Quad Community Press: 2019 Year in Review

As each year comes to an end, it is a tradition of the Quad Community Press to take a look back at some of the most memorable stories from the year. Some of the 2019's highlights included: Anoka County agrees to keep Chomonix Golf Course open for at least three more years; developers show interest in Centerville, Lino Lakes and Lexington; the Down Under is demolished and much more. Quad residents were sad to see Matthew's Family Restaurant abruptly close its doors after over two decades in business.

As each year comes to an end, it is a tradition of the Quad Community Press to take a look back at some of the most memorable stories from the year. Some of the 2019's highlights included: Anoka County agrees to keep Chomonix Golf Course open for at least three more years; developers show interest in Centerville, Lino Lakes and Lexington; the Down Under is demolished and much more. Quad residents were sad to see Matthew's Family Restaurant abruptly close its doors after over two decades in business.

January

Super Solomon: Circle Pines resident becomes superhero for family

“Super” Solomon and his family were playing games at their church the Friday before Christmas. They walked up the stairs to grab a game and found Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a bunch of familiar faces and a ton of wrapped presents in front of a tree.

Super Solomon is the son of Travis and Jen Wunderlich, who have lived in Lexington for almost two years. On Easter Sunday, three days before his third birthday, Solomon was diagnosed with high-risk B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “It was the worst April Fools Day non-prank,” Jen said.

County presents proposed Birch Street improvements

Needed improvements to Birch Street have long been a topic of discussion in the city as far back as 2010. The City Council got its first look at preliminary plans for the corridor at its Jan. 7 work session.

Anoka County design engineer and right of way specialist Jason Orcutt explained that many of the details have yet to be worked out, but the first phase of the project is proposed for summer 2019. The second phase will likely follow in summer 2021. “We are in the very beginning stages here,” he said.

Disabled artist paints her passion

Sara Jane Parsons has always loved creating things. After a horrible car accident that left her unable to use her arms and legs, she had to find a new way to create. Parsons, 55, grew up in Circle Pines and graduated from Centennial in 1981.While she was looking for part-time legal work, Parsons began drawing and painting and fell in love with the craft. An assistant tapes dowels to her brushes. This reduces the wear on her brushes and adds a little bit of length to the brush so she can paint a little bigger.

Final stroke for Chomonix Golf Course?

The City of Lino Lakes has until Feb. 1 to come up with a proposal to save Chomonix Golf Course.The Anoka County Parks Committee recently discussed the possibility of turning the golf course into a multiuse outdoor recreation area within the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve. Lino Lakes Mayor Jeff Reinert, City Councilman Rob Rafferty and City Administrator Jeff Karlson all attended the Jan. 15 meeting in an effort to get more information and see if there is anything the city can do to protect the course. Reinert said the city was first made aware of the topic on Monday, the day before the Parks Committee met.

Developer intrigued by Centerville's downtown

A developer that is known for its hotels is interested in downtown Centerville—not for a hotel, but an apartment complex. Representatives of Truline Construction, of Monticello, visited the joint Planning and Zoning Commission and Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting Jan. 16 to have an informal discussion regarding their vision for the city-owned property located on Centerville Road near Sorel Street in Centerville.

Chris Harchanko, a Realtor with Apollo Properties and a project estimator/manager for Truline Construction, explained the vision is for a three-story apartment complex with 63 units and approximately 1,600 square feet of retail space. The apartment is proposed to include “mid-scale to upper mid-scale” one- and two-bedroom units with “above-average amenities.” The proposed retail could be anything from a coffee shop to a gym.

February

Centennial addresses top 3 priorities for legislators

Increasing the funding formula by 3 percent, equalizing levy dollars and controlling the district’s costs of providing special education services were the top three priorities the Centennial School District presented to a few legislators at the annual legislative breakfast Friday, Jan. 27, in the Centennial High School Learning Commons.

Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-Circle Pines) and Rep. Nolan West (R-Blaine) attended the event. Sen. Jerry Newton (D-Coon Rapids) was unable to attend. Superintendent Brian Dietz explained the event was an opportunity for representatives of the district to ask questions of the legislators and identify areas of concern.

