Year in Review: 2012 is year of growth for St. Joseph

by TaLeiza Calloway

The mark of a productive year includes the presence of growth, new direction and gained partnerships. All were a part of what occurred in St. Joseph in 2012.

Delayed developments and road improvements were resurrected. Examples include the introduction of the new Stearns CR 2 bypass; the start of construction on Millstream Village, a housing development for seniors; and the beginning of an expansion of the Church of St. Joseph. An election could have shifted leadership positions, but incumbents maintained their seats while the community was introduced to newcomers along the way. The city welcomed a few new businesses, too. Those additions include the city’s first music store with the opening of Riff City Guitar and Music Co. in Northland Plaza; the arrival of Cone Castle, a restaurant known for its signature food and dessert cones; and Bello Cucina, a “Taste of Italy” that completed the Millstream Shops and Lofts development. These are just some of the examples of growth that occurred last year. Here’s a look back at what else happened:


St. Joseph firefighters celebrate 94 years of combined service with the retiring of Bill Wasner, Brian Orcutt and Jeff Karnik.

Catholic Worker, a community dedicated to living and serving others through prayer, opens a Catholic Worker house in St. Joseph.

St. Joseph resident Rick Wieber dedicates the ice rink he’s built on the side of his home for six years to Jack Jablonski. Jablonski, 16, was paralyzed from a hit during a hockey game in December 2011. A “13” was painted at the center of the rink. Area hockey players took a picture on the rink to send to Jablonski.

Former resident Jennie (Lahr) Friedrich is inducted into Apollo High School’s Hall of Fame. Friedrich lettered eight times at Apollo and broke the school’s record in the 1,600-meter race. She also qualified for NCAA championships and earned Division II All-American honors in the mile event as a college student.

Construction begins on a second location for Little Saints Academy in St. Cloud.


The city starts the negotiation process for the design of future city offices and a community center. Elected officials purchased the former Central Minnesota Credit Union for the possible expansion of city offices.

St. Joseph is the first city to vote on the hiring of a lobbyist to advocate on behalf of area cities for a sales tax extension.

Efforts by St. Joseph Township residents to get the state Public Utilities Commission to change the route of a high-voltage power line are unsuccessful. Plans are to build the line from Monticello to Fargo.

A local family (Dan, Josie and Madeline Muyres) is named the Ambassador Family for the St. Cloud March of Dimes. The March of Dimes is a leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health.

Brian Jose, executive director of Fine Arts Programming at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, is elected to the national Association of Performing Arts Presenters Board.

Bill Scherer, a singer in the Fabulous Armadillos band, stops by the St. Joseph Lab School (All Saints Academy) to offer a lesson on blindness. Scherer, who is blind, is a family man and has always loved music.


U.S. Rep. Larry Hosch of St. Joseph announces he is not seeking re-election. The decision stems from a wish to spend more time with his family. He joined the city’s Economic Development Authority Board in April.

St. Joseph resident Tim Cooney escapes injury after crashing his vehicle into Traut Wells in Waite Park Feb. 20.

Construction of Cone Castle begins.

An 8-year-old St. Joseph Lab School student requests donations for the local food shelf instead of birthday gifts. Kenzie Finken and her fellow classmate delivered the food donations and a monetary donation of $175 on Feb. 23 that she collected for her eighth birthday.

CSB/SJU wins the 2012 Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. The award is given by the Association of International Educators.

Christian Gaetz, a student at St. John’s Preparatory School, is one of the top 400 physics students in the country. The St. Joseph resident is a semi finalist for the U.S. Physics Olympic Team.

Bethany Beniek, a St. Joseph native, is crowned Miss West Metro.


Area schools continuously made the news in 2012. Kennedy Community School is among more than 70 schools named as U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools. The first-ever awards honor schools who exercise a comprehensive approach to creating green environments.

St. John’s Preparatory School welcomes new leadership. Matthew Reichert was selected as the new principal. St. John’s University also gains new leadership this month with the selection of the first layperson as its president. Michael Hemesath, a 1981 alumnus, took his post July 1.

The city votes to demolish the former Central Minnesota Credit Union building for the proposed expansion of city offices. Officials spent $9,000 on the demolition.

The annual Fourth of July parade gets new parade categories. The St. Joseph Lions Club created the new categories to garner more participation from businesses. The new categories are Wow! Extreme!, Best Dressed Business, Classy Vehicles, Cool Youth, Animals and a Fourth of July theme.

