Defeat of Jesse James Day is Still Creating Victories in Northfield, MN

On one of the most renown corners of Northfield Minnesota rests the 1868 Scriver Building. Embedded into its structure lies an infamous crime scene and historic town victory.

Every year in Northfield, MN, the weekend after Labor Day is the Defeat of Jesse James Days. Spend an evening in the 1800’s. Watch reenactments of the infamous raid, listen to live music, play Bingo on Bridge Square, eat corn, and participate in soapbox races and craft competitions! But before you head to rural Minnesota for time travel, a little history you…

The Attack

On September 7th, 1876, eight notorious outlaws known by the name James-Younger gang attempted a risky daytime robbery of the First National Bank. Led by longtime-pursued crook and guerrilla, Jesse James and his brother Frank, the gang rode horseback right up to the bank doors.

To execute the bold burglary, the gang split up into groups: some would watch the door while the others would perform the face-to-face gun-point robbery. What would later be known as the “textbook James-Younger robbery” began with three of the desperados walking into the bank without reserve.

A Panicked Diversion

With gunshots echoing throughout the town, men armed themselves and began to flock towards the bank. The bandits outside had to come up with a diversion fast. Bolting to the center of the street, the gang men blasted bullets into the air while three more men wearing wide-brimmed hats and long dusters found their window of opportunity and entered First National Bank unnoticed. Waving his pistol, infamous outlaw, Jesse James ordered bank clerk, Joseph Lee Heywood to open the vault. Heywood was shot and killed for his heroic refusal. Another bank teller made a break for the back door and managed to sound the alarm. In their heroic efforts, townsmen were able to kill gang members Clell Miller and William Stiles, but the rest fled the town before authorities arrived.

The Hunt

The 400-mile pursuit lasted for weeks until the Youngers were eventually captured at Madelia, Minnesota. But of course the gang wouldn’t go down without a fight. In another gun battle, guerilla Charlie Pitts was killed. Later, the three Younger brothers were charged with murder and sentenced to 25 years in the state prison at Stillwater. One passed away in prison, while the other two died within a few years of their discharge date.

Betrayed by His Own

Jesse and Frank were the only two gang members who escaped and eventually rebuilt a new gang from the ground up. However, Jesse’s new confidant, Bob Ford despised him. And on April 3, 1882 Ford gave Jesse several bullets to the back in his own home.

Why We Celebrate

While St. Joseph, MO was the place Jesse James took his last breath, Northfield, MN was the beginning of the end for the James-Younger gang, and will forever be known for and credited with the dismantling of the criminal group. So come celebrate this historical event between now and Sunday, September 9th. And catch the Saturday parade, which will be featuring some of our very own Apple Autos vehicles!

The bank was refurbished in 1975 by the Northfield Historical Society to mimic the 1876 appearance.

The blood stained ledger book Joseph Lee Heywood was working on at the time of the raid.

The Wanted add for the James brothers.

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See How You Helped Launch Shakopee High School’s Huge Advancement

To say that big things are coming in the Shakopee school district would be a massive understatement. As an offspring in the land of opportunity, the city of Shakopee knows that there is no finish line to progress. What began as an idea five years ago has finally become reality thanks to the dedicated and creative minds of the people involved. Shakopee High School has a whole new look, and we think you’re gonna like it. With three of our own Apple Autos stores just down the road from Shakopee High School, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this incredible advancement.

Welcome to Big Picture Academy

In the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, the Shakopee Public Schools Board of Education met with the district’s administrative leadership team to discuss the current education quality, and hopefully reimagine ways to improve it. The initiative was provoked by the significant and steady population growth in the Shakopee school district. Inevitably, the increased amount of people led to an increased amount of students, eliciting several challenges and exposing the current system’s inadequacy in numbers.

Talk of adding another high school in Shakopee surfaced, but the desire for unity shouted louder than division. After months of discussing what would be most beneficial to students, staff, parents, and the surrounding community, the board settled on instituting The Academies of Shakopee and The Freshman Academy.

College Came Early

The Academies of Shakopee was the district’s way of “making big feel small,” according to Shakopee High School principle, Jeff Pawlicki. “We asked ourselves: What should education look like? And settled on pockets of career pathways.” The academies consist of small learning communities of students who share the same learning interests. Surrounding students with other peers and teachers with similar aspirations will hopefully trigger their passion and promote greater engagement. It will also provide them with good connections and a solid support system for their future.

The academies will be broken up into six wings: Arts & Communication, Business & Entrepreneurship, Engineering & Manufacturing; Health Science, Human Services, and Science & Technology. Within each Academy will be several sequences of courses designed to help students maximize their high school experience within their academy. These programs of study were chosen based on researched regional workforce data.

