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
Bikers enjoyed a stretch of the Bruce Vento trail that intersects with the Gateway Trail in Maplewood, on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Plans to extend the

Plans afoot to extend Vento trail deeper into Ramsey County suburbs

The vision of a scenic and seamless pedestrian and bicycle corridor traversing Ramsey County from its southern reaches along the Mississippi River to its northern…
The Minnesota River, seen from Mendota Heights.

Metro briefs: Eroding Shakopee riverbank gets federal funding

A project to stabilize the eroding banks of the Minnesota River in Shakopee has received $3.5 million in federal funding. Representatives from the city, Scott…
This rendering shows one of the earlier plans for the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills. Alatus released this rendering of

Arden Hills leaders say they've reached a deal with TCAAP developer

The $1 billion development now hinges on Ramsey County, which owns the former ammunition plant site.
Jared Larson of Woodbury hit balls at the driving range at Ponds at Battle Creek golf course in Maplewood in April last year.

Future of Maplewood's Ponds golf course in limbo after Ramsey County offers to sell

City leaders say they don't have the money to buy the 88-acre Ponds at Battle Creek course.
Bison at Minneopa State Park in Mankato.

Metro briefs: Nature center welcomes new bison herd

A herd of bison will return May 21 to the Belwin Conservancy for their summer stay, with a festival planned for the day of their…
The house at 735 Margaret St. in St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff historic district is a tax-forfeited property.

Job training program restores historic, tax-forfeited Dayton's Bluff residence

Dayton's Bluff residence restored through Ramsey County and Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota partnership.
Los Alegres Bailadores performed traditional Mexican folkloric dance on their float in the 2019 Cinco de Mayo parade in St. Paul. The festival is one

New rules, rising police costs force St. Paul festivals to fold

City leaders and police officials say they are trying to balance safety with community fun. They are also trying to not force taxpayers to supplement events.
Metro briefs: Minnetonka considers affordable housing project

Metro briefs: Minnetonka considers affordable housing project

A proposed affordable housing project that would bring a dozen townhouses and two single-family houses to the Minnetonka Mills neighborhood is getting mixed reviews from…
Katalina Hoeun, 9, and her brother Werha, 11, of St. Paul ran along a dock as swan boats floated behind them on Como Lake in St. Paul on Wednesday.

'New and fun and Instagram-able' swan boat rentals to grace Lake Nokomis, Como Lake

There will be about two dozen of the boats available to rent in late May on each lake. The swans will light up at night.
In 2020, Mara, a neighbor to a homeless encampment near downtown who wished not to have her last name used, helped clear out the remaining tents and t

County officials plead for state aid as 100-bed shelter closes in St. Paul

Ramsey County leaders issued dire warnings this week that large outdoor homeless encampments could be back this summer unless state lawmakers provide nearly $73 million to keep open some temporary shelters.
Dr. Mark Thomas and his partner’s two-story home was an early work of Cass Gilbert, the architectural genius who designed the Minnesota State Capito

St. Paul homeowner spent decades proving his house was an early Cass Gilbert design

Famed architect went on to design the Minnesota Capitol and the famed Woolworth Building in New York City.
Dozens of Salvation Army members marched in a 1916 funeral procession for Capt. Emma Anderson through St. Paul’s East Side. She helped fellow Swedis

Salvation Army honors officer with grave marker 106 years after her death

Emma Anderson died in 1916 after dedicating her life to helping fellow Swedish immigrants.
Brothers Leonardo, 3, and Gabriel Munoz, 2, watched as goats ate their way around at Creekview Park on Thursday, April 21, 2022 in New Brighton, Minn.

Suburbs rely less on manpower, more goats to beat back invasive plants

New Brighton, Maplewood to bring in herds of goats to feast on buckthorn.
An invasive carp removed from Rice Creek in New Brighton.

