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
Founder of Darcy Solutions Jimmy Randolph, right, oversaw the installation of one of the four heat transfer cores at a geothermal installation at Stea

St. Paul explores powering Como Zoo with geothermal energy

Como plan part of St. Paul's effort to bring city buildings to carbon neutrality by 2030
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has made community-first public safety a top priority.

St. Paul Mayor Carter launches commission to rethink public safety

The panel will study how city staff could respond to low-priority 911 calls.

St. Paul will pay for public art along Wheelock Pkwy.

As many as six projects are eligible for $20K to $50K.
The St. Paul City Council is expected to pass a resolution Wednesday calling for a community-first public safety commission to set “a vision for pub

St. Paul considers redirecting lowest priority 911 calls

City Council likely to back commission that will reimagine public safety.
A strong westerly wind kicked up snow Sunday afternoon drifting it over area roads and parking lots. A St. Paul resident used a snow blower in an atte

Why does St. Paul leave alley snowplowing to its residents?

In St. Paul, many residents have to band together to hire plow drivers during the winter.

St. Paul wants state to help pay for North End Community Center

High school youth will partner with city officials to lobby for funding.
Ricardo Cervantes, director of St. Paul's Department of Safety and Inspections, read a statement as a homeless encampment near downtown St. Paul and I

St. Paul to open day shelter in W. 7th neighborhood

A St. Paul fire station in the West 7th neighborhood is slated to become a day shelter for people experiencing homelessness.Fire Station 51, at 296…
The new bike trail on Ayd Mill Road, south of the Grand Avenue overpass.

Updated Ayd Mill Road to reopen Saturday with new trail, lower speed limit

St. Paul's Ayd Mill Road will reopen to the public on Saturday, complete with a new trail and a lower speed limit.The 1.5-mile stretch of…
The state’s COVID-19 guidance for caterers is less clear than for restaurants and bars, with different rules depending on venue size and event type.

Longtime D'Amico server says she lost her job after raising safety concerns

The company says that it's regularly updating safety protocols and that a drop in business forced layoffs.
Trash haulers made their way through an alley in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul.

More trash means higher rates for St. Paul residents

Volume spurred higher rate, which is still lower than it was some years.
St. Paul tees up tax incentives for development around Allianz Field

St. Paul tees up tax incentives for development around Allianz Field

Move allows St. Paul to incentivize development around stadium.
At Caydence Records & Coffee on the corner of Payne and York avenues in St. Paul, the coffee shop and retail staff are back, but business has been “

As winter approaches, Payne Avenue business owners are determined to hold on

The St. Paul neighborhood's renaissance is threatened, but owners are determined to hang in there.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown in August.

St. Paul launches new COVID-19 grants for small businesses

St. Paul is using $3.5 million in federal CARES Act money to provide cash assistance to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a…
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Duluth Mayor Emily Larson talked with voters at a Main Street coffee shop in Ames, Iowa, on Jan. 31. They were stumpi

St. Paul, Duluth mayors lead widespread Biden endorsement from elected officials

The two were among 61 Minnesota elected officials supporting the Democratic presidential candidate.
Gerone Hamilton, left, and Butch Inks of the St. Paul Fire Department.

Black leaders in St. Paul object to reassignment of assistant fire chief

Gerone Hamilton has overseen the department's community relations since 2015.
Ramsey County is considering leasing Bethesda Hospital, which has been used for treating COVID-19 patients, into a homeless shelter.

Ramsey County considers turning Bethesda Hospital into homeless shelter

Ramsey County Manager Ryan O'Connor said the county has been in closed-door talks with Fairview for several weeks.
Lori Greene, owner of Mosaic on a Stick, said the $2,500 grant she received for her St. Paul business "was gone right away" — but meant she was able

St. Paul stadium fund has become a lifeline for small businesses

A community benefit fund has helped shops and offices near Allianz Field survive.
Greg Theisen

Greg Theisen, musician, composer and educator, dies at 63

A fixture in the Twin Cities music and theater scene for decades, Theisen was a passionate and accomplished pianist, composer and educator.
Two people walked by as a crew from the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department removed ash trees along Juno Avenue in 2018.

