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Jon Tevlin

Columnist | Metro
Recent content from Jon Tevlin
Jon Tevlin

Tevlin: 'Against all odds, I survived a career in journalism'

After 20 years at the Star Tribune and almost nine years as a columnist, Jon Tevlin writes his last column.
Kristen and Jeff Kidder

Tevlin: Grateful Frogtown couple fight their way back from fire and illness

The fire that wiped out the Kidders' possessions also brought new opportunities, including a chance to look at life a little more closely.
File photo former St. Paul Mayor George Latimer

Tevlin: Two political pros offer up some advice to new mayors

  Shortly after George Latimer was sworn in as St. Paul’s mayor 1976, he arrived to work to learn of a broken water main. “It…
At the Jeremiah Program in St. Paul, Sinying Lee picked up her youngest child Cattleya,3. The older kids Benjamin,4, and Pashalia,5, came along for th

Tevlin: Jeremiah Program CEO follows her mom's lead

  Some of Gloria Perez’s earliest memories include filling the family’s old Buick with day-old bread and delivering it to poor families in the San…
Sen. Al Franken’s ability to tap his adolescent self for humor made him famous, but it didn’t play so well in the grown-up world.

Tevlin: Sexual harassment purge turns 'Giant of Senate' Al Franken into a ghost

The Giant of the Senate, as Franken jokingly referred to himself in his latest book, is now the Ghost of the Senate.
The two-handed technique proved valuable to Sawyer Stevens.

Tevlin: Minnesota bus crash survivor was broken but never defeated

Sawyer Stevens' $100,000 scholarship won during the Big Ten title game doesn't compare to the story of his rise from the bus crash near Cottonwood, Minn., in 2008.

Tevlin: Things get ugly in town after three cats go missing in Cohasset, Minn.

When local authorities initially dismissed the issue of the missing pets, a group of neighbors turned into part-time sleuths -- and it led to a felony case.
Vandals broke into the Nawayee Center School in south Minneapolis over the Thanksgiving break, destroying art work, trashing offices and stealing two

Vandals trash small American Indian school in Minneapolis

Chairs and tables were overturned, doors were broken open. Vandals had spray-painted gang graffiti on the walls, on a washer and dryer used to clean the clothes of students who may be homeless, and on the art projects of the 45 students who see Center School as a second home, maybe even a first home.
At 87, Orin Scandrett went to a remote village in Cambodia to build houses for the poor. At right is 18-year-old Hannah Anfinrud, the trip's youngest

Tevlin: Habitat for Humanity's Orin Scandrett lives with energy, excitement at 87

"There is no question it was the greatest experience of my life," the group's founding director says of a recent trip to Cambodia.
In 2007, the town of Luverne awaited the arrival of Ken Burns, director and producer, of "The War" a seven-part series on World War II from the perspe

Tevlin: Luverne vets' last toast to fallen comrades is bittersweet

The two are all that remain of a blood-brothers group of World War II veterans who gathered at the former Glen's Bakery and Deli for years.
“The blinders have come off, partly because of social media. Now we have this powerful medium of truth-telling," said Lee Roper-Batker, president an

Tevlin: Men can play role in shifting culture of harassment

The good news this week is that Democrats and Republicans are finally on the same page about something. The bad news is that it’s sexual…
Longtime Minneapolis City Council Member Barb Johnson gave her sister, Therese VanBlarcom, a kiss on the hand after the first numbers came in at her c

Tevlin: Barb Johnson's long Minneapolis City Council run comes to an end

For 20 years, 11 as council president, Johnson has been one of the more powerful people in the city.
Since a fatal 2010 fire at the building housing McMahon’s Pub as well as apartments, the lot on East Lake Street in Minneapolis has sat empty. But t

Tevlin: Fatal bar fire yields new start for homeless seniors in Minneapolis

In March 2010, a fire ripped through McMahon’s Pub on East Lake Street, killing six people in the apartments above the bar. The victims included…
Twin Cities strip clubs are hoping for a boost during the Super Bowl in February.

