Staff Directory 261800211

Emma Nelson

Reporter | St. Paul
Phone: 612-673-4509
Location: St. Paul City Hall
Other languages: Spanish

St. Paul reporter Emma Nelson joined the Star Tribune in 2014, and has covered local government beats from Scott and Dakota counties to Minneapolis City Hall. She has also been part of reporting teams that covered the aftermath of the Norwood Teague sexual harassment scandal and the death of Prince.


A St. Paul native, Nelson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism. She plays violin and acoustic guitar, and in college recorded an album that no-one is allowed to listen to. She lives in the Corcoran neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Recent content from Emma Nelson
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

St. Paul OKs $1,000 emergency grants for up to 1,000 families affected by COVID-19

Grants will also be available for up to 300 small businesses devastated by the economic shutdown.
Kim Bartmann at Barbette in 2018.

Minnesota attorney general looking into Kim Bartmann's restaurant finances

Kim Bartmann said she is working to pay her employees what they're owed.
Protesters with OutFront Minnesota sang and cheered outside the Capitol’s House chambers in April 2019 as members debated an amendment about banning

St. Paul City Council considers banning conversion therapy for minors

Ordinance would apply to minors, involve fines.
Kim Bartmann at Barbette in 2018.

Workers at Kim Bartmann restaurants in Mpls. went unpaid after closures

Bartmann responded by saying she is doing everything she can to secure funding to pay her employees what they're due.
Dancers from Ballet Minnesota danced in the Grand Old Day parade in 2019.

St. Paul's Grand Old Day canceled due to COVID-19

Event organizers say they're moving ahead with plans for 2021.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

St. Paul mayor announces cash grants for poor families, small businesses

The $3.25 million fund will provide grants to low-income families and small businesses.
Bars on 1st Avenue in downtown Minneapolis that would normally be busy during happy hour on St. Patrick's Day were quiet on Tuesday after a state orde

COVID-19 tests sick time laws in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Some workers are exhausting their sick time to avoid getting exposed at work.
Educators posed for a photo at Central High School in St. Paul on Friday after a strike resolution was passed.

St. Paul teachers reach settlement, end 3-day strike; kids out of school until Monday

Staffers reported at 1 p.m., and students are scheduled to return Monday.
Teachers belonging to St. Paul Federation of Educators Local 28 picketed Tuesday morning outside Adams Elementary in St. Paul. It is a Spanish immersi

St. Paul schools remain closed today after teachers go on strike

It's not yet known when talks will resume. The district's preparing seven sites for use by elementary students from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. beginning Thursday, according to Superintendent Joe Gothard.
St. Paul City Council member Mitra Jalali in 2018. Jalali, who is a renter, said she’s open to suggestions but has mostly heard complaints about the

Some St. Paul landlords fight tenant protection ordinance

The City Council could approve the ordinance in early April.
St. Paul Public Works Director Kathy Lantry, a former City Council president.

After patching potholes and feelings, Kathy Lantry is leaving St. Paul City Hall

On the City Council and with Public Works, she didn't shrink from challenges.
St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali in 2018.

St. Paul leaders want to help protect renters: 'Housing is a basic human right'

A proposed ordinance would limit tenant screenings and require landlords to tell the city before they sell a property.
Second-grade teacher Jeny Dohrer held a sign as she and fellow members of the St. Paul Federation of Educators braved the cold while they picketed bef

St. Paul teachers set strike date of March 10; talks resume Friday

The teachers union shared the plan with members before informational picketing Wednesday; superintendent "extremely disappointed" by union's latest move.
Members of the St. Paul Police Department's gang unit, including Sgt. Shawn Campbell, left, and officer Colby Bragg, right, returned to their cars aft

St. Paul City Council hears pitch for 78 more police officers

A long-awaited staffing study called for more than 100 new hires, including 78 officers.
Iris Altamirano, president of SEIU Local 26, addressed hundreds of janitors and security officers at a packed union hall Feb. 8 as they voted unanimou

4,000 Twin Cities janitors could strike next week

Negotiations are set to resume on Feb. 28.
St. Paul City Attorney Lyndsey Olson called the settlement "an opportunity to expand city policy to ensure we’re better responding to the needs of e

St. Paul to pay $95K to settle deaf woman's discrimination suit

Lawsuit said police did not provide an interpreter.
Cars drove on Ayd Mill Road in St. Paul in August.

St. Paul City Council calls for more public input on Ayd Mill Road

It's still unclear whether the overhaul will happen this year.
Cindy Swanson worked with Sparky the Sea Lion at Como Zoo in St. Paul in 2014.

