Staff Directory 6370507

Shannon Prather

Reporter | Ramsey County
Phone: 612-673-4804

Shannon Prather covers Ramsey County for the Star Tribune. Previously, she covered philanthropy and nonprofits. Prather has two decades of experience reporting for newspapers in Minnesota, California, Idaho, Wisconsin and North Dakota. She has covered a variety of topics including the legal system, law enforcement, education, municipal government and slice-of-life community news.


Prather attended high school in Fargo, N.D. and went on to earn a bachelor's of journalism from the University of Missouri. She has received additional training from Investigative Reporters & Editors and The Poynter Institute. She has covered everything from death penalty trials to growing pains in Twin Cities suburbs. She has been recognized for her work by the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists and the California News Publishers Association.
Recent content from Shannon Prather
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

Ramsey County prosecuting more sex crimes

"We are slowly showing some real progress," County Attorney John Choi said.
The Lamplighter Lounge, at 160 Larpenteur Av., is St. Paul’s only strip club.

St. Paul city attorney to investigate strip club

The Lamplighter Lounge generates many police calls near residential area.
Ramsey County’s new Economic Inclusion and Competitiveness Plan references the bulldozing of a large swath of the historically African American Rond

Ramsey County unveils plan to fund housing, minority businesses

Ramsey County's $11.5M tax would boost housing and minority businesses.
The Lamplighter Lounge, at 160 Larpenteur Av., is St. Paul’s only strip club.

Neighbors want stricter rules after troubles at St. Paul's only strip club

Lamplighter's St. Paul neighbors ask council to require safety measures.
Employee sues Ramsey County over retirement fund match

Employee sues Ramsey County over retirement fund match

Deputy sheriff says the county isn't depositing matching funds into employees' retirement accounts.
St. Paul City Council member Mitra Jalali posed for a portrait near her home and the Metro Transit Green Line in St. Paul.

Mitra Jalali pushes City Council to serve 'rising St. Paul'

The 34-year-old council member has been a vocal advocate for renters, the environment and police reform.
Roy Wilkins in 1963.

St. Paul park renamed for civil rights icon Roy Wilkins

Roy Wilkins grew up in the North End neighborhood, where the former Lewis Park will now bear his name.
Scholz

Robert Scholz, composer, arranger and longtime St. Olaf music professor, dies at 81

Robert Scholz had a passion for music, learning to play the piano as a child and developing his voice — a light and clear tenor…
Marion Street/The Brittanys Apartments in Roseville.

Roseville hopes $5 million in aid will attract apartment buyer

In an effort to entice the sale of a troubled apartment complex, the city of Roseville is offering as much as $5 million in aid…
St. Paul police fired tear gas on protesters along University Avenue in May during protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis p

St. Paul police outline plan for possible unrest during Chauvin trial

Police and mutual aid agencies have been training at old Sears site.
The now shuttered Boys Totem Town campus, seen in 2019, may hold archaeological evidence of centuries-old American Indian life.

Report: 'High potential' of Native artifacts at Boys Totem Town

Land should be studied for evidence of American Indian life, report says.
Crowds gathered for the 2020 Winter Carnival King Boreas Grand Day Parade in St. Paul

St. Paul considers banning weapons at parades, races and public gatherings

Demonstrators would also not be allowed to carry items that can be used as weapons.
Pigs Eye Lake, with downtown St. Paul barely visible.

Ramsey County says yes to man-made islands in Pigs Eye Lake

Using dredged material, islands will be created to develop natural habitat.
St. Paul City Council member Mitra Jalali Nelson, seen at a Nov. 14, 2018, council meeting, sponsored the tenant protection ordinance, which pas

Landlords sue St. Paul over tenant protections

A group of landlords is suing the city of St. Paul, arguing a tenant protection ordinance set to take effect in March violates their constitutional…
Crews are more than halfway through a process scientists call “meandering,” or re-sculpting about 2,000 feet of Lambert Creek in Vadnais Heights.

Crews reshape creek in Ramsey County to improve water quality

Goal is to improve water quality and natural habitat at Lambert Creek in Vadnais Heights.
Roseville partially reinstates rental license after $1 million in repairs

Roseville partially reinstates rental license after $1 million in repairs

Council reinstates part of rental license to troubled complex amid $1M in repairs.
Gov. Rudy Perpich gathered with residents and officials during the opening of I-35E near downtown St. Paul in October 1990.

Why does I-35E through St. Paul have a 45-mph speed limit?

The lower speed limit on the "35E Parkway" stems from a battle that began decades ago.
The Airbnb logo.

