In this edition of the paper you are going to see our annual “Year in Review.” Our staff at Press Publications dedicated many hours to highlighting the top stories of the year in all of our papers. While the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to overshadow most of the headlines, our papers also brought readers numerous stories of perseverance and kindness in a year marked by tragedy and uncertainty.  I hope you enjoy reflecting back on the happenings of 2020, even if it is a year that many of us would like to put behind us.


Thank you

We are so thankful for our subscribers, advertisers and customers. In hard times, you let us know we mattered to you. We couldn’t have survived this year without you, and we pledge to do our best to report the local news and information that is important to you – both good and bad. Keep reading and share the good news with your neighbors and friends. 


Outpouring of support 

Throughout our communities are numerous nonprofit organizations — food shelves, service organizations, churches, homeless shelters, counseling centers, school programs and many others ­­— who are providing help to those in need. We strive to share their stories. As a newspaper, we can’t be all things to all people, but we are in a unique position to help people be informed and connect with the community they live in.  Readers and residents in the communities we serve often look to us for a variety of information that extends beyond the pages of our paper, and we are happy to help connect them with businesses, organizations and other resources when we can. Reach out to us by phone or email if you ever have questions. We might not know the answer, but there is a pretty good chance we have written a story or have contacts to help you connect.


Going green

I’ve definitely become a more aware of being “green” in recent years. I have a few friends and neighbors who are carbon-neutral and I have gotten to a point that I’m somewhat embarrassed when I fire up my lawnmower to mow the lawn. This year at Press, we participated in a program to convert to electric lawnmowers and equipment. This summer the Press Publications lawn was mowed using a 100% electric lawnmower purchased at Hugo Equipment. A Ramsey County grant allowed us to purchase an electric leaf blower, line trimmer, hedge trimmer lawnmower and edger. We have three batteries, one with a larger amperage so we’re able to do the mowing without waiting for a charge. Electric equipment has come a long way with brushless motor technology, lithium ion batteries, and lighter and stronger materials. Thank you to Ramsey County for the opportunity—they challenged us with this grant. If your residence or business has a smaller lawn footprint, I encourage you to check out electric equipment at our local lawn and garden centers.

To think in 2010 we set a goal to reduce energy usage by 20%, and achieved it in a few years with the help of Hallberg Engineering, who provided an energy reduction program, and the city of White Bear Lake with a grant that allowed us to convert 3 of our 4 toilets. With the savings, we reinvested in a drinking fountain with a filter and bottle filler. Our Press fleet also includes a fully electric cargo van (EV) and a hybrid truck, and we plan to continue to move toward fully autonomous electric vehicles in the future. 


Dinner drive

If you’re looking for something to do this week, grab some cash, order take-out dinner and take a drive through the holiday lights tour that has been featured in the pages of the Press. I suggest paying in cash because if you’re trying to support our local businesses and use a credit card they take a hit of 2-5%. If you order by way of a food delivery service, they take another hit of 20% or more. Our local restaurants need 100% of your support.

Have a Happy New Year – and cheers to 2021!


Carter Johnson is publisher of Press Publications.

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