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

Cops, firefighters to help with holiday meals

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: December 12, 2014 - 12:19 PM

St. Paul police officers and firefighters are stepping up to help dozens of families have a good holiday meal -- by going grocery shopping with kids.

Through the Heroes and Helpers partnership, more than 48 St. Paul children will be joined by police officers and firefighters from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13,
The kids, from St. Paul’s East Side, will be paired with St. Paul firefighters and police officers as they go down the grocery aisles of the Target at 1744 Suburban Ave., filling baskets with food.

This is the third year for Heroes and Helpers, which builds on the St. Paul Police Department’s annual Shop with Cops event. Both programs are designed to strengthen the bond between St. Paul’s emergency responders and the families they serve.

The District 2 Community Council, the St. Paul Police and Fire Departments, St. Paul Public Schools (Hazel Park Academy) and Target are partners in the program.

The X and RiverCentre are easy on the environment

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: December 3, 2014 - 2:31 PM

Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League, will be at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday morning to announce that the Minnesota Wild’s home arena, along with the rest of the RiverCentre complex, is high on sustainability.

The downtown St. Paul entertainment complex, which includes the convention center and Roy Wilkins Auditorium, this year won three of the biggest prizes in the green world: certification from LEED, Green Globes and APEX/ASTM, all organizations that make independent judgments on environmentally-sound construction and operations.

Kathy Ross of the Wild, which manages RiverCentre for the city, said that getting all three certifications is a first for a complex of this sort. And most such honors of this sort go to newly-built structures, not buildings that went up years ago.

Officials say that RiverCentre and Xcel Center recycle 60 percent of its waste, use solar energy and wind power to reduce carbon by more than half, save thousands of gallons of water with faucet aerators, and buy office products and cleaning materials that are environmentally preferable.

Joining Bettman at an 11 a.m. news conference at Xcel will be Mayor Chris Coleman, Wild owner Craig Leopold and RiverCentre general manager Jim Ibister.

Unlock the mysteries of your pooch

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: December 2, 2014 - 12:25 PM

Have you ever looked at your dog, really looked at your dog, and wondered: "What is he thinking, right now?"

Well, the St. Paul Public Library is here to help.

Through "Life with Fido," the library has held a handful of courses to help dog owners unlock the mysteriies of their pets... or at least do a better job of living with them.

On Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., St. Paul's Sun Ray Library will hold a class on Dog Body Language.

"Learn how to read your dog's subtle signals and spot trouble BEFORE it happens. Know how to stay safe, predict and prevent a bite and recognize when a dog might need some help or support," says the information about the class. Kate Anders, a behavior consultant and dog trainer, will be the presenter.

Previous classes were The Family Dog, a crash course on living and working with kids and dogs that was offered at the Hamline Midway Library on Nov. 15, and How to be a Savvy Dog Owner, which was held Dec. 1 at the Highland Park Library. The class was for people thinking about buying their first puppy, as well as for more experienced dog owners.

For more information about Life with Fido at the public libraries, go to http://www.sppl.org/fido

Notorious neighbor should have been allowed to change her plea

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: November 25, 2014 - 10:01 AM

Lori Christensen, the so-called "neighbor from hell" alleged to have criminally harassed a family across her White Bear Lake cul-de-sac, should have been allowed to change her mind after pleading guilty last year to violating a restraining order, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

"We conclude that the guilty plea is invalid because there is not a sufficient factual basis for the conclusion that Christensen violated the harassment restraining order," Judge Matthew Johnson wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.

Charged with two counts of aggravated stalking and a count of violating a restraining order, Christensen pleaded guilty in July 2013 to the latter charge. But the following month, before she was sentenced, she moved to withdraw the guilty plea. Ramsey County District Court denied her motion, and she appealed.

The case will now return to the district court.

It's a bouncing baby boy gorilla for Alice at Como Zoo

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: November 19, 2014 - 3:42 PM

Como Park Zoo is celebrating the birth early Wednesday of a baby boy gorilla to Alice -- the first gorilla birth in the 55 years that Como has housed the large primates.

According to a news release, the baby weighs about four pounds and "appears healthy, strong and bonding with Alice."

Because bonding between gorilla mothers and their babies is so important, zoo officials plan to keep Alice and her son off exhibit for several weeks.

It's the first of two expected gorilla births at Como. Alice's housemate, Dara, is expecting and likely to give birth later next month or in January.

In both cases, the father is Schroeder, 29, who has lived at Como since he was a lad of five. Alice is 12, and Dara is 11.

Alice and Dara were among six gorillas moved to Como last year to live in the zoo's new $11 million Gorilla Forest exhibit, the largest all-mesh gorilla enclosure in North America.

Como's gorillas, while born in the United States, are descended from gorillas that inhabit the forests of central and west Africa. The gorillas, called Western lowland, are critically endangered.

Gorilla gestation takes about eight months. About 4 in 10 baby gorillas die in the first several months, which is one reason why zookeepers will be keeping a close eye on the new mother and baby. But zoo staffers won't intervene unless the baby's health is in jeopardy or the mother isn't doing her job.

Photo: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory


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