Roseville restricts short-term rentals after problem party houses

The City Council voted to license short-term rentals and require minimum stays when the property owner does not live onsite.
Two state lawmakers from Maplewood, with the strong support of north metro watershed districts, have again introduced legislation to remove toxic lead

Bird deaths fuel push for Minnesota lead tackle ban

Fishing tackle killing popular waterfowl.
Maplewood Public Safety Director Scott Nadeau, center, shown in 2019.

Mental health worker to partner with Maplewood police

About 7% of Maplewood's 13,000 emergency medical and police calls were mental health related
Mayor Melvin Carter was a founding member of the nonprofit Mayors for a Guaranteed Income group. Under his leadership, St. Paul became the second city

St. Paul guaranteed income helps families of color

All 150 families had a newborn last year and suffered a financial hardship due to COVID.
Ted Vig received a $7,500 grant from the St. Paul Bridge Fund which he and his wife used to cover COVID-related losses before their  guitar shop o

Inequities persist in St. Paul and Ramsey County COVID relief

Despite efforts to be fair, some historically underserved areas of the capital city still came out behind as $12.7 million in emergency funds were given out.
Melvin Carter  is the capital city’s first Black mayor and a fourth-generation resident.

St. Paul Mayor Carter seeks reelection

Campaign touts his 'unapologetic equity agenda.'
An Airbnb logo. The Ramsey County suburb of Roseville is now poised to regulate and restrict short-term rentals — which are booked through websites

After wild parties, Twin Cities suburbs reining in short-term rentals

Fed up with wild parties and traffic, Roseville and other cities tighten rules on Airbnbs, VRBOs.
Crews cleaned up a homeless encampment on Shepard Road in St. Paul, where fire Wednesday morning left one person dead and another injured.

1 dead, another hurt in fire at homeless encampment in downtown St. Paul

Police homicide and arson investigators remained at the scene to determine how the fire began.
St. Paul Council Member Jane Prince, center, shown in 2016, was the resolution’s lead sponsor on the council.

St. Paul to form reparations commission for descendants of enslaved people

The city also apologized for its role in institutional racism.
FILE - The DoorDash app is shown on a smartphone on Feb. 27, 2020, in New York. Delivery company DoorDash is looking for a valuation of nearly $30 bil

St. Paul caps delivery app fees

Minneapolis and Edina have already acted.
Dred Scott and his family were freed by Taylor Blow, wife to Henry in 1857. The Supreme Court ruled against freedom for his family and the case eventu

St. Paul City Council considers reparations for slavery

Commission would be created to look at options.
Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter.       ] GLEN STUBBE • glen.stubbe@startribune.com   Thursday, January 7, 2021       Long time Ramsey County

Toni Carter's measured diplomacy credited for major Ramsey County reforms

Chairwoman Toni Carter is the right one for these times, say Ramsey County colleagues.
St. Paul condo sellers must disclose smoking policy to buyers

St. Paul condo sellers must disclose smoking policy to buyers

St. Paul condo and townhouse owners looking to sell their units now must disclose their association's smoking policy to prospective buyers.The City Council unanimously passed…
City Council President Lisa Bender took part Wednesday night in a livestreamed meeting on the 2021 budget that drew more than 400 people.

Online meetings spark greater civic engagement

The intent was to slow the spread of COVID-19. The result has been a surge in civic engagement, with unprecedented numbers of residents participating in…
2021 Winter Carnival button    design by Adam Turman.

St. Paul Winter Carnival revamps events to foil COVID-19

Drive-through events at State Fairgrounds preserve carnival favorites.
Tents were set up on cement stairs between the History Center and Catholic Charities and in the shadow of the State Capitol in St. Paul on March

Ramsey County to invest $9 million in affordable housing in 2021

After a year of surging homelessness, Ramsey County will invest nearly $9 million in affordable housing next year in an effort to stanch the flow…
Joan Dressen

Joan Dressen, co-founder of first Minneapolis chapter of PFLAG and champion of LGBT rights, dies at 86

After Joan Dressen learned her son was gay in the early 1980s, she immediately started looking for resources and support for her child and her…
Mark, who has been homeless off and on for 7 years, searches for a community member and volunteer who showed him kindness to try and give her some jew

St. Paul starts work to close downtown homeless encampment

Officials helped about three dozen people at Kellogg Park pack up their belongings and move Monday.
After giving a resident of a homeless camp on Kellogg Mall a hat on Tuesday, Deputy Mayor Jaime Tincher asked her what other needs she had.