Tevlin: Strip clubs love football, especially the Super Bowl

Just as the Minneapolis City Council is meeting Wednesday to come up with a strategy to disrupt sex-trafficking statewide in advance of the big game, the exotic dance industry is ramping up for a bigger surge in business.
St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter III

Tevlin: St. Paul's police union shamelessly attacks a mayoral candidate

The attack on Melvin Carter is a dangerous, and perhaps unprecedented, abuse of the power of the police federation for political means.
Natalie Ringsmuth, Unite Cloud founder and director, has advice for people concerned that Somalis and other immigrants are not assimilating enough: Fo

Tevlin: Untruths fan flames of fear in St. Cloud

"It's extremely embarrassing to be in the news for this," said Natalie Ringsmuth, director of #UniteCloud, a nonprofit that seeks to ease racial, religious and cultural tensions in St. Cloud.
Jacobo Gabriel-Tomas attended a mass with his children in Worthington in 2014. On Tuesday, he crossed the border from Mexico back to Guatemala, leavin

Tevlin: Deported Worthington father was a victim of political optics

  Jacobo Gabriel-Tomas is no bad hombre. He is beloved by his family, his church, his employer and what he considers his hometown of Worthington,…
Window washers work on a recently built trio of geodesic domes that are part of Amazon's headquarters building, visible in the background, in Seattle,

Tevlin: In making a play for Amazon, would we be selling our souls?

Across the Twin Cities, from Arden Hills to Shakopee, city planners are huddling with developers and Mad Men to put together the biggest "welcome basket'' the state has ever seen.
FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2010 file photo, a pharmacy tech poses for a picture with hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, the generic version

Tevlin: Minn. pharmacist who faced addiction demons now helps teens

Some might see him as an atypical example of America's opioid crisis, but Sean Higgins will tell you his story is very common.
Then-Acting Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrodondo shook hands in August with Dave Bicking, a longtime police critic with Communities United Again

Tevlin: Police/community relations can't be fixed overnight

After St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop, Gov. Mark Dayton created the Council on Law Enforcement and Community…
University of Minnesota law Prof. Richard Painter said he didn't foresee ever becoming one of the nation's go-to experts on government ethics. Then Tr

Tevlin: U ethics expert says Trump White House is a nightmare

Law Prof. Richard Painter, who was George W. Bush's White House ethics chief, considers himself a loyal Republican.

Tevlin: Vet's phone call was inspired by strong feelings toward the VA

If you work at the VA and met Mike Krueger, you should know that he appreciates you more than you can imagine.

Tevlin: From serving in Iraq to working on Ph.D, U scholar is 'like a kid in a candy store'

Jason Jones is the first in his family to go to college, and he said the U's TRIO McNair Scholars program has been instrumental in getting an advanced degree.
A street outreach worker from St. Stephen's Human Services with a homeless man near Hennepin and Lyndale avenues on the edge of downtown in 2012. The

Tevlin: Assault leads to community dialogue on 'Suicide Hill' homeless camp

They call it "Suicide Hill" because the homeless and addicted people who gather there sometimes pass out and roll down the embankment into traffic.The area,…
Next Monday, MnDOT will close Franklin Avenue, where it crosses over I-35W near the Electric Fetus record store, to rebuild the bridge.

Tevlin: Get ready for some more traffic chaos, Minneapolis

When Franklin Avenue shuts down near I-35W to rebuild a bridge, MnDOT's detour for the nearly 15,000 cars that use Franklin Avenue each day will go to 26th and 28th streets, facing restrictions.
The defunct monorail track passes above the Hanifl Family Wild Woods Play Area at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

Tevlin: When it comes to discussing politics, it's a zoo out there

What does it say about the political temperament of America when an argument over politics gets a senior citizen volunteer fired from the Minnesota Zoo?
Ron and Kim Meshbesher in 2012. “It’s very important that we destigmatize” Alzheimer's disease, Kim Meshbesher said.

Tevlin: Legendary defense attorney Ron Meshbesher struggling with Alzheimer's

"If our story can help bring awareness that even brilliant people like my husband can be afflicted with this disease, it will be worth it," Kim Meshbesher said.
Peter Kirihara was honored Tuesday by area business owners, politicians and customers for his vision of the North Loop.

