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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 St. Louis Park City Council, shown in 2016. Elected officials see the policies as a way to quickly assist renters whose affordable housing goes up

West-metro suburbs give low-income tenants more rights — or at least more time

New policies give tenants time and resources if displaced by new landlord.
Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene spearheaded the idea of an immigrant legal defense fund.

Hennepin Co. to set up $275K deal with nonprofit for legal help for immigrants

County Board expected to decide Tuesday whether to award $275,000 contract.
A common bumblebee at Lone Lake Park. Habitat for the rusty patched bumblebee could be affected by proposed bike trails.

Trail plan in Minnetonka pits bikes against endangered bees

A plan to add mountain bike trails at Minnetonka's Lone Lake Park worries naturalists concerned about the fate of the rusty patched bumblebee.
The grounds crew rolled the tarp over the field at the start of a rain delay during the Twins-Royals game at Target Field on Friday.

After a night of heavy rain across central Minnesota, more is possible Saturday

The St. Cloud area got up to 4 inches of rain Friday night.

St. Louis Park rabbi arrested in underage sex sting operation

The rabbi, a director of youth outreach, was arrested in a sting leading up to the Super Bowl.
The Apple Valley Aquatic Center closed early Tuesday afternoon after an 18-year-old allegedly pushed an 8-year-old boy off a water slide.

Maple Grove man suspected of pushing 8-year-old off Apple Valley waterslide

The boy is in stable condition after falling 31 feet to the ground, police say.
An estimated 200 people protesting the killing of Thurman Blevins by two Minneapolis police officers marched downtown Tuesday.

Protesters decry Blevins death, block light rail in downtown Minneapolis

The protesters gathered in a circle, chanted and took a knee.
More than 65 trips spread between 40 bus routes across the metro area will be suspended because of a shortage of drivers at Metro Transit.

Driver shortage leads Metro Transit to suspend trips on dozens of bus routes

More than 65 trips spread between 40 bus routes across the metro area will be suspended.

Minnetonka police want to connect mental-crisis callers with therapists

When Scott Marks isn’t serving Minnetonka as a community engagement officer, he’s providing counseling at an outpatient clinic in Golden Valley. Seeing mental health patients…

Brooklyn Center man charged after allegedly driving a boat while drunk and striking a child

Brooklyn Center man was drunk and tried to flee, police say. The child is OK.
“How many children’s lives and people’s lives are we going to have to accept losing before we decide that there are some minimal things that we

St. Louis Park seeks to strengthen firearm regulations upon request from students

The move is the result of discussions held this year between city officials and St. Louis Park students who pleaded for stricter gun control following a spate of school shootings across the nation.
Tenant Lourdes Vargas says her apartment building has numerous problems, including an infestation of mice and cockroaches.

As conditions at Richfield apartments remain poor, nonprofit developer takes the heat

Richfield officials are underwhelmed with Aeon's progress.
Joseph Gomm was a corrections officer killed by an inmate at Stillwater prison.

Stillwater corrections officer's funeral to be held Thursday

Joseph Gomm, 45, was killed while on duty last week.
Ethiopian leader Abiy Ahmed, shown in June, is planning to visit Minneapolis at the end of July.

Prime minister of Ethiopia to visit Minnesota for the first time

The prime minister of Ethiopia is expected to visit Minneapolis on July 30, and city officials are urging him to help end conflict between that…
Mourners embraced one another for support atop the Faith Deliverance Holiness Church steps in the middle of the service for Thurman Blevins on Saturda

Thurman Blevins mourned and honored at Minneapolis funeral

Thurman Blevins, 31, was shot and killed by police on June 23.
Riders pay for LimeBikes through a smartphone app and can park anywhere, at no cost to the cities. The suburbs are eager to get going, but the company

Though first to sign on, Golden Valley and Edina still await their dockless bikes

Delayed shipment testing the patience of officials in Golden Valley and Edina.
Susan Yost walked through a scaffolded pedestrian walkaway toward the shops at 50th and France. Construction of the Nolan Mains apartments and a nearb

As 50th & France area grows, business owners feel the pinch

Four businesses in the district have closed during construction, according to the city of Edina. Others are looking forward to the projects' end.
My annual obsession with finding (and blasting) summer's hottest song

My annual obsession with finding (and blasting) summer's hottest song

An annual quest seeks the single track that captures our national mood.
Thousands marched through downtown Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon to demonstrate agains the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Thousands join Mpls. march opposing immigration policies

The Families Belong Together protest, one of hundreds taking place across the country, packed at least six downtown blocks before heading back to the Convention Center.
Erin Holly, who works at the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, kissed Trina, who was being adopted.

New group living space hopes to decrease stress in shelter dogs

The area, which opened to the public in June, is the first of its kind in the country, according to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley.
Edina chooses preferred developer for old public works site

Edina chooses preferred developer for old public works site

Frauenshuh Commercial Real Estate was chosen for apartments, but questions remain about public spaces.

Minnesota immigrant advocates demand end to local ICE cooperation

The coalition is asking Hennepin and Ramsey County officials to stop assisting ICE agents.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said he has “concerns” about a proposal to add 50 new officers to the St. Paul Police Department.

St. Paul mayor: 'I have concerns' about plan to add police officers

Carter said chief's call to add 50 officers should not be the city's "driving goal."
Mary Hogan, a Minnesota ICE official, was scheduled to speak at Richfield meeting.

Richfield police change mind about inviting ICE speaker

Officials worried that U.S. border controversy would cloud local meeting.
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.
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