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Liz Sawyer

Reporter | General assignment reporter
phone: 612-673-4648
Liz Sawyer is a graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she majored in newspaper and online journalism. During her time at SU, Sawyer served as news editor of the school's independent student newspaper, The Daily Orange. She previously covered the South Metro and Minneapolis at the Star Tribune.Follow @bylizsawyer
Recent content from Liz Sawyer
Robert Wagner, owner and operator of Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, commissioned 11 artists to create a ceiling mural of Gotham City and Minneapol

Minnesota's Largest Candy Store sends up the bat signal for customers

Construction on Hwy. 169 could cut into its business this summer.
James Holt Jr. and Nicole Smith-Holt (third from right) rallied at the Minnesota state Capitol on Saturday against the high and rising prices of presc

Dozens rally at State Capitol for more affordable prescription drugs

Chants of "Patients over profits!" rang out as protesters called for legislation aimed at pharmaceutical industry.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, shown in 2015, said further investigation is needed.

Woman won't be charged for now after scores of animals found at home

The Dakota County attorney said further investigation is needed of the Farmington woman who ran an animal rescue nonprofit.

Victoria open meetings case heading to Minnesota Supreme Court

The Carver County city has paid nearly $500k in legal fees related to the lawsuit and elected officials continue to squabble over violations.
Then-Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague, shown in 2013.

U paid nearly $300,000 in sex harassment cases related to Teague

The settlements went to two prominent women on University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler's senior leadership team, according to newly released documents.
Construction workers will become more visible in Shakopee with more housing developments slated to begin.

Shakopee approves flurry of new housing projects

City will get first new apartment units in more than a decade.
From left, Greg Hayes, director of Mdewakanton Public Safety, Tribal Chairman Charles R. Vig and Fire Capt. Bob Jacobs.

Mdewakanton fire department earns prestigious performance rating

Performance ranking puts it among the top 2 percent of fire departments nationally.
Friends Olivia Bremer, left, and Skylar Bouman, both 9, of Waconia, welcomed more than 140 veterans home after a whirlwind trip to honor their service

Decades later, Korean and Vietnam-era veterans mark homecoming

Korean and Vietnam-era vets receive "honor flight" to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C.
Founders Shawn Hallett, a Shakopee school board member, left, and Kristin Koller both regularly staff Saber Nation Station.

School resource rooms offer bounty for underprivileged teens

Shakopee High boutique offers free essentials for students in need.

Shakopee school board authorizes $2.4 million in cuts, fills vacancy

The board appointed longtime educator Judith Tomczik to fill the vacancy left by Mary Romansky, who resigned last winter.
The scene of a violent crash late Friday in St. Paul that killed a 41-year-old driver passing by and injured a suspect fleeing police. The crash also

Man killed when fleeing suspect slams into his car in St. Paul

After a long day of work at a St. Paul barbershop, Lashay Whittaker headed home to his wife and two children late Friday. He didn't make it.

Northern Minnesota man dies in rollover

A 34-year-old man from Lancaster, Minn., died early Saturday in a single-vehicle rollover in northwestern Minnesota about 20 miles from the Canadian border.
Canterbury Commons will eventually include 599 apartments.

Canterbury Park housing development to break ground this fall

Work will begin this fall on first stage of Shakopee housing, retail complex.
Longtime Owatonna educator Dorothy Smith dies at 98

Longtime Owatonna educator Dorothy Smith dies at 98

Smith went on to spend nearly 40 years in the classroom teaching elementary students to read, first in rural one-room schoolhouses and then Owatonna's bustling school district. She died March 8 at age 98 at the Brookdale Sterling House in Owatonna.
Chanhassen Inn co-owner Jean Zamor tested the newly installed lock on the front door of the hotel Thursday, the inn’s last day of business. The fron

It's lights out at the Chanhassen Inn, which grew up along with the suburb

Hotel will be razed to make room for a Panera cafe.
In St. Paul, 20,000 rally for gun control

In St. Paul, 20,000 rally for gun control

In rallies at the Capitol and in a few other communities across Minnesota, students found new power and energy as they led March for Our Lives demonstrations.
Shakopee schools chief Gary Anger talked with fourth-graders Allis Ayala Lopez, left, and Elvin Rascon.

Shakopee schools chief looks to heal troubled district – and himself

Superintendent Gary Anger has relied on small gestures to boost morale in an embattled district stung by scandal.
The former Marie Steiner Kelting Hospice Home in Chaska soon will be repurposed as a temporary-stay crisis center.

Scott County seeking $1.4 million for mental health crisis center in Savage

Scott County seeks funding to build residential mental health facility for vulnerable adults.
Colleen McNellis (left), 74, and Judy Niemann, 78, have patronized O’Gara’s for 70 years.

