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Eric Roper

Reporter | Twin Cities
phone: 612-673-1732
Eric Roper covers the Twin Cities metropolitan area and the Metropolitan Council. He previously covered the city of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Legislature at the Capitol and the state's congressional delegation at the paper's Washington bureau.
Recent content from Eric Roper

Minneapolis nonprofit sues state after grant money is frozen

Funds were part of $35 million package approved in 2016 to address state's racial disparities.

Met Council streamlining sewer hook-up charges

Metropolitan Council aims to ease process for cities, businesses.
The Metropolitan Council’s Seneca wastewater plant in Eagan.

Eagan wastewater plant in line for $19 million in upgrades

Metropolitan Council project will replace old components and reduce emissions.
Nancy Solhaug walked her dogs Charlie, left, and Rocco near her condo at Washington and Park avenues on Tuesday in Minneapolis. Solhaug moved in there

Downtown Minneapolis' appeal is still sky-high for residents

Minneapolis has seen surge in new units, and they're filling fast, driving growth in downtown's population.
Crew 52 volunteers grab dinner during a break on Sunday. (photo by Eric Roper)

As week wraps up, some volunteers already planning for next gig

Though they were wrapping up their final shifts directing crowds and taking photos, some volunteers were already planning for the next gig.
Morris Day & the Time also performed for Super Bowl Live featuring the Revolution, Morris Day & the Time and Sheila E.

Cost of hosting Super Bowl unclear, but NFL demands a lot

A behind-the-scenes effort is underway to cover the costly tab the National Football League will leave behind for the weeklong extravaganza.
An example of a hoarder’s home in Savage that was used in a presentation given to Scott County leaders at a recent meeting.

Scott County takes aim at public health nuisances

Proposed ordinance would follow similar measures in other metro area counties, including Hennepin.
Prices at the NFL Store during Opening Night at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.

Super Bowl splurge: Eye-popping prices for high-rolling fans

From $65 parking to $1,000 caviar or $800 for a night in a Shakopee hotel, the laws of supply and demand are kicking into high gear around the Twin Cities.
The Smell test: Jill Morris, top, with the Foth Cos., adjusted her Nasal Ranger olfactometer.

Smell that? Odor control is daily business in the Twin Cities

New tools, rules help tackle irksome odors across metro.
Super Bowl festivities opened Friday, including a zipline across the Mississippi River. Sporting a Patriots jersey, Paul Studer of Minnetonka dove in.

A zipline neophyte takes the plunge across the Mississippi River

We send our reporter down the zipline, so you don't have to.
Met Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff addresses the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Metropolitan Council at the McNamara Alumni Center on Thursday,

As Met Council turns 50, former chief says governance change 'inevitable'

Former leaders assess its unique regional role.
Super Bowl planners have touted that “more than a million visitors” will be in town for the game. The Super Bowl Host Committee says the “millio

A million Super Bowl visitors or 125,000? Depends whom you count

Super Bowl planners have said that "more than a million visitors" will be in town for the big game in less than two weeks. But most of them aren't who you think.
U.S. Bank Stadium will host Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4. between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Super Bowl ticket prices climb after championships

Tickets on StubHub ranged from $4,800 in an upper corner seat to $66,700 for a spot in the Delta Sky360 Club on StubHub at around midday Monday.
A shared shreet at The Collaborative at 50th and France in Edina.

Met Council grants awarded to cleanup pollution, boost innovative developments

More than $10 million was awarded on Wednesday for development projects.
Donna Ellringer

Donna Ellringer, block club leader and crime fighter in Minneapolis, dies at 60

Her cat-and-mouse crusade with local drug dealers during the 1990s crime wave made her a media spectacle and a thorn in the side of City Hall.
Questions abound about the idea, including over pipe corrosion.

Minneapolis neighborhood could be heated with sewage

Planners are designing a sustainable mini-neighborhood near TCF Bank Stadium.
Traffic surrounds Carver County’s yard waste drop-off site in Chaska. The county is going to relocate the drop-off to a parcel of land beside the Ar

Carver County looks to Minnesota Arboretum land for yard waste site

Neighbors in Chaska are concerned that road can't handle the additional traffic.
St. Paul Mayor-elect Melvin Carter, pictured on Election Day, announced his city department director appointments Friday.

Mayor-elect Melvin Carter announces new St. Paul city department directors

City attorney, planning director and IT manager are among the new faces.
Minneapolis Mayor-Elect Jacob Frey, center, seated, held a community listening session Friday at the Horn Towers public housing complex in Minneapolis

Mpls. residents share with Frey hopes, worries at listen session

Minneapolis residents unloaded their concerns and hopes for the city on Mayor-Elect Jacob Frey at an event Friday, raising an array of topics from housing to police relations.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is drawing up new plans for north Minneapolis parks, including North Commons Park, where kids, pictured abov

Minneapolis park planners want feedback on North Side improvements

The designs are part of an effort to draft new plans for all the city's parks.
Men's skaters take to the course for practice during the Red Bull Crashed Ice 2017: Saint Paul.