Scientists find new way to clear invasive carp from Rice Creek

They used an "electric fence for fish" to remove more than 10,000 carp during last year's spring spawning season.
Andrew Tolbert

Metro briefs: Brooklyn Park officer named Negotiator of the Year

Brooklyn Park police officer and crisis negotiator Andrew Tolbert has been named the Special Operations Training Association's Negotiator of the Year.Tolbert won the award for…
A rendering of the Fairview Community Health and Wellness Hub to be developed on the site of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Ramsey County officials concerned about loss of inpatient mental health beds

St. Joseph's is licensed for 87 mental health and addiction beds but has staff for 40. Now the downtown St. Paul hospital's impatient unit may close.
Kellogg Blvd. clings along the bluffs of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul. Kellogg Boulevard is slightly more than a mile long, but it’s t

St. Paul's Kellogg Blvd. bridges need $120 million in rebuilds

Demolition of one span is scheduled to start in early 2023. Construction is expected to take two years.
Roseville man who shot police officer had long history of severe mental illness

Roseville man who shot police officer had long history of severe mental illness

Jesse Werling, 53, shot the officer in the face and was killed when police returned fire.
Roseville police officer shot in face;  suspect dies

Roseville police officer shot in face; suspect dies

A 53-year-old man with a history of mental health calls for help fired off more than 100 rounds in his neighborhood Tuesday night before he was captured by police.
Pete Orput, seen in 2013 in his office at the Washington County Government Center. Orput died April 3 at his home in Stillwater.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput dies at 66

Orput recently told staff he had cancer. He opted not to seek re-election after earlier Parkinson's disease diagnosis.
Farmington City Administrator Lynn Gorski

Metro briefs: Farmington leaders appoint new city administrator

The Farmington City Council has appointed Lynn Gorski, former assistant city administrator, to fill the city administrator role.Gorski will replace City Administrator David McKnight, who…
A 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident.

Hennepin, Ramsey counties show population declines in 2021

State demographer says early retirements and college disruptions due to COVID-19 played a role.
St. Paul Deputy Fire Chief Steve Sampson, left, spoke with encampment resident Damion Davis in December 2020 before the site at downtown St. Paul’s

Bills would help keep Ramsey County shelters open, stave off camps

Senator from Greater Minnesota is cosponsor, says help eclipses geographic and political boundaries.
The Shakopee branch of the Scott County library system.

Metro briefs: Scott County libraries stop charging late fines

Scott County libraries have stopped charging late fines for overdue materials. The county previously charged daily late fines for overdue books and other materials as…
LaTanya Black, center, was given support by other moms who have lost children to gun violence as they looked toward a billboard of her daughter Nia Bl

St. Paul's last strip club closes amid violence and fierce neighborhood opposition

The Lamplighter Lounge has face intense neighborhood scrutiny after a young woman was killed in the parking lot.
Twin brothers Camden, left, and Coffey Weston sifted through books at the Ramsey County Library in Roseville before story time in January 2020.

Ramsey County wipes away $415K in library late fees

Many describe the fines as unwelcoming and disproportionately impacting the community's neediest families.
Some residents and business owners in White Bear Lake opposed the proposed Purple Line, which will connect the city to Union Depot in downtown St. Pau

White Bear Lake attempts to block 'Purple Line' bus transit plans

$475 million bus rapid transit line would connect downtown St. Paul to White Bear Lake by end of 2026.
Metro briefs: South St. Paul won't seek grant to move Armour gates

Metro briefs: South St. Paul won't seek grant to move Armour gates

South St. Paul officials have decided not to pursue $50,000 in state money to pay for moving two historic Armour gatehouses to a new location.The…
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said he will step down when his term expires in June.

Public shares hopes for a new St. Paul police chief

The City Council created an advisory board to review applications and recommend a pool of five candidates to Mayor Carter.
A small GPS unit sticks to the back of a car, deployed from tubes installed in the grille of a Maplewood police squad.

