Christine Schuster

Multimedia Journalist

United States

Reporter with Southwest News Media covering Savage and Burnsville for the Savage Pacer.

Drop me a line at [email protected]

Kraemer Mining looks to strike a deal with Freeway Landfill owners

BURNSVILLE - Unearthing 6 million cubic yards of waste from inactive landfills isn't a job for everyone, but Kraemer Mining and Minerals wants to make a deal to clean up the Freeway landfill and dump sites. Millions of cubic yards of trash sit at the sites without linings, meaning only dirt and rock lie between the waste and the Minnesota River and Jordan Aquifer.
Truck driver in County Road 42 crash wasn't qualified to drive commercial tanker

A truck driver involved in multi-vehicle crash on County Road 42 last Thursday had previously been disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle. Barry Ishmel McReynolds, 44 of St. Paul, was operating a tanker truck carrying combustible liquids without the hazardous materials endorsement required by state law on his commercial driver's license, the Minnesota State Patrol found.
A shrinking district: Burnsville-Eagan-Savage closes M.W. Savage, Sioux Trail and Metcalf

Three schools in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District will close at the end of the current school year under resolutions adopted by the Board of Education this week. The directors voted to close Metcalf Middle and Sioux Trail Elementary schools in Burnsville and M.W. Savage Elementary School in downtown Savage during their regular meeting Thursday.
Songs from home: How a local educator's song collection project is changing music education

Becca Buck, a local elementary music specialist, knew something was missing from the repertoire of standard music she taught her multicultural students. So she set out to collect lullabies and other songs from students' homes - a project that's bringing music from around the world together and transforming her classroom and music education around Minnesota.
Updated: Savage Fire chief resigns, calls for changes in city

Savage Fire Chief Andrain Roach said lack of support from city leaders, around-the-clock demands and unrealistic expectations prevented the Fire Department from adapting to today's needs and led him to resign, according to a resignation letter obtained by the Savage Pacer. The Savage City Council accepted Roach's resignation, effective Aug.
Jingle-writing revival: How a local man's quirky tunes resurrect a lost art in advertising

SAVAGE - When jingle-writer Todd Millenacker's parents asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, he would tell them he wanted to rent an office and think of stuff. "They'd say, 'You're not just going to show up and think of stuff,' and here I am at 41," Millenacker said, sitting at the dining room table in his Savage home on a recent afternoon.
Passenger rail possibility gains steam, Dan Patch Line on the map for study

Existing freight rails connecting south central Minnesota to the Twin Cities, including tracks in Savage, are next in line to be studied for possible passenger rail service by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Northfield City Council member Suzie Nakasian founded the Minnesota Regional Passenger Rail Initiative and presented to local officials, state legislators and other community members in Savage about the potential for passenger rail this week.
74-year-old man killed in grain bin incident west of Belle Plaine

A 74-year-old man was killed in a grain bin incident Tuesday, Sept. 10 in Faxon Township, approximately five miles west of Belle Plaine, according to a news release from the Sibley County Sheriff's Office. The man was unloading soybeans from a grain bin at a farm off State Highway 25.
Democratic candidates look to oust Sen. Dan Hall, who says he'll seek re-election

A longtime Republican incumbent and Democratic newcomers are campaigning to win the Minnesota Senate District 56 seat in 2020. The district represents residents in Savage, Burnsville and Lakeville. Republican Sen. Dan Hall, first elected in 2010, this week said he will seek re-election in 2020 and will formally announce his campaign in January.
Savage City Council violates open meeting law with special meeting

The Savage City Council broke the state's open meeting law prior to a special meeting Monday. The council met at Savage's Environmental Learning Center on July 8 for their annual retreat to discuss planning, finances, policies and department operations but failed to provide public notice of the meeting's location and discussion topics.
Developer withdraws townhome proposal for Savage's former Lynnhurst farm

The landowner behind a proposal to build townhomes on a historic farm in Savage withdrew his plans this month. The proposal for 31 market-rate townhomes on the former Lynnhurst Dairy Farm would have required both a city comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning from low density to medium density.
Uncertainty looms as school board prepares to vote Thursday on school closures

The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Board of Education will vote tomorrow on whether to close Sioux Trail Elementary, M.W. Savage Elementary and Metcalf Middle schools at the end of the school year. The Board met Tuesday to discuss the recommendation for the first time since the district's consultant, Roger Worner, chose specific schools for the plan last month.
Pope Francis names Savage pastor next bishop of Sioux Falls