Freshmen Freedom

The Freshman Academy, on the other hand, is explicit to 9th grade students who will spend time discovering their own unique interests, and from there choose a home academy for their sophomore through senior year. They will also be provided with the opportunity to explore different courses in each of the six academies in order to get a good grasp on their true field of interest.

But my son doesn’t even know what he wants for dinner! And you expect him to know what he wants to do with his life in 9th grade?

Not at all. The academies were designed merely to give students a running start in their career pathway before they get to college and discover that the major they originally picked was not the best fit. Stuart Lang, principle of the Freshman Academy addressed parents’ concerns with this implementation, saying “We all pick different paths along the way. And for them to be able to do that early on in high school —when it’s not costing them anything—I think that’s a real benefit for our students.”

The students are not locked in to a specific academy once they choose a pathway. They are free to switch at any time or take electives in other academies. Discovering what really activates each individual’s passion and engagement is what the Freshman Academy is all about.
Mr. Pawlicki added, “When it comes to public schooling, there are certain standards we must abide by. There is nothing we are getting rid of. Just things we have advanced.”

Of course, achieving a task so elaborate and so significant would require a tremendous amount of support. With help from Ford Next Generation Learning, a non-profit arm of Ford Motor Company, the Shakopee school district was able to execute this plan. So get ready 2018 high school students, because Shakopee High School has nearly doubled in size since 2015 and 700,000 square feet of opportunity and belonging awaits.

Take a Literary Tour

Whatever expansion you envisioned, academically or building wise, your imagination undershot; it undershot big time. Apple Autos had the privilege to tour the new building and take it from us, it could be mistaken for a small college. Creative genius’ were essential in the logistics that went into a vision as extravagant as this.

Libraries and Tech Labs and Banks, Oh my!

Upon entering the activities center doors, you’ll be greeted by a weight room comparable to a division I college both in size and equipment. Its neighbor is just one of the six full-court gymnasiums, the main court used for formal competitions. Sealed above its doors are silver letters that read, “Home of the Sabers”.

Down the hallway is a glass-walled library that overlooks the cafeteria lined with all the country flags. The cafeteria has strategically built high ceilings for volume control, as Mr. Lang informed us that four groups of 650 students would need to be in and out of lunch within a half-hour. A school bank rests kiddy-corner to the lunch room where students will have the opportunity to learn about money management as well as get hands-on working experience in their business electives.

One of our favorite units was the high school’s own rendition of The Geek Squad, they call it ITS – Instructional Tech Solutions. It will be run solely by students whose job is to help other students troubleshoot and answer questions about their devices—iPhone’s, laptop’s, fit bit’s, you name it! The intent is to provide students with a quick and easy way to find a solution to their technical problem and get them back to class without missing a beat.

Not far from ITS is a quaint coffee shop embedded in the cafeteria’s structure for a quick pick-me-up after lunch. But that is just the beginning. Picture a designated speech/presentation room with stadium seating, an outdoor classroom that teachers can reserve while Minnesota weather is bearable; a culinary center, and an entire unit dedicated to equipping special need students for their future.

And that’s just the communal aspects. Each academy has rooms specific to its career focus. There is an emergency response lab, a courthouse, a 3D print lab, and really anything you can think of.

Holy smokes! Can my student earn a degree here too?

Well, not exactly. However, there are several ways for students to earn college credit through Advanced Placement Courses and the CAPS Program.

As Mr. Lang took us through the building, it became apparent that this advancement not only required creative minds and talented hands, but extremely genuine and caring hearts.

“I want them to know they are loved,” said Mr. Lang, “that we are going to do everything we can to meet their needs so that they can be successful.” Mr. Lang could barely get a sentence out without letting his excitement slip through with a smile. “I want to be visible and available for students, staff, and parents so they know they are supported.”

While Ford Next Generation Learning was able to provide access to many resources, such as: seminars, workshops, and both staff and professional development opportunities, there was still one major wing of this project that needed support.

One More Pair of Helping Hands

In the planning process, the Shakopee school district was looking for a partner in the local community that could provide unique opportunities, particularly for the freshman class. They needed a place that would enhance their educational experiences and help them prepare for choosing an academy going into 10th grade. About a mile down the street, they found Apple Autos. “We loved that Apple Autos was not tied to any one career,” said Mr. Pawlicki, “It’s not about the four-year degree. We want to emphasize in this model that not one size fits all.”

Moving forward, Apple Autos will be actively involved in the exciting school developments and freshmen transitions by not only being a resource, but being present during school events. So much heart and time has been poured into the students of Shakopee by the school district. We want to be an extension of that support by providing further resources and opportunities.

