Kaitlyn Roby

Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at kroby@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.
Follow her on Twitter @KRobyNews.


West St. Paul may scrap city logo

The current West St. Paul logo that the council is considering replacing.

The majority of the West St. Paul City Council April 28 selected this logo to win an online contest, but it won’t actually replace the city’s current logo. The council has directed staff to obtain proposals from design firms to possibly help create a new city logo.

Area city logos: left: St. Paul. Right, top to bottom: South St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Inver Grove Heights.

Logo contest yields no ‘home runs’
West St. Paul’s logo may go back to the drawing board.
The West St. Paul City Council had to pick a winner of an online city-logo design contest at its work session Monday, but the top choice won’t actually replace the current logo, the blue star-like emblem that’s splashed throughout the city on signs, vehicles and police uniforms. The council instead directed staff to obtain proposals from design firms to possibly help the city freshen its branding.


West St. Paul woman with guide dog wants to be treated like any other customer

MaryJeanne Hemesath, of West St. Paul, says some local businesses have confronted her about her guide dog, or asked her to leave the trained animal outside. “I’m sick and tired of it,” she says. State and federal laws say guide dogs are allowed in any public establishment, with very few exceptions. (photos by Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

MaryJeanne Hemesath didn’t find out she has a hereditary eye disease until her 30s. Now legally blind, she uses a guide dog to assist her.

MaryJeanne Hemesath holds the harness she puts on her service dog when the duo leaves the house. Despite the bright-yellow sign commonly associated with service animals, she’s had problems entering some West St. Paul businesses, she says.

MaryJeanne Hemesath has been feeling less and less welcome at West St. Paul businesses.
She’s been yelled at or shooed away by some employees and business owners when they see her guide dog. She says it’s happened both when she’s alone and with a friend while using the guide dog to navigate.
The confrontations make getting out even more of a burden.


District 197 special election is May 6

District 197 Superintendent Nancy Allen-Mastro presents information on why the schools are asking for a renewal and increase in its technology levy and a $11.4 million building levy to upgrade facilities. The school board voted unanimously in February to put the two questions on the ballot in a special election, which is May 6. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

Levy, bond would increase student access to technology, upgrade facilities
Third-graders assembled Legos last week at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, building a robot they can then program on a computer to perform certain tasks.
“They live in a digital world,” said Shannon Lawson, a teacher at Somerset Elementary. “If we don’t meet that at school, they won’t want to be there.”


West St. Paul juggles Robert Street project funding

Robert Street in West St. Paul is slated for a $26.8 million reconstruction. The city initiated the project to revamp the busy state-owned roadway, and has been negotiating the finances with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. (Linda E. Andersen/Review)

MnDOT says $12.2 million turnback offer stands
West St. Paul city staff plans to recommend that the city council turn down an offer to take control of South Robert Street from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, as well as the funding to reconstruct the road the state offered in exchange.


South St. Paul to bid 1920s school gym farewell

The high school building as it stands today. (Submitted photo)

The 1923 Kaposia yearbook pictures the gym and the high school built in 1922. (Photo courtesy of the Dakota County Historical Society)

After decades of commencement ceremonies and basketball games, South St. Paul will say goodbye to its old gym, which was built in 1922 and added onto in 1928. A brief ceremony will be 5:15 p.m. on May 14. (Photos courtesy of South St. Paul Schools)

Sixth-grade center to replace storied structure
On those Friday nights when he got to stay out late, a 9- or 10-year-old Steve Doody watched the big kids play and a big crowd fill the South St. Paul Secondary School gym for varsity basketball games.


Inver Grove Heights teacher overcame tragedy to find her life’s passion

Salem Hills Elementary in Inver Grove Heights has a gem of teacher, Mrs. Kim Westra, who worked her fifth grade students, Lincoln Bacal, left, and Eliana Bly, right, on their art projects on April 2. (Linda E. Andersen/Review)

Kim Westra, nearly 2, and her mother, Patricia, 20, sit in front of an apartment in April of 1970. Westra says her mom, who finished college while raising a toddler on her own, was a huge influence in her career path. Westra is one of 10 finalists for the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. (Submitted photo)

Kim Westra leads her class of fourth- and fifth-graders on April 2 at Salem Hills Elementary School in Inver Grove Heights. (Linda E. Andersen/Review)

Kim Westra’s grandma, Ruth Kraemer, left, and her mom, Patricia Gale Cretilli, in May 1970. (Submitted photo)

Kim Westra’s first grade school photo. She says she got into fights, and wasn’t a great student around that time, but found out education was her true passion later in life. (Submitted photo)

Kim Westra’s dad, Peter Kraemer, the day of his high school graduation. He immigrated when he was 9 from Germany. He became the first in his family to graduate from college. (Submitted photo)

Kim Westra almost didn’t become a teacher.
When her father committed suicide a few years after his teenage son was murdered, Westra had just started graduate school.


19-year-old sentenced in fatal shooting of West St. Paul man

Donovan Diego

A St. Paul man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday, April 9, in connection with the fatal shooting of a West St. Paul man last January.
Donovan Michael Diego, 19, was sentenced to more than 23 years in prison, and ordered to pay restitution.


Lake Elmo, school district consider partnership to build new park

Lake Elmo and Stillwater Area Schools have been working on a possible partnership to add more amenities to the southeast corner of the city, including a new park.


Inver Grove Heights man charged with misdemeanor in fatal car crash

An Inver Grove Heights man is facing a misdemeanor charge after he fell asleep while driving near Rosemount and struck and killed another driver.
Michael W. Steinhoff, 20, was charged Tuesday with careless driving in the death of Angela N. Wear, 32, of Inver Grove Heights, according to the criminal complaint.


Complaint: Maplewood man shoots, kills son; stabs himself, tells negotiator he'll settle cable dispute in the ‘afterlife’

A criminal complaint filed March 27 says an 84-year-old father allegedly shot and killed his 36-year-old son at their Maplewood home in the 1800 block of East County Road B.

An 84-year-old Maplewood man allegedly shot and killed his son after a disagreement over installing cable at their home, and then stabbed himself, telling a police negotiator he would settle the dispute with his son "when they reached the afterlife,” court documents say.