In 2023, Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN) covered a broad spectrum of local stories, emphasizing its role in delivering hyperlocal and nonpartisan news to the Eden Prairie community.
This year’s coverage by EPLN highlighted various significant events and issues relevant to the residents, maintaining a focus on community-centric journalism.
Special initiatives and community engagement
A pivotal event in 2023 was the Local News Shoptalk conference, co-hosted in February by EPLN Publisher Steve Schewe and Alice Dreger of Michigan’s East Lansing Info. This meeting, held at the Eden Prairie Library, brought together leaders from the nonprofit news sector, highlighting their roles in the hyperlocal journalism landscape.
In July, the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists gave awards to EPLN feature reporting by Jim Bayer and sports photography from Rick Olson, and in August, EPLN photographer Gillian Holte was a finalist in the national Institute for Nonprofit News Awards.
In a collaborative effort with the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce, EPLN hosted a town hall-style event, titled “AI: Hype, Harm, or Hope?” in October. Moderated by Ken Stone, the event delved into the complexities and implications of artificial intelligence in our daily lives, marked by interactive discussions that encouraged community engagement and contemplation on AI’s evolving role.
The eight-part EPLN Silent Struggles series, which launched in October, addressed mental health issues within the community, particularly following local tragedies. This series created a platform for various voices, including mental health experts, educators, and affected families, to explore and address these sensitive issues comprehensively.
2023: A tapestry of local narratives
EPLN’s coverage throughout the year highlighted various facets of Eden Prairie life, from the long-lasting “Mount Eden Prairie” snowbank to the Eden Prairie High School boys swim and dive team’s Minnesota AA state championship victory, capturing the community’s unique spirit.
Cultural and educational events also featured prominently in EPLN’s coverage.
We recounted the Sacred Red Rock’s story, from its decade-long presence in Kathie Case’s Eden Prairie yard to its significant return to the Dakota people, illustrating the enduring connection between the Mdewakanton Sioux and Eden Prairie.
EPLN was there when Forest Hills Elementary commemorated its 50th anniversary, uniting generations of staff, students, and families in a festive celebration of its enduring community legacy.
Our public safety coverage included in-depth analysis of financial scams affecting local businesses, detailed reports on the Eden Prairie Fire Department’s handling of multiple house fires, and the tragic death of a boy, allegedly at the hands of his brother.
We also investigated a raid on an Eden Prairie house involving a federal investigation that sparked community curiosity in January, as well as the reasons why no charges were filed in a dog attack on two panhandlers last summer.
EPLN has featured the individuals who drive Eden Prairie’s community spirit.
In February, we shared the heartwarming story of an Eden Prairie couple who got engaged at the elementary school where they first met. In September, we introduced readers to Dick Rawlings, affectionately known as Eden Prairie’s “trash man,” who diligently cleans the streets around the Flagstone complex, embodying a lifetime of service to others. In December, we highlighted teacher Linda Wallenberg’s 46-year career at Eden Prairie High School, where she combines English literature with life lessons to inspire students.
EPLN will revisit many of these stories and more in the coming days as part of our year-end coverage.
Telling Eden Prairie’s story
The depth and breadth of EPLN’s reporting in 2023 is thanks to our dedicated team of staff and contributors.
Co-editors Stuart Sudak and Joanna Werch Takes, alongside general assignment reporter Jim Bayer and education reporter Juliana Allen, played a pivotal role in delivering these stories. The addition of social media editor Brianna Collett significantly boosted community engagement on digital platforms.
The visuals captured by photographers like Jeremy Peyer, Gillian Holte, Gretchen Haynes, and Rick Olson have brought stories to life, while contributors like Vijay Dixit, Frank Farrell, Daniel Huss, Lea Jacobson, Lyn Jerde, Zaheer Babar Khan, Ben Kopnick, Frank Malley, Mollee Francisco, Steve Mulholland, Kelley Regan, Amber Stoner, and Mike Wilkinson have enriched our coverage by reporting on community issues, new businesses, politics, and engaging stories about interesting people with ties to Eden Prairie.
EPLN also features an eclectic array of columns by writers such as Pastor Rod Anderson (Spiritual Connections), Rachel Engstrom (reviews), Pat LaVone (Little Joke on the Prairie), and Stan Tekiela (NatureSmart).
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 ahead to 2024
EPLN’s commitment to delivering unbiased and comprehensive news coverage remains steadfast for the coming year.
“As a nonprofit news organization, we pride ourselves on independent, inclusive, and in-depth coverage of the topics that matter to you and to Eden Prairie,” says Nancy Tyra-Lukens, the EPLN board chair. “This also means we rely on our readers to support our reporting. As we head into a crucial election year, that support is more important than ever.”
A trustworthy local news source provides an important service to a community like Eden Prairie. EPLN was brought to life by your neighbors – not as a conglomerate searching for profit, but as a nonprofit whose mission is to serve this community.
Our greatest wish is that you see the value of our work and provide your support to help it grow and flourish.
“Whether you’re new to eplocalnews.org or have been with us from the very beginning, you know that our nonprofit and nonpartisan reporting fills a critical need in our community,” Tyra-Lukens said. “If you’ve already donated to us in the past two months, thank you! And I do love the appreciative notes you send. I appreciate you, too.”
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 2024?
As 2023 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!).
From now until Dec. 31, any contribution made up to $1,000 will be matched by local funders and NewsMatch, and any recurring monthly donation (our favorite option because it provides predictable, sustaining revenue!) will be multiplied by 12. That’s a lot of impact!
You can donate by clicking the link below or by mailing checks to Eden Prairie Local News, P.O. Box 44242, Eden Prairie, MN 55344. Our non-profit ID to document your tax-deductible gift is 85-4248265.
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