Parks update // Man charged with stabbing police officers near Minnehaha Creek

A man allegedly lured two Minneapolis Park Police officers to Minnehaha Parkway and Bryant Avenue where he stabbed one in the chest and another in the back of the neck, according to a criminal complaint. Both officers survived the apparent ambush. 

Marsenior Pede Johnson, 38, of Minneapolis, was charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder. 

According to the criminal complaint:

Johnson called 911 at 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 21. He said he had been robbed at knifepoint and asked for officers to meet him near the walking bridge over the creek. 

When the officers approached, Johnson stabbed Officer James Huber in the chest. He then went after Officer Katherine Hammes, stabbing her in the back of the neck after she ducked to avoid the knife. Hammes fell and hit her head, causing a laceration and concussion.

As Johnson was preparing to stab Hammes again, Huber shot Johnson and incapacitated him. 

Johnson was taken to the hospital, where he told police he “wanted to hurt some cops.” As of Aug. 23, he was in custody. 

Hammes was treated for her stab wound and a concussion. She was released from the hospital Aug. 22. Huber was evaluated at the scene, but his ballistic armor vest prevented serious injuries.

Both officers were on administrative leave following the incident. 

According to a Minneapolis Police Department news release, Huber was hired in 2007 and has been commended for her work with Special Olympics of Minnesota. 

Huber was hired in 2001 and previously worked as a school resource officer at Roosevelt High School.

“This incident is a testament to the dangers police officers face on a daily basis,” said Parks Superintendent Jayne Miller in a prepared statement. “Officers James Huber and Katherine Hammes responded to a robbery report, went to render aid and were viciously attacked. These officers reacted swiftly and courageously and we are extremely grateful they were not more seriously injured or killed. I commend these officers and our entire Police Department for their dedication and commitment to the park system and the community.”  

Park Board considering renovation of Parade Ice Garden

Staggering maintenance costs at Parade Ice Garden have the Park Board considering a renovation of the nearly 40-year-old ice rinks.

The Park Board spent $60,000 last year repairing leaks in the system that refrigerates the sheets of ice used for skating and is on pace to spend $150,000 in 2012, said Bruce Chamberlain, the Park Board’s assistant superintendent of planning. 

Chamberlain is asking the Board for funding to replace the system, make energy conservation improvements and replace the arena’s roof. He’s also asking for funds to make upgrades to the Northeast Ice Arena, the only other public indoor rink in the city.

A new refrigeration system would reduce maintenance costs, Chamberlain said. It would also allow the Park Board to keep both of Parade’s two ice rinks open year-round, allowing for increased revenue from users. 

A consultant gave the Park Board preliminary estimates saying that improvements to the arena would cost $4.5 million–$5 million. It would be $5 million if the Park Board chose to replace a 20-year-old roof.

With increased revenue and lower maintenance costs, Chamberlain said the upgrades would be revenue neutral over the course of 20-year bonds. 

For refrigeration the Ice Garden currently uses R-22, a greenhouse gas that is being phased out of many arenas. 

The Park Board is expected to vote on the project by the end of the year, with a goal to start construction in March 2013 and end it by August 2013.