Construction delays stall opening of Como Zoo's new Sparky exhibit

The opening of Como Zoo's new seal and sea lion exhibit, originally planned for late 2019, has been delayed, possibly until the end of…
John Rupp and his wife Stephanie stood in the Western Dining Area of the Commodore restaurant.

Owner of St. Paul's Commodore restaurant to pay city $25K in dispute

John Rupp vows city hasn't heard last of him after judge rules against his restaurant space.
A new room at St. Paul City Hall will offer nursing mothers a dedicated space to pump and store breast milk.

St. Paul City Hall to get 'mother's room' for nursing moms

The employee-led effort to support new moms is part of office renovation.
St. Paul’s Ayd Mill Road is one of the metro’s best known potholed-and-patched stretches, widely used as a diagonal shortcut between Interstate 35

Cost for fixing Ayd Mill Road in St. Paul soars to $7.5 million

Council members want more feedback on a proposal to turn a traffic lane into a greenway.
St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thao, left, walked with his attorney Joe Dixon, right, from the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center following a hear

Council Member Dai Thao challenges law prohibiting candidates from helping voters

A lawsuit against the secretary of state says state law violates the Voting Rights Act.

St. Paul leaders oppose cuts at Bethesda, St. Joseph's hospitals

Council members say city can't afford to lose medical services at St. Joe's, Bethesda.
Crumbling streets are one reason St. Paul is considering a hike in its sales tax.

St. Paul City Council votes 4-3 to take next step towards 1% local sales tax

Council members agreed they want a sales tax, but some said they're not ready to ask for state support.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

St. Paul, school district team up to help low-income families pay rent

The Families First program will help low-income families avoid frequent moves.
Waste Management worker Daniel Westerhaus collected trash in St. Paul on the first day of organized trash collection in 2018.

Supporters of St. Paul's trash system outspent opponents to sway voters

Supporters and opponents of organized trash collection in St. Paul fundraised and spent almost identical amounts, but opponents sank most of their money into legal costs.

Federal rule change targets rights of 1 in 5 workers

New guidelines on a federal law complicate enforcement of wage theft, other abuses.
Street service worker Bradley Therres smoothed asphalt over a pothole on Shepard Road in St. Paul in March.

St. Paul wants to impose 1% sales tax for streets, housing, pre-K

Money would go to street repair, affordable housing.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

From organized trash to spike in gun violence, St. Paul Mayor Carter reflects on 2nd year

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter sat down with the Star Tribune on Dec. 17 to reflect on his second year in office.
A Jeep made its way down a snow-covered road in Duluth in December.

St. Louis County plow drivers poised to strike after rejecting offer

The earliest Teamsters Local 320 members could walk off the job would be Tuesday.
A Blue Line light-rail train in 2019 featuring a sign telling riders how to text if they feel unsafe or see suspicious behavior.

Text for Safety service restored after outage on light-rail trains, some bus routes

Metro Transit reminded riders to call 911 if they need police or EMS help.
Maria Iwanok

WWII survivor Maria Iwanok, pillar of northeast Minneapolis 'church that pierogi built,' dies at 100

A native of Ukraine who survived a World War II labor camp, Iwanok is remembered as a woman of deep faith, generosity and grit.
St. Paul City Council Member Nelsie Yang walked up to be sworn in during a ceremony at the Ordway on Tuesday.

St. Paul inaugurates most diverse City Council in history

Nelsie Yang, 24, the first Hmong woman to serve, is also council's youngest.
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke during an event at Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, last month.

Frey, Carter line up behind Klobuchar's presidential bid

Many leaders in Minnesota have endorsed the senator, citing her policy proposals and her track record.
A St. Paul code inspector spent a December day investigating snow removal violations. in St. Paul.

St. Paul looks to tone down letters from inspectors

City Council President Amy Brendmoen wants the department to soften its approach, especially for first-time offenders.
Val Jensen

St. Paul taps local consultant and law professor for human rights post

Valerie Jensen, a local diversity and inclusion consultant and adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, will start Jan. 6.
SEIU workers marched through the skyways of St Paul Monday, from Town Square to City Hall. Workers claim they've experienced wage theft and that their

Workers in St. Paul protest wage theft, lack of sick time

The demonstration called attention to new laws protecting workers in cities and statewide.
St Paul Mayor Melvin Carter began to present a $1.5 million supplemental public safety budget proposal to the City Council in November.

Divided St. Paul City Council adopts 2020 budget with $9 million property tax bump

The council votes 4-3 in favor of a more than $620 million budget with $1.7 million in extra public safety spending .
Concordia University student Halle Martin looked for a book at the Rondo Community Library in St. Paul on Jan. 7, 2019.