Tevlin: North Loop entrepreneur Peter Kirihara kept his imagination unchained

He was honored for his pioneering vision and his determination to transform the once ghostly Warehouse District into a legitimate destination spot, now known as the trendy North Loop.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges during the Minneapolis DFL Convention.

Tevlin: A crisis in Minneapolis just can't compete with L.A.

Hodges better hope the race doesn't come down to the main blunder on her fundraising trip: the menu.
Lee and Bev Bahr, owners of the Lunch Box diner

Tevlin: Reopening State Fair diner is family's rite of August

Lee and Bev Bahr have turned management of the Lunch Box over to the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, but on Tuesday were still there before first light.
Acting Police Chief Medaria "Rondo" Arradondo laughed at the end of the public hearing Wednesday in front of the Minneapolis City Council's public saf

Tevlin: Being the good guy won't be enough for Arradondo as potential chief

Praise for Arradondo at last week's hearing was one of the few genuinely hopeful moments in the recent history of relations between police and the public, but it's a tenuous one.
Jonathan O'Shaughnessy, 24, was shot four times and killed after accompanying family members to a celebration in Richfield on July 3.

Tevlin: A night of fun in Richfield ended in gunfire and tears for a young man slain

The shooting death of Jonathan O'Shaughnessy has left his family reeling and asking for anyone who knows what happened to step forward.
President Donald Trump at the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., o

Tevlin: A proud Eagle Scout from Minnesota turns in his badge after Trump's speech

"It didn't matter what the speaker said, I identified it as an enormous failure of leadership by the adults who were there," said John Rowell of Moorhead.
Eileen Espinosa shared on Facebook her tale of encountering a robber at her daughter's Minneapolis shop.

Tevlin: Minneapolis shop owner's mother fearless in standing up to armed robber

It happened at the ColorWheel Gallery, a combination hair salon and gallery in south Minneapolis where local artists sell their wares and neighbors often gather for folk music.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, left, with Mayor Betsy Hodges in March.

Tevlin: Police chief's absence spelled the end

Janee Harteau certainly doesn't own all the crises that have tarnished the police force the past few years, but political expediency made her departure inevitable.
A memorial to Justine Damond is growing on the sidewalk on W. 51st Street in Minneapolis’ Fulton neighborhood.

Tevlin: Where Justine Damond died, cameras roll too late

We are international news, again, for all the wrong reasons.
The story captured several days in the lives of Ayaz Virji and his wife, Musarrat, and their three children as they try to make a life in Dawson, Minn

Small-town doctor in Minnesota gives voice to Islam

Two weeks after a major profile in the Washington Post brought huge attention, Ayaz Virji is still working through his emotions.
State Rep. Raymond Dehn, center, spoke at a mayoral election forum in March. Sitting besides him are incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges and candidate Tom Ho

Tevlin: Who will rise from huddled mass of Minneapolis mayor candidates?

Ray Dehn scored a victory over an incumbent mayor in Saturday's DFL convention, but that certainly doesn't make him a lock.

Tevlin: For this July 4th, waving a flag and making a vow

The run-up to celebrate all that's good in this country comes with plenty of reasons to fear that things we once celebrated are now targets.

Tevlin: Preparing his granddaughter for a life without sight

David House brought his 8-year-old granddaughter, Lily, to Minnesota this month for a three-week stay. She got to visit the Mall of America and a…
Hiawatha Golf Course in Minneapolis could close if city and state officials force an end to groundwater pumping.

Tevlin: For these friends, Hiawatha's not just a golf course

The Minneapolis golf course, much of it under sea level and with fairways undulated like a spongy bog following the rain, is under threat.
“I own a business here because of all the unique small business that are in Tangletown, and I think, ‘How are they all going to stay open?’ �

Tevlin: South Minneapolis biz owners conflicted over $15 wage issue

A number of South Side small business owners find themselves emotionally and politically conflicted between their progressive values and the city's push for a mandatory minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez has been acquitted of all charges related to the shooting death of Philando Castile.

