2020 Year in Review

As each year comes to an end, it is a tradition of the Quad Community Press to look back at some of the most memorable stories of the year. Although 2020 brought its fair share of challenges, it wasn’t all bad. Some of the 2020’s highlights included: Creamery Crossing (Rusty Cow) opening its doors in Circle Pines; new city and police leadership; a Lino Lakes teen speed skater making Team USA; new ways to celebrate birthdays, prom, graduation and the holidays; Centennial youth organizing a peaceful protest; Surfside Seaplane Base celebrating 50 years; Centennial Elementary becoming a Blue Ribbon school and much more.

 

JANUARY

Skijoring fights the winter blues

Cabin fever strikes humans and canines alike in the dog days of winter, but the classic sport of skijoring is one way for Minnesotans and their furry friends to fight the winter blues together.

Like a fusion between dogsledding and cross-country skiing, skijoring involves a partnership of dog and human, attached to each other by a tow line. Skijoring is an ancient activity, named from the Norwegian word for “ski driving.” This old-fashioned sport has been among the rise in Minnesota parks in the last few years.

For Lino Lakes resident Kevin Murphy, it provides both a way to bond with his dog partner and to appreciate the Minnesota winter landscape in a new way. He began skijoring more than 25 years ago, when the Twin Cities had few opportunities for people interested in the sport. Murphy and a few others banded together as The Midwest Skijorers Club in order to create partnerships with local parks and winter sports events.  

Creamery Crossing: Shooting for February opening 

It’s official. Now that the lease is signed, Creamery Crossing has confirmed it will open a second location in the former Matthew’s Family Restaurant location.

Owner Darrell Carlberg, of Blaine, said that although he wasn’t necessarily actively looking to add another location when the opportunity presented itself, he couldn’t resist. Carlberg bought Creamery Crossing in Isanti in 1996. In 1999, Carlberg had to sell the business after an unexpected death but reopened it in 2004. 

Super Solomon explores police station 

One of Super Solomon’s dreams came true Wednesday, Jan. 22, when he was able to tour a police station. The Centennial Lakes Police Department let Solomon join in on roll call, tour the facility, sit in jail and check out the squad cars. Officers even sent him home with a swag bag full of goodies.

The Quad Community Press first met Solomon back in December 2018 when a Circle Pines business, USA Sports Cards, organized a huge surprise for his family for Christmas. In addition to a bunch of gifts for Solomon and his siblings, parents Travis and Jen Wunderlich of Lexington were given an assortment of gift cards and concert tickets.

Four-year-old Solomon was diagnosed with high-risk B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia right before he turned 3. The family recently received the good news that his initial 3 1/2-year treatment plan has now been cut down by a year. He will be done with treatment this August.

Solomon is now 5 years old and cancer-free. 

Concerned citizens flood City Hall for answers 

Concerned citizens poured into City Hall and were ready to ask questions regarding the recent discovery that some of the city’s wells have high levels of manganese.

The city hosted a public water advisory informational meeting Jan. 22 to inform residents about the manganese test results, possible health effects and possible solutions. In addition to city and county representatives, engineers from WSB and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) were in attendance.

 

FEBRUARY

Lino Lakes teen speed skater is Team USA member with Olympic goals 

Greta Myers’ first love was hockey. Then she took up speed skating as a training tool for hockey.

Soon, Myers found that skating as fast as she could was even more exciting than putting pucks in nets — that that she’s really good at it.

Despite a relatively late start in the sport, the 15-year-old Lino Lakes resident has earned a spot on Team USA and will compete in the Junior World Finals in Belarus, Feb. 15-16, and the Junior World Championships in Poland, Feb. 21-23.

Her goal is to “represent our country” in the next three Olympic teams, starting in Beijing in 2022.

County shares 3 options for Birch Street 

Nearly 100 residents packed City Hall Jan. 28 to learn more about the proposed Birch Street improvements slated for construction in 2021.

