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Miguel Otárola

Suburban Reporter | Newsroom
phone: 612-673-4753
Miguel covers Bloomington, Edina, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Richfield and St. Louis Park and also reports on Latino and immigration issues. He's a graduate of the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
Recent content from Miguel Otárola
The city started its organized garbage collection on Oct. 3, 2016, and not all residents are happy.

State high court: Bloomington trash hauling plan can be put to vote

The Minnesota Supreme Court's ruling is a victory for Hands Off Our Cans, a residents' group opposed to Bloomington's organized trash collection system.
Lil Leuthard Ritter and Sister Agatha Grossman look at an old photo of Joseph Schmid and his immediate family on Sautrday.

Hundreds of Lake Minnetonka family descendants are reunited

Hundreds of Schmid descendants meet for first time and are strangers no more.
Berek and Amanda Awend, along with drummer Kevin Sundberg and bassist Ryan Bash, rehearsed for Sunday’s music festival at Beth El Synagogue and Beni

St. Louis Park synagogue, Catholic school come together for a 'common sound'

Music festival spotlights interfaith collaboration.
Edina Mayor James Hovland, shown during a City Council meeting earlier in June, says that an incident cited in a recent race and equity report related

Edina to revise race report after concerns over anonymous comments

Investigation by parents, officials cast doubt on reported incident.

Three people shot in 'chaotic scene' in Uptown Minneapolis

Police have not arrested anyone in the shooting.
A rendering shows the proposed building at Westwood Hills Nature Center.

Plans for new Westwood Hills Nature Center building move ahead at higher cost

Critic says "deluxe" Westwood Hills project not best use of funds.
The Southdale Library is slated to be replaced by 2021 as part of a project county commissioners are vetting.

County presents alternatives for Southdale Library site

The current building is likely to be demolished in the middle of 2019, with the new library opening in 2021.
Edina residents listened to a discussion about a proposed development near Southdale Center during a City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Edina rejects residential project near Southdale

The move was another win for neighbors strongly opposing taller buildings in the Southdale Center area.
The proposed seven-story 7250 France Avenue apartment tower has been redesigned several times, and it continues to draw opposition from surrounding ne

Edina leaders, residents at loggerheads on future development

City weighs its evolving footprint against residents' resistance to apartment towers near Southdale.
Burnsville Police Sgt. Chris Wicklund turned his body camera off after completing a call. More suburban communities are considering police body camera

Suburban police taking a closer look at body cameras

Bloomington, Robbinsdale and Savage are among departments considering utilizing devices.
The grave of Vietnam veteran Ronnie Lee Bailey was adorned Saturday with a mini-flag as well at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

This Memorial Day, all Fort Snelling headstones get flags

For the first time in 35 years, all Fort Snelling graves are being marked.
Mary Jane Yue, 67, is an avid player who says she is addicted to pickleball. The racket sport has long been popular among older adults and large group

Flurry of new courts feeds pickleball frenzy in west metro

Cities are entering what Eden Prairie recreation supervisor Bob Lanzi likes to call Phase 2 of the fever, as parks and recreation departments move from retrofitting gyms or tennis courts for pickleball to building permanent facilities actually designed for the game.
North High student Maryama Yusuf said“I don’t really like to talk in front of people,” but spoke with power as she presented research she did on

In Ms. Bell's North High classroom, sociology is a way to break stereotypes

Her students examined topics including domestic abuse, poverty, the mistreatment of immigrants and gang violence.
Normandale Lake Estates resident Jurline Bryant had been evicted from another complex in Richfield two years ago under the same circumstances.

Once displaced in Richfield, renters now being forced out in Bloomington

Forced to leave Richfield complex, they face similar fate in Bloomington.
The video clip of a black man being handcuffed by a Edina police officer disturbed many, who saw unnecessarily rough treatment by an officer.

Edina gives go-ahead to address 'long-term racial inequities'

City Council approves report by task force formed in response to a viral video of an Edina officer handcuffing a black man in 2016.
Harold Gifford touched the passing casket of his brother Quentin Gifford after Saturday’s service at Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel. Quentin died at

76 years after Pearl Harbor attack, Minnesota sailor is laid to rest

Quentin Gifford of Mankato was 22 when he died on the USS Oklahoma.
Richfield state Rep. Linda Slocum said she’s retiring from public service to “get control” of her health.

