2020 Year in Review – Shoreview

As each year comes to an end, it is a tradition of the Shoreview Press to highlight some of the most memorable stories of the year. How our lives changed from January through December. The dominant headline of the year was the COVID-19 pandemic. Every issue of the Shoreview Press from the middle of March through today reported the various ways COVID-19 impacted our communities. Families lost loved ones, community events were canceled, and many local businesses had to close. The killing of George Floyd in our neighboring city Minneapolis and the 2020 election were other major headlines that deeply affected our readers. These stories and more prompted readers to share their opinions on our editorial pages throughout the year, perhaps to a greater extent than ever before.

Although 2020 brought its fair share of challenges, the news wasn’t all bad. 

Some of the other top stories in 2020 included:  unique ways to celebrate birthdays, prom, graduation and the holidays; the many makers; teachers pivoting to distance learning; efforts to boost local restaurants; non-profits stepping up to help those in need; theatre productions, art classes, history and educational programs, fundraisers and other events held online or live-streamed; new leadership in city councils; outdoor recreation; and much more.

The stories and photos published throughout the year bring home the value of a community newspaper. It is news and information readers won’t find anywhere else.

We hope you enjoy this retrospective issue as we all look forward to 2021.

JANUARY

Becher new points leader in Mound View girls basketball

Lindsey Becher broke Mound View High School’s career scoring record Jan. 7 in a game where she led a stirring rally that fell short against White Bear Lake’s 43-41 at home. Becher, a 6-1 senior forward, sank 20 points that night and passed the Mustang record of 1,568 points held since 1996 by Jenny Cafferty. Ironically, Janicki’s mother, Stacy (Fields) Janicki, was Miss Basketball 1992 for Mounds View and held the record of 1,513 before Cafferty broke it. 

Mustang greats named to High School Basketball Hall of Fame 

Mark Landsberger and his coach Ziggy Kauls won a state championship together in 1972 early in their distinguished careers. They will now enter the Minnesota High School Basketball Hall of Fame together. They were among 15 luminaries who were inducted this year.

Mounds View paraeducators rally midst stalled contract talks

Mounds View Public Schools paraeducators held a rally during the Jan. 28 school board meeting to call attention to stalled contract negotiations. District paraeducators who are members of the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 224 donned purple shirts for last week’s board meeting. Some addressed the board during open forum, while others stood behind them, holding signs reading messages such as “We are waiting,” and “Invest in paras; invest in students.” Paid prep time, access to student IEP summaries, a wage increase, and the same level of health insurance contributions the district gives to other employees are the group’s top concerns, according to union representatives.

FEBRUARY

Mounds View gymnasts glide to state meet 

The new Mounds View/Irondale paired gymnastics team capped a strong season by sending its best two performers to the state meet, one from each school. Julia Clark and Kaylee Bateman both advanced to state in multiple events while leading Mounds View/Irondale to second place in the Section 4AA meet. Clark, Irondale sophomore, placed second all-around with a season-best 37.450, second on vault (9.675), third on uneven bars (9.55) and fourth on floor exercise (9.30), advancing to state each each. She was 11th on balance beam (8.925). Bateman, Mounds View sophomore, placed third on floor exercise (9.35), fifth on vault (9.35) and fifth on uneven bars (9.25), qualifying for state in each. She placed 24th on beam (8.20) and seventh all-(36.1500). 

Shoreview’s Kyra Condie climbs her way to Olympics

Sport climbing was set to be a new event in the Olympics this year, though the competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Had it gone on as scheduled, the American team would have included a Shoreview native. Kyra Condie, 23. Condrie, who has been climbing since age 10 and overcame a serious back problem to continue, was one of three Team USA members set for the 2020 Games in Tokyo in August.