St. Paul will cut down thousands of ash trees next year but can't afford replanting

Budget cuts will mean delaying planting new trees until 2022.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell: “At a time when police departments have no margin for error, I am certainly concerned about this.”

Chief: Budget cuts mean St. Paul police force will be smaller, less diverse

Chief Todd Axtell said 2021 budget cuts will mean canceling the police academy.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter in August.

St. Paul will use CARES Act money for guaranteed income experiment

The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to allocate more than $290,000.
A group of downtown St. Paul property owners will pay into a special improvement district that will fund a public safety communications center, neighb

St. Paul property owners back downtown improvement district

Business property owners could start paying into the Improvement District as soon as January.
Mara, who wished not to have her last name used, a neighbor to a homeless encampment near downtown, helped cleared out the remaining tents and their c

St. Paul clears homeless encampment on edge of downtown

Hope for site deemed unsafe is to move people indoors as some 117 sites remain.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum

McCollum: St. Paul guaranteed income program must comply with federal law

Mayor Melvin Carter said the guaranteed income program passes muster.
Some hockey lessons at Groveland Park ice rink in St. Paul in 2010.

St. Paul parks expect budget cuts in 2021

St. Paul residents could see shorter recreation center hours, fewer aquatics and youth sports programs and reduced ice rink maintenance in 2021, as the Parks…

No injuries in officer-involved shooting in Beltrami County

The incident Friday followed an alleged carjacking, according to the Sheriff's Office.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

Up to 150 St. Paul families could get $500 a month, under Mayor Melvin Carter's guaranteed income program

18-month experiment tests guaranteed income.
Library associate Matt Metzdorf met people at the door of Sun Ray Library in St Paul. It just reopened on a limited basis and is allowed to have no mo

St. Paul libraries won't return to normal in 2021

Proposed budget cuts in 2021 will mean reduced hours systemwide.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown this month at the Greater Twin Cities United Way's distribution event at Allianz Field.

St. Paul might test guaranteed monthly income

Mayor Melvin Carter says the pilot program would provide $500 a month for 18 months.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown in January.

St. Paul looking at $20M deficit; no layoffs or levy increase proposed

Mayor Melvin Carter is proposing widespread cuts to avoid raising the property tax levy.
A homeless encampment near the Cathedral of St. Paul was cleared out in November 2018 in St. Paul. Officials just announced they soon would be clearin

Citing safety, St. Paul will clear I-35E homeless encampment

Officials haven't yet notified occupants but say they'll be given time to move.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

Pandemic throws wrench into St. Paul mayor's plan to curb gun violence

As violence in St. Paul eclipses last year's pace, some council members impatient for action, information.
Michael-jon Pease says his new post “felt as though it had been written for me.”

St. Paul parks booster group gets an executive director

He leaves Park Square Theatre to head St. Paul Parks Conservancy.
Smoke rose along St. Paul's University Avenue in May.

Civil unrest damage in St. Paul totals $82 million

About 330 businesses sustained damage during the riots in May.
St. Paul Council member Dai Thao, seen on June 18, said he wasn't surprised to learn that his ward had a high number of applications for the St. Paul

For St. Paul families, city help was welcome but short-lived

An emergency cash assistance program for families and businesses that lost income as a result of COVID-19 drew nearly 5,300 applications from families, less than a quarter of whom got a check.
Skeeter the giraffe waited for food from keeper Jill Erzar. Como Zoo will open Wednesday with one-way paths, visitor limits and other precautions.

Como Zoo will welcome visitors again — at a distance

Visitors with masks and reservations can visit the zoo starting Wednesday.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell

St. Paul chief: $9.2M cut requested by mayor will mean fewer cops

The proposed cut would mean eliminating jobs, Chief Todd Axtell said.
Greg Sullwold turned steaks he was grilling for dinner Thursday afternoon at the homeless encampment in Kenwood Park.