Anoka County hosted its second open house for the project on Jan. 28. Around 130 people attended the county’s first open house for the project back in October. At the time, the county proposed to build two roundabouts along the corridor, one at West Shadow Lake Drive and the other at Tomahawk Trail. A raised median throughout the project was also proposed.

In December, the county revealed it was considering adding a third roundabout to the design at the intersection of Old Birch Street and Birch Street. At the most recent open house, the county shared three options it is considering with residents.

Love that lasts: Longtime couples share stories, advice

If newlyweds are in need of some advice, they can surely find it at Good Life Senior Living in Hugo. Three couples are represented there by a cumulative total of 178 years of marriage experience.

Their love stories are inspiring not only to their families, but also to Good Life Activities Director Sarah Cairns, who gets emotional when she talks about these successful couples.

“They have inspired me to find the perfect relationship. I have never been married, but they have taught me to never settle,” she said. 

Press Publications told the stories of Bob and Marilyn Rosenquist, William and Maggie Snyder, and Stan and Marietta Wilson. 

3 area bus drivers have over a century of experience 

Three bus drivers at Rehbein Transit Company have been transporting kids back and forth to school for well over three decades, with a cumulative total of 117 years behind the steering wheel of a yellow school bus. 

White Bear Lake resident JoAnne Urban, Lino Lakes resident Jean Jensen and Coon Rapids resident Bill Blaylock are just three of the thousands of hardworking school bus drivers who will be honored Feb. 26, School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.

 

MARCH

Lexington Lofts is coming to town

Lexington Lofts is officially coming to town, after the City Council voted 4-1 in favor of the apartment complex at its Feb. 20 meeting. The current valuation of the city of Lexington is around $130 million; with the addition of the Lexington Lofts, which is valued at around $70 million, the city’s valuation will rise by more than 50% to a valuation of $200 million, a significant leap upward.

Forest Lake developer Norhart is proposing to build a 355-unit luxury apartment complex that will consist of one four-story building and one five-story building located at the intersection of Restwood Road and Griggs Avenue, behind Northway Shopping Center. For a number of council members, knowing that they were getting a quality development was better than the specter of getting a development that might not be as good. 

Assistant fire chief retires after 29 years 

Centennial Fire District (CFD) Assistant Chief David Bruder was compelled to become a firefighter after his parents’ home on Lake Drive in Lino Lakes caught fire. The Lino Lakes resident retired from CFD after 29 years of service earlier this month.

Centerville mayor suddenly resigns 

City Hall was packed March 11 with residents who wanted to share their thoughts at a public hearing when Mayor Jeff Paar announced that he would resign as of March 25. Paar was elected mayor in November 2016 after serving for 14 years on the City Council.

The council was prepared to take public comment and possibly act on a $350,000 purchase agreement with Trident Development LLC, which plans to build a 53-unit apartment building downtown. Paar explained to fellow council members and the public that personal reasons, not this specific project, led to his resignation.

What spring thaw exposes, Turdy jobs disposes

The glorious spring season will soon be here. For many people, that means more sunshine, warmer temperatures and budding flowers. For dog owners, however, springtime is a season to dread: white rugs are ruined, dogs need countless baths and backyards are desperately in need of a cleanup.

That’s where Turdy Jobs, a pet waste removal service, comes in handy. “People think I’m nuts, but it is not as bad as people think, it really isn’t,” said Turdy Jobs founder Lindsay Johnson, a Lino Lakes resident. Johnson has owned the business for five years. 

COVID-19 brings mental health to forefront 

In a time where there are a lot of unknowns, levels of stress, anxiety and depression can flare up.  

Area mental health professionals want people to know that we are all in this together and that it is normal to have these feelings.

Bridging Hope Counseling has locations in Lino Lakes, Rogers and Buffalo. A lot of clients have canceled their appointments for a multitude of reasons, including the loss of a job, the inability to pay for health insurance or fear to leave one’s home. In addition to incorporating social distancing and a stricter cleaning regimen, the clinics remain open for clients who feel comfortable in making visits. For those who do not, or need to stay at home, Bridging Hope Counseling is offering Tele-Health services, which allows clients to see their therapist in an online video format. 