After cutting library fines, St. Paul uses ramp sale to bolster collection

Gateway Ramp money will help St. Paul libraries fill shelves while seeking permanent fund.
A piece of equipment at work in November on the Ford site, which is set for development including affordable housing, parks and other infrastructure o

St. Paul approves $53 million in tax incentives for Ford site

Tax increment financing will pay for parks and infrastructure on the site.
St Paul Mayor Melvin Carter presented a $1.5 million supplemental public safety budget proposal to the City Council on Wednesday afternoon.

St. Paul City Council likely to approve mayor's public safety budget

City Council expected to approve mayor's supplemental proposal as part of budget.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter included $350,000 in the 2020 budget in anticipation of a settlement that included parking meter upgrades, though actual

St. Paul will upgrade parking meters for ADA compliance

Minneapolis also is upgrading its parking meters as part of a legal settlement.
Officer Heidi Eisenbeis watched video evidence in Minneapolis. St. Paul’s police chief wants ShotSpotter technology, but the mayor has doubts.

As gunfire continues in St. Paul, so does ShotSpotter debate

In St. Paul, leaders debate whether ShotSpotter technology is a useful tool or an unproven sales pitch.
The downtown St. Paul skyline.

Largest downtown St. Paul property owner embroiled in legal dispute over wages

Madison Equities faces allegations that it did not pay workers for overtime hours.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Police Chief Todd Axtell at a news conference in St. Paul in September.

Mayor Carter, Chief Axtell split on approach to gun violence

The mayor outlined a wide-ranging proposal that would use a "community-first" approach to confront what he calls a public health crisis. Police Chief Todd Axtell did not attend the presentation.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

As homicides surge, St. Paul mayor to ask for $1M more for public safety

The mayor will give a budget presentation to the City Council on Wednesday.
Zoe Allen, who co-chairs the student group Proud Indigenous People for Education, said she was surprised by how quickly campus officials acted to chan

Macalester to remove controversial founder's name from building

Students urged move over founder's racist views.
Downtown Minneapolis, as seen from St. Paul. In Minneapolis and St. Paul, city tax increases are expected to hit hardest in low-income neighborhoods,

Homeowners getting peek at property tax bills might not like what they see

But preliminary property bills could change after city councils set budgets.
Nelsie Yang, who won the Sixth Ward race, will be the youngest member and the first Hmong woman on the St. Paul City Council.

Network-building pays off in Nelsie Yang's groundbreaking council win

Nelsie Yang was the first candidate to enter the Sixth Ward race in 2018 — when she was 23. In the time since, her ability to raise funds and build a supporter network has been more on par with incumbents than with other challengers.
St. Paul Ward Six City Council candidate Nelsie Yang arrived to observe the sorting and counting of ballots.

Nelsie Yang, Dai Thao win St. Paul City Council seats

Ranked-choice count puts first Hmong woman on St. Paul City Council
Mitra Jalali Nelson checked results on the trash vote at Black Hart of St. Paul.

Heated trash debate drives voter turnout to double in St. Paul

A large field of candidates for City Council also helped draw residents to the polls, officials said, but hundreds of voters cast ballots on the trash question alone.
Candidate Nelsie Yang answered a question during the St. Paul City Council Ward 6 candidate forum before Tuesday's vote.

Five incumbents re-elected to St. Paul City Council

For the only open seat, Nelsie Yang, 24, was poised to become St. Paul's youngest council member and first Hmong woman to serve on the council.
The St. Paul City Council Chambers

Voters will choose the St. Paul City Council today

All council seats up for election amid trash controversy, shootings.
John Rupp, whose portfolio includes the University Club, St. Paul Athletic Club and W.A. Frost & Co., has spent more than a year in court arguing that

St. Paul businessman wins round in legal fight over fate of city-built parking ramp

The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed a Hennepin County court and said more evidence is needed to make a decision about the ramp's future.
John Judson

Poet John Judson, writing professor at UW La Crosse, dies at 89

He was recognized for his prolific work as a writer, his keen eye as an editor and publisher, and his generosity as a teacher.
Candidate Nelsie Yang answered a question during the St. Paul City Council Sixth Ward candidate forum on Oct. 23.

St. Paul race for East Side seat draws diverse candidate slate

The candidates are split on what has become the most contentious issue of the election: whether to jettison the city's year-old program for trash collection.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter commented on the double shooting outside Allianz Field on Sunday, Oct. 20.

