St. Paul

Parking at downtown meters to cost more

Increased popularity and nightlife in and around downtown St. Paul will start making it more expensive to park on the streets, public works officials announced Friday. Beginning Jan. 4, there will be new enforcement hours and parking rates at downtown parking meters.

Current enforcement hours run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Current meter rates are $1.75 to $2 per hour in most areas downtown, 50 cents to $1 per hour in areas with less parking demand. The new enforcement hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with Sundays remaining free. New rates will be $2 per hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and $1 per hour from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in most of downtown. Areas with less parking demand will have lower rates.

In addition, there will be a new Xcel Energy Center Event Parking Zone, with rates of $3.75 an hour, and a CHS Field Event Parking Zone for $2.50 per hour.

James walsh


Scott County

RiverSouth gets a new executive director

A marketing executive has been chosen to lead Scott County’s RiverSouth, a collaboration between the area’s biggest entertainment venues.

Bill Von Bank is the first executive director of RiverSouth, which was founded in 2014 and serves as an umbrella brand for Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Valleyfair, Canterbury Park and the Renaissance Festival.

Von Bank has an extensive work history in the south metro, including marketing director jobs at the Minnesota Zoo and Valleyfair. He comes to RiverSouth from a similar position at Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism promotion office.

Canterbury spokesman Jeff Maday said representatives from RiverSouth’s member organizations conducted the executive director hiring process. He said he wasn’t sure if there were any other candidates for the job. “I know they searched around, but I think when Bill was available, it made perfect sense to everybody,” he said.

Emma Nelson



Zebra mussel is found in Bryant Lake

Zebra mussels have spread to Eden Prairie’s Bryant Lake, one of two new lakes infested with the aquatic invasive species.

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced last week that Lake John in Wright County near Annandale also has a widespread infestation, discovered after a citizen found one mussel in late September. However, only one mussel was found in Bryant Lake by a Three Rivers Park District staff member, and dive searches didn’t find any others. The DNR said it will closely monitor the west-metro lake.

More than 200 waterways are listed as infested with the mussel, which can damage boat motors, slice swimmers’ feet and threaten fish.

“There is a common misconception that zebra mussels ‘are everywhere’ and that their spread is inevitable,” DNR invasive species specialist Keegan Lund said. “The reality is, zebra mussels have been confirmed in less than 2 percent of Minnesota lakes, and more Minnesotans than ever before know and follow invasive species laws.”




Teen is honored with national ‘Heroes’ award

A Plymouth teen who started a nonprofit to get books to low-income children was recently honored with a national award for her work.

Maria Keller, 14, was named last month as a 2015 honoree by the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, given to 10 honorees and 15 winners across the country from some 400 applicants.

In 2009, Keller, then 8, started the nonprofit, Read Indeed, with the goal of donating 1 million books to children in need by the time she turned 18. A campaign that started out of her garage has morphed into thousands of books filling a Hopkins warehouse room.

By 2013, she hit her goal and she has now collected nearly 1.7 million books that have been distributed across Minnesota and in 42 other states and 16 countries. For more information or to donate, go to