Depending on who you ask, Eden Prairie has, more or less, 60 different neighborhoods. They have names such as Autumn Terrace, Bittersweet, Raspberry Hill, Edenwood, Topview and Gordon, Heritage Pines and Westgate.
Then there’s Cedar Ridge Estates. Located in the west central portion of Eden Prairie, nestled between Pioneer Trail and Cedar Ridge Elementary School, in a landscape of mature shade and pine trees, 1980s-vintage two-story Tudor-style homes, and the occasional front yard pole flying the American flag.
Three streets in the neighborhood – Rogers Road, McGuffey Road and Douglas Drive – connect to create a “U.” But the connection goes beyond the roadways.
Since 1994 (with a few years’ break in the early 2000s), John and Peg Habermaier have organized what they call BeerPath, an event that includes golf on an 18-hole golf course (not far from its namesake, Bearpath), using only the grassy boulevards and front yards as fairways and greens, and the streets and sidewalks as its penalty areas.
Thirty of the adults gathered on the course chipping plastic golf balls into each other’s yards, laughing, talking, enjoying a beverage or two, and finishing the evening off with a barbecue in the Habermaier’s backyard, where all of their children join them.
Even neighbors who don’t participate in the golf take special care of their yards. Some even decorate for the event.
Even if the residents of Rogers, Douglas and McGuffey don’t see each other all winter, they have created connections. They are truly neighbors.
Those of us at Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN) are also your neighbors. We came together in the summer and fall of 2020 to create a new hometown newspaper after the long-time Eden Prairie News closed its doors in April 2020.
EPLN will begin its 28th month of publication when the calendar turns to Jan. 1.
EPLN has published over 1,450 stories since we started keeping track about two years ago. More than 2,400 of our neighbors, such as yourself, have joined us as free subscribers.
We are grateful for your subscription because you represent the neighborhoods of Eden Prairie. You also represent the growth of EPLN, which enables us to tell even more stories of this city we live in.
What started in 2020 as a nonprofit digital news organization comprised solely of committed volunteers is now able to partially compensate journalism professionals and other contributors for their work.
We invite you to spread the word to your neighbors. Ask them to become subscribers. News is not, and never has been, free. To meet our commitment to provide you with trustworthy reporting, compelling stories and news you can use, we need you.
At the end of this story will be information about how you can be more involved. But first, we look back at the year gone by.
The past year has brought Eden Prairie many joyous moments and a few that have shaken our foundations.
COVID-19 finally eased its grip a bit. Masks are mostly gone, but my car still has a few of them – cloth, medical, N95 – stuffed into the center console. They are a simple reminder that COVID hasn’t gone away completely.
EPLN published its last story reporting local COVID-19 infections on Dec. 3, 2021. As we speak, COVID is still with us at far lower levels, but has now been joined by the flu virus and RSV, a common respiratory virus that can be problematic, mostly for the very young and very old.
EPLN began running stories leading up to the November elections back in January and continued through election day and beyond as we reported on the results and their impact.
In a significant move for us, we published a 2022 Voter Guide print edition. It was mailed to all 26,000 Eden Prairie households in early October. Of its 24 pages, 20 were devoted solely to Eden Prairie elections – mayoral, city council, school board, and Minnesota and federal legislative races.
Important stories of 2022
We are a small staff. Most are volunteers or contributors paid a stipend for their work. Each of them takes pride in producing meaningful Eden Prairie stories.
Here are some of those stories and the EPLN staff and volunteers who created them. (For a complete list of EPLN staff and contributors, go to our About page.)
EPLN co-editor Stuart Sudak wrote a follow-up story about Calista Swensen, an Eden Prairie High School senior who grows food that she donates to the PROP program. She’s heading off to college next fall and is working to ensure her garden lives on. Stuart also found Mike Rogers, who is retiring from providing loving care of the Eden Prairie Cemetery for 20 years.
Juliana Allen covers Eden Prairie schools, including the International School of Minnesota (ISM) and the Performing Institute of Minnesota Arts (PiM). She not only writes about the school board’s activities but reported on the high school lockdown due to threats against a student. She has also covered some high school sports that often don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Veteran journalist Mark Weber covers City Hall. As part of that beat, he tracks the progression of the proposed Noble Hill housing development and the continuing legal challenges. He also covers the city council and its work approving new developments, such as The Ellie, Blue Stem North, and Paravel apartment complexes proposed or under construction.
