2018 was a year of progress for the city of Shoreview.
The Community Center's addition and expansion opened, including new classrooms, an expanded indoor playground and an addition to the waterpark.
The City Council passed a law restricting tobacco sales to those 21 or older. It was the sixth municipality in the state to adopt such an ordinance.
The city was declared a pollinator-friendly city. The city has placed more pollinator-friendly vegetation in the Commons and parks and encourages residents to follow suit.
• The Schneider family has been making memories behind the scenes of a musical for seven years.
Andy and April Schneider and their four daughters, Kayla, 20, Grace, 18, Claire, 15 and Lily, 12, create musical scenes for a few months each year in the St. Odilia Catholic Church Musical Ministry in Shoreview.
• Mayor Sandy Martin's state of the city address focused on expansion and development ahead in 2018. “This will be a particularly exciting year because of the major expansion of our Community Center, which will enhance the visitor’s experience and provide many new amenities for our residents. By the end of this year, the improvements will be completed and available for everyone’s enjoyment,” she said. The waterpark and indoor playground will be expanded; the expansion project will also include a 15,000-square-foot, two-story addition adjacent to the gymnasium.
• The City Council approved the county's plans for a new Rice Street Bridge at I-694. The design includes three roundabouts at intersections near the main bridge. There will also be two additional bridges that would serve as ramps. One roundabout will be located south of I-694 and connect Lake Owasso Boulevard and Country Drive. One will be located north of I-694 and include all on- and off-ramps for I-694. Another will connect County Road E and Vadnais Boulevard.
• On the icy shores of Birch Lake early in the morning or late in the evening, a 71-year-old Mounds View alum can be seen flashing onto the lake in an orange sled from his self-made luge run. “It's great exercise,” said John Abbott. “That's what I do instead of going to the gym.” Shoveling snow to create the luge and adding an ice rink to the run on the lake is also part of his regimen.
• A colorful palette of markers sets the mood in a 90-year-old's art studio where he creates colorful interpretations of the center's stained-glass chapel. The art studio fills a corner — more like the entire living room — of Don Bendickson's Cerenity Senior Care apartment. The Shoreview artist is filling every available wall space with watercolor and acrylic paintings he completed when his hands were a bit more nimble.
• A career as a welder, solar technician or auto mechanic can now begin with college-credit classes at local high schools. Mounds View Public Schools is adding a new aspect to its Early College programs at Mounds View and Irondale high schools. The new Pathways to Possibilities program emphasizes industry and occupational college pathways for students who are interested in options other than a four-year college degree path.
• Soile Anderson can’t stop cooking. The retired North Oaks foodie and her friend Eleanor Ostman are beginning a new phase of their careers this spring — giving private cooking lessons. Anderson, a first-generation Finnish American, created three different food service brands in the Twin Cities over her over 30-plus-year career in the U.S. — The Deco Catering, Taste of Scandinavia and The Finnish Bistro. She has served the likes of former U.S. President Barack Obama, King Harald and Queen Sylvia of Norway and the Dalai Lama. In 2017, she was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame at the Norsk Hostfest in Minot, North Dakota.
• Detailed plans are underway to revamp Mounds View Public Schools buildings with bond referendum funds approved by voters last fall. The funds will be used to improve school buildings. Island Lake Elementary is one of several schools that are part of the first phase of renovations. Proposed changes include two classroom additions, expanded special education classrooms, renovations to the learning media center and an expanded and secured lobby and entry. Construction is expected to begin this fall and be completed in late 2019.
• The defense attorney called for dismissal of the trial in the criminal case involving the death of two Mounds View High School students in a 2016 car accident. Adam Johnson, representing Rachel Diane Kayl, 32, argued Kayl was not at fault because her speed was not a proximate cause of the deaths.
• Ten homes in Shoreview will be provided access to city water this summer. The homes in Dale Court S. and Dale Court N. are 10 of only 55 lots in the city that are still on wells, said City Engineer Tom Wesolowski at a March 19 meeting.