O'Gara's pub in St. Paul celebrates building's final St. Paddy's Day

Patrons of the landmark St. Paul pub, slated for demolition and rebuilding, showed up in green force Saturday.
About 50 parents, neighbors and friends of students at Dowling Elementary in Minneapolis, joined hands in silence for 17 minutes outside the school.

Minn. students join walkout demanding stricter gun laws

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter arrived at Harding High to show his support chanting, "Books not bullets!" along with students.
Annie Young

Minneapolis Park Board renames Riverside parcel for conservationist Annie Young

The commissioner was a conservation leader and steward of the riverfront.
A 26-acre site planned for 600-plus luxury apartments in a gated community that's adjacent Canterbury Park in Shakopee.

Canterbury Park development clears another major hurdle

Shakopee approved the funding Canterbury Park sought for redevelopment.
An arsenal of weapons found in the home of a Vadnais Heights teen after threats were reported.

Family: Vadnais Heights boy suspected of threat has autism

His grandfather said the reports of an arsenal in a Vadnais Heights home are exaggerated.
A 26-acre site in Shakopee that’s adjacent to Canterbury Park was among those offered by Minnesota to Amazon.

Scott County Amazon bids offer glimpse into state's approach

Minnesota did not make the online retail giant's list of top 20 finalists last month.
Elko New Market Police Chief Rick Jensen handed out police stickers to children at a playground while on patrol Friday. The City Council voted unanimo

Meet Minnesota's safest city: Elko New Market

In the tight-knit community of Elko New Market, just named the safest city in Minnesota, police officers are so popular that they're invited to children's birthday parties.

Emails show Shakopee board member felt forced into resignation

Mary Romansky abruptly resigned late last month amid questions about her "engagement level."

Longtime Shakopee school board member resigns amid questions about 'engagement'

Board members to decide how to fill Mary Romansky's vacant seat.
The Minnesota National Guard held a deployment ceremony for the 347th Regional Support Group, who are deploying to Kuwait, and a welcome home ceremony

Minneapolis event honors National Guard members serving overseas

National Guard units headed overseas are honored, along with others recently arrived home.
Zoo Director John Frawley dreams of converting the defunct 1980s-era monorail track into an aerial treetop boardwalk.

Aging Minnesota Zoo needs repairs, seeks nearly $35 million from state

Campaign seeks money to fix railings, walkways, bridges.
In this rendering of a Club Nomadic, the world-famous traveling night life experience that was in Houston last year, will call the Shakopee Mdewakanto

Club Nomadic drops lawsuit against Mystic Lake

Promoter accused the casino of breach of contract after they pulled the plug on a Super Bowl concert venue.
Chantel Brooks and Hope Coleman, from left, who lost sons in police shootings, were among those at Saturday’s conference.

For mothers bereaved by police shootings, protest comes naturally

Women who've lost sons to police shootings gathered at Augsburg University.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, right. and teammate J.J. Nunes, a farmer from Tulare, Calif., held the Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl Trophy o

It may not be the Super Bowl, but Stefon Diggs and Vikings still win at Farm Bowl

Land O'Lakes Farm Bowl gives NFL players a new appreciation for local farmers.
One of two F-16 jets with the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth practiced a flyover over downtown Minneapolis just before 3 p.m. Wednesday.

What's that noise? Fighter jets rattle downtown Minneapolis

Demonstration simulated F-16s intercepting a Cessna, says Minnesota Air National Guard.
Elizabeth Stenger, 6, of Shakopee makes a perfect throw during NFL Family Football Fest .

Minnesota fans are the kindest, Case Keenum tells Shakopee crowd

He and other players appeared at the NFL-sponsored Shakopee Family Festival.
Eagles fans watched as Pamela Boutwell with Wilson laced a football as they watched it being made at the NFL’s Super Bowl Experience on Saturday.

Super Bowl Experience opens to lines, families

Super Bowl LII events drew thousands of purple-clad fans to downtown Minneapolis on Saturday.
Shakopee Public Schools approves Gary Anger, current superintendent of Zumbrota-Mazeppa Public Schools, as interim superintendent for the district unt

Shakopee schools superintendent to return from medical leave

Interim Superintendent Gary Anger stepped away for three months to fight cancer.
Club NOMADIC, a traveling night life experience that was in Houston last year, will call Mystic Lake Casino Hotel home for four days of performances (

Club Nomadic sues Mystic Lake over canceled Super Bowl shows

The promoter seeks to enjoin the casino from making critical comments about its performance.

2 Minneapolis men die in crash in western Wisconsin

A third man was seriously injured in the rollover in Baldwin Township around 5 a.m.

