By Scott Carlson
The holiday season is a good time to pause and reflect on 2023, an extraordinary year of news.
It’s been, as always, a year of tragedies and triumphs, comings and goings. New arrivals, and some departures.
First, the tragedies.
St. Anthony Park was sent reeling on May 6 when a teenage assailant gunned down Michael Brasel in front of his house as he sought to disrupt the theft of his wife’s car.
Brasel’s homicide rocked the tranquility of the quiet St. Anthony Park neighborhood. Since Brasel’s tragic death, the Bugle has carried at least five stories about the incident.
Out of this terrible tragedy, the St. Anthony Park neighborhood has rallied to support his widow, Hilary Brasel, and her children. A GoFundMe page has raised more than $200,000 for the family. Further, the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation has created a youth endowment fund in honor of Brasel, once an avid youth hockey coach.
Meanwhile, among the triumphs in 2023 there were real gains for SAP’s Milton Square retail district. In our January issue we reported that Yes! Yes! Vintage Market & Boutique took space as a new retail shop in Milton Square.
Later in the year, Milton Square became home to other new business arrivals including Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop, Practically Magical and the Almost Heaven nail salon.
Down the street on Como Avenue, Karta Thai left its St Anthony Park location to focus on its Roseville restaurant. But it was quickly replaced by another Thai restaurant, this one called Lanna Thai, which opened in July.
The Bugle also carried an array of development news in 2023. The Amber Union apartments debuted in Falcon Heights, the Fern senior apartments opened for business in Lauderdale and the non-profit Creative Enterprise Zone in south St. Anthony Park formed a real estate investment cooperative, the Taproot Investment Cooperative, a move meant to protect local businesses from being priced out of their spaces and to promote small businesses in community-owned real estate.
Throughout 2023, the Bugle also covered a wide variety of community, government and school news, including the staging of annual events ranging from the St. Anthony Park Arts Festival to the 4th in the Park parade.
In sports, freelancer Eric Erickson chronicled the Cougar athletic teams at Como Park Senior High School while Sarah CR Clark kept readers abreast of interesting news stories at, among others, St. Anthony Park Elementary, Murray Middle School and the Twin Cities German Immersion School.
Our breadth and depth of stories are meant not merely to inform readers but turn them into neighbors.
We hope our People in Your Neighborhood feature helps accomplish that goal. Neighborhood people feature subjects this past year included St. Anthony Park resident Regan Golden and Jim Kielsmeier, of Falcon Heights.
Another dimension of building community is knowing its history. In 2023, we kept you up to date on the monthly St. Anthony Park history series presented by professor Kristin Anderson at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church. This series, now in its second year, covers development in St. Anthony Park since the community became a town in the 1880s.
2023 was also a year of some changes at the Bugle.
• In June, the Bugle and the University of Minnesota School of Journalism & Mass Communication created a journalism intern program which enables J students to write for the newspaper.
• We had a changing of our guard in contract staff. Copy editor Betsy Carlson (my wife) and proof reader Mary Mergenthal (still our obits editor) retired from those posts. In their places, we hired veteran PR man Bill Brady as copy editor and Mary Hegge as proofreader.
• In November, we announced the creation of a Readers Council. Currently, we are accepting applications. People interested in learning more about the council should contact Bugle board presiding officer Helen Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• And Bugle social media specialist Laura Adrian continued expanding our newspaper’s presence on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. Laura conducted some readership contests to drum up interest in our growing social media activity.
All in all, 2023 has been a very eventful year. In the coming year, the Bugle will continue to look for inspirational tales to help fill our pages and provide news that connects readers, turning residents into neighbors.
A closing note: As we gather around dinner tables this month to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and other holidays, the Bugle board and staff thank all of you for your continuing support. May your holiday season be filled with peace and joy.
Scott Carlson is the managing editor of the Bugle.