Richfield, Bloomington representative retiring to focus on health

Richfield DFLer, who helped land funding for I-35W/494 interchange, is leaving after 12 years at Capitol.
Steve Lyon and the SLP Community Band during their final rehearsal before they perform the piece he wrote about his cancer journey, "Melanomore," at t

St. Louis Park band conductor tells his cancer story by composing 'MelaNoMore'

Steve Lyons and the St. Louis Park Community Band will perform the piece at Orchestra Hall on Tuesday night.

Two killed in crashes in outstate Minnesota

One of the fatal collisions was between two motorcycles.
The intersection of I-494 and I-35W. This is looking northbound I-35W.

$400M to go to 494/35W ramps, other highways for overhauls

The metro-area interchange is notorious for being prone to crashes and long commutes.
About 2,000 Minnesotans attended a pro-gun rally at the State Capitol in St. Paul on Saturday.

2,000 rally at Minnesota State Capitol for gun rights

The "Second Amendment Rally" drew some big names in the anti-gun control movement, as well as plenty of citizens.

Edina breaks ground on 50th & France retail, residential project

100 upscale apartments, 5,000-square-foot plaza and retail in the works.
A teen speaks with recruiters from Kelber Catering, a local catering company, during the 13th annual Minneapolis Teen Job Fair on Saturday, April 21,

Minneapolis job fair is by teens, for teens

Students meet potential employers face-to-face with real jobs on the line.
This artist rendering shows what Park Nicollet intends for the Mann Theaters building to look like upon taking over the structure.

Mann Theatres in St. Louis Park will soon close for good, as will Bruegger's next door

Park Nicollet is taking over the space, the property's landlord said.
The damage inside Muddy Paws Cheesecake was significant following a break-in at the bakery on Saturday.

Community rallies for burglarized St. Louis Park cheesecake bakery

Friends of St. Louis Park business raise $20,000 after destructive break-in.
St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano and the City Council shown in 2016.

St. Louis Park votes to adopt ranked-choice voting for local elections

The city is likely to become the third in the state to switch to the election method.
Members of the Suburban Hennepin Housing Coalition stood for a moment of solidarity during a meeting at the Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka.

Inside the grassroots push for affordable housing in Minneapolis' suburbs

Advocates hope 2018 will bring more laws to protect low-income tenants.
The intersection of I-494 and I-35W. This is looking northbound I-35W.

'Underdesigned' 494/35W interchange has suburbs seeking state funding

The crash-prone interchange has some of the worst traffic congestion in the state.
After her flight to Paris was grounded, Delta Air Lines flight attendant Victoria Flees slogged through snow with as much dignity as possible on Satur

Historic blizzard slams into Minnesota; record snowfall possible

Travel is discouraged as snow falling at 1 to 2 inches per hour and 50-mph wind gusts created whiteout conditions. With 10-plus inches at the airport, flights were grounded until late Saturday. More snow is to come, so Sunday events are getting called off.
Humboldt mayor Rob Muench, in the Broncos team jersey, along with other mourners lay down flower on the stairs that enter to Elgar Petersen Arena, hom

Minn. hockey community reacts to tragic Saskatchewan bus crash

Teams and coaches took to social media to express their condolences.

Driver who died in Minnetonka crash after police chase is identified

The Minnesota State Patrol said David Phillip Baxter, 30, of Montrose, Minn., died.

20-year-old man killed in Ramsey rollover crash is ID'd

Sheriff's deputies had initially arrested a 21-year-old man, but the Anoka man who was killed is now believed to be the driver.
Maria Flores DeCalles rested in the post-operation room after having a cataract removed from her right eye.

Minnesota Vision Project gives low-income patients another chance to see

Doctors and nurses volunteer twice a year for its Vision Project, performing free surgeries on patients who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford them.
Kristine Brown held her 6-month-old puppy, Harley, in her living room Saturday. She’s one of the dozens of tenants facing eviction from their apartm

New management forces Osseo tenants to find another place to live

New management's renovation plan left dozens of Osseo residents with one option: Move out.
In St. Paul, 20,000 rally for gun control

In St. Paul, 20,000 rally for gun control

In rallies at the Capitol and in a few other communities across Minnesota, students found new power and energy as they led March for Our Lives demonstrations.
Abbas Azod gathered food at the event, which drew more than 100 people when only a few close friends and neighbors had been initially invited. .

Iranian fire festival glows brightly in Edina neighborhood

The New Year celebration drew a bigger group than host expected.

