Minnesota: A Year in Pictures

The Northern Lights from Duluth's Boulder Lake Dam, © Luke Tanis, @saluken

2017 could be described as a tumultuous year. Many good, many bad, and many questionable things happened over the course of these past 355 days. We’ve written about, and covered, a few of them, like the story of a game-changing St. Cloud model, Halima Aden and the beauty of Minnesota, and the “fake news” phenomenon in You’re fake news! Maybe…

But a photograph – a simple expression, a dynamic landscape, a dazzling blend of colors – is often the best, and most concise, way to capture a moment. As the year winds down, we raise our glasses in fond, or less-than-fond, farewell, and pause for a moment to reflect, and look back on the key moments that helped define an unforgettable 2017.

© Corey Anderson/MinnPost

January 21, 2017: Woman’s March Minnesota draws 100,000 people to St. Paul to protest the misogynistic language, and policies, of President Donald Trump.

© Glenn Stubbe/Star Tribune

January 23, 2017: Governor Mark Dayton collapses during State of the State address. He was fine after a quick trip to the hospital, citing “exhaustion” as the cause for collapse.

© Matt Sepic/MPR News

February 19, 2017: Minnesota temperatures break heat records for the third straight day, hitting 58 degrees Fahrenheit and allowing the guy pictured above to do some early-season kite skiing.

© Jean Pieri/Pioneer Press

March 2, 2017: The Uniform Labor Standards Act, a Republican bill that blocks cities from setting their own paid sick leave mandates or minimum-wage increases, is passed by the Minnesota legislature. Protests, like the one pictured above, ensue.

April 22, 2017: 10,000+ marchers gather on Earth Day in St. Paul, Minnesota for the March for Science, in support of scientific research and progress.

Anti-smoking campaign

May 3, 2017: Edina becomes the first city in Minnesota to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 years.

© David Joles/Star Tribune
© David Joles/Star Tribune

June 6, 2017: Officer Jeronimo Yanez is found not guilty of manslaughter and other charges after he shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop one year previous. Protests ensue, shutting down I-94 for a brief period following the verdict. A close friend of the victim, above, reacts to the news.


June 11, 2017: Minnesota’s summer storms can be legendary, as seen in this user-submitted shot from a Twin Cities suburb.

July 2, 2017: Minnesota, for the first time in its 159-year history, legalizes the sale of liquor on Sundays. Many border towns in Wisconsin are deeply disappointed by the loss of revenue.

Stephen Maturen / AFP – Getty Images

July 18, 2017: Australian Justine Damond, née Ruszczyk, is shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer after calling the department twice about a potential domestic abuse situation in her neighborhood. A thorough investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

July 23, 2017: “Twin Cities Police Easily Startled” signs also pop up in Minneapolis and St. Paul as a response to the Philando Castile verdict, and other (multiple) shootings by Twin Cities police.

Read more about that here: “Police easily startled” signs posted in St. Paul, Minneapolis

© Andy Rathbun/Pioneer Press

August 21, 2017: The first solar eclipse since 1918 sends the world into a frenzy. While a complete eclipse cannot be seen from Minnesota, some pretty cool partial shots, like the one pictured above, are captured.

© Elizabeth Florez/Star Tribune

September 4, 2017: The 2017 Minnesota State Fair breaks the attendance record with 1,997,320 total visitors. 2016’s Fair attendance also broke the previous record.

© Jean Pieri/Pioneer Press

October 4, 2017: The Minnesota Lynx win the 2017 WNBA Championship for the fourth time in seven years to solidify their status as the league’s greatest dynasty, and as the only Minnesota franchise able to bring home a trophy (before the Lynx, the last championship team from Minnesota was 1991’s Minnesota Twins).

October 27, 2017: Stranger Things puts the Science Museum of Minnesota on the map when the show’s beloved Dustin, played by Gaten Matarazzo, rocks a vintage 1980’s SMM hoodie in the second season’s opening episode.

© Nick Woltman/Pioneer Press

November 7, 2017: Melvin Carter III wins the St. Paul mayoral election by a landslide (51% of the vote, the closest challenger at 25%) to become St. Paul’s first-ever black mayor. St. Paul hasn’t had a new mayor since Chris Coleman was elected in 2006.

© Greg Nash/The Hill

December 7, 2017: Minnesota’s high-profile Senator Al Franken resigns amid allegations of sexual assault.

© Jeff Baenen/AP

December 1, 2017: Garrison Keillor is fired from Minnesota Public Radio for the same reason. Old episodes of “A Prairie Home Companion” are also taken off the air, and the show, now hosted by Chris Thile, is to be renamed.

© Eric Miller/Reuters

December 13, 2017: Tina Smith, Minnesota’s Lieutenant Governor under Mark Dayton, is appointed to replace Al Franken in the senate.