Community members establish Friends of Golden Lake

Everyone in this newly formed group has something in common — they care about Golden Lake and its future. After around 30 residents attended a water quality meeting hosted by the city in December, a steering committee was formed with the task of creating an organization called the Friends of Golden Lake (FOGL).

Recreation complex to be placed on ballot?

Whether the proposed recreation complex at Birch Street and Centerville Road should be placed on the ballot or not was up for discussion at the City Council's work session on Feb. 4. The city last discussed the recreation complex at a work session in July. Recently, the council agreed to dedicate $375,000 from the city’s general fund toward the first phase of the project. Jason Amberg, of WSB, presented the updated master plan for the site, located behind the city’s Fire Station at the corner of Birch Street and Centerville Road, at the council’s Jan. 7 work session.

County swings into action on golf course strategic plan

Chomonix Golf Course has avoided “sudden death” in the golf playoffs after all. At its well-attended Feb. 5 meeting at the Bunker Hills Activities Center, the Anoka County Parks Committee approved a proposal to continue operating the golf course for at least three more years.

Circle Pines settles with former finance director

After holding numerous closed meetings for discussion, the city has reached a settlement agreement with Ronda Dalbec, its former finance director.

The council held a closed session at its Aug. 28 meeting. At the time, City Attorney Shelley Ryan said, “The city received a complaint with allegations of violations of the city's personnel policy by senior leadership staff.” At its Sept. 11 meeting, the City Council approved the termination of Dalbec's contract with the city.

Since then, the City Council has held numerous closed sessions to discuss threatened litigation by Dalbec. Most recently, a closed session was held after the council’s Feb. 12 meeting. Attorney Julie Flemming Wolf said in a phone call interview Feb. 13 that the city and Dalbec have entered into a settlement agreement, which calls for the city to pay Dalbec approximately $39,000, which is equivalent to four months of severance pay and her accrued paid time off.

Quartet of sisters enjoy each other's company

The Langmead sisters have tried it all —gymnastics, ice skating, soccer, swimming. But nothing has called to them the way dance does. Centennial High School senior Arcadia, sophomore Huyana, eighth-grader Jade and third-grader Indigo each started dance lessons at the age of 4, but the love of the sport was sparked much earlier.

March

New owners transform Station 5

New owners have taken over what was previously known as Station 57. They are completely gutting every inch of the building to transform it into what will be known as the Boulevard Bar & Grille. Amanda Knaeble of Lino Lakes and Terri and John Barstow of Andover bought the building from previous owner Mike McManus Feb. 1. McManus bought the building, previously known as Bamboo Betty's, in December 2017.

Affordable housing project to revitalize underutilized corner

Despite the extensive history of the Lovell building, which now is just a memory, Lexington officials were happy to break ground on Landings of Lexington, an affordable housing community, on Feb. 22.

Landings of Lexington, a project of Dominium, is a 180-unit housing community that will consist of two four-story residential buildings on the prominent corner of Lovell Road and Lexington Avenue. 

Ring doorbell comes to the rescue

After Lino Lakes resident Missy Rodriguez found herself locked out of her house in the early hours of the morning March 9 in just her pajamas and slippers, she was thankful for her husband's Christmas present. Missy bought the Ring Video Doorbell on Black Friday for her husband Rich after she heard it was the No. 1 seller on Amazon for Christmas and had seen some videos about the technology. While she was trying to figure out which one of her neighbors might be up early on a Saturday, she remembered she had a Ring doorbell and kept ringing the door bell until her husband checked in to see who was at his door.

Local girls gain friends, character joining Scouts BSA

Most Scouts wait until spring to go on their first campout and fulfill this Tenderfoot rank requirement: “Spend at least one night on a patrol or troop campout. Sleep in a tent you have helped pitch.” Not Scouts BSA Troop 65. The girls’ first campout was Feb. 23-24, the snowiest February on record, when they pitched tents at Rum River Scout Camp near Ramsey. The girls have only been Scouts since early February, since Scouts BSA (formerly known as Boy Scouts of America) opened registration for girls Feb. 1.

April

Blaine youth baker finds sweet success

Paige Goehner, an 11-year-old from Blaine, met her idol Duff Goldman along with Valerie Bertinelli while participating on Food Network's “Kids Baking Championship.” Goehner won the competition.