The St. Joseph Meat Market wins seven awards during the 72nd annual convention sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Meat Processors.

10-year-old drummer Bennett Velline, the grandson of rock legend Bobby Vee, steps in as lead drummer for a CD-release event when his uncle had to leave town unexpectedly. He stole the show.

Ashley Irons and Maggie Niebur reflect on their experience in Tanzania during a service trip. The two were evacuated from the country due to conflict. Despite an early departure, they valued the experience.


The St. Joseph Saints baseball team gets the green light for the installation of a new electronic scoreboard. Elected officials approved a building permit for the addition in May.

Cone Castle opens May 7 at 118 First St. NW. The restaurant has a walk-up and drive-through window and offers food and dessert cones. As the community welcomed a new business, it embraced the return of Energy Avenue, a nutrition club.

The city applies for Legacy Amendment funding to restore the monument at Centennial Park. The monument is a historical marker that commemorates the Sioux Uprising of 1862 in Minnesota. Th e year 2012 marked the 150th anniversary of the war, also known as the “Dakota Conflict.”

Students at Kennedy witness a prescribed burn of about 46 acres surrounding the school. It was the first time the environmental process occurred since the school opened.

The city supports volunteer efforts to bring hanging flower baskets to the city’s downtown.

A new social group emerges. Led by Rex and Diane Tucker of St. Joseph, “Drinking Liberally” meets to talk and share ideas while keeping an open mind.

An explosion at the Verso Paper Mill in Sartell takes the life of one man and causes an estimated $50 million in damage May 28. The tragedy was caused by oil vapor from an overheated air compressor, according to a report by an investigator with the State Fire Marshal Division of the Department of Public Safety. This started a series of events which led to Verso closing the Sartell plant in August after 106 years of being a part of the community.


The Church of St. Joseph bids farewell to Father Joseph Feders. He goes on sabbatical and is replaced by the Rev. Jerome Tupa.

St. Joseph resident Sally Larson is named Stearns County Child Care Provider of the Year. She received the honor from the Stearns-Benton County Child Care Association.

City officials hold a joint meeting with boards and commissions to create a shared vision for the city’s downtown. That vision includes better signage at the entrances of the city, improved parking and marketability. When faced with parking-pad issues, council members also this month end confusion about what a parking pad is so the city ordinance can be enforced.

The College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University receives $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education to fund its Upward Bound program. Upward Bound is a part of a cluster of programs called TRIO which were established by the federal Higher Education Act of 1965. Its goal is to help low-income and first-generation students — students whose parents did not attend college — attend college.

The St. Cloud Area School District extends the lease of Little Saints Academy from October 2012 to April 2013.

The site of the former Central Minnesota Credit Union is demolished. Members of the St. Joseph Historical Society stand in the rain and take photos to document the building’s exit.


The annual “Joetown Rocks” event does, in fact, rock with performances by Emma Kay and the Long Way, the Liverpool Legends Beatles Tribute Band and Shalo Lee and the Rush River Band during the Fourth of July Parish Festival and Joetown Rocks concert.

The filing period opens for local mayor  and city-council races. Five people will go on to vie for two open four-year council seats.

Elected officials approve a rezoning request and special-use permit for the expansion of the Church of St. Joseph. The request allows for the addition of a fellowship hall to connect the church and school

The Millstream Arts Festival receives a $2,000 grant from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. Organizers said the grant will help with advertising and entertainment for the annual event held in September.

After 10 years of planning, construction begins on Millstream Village, a housing development for those aged 55 and older. The project is led by Collegeville Cos. in St. Joseph.

The EDA surveys local businesses to gauge retention and growth.

St. Joseph Mayor Rick Schultz trains for the “Mud Man,” an intense obstacle course event held in Kimball.


“National Night Out” events increase in St. Joseph. Police Chief Pete Jansky recalls attending one event previously but had three to attend in 2012. He was encouraged to see increased interest in getting to know law enforcement.

City council members contract with R.A. Morton for construction management services for the city-hall project.

The second annual “Weekend of Songs: Songwriters’ Festival” event debuts a songwriter challenge as part of the weekend-long events.

Residents of the St. Joseph Mobile Home Community start a Rib-Cook-Off tradition. Three participants competed for the bragging rights that came with the winning ribs. Louis James was the big winner.

St. Joseph resident Molly Roske reflects on her experience helping Guatemalans preserve precious rainforest while serving in the Peace Corps.