• Ramsey County Attorney John Choi imagines a world 40 years from now without sex trafficking, where boys will grow up to be loving and kind and girls will be valued and safe. “How we raise our boys matters,” said Choi during an awareness event held at Kessler and Maguire Funeral Home in St. Paul March 29. “Trafficking is all about the demand.” The majority of sex trafficking perpetrators and buyers are male and the majority of victims are female.
• State prosecution in the criminal case involving the death of two Mounds View High School students in a 2016 car accident argued Rachel Diane Kayl’s speed was still a proximate cause of the students’ deaths. Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Hassan Tahir said, “The sole cause of this horrific crash was defendant’s excessive speed.” Kayl’s speed one second prior to impact was calculated at between 77 and 85 mph by State Patrol Sgt. Daniel Dixon. Driving 27 to 35 mph over the speed limit caused Kayl to forfeit her right of way according to Minnesota state statute, Tahir added.
• Through a recycling grant received from Ramsey County through the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation in 2016, Hummingbird Floral and Gifts implemented a recycling program. About 80 percent of the shop’s waste previously thrown away — including flower stems left over from cuttings for arrangements — was actually compostable, said Lugene Olson, owner and designer. The shop has gone from throwing everything away to recycling almost everything.
• This summer, tobacco and related devices will no longer be sold to people under the age of 21 within city limits. The change to the city’s ordinance was made May 7 in front of about 30 youth wearing T-shirts promoting the “Tobacco 21” initiative, a national campaign that has begun to influence the state. Shoreview is the sixth municipality in the state to adopt a law restricting tobacco sales to those 21 or older. Students from Mounds View High School spoke to the City Council about why they wanted it to increase the minimum purchasing age from 18 to 21.
• Over the last several years, the dark secrets of prostitution and sex trafficking in the Twin Cities metro have begun to be revealed. Law enforcement, attorney's offices and judges are cracking down on the demand that has led to the physical and emotional enslavement of hundreds of victims. In 2017, 111 “johns” were convicted for offering to buy sex in the seven-county metro area, according to data from the State Court Administrator's Office. Northeast metro residents are among those who have been caught and convicted for offering to buy sex across the Twin Cities during stings by law enforcement.
• It’s been two decades since a tornado cut a path of destruction across Shoreview, touching down in Roseville and wreaking havoc north to Lino Lakes on May 15, 1998. Neighboring cities came together during the disaster. Vadnais Heights firefighters volunteered to give 150 Lake Johanna firefighters a break in the wake of the tornado, reported the Shoreview Press. “These kinds of things remind you what community is all about,” Mayor Martin said.
• The Lake Johanna Fire Department (LJFD) received its new fire engine. It was purchased jointly by the cities of Shoreview, Arden Hills and North Oaks. The multi-mission engine can be used for any kind of emergency — it is a rescue pumper, it makes EMS calls, and it can be sent to car accidents and water emergencies. No other apparatus can be used to respond to all of those emergencies, the fire department noted.
• Lexington Floral’s new owner plans to continue the shop’s three-generation reputation as Shoreview’s neighborhood flower shop. Allie Tempelis recently bought the business from her mother, Barb Rose, who began the shop with her late father Glenn Rose in 1985. Supporting the local community and giving back are goals Tempelis plans to continue and expand upon in a new way. She renovated the store and has brought an eco-friendly and makerspace vibe to the shop. A grand reopening was held June 1.
• Grandpa Jerry Stradinger has volunteered to direct traffic and welcome students at Island Lake Elementary in Shoreview nearly every morning for 12 years. The retired Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office deputy directs about 250 vehicles each morning and makes sure students get to school safely. This spring, he decided it was time to hang up his safety vest.
• Sgt. Suwana Kirkland, head of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office recruitment unit, is encouraging more women to bring their strengths to the law enforcement profession. The state’s first-ever Women’s Academy on law enforcement was held at the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
• The Vadnais Inn historic neighborhood bar in Vadnais Heights announced it will close July 28 to make way for the new Rice Street bridge interchange. The bar goes back nearly 100 years.
• Visitors to American Legion Post 566 have likely noticed a new face in the kitchen along with new food options. Shoreview resident Ronnie Keyes became the new chef in March. Tom Meister, of the former Meister’s Bar and Grill (now known as Shore 96) in Shoreview, joined the Legion team in January to get the Legion’s food service up and running.
