Patrick Larkin


East Side building brought back to life

Cleo Kelly stands proudly outside the building he’s owned for 20 years. He’s finishing the facade, which he intends to be his ìmonument to the East Side. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

A 1925 photo of the building shows its original charm. (photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

The upstairs of the building at 798 Margaret St. still has the original brickwork and hints at the character and history of the building. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

A conveyor belt to bring paint up from the basement was put into the building when a paint business was there in the 1980’s. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Cleo Kelly’s a bit of a dreamer.
The 72-year-old man is also a lover of well-crafted buildings.
For 20 years he’s owned a classic old building at 798 Margaret St. on the East Side. The 1885 building is visible from busy East Seventh Street, and is full of detail and history, which he’s eager to show off.


Community, upset over recent violence, erupts with emotions and concern

Officials look on as the crowd gets organized before the start of the meeting on violence in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood on Thursday, Aug. 15 at the Arlington Hills Lutheran Church. Moderating the meeting were Al Oertwig, president of the District 5 Community Council, standing in the center, and Leslie McMurray, executive director of council. In the background, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman talks to St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith.

People at the meeting moved the dozen or so tables to make room for the long line waiting outside to get in.

Hundreds turned out to talk about recent bouts of violence in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood of the East Side.

Hundreds poured into the community meeting in the basement of Arlington Hills Lutheran Church yesterday.
Residents upset with the recent violence on the East Side filled the room to the brim, and it quickly became hot and stuffy. There was a long line out the door at 6:30 p.m. when the meeting was supposed to start.


Three juveniles charged in beating of Ray Widstrand

Ray Widstrand

A 16-year-old and two 15-year olds have been charged today in the beating of East Side resident Raymond Widstrand.
Widstrand, 26, was brutally assaulted on Sunday, Aug. 4, around 11:30 p.m. while he was walking within blocks of his home.
He reportedly walked by a group of people watching a fight near the intersection of Payne and Minnehaha avenues, when he was attacked. According to one witness account, he was struck over the head with a can in a sock, and then hit by several people.


Residents turn up in droves, voice concerns over I-35E changes

Bikers cross Interstate 35E on the Gateway Trail. The trail crosses the freeway using an old railroad bridge, which will be removed when construction begins on the freeway. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Well over 100 people packed a meeting room on Wednesday, July 31, to talk about construction along Interstate 35E, the east-west barrier between the East Side and the rest of St. Paul.
Leslie McMurray, executive director of the District 5 Community Council, said she was surprised at the turnout, and noted the significance of the meeting -- with the freeway redesign projected to last a century, “this is our one chance to get it right,” she said.
Scott McBride from the Minnesota Department of Transportation said in a phone interview that he was “really happy to see all the people there.” McBride is the metro area district engineer for MnDOT.


Dayton’s Bluff development gaining traction

The Village on Rivoli site sits just south of Phalen Boulevard and just east of I-35E, with a view of downtown. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Village on Rivoli is a big housing project that’s been a long time in the making.
It’s been in the works for Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services since before 2006.
The proposed plan would put 34 two-story, single-family homes on unused land just to the east of Interstate 35E, just south of Phalen Boulevard. The brand new housing would be complete with a pedestrian courtyard and a prime view of downtown St. Paul, as well as a glimpse of Minneapolis.


Young man sustains severe brain injury during attack

Raymond Widstrand

Raymond Widstrand's immediate family members Linda, Peter and Alice Widstrand met with the press on Friday, August 9 to describe the life and personality of the 26-year-old. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Issac Maiden

One young man's life is ruined following a senseless attack.
26-year-old Raymond Widstrand was assaulted nearly to death on Sunday, Aug. 4, around 11:30 p.m., according to a criminal complaint filed by the Ramsey County attorney's office.


After 1-day strike, Health Systems Cooperative Laundries workers and management reach agreement

Workers at Health Systems Cooperative Laundries went on strike Monday, fighting proposed changes to their contracts. Around midnight, the workers' union reached an agreement with management. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Workers check for holes in linen in April 2013 at Health Systems Cooperative Laundries. (file photo by Patrick Larkin/Review)

After months of contract negotiations, things were not happening for the roughly 200 laborers at Health Systems Cooperative Laundries, which cleans all the linens for 19 area hospitals and over 150 clinics.
The previous contract had run out in late March, and in the renewal process, the union was faced with a gutted version of the previous contract, said Julie Boots.
Boots manages the contract for the union, Worker's United Local 150. Management was proposing cutting the four sick days laborers were entitled to, as well as removing employees' rights should the company change hands, Boots said. In total there were 150 proposed language changes which were largely rejected by the union, she said.


New mobile cameras are coming for East Side cops

East Side police are evaluating two styles of surveillance cameras. Shown above is one model the police department is considering -- the Minneapolis Police Department uses small trailer cameras for portable police surveillance. (submitted photo)

To add to the department’s stationary surveillance, St. Paul Police’s Eastern District will soon be deploying new portable cameras.
The cameras come with city STAR funding in the range of $35,000. The East Side will be the first of the city’s policing districts to use the portable cameras.
Senior Commander Joe Newberger says he’s hoping the district’s cameras will lead to a citywide policing change.


‘Learning Jet’ lands for Farnsworth and Minnesota kids

The Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet band played the National Anthem to commemorate the arrival of the Learning Jet. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Farnsworth students got a chance to check out the Learning Jet on Wednesday, July 30. The kids will likely get a chance to visit it again when the school year comes around. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

The Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet band took a day out of their summer to play at the landing ceremony of the Learning Jet. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

A rendering shows the redesigned interior of the Learning Jet, with classroom space and room for six transit simulators. (submitted image)

Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet students may be spending some time in a Boeing 727 in the coming school year.
A retired cargo plane was donated by FedEx to the non-profit group Minnesota Women in Aviation. It will be used as a “Learning Jet” in St. Paul Public Schools and throughout the state.
The jet will be renovated into classroom space, where kids in grades K-12 will learn science and math skills related to the plane’s flight and its many onboard systems.


“Pocket Parks” pop up

The nearly finished park at 752 Jessamine Ave. features annual and perrenial flowers, a bench for resting, and a gravel path lined with stones. (submitted photo)

Volunteers laid out the gravel path for the Pocket Park using a rented Bobcat. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Dorian Morris and Rebecca Welty coordinate where to lay out the path for the Pocket Park at 752 Jessamine Ave. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

When digging out spots to put in a path made from recycled cement slabs, neighbors found a chunk of foundation from the home that used to be on the lot. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Until recently, 752 Jessamine was an unsightly bare lot, one of many scattered around the East Side.
The lot once held a neglected duplex that was so moldy, the only thing to do was demolish it.
The bald land was one of several vacant properties on the block, which has been a focus area of the East Side Neighborhood Development Company’s Vacant Housing Watch group.