Park Board is taking first steps to downsize homeless camps

Crisis at Powderhorn Park spurs changes at homeless sites across Minneapolis.
Mayor Melvin Carter spoke at a community forum in January.

As COVID crisis deepened, St. Paul Mayor Carter hired political director

Six-figure salary comes as budget shortfalls loom.

19-year-old dies in rollover crash in Clay County

He was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries, the State Patrol said.
St. Paul Council Member Dai Thao gave a tour of a fire damaged strip mall along University Avenue. Of all the places in St. Paul that sustained damage

Riot-damaged University Av. hopes to come back stronger

Some fear speculators will snap up vacant buildings and empty lots to gentrify University Avenue.
Supporters, including Reggie Wright, center, and Valentina McKenzie, a field organizer with CTUL, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha, right, ch

Minimum-wage workers get raises in Minneapolis, St. Paul

Business leaders say the added cost compounds COVID-19 losses.
Ted Vig arranged bass strings on the wall at Vig's guitars in St. Paul. Looters trashed the tiny shop and stole instruments and equipment valued at $4

They won St. Paul's emergency virus aid lottery. Then their businesses were hit in rioting.

Some St. Paul businesses that won lottery for COVID-19 grants fell victim to looters
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell. ] aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com

Chief Axtell defends St. Paul police, calls for arbitration reform

St. Paul police chief pushes back on idea of dismantling department.
While Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, spoke in April 2019 on an amendment about conversion therapy on the House Floor, more than 100 protesters with Out

St. Paul City Council approves ban on conversion therapy for minors

The council heard unanimous support for the ban from advocates, mental health professionals and a survivor of conversion therapy.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said city leaders have committed “pretty steadfastly” to public safety reform in the past few years, but he also said

For St. Paul mayor, killing brings questions and a reckoning

Mayor Melvin Carter has been pulled into a national conversation on policing and race. But he hasn't yet faced the pressure of his Minneapolis counterpart to dismantle the city's police department.
A crowd at the neighboring U.S. Bank building photographed the re-lighting of the iconic red First National Bank Building sign in 2016. The two buildi

St. Paul's downtown improvement district will exclude largest property owner

St. Paul’s downtown booster group is asking commercial property owners to pay for neighborhood ambassadors, a new public safety communications center and other amenities, the…
Protest continued on Grand Avenue after leaving the Minnesota governor's mansion in St. Paul on June 1.

St. Paul will offer amnesty to peaceful protesters

Those cited for property damage and other offenses may be offered alternatives to traditional prosecution.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter presented a $1.7 million supplemental public safety budget proposal to the City Council in November. Most St. Paul counci

St. Paul leaders show little appetite for abolishing police

Council members say they want to continue to invest in community-first public safety.
Edith Stodola

Edith Stodola, a nature lover who brought organic food to the masses, dies of COVID-19 at 103

To Edie Stodola, it wasn’t organic food — it was just food. It grew on the farm where she was raised and in the gardens…
Police took control of the area near the Super Target against protesters. Several buildings near the MIdway were either damaged or set on fire. Protes

'Flash looting,' more fires break out in St. Paul as unrest spreads

Looting and fires were reported on University Avenue in the Midway district. An East Side shopping mall also was hit.
Minnesota has purchased the Bix Produce Co.’s former cold storage facility in St. Paul to use as a temporary morgue.

Plans for emergency morgue worry St. Paul leaders

Facility would be in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, worked in the City Attorney’s Office for 15 years and previously applied for the top job.

