Friday, June 23, 2017

St. Anthony

Another pick at the bones of the Jeronimo Yanez trial...

It's a tough case for me, because St. Anthony Village is quite real to me. Many of the national observers pronouncing judgment on the matter would have a difficult time finding St. Anthony. Many people who live in the Twin Cities would have difficulty finding it, too. That's part of its allure. Most suburbs in the Twin Cities are accessible from the interstate highway system. My town, New Brighton, sits at the intersection of 35W and 694, which meet on the eastern edge of town. While 35W nicks the far southeast corner of town, no major highways go through St. Anthony; the busiest road in town is a 4 lane county highway that was once, many years ago, part of the old U.S. highway system. If you are going to find St. Anthony, you need to look for it.

No one will confuse St. Anthony for tonier enclaves like Edina. Generally it features post-war homes, comfortable and generally well-maintained. The population of the town skews older than most of the communities in the area. The city itself has about 9000 residents and their pride and joy is a small school district that produces some of the best-prepared kids in the state. The streets are safe and quiet. There is a retail area, Silver Lake Village, that is on the site of an early rival to Southdale, Apache Plaza. That mall was torn down in the 1990s and a "lifestyle center" development took its place. There are a few shops and a grocery store, along with a moribund Walmart, on the site, but it's not exactly bustling.

St. Anthony's police force, which employed Jeronimo Yanez, generally doesn't have much to do other than issue traffic tickets. They perform that task in their city, along with the neighboring towns of Lauderdale and Falcon Heights, which both contract with St. Anthony for police services. It was in Falcon Heights where Philando Castile died. Falcon Heights in similar to St. Anthony in some ways, but it also houses the State Fairgrounds, so at some points of the year it can be a busy place. Larpenteur Avenue, the road where the traffic stop occurred, is a busy thoroughfare with a significant retail presence to the east.

More to come.

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