Author: Ben Kopnick

Fantasy football pioneer Paul Charchian has dealt with plenty of pressure in his professional life. As a side job, he started a magazine to fill a hole in a growing industry. Three decades later, he has to figure out how to stand out in that same industry, now saturated with competitors. Growing up in Eden Prairie, pressure involved scrounging up 25 cents. “I would walk up to Eden Prairie Center,” said Charchian, who now lives in Plymouth. “If I could find a quarter, I would walk up to Aladdin’s Castle [an arcade]. If I could just get one quarter together…

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Cade Kramer knew he needed an elective course to fulfill his graduation requirements, so he took a painting class. He didn’t know that his choice would help change the course of his life. Cade Kramer poses with his painting called “Always Alive.” Photos by Ben Kopnick In the fall of 2020, Kramer was again in a familiar place — lining up as a wide receiver for the Eden Prairie Eagles’ football team. The senior team captain excelled on the field, leading the Eagles to an undefeated 7-0 season and earning All-State honors from the Associated Press. He accepted a scholarship…

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The clacking of captured queens, rooks and bishops filled the Central Middle School lunchroom on Saturday, April 23, a rhythm interrupted by checkmates, pizza and dodgeball. The occasion was the Southwestern Metro Chess Championship, which brought together more than 100 young chess enthusiasts from 60 metro area schools to test their skills and have fun. The tournament consisted of three divisions — kindergartners and first graders, second and third graders, and fourth and fifth graders — with the players competing for individual and team prizes. But the day was about more than the chess competition. “I like that we focus…

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