Crashed Ice course begins to rise in St. Paul

Workers unloaded scaffolding steel as construction began on the 1,100-foot course.
Some Twin Cities bars will be able to sell alcohol until 4 a.m. during Super Bowl weekend if they get a special permit.

St. Paul joins Minneapolis, Bloomington in offering later Super Bowl bar hours

The state Legislature allowed bars with permits to remain open to 4 a.m. the weekend of the big game.
Workers at the composting center are turning away loads of organics that are tainted by noncompostable matter because so many clean loads come in.

Climbing compost volumes test limits of Twin Cities waste system

Organic compost sites can't keep up; strict rules exacerbate space crunch.
Metro Transit bus driver Deb Sievers was slugged by a 14-year-old girl just over two years ago after asking a group of teenagers not to interfere with

Bus drivers using Super Bowl to boost working conditions

Union is voting this weekend on Met Council's final offer.
Passengers rode the No. 6 bus in 2014. The threat of a Super Bowl without transit loomed over negotiations between the Met Council and transit union m

Transit union leaders recommend approval of contract offer to avert Super Bowl strike

The 2,500 union members, which include bus drivers, mechanics and other Metro Transit staffers, will vote on Sunday and Monday.
Champlin Cemetery has been cleaned up by city order, but some say the place has lost a lot of its character as a result.

Champlin cemetery cleanup draws complaints

Some residents criticize the city for removing grave site decorations.
Messiah Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis opened in 1917, but it is now vacant and in need of costly repairs.

City panel rejects historic protection for Minneapolis church

A City Council panel's vote leaves Messiah Lutheran Church vulnerable to future demolition.
Michael Foods in Chaska, the maker of Simply Potatoes, is the first company to partner with the Metropolitan Council in a loan program aimed at reduci

Met Council to help industrial businesses treat wastewater at the source

The program may be the first of its kind in the nation.
A robot at Dem-Con, on the lookout for cartons, identified different materials passing by on the conveyor belt.

Robot poring through recyclables in Shakopee

Dem-Con is turning to robotics to sort recyclable materials, in part to help fill a labor shortage.
4Marq apartments, on Marquette Avenue, feature a screen over several floors of parking.

New parking ramps could return to Minneapolis, in disguise

City might lift ban on homely stand-alone ramps if they're largely hidden from view.
Phillipe Cunningham reacted to the Ward 4 City Council election results coming in at Corner Coffee on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Cunningham was declared t

Mpls. City Council turnover: Barb Johnson, Quincy, Yang unseated

On the North Side, Phillipe Cunningham unseated Council President Barb Johnson.
Andrea Jenkins hugs a supporter as she won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council on Tuesday. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune)

4 key takeaways from Tuesday's Minneapolis, St. Paul elections

Election Day was significant in both cities this year — for a number of reasons.
Tabulators examine data from ballots cast in the Minneapolis mayoral race on Wednesday, November 8, 2017.

Mpls. mayoral results will be known later today, clerk says

Staff begin untangling ranked-choice preferences among the city's 105,000 ballots.
Workers boarded a charter bus for their commute from Cedar-Riverside in Minneapolis to Amazon in Shakopee.

Low-wage jobs are moving to distant suburbs. How will workers get there?

As low-wage jobs shift out of the cities, some employers use the rides as a way to attract workers from urban areas.
Sand and gravel is scooped up by a front loader, sorted, washed and distributed by Dakota Aggregates in Rosemount.

Twin Cities' gravel needs grow, but there's less of it every day

The region is increasingly reliant on mines in the southeast metro to make our concrete and asphalt, a resource that's a lot cheaper if it's local.
Houses are being constructed on the former Lakeview golf course in Orono, near the northern shore of Lake Minnetonka.

Golf courses give way to new housing amid demand for land

More than 900 acres of golf courses have been redeveloped across the metro.
CalAtlantic Homes' Harvest View and Harvest Commons developments rise on the former Schilling farm in Woodbury. The Schillings farmed the site for mor

Farms and factories fade in burgeoning metro cities

Three suburbs and two central cities led the metro area in the most acres changed to a new land use between 2010 and 2016. Here's which ones, and why.
Jason Gehrke of Albrecht Signs installed new signs at 8th and Nicollet along the Nicollet Mall, Friday, October 13, 2017 in Minneapolis, MN.

