Music, ranging from classical to hip-hop, will frame Mayor Chris Coleman’s State of the City address Thursday at the Ordway Center in downtown St. Paul.

The 10th annual address, in which the mayor will discuss past progress and his goals for the coming year, will be preceded by selections from members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the Ordway’s new concert hall.

After the speech, five acts will perform: jazz trumpeter Solomon Parham, the hip-hop group Heiruspecs, pop rocker Jeremy Messersmith, rapper Dem Atlas and singer Chastity Brown. Perhaps even Coleman, who plays guitar and bagpipes, will join in.

Last year, the mayor spoke at the new Arlington Hills Community Center about youth programs and overdue road work. He is almost certain to talk this year about downtown progress in the wake of the new light-rail Green Line and the soon-to-open Lowertown ballpark.

A social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the speech at 6 p.m.




DNR offers free classes for lake businesses

A Lake Minnetonka marina will be one of two places hosting free training on how to decontaminate boats with aquatic invasive species (AIS) this summer.

The class is optional for many lake service providers — the third year the state Department of Natural Resources has offered it. Sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on June 16 at Northland Arboretum in Brainerd and June 25 at Tonka Bay Marina in Tonka Bay. To register, which must be completed one week before the class, contact or 651-259-5706.

The state requires AIS training for lake service providers if the business installs, removes, rents or decontaminates water-related equipment such as docks or boats in Minnesota. The businesses must take the training to get a $50 permit before doing work in Minnesota waters; it’s valid for three years.

So far, more than 800 businesses have completed or registered for the classes, the DNR says. There’s another training session from 9 a.m. to noon April 22 at the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District; for a full list, go to




Construction on Robert Street to begin Monday

After four years of planning and extensive community debate, the overhaul of 2 ½ miles of Robert Street is underway.

West St. Paul will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday at Robert and Annapolis streets. Local and regional officials will pre­sent information on the project.

The two-phase reconstruction will change the look of the roadway and improve safety. It is estimated to cost $39 million, and is the largest public works project in the city’s history. It’s a defining project for West St. Paul, city officials said — and a controversial one. The closure of lanes during construction has spurred frustration from local business owners.

The City Council will vote Monday on whether to hire Zan Associates as a business liaison during construction. The company would be available 24 hours a day to respond to businesses’ concerns and would hold weekly meetings to discuss the project, city documents state.

Jessie Van Berkel



Two programs are finalists for environmental awards

Two Hennepin County programs have been named finalists for the 2015 Environmental Initiative awards.

The first is the Green Partners environmental education program, which provides resources to community groups engaging the public in environmentally friendly actions.

The second is the Master Recycler/Composter volunteer program, which uses a “train-the-trainer” model to help motivated citizens expand the county’s recycling reach.

Hennepin County is also a key project partner in the work of two other projects, the University District Pack and Give Back program and the Master Water Stewards program.

More information is at