Tevlin: When it mattered most, Yanez wasn't a good cop

In the end, it seemed like all parties could agree on something: Jeronimo Yanez should not be a cop.

Tevlin: Health care debate is 'legacy' of the times

Rep. Keith Ellison, a Fifth District Democrat, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in the Third District, about the proposed changes to health care.
Church and community leaders held a news conference Wednesday in North Minneapolis to announce a June 17 peace summit among gang members and Stevie Wo

Tevlin: Two decades after 'Murderapolis,' some old names resurface

Minneapolis, the 1990s are calling, and they want their gangsters back. The cops and lawyers who have been around the police blotter for a while…
Ny’kia Williams, far right, with her dad, Maurice Verser, and her siblings, Maurice and Renee

Tevlin: One teenager's poignant struggle to 'get it out'

An eighth-grade English assignment is a heartbreaking view of life coming apart for a 14-year-old girl, and a stark reminder that violent acts have many victims.
To settle on Alan Page as possible replacement name for Minneapolis' Ramsey Middle School, students conducted an impressive campaign to collect a wide

Tevlin: At Minneapolis' Ramsey Middle School, students study, then change history

Thanks to their yearlong campaign, the Minneapolis school board will vote June 13 on whether to keep Ramsey or rename it Justice Alan Page Middle School.
Community Action of Minneapolis employee Michelle Brown, seen in 2015, testified Friday in U.S. District Court against the agency's former CEO, Bill D

Tevlin: Fraud at Minneapolis agency hurt 'the poorest of the poor'

Authorities say former Community Action of Minneapolis CEO William Davis stole more than $800,000 from CAM's coffers and spent it on luxuries, trips and five girlfriends.
Moments after the Staples-Motley Cardinals broke a 39-game losing streak in 2015 with a 24-14 victory, fans stormed the football field to celebrate.

Tevlin: After reversing fortunes, Minn. prep football team faces uncertain future

The coach who rebuilt the Staples-Motley Cardinals after a five-year losing streak did not have his contract renewed. After the school board vote, the superintendent and five other football coaches said they were resigning.
Mayor Betsy Hodges spoke at a mayoral forum in April.

Tevlin: Mayor Hodges has had a mind-boggling month

April is the cruelest month. You don't have to trust T.S. Eliot on that, just look to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. To be fair, March didn't end so swell either.
In 2014, bicyclists rode along 28th Street where it intersects with the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis. The role of 28th and the Greenway is being ho

Tevlin: With a bike lane scuffle, spring begins in earnest in Minneapolis

A group of Lyn-Lake business owners is angry with the city's plan to add protected bike lanes to two popular east-west corridors.

Tevlin: Lisa Goodman has proved she's a nice hue of blue

  On a gorgeous Saturday morning, Lisa Goodman sat alone on a grassy hillside in Bryn Mawr, collecting her thoughts. She was about to go…

Tevlin: Vietnam veteran Don Elverd still looking after the troops

"I didn't volunteer for this," Elverd said of his work with addicted vets. "I was drafted."
A woman who refused to identify herself, explained results to caucus goers after a vote was taken to determine delegates supporting either Abdi Warsam

Tevlin: Raucous caucuses in Mpls. are telling us ... something

The Trump dystopia is clearly motivating people to do something, and at the local level that means running for office, even against your own party.

GOP legislator bucks his party for internet privacy

In the days before the current legislative session, Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, was cajoling his colleagues to remain vigilant, and healthy, because they only…
Popular small-town baker had recipe for trouble

Popular small-town baker had recipe for trouble

A homegrown cafe that helped resuscitate Main Street in Dodge Center is now shuttered after the owner was convicted of burglary.
Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis in 2015.

Tevlin: Creating a new Peavey Plaza for all to treasure

Fixing one of the jewels of downtown Minneapolis promised the inevitable collision of two issues — preservation and accessibility.

Tevlin: GOP health plan is a study in betrayal

  If you are young and healthy, or rich, or both, this column is not for you. You are bullet-proof. The government has your back.…

Tevlin: Noise, dust, odor from chipper still disrupting veterans in new housing

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about two veterans, James Hudson and Richard Greggersen, and their relentless efforts to move or shut down a…
Paulette Will, with the Minneapolis Advisory Committee on Aging, asked the first question to candidates at Wednesday night's mayoral election forum.