The Catholic Worker House hosts its first Family Prayer Night.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann wins the primary election by defeating Stephen Thompson and Aubrey Immelman.


The St. Joseph mayor race goes from two candidates to one after challenger Jennifer Lieser withdraws from race. St. Joseph Mayor Rick Schultz ran unopposed in the general election.

The city sets the preliminary budget and tax levy for 2013. The preliminary budget was about $2.42 million and the preliminary levy was $1.77 million.

Council members approve the return of a city archery range. The city partnered with Archery Country of Waite Park for the addition to the southeast corner of the city.

The Oscar Mayer ‘Weinermobile’ visits St. Joseph during its Midwest tour. The vehicle stands 11 feet high or the equivalent of 24 hotdogs high. It is 27-feet long and 8-feet wide.

“Alterations by Barbara C” opens in town. The business shares office space with the Newsleaders at 32 1st Ave. NW.

Twenty-seven people rollerblade down the Wobegon Trail as part of a fundraiser for Adam Perkins. Perkins lives with Type I diabetes.


Candidate forums pick up in the area as the election day draws near.

St. Joseph police respond to an emergency situation that involved a suicidal man. After more than a four-hour standoff, officers were able to coax the man out of his residence safely.

Work to bring a McDonald’s restaurant begins along CR 75. It is set to open at 1180 Elm St. E.

Improvements to Northland Park near completion. Updates include the addition of new playground equipment.

CLIMB Theatre performs a series of plays to provide lessons about bullying for students at Kennedy. The Science Express, a mobile science lab from St. Cloud State University, also made its first visit to Kennedy.

The St. Joseph Community Food Shelf hosts its second annual food drive to target a growing community need. The food drive raised more than $1,500.

Local students at Apollo High School decide to collect food-shelf donations versus Halloween candy.


A moose is loose in St. Stephen and is photographed about a mile west of the town. The creature was also seen in the Melrose-Albany area before its visit to St. Stephen.

Plans to create a bypass at CR 2 come to fruition. The new intersection at CR 2 and CR 3 connects at CR 75. Specifically, the county wanted to direct truck traffic around St. Joseph on the west side. Meanwhile the city votes to replace the welcome sign at the entrance of the city with an electronic one.

Election Day is filled with new names and familiar ones on the ballot. Five vie for two four-year council seats. Incumbents Bob Loso and Renee Symanietz defeat challengers Matt Killam, Troy Goracke and Tom Gustafson. St. Joseph resident Allen Dahlgren is elected to the St. Cloud School Board.

The city leaves the St. Cloud Regional Human Rights Commission. St. Joseph was the only area city to join the commission in the first place.

Riff City Guitar and Music Co. opens in St. Joseph at 708 Elm St. E. in Northland Plaza behind Movies Etc.

A community mourns the loss of Cold Spring police officer Thomas Decker. Thirty-one-year-old Decker was murdered Nov. 29 while attempting to check on the well-being of a man reported to be suicidal.


Diane Moeller, principal of Kennedy Community School, announces she will leave the school for six months for an assignment with the St. Cloud School District. Moeller will take over assistant superintendent Julia Espe’s duties as director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. She will serve from Jan. 2-June 30. She’s been Kennedy’s principal for 14 years.

A record snowfall drops more than 11 inches of snow Dec. 9. The snowfall broke the record of Dec. 9, 1961, which amounted to 5.1 inches, according to St. Cloud State University meteorologist Bob Weisman.

The College of St. Benedict doubles its annual donation to the city from $15,000 to $30,000.

The Minnesota Street Market adds jam sessions to the store at the suggestion of member Marilyn Krzenski. She and her son David organize the sessions. The next jam session is Jan. 8. Sessions are 5-7 p.m.  Tuesdays.

Poetry shines in December with two residents sharing their work. Charles “Charlie” Preble debuts his work in “The Ruffed Grouse,” a collection of poetry that touches on various areas including nature and social justice. Preble found poetry in his 70s and isn’t looking back.

Poet and author Susan Sink sat down with The St. Joseph Newsleader to talk about her latest book, “Habits.” It’s a collection of 100-word stories that chronicle the lives of the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict. Sink was once the communications director for the nuns and learned much about their journeys.

TaLeiza Calloway

TaLeiza Calloway is a professional journalist in Central Minnesota. Her byline has appeared in the St. Cloud Times and Central Minnesota Women Magazine. The Ohio native moved to Minnesota about four years ago. She joined the St. Joseph Newsleader staff as a reporter in November 2011.
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