Now that the bulk of this project is completed, we asked Shakopee High School principle, Jeff Pawlicki and Freshman Academy principle, Stuart Lang what they were most excited for. Mr. Lang responded, “I am just excited to get started. We have been in the planning [and] preparing phase for the better part of five years. We need things to start happening so we can see what is going well and what isn’t.” And with great anticipation, Mr. Pawlicki remarked, “I’m excited to give kids an environment where they can feel like they are a part of something.”

Us too, Mr. Pawlicki. Us too!

Disclaimer: 1,500 characters cannot capture the extravagant changes in Shakopee High School. You’ll just have to see for yourself! And on your way there, feel free to stop by Apple Autos and say hi!

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We Pave, You Save

If you visit our Apple Valley store this September, you may briefly believe we are closed due to the caution tape, dump trucks, and hard-hats encompassing our building. But then you’ll notice–and wonder how you missed–the big signs outlining our lot that read “We’re open!” Upon entering the doors, you’ll be greeted by some of our Apple Autos team members sporting stylish safety vests and impossible-to-miss buttons that say “Construction Reduction Sales Event.”

The story goes that a few weeks ago, our Apple Valley store ditched the brick sidewalk for safer, smoother, slip-free concrete. And then decided to treat their cars to a similar luxury. So join us in saying “goodbye” to cracked curbs and “so long!” to prowling pot holes, because new asphalt is coming to Apple Valley. Starting Tuesday, September 4th, the only vehicle you’ll see in our lot is a mixing truck.

Of course, in order to repave our entire lot, we’ll need to find a new place for our vehicle’s. And that’s where you come in. We’ll be running some crazy deals on all your favorite brands! Quick Lane and scheduled services will be up and running as usual. Nothing has changed except our prices. So come down to Apple Ford Lincoln in Apple Valley to witness convenient construction.

Consider this a Labor Day sales event extended through the entire month of September. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley will have a whole new raceway come October, but we need your help to achieve that! So while we pave, you can save at our Construction Reduction sales event! Hard hats optional, though encouraged due to our falling prices.


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Show Your Support to Wounded Vets and Sign the Most Patriotic Truck of All Time

Nothing says Country Pride quite like a red, white, and blue Ford F-150 Raptor cruising across the United States. The Wounded Warriors Family Support (not to be confused with Wounded Warriors Project) assists the families of those who have been wounded, injured, or killed during combat operations. And every year, they conduct an exemplary road trip around the United States called the High-Five Tour.

But don’t be fooled by the modest name, the High-Five tour gives more than a couple hand slaps and thumbs ups to its supporters. Veterans from all across the country volunteer to embark on this 8-month endeavor, traveling coast to coast, thanking Americans for their support and appreciation of the sacrifice our Nation’s military families have made. Those who donate are encouraged to sign the tour bus, (a.k.a. the Raptor!) and at the end of the tour, 25,000 miles later, the truck is donated to a deserving veteran and his family.

If you think this 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor looks patriotic on the outside, you should see the inside. The interior of this Raptor is made of 100% adaptive equipment, making it possible for severely injured veterans to drive safely and confidently. From hand-controlled pedals, to wheelchair access, to full-mobility seats, the Raptor is made to heed to the specific needs of the individual veteran.

Wounded Warriors Family Support is taking on its 9th annual tour this year and is on its way to Apple Ford Shakopee right now! We are honored to be supporting WWFS and would love to see you this Tuesday, September 4th showing your appreciation for our veterans.



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How Apple Autos Customers Are Helping Kick Cancer’s Butt

Sam’s Story

In July of 2013, 2-year-old Sam Benson was diagnosed with DIPG, a terminal type of brain cancer that no child had ever survived. His parents, Erin and Mike bought a minivan and started driving around the country in attempts to pack a lifetime of experience into what they were told would likely be less than a year.

Erin and Mike did all they could to make sure Sam’s 2 and a half years of life were filled with as much joy and adventure that would fit. But even before Sam passed away, Erin and Mike couldn’t help but wonder why treatment for childhood cancer had made such little progress. Studies have revealed that one out five children diagnosed with cancer won’t survive. With passion in their hearts and a deep, relentless love for their son, the Benson’s began the organization, With Purpose.

With Purpose is a nonprofit organization that believes the next generation are the greatest advocates who will change the story for pediatric cancer treatment in the U.S. They work to activate young leaders by making them aware of the state of childhood cancer treatment while empowering them to take a stand in their communities.