MARCH

Ross Allen named Bethel’s 6th president

The Bethel University Board of Trustees announced this spring that Ross Allen, 59, is the Christian college’s sixth president. A 1984 Bethel grad, he will also be the first Bethel alumnus to serve as its president. “My time at Bethel profoundly shaped who I am and how I live,” Allen said. “It’s the place where my faith became my own, where I started my family, and where I realized I could glorify God through a career in the marketplace.”Allen comes to Bethel from Azusa Pacific University, a private Christian college in California where he served as chief financial officer and vice president of business and finance. Prior to that, he spent 25 years at Medtronic and founded a consulting company in White Bear Lake. July 1 marked the official start of Allen’s tenure. He replaced Jay Barnes, who announced his retirement last year.

Super Tuesday results: Shoreview goes for Biden

Voters in Shoreview overwhelmingly favored former Vice President Joe Biden in the state’s Democratic presidential primary. Minnesota was one of 14 states to participate in Super Tuesday, when the greatest number of states hold primary elections and approximately one-third of all delegates are up for grabs. According to results from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, of the 3,469 votes cast in Shoreview’s precincts, 1,483 were for Biden—42.8% of the total votes. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) followed with 743, or 21.4%, of the total votes; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) with 529, or 15.2%, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with 228, or 9.5%.

APRIL

Getting groceries for neighbors? There’s an app for that 

A smartphone app developed by four Gen Z-ers is finding new resonance amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. Pikup, its founders say, has a simple mission: to unite communities by connecting people needing something with those already out and about. Say that you’re making a Target run after work. You can use Pikup to notify a group of contacts — family, friends, neighbors, or others — of your plans and ask if they need anything. The app allows those contacts to request items and pay you back, and also gives you a small reward for your act of service. Pikup is the brainchild of four 20-somethings, including Sam Lerdahl, a Shoreview native and 2017 graduate of Mounds View High School. Lerdahl is Pikup’s chief technology officer. He and his teammates launched the app, originally called Runerra, while they were students at the University of Minnesota. Their hope was to streamline the process of running errands for others and to add a human touch to the delivery process.

City Council holds 1st virtual meeting

The first virtual meeting of the Shoreview City Council was not without a technical difficulty or two, but still allowed council members to conduct regular business amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The council’s April 6 meeting was held via Zoom, a video conferencing app, which enabled council members to attend while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Mayor Sandy Martin and City Manager Terry Schwerm were among the only present in the council chambers — and even they sat 12 feet apart.

Chippewa Middle School becomes mask-making center 

When COVID-19 made its way to Minnesota, the KnightKrawler Robotics Team set up shop in Chippewa Middle School and used the school’s 3D printers and laser cutters to create personal protective equipment for healthcare and other emergency workers. They had a goal of producing at least 1,000 face shields a week.

MAY

Minnesota 1st state to ban TCE

Minnesota became the first state to ban trichloroethylene (TCE), a toxic chemical that can increase risk for certain types of cancer and other serious health issues.

The Minnesota House of Representatives approved a bill May 13 prohibiting use of TCE, following the Senate’s bipartisan lead three weeks ago. Authored by Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL – White Bear Township), the bill will protect Minnesotans from the carcinogen, which for years was spewed into the air surrounding the Water Gremlin plant in White Bear Township. 

 

City leaders respond to death of George Floyd

The Shoreview City Council’s June 1 meeting was held exactly one week after George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis—an anniversary that did not go unnoticed by Shoreview councilmembers. “We’ve had a week like we’ve never seen before and I pray we’ll never see again,” said Mayor Sandy Martin. “We’ve seen the very best, and we’ve seen the very worst of Minnesota citizens.” Floyd died May 25 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes while he was handcuffed on the ground.

 

2 cousins earn every Boy Scout badge

Thanks to their involvement in the Boy Scouts of America, two distant cousins are now friends and can lay claim to a feat that few other fellow scouts can.

In December 2013, Charlie Aasen attended a merit badge class in North St. Paul with his mom. They happened to be standing in the check-in line directly behind Conrad Gausmann and his dad, whose last name Aasen’s mother immediately recognized as her maiden name. As it turned out, the two families are related.

“They talked for a while, and they were able to find out that we share a great, great, great, great grandfather,” Gausmann said. “I think that’s so cool that they would be able to make that connection there.”

That night, the two 11-year-olds made a pledge to each other. They were going to every Boy Scout merit badge possible—all 137 of them. Now, as two recent high school graduates— Aasen of Mounds View High School and Gausmann of Hopkins High School—they can say they’ve fulfilled that promise.