On a positive note, the pandemic is bringing mental health to the forefront. Now is the time that people need to be vulnerable and talk about the way they are feeling instead of internalizing it.

Food shelves kick it into high gear

As more and more people find themselves out of a job amid the COVID-19 pandemic, area food shelves are doing all they can to ensure that they can meet the increased demand. The Hugo Good Neighbors Food Shelf, Centennial Community Food Shelf and the White Bear Lake Area Food Shelf have all adapted their operations to minimize health risks to staff members, volunteers and clients.

 

APRIL

McLaren, DeLorean, Lamborghini, Vanderhall, Lotus Elise, Corvette, Ferrari — you name it, it was there.

It all started when Blaine resident Amy DeMent put a call out on social media. “My son Gavin’s 11th birthday is on April 7 and, sadly, there will be no party. He has autism and loves cars. So, I would like to see you drive by and honk for him ... It’s the little things that count.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, DeMent still wanted to do something special for Gavin, who is a fifth grader at Golden Lake Elementary. She thought maybe 30 cars would show up, but she had no idea that car and bike lovers from all over the state would roll by their home on 93rd Avenue in Blaine. DeMent’s post went viral; share after share, more and more car groups and car lovers agreed to group together at the Cub Foods off of Highway 65 in Blaine and head over to Gavin’s for a parade.

Love is new mayor of Centerville

It only took outgoing Centerville mayor Jeff Paar an hour to resign and his successor, D. Love, all of five minutes to take over the mayoral duties at the March 25 City Council meeting. Following his announcement March 11 that he planned to resign, Paar submitted his letter of resignation March 25. Rarely at a loss for words, Paar quipped that his original letter was 30 pages long, but he was able to trim it down to two pages 

Lino Lakes permanently lays off parks and rec employees 

The City Council unanimously decided to lay off two of its employees indefinitely at the council’s April 13 meeting, held via videoconference. Effective April 24, the council approved the layoffs of Recreation Supervisor Brian Hronski and Public Services Office Specialist Kristine Kroll. Hronski was with the city for nearly 16 years and Kroll for almost five years.

At its April 6 work session, the council decided to cancel Blue Heron Days along with all summer programs and events. As part of that conversation, City Administrator Jeff Karlson explained that the cancellation would mean a reduction in hours and staff. The city would not hire additional summer employees and some existing employees, such as the recreation supervisor, would be placed on furlough. Karlson noted that there have been a lot of changes to the city’s parks and recreation department over the last few years. He said the city has seen a decline in enrollment in its athletic programs and decided to switch its efforts to planning events like the Family Corn Roast and Rockin’ in the Park.

In limbo in Lino: Couple plans wedding amid pandemic 

June 20, 2020 is the date that Lino Lakes couple Andrew Zimmerman and Shannon Lessard are supposed to say “I do” in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Even though that date is fast approaching, the couple is still not sure if everything will go on as planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been coping by planning as if it’s still on and trying to get as much done as we can while we are home; DIY projects, working on our playlist, picking out our ceremony and vows and so on,” Lessard explained. Zimmerman added, “The most stressful part is the inability to know if it’s still going to happen.”

The couple ended up getting married on their special date and hopes to hold a reception with family in 2021.

 

MAY

3 moms, 3 journeys 

As if motherhood was not a hard job already, throw in a pandemic. Press Publications set out to find three mothers from different communities and share what they are facing in these strange times. Although the three moms are around the same age, they all have very different stories to tell. One (Lauren Shegstad) is a stay-at-home mother of three, with a husband in the military; another (Christy Fletcher) is a kindergarten teacher and mother of two 4-year-old twins and a 6-year-old; and then there is an expectant mother (Nicole Bruley) who had to take a leave of absence from her job in the health care industry.

Pet groomers working at a clip to catch up 

Many dogs are long overdue for their spring grooming appointment before the summer heat hits. However, it may take a while to secure an appointment. Minnesota groomers were able to get back to work last week after being closed down amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that they are open, groomers have had make some changes to how their business operates. Press Publications interviewed Christa Weber, owner of Christa’s Paw Spa in Centerville, and Erin Hilton, one of three owners of Goldwood Kennels in White Bear Lake. 