Contributor Jeff Strate covers the ongoing Green Line Light Rail Transit story. Throughout the year, he told the story of the Japanese beetle infestation in your backyard, and a fascinating account about Eden Prairie’s old and new Graffiti bridges.
Photographer Gillian Holte roams the city in search of photographic stories, such as The Preserve’s doggie day at its community pool, the annual Flying Cloud Airport Air Expo, Schooner Days, and more. Look for her at many Eden Prairie events in 2023.
Joanna Werch Takes contributed a variety of interesting feature stories, from a local baseball bat maker to a an Eden Prairie family whose horse competed in the Kentucky Derby.
Contributor Mollee Francisco told stories of Eden Prairie’s past; and then its present – in the form of the rising sport of Pickleball.
Vijay Dixit shared the tragic story of his daughter, Shreya, who died 15 years ago due to distracted driving and his unending pursuit to prevent further tragedies. He also wrote a fascinating feature about two Eden Prairie sisters dancing to honor their cultural background.
Contributors Frank Malley, Greg Olson and Frank Farrell write about community issues, new businesses, politics and other important issues facing our community.
Sports writer Steve Mulholland provided detailed and dynamic stories as he covers Eden Prairie High School athletes, complemented by some of the best sports photography you will see anywhere by Rick Olson. Ben Kopnick writes feature stories about Eden Prairie athletes, past and present, as well as other sports notables.
Pastor Rod Anderson provides spiritual guidance and support in his regular columns.
Kelley Regan, Zaheer Babar Khan, Annie Klodd, Anders Rosdahl, Pat LaVone, and Amber Stoner contribute interesting and useful articles throughout the year.
Personally, I spent a warm late night and early morning in July photographing Lincoln Drive homes being mounted on trailers, draped in lights and moved to new homes to make way for a new apartment complex. I also had the privilege of spending time with the mother and sister of Charlie Alleman, whose promising young life ended in a June drunk driving crash.
Our community also felt the shock of a shooting and lockdown at the Eden Prairie Center in August. Shoppers huddled in stores while police responded to an active shooter in the Scheels. In reality, it began and ended with the suicide of a troubled young Edina man.
Most recently, Sydney Lewis, a 2020 EPHS graduate and University of Missouri journalism student, captured the behind-the-scenes effects on some of her classmates in the case of a former teacher charged with grooming a female student.
Harini Senthilkumar, an Eden Prairie High School senior, began contributing stories reflecting the views of young people in our community. New EPHS contributors are coming soon.
And the woman who is the glue that holds us together is Amy Nylander. Her primary responsibility is publishing EPLN’s popular calendar page. She also provides keen insights and support whenever and wherever it’s needed.
Looking to 2023
Eden Prairie is a community of many dedicated and energetic people working to improve the lives of their neighbors. It also shares some of the challenges faced by communities everywhere.
We believe that a trustworthy local news source provides an important service to a community like Eden Prairie. EPLN was brought to life by your neighbors – not a conglomerate searching for profit, but as a nonprofit whose mission it is to serve this community.
Our staff of professional journalists, volunteer contributors, CEO Steve Schewe and the board of directors exists to provide you with non-partisan, trustworthy reporting focused solely on your community.
Our greatest wish is that you see the value of our work and provide your support to help it grow and flourish.
Happy New Year to everyone!
It takes a lot of time, energy, and funding to produce the kind of reporting we do at Eden Prairie Local News. But we believe it’s essential to provide hyperlocal news and deep-dive stories that other news outlets lack the time and resources to produce.
And we know we couldn’t do it without the support of readers like you.
Any amount you give will help our newsroom continue doing what it does best – produce journalism worth your investment. Can we count on you to keep us going strong into 2023?
As 2022 draws to a close, we ask for your tax-deductible donation, either as a one-time gift or by starting a monthly recurring donation (our favorite option because it provides predictable, sustaining revenue!). To encourage new donations, the EPLN board will match up to $5,000 as a local challenge grant between now and the end of the year.
Comments aren’t allowed on our site, but we do offer several ways to provide feedback, and have your voice heard. If you believe the story has an error, or would like to get in touch with the author, please contact us. If you would like to respond directly to this article, we welcome and encourage Letters To the Editor. You can find details on how to submit a letter on our contact page.