Support West St. Paul Reader by becoming a patron.
The annual rolling over of the odometer is a good time to reflect on the previous year. What have we accomplished? How have we helped the good people of West St. Paul know what’s going on? Well, let’s take a look…
2019 by the Numbers
First, let’s look at a few numbers for West St. Paul Reader:
- 85 posts
- 9 interviews with community members
- 14 questions answered
- 15 city council recaps
- 68 backers on Kickstarter that got us started
- 13 supporters on Patreon (and counting!)
Top 10 Posts
The people have spoken. Here are the top 10 posts of 2019:
- What’s happening with Top Dog and Thai Pepper?
- Taco Tour of West St. Paul: The Quest for the Best Tacos
- What’s happening with the Thompson Oaks Golf Course?
- Rodrigo Sanchez: Former Garlough Student Returns as Teacher
- Housing Proposal at Former Signal Hills K-mart Site
- When will the River-to-River Greenway Trail & Tunnel open?
- Refurbishing the West St. Paul Water Tower
- What’s going on with Hy-Vee and the YMCA?
- John Khoury: 35 Years of the Beirut Restaurant in West St. Paul
- What’s going on with Beirut Restaurant?
Sometimes popular opinion isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes the best stories don’t get all the hits. So while it’s hard to pick favorites, these are our favorite posts from 2019:
- Guest writer: Taco Tour of West St. Paul: The Quest for the Best Tacos – Yeah, it was also the #2 post of the year, but we’re super proud of it because it was our first post from a guest columnist we were able to pay (thanks to our supporters).
- Wading into complicated issues: Part of helping people know what’s going on is explaining complex issues. We’ve had more than a few of those, including basketball, apartments, the Thompson Oaks apartment project, and pedestrian/bike safety.
- Women: Women on the West St. Paul City Council – Digging into the numbers and the history of women running and serving on city council. Maybe you should run.
- Neighborly: West St. Paul Home Spreading Holiday Cheer With Ornaments – These are the wonderful stories of our neighbors that otherwise go overlooked.
- Books: We’re called West St. Paul Reader for a reason. I like to read (a lot). So I also like to hype books in West St. Paul, whether it’s national best-selling author Ingrid Rojas Contreras talking about her book Fruit of the Drunken Tree or local author Melvin Carter Jr. telling stories at Amore from his autobiography Diesel Heart. It’s also fun to look at the books most often checked out at Wentworth Library.
- Interviews: One of the greatest privileges of West St. Paul Reader is getting to tell people’s stories. We’ve done a number of interviews this year, and they’re all insightful. But my favorites have to be learning about the good work of Neighbors, Inc. from CEO Charlie Thompson, the partnership between 360 Communities and the West St. Paul Police Department that helps victims of sexual and domestic violence from advocate Ana January, and the hometown story of Garlough student turned teacher Rodrigo Sanchez.
- Random facts: ISD 197 School Board Election Fun Facts – For the true history nerd, we dug deep (cuz what else do you talk about with an uncontested election?).
- Tour: Refurbishing the West St. Paul Water Tower – This one also made the top 10 list, but getting a tour of the water tower was pretty great.
- School bonding: ISD 197 Construction Is Way More Than the Stadium – Sportsball gets all the attention, so we looked at where the other 96.6% of the referendum went.
- Shop local: 2019 Holiday Gift Guide – I don’t know if we actually helped people shop local, but I love making the pitch.
This little site started in May with a Kickstarter project and a lot of fear and trembling. It’s one thing to write about local stuff on your personal blog, but it’s another thing to start an entire site devoted to it and hope you’re not wasting your time and effort and sanity.
But since that Kickstarter project proved people would support this effort, it’s been an incredible journey. We’re still working on that sustainable part (you can support us here), but the growth and support so far is amazing. Thank you.
Here’s to 2020.