Supreme Court ruling keeps alive defamation suit against DFL lawmaker Lesch

The St. Paul city attorney's lawsuit against Rep. John Lesch will head back to district court.
Face masks and social distancing were part of the process as election staffer Stella Hegg assists State Rep. Michael Howard as he files for re-electio

St. Paul to require face masks inside businesses, city buildings

St. Paul will require people to wear face masks inside businesses and city buildings beginning June 1, and may penalize those who don't comply.Mayor Melvin…
Ace Fox, who worked as a cook at Gigi's Cafe, protested Wednesday outside of Barbette.

Kim Bartmann repays employees' back wages, but organizing continues

Employees delivered a list of demands to Barbette restaurant on Wednesday.
Chaska Super 8 general manager Sana Cheema, right, collected donated food from Chick-fil-A and Little Caesars from Martha Brannon of His House Foundat

Metro counties have spent roughly $5 million to rent hotel rooms as emergency shelters

Contracts and invoices obtained through public records requests show a county-by-county patchwork of efforts to find and pay for lodging, transportation, food and other services for hundreds of unsheltered people in the seven-county metro, all within a matter of weeks.
Boys Totem Town, a Ramsey County School For Boys, was shuttered in 2019. The facility opened in 1908.

St. Paul's Boys Totem Town could house homeless people with COVID-19

Former St. Paul juvenile correction facility will be reopened if other beds fill.
Travis Temke is getting $695,000 in public financing for the taproom in St. Paul.

Financing from St. Paul will give brewery entrepreneur a second chance

After liquidating a brewery in Faribault, Travis Temke plans to open in a historic firehouse St. Paul's West 7th area.
“Helping St. Paul residents and businesses weather this crisis is a top priority for my administration,” Mayor Melvin Carter said.

St. Paul cuts fines and fees in response to COVID-19

St. Paul is reducing business licensing fees, waiving vehicle towing charges and delaying street assessments until 2021 in an effort to provide financial relief to businesses and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thao, left, walked with his attorney Joe Dixon, right, from the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center following a 2018

Minnesota candidates for office can help voters cast ballots, judge rules

It's a win for St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thao, who challenged a state law after facing criminal charges.
A motorcycle drove on Ayd Mill Road in St. Paul in 2019.

St. Paul's Ayd Mill Road will get a greenway in 2020

The $7.5 million project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown speaking to the City Council in 2019.

More St. Paul families, businesses will get Bridge Fund grants

More than 5,200 families and 2,100 businesses applied for Bridge Fund grants between April 8 and April 19.
The city of Minneapolis has retired the “beg buttons” in hundreds of intersections, to protect public health. This sign appeared at 48th Street an

Minneapolis automates walk signals to protect pedestrians from coronavirus

The changes reduce the risk of picking up germs while waiting to cross city intersections.
A rendering of the proposed redevelopment project next to Allianz Field.

Allianz Field 'urban village' in St. Paul to feature apartments, retail, parking

Port Authority applies for $2 million in grants to clean up contaminated soil.
Kathleen Conger is among about two dozen St. Paul public library staffers who have volunteered to sew masks for city workers. They are racing to meet

Librarians recruited for mask making in St. Paul

In normal times, Colette Johnson spent her days at downtown St. Paul’s Central Library answering the reference phone line and helping patrons use the library…
Street service worker Bradley Therres smooths asphalt over a pothole on Shepard Road in St. Paul in 2019.

St. Paul street work carries on amid COVID-19 pandemic

Residents fret about big assessments that will finance the projects.
In 2017, a line for paying property taxes in Minneapolis.

Hennepin County Board tentatively approves two-month reprieve in property tax deadline

The Ramsey County Board is expected to take action next week on a similar proposal.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

Minneapolis and St. Paul forced to table big projects

The big plans and sweeping policy changes will have to wait as the core cities adjust to the new virus reality.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has appealed to the federal government to help protect first responders.

St. Paul, Mpls. seek supplies to protect first responders

"Our supply needs are so staggering that right now, because we lack thermometer probe covers, our first responders are literally using Saran Wrap as a safe, but clearly problematic short-term solution, just so they can take patients' temperatures," Mayor Melvin Carter said.
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.