East Side Review


Ex-boyfriend arrested in stabbing death of Towanda Harris

Police officers followed a trail of blood from the living room of an apartment into the bedroom.
There they found Towanda Harris, 46, lying dead on the floor of her own bedroom in a pool of blood in an apartment on the 1400 block of Minnehaha Avenue East at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10.
As her 10-year-old niece described it, Harris' eyes were "floating backwards."


No parking, no problem?

The vacant building at 871 Payne Ave. could be bringing in a new tenant, a pre-paid cell phone store, if the building owner gets his way. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Prospective cell phone storefront looks to skip parking requirement
Steve Rorem, a real estate investor based in Eden Prairie, wants to dodge the Payne Avenue parking bullet.
In order to bring in a tenant to the former furniture warehouse at 871 Payne Ave., he has to convince the St. Paul Board of Zoning Appeals to give him a variance on the property.


Rainbow on Arcade to become Cub Foods

The Rainbow Foods on Arcade Street will become a Cub Foods within the next 60 days. The store was bought by Twin Cities-based SuperValu Foods. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

 Roundy’s is jumping ship on the Minnesota grocery market, the company announced May 7.
The company, which owns the local Rainbow Foods stores, cites a tough economy and a competitive local grocery market as reasons for the exit, according to a press release.
As a result, the Rainbow Foods grocery store at 892 Arcade St. will be bought by Twin Cities-based SuperValu Foods in the next 60 days, and the East Side will have a third Cub Foods.


It’s shovels and dirt for Metro State parking ramp

Construction on the long-awaited parking ramp at Metropolitan State University started on Tuesday, May 6. A groundbreaking celebration was held Friday, May 2, where school officials and the St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman toted the project as a sign of growth for the school. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

For a project that’s been in planning stages for three years, it’s a relief to the staff at Metropolitan State University to see construction begin.
Work crews at Metropolitan State University started building a 760-stall parking ramp on Tuesday, May 6, and should begin work on a new student center next door in June.
“We’re just pleased we’re underway,” said Dan Hambrock, associate vice president of the school, who’s been bustling around campus toting blueprints and coordinating the projects.


East Side Review police reports Apr. 17 - Apr. 23, 2014

Thursday, Apr. 17 - Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014 police reports for St. Paul Districts 1, 2, 4 & 5.


New Keller opens new vistas but reflects its past

The new Keller Golf Clubhouse, at 18,800 square feet and already open for special events, is located at 2166 Maplewood Drive and again a familar sight along Highway 61. The renovated golf course is planned to open at the end of June. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

The new, spacious kitchen will allow Lancer Catering to be a full banquet facility for weddings and other special events. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

The Keller Clubhouse, closed in October 2012 and rebuilt, has a large bar and grill lounge. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Pictures of winners will be added above the bar and on the walls. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

A wood staircase leads to the upper level, as does an elevator. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Looking up at the new Keller Lake Golf Course clubhouse as you drive along U.S. Highway 61 in Maplewood, you will hardly notice any differences. It was meant to be that way.
Even the brand new pro shop is located in the same place, and its exterior also appears unchanged.  
I stopped by Keller recently and met with Allison Winters, communications associate with the Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Department.


Stillwater Prison: a time capsule

The Minnesota State Correctional Facility at Stillwater has stood the test of time -- though 100 years old, it’s still in full operation. The facility, which stands in Bayport, Minn. holds 1,638 inmates. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

To enter the Stillwater Prison, a visitor passes through the security scanning area, called “the bubble,” followed by four sets of gates, before arriving in the core of the prison. From there, a security desk sits between the four cell blocks, which look to be straight out of a movie set, and haven’t changed much since they were built. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Stillwater Prison Warden Michelle Smith spoke in commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the prison. Smith toted the facility’s successes with education programs for inmates, and spoke of the challenges of maintaining a century-old building. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

As of Friday, May 2, the Stillwater Prison has been running non-stop, 24 hours a day, for the past 100 years.
Though by no means a cheerful place, the Victorian-era building does hold a certain charm. Even inside the main hallway where prisoners are transported, touches like lavender trim, worn tile floors, yellow brick walls and oak rails make it easily identifiable as a piece of history.


Neighbors collect trash by the ton

Photo courtesy of Sue Moyer

The sun came out and so did over 130 volunteers on April 26 for the Annual Battle Creek Regional Park Earth Day Clean Up. Together they collected 1.8 tons of trash from 10 different sites in the 874 acres of parkland.


Apartment fire sends two to hospital

A morning fire on Sunday, April 25, likely caused by a space heater, sent a 3-year-old boy and his father to the hospital.
The fire happened on the third floor of an 11-unit apartment building 1800 block of East Seventh Street.


New Payne Ave. plaza is a labor of love

Sonia Ortega, a new business owner on the East Side, has ambitious goals for her newly opened Plaza Del Sol. Ortega hopes to make the space a bustling community marketplace. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Plaza Del Sol, at the corner of Jenks and Payne avenues, is home to a handful of new businesses, including a Mexican restaurant, a coffee shop, a beauty salon, a jewelry store, and a clothing boutique. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

A jewelry store sits just down from a beauty shop and across from a clothing boutique at the newly opened Plaza Del Sol. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Sonia Ortega has big dreams.
The fiercely diligent 42-year-old is hoping to make her mark on Payne Avenue, in the building that once held Borgstrom’s Pharmacy at the corner of Jenks and Payne avenues.
As far as she’s concerned, making Plaza Del Sol a bustling marketplace is simply a matter of will and tireless hard work. So she sleeps only four or five hours a night, while pulling 17-hour days.