fourth Ward City Council race reflects a changing DFL

Shirley Erstad and Mitra Nelson are front-runners for the seat, which is open for the first time in 10 years.
The St. Paul skyline, seen from the downtown airport. St. Paul leaders are asking building owners to cut back energy use this summer.

St. Paul asks building owners to cut energy use this summer

The city is working with building owners to track and reduce energy use.
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