Shawnee experienced some first-evers this year as events excited or worried area residents.
• Massive flooding throughout the state in the late spring had many residents wishing the clouds would cork it. Local riverbeds couldn't contain the deluge, making nearby fields look like lakes. Power line poles along U.S. Hwy 177 at the north Canadian River bridge were sinking and leaning as the saturated ground gave way. Electric service in that area had to be rerouted.
• May proved to be an especially volatile storm season for the country. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center reported there were more than 500 tornadoes in May — more than three times 2018's figures for May. Pottawatomie County Emergency Management Director Don Lynch said a tornado on May 21 was the only one to touch down in Pottawatomie County. Area residents were abruptly awakened at 4:26 a.m. as Dale, just northwest of Shawnee, was scraped by an EF2 tornado as it meandered its way toward Meeker.
• Tecumseh Police officers spent much of the afternoon after the first day of school treating area children with snow cones at Roller Shaved Ice. The first Snow Cone with a Cop event was a big success. Dozens of families came and went, visiting with officers, testing police sirens and cooling off with flavored ice. Tecumseh Police Chief J.R. Kidney said it was the first time the department participated in offering the frozen treats as they took an opportunity to socialize with youth.
• In October, neighbors all over Shawnee gathered at various homes to celebrate Community Renewal's National Night Out, a nationwide event designed to bring the community and the police force together. In Shawnee's first participation, at least 20 local Block Leader parties gathered and socialized as part of the national event.
• First Halloween Town served as a welcome companion to the city's annual Boo on Bell fest. Held in early October, the expo center's first Halloween Town event, an indoor trick-or-treat party for locals, offered treats, games, food trucks, costume contests and a pumpkin carving contest.
• Busy B’s Donuts, at 2027 N. Harrison, was named Sweetest Bakery Donut Shop in the state. Dawn Foods, in its annual Sweetest Bakery in America Contest, chose the bakery over thousands of other bakeries across the United States. Busy B’s Donuts has been a part of the Shawnee community for 10 years and is best known for its donuts, kolaches and croissants.
• At a groundbreaking ceremony in October, Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) Chairman John (Rocky) Barrett welcomed Pro-Pipe USA LLC as its first tenant of Iron Horse Industrial Park, just south of Shawnee on Hardesty Road. Thanks to a concerted effort of many — some neglected railway tracks near next to the property may soon be put back into use again, internationally, creating the potential for Iron Horse to become a hub of global commerce. The Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad (A-OK) runs through the area, but because a railway bridge over the North Canadian River washed out in 1994, an important cross-country connection was lost — and with it, many opportunities for businesses that depended on it. Several years ago, the leadership of CPN, working alongside state leaders and agencies, made a push to get the bridge back on track — literally. With the bridge restored, one of the crucial steps in CPN's plan for Iron Horse, rail transport is closer to once again shuttling trains full of merchandise through — or into — the area.