Barricades are being removed on south end of Nicollet Mall

The mall's new design elements are also starting to take shape, from tree plantings and new seating areas to a mirrored "light walk" between 6th and 7th streets.
Brenda Higgins, owner of HealthSource Chiropractic in Hopkins, poses with “Lux,” a skeleton aimed at attracting a little lighthearted attention to

Hopkins project adds novelty to Mainstreet storefronts

The city hopes 'Friendly Fronts' program proves popular with downtown pedestrians.
Melisande Charles

Obituary: Melisande Charles helped breathe life into Minneapolis' Warehouse District

Minneapolis got more than a bureaucrat when it hired Melisande Charles to lead its new arts commission. It got a whole new neighborhood.
Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Center Facility Manager Ryan Tritz stands in front of a truck loaded with refuse-derived fuel, the final product

East metro trash will be trucked to county-owned facility in Newport

Ramsey, Washington county haulers will be required to truck garbage to Newport facility.
St. Paul mayoral candidate Elizabeth Dickinson, left, chats with Stuart Schmitz outside his home. “I’m the only Green. … What makes me the most

St. Paul mayoral candidate Elizabeth Dickinson envisions a greener city

Third-party hopeful fights for sustainable energy, eco-minded jobs and industry.
A sign indicating the location of a future road near a housing development in Woodbury.

Woodbury ruling may shift road development costs to taxpayers

A developer sued Woodbury over a fee to pay for roads outside a new subdivision and won, a ruling that could affect development across the metro area.
Obstacles on the course at Schaper Park include nets, suspended bags and other American Ninja-type challenges.

Golden Valley debuts Minnesota's first playground 'challenge course'

The city debuted the state's first such timed obstacle course and a new accessible playground.
Jonathan Stalls and Gosia Kung led a group through downtown St. Paul on their way to dinner, after a day at the National Walk Summit.

Wear comfortable shoes: St. Paul hosts national conference for walkers

The national event focuses on the issues facing pedestrians in the U.S. and included a number of tours around the Twin Cities.
VSI engineers Matthew Linder, 24, left, and Amok Vagad, 22, demonstrated a level 2 self-driving car Friday at the VSI event in St. Louis Park. The car

Driverless future gets put to the test at St. Louis Park event

Legislators, academics and tech experts gathered to talk self-driving cars.
“The reason that we were interested in undertaking this is we had a change — a pretty big change,” said City Council President Russ Stark, shown

Citizens League recommends St. Paul explore nonprofit donations to city budget

Recommendation follows ruling that derailed city's street maintenance assessments.
Crowds packed the streets Monday, the last day of the 2017 Minnesota State Fair.

State Fair could hit 2 million in attendance for first time

Before Labor Day's large, merry crowd, which isn't counted until today, this year's total attendance was 1,826,021 — just 117,698 fair-lovers away from reaching a new high.
New Met Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff met with Anoka County Board members Wednesday as part of her tour of the Twin Cities.

New Met Council chair sits down with Anoka County Board, which has fought for more control

The visit by Alene Tchourumoff was part of her tour of the Twin Cities.
A pre-1920s shot of Block 27, seen looking south on Chestnut from the city’s former City Hall.

Chaska considers a pedestrian-friendly vision for downtown block

The city is hiring a consultant to begin sketching a vision for City Square West in downtown.
A sanitary exhaust vent atop a flat-roofed building, pictured during smoke testing, which can’t be spotted easily from the ground.

Minneapolis to launch drones to survey sewer problems

The city is experimenting with the technology as part of its annual smoke testing of the sewers.
An aerial photo of Woodbury Drive, near its intersection with Lake Road. Woodbury charges developers a “major roadway assessment” fee to help cove

Legal fight over Woodbury fees could echo across Twin Cities area

At issue is whether developers or taxpayers should bear the brunt of road projects that are needed to accommodate growth but are located outside of a new subdivision. "This is a landmark case," the executive director of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities says.
Rendering of the proposed pavillion area at the Water Works park, alongside the Stone Arch Bridge.

Riverfront overhaul for Water Works park gets underway in Minneapolis

Demolition will begin next month on the former Fuji-Ya restaurant site.
Still recovering from the death of her brother, who passed last year of cancer, May Seng Cha held a photo of her sister Mai Yer, at her home, Thursday

Fatal stabbing puts safety at downtown Mpls. parking ramps in the spotlight

Before the killing of Mai Yer Cha, parking areas near Target Field had seen a spike in violence.
Alene Tchourumoff is sworn in by Gov. Mark Dayton as the new head of the Metropolitan Council on Monday.

Dayton: New Met Council Chairwoman Alene Tchourumoff must 'bring people together'

But challenges abound as Alene Tchourumoff becomes the regional agency's new leader.
The creators of “Olli,” an autonomous bus, have submitted a bid to the Minnesota Department of Transportation to test it in Minnesota. Local Motor

Minnesota planners begin to envision driverless future

Minnesota is starting to confront what promises to be the biggest shift in urban living since cars arrived a century ago.
Food waste was added to a hopper for mixing with yard waste at Organics Recycling Development in Rosemount. A decade after Hennepin County began pilot

Hennepin Co. considers requiring curbside organics recycling

The plan would divert food waste away from landfills and garbage burners.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges struggles to explain her decision at a City Hall news conference disrupted by protesters on Friday.