Lino Public safety selects new K-9 handler

Lino Lakes will soon have a new partnership protecting its streets. The Lino Lakes Public Safety Department (LLPSD) recently announced that its current K-9 Justice, who joined the department in September 2012, will have to retire within the next year or two. The department has since selected a dog and K-9 officer who are now training together. The new K-9 is a year and a half year old German shepherd from Czech Republic. New K-9 Officer, Kristen Mobraten, chose his name, Argos.

“In Homer’s ‘Odyssey,’ Argos is the name of Odysseus’ faithful dog who was known for his speed, strength, tracking ability and, of course, his loyalty,” she explained. “After reading about the dog and how devoted he was to his owner, I felt like it was the perfect name for my canine partner.”

No April Fools' joke: Down Under 'kaput'

It is not an April Fools' joke. The Down Under is no more. It's done for. It's... history. The old building, which was located at 10100 Lake Dr., was demolished by Nitti Roll-Off & Demolition Services, Inc. Thursday, Dec. 4. Demolition started around 7 a.m. and by noon all that was left was a pile of rubble with only one beam left standing.

Quilters bring out soft side of law enforcement

For many years, a group of quilters has gathered on the second and fourth Tuesday morning of the month at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Circle Pines to work on their own personal projects. Last fall, the group decided they wanted to put their creative minds together to do something for the community.

The group makes stuffed puppies and blankets to be given out to children who may need something soft to snuggle with. Patricia Clearence, chaplain for the Lexington Fire Department, Centennial Fire District and Centennial Lakes Police Department, keeps the stuffed puppies and blankets in her car so that if she needs them on a call, they are close by.

Circle Pines' new playground tribute to site history

Later this spring, children of all ages will have a new destination — just in time for summer vacation. The Circle Pines Park Board approved a $90,000 upgrade to the park at City Hall April 2. The work will be completed alongside the ongoing expansion of Centennial Library. The current play structure was installed in 1998 and is at the end of its life cycle. Although the park has been on the city’s radar for a couple of years, discussion and planning for its replacement commenced at the beginning of 2019.

Mock Crash illustrates that tragedy 'does not discriminate'

In a scenario that felt all too real, Centennial High School (CHS) juniors and seniors found out what it would be like to lose one of their own in a simulated mock crash. Arrive Alive, which began in 2009, challenges students to think about distracted driving, the responsibility of making mature decisions, and the consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In an effort to make an impact right before prom, the two-day event was held April 23-24.

May

'Heart and Soul' went into family garden supply business

Laurie and Brian Soderman’s kids, Dustin, Kyle and Troy, have fond memories of brotherly shenanigans around their parents’ business, Rock Gardens. This year, the business is celebrating its 30th anniversary. When Laurie and Brian purchased the property back in December 1989, it was a junkyard. It took them an entire year to clean up the property before they could begin landscaping.

All Seasons Rental expands after 23 years in business

Despite numerous hiccups along the way, an area couple couldn't be happier that they have finally broken ground on their new 7,500-square-foot building. Scott and Shelly Carlson have owned All Seasons Rental, located at 7932 Lake Drive, since 1996. Scott always pictured himself going into the tool repair business but said both his father and uncle convinced him the rental business would be a better choice.

Teacher of the Year in 10th year with Centennial

Around 7:30 a.m. May 9, teacher Dan DeRuyck was trying to prepare some breakfast before his students arrived when he was interrupted by a big group of people who were really happy to see him. In a surprise ceremony, DeRuyck found out he is the pick for the 2019-2020 Centennial Teacher of the Year.

Sivarajah selected as Anoka County Commissioner

Following a 4-2 vote May 14, Rhonda Sivarajah, current Anoka District 6 county commissioner, was appointed to the county's top position. Sivarajah abstained from voting and did not participate in discussion.

Since March 26, the Anoka County Board has met three times — twice in regular session and once in a work session — to discuss how to proceed with selecting the county's next administrator. County Administrator Jerry Soma announced he would retire May 1 after eight years in the position, but said he was willing to stick around a bit longer if the county needed him to do so.