JUNE

Shoreview names June 1 ‘High School Senior Recognition Day’

With schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, graduating seniors missed out on end-of-the-year milestones and traditions. With that in mind, June 1 was officially designated as High School Senior Recognition Day in honor of Shoreview’s members of the class of 2020.

Floral shop donates $10k worth of flowers to Floyd memorial

When Allie Tempelis, owner of Lexington Floral, learned of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, she committed herself to do whatever she—and her store—could to help. “I felt called to action last week, as I’m sure many did, after witnessing such injustices happening to George Floyd and the community of color,” she said. “We heard that many in Minneapolis were left without grocery stores or transportation after the ensuing riots, so we set up an impromptu food drive on Friday (May 29), only getting the word out on our Facebook page.”

Within five hours, Tempelis said, “we filled an empty 15-passenger van to absolute capacity,” and brought shelf-stable food, along with ready-to-eat food and beverages, to neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The next day, Tempelis learned that flowers at the Floyd memorial on 38th and Chicago had been trampled overnight. Right away, she sprang to action, packing up every single flower in the store to hand out for free.

“We immediately put all of our blooming stems into buckets and headed down,” Tempelis said. “Dozens of people were able to lay a stem on (George Floyd’s) memorial to pay their respects.”

Youth lead Black Lives Matter protest to ‘Awaken the Suburbs’

Hundreds of people marched down Highway 96 on Saturday, June 13, to protest the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and to call for an end to racism and police brutality.

The event, called “Awaken the Suburbs,” was organized by local youth, many of them either current students or recent graduates of Mounds View Public Schools.

“As the young people of this community, we are obligated to speak up and be active in the Black Lives Matter movement,” organizers said in an email. “In light of racial injustice across the nation, we desire to take reasonable and tangible action at the local level to ensure that such a tragedy will never occur in our community.”

JULY

Shoreview woman celebrates 100th birthday

Though she had to stay several feet away from most of her guests, Shoreview resident Marian Wocken rang in her 100th birthday July 10 with a party for friends and family.She contributes the longevity of her life to her community involvement and her close-knit family.

“I never planned on it,” she said of turning 100. “I just got busy, and it happened.” Her secret? “Good genes, good health, good family. Stay active. Plenty of prayer.” She also offered the following word to the wise: “The first 100 years are the hardest.”

 

Student launches organization to aid restaurant, hospital workers

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the restaurant and health care industries especially hard. That’s why one local high school student has launched an initiative for residents to simultaneously help out people working in both fields.

Sruthi Subramanian is a senior at Mounds View High School. She is also the founder of the Twin Cities branch of the Meal Bridge, which was started in Atlanta. It has since grown to include branches in four other metro areas, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, throughout the country. Meal Bridge serves as a bridge between restaurants and hospitals, Subramanian said. Restaurants interested in participating in the Meal Bridge, or hospitals with staff who wish to receive a donated meal, can contact twincitiesmealbridge@gmail.com. For more information about the Meal Bridge, visit forms.gle/rPjhJAHjaAcC95Ex6

AUGUST

Ready to roll: City skate park opens to public

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new Shoreview Skatepark Plaza debuted with little fanfare, but is nevertheless open to the public and has already been drawing a crowd.

The old wooden skating ramps at the Shoreview Commons have been replaced with a new concrete skatepark. The 7,500 square foot plaza flows with the natural topography of the space, featuring a blend of terrains, as well as stairs, handrails and benches.

SEPTEMBER

Back to school

The 2020-21 school year began the same way the 2019-20 one ended: with students attending class from home. As local COVID-19 case counts have flucuated, schools have alternated from full-time to part-time distance learning. However, beginning Jan. 18, all elementary schools in the state can open for in-person instruction provided they follow a newly expanded list of restrictions, which include requiring staff to wear both a mask and a face shield, and making COVID-19 testing available every other week. Middle and high school students will remain in distance learning for the time being.