Minneapolis police chief resigns; protesters shout down mayor

Protesters interrupted Mayor Betsy Hodges' news conference at City Hall. Earlier, Hodges said she would name Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo to replace Janeé Harteau, who resigned.

Met Council set to dole out $4 million to clean polluted sites

Most projects receiving funds are in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Minneapolis housing inspector Joshua Rudlong tested a smoke alarm in a rental property he was inspecting on Irving Avenue N. in June 2006.

Minnesota Supreme Court rules against challenge to rental property inspections

The justices ruled routine city inspections don't violate renters' privacy.

Minneapolis Republicans endorse six candidates for city elections

They are seeking seats on the City Council and Park Board.
A fresh load of organic food waste is dumped into a mixing bin to begin the process of creating compost.

Mpls. curbside composting yields less waste than expected

Minneapolis residents eagerly participated in the first year of the city's new organics recycling program — the largest of its kind in the metro — but so far they're tossing less than anticipated in the green curbside bins.
Rosedale Chevrolet salesman David Troy showed a Chevy Bolt electric vehicle to interested customers Van and Sue Gooch.

Minnesota mulls new infrastructure for likely electric-car surge

Still a novelty in the state, electric vehicles are poised at the edge of the mainstream with the coming release of several more affordable models boasting lengthy ranges.
Gordon Voss, shown in 1980, is perhaps best known as the namesake of the “Voss report,” still published by the Minnesota Department of Revenue, wh

Gordon Voss, who represented Blaine in the Minnesota House, dies in crash

Voss, a DFLer who represented Blaine in the House for 15 years, died June 21 in a Wayzata car crash. He was 79.
Tim Steinbeck, director of Great River Energy's Elk River Resource Processing Plant and Recovery Station, peered into a boiler burning trash to genera

Landfills sue state over push to burn more garbage

Major trash firms challenge the push to burn waste for energy instead of landfill burial.
In Edina, the Southdale area has seen parking lots give way to apartments — with more proposed. “We’re done with the horizontal and looking at t

Twin Cities metro's outward sprawl slowed following recession

Met Council survey finds greater density and more apartments in urban areas.
Minneapolis’ ordinance that bars landlords from discriminating against tenants using Section 8 vouchers goes in

Landlords sue Mpls. over anti-discrimination law

The ordinance is slated to go into effect next year.
Adam Duininck, chairman of the Metropolitan Council since 2015, said he will step down from the position next month.

Chairman Duininck to leave Met Council; Tchourumoff appointed to top post

Tchourumoff has been the state's rail director.
Maryrose Dolezal and Roya Moltaji, right, danced to Van Morrison's "Moondance" after drinks on the rooftop with friends who live at the A-Mill Artist

Minneapolis, St. Paul gain larger slice of metro population

For the first time in a century, the central cities' share of the metro area's population is on pace to grow instead of shrink, a stunning reversal that long seemed unlikely. And the shift is most noticeable in the downtowns.
David Hewitt is the newest director of Minneapolis and Hennepin County’s Office to End Homelessness.

Office to End Homelessness in Hennepin County gets a new leader

David Hewitt ready to take over joint efforts with Minneapolis.
Minneapolis is considering regulations for short-term rentals. Douglas Beasley, a fine-art photographer and photo workshop instructor, is among the Ai

Minneapolis considers regulations for short-term rentals like Airbnb

City would follow St. Paul's lead ahead of next year's Super Bowl.
Officials investigate the scene where a pedestrian was struck and killed by a car on Hennepin Avenue near 8th Street in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Februa

House arrest, probation for driver convicted of tougher charge in pedestrian crash

A jury convicted Jake Mattern of a gross misdemeanor in the death of Rachel David.
Workers at Dem-Con’s recycling center in Shakopee raced to remove non-recyclable items before they enter the sorting machines.

Be sure to recycle, not 'wish-cycle'

A group of recyclers, waste haulers, and city, county and state officials has been meeting for the past year to develop clearer and more consistent guidelines for the public about what's acceptable to toss in curbside recycling bins — and what's not.
Oak Grove Mayor Mark Korin showed a 2.5-acre parcel that was under construction in March in Oak Grove.

Budget bill could invite more challenges of Met Council's regional plans

Legislature has for first time redesignated land in the Met Council's regional plans.
Grain Belt sign Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Historic Grain Belt Beer sign ready to light up Mpls. riverfront

Restoration project just needs city's approval to go forward.
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