Local, local and more local. 

If that isn’t the theme of community newspapers (like the Country Messenger), it was shown once again when looking at what Messenger readers sampled online in 2020. 

Stories involving Marine and Scandia dominated the top 10 for most viewed stories. While COVID-19 took to 2020 like a sledgehammer to other parts of this area, Messenger online readers clicked on stories not always involving the global pandemic. 

Here now, is the top 10. 


1. Local ski patroller assists in emergency at Northstar Stables (from May)

Forest Lake sophomore Taylen Peterson helped out when a woman was in a seizure-like state at Northstar Stables in Stacy. Peterson who is a member of the young adult ski patrol at Wild Mountain, north of Taylor Falls, wasn’t intimated by the situation. “The adults didn’t really know what to do,” she said. “So it felt really good to be able to help out.”


2. Classic Red Christmas truck comes to life in Marine (from Dec. 2019)

Marine on St. Croix residents were able to take pictures of a pristine 1950 Chevy owned by local residents, David Stephens and Susan Ferron. Robyn Dochterman of St. Croix Chocolate said the idea was to bring people together in a nostalgic image of the holiday season. “Eventually, my hope is to put together a whole Christmas parade of red trucks in Marine,” she said. 


3. Two cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Marine (from May)

A news release from Washington County Health Department said two confirmed COVID-19 cases resulted from the same family in Marine on St. Croix in late April. They were in quarantined, informed their work and those who may have been in contact with them. 


4. Sandagers excited about the future of Rustic Roots Winery (from September)

Greg and Andrea Sandager discussed their latest business venture, Rustic Roots Winery, which is located across the highway from Abrahamson’s Nursery in Scandia, which they also own. “We thought it’d be a great setting for a vineyard,” Greg said, about the former farmland. 


5 and 8. Victims identified in head-on collision in Scandia (from September)

Two different versions of this story cracked the top 10 in which Derek R. Keeney, 29, Scandia and Jamie R. Hallberg, 32, St. Croix Falls, both were pronounced dead at the scene as the result of a head-on collision on Olinda Trail North, just north of 170th Street North. 



6. Scandia native named Mrs. North Dakota (from September) 

Anne Marie Studer, daughter of Craig and Lynne Kirvida, was named Mrs. North Dakota 2020. The Scandia native is a 2017 graduate of University of Northwestern-St. Paul, where she received degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology. She is currently employed as a guardian ad litem by Youthworks of North Dakota. 


7. Osceola Medical Center readies for COVID-19 impact (from March)

A news release from the Medical Center on how it’s preparing for active cases of the coronavirus. “We’re in health care, this is what we do,” said Bob Wolf, Medical Center Director of Community Engagement. “The level of preparedness is always there. When things like this ramp up, then we take some additional steps to go forward.”


9. Depression era recipe still popular (from March 2017)

A recipe for tuna fish and peas on toast, which was originally posted in 2017 by food columnist Lisa Erickson. As Erickson explained while her mom was growing up, a traditional Friday staple during Lent was tuna fish and peas on toast. 


10. Forest Lake man charged with tax crimes (from February)

Thomas Patrick Gearin, Forest Lake, was charged with 14 tax related felonies, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. 

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