As cold sets in, St. Paul, Mpls. dismantle more homeless camps

St. Paul leaders said Tuesday they will dismantle eight homeless encampments and relocate residents to shelters starting next week, citing the risk of fires and…
The Sisters of St. Joseph Provincial House is being considered as a site for another temporary homeless shelter. It would serve about 20 families with

Ramsey County considers family homeless shelter in Highland Park

The Sisters of St. Joseph building would serve about 20 families with children.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, shown in January.

48-member commission to study alternatives to St. Paul police response

The Community-First Public Safety Commission includes local leaders and residents.
St. Paul Council Member Mitra Jalali

Split St. Paul council passes budget

Two council members raised concerns about police department funding.
FILE - In this April 16, 2019, file photo, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter speaks in St. Paul, Minn. A pilot program proposed by Carter to guarantee $500

Twitter CEO boosts St. Paul's guaranteed income program

St. Paul, along with two dozen other cities, will get a minimum of $500,000 to grow their programs. The People's Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot will provide monthly payments to 150 randomly selected families in four of St. Paul's lowest-income ZIP codes.

Fired Ramsey County employee charged with embezzling $65,000

Accused of schemes involving work credit card, Paul Richard Scharf faces 16 felony counts.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, seen in 2019, and Mayor Melvin Carter.

Police funding dominates St. Paul's truth-in-taxation hearing

Some residents want cuts to the department budget, others worry about crime.
Jerry Striegel of St. Paul, left, and John Munter of Warba held signs during a press conference about concerns around the adequacy of Enbridge's COVID

Doctors seek halt to Enbridge pipeline project because of COVID concerns

They say thousands of Line 3 workers could spread the coronavirus.
St. Paul City Council Member Rebecca Noecker, right, who represents the neighborhood, declined to comment, saying she could not take a position before

Summit Hill neighbors challenge St. Paul's exceptions for triplex developer

St. Paul's Board of Zoning Appeals granted a developer six variances to build townhouses on a back lot.
Skiers at Afton Alps ski area enjoyed the mild temperatures and a decent base of snow Friday morning.

Minnesota ski resorts anticipate blockbuster year

Ski resort operators across the state say guests will notice some COVID-related changes, mostly to ensure social distancing while ticketing and during lessons.
“We should only send people to prison who absolutely need to be there,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said.

Ramsey County sending fewer people to prison

It's a leader in reducing incarceration numbers.
A voter inserted her absentee voter ballot into a drop box Oct. 15 in Troy, Mich.

District judge orders the counting of 318 misplaced Ramsey County ballots

Ramsey County judge rules the votes, though unlikely to affect outcomes, are to be tallied before certification.
Linda Garrett-Johnson watches election returns while attending an election night party in her friend's garage in Apple Valley.

Ramsey County canvassing board finds 318 uncounted absentee ballots

Candidates to be notified, but officials doubt votes could change outcomes.
A crucifix hung from a tent where a neighbor to a homeless encampment near downtown St. Paul helped clear out the remaining tents and their contents i

Ramsey County eyes winter shelter at Luther Seminary dorm

Ramsey County officials are considering opening another temporary homeless shelter, this one in a vacant dorm at Luther Seminary in St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park…
Subscribers to Flock Safety’s residential system get access to data about every car that passes, including how many times it has been in the area.

Suburban neighborhood installs license plate readers to stop mail theft

After mail thefts, Plymouth neighborhood adopts tool used by law enforcement.
Anna Baish, a volunteer and student at the University of Minnesota, pushed a dolly holding completed ballots and election equipment into the warehouse

Ramsey County election returns came in later due to safeguards in the reporting process, officials say

Ramsey County officials said Wednesday that their election process went smoothly even though returns weren't released until 11:30 p.m., more than three hours after the…
Departing Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat

Three new commissioners in Hennepin County

Hennepin County voters on Tuesday reshaped the County Board, electing three new commissioners to seats vacated by longtime incumbents and reelecting the lone incumbent seeking…
Neighborhood residents Bonnie Watkins and John Zakelj think the Totem Town campus could include affordable housing, agriculture and an African market.

St. Paul neighbors have contrasting visions for the future of the leafy Boys Totem Town site

Some neighbors want Totem Town site to be park; others want housing.
“He had a huge heart. He was so giving.”