After shootings, Carter may ask for more public safety funds in 2020

St. Paul mayor looking at augmenting budget in response to shootings.
Nate Struck operated the "clam" to pick up the logs and branches from the street after a St. Paul forestry crew cut down a tree on View Street. ] Shar

Cities struggle to stay ahead of ash borer's rapid spread

Streetscapes grow more barren across the state as ash borer chews through canopy, city budgets
Waste Management worker Daniel Westerhaus collected trash from the alleys of the Snelling Hamline neighborhood of St Paul's yellow zone on the first d

Court: St. Paul must pay haulers even if voters reject trash system

Court says St. Paul must honor five-year contract.
Brian Henderson owner of the Highland Park BP station in St. Paul replaced a box of cigarillos. A proposed St. Paul law raising the tobacco purchasing

St. Paul's Tobacco 21 ordinance won't penalize buyers

Under proposed St. Paul ordinance, retailers could lose license for selling to customers under 21.
President Donald Trump greeted cheering crowds at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Prince estate: Trump violated promise not to play 'Purple Rain'

The campaign played the song at the president's Target Center appearance after it promised a year ago to stop playing Prince's music at rallies, the estate said.
Second Lady Karen Pence raised her fist in the air while invoking a call to reelect President Donald Trump in the 2020 elections Wednesday during a "W

Hundreds attend Second Lady Karen Pence, Lara Trump event in St. Paul

The visit came a day before both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were scheduled to visit the Twin Cities.
Waste Management worker Daniel Westerhaus collected trash from the alleys of the Snelling Hamline neighborhood of St Paul's yellow zone on the first d

St. Paul DFL endorses organized trash collection

The party's central committee endorsed a "yes" vote on the November trash referendum.
Men found shot dead in street in Mpls. theater district, St. Paul

Men found shot dead in street in Mpls. theater district, St. Paul

In Minneapolis, a man was found in the street downtown. About an hour later, St. Paul had its latest fatal shooting for September.
Fentanyl is the mostly deadly drug in America, the CDC has said. Test strips let people test their drugs -- heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine -- for it

St. Paul police: Six hospitalized in suspected drug overdoses in less than 3 hours

Police believe some of the drugs used may have been mixed with a hazardous substance, such as fentanyl.
President Donald Trump visited Rochester in October 2018 with a rally at Mayo Civic Center.

Trump will return to state for Oct. 10 rally at Target Center

It will mark his fourth visit in 16 months to Minnesota after repeatedly pledging to pour energy and resources into flipping the state in 2020.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, shown in August.

Hackers target Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey with phishing scam

The hack appears to be limited to the mayor's e-mail account, and does not include the rest of the City Hall network.
Waste Management worker Daniel Westerhaus collected trash from the alleys of the Snelling Hamline neighborhood of St Paul's yellow zone on the first d

St. Paul City Council approves 22% ceiling on property tax hike

Council members hope they won't have to raise taxes nearly that high, if voters approve trash collection.
Kassim Busuri said he decided to run for the St. Paul City Council seat after realizing the extent of the Sixth Ward’s needs.

As St. Paul Council's odd man out, Busuri faces an uncertain future

Appointee runs after pledging not to; colleagues want him to resign.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter talks to Carl Roith (left), a Frogtown resident who came to City Hall Wednesday to advocate for more police.

Violent weeks in St. Paul heighten divisions over size of police force

An uptick in fatal shootings comes as city leaders decide whether to cut police officer positions.
Reservists with the St. Paul Police Department canvassed blocks near Rice Street and Winnipeg Avenue W. on Friday. The neighborhood was the scene of a

Wave of deadly shootings prompts intense debate in St. Paul

Some are rallying behind the increased citywide police presence announced by the mayor and chief.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter hugged Dora Jones-Robinson at police headquarters after speaking during a news conference Tuesday in response to the rece

St. Paul police chief: 3 shootings are 'shocking' and 'outrageous'

Todd Axtell described the killings as "one of the most violent nights I have witnessed in my career."
St. Paul Public Library Director Catherine Penkert read a book during children’s story time at the Highland Park Library on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

St. Paul Libraries face 2020 cuts just as traffic begins to climb

Per capita spending has dropped, and St. Paul is now below average for the seven-county metro. At the same time, the libraries are providing more services — the 2020 budget includes money for a full-time social worker, citywide reading program and Wi-Fi hot spots.
On the first day of organized trash collection in 2018, Waste Management worker Daniel Westerhaus worked in the alleys of the Snelling Hamline neighbo

Challengers in St. Paul City Council races seize on trash turmoil

Some say the bumpy rollout means it's time for a change at City Hall.
Two of the four murals in the St. Paul City Council Chambers painted in 1933 by John Norton. The Ramsey County Historical Society seeks “different p

Artists sought for more diverse art to be displayed in St. Paul and Ramsey County council chambers

Work by four artists will be displayed at City Hall.