Two killed in car crashes in central Minnesota

A drunken driver was involved in one of the crashes, officials say.
In this Feb. 8, 2018 photo, shared bikes ready to be used are lined up on a sidewalk by a popular tourist destination in Dallas. Shared bikes that can

Golden Valley could be first in state to try dockless bike sharing

The west metro suburb is hoping to roll out 500 bikes for a pilot program this spring.
The cover of Thinking Minnesota that showcases the article alleging political “indoctrination” in the Edina School District. It was sent to all ho

Edina schools caught in crossfire of 'academic balance' bill

Proposal would prohibit political "indoctrination" in public classrooms.
Rendering of proposed water park at the Mall of America

Mall of America pitches adding massive water park that city would own, finance

Mall's owners said they would lease the land to the city of Bloomington and run the park.
St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano said the new policy, though positive, is not addressing the crisis of affordable housing at its root. ìThis is treati

St. Louis Park rule gives buffer for displaced low-income tenants

Relocation allowances, more time to move are part of affordable housing initiatives.
Luella Peterson, 2, was amused by the behavior of a bull snake at Westwood Hills Nature Center in St. Louis Park. The facility draws about 36,000 visi

Busy St. Louis Park nature center could get $12 million upgrade

At a forum on the Westwood Hills plan, residents liked the design but questioned the price.
At top, Amy Olson joined kids from Edina’s Lake Cornelia neighborhood during a sledding party last month. Neighborhood identity is getting greater a

More Twin Cities suburbs saying 'yes' to neighborhoods

Taking a cue from urbanites, residents reclaim local identities to build a better sense of community.
Faith leaders got the crowd pumped up Saturday at a rally at the State Capitol in St. Paul.

Hundreds of union supporters rally at Minnesota Capitol

They sought to draw attention to a key labor case coming before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The view of the proposed water treatment plant at Southdale Center from France Avenue. The city is expected to vote on the construction of the plant a

Edina wants a more 'iconic' water treatment plant

The City Council wants architects to come back with a bolder design for the Southdale Center project.

2 juveniles face charges in East Ridge school threats; 17-year-old arrested in St. Francis

Arrests have been made in Woodbury, St. Francis, Hill City, Prior Lake and Orono over recent days.
The view of the proposed water treatment plant at Southdale Center from France Avenue. The city is expected to vote on the construction of the plant a

Edina doesn't intend for its new water treatment plant to be run-of-the-mill

Edina is looking to build a water treatment plant at Southdale Center that would improve the city's water taste and clarity.
An updated map from the National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities about the forecast for the next few days.

Ice, flurries and freezing rain headed toward Twin Cities

Along with some snow, we'll get rain, slop and ice.
About 60 percent of Edina’s DWI arrests last year were made on the three highways that cross the city — Hwys. 100, Crosstown 62 and 169. More than

Edina's drunken-driving arrest rate shows focus on state highways

The suburb, with a dedicated enforcement officer, focuses on freeways that carry most traffic.
Tracking Edina's DWI arrest rates

Tracking Edina's DWI arrest rates

Edina Police Department has higher rates of DWI arrests than many other Minnesota law enforcement agencies.
Annie Young, shown in 2015

Section of Minneapolis' Riverside Park to be renamed after long-serving commissioner

Board may name entire park after Annie Young, who died last month.
Salut Bar Américain, in the 50th and France commercial district in Edina, could have rooftop dining under the new proposed rule.

Rooftop dining in Edina, now prohibited, may be allowed again

Under a proposal, it could become an option for any restaurant in the city's commercial districts.
Philadelphia Eagles fan Mike Toy of Bloomington, Del. wore a Philly Cheesesteak hat as he walked Nicollet Mall Saturday.

Get ready for the coldest Super Bowl Sunday in history

Windchills could drop to -30 degrees Sunday morning.
Workers from Modu-Loc USA built a barrier to direct rail passengers without Super Bowl tickets on Sunday to the bus area at the outdated Mall of Ameri

Mall of America's 'functionally obsolete' transit station to be renovated after Super Bowl

The $25 million renovation at Mall of America has been waiting for funding.
Robbinsdale water tower

Satirical Robbinsdale tourism video costs student his seasonal job

His "Tour of Fabulous Robbinsdale!" wasn't funny to city officials.
Alan Geisenkoetter Jr.