Nadeau Acres proposal moves forward 

For the past four months, city commissions, city staff and the City Council have spent a lot of time on the Nadeau Acres proposal. The applicant, BL Holdings LLC, submitted a rezoning and preliminary plat land use application for the proposed single-family residential development. The development would be located north of Birch Street (CSAH 34) and west of 20th Avenue (CSAH 54) across from the NorthPointe development. It contains two parcels totaling approximately 33 gross acres.

The council voted 4-1 (Council Member Christopher Lyden voted no) to rezone the property from R (rural) to R-1 (single-family residential) at its May 11 meeting. The council also voted 3-2 (Lyden and Council Member Tony Cavegn both voted against) to approve the preliminary plat and to open Sub-District 3C and 3D of Utility Staging Area 2A (2020-2025) to development.

Coping with assault: Virtual help offered 

Editor’s note: The Quad Community Press does not name victims of sexual assaults. The survivor will be referred to as “Jane.”

May 8, 2015 will forever be the worst day of Jane’s life. That’s the day everything changed.

The Quad Community Press interviewed “Jane,” a survivor of sexual assault who bravely shared her experience, the aftermath and offered advice to others who may find themselves in a similar situation. 

 

JUNE

State Fair vendors ‘weather pandemic storm’ 

Although there will not be a State Fair this year, local vendors are trying to stay positive and come back bigger and better for 2021. 

This year would have marked the eighth year Lino Lakes residents Brendan and Melissa Szala have brought Pitchfork Sausage to the fair. When they first heard the news that the big get-together would not happen this year, they were relieved.

2020 would have marked the 35th year that White Bear Township resident Brad Ribar has owned and operated the Corn Roast stand at the State Fair.  

When Ribar heard the news of the cancellation, he was not surprised.

Fire razes Lino Lakes home, day care 

A longtime daycare provider is thankful all seven children she was caring for are safe after a fire broke out in her home. Becky Marshall has lived in Lino Lakes for 42 years and has been operating a home day care for 38 of them. At 11:04 a.m. Friday, June 12, the Lino Lakes Fire Department was dispatched to Marshall’s home on Sandpiper Drive near Chomonix Golf Course. Mutual aid was provided by the Centennial Fire District as well as Spring Lake Park, Blaine, Mounds View and White Bear Lake fire departments.

Within minutes, Marshall said the “outpouring of love” began. Children in the neighborhood who used to attend day care there brought over snacks for the seven children and distracted them with some handmade bracelets. 

Christi Bewell, who is married to Marshall’s son Cassidy, is one of four people who sprang into action to get a recovery fund set up for Becky on GoFundMe. In less than 24 hours, the page had surpassed its goal of $10,000. Nearly 200 donors raised over $23,000. 

Lino Lakes finance director puts on new hat 

Former Finance Director Sarah Cotton has officially stepped into the role of city administrator, even if it was a bit earlier than planned. Last August, the council passed a resolution making Cotton a conditional offer to succeed City Administrator Jeff Karlson upon his retirement. Karlson was originally planning to retire Aug. 31 but decided to retire July 31. His last day at City Hall was June 12, but he will be paid through the end of July.

At the June 22 meeting, the City Council officially appointed Cotton to the position with a standing ovation. Mayor Rob Rafferty said, “This is really exciting for me. I have worked alongside Sarah for many years now. I know she is going to be an excellent individual in this position.”

Cotton, a resident of East Bethel, has been the city’s finance director for almost five years. Before working for cities, she worked in public accounting for KPMG, a multinational professional services network, for three years and as a financial analyst for Cummins Power Generation for four years. 

CLPD will welcome new chief 

After a decade of serving the community, Centennial Lakes Police Department’s (CLPD) Chief James Coan will hand over the reins to a new chief. Twenty-seven people applied for the position. The slate of candidates was narrowed down to 18, then six, then one. In a special meeting on Thursday, June 25, the police governing board approved a contract with James Mork to take over when Chief Coan retires next month.

