What’s making news in St. Paul, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to richard.meryhew@startribune.com.

Posts about People and neighborhoods

Summer sports registration in St. Paul closes March 31

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: March 30, 2015 - 12:08 PM

 

According to the City of St. Paul, there's still time to register for youth summer sports -- but not much time. Registration closes on Tuesday, March 31.

Click the links below to learn more about our summer sports programs.

=============

Summer Sports

 

RBI Baseball

 

Nearball

T-Ball

Parent Child T-Ball

 

RBI Slow Pitch Softball

RBI Fast Pitch Softball

Lacrosse

==========================For more information:  ParksCustomerService@ci.stpaul.mn.us

651-266-6400
stpaul.gov/athletics

 

Latimer library renovation plans moving ahead

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: March 27, 2015 - 1:14 PM

St. Paul Public Library officials are collecting feedback from the public on their preliminary plans to renovate the three main floors in the George Latimer Central Library.

The plans can be found at www.sppl.org/renovations , which also includes an email link to offer comments and suggestions.

The project, expected to cost about $1 million, is scheduled for later this year. Funding has been raised by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the library system's nonprofit partner. No tax money will be used.

Plans include rearrangement of the circulation area on the first floor, more soft seating and a new meeting room for the Nicholson Commons on the second floor, and a meeting/interview room on the third floor's Mississippi Room.

A meeting with library staffers will be held in April to get more input, and a community meeting open to the public is planned for later this spring.

St. Paul superintendent Silva among school leaders meeting with Obama

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: March 16, 2015 - 6:04 PM

Valeria Silva, superintendent of the St. Paul schools, was in Washington on Monday to help deliver a message to President Obama: renewal of the "No Child Left Behind" act will have the effect of leaving behind lots of kids in large urban districts like St. Paul.

"I feel very blessed and humbled to be able to express to the president the concerns we have as urban leaders," said Silva, shortly after arriving back in the Twin Cities from Washington.

She was among a dozen superintendents and school board members from the Council of Great City Schools who met for about an hour Monday with Obama at the White House, discussing the success of recent school reforms and how they might be jeopardized if "No Child Left Behind" is reauthorized.

The Council of Great City Schools is a coalition of large urban public school systems. Other superintendents at the meeting were from Cleveland, the District of Columbia, El Paso, Texas; Fresno, Calif.; Milwaukee; Orange County, Fla., and San Francisco.

According to a White House pool report, the Department of Education released data Monday showing that high school graduation rates have increased by more than 3 percent in the last two years for African-Americans, American Indians, Hispanic students, low-income students and students with limited English proficiency.

The school leaders say that "No Child Left Behind," a measure advanced and signed by President George W. Bush, required excessive testing and discipline with little additional funding to back it. The school leaders said it would harm school accountability, annual testing, college standards and equity.

If the Republican-controlled Congress passes it, Silva said, St. Paul would see its Title I dollars reduced by 6 percent. That's the funding allocated for students who live below the poverty level. In St. Paul, 75 percent of school kids qualify for that funding. .

After the meeting, Obama told reporters that continued improvement in math and reading scores and graduation rates will require federal resources.

If the Republican budget “maintains sequester-level funding," he said, "then we would actually be spending less on pre-K to 12th grade in America’s schools in terms of federal support than we were back in 2000.”

If that happens, he said, “then we’re going to have a major debate.”

Obama, Silva said, "is very engaged and knowledgable. He understands the effects of 'No Child Left Behind.' "

Man visits Mounds Park where his brother froze to death

Posted by: Nicole Norfleet Updated: March 12, 2015 - 1:46 PM

While everyone else was busy soaking up sunshine at Indian Mounds Regional Park on Wednesday afternoon, Don Jackson was on a more sobering mission.

Jackson, 61, had taken the 7-hour trek from his home in Missouri to find the place where his brother Jerry was discovered last month frozen to death in a shack in the woods.

"I have to find out who he was...I didn't know him for at least a decade," Jackson said, about his pilgrimage that included stopping at the neighborhood bar that his brother used to frequent and the church that he used to go to.

The body of Jerome Jackson, 58, was found Feb. 21 by a man searching for deer antlers at the park near Earl Street and Mounds Boulevard. According to preliminary autopsy results, Jackson, a homeless veteran, died from exposure to the cold. At first, the Ramsey County medical examiner's office was having a hard time trying to find his next of kin, but after a story in the Pioneer Press, the office received tips and was able to locate Don Jackson.

On Thursday afternoon, Jerome Jackson's ashes will be laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery where he will join thousands of other veterans. Jerome Jackson had served in the U.S. Marines.

On the unusually warm Wednesday, Don Jackson trudged through the woods intent on finding the shack that his brother spent his last days. Don Jackson knew the area well. When they were younger, he and his brother used to hang out in the area and hop the nearby trains to come down to the bluffs and witness the flooding during the spring. Jerome Jackson grew up with his family in the city's Midway neighborhood.

Jackson was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his mid-20s though his brother suspected issues long before that. During the last two years of his life, Jerome Jackson had stopped taking his medicine. While Don Jackson had fallen out of touch with his brother in recent years, he would call the bar annually to find out how his brother was doing.

"He had these demons inside of him that made the exterior look awful bad. ...Somehow you got to have some kind of closure. It's not right that he died. It's not right at all," Don Jackson said.

On Wednesday, Don Jackson went down a set of stairs that were thought to be used by railroad workers in the past and made his way through mud and wet leaves until he found a structure perched on the bluff that looked like it was covered with a tent. But a man, who was presumably homeless and close by the structure, said that it was his tent that he had erected about a month ago and that he didn't know Jerry. Don Jackson wasn't convinced, but he left anyway.

Despite not being able to say for sure if he found the place where his brother had lived, Don Jackson said he was glad that he was able to get a step closer into finding out who his brother was and meet some of his brother's friends who cared about him.

"He's in a better place than he was here."

Twin resolutions for Twin Cities streets

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: March 4, 2015 - 3:48 PM

Two City Council members, one in Minneapolis and the other in St. Paul, are introducing resolutions this week calling on legislators to provide dedicated funding for new and repaired roads, bridges and transit in the state's cities.

Most city streets are built and repaired with the use of local property tax revenues, which the council members say is an inequitable way to share what they believe should be a statewide responsiblity.

"Unless we start looking for new state resources to help fund our streets, the burden will continue to fall on local property taxpayers in our cities," St. Paul City Council Member Chris Tolbert said, in a prepared statement.

"We need partnership and support at the statewide level to come up with a real, sustainable solution to our critical infrastructure needs," according to a statement by Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden.

At Wednesday's St. Paul City Council meeting, Tolbert said the resolutions are part of an effort led by the League of Minnesota Cities to lobby the Legislature for dedicated road funding, such as the wheelage tax used by some counties.

At least 30 Minnesota cities had passed similar resolutions as of Wednesday, he said. St. Paul City Council members then proceeded to unanimously approve the measure.

According to the resolutions, about 14 percent of Minnesota's roads -- more than 19,000 miles -- are owned and maintained by the state's 853 cities, and more than 80 percent of them aren't eligible for state funding.

That's also true for more than 700 Minnesota cities with populations below 5,000, the resolutions state.

Rural and suburban communities across Minnesota also are joining in the campaign to seek more funding for local transportation infrastructure.

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