Allegedly drunken snowmobiler hits family on Minn. lake; boy critically hurt

The snowmobiler was speeding, one witness said, before he hit a pickup truck and a portable icehouse.
From left, Lourdes Vargas, Aurora Saenz, Esmeralda Meneses, Jurline Bryant and Linda Soderstrom, former tenants of the Crossroads at Penn apartments i

Displaced tenants get $290K in Richfield housing dispute

In addition to payout, judge forced company to change policies, teach employees about Fair Housing Act.

Low-flying helicopter to measure radiation levels during Super Bowl festivities

A twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter is expected to take measurements around Minneapolis from Monday to Feb. 5, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Waleed Meneese, imam of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center, spoke with Sarah Peters on Wednesday. For more photos, go to

Bloomington mosque celebrates 'amazing' renovation in wake of bombing

Six months after bombing, it welcomed all in to see the 'amazing' new space.
Protesters went to Edina City Hall in October 2016 after an encounter between a white police officer and a black man.

In Edina, claims of racism bring action

With Edina in a harsh spotlight, residents offer their take on bias and inequities.

18-year-old man dies in shooting in Stillwater

Police have detained one man as a person of interest.
The gorilla mascot inside Al’s Vacuum in Bloomington was dressed in his Vikings best ahead of the team’s big game Sunday.

For 45 years, the Allstadts have run the 'Nordstrom of the vacuum world' in Bloomington

The longevity of Al's Vacuum is a product of careful risk taking and loyal support from the community, they say.
Sounds of Blackness provided the musical inspiration for the event.

'So much left undone': MLK Day events look to King's legacy to build future dreams

Speakers in Minneapolis, and later in the morning at a celebration of King's birthday organized by Gov. Mark Dayton's office in St. Paul, echoed his message of honesty, unity and hope for racial progress and equality.
St. Louis Park High School students Isaac Wahl, left, Libby Ramsperger, Cole Nugteren, Owen Campbell and Marley Miller plan to call their coffee shop/

St. Louis Park students look to build 'Nest' for themselves as a place to decompress

St. Louis Park students raise funds for a coffee shop away from school.
Construction workers on Saturday positioned and assembled the American Birkebeiner International Bridge, which has temporarily moved from Hayward, Wis

Large bridge goes up on Nicollet Mall for Super Bowl

The bridge is used during the American Birkebeiner ski race in Hayward, Wis.
Aitkin County missing since November returns home

Aitkin County missing since November returns home

Alexis Elling, 16, had been last seen at home in November.
Watch St. Paul's new mayor lead the moves at his inaugural ball

Watch St. Paul's new mayor lead the moves at his inaugural ball

Mayor Melvin Carter, dressed in a black tuxedo, steps with his friends to Das EFX's "Mic Checka (Remix)" while others surround and cheer them on.
Arnellia Allen, owner of Arnellia’s nightclub in St. Paul, died Thursday from ovarian cancer. She was 79.

Arnellia Allen, who welcomed all to her namesake club in St. Paul, dies at 79

A fixture of the live music scene in the Twin Cities, Allen died Thursday from ovarian cancer.
The St. Louis Park branch of the League of Women Voters hosted a news conference this month at City Hall encouraging the city to switch to ranked-choi

Ranked-choice voting in St. Louis Park? Some are making the push

The city's Charter Commission could make a recommendation to the council early next year.

More than 260 crashes on icy Minnesota roads in past 24 hours

Minnesota State Patrol reminded drivers to slow down, be cautious.

Hennepin County scraps relocation of courtrooms from Edina to Bloomington

When Southdale facility closes, some residents will be directed downtown.
The Edina Rotary Club is having a 13th birthday celebration for Moses Mwaura, the young Kenyan boy they sponsored, who received corrective eye and tee

Seven years after his 'miracle,' Kenyan boy returns to Minnesota

Moses Mwaura first came to the Twin Cities for life-changing surgery that straightened his crossed eyes and corrected his vision.
During the week, crews repaired a water main that had caused a washout and the closure of Interstate 694 in Oakdale. The highway was reopened to traff

I-694 in Oakdale reopens to traffic after week of detours

Highway was closed to traffic for almost a week following a massive water main break.
Bloomington is expected to revisit the issue of selling a 9.5-acre portion of the golf course for development next year.

Bloomington to reject all building proposals for Hyland Greens Golf Course

The city was looking to sell a portion of property for development.
Spruce Shadows Farm, the last working farm in Bloomington, was proposed by the city as a site for the 2023 World Expo. But the bid lost out to Buenos

Bloomington to negotiate new deal for proposed World Expo site

City was to pay $32M for farm but bid for 2023 event failed.
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