Signs on the Ground!

This week I added campaign signs and I have more of them to share. If you are interested in hosting a sign to aid my campaign, please message me or e mail at scdenkinger@gmail.com.

Thank you!

Sue

COMMUNITY AND COLLABORATION AT MCCULLOUGH PARK

Today I watched a team of volunteers plant a pollinator garden following their planting of an accompanying rain garden. The garden was the vision of the Arden Hills/Shoreview Rotary Club and had their financial support but additional funding was needed to complete the project. With the help of a grant from the Shoreview Foundation the project was set in motion.

Enter Ramsey County with design expertise, the Rice Creek Watershed District with design and location ideas and the City of Shoreview with pollinator and rain garden native plant recommendations. Once the design and location were determined, volunteers from both the Rotary and the Shoreview Garden Club did the planting and completed the project. An idea germinated into reality today and the results are both beautiful and environmentally beneficial.

Website is being updated

Dear Readers

This website is being updated and I appreciate your patience as it may take some time. Please check for new blogs weekly.

Contact information: Feel free to e mail me at scdenkinger@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook.

Again thank you for your patience!

Sue Denkinger

Transitions: Running for Shoreview Mayor in 2022!

Sixteen years ago I first volunteered for the city of Shoreview on the Economic Development Commission. It was the first time I became involved with local government and Economic Development always interested me. Our city staff and our team created a Business Retention and Expansion program to both identify our key businesses and build outreach to them toward keeping them in Shoreview and helping them grow.

Nine years later I was appointed to the Economic Development Authority where I still serve. This group works on housing policy, identifies needs and builds programs to help with affordability, low cost loan programs for residents including down payment assistance and policies that provide guidelines for developers and protections for renters.

In 2016 I ran for City Council and was honored to win a seat that I still hold. During all of these transitions, our city was led by our current Mayor Sandy Martin. Her leadership provided balance and transparency. She balanced the needs of the city and citizens, worked hard to build trust with the community through transparent government and managed to hold taxes down while expanding the Community Center, and continually investing in parks and trails.

Now our Mayor is also transitioning to retiring from her office. My transition is to run for Mayor in 2022, intending to sustain the success and stability of our community while looking toward the future needs of the community. I don’t believe I would be running for Mayor without learning from one of the best. I intend to do my best to live up to her legacy.

Spring 2021 is here!

After a successful 2020 re-election to the Shoreview City Council (thank you so much Shoreview voters!), it’s on to a new year.

The City Council continues to meet virtually at this time. We look forward to meeting in person again as more are vaccinated and it’s safe to do so. Citizens, as always, are welcome to attend these virtual meetings and participate. One of our city staff watches for any citizen comments throughout every meeting to ensure that all who choose to participate can do so.

In addition to participating on City Council, I continue to represent Shoreview as a member of the Ramsey County League of Local Governments. We hold monthly virtual meetings with speakers or panels for all RCLLG members. Members of this group include all Ramsey County elected officials at the county and city levels, city staff, school boards as well as individual and associate members. RCLLG also has a sub-group that is working on Mental Health needs, utilizing the concerns and efforts of all members. This group is in its early stages of identifying key actions.

As part of my City Council role, I continue to also serve as the Shoreview representative on the Lake Johanna Fire Department Board. This board is also comprised of other member cities (Arden Hills and North Oaks) and members of the Fire Department. We meet to review the Relief Fund and LJFD activities which range from service levels to financial activities. A key part of our regular meetings currently is to review progress toward building a new fire station in Arden Hills which will eventually replace the current station at Victoria and County Road E.

On the City Council side, we continue work on the redevelopment of Deluxe Corporation’s site and ongoing activities around Phase 2 of the Shoreview Commons project. Design plans for the Commons project have been approved and the project will soon be bid. Phase 2 includes a Friendship Garden and creative playground areas. During a visit to the Commons area, this week, I noted people using the walking paths and skateboard park even on a blustery day. Phase 2 improvements will bring even more opportunities for using this expansive outdoor space.

Have an impact on Shoreview by joining a Committee!

