One reporter’s take on the top 10 Minneapolis-focused stories of 2012:
• A new Vikings stadium approved by the Legislature for downtown, using city-derived taxes, capping a come-from-behind challenge to a proposed Blaine site, and City Council concurs on a 7-6 vote. Deal also subsidizes Target Center renovation.
• Mayor R.T. Rybak walks away from what he’s called his dream job, meaning his tenure at City Hall will end after 12 years and setting off a scramble to succeed him.
• A fired employee shoots and fatally wounds six people at Accent Signage Systems in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood, including the company’s founder, then kills himself.
• Redevelopment surges, with plans for several ambitious housing projects downtown along with an upsurge in apartment construction along transit routes.
• Metropolitan Airports Commission blocks a proposed routing change that would have concentrated jet noise over several corridors in Minneapolis (and Edina.)
• Hiawatha power line is ordered buried under E. 28th St., ending fears that it would mar the Midtown Greenway, and the extra cost is spread over all ratepayers, rather than just those in the city.
• Failure of plates anchoring cables for the Martin Olav Sabo bike-ped bridge detours traffic for several days on Hiawatha Avenue and disrupts bike commuting on the greenway for months.
• Enrollment of white students in Minneapolis schools rises for the first time in at least 35 years and the dawn of the desegregation era.
• Nizzel George, age 5, is gunned down in his sleep on a sofa in a North Side home, culminating a series of drive-by shootings.
• Police and fire chiefs both turn over in Minneapolis, with Janeé Harteau succeeding retiring Tim Dolan, and John Fruetel following Alex Jackson, who retires under pressure from the City Council.
Other notable developments:
School Supt. Bernadeia Johnson is named to a new three-year term when her first one expires on June 30, making her the district’s first two-term chief since Carol Johnson.
Police accumulation of license plate data draws numerous data requests, including from a rep man, and prompts the city to ask for a temporary classification of the data as private until the Legislature acts on its status.
Portland and Park avenues are converted to two-lane streets in a development that frustrates drivers but gives bikers extra space.
Haven’t we done this before? Long Election Day lines form at several precincts, with equipment malfunctions ranging from pens to ballots, and the first results aren’t available until hours after everywhere else in the state, and the final results take several days.
No-sort recycling is adopted by the city, with some households getting their bins now and others in the spring. All recyclables go in one bin, a system some suburbs adopted years ago.
Most city high school students switch to Go-To cards on Metro Transit,
Downtown rowdiness and shootings forced a police and licensing crackdown, with two clubs surrendering their liquor licenses.
Peavey Plaza will get a makeover that historic preservationists decry, including a city commission, but the Minnesota Orchestral Association wants it and the City Council falls in line.
The school district gets its first scratch-built headquarters ever, bringing hundreds of workers to W. Broadway Avenue.
Minneapolis City Council nixes a proposed Hennepin County service hub on W. Broadway Avenue after the community objects to it for drawing thousands of poor people.
Walker Community Church goes up in smoke in a fire that is ruled accidental but injures five firefighters, one of them severely.
A proliferation of new taprooms slakes the city’s thirst for microbrews, while Surly explores a southeast Minneapolis site.
Block E gets even lonelier as its movie theater closes down. But that doesn’t stop its political architect, lobbyist and former City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes, from announcing a comeback bid for mayor.
The school board goes unconventional, contracting for a self-governed school and a third charter school in educator Eric Mahmoud’s empire, both on the North Side.
Civilian review of alleged police misconduct is weakened in Minneapolis with the scrapping of the Civilian Review Authority. The review job turned over to a new agency dominated by police.
Some notable departures:
City Coordinator Steven Bosacker leaves the job, where he instituted statistical results measurement, to see the world.
Gregg Stubbs, named to replace Rocco Forte, who resigned before an investigation into his conduct was finished, leaves himself after only nine months on the job.
Tim Dolan, the retiring police chief, will work with the gun control lobby and chair the mayoral campaign committee for Council Member Don Samuels.
Marv Davidoff, activist par excellance
Lauren Maker, political activist
Doug Davis, longtime teacher and union activist
Larry Harris, school lobbyist and civil rights champ
Robert T. Smith, Tribune columnist and city editor