• Road construction is underway on Highway 96 between Snelling Avenue and Highway 61, through Shoreview, North Oaks, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Township and White Bear Lake. Maintenance of signs, signals and pedestrian ramps is planned. One of the primary changes is the installation of flashing yellow left turn lights.
• A sister city relationship between Shoreview and Einhausen, Germany, has created brothers across the ocean. Matt Schnell, a senior at Mounds View High School, visited the Koob family in Einhausen last summer as part of an exchange program through the Shoreview Einhausen Sister City Association. This summer, Samuel Koob, 16, visited the Schnell family in Shoreview for two weeks.
• She has file cabinet drawers full of stuffed animals in her cubicle at the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Station in Arden Hills. Community Affairs Officer Bev Shogren, of White Bear Lake, oversees the sheriff’s office stuffed animal operation. Each week she organizes and bags donated stuffed animals and blankets for deputies to offer to children they encounter during crisis situations.
• The Ralph Reeder Food Shelf moved to a more accessible location at 2544 Mounds View Boulevard (formerly County Hwy 10) in Mounds View in the former Mr. Muscle Gym space in the Silver View Plaza strip mall. It held a Community Open House on Aug. 21.
• Dr. Sandra Soucheray has been driving across the Twin Cities to take care of dogs and cats at home for three years now. She worked in a clinic for 13 years before launching her own mobile practice, Dr. Soucheray’s At Home Veterinary Care. She keeps all her equipment in her van and provides care in the pet’s home. This year, Soucheray was among one of 62 veterinarians around the world who were the first to be certified in hospice and palliative care by the International Animal Association of Hospice and Palliative Care.
• A new playground will be coming to Ponds Park. The park is located near Sherwood Road and Pond Drive. The current playground is more than 25 years old.
• The city plans to add a skate park, outdoor skating pond, pickleball courts and several other new features to the Commons area, where the community center, library and district center are located. Construction is expected to begin next summer. The projects are part of phase one of the Shoreview Commons Master Plan. Other phase one plans include an expanded plaza and wedding venue next to the pavilion, formal gardens and nature playground. Better pedestrian connections to the library are also planned.
• Lake Owasso County Park will have a nature play area opening next summer. Under construction is a play area made with trees that were downed at the site to renovate the park. The play area will feature an interactive play stream, a creative fort building, log steppers, log balance, embankment slides and climbing opportunities.
• The historical society has found a fitting home — a farmhouse built in 1896 long before pavement and stoplights made their way into the city. The Lepak/Larson historical house located by Turtle Lake Elementary became vacant last year when the Housing Resource Center closed. The upper level now houses the Shoreview Historical Society and the city plans to make the lower level into a museum. The city purchased the property in 2000 from the American Cancer Association, to which longtime owner Art Larson had donated it when he passed away in 1999.
• The city was declared a pollinator-friendly city by the City Council, which endorsed pollinator protection and will promote pollinator habitat. About 30 percent of the country’s bee colonies have been lost over the last 12 years. For the last couple of years, the Shoreview Environmental Quality Committee has been looking at what the city can do to support pollinators. The city has recently replaced landscaping with more pollinator-friendly vegetation in the Commons and two parks. The city also plans to encourage developers and residents to include pollinator-friendly plants in their plans.
• The Tropical Adventures indoor playground reopened to the public. It about doubled in size with a new area geared for younger children, said Alisha Seifert, city communications coordinator.
There is a new treehouse, climbing wall, bouncers, slides, giant ball pit, foam blocks and birthday party area. The parent seating area is also four times bigger. The playground has a new entrance in the new addition in the northwest portion of the community center, in the lower level. In the new addition, there are four new fitness studios and four new activity rooms. The fitness center was renovated; former studios were turned into a new stretching and training space. An outdoor deck from the Fireside Lounge is still under construction and pool renovations will soon be complete.
• A driver pleaded guilty in Ramsey County District Court for causing the deaths of two Mounds View High School students in December 2016. Rachel Diane Kayl, 33, of Maple Grove, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of criminal vehicular operation causing great bodily harm. Her driving, estimated by Minnesota State Patrol to be about 30 mph over the speed limit, caused the deaths of juniors Bridget Giere and Stephanie Carlson, both 16. The driver, Sammy Redden, also a Mounds View student, was severely injured.