Tevlin: First gathering is Minneapolis mayoral forum 'lite'

The event was fittingly labeled a forum, not a debate, because it was largely a pillow fight between besties. This race seems like it will be less over direction than voice.

Tevlin: Trade connection to Mexico essential

SAN DIEGO – Across America they were rounding up undocumented ­workers and promising to build that wall, but 10 floors above and a few…
Steam still rose from the Madelia fire two days later early in 2016.

Tevlin: Madelia's Main Street rises from the ashes

They are emerging from the ashes, one by one, along Madelia’s Main Street. Last month, it was the Culligan Water shop, with its eight employees.…

Tevlin: Preemie in 1942 battled odds, and he won

Calvin Lepp was locally famous almost from the moment he was born, and over the course of the next 120 days, readers of this newspaper…

Tevlin: To most blessed guy, ALS stands for 'a loving savior'

  The stories started even before the smell of Sweet Martha’s cookies, being baked by Gary Olson, one of the actual founders of the Minnesota…
Michele Kelm-Helgen, shown in July 2015.

Tevlin: Stadium panel's Michele Kelm-Helgen wishes for a do-over

Two days after being grilled by legislators over the use of suites at the Vikings new home, she wishes she would have dealt with the bitter skepticism and conducted a thorough vetting of the MSFA's suite policies.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, shown announcing that she is seeking a second term as mayor.

Tevlin: Downtown crime forces itself into Minneapolis mayoral race

In the last election, economic issues like mandatory sick days, increasing the minimum wage and equity dominated the discussion. Now, the issue of public safety, whether it be downtown violence or police-related ­shootings, is forcing itself into the mayoral race, with caucuses three months away.
Kristen and Jeff Kidder

Tevlin: Frogtown fire didn't claim what matters most

  It was Christmas Eve, and Jeff and Kristen Kidder were having dinner with their next-door neighbors, just as they had for the past several…
A tour group checks out the renovated rotunda.

Tevlin: At refurbished Capitol, democracy never looked so good

Shortly after 9 a.m., the sound of “Amazing Grace” rose from the rotunda floor at the State Capitol and bounced off columns of gleaming marble,…

Tevlin: Thanks, dear readers, for a woonerful 2016

Goodbye monkey. Hello, fire rooster. In China, or as our president-elect pronounces it, Chiina, 2016 was the Year of the Monkey, believed to be unlucky…
Asma Jama

Tevlin: Victim of Coon Rapids hate crime finds grace in courtroom

It was Jama's measured and compassionate response to her attacker in court that has provoked an emotional response.

Flight serves as a rite of passage for three generations of pilots

Three generations of the Weber family will take the trip of a lifetime next week. Wallace, Steve and Brian Weber will be accompanied by a…

Tevlin: Is ballpark the best place to enforce patriotism?

Last week national and state branches of the American Legion said they would rigorously enforce "proper respect" toward the U.S. flag during the national anthem in their summer baseball leagues. Minnesota, with 325 teams and thousands of players, is among the top states for Legion ball.
Minnesota Sports Facilities Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen controls two lower level suites at U.S. Bank Stadium with almost 40 available seats per game or

Tevlin: It's too late now to apologize for the sweet deal on stadium suites

  “Baby, you can crash my party anytime,” Luke Bryan sang. Baby, did they ever. Since the new Vikings stadium opened in August, dozens of…
When it comes to downtown business leaders and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, shown in June announcing a new phase of Niciollet Mall’s reconstructi

Tevlin: Snippy letter shows awkward dance of Mpls. mayor, downtown leaders

Hodges' response was a masterpiece of barely controlled passive-aggressive seething, unique in a way that a Nut Goodie or a Post-it note is unique — in other words, something that could be manufactured only in Minnesota.

Tevlin: Councilman's Facebook post exposes postelection rancor in Ely

Ely is the kind of place where people normally escape the rancor and contentiousness of everyday life. They go for the lakes and loons and…