“Ultimately, all six (finalists) were excellent. We had six quality candidates. Quite honestly, any of the six would be fine in leading our department, but I think Jim will be a very good fit for our department,” said City Administrator Patrick Antonen at the June 23 council meeting. “We like going with the name Jim,” he joked. “We have a great department and I think Jim Mork is going to keep Jim Coan’s legacy going.” Coan said he is happy for Mork, as it was a competitive selection process with well-qualified candidates.

 

JULY

Centennial youth lead peaceful protest against racism 

Hot, humid weather didn’t stop hundreds of residents from heading out to Circle Pines City Hall on Saturday, July 11, to protest racism and inequality. The event, called “Awaken the Suburbs,” was organized by Centennial High School juniors Amara Patel, Idil Guled, Britt Kjorlien and freshman Siri Kjorlien to raise awareness about racism within the community and make room for Black youth to be heard.

From Circle Pines City Hall, marchers headed toward Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, a little less than a mile away. Organizers had communicated with the school district and the police department beforehand, alerting them that they would be peacefully marching. Police handled traffic control and blocked off roads as volunteers passed out T-shirts, signs and pamphlets, and shared QR codes, directing users to a “Centennial Students for Change” website, which included lists of anti-racist resources and ways to support the community.

Surfside Seaplane Base: 50 years of thanks 

The seaplane business, known for its maintenance, classes and air rides, has been an attraction in the Lino Lakes community for decades. Surfside first opened in the ’40s, but changed ownership years later. Over the years different people came and left, but Bruce Hanson always stayed.  

Just last December he received a plaque from the mayor of Lino Lakes, then Jeff Reinert, for staying in business for so long. Years before that he received an award for 41 years of dedicated service to seaplanes from the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association. Hanson believes his customers are one of the best features of his business, and they may very well be the reason he has been able to stick around in Lino Lakes through the years. 

Surfside is the second-largest seaplane base in the U.S. 

City works to curb parking problems near Lovell Road 

Now that construction is complete and residents have moved into the 180-unit Landings of Lexington apartment complex, some concerns are continuing to require City Council attention.

The Landings of Lexington, at the corner of Lovell Road and Lexington Avenue, gained council support in August 2018. Dominium broke ground on the facility in February 2019 and residents began moving in this spring.

After residents started to move in, city staff and the Centennial Lakes Police Department (CLPD) began to get complaints about cars parked along surrounding streets. From mid-June to mid-July, Aldrich said that CLPD received 27 parking complaints pertaining to Lovell Road and Dunlap Avenue.

YMCA announces it will not reopen fitness center 

Members of the Lino Lakes YMCA received an email July 23 announcing that the Lino Lakes YMCA will not reopen its fitness and well-being center. The spread of COVID-19 has forced many YMCA locations to make adjustments. Other YMCA locations in the Twin Cities area have been slowly reopening with social distance and extra sanitation measures in place, but it appears Lino Lakes will be going in a different direction. 

“Within our community board and partners, we are determining what programs and partnerships in a YMCA community response hub designed to provide critical, life-saving necessities and services could benefit the local community,” read the email signed by Glen Gunderson, president and CEO of YMCA Greater Twin Cities.

 

AUGUST

Sweet Infusion Bakery: Love put into every creation 

From the age of 3, Lino Lakes resident Chelle Schmidt could often be found in front of a television watching cooking shows. At the age of 10, she knew she wanted to own a bakery one day.

Schmidt attended pastry school outside of Washington, D.C., and graduated in 2007 at the age of 19. For many years she worked for other companies, big and small, to learn everything she could before she decided to go out on her own. A little over a year ago, she launched her in-home business, Sweet Infusion Bakery. Schmidt specializes in wedding cakes and French pastries, but she also makes specialty cupcakes, cookies, cake pops and more.

Applecrest Orchards under new ownership 

While searching for property for his newly established business, Chris Ellis stumbled upon Applecrest Orchards and decided it would be perfect. Stillwater residents Chris Ellis and his wife Shelli purchased the property and business, located at 7306 24th Ave. N. on the border of Hugo and Lino Lakes, in November 2019. 

