Java Express plans to open a shop at Union Depot, making it the latest addition at the downtown St. Paul rail station that’s long on elegance but still short on bustle.

The historic depot reopened in 2012 following a $243 million renovation led by Ramsey County. Officials since have sought to add amenities and more transit and commuter lines to draw more users.

County officials are looking for a new restaurant to replace Christos. The longtime Greek restaurant’s lease expires Tuesday and will not be renewed, and officials want the next restaurant to offer expanded hours and a range of services.

In the meantime, hungry patrons can visit Java Express, which signed an eight-year lease for space at the depot. It will serve coffee, tea, smoothies and various grab-and-go items, and host occasional live music performances. The shop will open June 20.

“The Java Express … will offer coffee at Union Depot and create a welcoming community space for travelers and locals,” said Rafael Ortega, chairman of the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority.



County ranked as one of ‘Happiest Places’ in U.S.

Carver County was named No. 3 on a list of the “Happiest Places in America,” a ranking of counties with populations greater than 50,000 that is compiled by the personal finance company SmartAsset.

The ranking is based on family stability, physical health and economic security.

“As the study notes, given the high quality of life we experience, it’s not surprising the county’s population increased by more than 8 percent between 2010 and 2015,” Jim Ische, Carver County Board chairman, said in a prepared statement.

“Earlier this year, Carver County was ranked the healthiest county in the state, and this study confirms the positive factors that go with living here.”

Finishing ahead of Carver County were two Virginia counties, Loudoun and Fairfax. Scott County ranked No. 20.

Counted in Carver’s favor were its income ratio of more than 2.2 (meaning median income is more than twice the cost of living), an unemployment rate under 4 percent and a high marriage rate of 62.7 percent. Life expectancy is 81.4 years.



Cemetery opening gates to trolley, holiday activities

Lakewood Cemetery will celebrate Memorial Day with special activities Monday, including rides to the cemetery’s rear gate on the historic Lake Harriet trolley.

It’s the only day of the year that the cemetery opens its rear gate, which faces Lake Calhoun.

Other Memorial Day activities at Lakewood include guided walking tours of artists’ and performers’ graves; drawing, poetry and photography workshops; horse-and-carriage rides, and coffee and cookies in the garden area.

The cemetery will offer live musical performances by Sevy Gospel Quartet, Peter Ostroushko and Dean Magraw, Jack Klatt and the Cat Swingers, Sister Species, and harp-flute duo Catherine Victorsen and Jane Strauman. For more information, go online to


Wading pools opening across city for summer

Thirty-six wading pools in Minneapolis parks are open this weekend, and they’ll be joined soon by another 24 that will open Wednesday as the schools to which they’re attached finish classes.

The nonschool pools will remain open through Sept. 5, and those connected to schools will be open through Aug. 28. Hours are daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

There are no lifeguards on duty at wading pools.

Repairs will delay pool opening dates at Longfellow, Franklin Steele, Marshall Terrace, Beltrami, Currie and Brackett Field parks, and construction will delay openings at Van Cleve, Bethune and Hi-View parks.

More information about the status of individual pools may be found at

Steve Brandt