Resonance Physiotherapy: Provides whole-body approach

A new company in Centerville hopes to help its clients recover quickly from injuries while also preventing unnecessary pain medications, injections and surgeries. Resonance Physiotherapy & Sports Performance has been around for one year, but recently moved into a space at Kettlebell Gym, 6845 20th Ave. S, Centerville.

The company's founder, Lino Lakes resident Tom Tardif, is originally from Maine. He moved to Minnesota 5 1/2 years ago with his wife, Alyssa. Tardiff has always been fascinated by the anatomy of the human body and became interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy after experiencing sport injuries himself and watching others heal from injuries.

June

Blaine resident participates in 22nd MS 150

Blaine resident Chuck Dolezalek, 53, is gearing up for his 22nd year of participation in the Bike MS: C.H. Robinson MS 150 Ride. Nearly 3,500 cyclists are setting out to raise more than $3 million to make a difference in the lives of 1 million people who live with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the U.S. Cyclists will ride up to 150 miles over two days in the annual Bike MS: C.H. Robinson MS 150 Ride. The route will depart from Proctor for Hinckley on June 8 and conclude at Century College in White Bear Lake on June 9.

Star Wars Party celebrates end to chemo treatments

A young boy’s 12th birthday party served the dual purpose of celebrating the end of chemotherapy treatments and bringing a community of Star Wars loving fans together. Alexander Knutson, of Lino Lakes, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) when he was in the third grade. ALL is the most common form of childhood leukemia and is a cancer of the blood that affects the body’s white blood cells.

Since Alexander is a fan of Star Wars, his parents, Lorne and Marianne, helped him understand his cancer and the treatments by explaining them in terms of the Galactic Empire. They told him that the rebel blood cells in his body meant him harm and the rebellion had to be put down. The loyal cells needed weapons (chemo) and a case (surgically implanted port) to win the Battle of the Blood Cells.

Midwest Best Water newest business in Centerville

Now in its 33rd year of existence, Midwest Best Water (MBW) is in need of more space. MBW signed a purchase agreement in March for the 2.3-acre city-owned parcel at 2061 Commerce Drive in the Clearwater Business Park. The $405,000 sale officially closed June 13. To celebrate the deal, MBW held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, June 19, and construction of its $2 million building was slated to begin June 24.

July

Lino Lakes woman inspired to share her journey with Parkinson's

It took a Lino Lakes resident four hours and 17 minutes to complete this year's Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, a feat she accomplished despite never having run a marathon before and having Parkinson's disease.

Before meeting her husband, Mark, in 2012, Podobinski said, she was not a runner. In fact, in college, she tried to do track and field and ended up dropping out. She started to get into the sport that her husband enjoyed, but slowly started experiencing symptoms of Parkinson's that continued to get worse.

1,500 people check out new library

An estimated 1,500 visitors checked out the new Centennial Library in Circle Pines June 29 during the grand opening celebration.

Retired Lexington firefighter trains search and rescue dog

Oscar is only 8 months old, but he is already well on his way to becoming a hero. Oscar is a golden retriever that belongs to retired Lexington firefighter (1994-2017) Bradley Gavin. After Gavin’s Newfoundland/black lab mix passed away, it didn't take him long to find another companion.

Gavin has been a technician with Northstar Search and Rescue for 2 1/2 years. He first heard about the nonprofit organization after he became president of the Lexington Fire charitable gambling organization and attended the state convention. 

Executive order provides more options for people with kidney disease

For the first time in 46 years, the federal government has taken action to help people with kidney disease. On July 10, Lino Lakes resident and longtime nephrologist Mark Rosenberg, MD, was in Washington to witness President Donald Trump sign an executive order dedicated to advancing American kidney health. The last time the federal government took action with regard to kidney disease was in 1973, when it agreed that Medicare would cover the costs of kidney disease, no matter the person's age.

Local girl's letter initiates action

A local 10-year-old girl’s letter was the final push for the city of Circle Pines to join the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program. The letter was written by 10-year-old Numa Zahra, who attended Golden Lake Elementary this past school year. The handwritten letter was brief: “My name is Numa and I am about to turn 10 next month. I am worried about the climate change. It would be wonderful if the city could declare a climate change policy. Please think about it.”