In January, Chris launched AI Grow LLC, which develops control systems for greenhouse automation. Both businesses are full-time endeavors for Chris. He described Applecrest Orchards as the “family business” and AI Grow as the “office” or “day job.” Applecrest Orchards has one full-time employee, a few volunteers and, currently, an intern. AI Grow has six employees. Shelli is the creative director for the orchard, as her graphic design and photography skills have been put to good use. 

Applecrest Orchards has been around since 1985 and had a few different owners. The 10 1/2-acre property boasts about 1,400 trees surrounding an 1884 farmhouse. Chris and Shelli purchased the orchard from Dave Graetzer, who bought the property back in 2003.

 

SEPTEMBER

Back to school 

“School is going to be different; it is not going to be the norm.”

That’s what Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Scott Johnson had to say about the upcoming 2020-21 school year. Centennial Schools will keep the same start date of Tuesday, Sept. 8, despite some neighboring districts pushing their school start back a week. The district has selected the hybrid model for grades K-12, meaning students will spend two days a week doing in-person learning, and the other days at home distance learning. Group 1 will be in school on Mondays and Tuesdays and group 2 on Thursdays and Fridays. District staff will spend Wednesday deep cleaning, planning and connecting with students who may need some extra help.  

Mayor, council recognize former police chief 

Now that the Centennial Lakes Police Department (CLPD) has a new chief leading the department, the mayor and City Council wanted to pay tribute to the former chief, who left the department in “great shape.” 

Mayor Dave Bartholomay and the council presented former CLPD Chief James Coan with a Mayor’s Award for “leadership and commitment” to the department for his nearly 10 years of service at the Aug. 24 City Council meeting. If we were not currently in the middle of a pandemic, the council chambers likely would have been packed full of people wishing to honor Coan. Instead, it was only the council, Coan’s wife Kris and his son Michael. The Mayor’s Award has been given out six times since 2009. 

City steps in to help Lois Lane residents 

Following a lengthy discussion about possible solutions for ongoing traffic concerns in the Hailey Manor and Highland Meadows neighborhoods, residents and the City Council are hopeful they have come up with a solution for now. Several residents attended the council’s Sept. 8 work session to share what has happened since the concern was first shared with the council July 27 and to weigh in on city staff’s recommendation. 

City Engineer Diane Hankee explained that the traffic safety committee was recommending a number of remedies. These include installing a painted center skip stripe on Lois Lane between Lake Drive and Sherwood Lane, 30 mph speed limit signs along the straight section of Lois Lane and four “curve ahead” warning signs with cautionary speed signs. The estimated cost would be $3,288. When that is complete, Hankee said another radar study would be performed. If speed is determined to still be an issue, the council could consider a temporary or permanent driver feedback sign; however, funding would need to be identified. 

2 local eateries describe daunting pandemic challenges

Restaurants are among the businesses that have been most impacted during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and its upheaval of our economic, social and recreational lives. The Quad Community Press reached out to several independent local restaurants to ask how they are dealing with this unprecedented situation. The two businesses that responded are located in Circle Pines and Lexington, respectively: Rusty Cow Cafe and Blue Collar Barbeque.

 

OCTOBER

Sausage Haus employees convicted of game law violations 

Two employees of Sausage Haus in Lexington have plead guilty to a gross misdemeanor for a game law violation that stems back to 2017. Mark James Sand, 62, of Hackensack, Minnesota, and Matthew Harris Sand, 34, of Carver, Minnesota, have both been convicted of buying/selling deer/moose/elk/caribou. Two charges (untagged big game animal) against Mark were dismissed, and three charges (two counts of buying/selling wild animals $300 or more and one count of buying/selling deer/moose/elk/caribou) against Matthew were dismissed. 