Though Erin is extremely explicit about the raw emotions she experiences every day without Sam, she admits that in his short life, Sam taught her and Mike about the reality of unconditional love, the privilege of having the ability to recognize a problem and make a change, and the path to happiness. Erin wrote, “Near the end, I knelt before him and asked, ‘What can I do to make you happy, Sam?’ and he looked at me, with surprise in his voice, and said, ‘I am happy, Mom.’”

How You Helped

This past July, Apple Autos was honored to be a part of With Purpose’s Fight for 5K & Fun Run which raised $36,500 for children diagnosed with cancer, fighting for all five out of five children to be survivors.

Outside of the 5K, With Purpose also works in the classrooms to help fight pediatric cancer. If you want to get involved, make sure to visit their website to see how you can be a part of the fight for five.


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The Automotive Express Has Arrived: Introducing Apple Autos Direct!

25 years ago, Apple Autos set out on an endeavor to be different from any other car dealership by prioritizing transparency and vowing continuous progress in customer service. The off-beaten path included promising our best price upfront, no uncomfortable negotiations, and constant efforts to meet the changing needs of our customers. But the road less traveled looks a lot different today than it did back then. And in a culture on a fast-track towards progression, we refused to be left behind.

Nowadays, with the click of a button you can have an entirely new wardrobe, grocery list, or full-course meal at your doorstep within minutes. But have you ever had 470 lbs of torque, an engine made of pure horsepower, or your next road trip delivered to your doorstep? Well, now you can with Apple Autos Direct.

At Apple Autos, we know that time is money. That’s why we decided to help you save a trip around the clock. Get instant upfront pricing on all of our vehicles and have everything finalized in the comfort of your own home. No hassle or hoops to jump through, just leisure for luxury. The automotive express has arrived, and you have a boarding pass.

Here’s how it works, a 6-step process:
1. Choose
2. Pricing
3. Trade-in
4. Credit and docs
5. Final review
6. Doorstep delivery (within 100 miles)

For more details and information, check out this short video:

This is the new standard for convenience.

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Driving First-Class: Drive 4 Ur School helps send Farmington Dance Team to Florida

“Go big or go home” isn’t a slogan for the Farmington High School Dance Team, it’s a lifestyle. You may recognize some of them from the Super Bowl Half-Time show, performing alongside Justin Timberlake. We didn’t think they could get much cooler until we saw them driving brand new Apple Autos vehicles. On Tuesday, about 90 members and boosters of the Farmington Tiger Dance Team came out for our Drive 4 Ur School fundraiser! Dancers drove a Ford Mustang and Edge into the evening, raising $20 per ride.

Lisa Miller, an active booster and mom of one of the dancers told us that they were hoping for a big turn out, and they got it! We asked Lisa what this event meant to her and the people involved. She first gave a shout-out to the head coach, Madi Salisbury for her passion and focus on unity and team building. But of course this event was a fundraiser, and played a role in helping the dancers raise money for an exciting competition at the beginning on 2019.

You’d think the 50-yard line at U.S. Bank stadium would be the pinnacle of performing stages, but not for the Farmington Tiger Dance Team. Next January, about 45 girls will be traveling down to Disney World in Orlando, FL to compete!

We are so happy that we are able to support our local schools through events like Drive 4 Ur School, and we can’t wait to see where the Farmington Dance program takes these girls next.

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Mr. Cruze and the 30th Annual Summer Spectacular!

It’s 2005, and The Southern Cruzers  have had a 16-year tradition of what they call the “Friday Night Cruise & Saturday Car Show” during Lakeville’s Pan-O-Prog Parade. But the Cruise has become so popular (drawing in twice the amount spectators the parade is used to) that they have to move locations. So the “Friday Night Cruise” decides to officially pitch its tent south of the river at the Dakota County Fairgrounds, promptly changing its name to the “Summer Spectacular”. The Cruzers now get together to discuss ideas on how to make this event one of the best! They settle on 3 main elements: A Car Show, Business/Shopping Expo & Swap Meet with a lot of food and fellowship. But an event as elaborate as this would require some dedicated personalities.

Cue Tim Hanna, a now 12-year Southern Cruzer, Street-Rod of the year nominee, and just one of the many faces behind the Summer Spectacular. Tim had always enjoyed going to car shows, but it wasn’t until 2006 that his involvement with the club finally kicked into gear. After attending a “Back to the 50’s” event put on by the MSRA (Minnesota Street Rod Association), Tim expressed interest in the member-exclusive magazine, Linechaser. Linechaser is the MSRA’s award-winning, 100+ page monthly catalog filled cover-to-cover with photos and valuable member information. Not having a hot-rod to his name at that time, Tim assumed he wouldn’t be able to join. However, the board members assured him that he didn’t need a car to become a member, just enthusiasm!