Leslie Antoine Kucera, carpenter, family man and outdoorsman, dies of COVID-19 at 71

Leslie Antoine Kucera was a lifelong carpenter and a family man.The Circle Pines father of six was generous with his time and talents, helping family…
Ramsey County sheriff's deputies and St. Paul police escorted pro-police, pro-Trump demonstrators away from a June 27 protest at the governor's mansio

Ramsey County takes $727,000 from reserves to cover costs from unrest

Ramsey County spent $727,000 this spring on law enforcement and staff overtime, hotel rooms for the homeless and other costs associated with civil unrest after…

Ramsey County to post signs banning weapons at county-owned facilities

"No weapons" signs posted after a father with an assault rifle walked his young son into a county ice arena.
Maplewood Police Chief Scott Nadeau, center, shown in 2019.

Suburban chief says public safety needs to be part of bail reform debate

Reducing cash bail must be balanced with public safety, Maplewood's police chief says.
Fairview Health will close Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul.

Ramsey County approves leasing Bethesda Hospital for homeless shelter

Despite neighbors' concerns, plan to convert Bethesda Hospital is approved.
Fairview Health will close Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul.

Ramsey County delays shelter at Bethesda to address security concerns

Neighbors have said they worry about increasing crime and drug activity.
Lynne Snediker and her partner, Richard Fuerstenberg, oppose turning Bethesda Hospital, across the street, into a shelter.

Neighbors object to converting St. Paul hospital into shelter

Concerns about rising crime, declining property values and negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood dominated a virtual community meeting of more than 230 people on Thursday night
Alexis Hernandez Abreu

Musician Alexis Hernandez Abreu dies at 49

Friends and family say she was also a fervent peace and social justice activist.
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.
The Vadnais Heights sports complex in 2010. Law enforcement officers were called to the TCO Sports Garden on Sept. 26 in response to a complaint after

Dad brings rifle to Vadnais Heights hockey practice, police called

Law agencies were called to the Vadnais Heights ice arena on Sept. 26; weapons policies are now under review.
Plymouth's Beacon Ridge is a new neighborhood of single-family rental homes, the newest trend in Twin Cities home construction. More than 360 such hou

Rental home neighborhoods offer new twist in suburbs

"What we hear from people all the time is they want to rent and they want the option for a maintenance-free lifestyle but they don't want the shared walls," said Maple Grove's Joe Hogeboom. "This really appeals to a lot of people."
The nonprofit Lower Phalen Creek Project is partnering with the grassroots Boys Totem Town Land Preservation Group to research whether the land may be

Groups study Totem Town site, hoping to make case for parkland

They will examine the property for Dakota artifacts and history.
Former Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman has agreed to repay $60,000 in charitable funds and has been permanently banned from operating a nonpr

Former Ramsey County commissioner, state reach settlement on defunct charity

Journey Home Minnesota's Blake Huffman to repay $60K.
Waralee Wanless

Texas woman sentenced to 12 years for role in sex trafficking ring that operated in Minneapolis

The defendant was one of nearly three dozen who have been sentenced for crimes connected to the sex trafficking of Thai women across the U.S.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi unveiled a draft plan Tuesday in which the Sheriff’s Office will use a new assessment tool to release some low-risk

Ramsey County looks to reform cash bail system

Some low-risk suspects will be released without posting fee under plan.
Ramsey County Manager Ryan O'Connor

Ramsey County Manager Ryan O'Connor has COVID, says his family struggled to get tested

O'Connor said he worries about those with fewer resources, less access.

Roseville threatens to sue landlord over apartment conditions

The City Council has authorized a lawsuit if repairs are not made quickly to an apartment complex that had its rental license revoked.
Tents were set up on cement stairs between the History Center and Catholic Charities and in the shadow of the state capitol building in St. Paul on Th

St. Paul, Ramsey County want to add 100 beds to confront surge of homelessness

The county and its partnering nonprofits have added nearly 200 homeless beds since last year, yet the number of people sleeping outdoors has grown.
Golfers endured a windy day Thursday to get out on the links at Keller Golf Course in Maplewood.

After years of declines, golf surges in Twin Cities during pandemic

Rounds played are up dramatically this summer at public courses across the Twin Cities as players flock to a sport that is naturally social distanced.
Yellow lotus bloomed along the shore of Pigs Eye Lake. The St. Paul lake, a backwater of the Mississippi, and the 500+ acre adjacent park will now get

Island building project for Pigs Eye Lake take a brief pause for public comment

Public invited to give views on proposal to add islands; then County Board votes.
Ramsey County Manager Ryan O'Connor

Ramsey County Board drops 2021 tax levy, now proposing zero increase

County leaders want to roll back earlier plans for a 4.5% levy increase, citing the impact of COVID and civil unrest.

North Oaks City Council takes a no-confidence vote against colleague

Mayor says Kara Ries should have followed protocol before visiting a private development site in the city.