The DNR first confirmed that the Sausage Haus, located at 9075 South Highway Drive in Lexington, was under investigation in December 2019. Lt. Col. Greg Salo of DNR Enforcement confirmed that the investigation began in the fall of 2018. Mark and Matthew both received a stay of imposition. (If probation is successfully completed, the convictions will be certified as a petty misdemeanors). In addition to two years of supervised probation, both father and son will have to pay restitution of $847.50 as well as other fees totaling $588. 

Recognition ‘shines light’ on Centennial Elementary 

Centennial Elementary School is one of eight schools in the state and 367 schools in the nation to be honored as a Blue Ribbon School this year. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is part of the U.S Department of Education and recognizes outstanding public and nonpublic schools. In identifying several hundred outstanding schools annually, the program celebrates school excellence, turn-around stories and the closing of subgroup achievement gaps. Now in its 38th year, the program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools. Some schools have won multiple awards. 

Pumpkins: 3 decades in the making 

Lino Lakes resident Scott Wahoski has been growing pumpkins for three decades and counting. What originally started out as a traditional-size pumpkin has now grown into 140 pounds. Wahoski says he first got the “garden bug” growing up, when his father had a garden in Roseville. 

Shortly after his oldest daughter, Heather, was born, he decided to start growing pumpkins. “I thought it would be fun to have her watch a pumpkin grow that she could then use at Halloween,” he recalled. Not only did their second daughter, Holly, get to enjoy the pumpkins over the years, but so did their neighbors and friends and — now — their grandchildren. “We are carrying on a family tradition,” Wahoski said.

‘Everybody’s journey is different’ 

Domestic violence, intimate partner violence, dating abuse and relationship abuse, do not discriminate. They can impact people of any race, gender, sexual preference, religion, education level or economic status. Moreover, relationship violence often looks different from relationship to relationship. 

First observed in October 1981 as a national “Day of Unity,” Domestic Violence Awareness Month is held each October to unite advocates across the nation in their efforts to end domestic violence. Communities and advocacy organizations across the country connect with the public and one another throughout the month to raise awareness about the signs of abuse and ways to stop it, and to uplift survivors by sharing their stories and providing additional resources to leaders and policymakers. 

Hugo resident Ashley Guthrie and Lino Lakes resident Corinna Turner were brave enough to share their stories, and names, with Press Publications. 

Who is the best? 

From best hamburger to best teacher, there are hundreds of winners and finalists named by readers as tops in their field in the 2020 Best of the Press Readers’ Choice special section. An article ran earlier this month stating 84% of newspaper readers vote in elections. Local voters also embraced the Best of the Press contest. More than 25,000 votes were cast by readers in five Best of the Press contests including White Bear Press, Vadnais Press, Quad Community Press, Shoreview Press and The Citizen, which may make these contests the largest in the region. Waldoch Farm in Lino Lakes won in three categories.

 

NOVEMBER

‘Focusing on his life’ 

Tiffany Goodchild had the perfect pregnancy, but after she arrived at the hospital things quickly spun out of control. When Karter was born June 26, 2016, he was not breathing. Karter had lost 80% of his blood in utero, which was later determined to be caused by a spontaneous fetal maternal hemorrhage. Because he lost so much blood and was oxygen-deprived, he developed a brain injury called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow. 

Goodchild and her husband were told that Karter would be dependent on machines and that he would never be able to open his eyes, cry, swallow, eat, breathe, see, hear or walk. They were told their only option was to remove life support. Goodchild became determined to be a resource to other mothers who found themselves in a similar situation.

Residential picketing ordinance: ‘This is about balancing people’s rights’

Targeted residential picketing may soon be considered a misdemeanor within the city of Lino Lakes. The Lino Lakes City Council held the first reading of an ordinance regulating targeted picketing in residential neighborhoods at its Nov. 9 meeting. The council will hold the second reading at its Nov. 23 meeting.

The city of Hugo passed a residential picketing ordinance back in September in response to the Black Lives Matter protest that came to town Aug. 15 outside of the home of Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll. Director of Public Safety John Swenson said the department was prompted to look into a possible ordinance this summer after it not only responded to the Aug. 15 incident to provide assistance, but also received feedback from residents, council members and city staff.  