Father Donald DeGrood was sitting in his office at Saint John the Baptist Church and School in downtown Savage last Monday afternoon when he received a phone call from a number he didn't recognize. He didn't answer, and the number rang again. DeGrood answered that time. A U.S.
Savage Fire responds to record number of calls without a chief

The Savage Fire Department is responding to more calls for service than ever before, but city officials still haven't announced a plan for replacing the fire chief who resigned two months ago. The department answered a record-breaking 421 calls for service in 2018, and interim Fire Chief Andrew Slama said he expects to surpass the record by the end of the month.
Savage businesses face historic halt in Minnesota River barge traffic

Historic flooding on the Mississippi River is bringing record-breaking delays to the year's barge season for Savage businesses along the Minnesota River, several business officials said. The latest start to barge season on record in Savage was May 15, but barges aren't expected to arrive until July this year, said Lisa Brickey, the warehouse manager at Mosaic Crop Nutrition.
Burnsville-Eagan-Savage officials to decide on school closures before year's end

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District families could see a plan for school closures, grade restructuring and boundary changes as soon as November. The Board of Education expects to reach a final decision on how facilities will factor into budget cuts no later than Jan. 1 amid falling enrollment, according to a timeline presented by district administrators this month.
Review recommends closing multiple Burnsville-Eagan-Savage schools after next school year

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district officials should close three schools at the end of next school year to save money as enrollment declines, according to an expert evaluation completed this month. The district saw its lowest enrollment figure in a decade with 8,334 students last year, and the district projects the student count will drop to around 7,600 by 2023.
Car crashes into St. John's in Savage, injuring suspected drunk driver

Savage Police say charges are pending against a 41-year-old Savage man after a car crashed into St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and School in downtown Savage around 1 a.m. Tuesday. Savage Police Capt. Bruce Simon said the man was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center with "significant injuries."
'Devoted' Savage father dies in Minneapolis construction accident

Zachary Pumper, 34 of Savage, died Aug. 19 after sustaining fatal injuries while working on a construction site in Minneapolis, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said earlier this month. Pumper is survived by his wife, Nicole Pumper, and two children, ages 7 and 4.
New neighbors wage legal battle over barking at Bluff High Kennels in Savage

Nestled on the hilltop, to the west of the Highway 13 and McColl Drive intersection is where the Buff High Kennels dog boarding business has operated in Savage for 40 years. In recent years, the large Trout Run Preserve housing development has slowly covered the east hillside, bringing one home so close to the kennel that there is less than 30 feet between the property lines.
Curling center, entertainment destination proposed for Savage's Loftus farm

A world-class curling center would be the crown jewel of an entertainment and recreation hub a developer wants to build on Savage's last cow farm. Copper Creek, a Prior Lake-based developer, plans to transform the iconic Loftus farm into an ice complex with six lanes for curling and other entertainment amenities.
Meet the organization behind the mental health facility nearing approval in Savage

Michelle Roubik went to the emergency room after attempting suicide, but there weren't any psychiatric hospital beds open in the metro. After hours of waiting, Roubik learned a hospital bed had opened nearly two hours away. She was transferred there for treatment - away from family, friends and her everyday life in St.
As longtime Savage firefighters retire, department adjusts to changing times

Family ties have woven together the Savage Fire Department since the beginning. Tom Stang Sr. moved to town and bought a service station, now the BP on Highway 13 and Lynn Avenue, in 1966. A friend and regular customer, firefighter Clem Gerald, told him the fire department needed volunteers who were always in town and asked him to join.
Savage resident and friends swim the English Channel, if you use your imagination

Savage resident Todd Millenacker, 40, was reading a book on Mount Everest when he thought it really can't be that hard. He and his friends gave it a try one year ago. After 96 laps up and down the tallest peak of the Hyland Hills Ski Area in Bloomington, they completed the 29,000-foot climb, in a way.
Early morning fire leaves Savage home uninhabitable