Twin Cities suburban police battling car thieves with new GPS technology

Squad cars are being outfitted with StarChase, which shoots a device onto a fleeing vehicle so it can be tracked.
Gwen Lawrence

Gwen Lawrence, who provided foster care for 189 infants awaiting adoption, dies at 90

"She was a giver. She always wanted to help however she could," her daughter said.
Jasmine Laducer-Kitto arrived for work recently at the Ramsey County Care Center. County leaders voted to close the Maplewood nursing home.

Ramsey County Board moves forward with plans to close county-owned nursing home

State must sign off on deal to close center; new homes would need to be found for 95 residents.
Phil Baebenroth, right, the new North St. Paul police chief, runs with North St. Paul Mayor Terry Furlong as Baebenroth began his weekly Friday commun

North St. Paul committed to keeping small-town police force

East metro suburb has the smallest police force in Ramsey County with just 18 sworn officers. But city leaders say they're more committed than ever to keeping and growing their small town police force.
Keller Regional Park in Maplewood

Metro briefs: Ramsey County implements new fines for parks offenders

Ramsey CountyNew fines for parks offendersBreaking Ramsey County parks rules will cost offenders between $50 and $300, but in most instances it won't leave them…
Jasmine Laducer-Kitto arrived for work recently at the Ramsey County Care Center. County leaders are considering closing the Maplewood nursing home.

Ramsey County leaders want to close nursing home

County-run care center in Maplewood is home to 95 residents.
Ramsey County is rolling back its mask mandate for county-operated buildings as federal health officials revise guidelines.

Ramsey County rolls back mask mandate for county buildings

New rule for visitors comes after CDC revises guidelines.
A sign posted at one of three entrances to North Oaks in 2008.

Dispute between North Oaks, founding family in the hands of the court

Heir of the founding family has sued the city for blocking development.
Goats will be used to eat buckthorn as Maplewood seeks to transform the land around its City Hall campus with more native grassland habitat.

Maplewood City Hall landscaping going wild, with the help of goats

Maplewood seeks to protect imperiled native pollinators such as the monarch butterfly and the endangered rusty patched bumblebee.
Breakaway Academy fifth-graders practiced at Edina’s Braemar Arena. The Legislature gave Edina permission to ask voters for a half-cent sales tax to

More Twin Cities suburbs see a local sales tax as a funding fix

They want out-of-town visitors to help pay for amenities, but the Legislature and voters need to approve.
This map artwork of Ramsey County is located in St. Paul City Hall-Ramsey County Courthouse in downtown St. Paul.

Ramsey County will award $500 to $1K bonuses as part of deal with labor unions

The three-year agreement covers more than half the county workforce.
Coyotes were spotted at the 77-acre parcel owned by Ramsey County in Maplewood. County leaders have expressed interest in developing the property but

Ramsey County rejects development proposals for former golf course

Environmental groups continue to campaign for preservation of the former Ponds golf course and another site.
Shuntay Thomas listened to music with his son Brandon, 10, in their room in the Project Home at the Provincial House in the Highland Park neighborhood

Ramsey County faces 'big cliff' if funding for homeless temporary shelters runs out

Leases on the county's four temporary homeless shelters in St. Paul, which house about 450 men, women and children, expire this spring.
Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter.

Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter will not seek reelection

Carter, who served as chair for the past two years, was first elected in 2005.
Elisabeth Storm offered her dog, Luke, another tennis ball, his favorite thing in the world, as he cooled off in a creek at Battle Creek Regional Park

Ramsey County parks may stay open longer

Parks would be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., rather than sunrise to sunset.
Officials across Twin Cities join forces to fight rising crime

Officials across Twin Cities join forces to fight rising crime

Mayors, police chiefs and prosecutors held an unprecedented meeting Monday to discuss a surge in violent crime across the region.
People pass a sign that reads “Face Mask Required” in a mall as COVID-19 cases surge in the city, on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Di

