Last blog of 2012…feels like a little break is in order for you, dear readers, and for me as well. A chance to refresh and renew the perspective. 

It’s been an eventful year, starting with the winding down of the light rail construction along University and ending with redistricting and a hard fought election. Now that the dust has cleared from both, we seem to have survived relatively intact. There was a lot more, of course, but maybe the best way to do a year-end look back is by category, so, let’s try that with these highlights… 

Comings - Foxy Falafel, Mod Men, Bang Brewery, Driftwood Gallery, C&E Lofts, Water Tower Place, Tu Dance, Colossal Café, Luther Seminary Addition & coffeehouse, Something New, Complexions on Carter and Satori Photography  

Goings - Café Caribe, the Edge coffeehouse, Sacred Feather, Abu Nader, Something New, Midway Stadium, Monkey Island playground (new one coming!) 

TransitionsSerendipity Flowers moved from retail to wholesale and from Milton Square to the Townley Realty building next to 3rdPlace…Pam Johnson bought the little wine shoppe from Jeff Huff…Kerry Crawford is the new manager of the Finnish Bistro…Matt Ellison became the new chef at the MuffulettaLuther Seminary is changing its leadership team…3rd Place now under StAP Community Foundation Management…Arts Festival reinvented itself successfully this summer…IFP MN said goodbye to its wonderful Executive Director, Jane Minton, after many years.

Schools - The public school district continued to roll out its new plan and our local schools prepared for the transfer of 6th grade from the grade school to Murray…StAP Elementary continued to thrive with its classrooms full, its DI teams successful and its arts and enrichment classes vibrant…Murray added a new Wolfridge elective class to steer more students to environmental sciences and began remodeling plans for the new 6th graders…Como High recaptured its homecoming traditions, ramped up its academics, clubs and activities - and developed closer connections with Murray to build a more seamless and supportive transitional experience for students & parents….Avalon partnered with IFP MN to offer filmmaking classes…and the Recording Arts High School began to work with their new building owner on ways to enhance their space and programs.

Grantees - The St. Anthony Park Block Nurse Program successfully turned into the St. Anthony Park Area Seniors, an indication of the growing nature of its services…Music in the Park Series partnership with the Schubert Club is another year older and the musical offerings are as rich and exciting as ever with some programming surprises to come in the new year…Tu Dance officially opened its doors to the community… the D12/Creative Enterprise Zone formed an action committee, organized successful events and began receiving funds both locally and nationally for their community development vision…the Bugle is moving assuredly forward under new editor, Kristal Leebrick…and Joy of the People soccer patiently pursues their dream of an artificial turf field while growing their programs leaps and bounds.

Listserv - The arrival, and proliferation in some cases, of newer forms of wildlife generated many posts this year. Turkeys, hawks, owls, deer, eagles, fox (red & gray) and even the wily coyote kept neighbors guessing as to the next urban migration – moose? In between there were rashes of car and house theft reports, lost and found, civic notices and service recommendations for everything from plumbing to squirrel infestations. All in all, the listserv continues to provide a valuable electronic bulletin board for our community. Thanks to D12 and moderator, Sherm Eagles, for keeping it running smoothly.

StAPnotes - Our shops continue to top “Best of” lists annually...Succotash was featured on the TV news last night as Mayor Coleman visited some of the corridor shops to say thanks for hanging in there…the Vikings will be making some noise nearby for a couple years while their new stadium is built…Favorite Langford Rec Director, Bruce Perrizo, garnered this year’s Spirit of the Park Award… the community photo book idea came and went in its first incarnation…”fracking” entered our vernacular and neighborhood with RR cars of open sand causing concern…Park B4 Dark and Shop Home for the Holidays enjoyed good weather and community support – looks like they are becoming traditions.

All in all, a good year for our community. Groups and neighbors partnered to overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities. New leaders emerged, old leaders were honored. Change happened and our neighborhood was prepared for most of it, so it was managed admirably. Some things slipped through the cracks, while others were just missed outright. Emotions were heightened, positions defended, tears were shed, joy was shared. Old friends left too soon, new friends helped us move on.

I consider myself blessed to be a part of it all – and that’s on a bad day. 

Enjoy your holidays and year-end celebrations. Then roll up your sleeves and let’s dig in. Recommit to justice and equality. Be a part of the answer. Get to know your neighbors and work with them for our common good. Time is wasting. 

Finally, support our local businesses and remember our non-profits, they make this the place we love. 

That’s all for 2012. Take care of yourself - I’ll see you on the flip side.