A Monday morning fire left a south Savage home uninhabitable but caused no injuries, the city's fire officials said. The homeowner in the 15000 block of Dakota Avenue reported the fire at 4:20 a.m., according to Savage Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Slama. He said smoke detectors alerted the family to the fire and all residents evacuated safely.
Debate over 9 acres of land stalls Savage 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Savage's 2040 Comprehensive Plan is complete, but disagreement over the future of 9 acres of land prevented preliminary approval by the Savage City Council late last month. Some local officials say the vacant land on the outskirts of Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve could provide an opportunity for condominiums, upscale apartments or senior living.
Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district leaders, union discuss repairing relationships

Tears, picket lines and large crowds of teachers are no longer elements of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District Board of Education meetings, yet the last year of emotional contract negotiations between the district and teacher's union still looms. Board members and leadership from the Burnsville Education Association teachers union met in a workshop following the a Board of Education meeting Thursday to discuss moving on after a difficult year.
Two years in the red, Savage city officials discuss future of municipal liquor operation

Some city officials have questioned whether Savage's municipal liquor operation should continue after years of losing money, though others say it's not as much of a problem as it appears. Over the past 20 years, profits from the city of Savage's municipal liquor operation have contributed millions of dollars to community facilities.
Savage unites in annual National Night Out celebration

Around 80 neighborhood gatherings took place on Aug. 7 for Nite to Unite - Savage's annual National Night Out celebration. The community building event - held on the first Tuesday in August each year - brings together neighbors, local law enforcement and local officials to celebrate community relationships, trust and working together toward a safer community.
After 150 years of family farming in Savage, Ray Loftus prepares to sell

Ray Loftus knew he'd be the last person working his family's land when he took over the dairy farming operation in 1983. Over the past century, 600 acres of farmland in Savage has passed down the Loftus family line, dispersed on the map by swells in the city's development, and leaving behind the 15 acres that Loftus hobby farms today.
Police: Sex offender found on St. Paul school bus was living in Savage hotel

A registered sex offender who allegedly hid on a St. Paul school bus recently had been living at the Quality Inn in Savage, police say. Michael Charles Friedrichs, 61, was charged March 5 in Scott County District Court with knowingly violating his sex offender registration and knowingly providing false information.
UPDATED: Burnsville woman killed in crash on Highway 13

A Burnsville woman died of injuries resulting from a crash on Highway 13 near County Road 11 Monday in Burnsville, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. Shukri Yusuf Mohamed, 25, died at the scene of the two-vehicle crash, which occurred around 3:30 p.m.
Police: Standoff in Burnsville Costco parking lot ends peacefully

An incident in a Burnsville Costco parking lot that resulted in hours of police negotiations has ended peacefully, according to an update posted to Twitter by the Burnsville Police Department shortly after 5 a.m. Thursday. Police say they were negotiating with a male they believed to be suicidal and who may have had a gun since early Wednesday evening.
Roof collapses at Super 8 in Shakopee

The Super 8 in Shakopee was evacuated after the roof over the swimming pool collapsed Tuesday night. Shakopee Police Sgt. Josh Davis said the call came in at about 6:40 p.m. that the roof over the pool collapsed.
Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District proposes "painful" budget cuts, set public forum

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District officials rolled out a proposal for widespread budget cuts this month in their efforts to close a projected $7.7 million deficit next year. Increasing class sizes, eliminating athletic programs for middle school and ninth grade students and cuts to elementary and middle school music programs are a few of the approximately 100 changes included in the proposal.
Meet the organization behind the mental health facility nearing approval in Savage

Michelle Roubik went to the emergency room after attempting suicide, but there weren't any psychiatric hospital beds open in the metro. After hours of waiting, Roubik learned a hospital bed had opened nearly two hours away. She was transferred there for treatment - away from family, friends and her everyday life in St.
No major injuries after suspected drunk driver hits police SUV

A Savage Police vehicle was hit by a suspected drunk driver just after midnight early Tuesday, Savage Police said. The officer inside was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and the uninjured suspect remains in custody. Near midnight on Monday, Nov.
Dept. of Revenue: Owners of Shogun restaurant suppressed sales to commit tax crimes

Two owners and operators of Shogun restaurant in Burnsville are each charged with eight felony tax crimes, according to The Minnesota Department of Revenue. The criminal complaint states Kehui Yang and Qiuyun Huang, both of Eagan, intentionally used sales suppression software to remove thousands of line items from sales receipts and underpay sales tax between 2014 and 2017, tucking away roughly $43,000 that should have gone to the state.
Companies along Minnesota River in Savage say high water causes headaches