Metro suburbs steer clear of mask and vaccine mandates

Even as St. Paul and Minneapolis reimpose mask mandates, suburban leaders say they lack the political will and the staff to enforce new mask policies at this time.
MatasCastillo elected Ramsey County Board chair

MatasCastillo elected Ramsey County Board chair

MatasCastillo takes the gavel from Commissioner Toni Carter.
Metro briefs: Plymouth's Fire & Ice festival to return in 2022

Metro briefs: Plymouth's Fire & Ice festival to return in 2022

Following a year of at-home activities, Plymouth's Fire & Ice festival will return with live programming and events Feb. 5.The 33rd annual celebration at Parker's…
A rendering of the 114-unit senior apartment complex proposed for 1795 Eustis St., Lauderdale. Ramsey County has allocated nearly $3 million to the de

Ramsey County awards $8 million to build, preserve affordable housing

The county has pledged $37 million of its federal COVID-19 aid to affordable housing.
The Ramsey County Library system will eliminate adult late fees starting next week. The county system dropped fines for children and teens two years a

More Twin Cities-area libraries are eliminating late fees

Ramsey County is ending all fines for overdue items, and Dakota County will nix fines for materials for children and teens.
St. Paul to get its first roundabout; Lexington Pkwy. is extended to Shepard Road

St. Paul to get its first roundabout; Lexington Pkwy. is extended to Shepard Road

The $3.3 million Ramsey County road project is expected to be done by fall 2022.
North St. Paul’s 7th Avenue E. is a mix of old and new, with the recently opened 100-unit apartment building at left and Schleck & Co. antiques at r

New apartments, eateries part of North St. Paul downtown revival

Mayor Terry Furlong calls it the start of a downtown renaissance. He said adding new housing and bringing in new residents is critical.
Ramsey County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo called the plan a “historic investment in mental health and public safety.”

Ramsey County adds 40 positions dedicated to violence prevention

Ramsey County will create 40 new full-time positions focused on violence prevention and expanding who responds to 911 calls.The County Board on Tuesday approved the…
Ramsey County Manager Ryan O’Connor is personally overseeing the department and instituting changes.

Investigation into Ramsey County human resources finds pay inequities, other problems

An outside law firm noted a perceived "hostile work environment," especially for employees of color.
Roseville Fire Department firefighter Dan Concha climbed off a fire truck after a medical call in November 2018 in Roseville.

Roseville firefighters, police get COVID bonuses

The city is using a portion of its federal COVID aid to give $2,000 bonuses.
St. Louis Park police seeking to break up a carjacking ring released this photo of an around 3 p.m Thursday at the Lunds & Byerlys on Park Center Boul

Rash of Twin Cities carjackings spreads to suburbs

Recent incidents in Edina, St. Louis Park, Roseville and Woodbury have residents rattled.
A school bus driver navigated the congestion on Rice Street on Wednesday in St. Paul.

Ramsey County to reconfigure Rice Street in St. Paul

The 2-mile stretch starting just north of the Capitol will be reduced from four lanes to two with a dedicated center turn lane.
Metro briefs: Farmington outsources trash collection

Metro briefs: Farmington outsources trash collection

Farmington has approved a contract with Dick's Sanitation for once-a-week garbage and recycling pickup, ending more than half a century of city-led residential trash collection.City…
Tycon Cos. wants to construct a 268-unit apartment building and 29 homes on Snail Lake in Shoreview.

Shoreview neighbors balk as developer lays out plan for new neighborhood on Snail Lake

Union Gospel Mission sold the 18-acre lakefront property, creating a rare housing opportunity.
A Best Buy storefront.

