Marisa Helms

Helms is a metro-area reporter for Minnesota Public Radio. Her beat focuses on St. Paul and nearby suburbs. Helms' work includes election and campaign reporting, city hall, human-interest stories, and the cultural and economic challenges facing St. Paul's neighborhoods. Helms joined Minnesota Public Radio in 1999 from WDET-FM in Detroit where she covered health care issues in Detroit's underserved and minority communities. In 1998, Helms was an observer during a 10-day humanitarian aid mission to Iraq. Her radio series about the trip won a 1998 Associated Press award for news documentary. Helms got started in public radio at KQED in San Francisco, reporting for KQED's statewide magazine, "The California Report." She has a bachelor's degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a master's degree from San Francisco State University. Helms is past president of the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As a board member and former chapter leader, Helms helps provide professional development for local journalists and advocates for protecting First Amendment rights. Helms was also a Fellow of the RIAS-RTNDF journalism program, where she spent three weeks in Europe studying the European Union and Germany's economic and political systems.

Stories by Marisa Helms

In the mayor's chair

Chris Coleman will be inaugurated Jan. 3, 2006 as St. Paul's 45th mayor. In November, Coleman ousted fellow DFLer Randy Kelly from office with 69 percent of the vote. <br><br> Coleman's family has deep roots in St. Paul and a strong commitment to public service. Chris's father, Nick Coleman, was Senate majority leader in the mid-1970s. But friends and family say Chris is not part of any political dynasty. They say hard work and a love for the city got him into the mayor's chair.

City spending at issue in St. Paul mayor's race

With a little over a week to go before the St. Paul mayoral election, incumbent Randy Kelly has been challenging rival Chris Coleman to specify how much he would increase city spending if elected. Surveys indicate Kelly is trailing Coleman by a wide margin. A new poll conducted for the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs shows Kelly trailing Coleman by 35 points. With time running out in the campaign, the issue of funding for the fire department has become a flashpoint as the candidates battle over taxes and spending in the city.