Numa was later recognized for her actions by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Commissioner Laura Bishop in September.

August

State Fair: 'The longest marathon you will ever run'

A Lino Lakes couple who met at the State Fair 23 years ago can't wait to “run a marathon” at this year's big get-together. Brendan and Melissa Szala have brought their Pitchfork Sausage truck to the fair for seven years. The two met while working at Butcher Boys and have now been married for 13 years. They have four children who are also involved when they can be, including Trevor, 10, Zoey, 7, Colin, 4, and 8-month-old Lexie.

North metro brands itself as 'technology corridor'

A public/private partnership to attract technology businesses to the north metro is officially underway. Officials from Anoka and Washington counties are spearheading the effort to brand the stretch of Interstate 35E near five north metro cities—Centerville, Columbus, Forest Lake, Hugo and Lino Lakes—as the future home of the Minnesota Technology Corridor.

The partnership has been in the works for about a year. It began with meetings between county officials and Connexus Energy, which had been approached by tech companies looking for areas with fiber access, high energy capacity and undeveloped land near the airport.

Blaine toddler needs $2 million therapy

A soon-to-be 2-year-old is running out of time. Before her second birthday on Sept. 6, Maddy needs a lifesaving treatment called Zolgensma, a gene therapy that costs $2.2 million. It might just be the most expensive drug in the world.

Maddy's mother, Blaine resident Angie Bruce, found out Maddy had spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) about halfway through her pregnancy. Bruce and her family had never heard of SMA and said they were not made aware that both she and Maddy's father, Mike Smith, were genetic carriers of SMA when they were pregnant with Maddy's brother Michael, who just turned 4.

New ambassadors ready to represent Lino Lakes

Three new ambassadors are ready to improve their public speaking skills, strengthen friendships and represent their community. Three judges — Rhonda Sivarajah, Samantha Rawleigh and Maddie Simon — selected Amelia Phommady, Claire McArdle and Kailey Groess (out 14 candidates) as 2020 Miss Lino Lakes Ambassadors at the 16th annual coronation held Aug. 18 at Centennial Middle School. Alicia Koehnen was voted by her peers as Miss Congeniality.

September

Area chaplain climbs 75 feet to raise funds for medical alert dog

An area chaplain needed all the support she could get Sept. 14. Even though she is terrified of heights, she climbed a 75-foot ladder on a fire engine. Patricia Clearence, who serves as the chaplain for the Centennial Fire District (CFD) and Lexington Fire Department, climbed the ladder as part of a “FUNdraiser” to raise funds for 4-year-old Madelyn, daughter of Danielle and Jay Latcham, of Lino Lakes.

Lexington mayor resigns effective Sept. 30

Following nearly five years in office, the mayor of Lexington has announced his plans to resign from the position. Mayor Mark Kurth first announced his plans to resign at a City Council work session last month. His last meeting will be Sept. 19 and his resignation will be effective Sept. 30. Kurth said he had to resign, after his decision to relocate to Blaine.

Youthway Center volunteer dubbed 'Great Neighbor'

Over 200,000 neighborhoods across the U.S. were asked to nominate those who have made a positive difference for the Great Neighbor Award, and an area volunteer made the top five. Rosie Griep has volunteered with Youthway Ministries since February 2014. Youthway Ministries is a nonprofit faith-based ministry that operates the Youth Center located in the Centennial Square Manufactured Home Community in Blaine.

Nextdoor teamed up with the new comedy “The Neighborhood” on CBS to celebrate amazing neighbors across the country with “The Great Neighbor Shout-Out.” Nextdoor asked neighbors to nominate those who have made a positive difference. In June, neighbors across America voted for who they believed deserved to win the Great Neighbor Shout-Out, and Greip was among the five winning finalists. As a top five finalist, Griep received a plaque and neighborhood block party Friday, Sept. 6.

Young Life coming to Centennial

A core group of around 10 adults are putting their minds together with the hope of establishing a teen ministry for Centennial Middle School (CMS) and Centennial High School (CHS) students.

