Northfield's Top Stories of 2011
We take a look back at some of the biggest stories of 2011.
Here's a look at the top stories of 2011 on Northfield Patch, both in terms of the number of people who read them and also for the effect they had on the community.
Person of the year
Nearly 3,000 voted for Northfield Patch's 2011 Person of the Year. Zach Pruitt, director of the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, received the most votes. Craig Swenson, who helps out at the Northfield YMCA and Northfield Senior Center, came in a very close second.
Northfielders paid attention when Northfield Public Schools wanted to increase its per-pupil operating levy to the state maximum. In the end, the voters overwhelmingly supported the schools.
Haslett-Marroquin house fire
The community responded in immeasurable ways when the Haslett-Marroquin home was lost to a fire on Thanksgiving Eve. What quickly followed was a grassroots effort from the community to help the family work back toward normalcy.
Downtown post office
For most of 2011, conversations revolved around the potential closing of the downtown Northfield post office, how to save and repurpose the location, and the eventual decision to shutter the location in favor of consolidating it with the United States Postal Service annex on the south end of the city.
A recent announcement that the USPS is delaying closures and consolidations until May has given folks some hope, but it's unknown how the announcement will effect the long-term plans for the building.
Shea Stremcha's death
The 2004 Northfield High School graduate was shot and killed this summer in his south Minneapolis home after an attempted break-in.
• Shea Stremcha, 25 (obituary)
Creative marriage proposals
The Ole Restaurant
Many Northfielders were saddened by the shuttering of the Ole Café. The longtime establishment didn't go long without operating before Chuck Pryor announced he was buying the store and reopening it as the Ole Store Restaurant.
Gymnastics gets two in a row
The Northfield Gymnastics team continued its strong run by winning its second straight state championship. They go for their third straight title this season.
Pizza Hut and Tokyo Grill
Two of the other popular restaurant openings this year were Pizza Hut, which returned to Northfield after being gone for many years, and Tokyo Grill, which opened this summer and offers another option for Asian fare.
Yarn returns to Northfield
Knitting enthusiasts were ecstatic when word of a new yarn store was opening in downtown Northfield. After the store opened, the traffic was brisk.
Local and county law enforcement executed a few big busts this fall, bringing on charges for several people for allegedly peddling drugs in Northfield.
Thanksgiving Day shooting
In an unusual scene for Northfield, police responded Thanksgiving night to the area near Applebee's for an apparent shooting. Three people have been charged for their allegedly involvement in the incident.
Royalty visits St. Olaf College
St. Olaf College hosted Norway's royal couple in October. The visit didn't disappoint.