My first experience volunteering on a Shoreview Commission was when I applied for the Economic Development Commission. Economic Development had always been an area of interest for me yet the experience on the Commission gave me back much more than I expected. I felt more engaged with the local government, with my city, met fellow residents and city leaders and learned so much!

There are currently openings on 5 Committee/Commissions. The openings are with the Planning Commission, Economic Development Authority, Bikes and Trailways , Parks and Recreation and Environmental Quality Committees.

Applications are available at www.shoreviewmn.gov website and can be submitted until November 20, 2020.

A Shoreview small business appreciates Shoreview

I stopped by the WinkinRooster.com last week for a take out lunch and asked the owner how his business was doing. He said business has picked up and that they were getting more catering orders which helped the business.

Then I introduced myself as one of his city council members and he shared with me that he’s been visited multiple times by the mayor, two other council members reached out or stopped by lunch, and how much he appreciates the support he receives from the city. That’s good to hear. Shoreview has a talented and committed city staff who proactively works to anticipate business needs, an Economic Development Commission comprised of citizen volunteers and local business owners, and a BRE program (Business Retention and Expansion).

Back to the story: when the pandemic hit, the City of Shoreview provided a small business emergency assistance program which helped the Winkin’ Rooster and nearly 30 other businesses weather the spring lockdown and COVID-19 related business impacts.

It was gratifying to see that this business is recovering. It’s a great place for lunch and breakfast and does catering by the way. The staff is friendly. And the food? It’s great.

Voting can shape your life…..

When I turned 18, I couldn’t wait to vote.  It was a rite of passage toward real adulthood.  I was a lover of US History.  I read books about the presidents and I read books about those who ran and didn’t win.   What I didn’t know when I was able to vote  was that it would introduce me to a great life experience.

About a year after I first voted in the early seventies, I received a summons to jury duty in federal court.  My neighbor worked at the courthouse and wondered aloud if I was summoned to the “Wounded Knee takeover” trial. The trial was actually named The United States vs. Russell Means and Dennis Banks.  Means and Banks were leaders of the AIM (American Indian Movement) organization and they faced 10 federal charges based on the takeover of the town of Wounded Knee.  Although the charges were filed in South Dakota, the venue was changed to St. Paul in order for the defendants to receive a fair trial.

I was, in fact, summoned to be a juror for that trial.  I was selected to serve on the jury after  going through an interview with not only high profile attorneys like William Kunstler  and Mark Lane but with the assistance of a panel of psychologists who were the first to use a new methodology for jury selection.   

During the jury selection and trial, my 19 year old self experienced:

  • Having some of my jury selection questions and answers published in the St. Paul paper
  • Witnessing first hand a high profile trial and renowned and skilled  attorneys
  • Being featured in Newsweek magazine because our jury was selected using psychologists
  • Learning about the rules of court and the rules of evidence
  • Received intimidating mail from the John Birch Society and an anonymous person because of an answer I gave while being interviewed during jury selection
  • Watching a star witness perjure himself
  • Spending 9 months of my life in federal court
  • Learning so much about what really happened at Wounded Knee in the early 70’s and learning so much about treaty rights and treaties not honored
  • Unknowingly selecting a jury foreman who turned out to be highly prejudiced
  • Experiencing being sequestered which included being allowed to read newspapers and watch TV only under the eyes of federal marshals to avoid seeing any information related to the trial
  • After one of the jurors fell seriously ill during deliberations, the Government chose not to go on with 11 jurors so a mistrial was declared
  • At the end of the trial, I was accused of “letting them go” by an angry neighbor because, before the mistrial, we found them not guilty on the first of 10 counts.  The other 9 counts were never deliberated because our fellow juror fell ill and the jury alternates had been dismissed before deliberation.  The neighbor didn’t care.  He was furious with me.  He didn’t have the facts but he didn’t care.

When I’ve shared this story, most people react by saying “I’d never want to be on a jury for so long!”  And that may be true for most people.  But I’d also argue that I learned so many valuable life lessons, experienced the pain of generations of Native Americans whose lives were forever altered because treaties were not honored, saw the legal system in action and learned respect and responsibility for serving as a juror .  All because I voted for the first time when I turned 18.