The startup team has worked to find adult mentors, identify possible volunteers and start fundraising, all in an effort to establish Centennial Area Young Life. Although the focus is to reach CMS and CHS students, the group will be open to students who attend private schools or are home-schooled as well as neighboring districts.

October

Comfort food just when we'll need it

This January or February when everyone is ready for winter to be over, locals can warm up their bellies with signature, handmade pasta dishes at a new restaurant.

Shortly after the first of the new year, Campanelle Restaurant & Bar will open its doors to customers at 7114 Otter Lake Road in Lino Lakes. Campanelle will be located in the same building as Dunkin', on the west side, closest to the McDonalds. Owner Kent Bergmann, a Lino Lakes resident, has been in the restaurant industry for 24 years and counting and is thrilled to open up a restaurant in his own community.

2 more inducted into Centennial Hall of Fame

This year's Centennial Hall of Fame inductees have two things in common — their support of Centennial Schools and students, and their passion for education.

Circle Pines Mayor Dave Bartholomay and longtime theater director Mark Quinlan were formally inducted into the Centennial Hall of Fame Friday, Sept. 27. Quinlan was previously inducted into the Hall of Fame in May prior to the opening of the spring play “Becoming Memories.” He passed away days later after a battle with thyroid cancer.

Pat-A-Cake: Celebrates 25 years in Lino Lakes

Many adults who attended Pat-A-Cake Child Care years ago returned to see some familiar faces and learn how the business has changed over the years at a 25th anniversary celebration Oct. 3. Owner Patti Beecher grew up in Lino Lakes and was inspired to go into the world of day care at a young age.

Beecher was initially contemplating the career of a teacher but realized four years of school was not for her. After Beecher's sister begged her to watch her daughter, Beecher started an in-home day care, which she ran for 2 1/2 years before finding a home for Pat-A-Cake at 7761 Lake Drive.

Parent advocacy group offers support and connection

Centerville mothers Gina Schmittdiel and Erin Ribar met three years ago after being connected through the Down Syndrome Association (DSA) of Minnesota. Gina and her husband Brian have two children, a 4-year-old and 3-year-old Gunnar, who has Down syndrome. Erin and her husband Matt have four children ages 7, 4, 2, and 7 months. Ben, their 2 1/2-year-old, has Down syndrome.

In 2017 the mothers began attending a Down syndrome parent group in Blaine. The following year, the two stepped up to facilitate the group, which they are doing again this year with the help of Sana Kassab Soussi from Blaine. Because the location in Blaine was only 10 miles away from another support group in Mounds View, they decided to find a new location in Circle Pines.

Matthew's abruptly closes its doors

Matthew's Family Restaurant in Circle Pines abruptly closed its doors after more than two decades in business. There was a sign posted on the door last week that read, “After 23 years of proudly serving this community, we are being forced to close. These are not our wishes.” The note was signed, “Kindest thoughts and sweetest memories, Love Amy and Matt.”

Rumors have been circulating social media since the closing. Some of the rumors allege criminal activity. Centennial Lakes Police Department (CLPD) Chief James Coan said, “I can tell you that our department has no criminal investigation going on concerning the restaurant or the owners, nor have we been contacted by any other law enforcement agency regarding any investigation. Having said that, I suppose that anything is possible, as we wouldn’t necessarily hear from a federal agency.” Coan noted that extra patrol has been requested in the area.

November

Veteran holds patriotism dear to her heart

Quad area resident Brandy Fulton wanted to join the military after graduating from high schoolbecause she thought it would be a great opportunity to pursue her education and travel. Her 20-year military career shaped her as a person and inspired her to continue serving.

Brandy, 59, is originally from Pennsylvania, but lived in Circle Pines for 12 years before she moved to Lino Lakes in 2001. After a female recruiter from the Air Force visited her school, she knew that was the branch she wanted to be in. Brandy joined the Air Force on Dec. 7, 1979, and was on active duty for eight years. She started off her career as a dental assistant/hygienist working in a dental clinic.

Familiar face, new role

When Mayor Jeff Reinert decided he was going to run for the Anoka County Commissioner District 6 seat, Councilman Rob Rafferty, who had two years left of his term, decided it was “the appropriate thing to do” to run for mayor.