“But I always wanted a show car of my own,” Tim said, “and it was kind of my goal to be on the cover of Linechaser, but [I] had to be nominated.” Tim soon became a member of the Southern Cruzers and promptly purchased a hot-rod of his own. From there, it was off to the races!

Tim’s dream of having his street-rod on the cover of Linechaser had a shifty start the following year when his 1935 Chevrolet Cabriolet was deemed ineligible due to a missing windshield wiper. But after a preserved winter and wiper bestowed upon its windshield, Tim’s street-rod was nominated as Street-Rod of the Year that spring and cruised its way right on to the cover of Linechaser!

We asked Tim what he loved most about the Southern Cruzers and why he’s remained a faithful member for 12 years. His short and simple response was, “It’s family-oriented.” The club has grown to become a community of almost 190 members. And though Tim admits that it mainly consists of couples who are “up in their years,” he said that the Southern Cruzers is a group for anyone interested! “We do it together. And the wives are just as active as the husbands.”

This year marks the 30th Annual Summer Spectacular, which was created to run based on what you want! So forget about long lines, excessive registration forms, and dirt roads that cloud your fresh coat of paint. Count on parking on grass next to your friends, voting for Best of Show trophy winners, and participating in (or spectating) limitless entertainment activities. Take it from Tim, who remarked, “It satisfies everyone’s wants.”

This is a charity event, rain or shine. While there are many small affairs and “mini-shows” that take place throughout the year, the Summer Spectacular is inarguably the largest event that the Southern Cruzers host. Since 2005, the Southern Cruzers have donated over $104,000 to local charities and scholarships. It’s no wonder why people like Tim give their time and energy to clubs like the Cruzers. We are proud to be sponsoring this year’s Summer Spectacular, and can’t wait to be a part of another community get-together!

Summer is a bittersweet good-bye in the state of Minnesota. So bring it to a close the right way by rolling down your windows and cruising over to the Dakota County Fairgrounds on Saturday, August 25th. Rows of freshly shined show cars of all makes, models, and years will be there. And who knows, maybe some Apple Autos vehicles too!

For more information, visit


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When Shelby Met Ford: Don’t Miss the All Makes & Models Show this August!

You may remember these familiar faces! Mike and Carol Ackerman have been some of our most loyal Apple Autos customers throughout the years. But what makes them especially stand out? Their shared passion for Ford vehicles–in particular, Mustangs! The Ackerman’s have played a huge role in putting on the All Ford Show every year for the last 20 years. Well, get ready motor heads because this year is no exception! On August 19th, our Apple Ford Shakopee will be decked out in all your favorite Ford models.

This production wouldn’t be possible without people like Mike and Carol, who are avid members of the Upper Midwest Shelby Club. The club is a regional chapter of the National Shelby American Automotive Club (SAAC). The group is dedicated to the care, preservation, history, and enjoyment of world championship cars from Shelby American. No ownership is required for club members, just enthusiasm. We love working with the Ackerman’s and are so thankful for their devotion, hard work, and involvement with Apple Autos!

We hope you join us at the 2018 All Makes and Models Show on Sunday, August 19th from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. Show car registration is $5, but this isn’t just for Mustang enthusiasts and Ford fanatics. This is a totally unique event, free of cost for all spectators. So shake things up for your next day date by grabbing a quick breakfast and coming down to Apple Ford Shakopee. On behalf of Apple Autos and the Upper Midwest Shelby Club, we hope to see you there!

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Celebrate Good Times: 25 Years of Apple Autos!

On New Years’ Day of 1993, Apple Autos officially opened its doors for business. On a mission to do things different from any other automotive company, we focused our efforts on providing unmatched quality automotive products and service. By putting our best foot forward every day, we would always aim to exceed our customers’ and employee’s expectations, maintaining their loyalty for a lifetime.

Fast forward to today, we haven’t changed a bit! From the end of the Thunderbird era to the development of the Lincoln Black Label, progress has become a part of our daily routine, but our core values and founding beliefs have not budged. We are thrilled to be celebrating 25 years in business this year! Thanks to our valued team and customers, Apple Autos has now reached 5 different locations in Minnesota, the biggest Quick Lane in the world, and has its logo stickered on the back of 1/4th of the new Ford vehicles you see driving around the metro area.

We feel so fortunate to be where we are today. It’s because of the loyalty of our customers and employees that we are able to team up with several organizations while instituting ways to support our community.

We want to say thank you to everyone who has been involved in making Apple Autos so much more than a business. Here’s to another 25!

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