Maplewood police have ID'd suspects in Black Friday Best Buy thefts

Police launched investigations after groups of people stole high-end items during store hours at three Twin Cities Best Buy locations last week.
A tiny parklet on the corner of Rice and Larpenteur in St. Paul on Nov. 23. The forgotten corners of three cities, St. Paul, Roseville and Maplewood,

Three east metro cities join forces to renew the intersection where they meet

St. Paul, Roseville and Maplewood pool resources to improve border neighborhood around Rice Street and Larpenteur Avenue.
Meg Gronau, of Maplewood (in blue coat) and Ellen Ryan of Minneapolis (in red hat) sang along with more than 75 other people participating Wednesday i

In Maplewood, beer and singing in historic-style 'bierstube'

Maplewood Area Historical Society and Beer Choir Twin Cities partner for a sudsy Thanksgiving Eve sing-along.
Metro briefs: Anoka County crime lab wins prestigious award

Metro briefs: Anoka County crime lab wins prestigious award

Food trucks in Blaine will now be allowed to operate at business events where they are the lone attraction, after the City Council on Nov.…
 Lechner Clarke

Dr. Mary Carol Louise Lechner Clarke, on team that pioneered breast cancer diagnostics, dies at 69

Their groundbreaking technique changed how breast cancer was diagnosed across the country, a colleague said.
A Roseville police, shown in 2016. The city of Roseville will now fine hotels for excessive police calls, citing a dramatic surge in the number receiv

Roseville will fine hotels for excessive police calls

Police response has jumped in recent years.
At the former Ford Plant in St. Paul, the central water feature is an important part of sending treated storm water to Hidden Falls Park.

Developers pause St. Paul projects after rent control passes

Unlike most cities with rent control, St. Paul will not exempt new construction, which opponents argue will force lenders and developers to look outside the city.
A sign posted at an entrance to North Oaks in 2008.

James J. Hill heir sues North Oaks over blocked housing development

The City Council blocked the Gate Hill development of 73 homes.
Six carjackings, attempts over two hours Monday evening in Minneapolis

Six carjackings, attempts over two hours Monday evening in Minneapolis

Violence comes amid dramatic increase in carjackings.
A hand-colored photograph of South St. Paul taken between 1912 and 1915. The structure at center is the Stockyards Exchange Building, which is still s

West, North, South, Park: Why are there so many suburbs named St. Paul?

Many east metro locales are named after Minnesota's capital city, though not all of their names neatly line up with the compass.
Licensed clinical social worker Amber Ruth, left, took notes on a case as St. Paul Police officer Justin Tiffany drove them to their next call in 2018

Ramsey County starts planning for new teams of 911 responders

Ramsey County 911 operators could soon dispatch social and mental health workers, child welfare staff and even nonprofit employees to crisis calls, in one of…
Ramsey County considers fines for restaurant, other license violations

Ramsey County considers fines for restaurant, other license violations

County is moving away from criminal penalties.
A rusty patched bumblebee on Joe Pye weed. Pictures are from Susan Damon’s pollinator friendly bee garden in St. Paul, Minn., all photographed throu

Endangered bird, bee found on Maplewood development sites

Environmental groups say the results are proof Ramsey County, the property owner, should rethink possible plans to redevelop the shuttered 88-acre Ponds at Battle Creek golf course and a second 77-acre grassland site.
caption kicker Chue Lee, cq, who fishes at the park at least twice a week, fished for bass at Keller Regional Park, Thursday, October 7, 2021 in Maple

As park usage surges, Ramsey County leaders say 'dawn-to-dusk' rule may no longer make sense

Officials say the "dawn-to-dusk" rule may no longer make sense.
At Big Wood Brewery in White Bear Lake, Adam Engle and Jake Medvec canned and packaged containers of Fine IPA.

Vadnais Heights' residents wish for brewery comes true

Vadnais Heights gave residents a voice in development plan
R&R Cultivation employee Cassondra Wingard prepared packaged mushrooms for lids in the wholesale room Sept. 24 in Roseville.

Roseville mushroom grower is 'farm family' of the year

Urban mushroom farm receives University of Minnesota Extension agriculture honor