Rafferty has lived in Lino Lakes for 23 years and is a senior technician at Architecture Advantage in St. Paul. He has served on the council for 10 years but has also served on the Lino Lakes Charter Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission and EDA. In the Nov. 5 election, Rafferty received 45.82% of the votes, followed by Tony Cavegn with 39.50%. Pat Davern and Ashley Antus were also running for the seat.

Lexington Lofts proposal voted down

Despite a 3-1 vote in favor of the Lexington Lofts proposal, it did not pass. The planned unit development (PUD) on the Nov. 7 agenda required a supermajority; that is, in the case of a five-member council, four council members would have to vote in favor of the item for it to pass. The Lexington City Council currently has a vacant seat.

Mayor Mike Murphy and council members Diane Harris and Kim DeVries voted yes, Councilman John Hughes voted no. Forest Lake developer Norhart proposed the construction of luxury apartments 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.

New roof helps veteran's family weather cancer

The Montes family woke up to the sound of banging on their roof and found a large crowd gathered on their front lawn Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Ben and Mandy Montes and their three young children live on East Golden Lake Road in Circle Pines and are the latest recipients of a new roof, thanks to the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project. The project is a nationwide effort to show gratitude to and honor the veterans who have served our country and the families who support them. Since 2016, more than 150 roofs have been installed.

Ben served 10 years of active duty in the U.S. Army and remains on active duty with the Army National Guard as a recruiter. In July, he was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer, which had already spread throughout his body.

December

New face at Olson's Market

A longtime market in the Quad community may be under new ownership, but customers should not expect to see any drastic changes. Blaine resident Steve Awad and his father Tony took over Olson's Market in October after longtime owners Mike and Leslie Olson decided to retire and sell their business, located at 10102 Sunset Ave. in Blaine. The Olsons, residents of Maple Grove, have owned the store for more than 27 years.

Tumble Fun Bus helps children increase skills

The Tumble Fun Bus is not your average school bus. If you see the bright lime green bus rolling around town, chances are that somewhere in the metro, children are about to have fun. Lexington resident Shannon Shepardson, originally from North Dakota, has owned Tumble Fun Bus for 10 years. Shepardson had a friend in Nevada who owned a similar business. She was inspired to start Tumble Fun Bus years later in Minnesota.

Barno Family Lights: A decade of perfecting animation

A Christmas light show in Circle Pines has taken holiday decorating to a new level. Circle Pines resident Justin Barno is the mastermind behind the show at 4102 88th Ave. NE. During his years at home, Barno helped his parents decorate for the holiday, but he was inspired to go beyond your average Christmas lights and inflatables after he saw Richard Holdman's house online. Holdman is one of the first creators of an animated light display.

Neighbor charged in connection to dog's death

A neighbor has been charged in connection to an incident that resulted in the death of a 3-year-old dachshund named Buddy in Centerville. Larry Allen Hanson, 61, of Centerville, has been charged with one count of cruelty to animals. The felony offense carries a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. His first court appearance will be Jan. 10.

Isanti business looking into Matthew's location

Quad area residents now have a glimmer of hope that a family restaurant will reopen in the former Matthew's Family Restaurant location. A post circulating on the Nextdoor app claimed that a business called Creamery Crossing will open to customers as early as February. Eatery Creamery Crossing currently operates a location in Isanti and has been in business for over 35 years.

The Quad Community Press reached out to Creamery Crossing, but the business was hesitant to provide details as it is still in the process of working out a lease agreement. “We are excited that the community is excited. We do not have a lease yet, so we are just asking everyone to be patient for a week or two while we move forward with more definite plans,” said a representative for the business.

DNR looking into possible illegal sales of venison

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed that Sausage Haus in Lexington has been under investigation since the fall of 2018. The investigation began in 2018 after the DNR received complaints that the establishment was selling wild venison. As part of the investigation, the DNR obtained a couple of search warrants and interviewed more than 400 people who either dropped a deer off or purchased venison from Sausage Haus.

The main concerns are that customers who had never brought a deer to Sausage Haus for processing were able to purchase venison, and that customers who brought in a deer left with more than their deer could yield.

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