• Chippewa Middle School eighth-grader Soren Miller was cast as Wilbur the pig in Stages Theatre Company’s fall production of the play “Charlotte's Web.” Last year, he was on tour on Broadway in “Matilda the Musical.”
• A luxury apartment building opened in Shoreview’s corporate park, Loden SV. It has 206 units. A second 206-unit building, estimated at another $43 million, will begin construction next summer. The apartment buildings have a social lifestyle and recreational amenities.
• An expanded and renovated St. Odilia Catholic Community in Shoreview celebrated with a grand reopening this fall. The festivities capped off a yearlong construction project to address community ministerial needs, especially the school’s growth, and to create innovative learning spaces.
• Shoreview is quite young — 61 years old — compared to its sister city, Einhausen, Germany. Einhausen celebrated its 1,250th anniversary this year. Seven people from Shoreview visited Einhausen for five days this year to celebrate the sister city’s milestone, said Bill Kiehnbaum, president of the Shoreview Einhausen Sister City Association. The visitors attended a welcome ceremony to exchange gifts, a parade, light shows and band concerts.
• In his eighth season as a snowplow driver, Jon Yankovec starts work at 2 a.m. when snow falls in Shoreview. He receives a one-hour warning by phone but he usually already knows the nights he’ll need to plow. He has 17 routes of Ramsey County roads, mostly in the Shoreview area. He’s been plowing in the Shoreview area for six years. Last year, he was the Minnesota Snowplow “Roadeo” champion for being the best at an obstacle course at the St. Cloud Public Works Facility.
• In a cozy room in Ramsey County Library – Shoreview, a group of knitters gather and create handmade masterpieces to touch people in need as the weather turns chillier. Knitting for Good was started by Shoreview resident Teresa Boyer last fall; the loosely organized group meets at the library Thursday evenings. This fall, the knitters have been making hats for Hats for the Homeless, which will be delivered to shelters primarily in the Twin Cities. The group is also making items to sell at the Friends of the Ramsey County Library’s annual fundraiser.
• The 7,000-square-foot expansion to the Community Center’s waterpark opened. The new section geared to toddlers through 10-year-olds in the Tropics Indoor Waterpark is called Bamboo Bay. It includes a play structure and 18-inch pool with a zero-depth entry for young swimmers.
• A philanthropic effort started by a group of Shoreview women about six years ago has gone national.
The Power of 100 – Twin Cities Women Who Care began as a grassroots effort in 2012 by a group of 10 Mounds View Public Schools moms, most of whom lived in the Shoreview area. The organization has raised nearly $500,000 for 25 charities to date. The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation also joined the group in 2014 with a matching gift program. Schulze is the founder of Best Buy. This year, the partnership with the foundation was rolled out nationwide.
• The Shoreview/Arden Hills Lions Club put together two projects for this holiday season. The first project the club worked on was for Stepping Stone Emergency Housing in Blaine. Volunteers helped gather and pack personal hygiene materials to make kits for those in need. For the second project, the Lions Club partnered with the American Red Cross on a program called “Holiday Cards for Heroes.”
• One hundred volunteers, including Shoreview resident Gwen Larson, distributed more than 1,000 presents at a Toys for Tots event at LifePoint Church Dec. 12. Larson oversees the book room and shops all year long for good books at thrift stores to give away.
• Rachel Diane Kayl, 33, was sentenced for two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of criminal vehicular operation causing great bodily harm for the deaths of 16-year-olds Stephanie Carlson and Bridget Giere and injuries sustained by Sammy Redden. The girls were on their way to Mounds View High School when Kayl crashed into them going about 80 mph in a 50 mph zone at Highway 96 and Old County 10 in Arden Hills on Dec. 1, 2016.
She was put on probation for the three felonies per her plea agreement. As terms of her probation, the judge sentenced her to a year in the workhouse after hearing from attorneys, the victims’ families and Kayl herself. Her driver's license was revoked for six years.