National Guard broadened vet’s experience 

Not every 22-year-old envisions celebrating their birthday in Afghanistan.

Dean Ravenscroft, 29, of Blaine, enlisted in the National Guard in October 2011 at the age of 21. At the time, he was attending Minnesota State University, Mankato, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in construction management. 

When Ravenscroft returned from basic training at Camp Ripley, he was told not return to school because he was going to be deployed to Afghanistan in 2013. While in Afghanistan, Ravenscroft served as a heavy equipment operator. His job was to demine the country.

This Thanksgiving: ‘Focus on the positive and be thankful’ 

It is no surprise that the holiday season is going to look very different this year. The restrictions are ever-changing, so families need to remain flexible and try to find ways to celebrate while keeping the ones they love safe. When a north metro family heard temperatures were going to be in the 70s earlier this month, they sprang into action to coordinate an early, safe Thanksgiving celebration outside with family members.

Corinna Morse wanted to find a way to celebrate to cheer up her parents, Peggy Hayden, 78, and Dave Hayden, 81. On Tuesday, Nov. 3, when much of the world was focused on the presidential election, Morse’s family gathered to enjoy the beautiful warm day. The family gathered outdoors at Morse’s home and enjoyed brined turkey prepared on a Kamando grill along with stuffing, squash, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry relish and — of course — pumpkin pie.

Pandemic experience is transforming teaching 

The announcement that Centennial students in grades K-12 will shift from the hybrid learning model to distance learning resulted, unsurprisingly, in conflicting emotions within the community. The change is hard for Centennial parents and students, as well as the teachers.

Jessica Robinson, a Centennial English teacher since 1998, and Shane Rasmussen, a Centennial math teacher since 1993, do not think education will return to where it was before the pandemic. The constant challenges of the pandemic and the fluctuating hybrid and distance learning models have pushed teachers to become stronger educators.

 

DECEMBER

Mel-O-Dee Stables is now home to This Old Horse. Mel-O-Dee Stables, located at 13151 Elmcrest Ave. N. in Hugo, has operated as a full-service equine facility since 1971. The organization’s lease began Dec. 1. This Old Horse plans ultimately to purchase the property. The Hugo site, called Phoenix Farms, is the organization’s 11th barn.

Council orders feasibility study for YMCA

By March 21, 2021, city staff and the City Council should have a better idea of what the options are for the YMCA facility. ISG will complete the feasibility study for $24,000 (plus expenses) by the target date of March 21, 2021. The study will include three phases — discovery, analysis and report phases. The discovery phase will include engagement with key stakeholders as well as interested community members and the general public. The Y is also undergoing its own efforts to evaluate options for the facility.

Minnesota: ‘It’s not just a place, it’s a way of life’ 

Is it possible for a business owner and a banker to launch an apparel line in the middle of a pandemic and make it look seamless? Apparently. Rick Wagner and Jason Anderson, both Lino Lakes residents, acquired Minn Life Clothing and subsequently launched the Wake Life apparel line in July and the Star of the North apparel line in October. 

Lino Lakes looking into dog park options 

The City Council is investigating options for a dog park within the city’s borders. One proposed site discussed by the council back in 2014 is the city-owned property at the corner of Centerville Road and Birch Street near the fire station. The site would require extensive site preparation, including grading, stripping existing vegetation, killing noxious weeds and seeding. Fencing, signage and benches would also need to be considered. A couple of council members suggested a more industrial location may be ideal. The city plans to reach out to the county on the topic and continue the conversation.

 

Top 10 website stories 2020 - Quad Community Press

1. Death in Lino Lakes under investigation

2. Lino Lakes extends its watering ban

3. Lino Lakes receives informal offer for land near Legion

4. Centennial youth organize peaceful protest

5. Centerville’s ‘Chef Hot Hands’ has plans

6. Black Lives Matter protests head for suburbs

7. Creamery Crossing shooting for February opening

8. 11-year-old receives ‘birthday of a lifetime’

9. Lino Lakes Council plans to review roofing ordinance

10. Centennial Lakes Police Department will welcome new chief next month

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