The Minnesota River in Savage crested for the third time this year on July 12 at 705.52 feet, according to observations reported to the National Weather Service by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For operations along the river that depend on barge traffic, high water comes with a hefty price tag.
Burnsville's Norwood Inn closes on health department's orders

The Minnesota Department of Health ordered the Norwood Inn and Suites in Burnsville to close after regulators say it failed to correct code violations. The inn at 12920 Aldrich Ave. S. is closed off with yellow tape and "keep out" signs. Mark Peloquin, a state code enforcement coordinator, said violations were recorded back in May during a routine inspection.
Local legislators seek to repeal controversial Dan Patch moratorium

Savage officials say they're still hopeful that one day passengers will board Minneapolis-bound commuter trains in Savage on the existing Dan Patch rail line. Since 2002, a controversial state bill has banned the Minnesota Department of Transportation and any other state agency from considering the idea.
Commissioner of Education talks budgetary needs with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district officials

The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District and other districts across the state need more funding from the state for pre-kindergarten, special education and school safety programs, district officials told the Minnesota Commissioner of Education this week. Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker and key members of her staff met with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District officials on April 2 to discuss the impact of the governor's education budget on district programs and budget shortfalls.
April blizzard doesn't stop treasure hunters at Canterbury's Junk Bonanza

SHAKOPEE - Schools and offices across the state had closed, but the blizzard conditions and high winds Thursday didn't keep antique lovers away from one of the biggest shows in the Midwest, the biannual Junk Bonanza. Friends Jeanne Verbanae and Chris Kuffel arrived with their trailer from Green Bay, Wisconsin, at the gates of Canterbury Park at 6:30 a.m.
Savage Fen a 'success story,' officials say efforts not enough

The 441-acre Savage Fen wetland - home to rare and endangered plants and birds - is nestled between busy roads, industrial operations and housing developments. The expansive wetland is seemingly in a bubble, but that's far from the truth.
Gallery: New and familiar holiday traditions at Savage Police Department's Santa Cop

The Savage community came together to celebrate the holiday season and give back to several families at the Savage Police Department's seventh annual Santa Cop event Tuesday. Officials and residents gathered for s'mores, ornament-making and holiday tunes sung by the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District Freestyle jazz choir at City Hall before counting down to the tree-lighting, a new addition to the festivities.
Burnsville High School students "speak up" about race and equity and first-of-its kind event

Students and staff at Burnsville High School last week came together for what attendees described as a powerful conversation race and equality. The Dec. 13 event, entitled Speak Up, aimed to give students a time to express their feelings, challenge their beliefs and address the pain caused by racist acts at the school, such as racial slurs recently painted on the school's spirit boulder.
Mountain biking at Murphy-Hanrehan Park can present challenges to first responders

The sprawling forest, dense tree canopies and narrow, rugged trails that attract mountain bikers to Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve in Savage also can create dangerous challenges for first responders, local officials said in recent weeks. "Obviously, we have a lot of mountain bikers in the community, which we are happy to report because it's a great park for health and wellness," Savage Fire Chief Joel McColl said.
Family-owned Whiskey Inferno raises drinks to Savage history

The restaurateurs behind several downtown-style south metro eateries have opened Whiskey Inferno in their hometown. The new Savage restaurant features a wide range of steakhouse and barbecue eats and, true to its name, over 250 whiskeys. Owners Tony and Rheata Donatell also oversee the rustic-chic south metro spots Bourbon Butcher, Burgers and Bottles and Volstead House.
A Savage celebration, an album and the 'gifts of cancer'

Around 300 people from around the country gathered at the Ames Center on July 29 for Savage resident Andy Nelson's album release party. It was also his cancer victory party. In October 2015, Andy put his mind to recording and releasing an album. One year later, he was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer.
Heart transplants bring Savage, Prior Lake families together

Through tears, Christin Gigstad thanked the crowd that gathered under the shelter at River Bend Park on July 12 - severe thunderstorms in the area had not kept anyone away. "This last year has been the worst storm of our lives, so it can't be any worse than what we've had to go through," Christin said.
What the experts say about increasing traffic on Highway 13

Officials called for public input in a Highway 13 study they hope will guide decision-making about the roadway's future design while balancing needs for mobility and access to local Savage. John Solberg with the Minnesota Department of Transportation said the department plans to launch a study of the highway and its connecting roads that could take two or three years.