Deluxe Corporation leaving Shoreview

After more than 30 years in Shoreview, Deluxe Corporation is leaving the city.

The Fortune 1000 company announced plans to relocate its headquarters to downtown Minneapolis in fall 2021 after construction of its new facility is complete.

President and CEO Barry McCarthy said that the move follows the company’s growth from check printing to a wider array of small business financial services.

OCTOBER

Bethel offically welcomes new president

The installation service for Bethel University’s sixth president Ross Allen was held at Benson Great Hall at Bethel University on Oct. 2, with a limited number of attendees due to COVID-19.

Snowstorm paddle board

Chris Mielke, of Shoreview, glided across Snail Lake on his paddle board, Tuesday, Oct. 20, during the first heavy snow fall of the season. Mielke said of the occasion, “It’s always something I’ve wanted to do.”

Happy trails: City honors longest-tenured employee

Shoreview’s longest-tenured employee is now entering his golden years. Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Gary Chapman retired last month after more than four decades with the city. Chapman was first hired as a seasonal employee in 1975, then as a full-time parks maintenance worker in 1979 before being promoted to lead worker in the parks department in 1988. In 2000, he became the buildings and grounds superintendent and managed hundreds of projects, including major ones like the recent expansion of the Shoreview Community Center and renovation of the Shoreview Commons.

With almost 42 years of service to Shoreview, Chapman is the longest-tenured staff member in Shoreview’s history. He officially retired on Oct. 30 and was honored with an official proclamation at the Nov. 2 Shoreview City Council meeting.

NOVEMBER

Council incumbents hold steady

Shoreview’s city council incumbents prevailed in their bids for reelection in November.

Sue Denkinger and Emy Johnson won the two open seats on the Shoreview City Council, securing their reelection bids against three other challengers. Both will serve four-year terms that expire Dec. 31, 2024. Denkinger received 28.2% of the total votes, followed by Johnson with 24.7%. Incumbent Sandy Martin ran unopposed for mayor.

 

Shoreview City Council honors Citizen of the Year

Shoreview’s Citizen of the Year is traditionally recognized at the city’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Event, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant the 2020 celebration was canceled. This year’s honoree, Helen Nelson, may have been recognized with less of the usual fanfare, though with no less gratitude, according to Mayor Sandy Martin.

Nelson, whom Martin called a “great friend and longtime booster of this community,” was formally recognized as the 2020 Citizen of the Year during the Nov. 16 City Council meeting.

DECEMBER

1st COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Minnesota

The first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Minnesota last week, and more are on the way, offering a glimmer of hope that the end of the pandemic may well be in sight. Frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities will be the first to receive the vaccine. The vaccines come from two manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, which have both sought emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency gave the green light to the Pfizer vaccine late Friday, Dec. 11, and to the Moderna vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18.

 

Faith and grace during the 2020 holiday season

2020 has been a year of challenges. It has also been a year with its share of faith and grace amidst the pandemic, when many have needed them most.

This year’s Christmas season looked very different from past Christmases. Nevertheless, as Minnesota’s COVID numbers increase and restrictions are placed on indoor gatherings, area churches are learning how to adapt. In doing so, congregations have found inspiration in the season and within their church communities. With in-person gatherings posing a public health risk, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church has moved its services to the parking lot since. Come Christmas Eve, the congregation members did the same. 

“If Jesus was born in a barn, it only seems right that we celebrate his birth in a parking lot,” Pastor Renee Peterson’s reasoning went.

 

Top 10 website stories 2020 - Shoreview Press

1. More than 100 pounds of meth seized in Shoreview drug bust

2. Shoreview under state of emergency, extends building closures due to COVID-19

3. ‘Kids are still waiting’: Adoption and COVID-19

4. Shoreview water park reopens

5. One more year to get REAL ID: Deadline delayed due to COVID-19

6. Burglary suspect arrested after high-speed pursuit

7. Youth lead Black Lives Matter march to ‘awaken the suburbs’

8. Shoreview woman celebrates 100th birthday

9. Shoreview moves forward with Edgetown Acres reconstruction

10. Shoreview under state of emergency, extends building closures due to COVID-19

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