Suspect wielding knives fatally shot by Fairmont police

Officers responded to a call about a woman being threatened at an apartment building about 2:20 a.m., police said.
Denny Laufenburger

Rift in Carver County GOP causes chairman to quit

Denny Laufenburger chooses his nonpartisan mayorship over party politics.
Jon McBroom, acting interim school superintendent in Shakopee, read to a kindergarten class at Pearson Elementary School. The school board, facing a g

Shakopee's Pearson 6th Grade Center to close amid budget woes

School district officials face more tough cuts ahead of a projected $500,000 deficit for 2018.
The Chanhassen City Council unanimously approved an ordinance amendment this week permitting licensed caterers to serve — but not sell — alcohol d

Paisley Park to serve alcohol during private Super Bowl parties

Fans lament decision to serve liquor during corporate Super Bowl events, calling it disrespectful to Prince's legacy.
Club NOMADIC, the world-famous traveling night life experience that was in Houston last year, will call the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s M

Mystic Lake helps tout Prior Lake as suburban epicenter for Super Bowl

Prior Lake venue invests in Viking pride for Super Bowl revelry.

Burst pipe floods lobby, closes AMC Rosedale theater

It remains unclear how long the theater will be closed.
Dr. Carmen Colitz, right, and Dr. Jim Rasmussen, a senior veterinarian at the zoo, performed eye surgery on a monk seal.

Hawaiian monk seals at Minnesota Zoo undergo successful eye surgery

Veterinarians hope the pair will regain some sight.
The relit Grain Belt sign Saturday night as seen from the Hennepin Bridge.

After 21 years in the dark, landmark Grain Belt sign relit above Hennepin Av.

With the flip of a switch, one of Minneapolis’ most recognizable landmarks came back to life Saturday evening. The giant Grain Belt Beer bottle cap…

Feds say Shakopee woman bilked of $60,000 from suitor

Suit says man using false identity on dating site charmed her into making transfers.

Scott County to establish mobile mental health crisis unit

In an end to longtime collaboration with Carver County, Scott leaders seek dedicated team to meet residents' growing needs.
The outdoor Hyundai storage location at Canterbury Park in Shakopee for the 400 Super Bowl cars for Super Bowl executives, traveling workers and the t

Come Super Bowl weekend, Hyundai fleet will zip through Twin Cities

Four hundred new Hyundai vehicles started arriving in November at Canterbury Park to prepare for the influx of high-rollers.
Curt Olson erected poster boards as members of FACT (Friends & Concerned Taxpayers of Shakopee) gathered outside a school board meeting at Shakopee We

Vowing transparency, Shakopee schools, City Hall work to rebuild trust

Fiscal scandal activated community watchdogs.
A 26-acre site planned for 625 luxury apartments in a gated community that's adjacent Canterbury Park in Shakopee, photographed in July.

$400M Canterbury Commons project clears major hurdle in Shakopee

Shakopee City Council votes to allow for high-density housing complex at the site.
Struggling financially, McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul will close its doors Wednesday.

Emotions run high as McNally Smith College of Music graduates final class

St. Paul college's abrupt closing leaves hundreds scrambling to find options to complete education.
Carver County purchased the Marie Steiner Kelting Hospice Home with plans to convert it to a crisis center for adults.

Carver County to convert former hospice to mental health crisis center

Mental health advocates say the residential facility will encourage those struggling to seek help sooner.
The dispute arose after Belle Plaine allowed a cross at a local veterans park.

Satanic Temple sues Belle Plaine for canceling park's public space

It was to be the first Satanic monument erected on public property in the nation.

90-year-old man dies of injuries suffered in fire at Chanhassen assisted living facility

The cause of the blaze, which happened Tuesday, remains under investigation.
Burger King logo

Bemidji Burger Kings closed after 27 people get salmonella

The fast-food sites may not reopen until late next week.
A project to develop part of the Canterbury Park complex may face a challenge in front of the Shakopee City Council.

Canterbury redevelopment project needs green light from council to break ground

If approved, the massive project would include apartments, townhouses and boutique hotel.
Jon McBroom, temporary interim superintendent

Amid scandal, Shakopee School District could face tough cuts ahead

Audit shows its fund balance dropped from $2.5M to $1.1M.

Firefighters rescue teens trapped 100 feet down in St. Paul cave

The boys were exploring caverns on the city's West Side when their adventure went awry. They were not hurt.
Future Habitat home buyer Sy Her painted the rear entrance of a Habitat for Humanity house in north Minneapolis.

Fearing more tech problems, Give to the Max charities take new strategy

Nonprofits make plans in case tech trouble hits Give to the Max.
Rod Thompson

Ex-Shakopee superintendent charged with embezzlement

Rod Thompson,who resigned in June amid outrage over his alleged misuse of district credit cards, was charged Tuesday with 20 felony counts of theft and embezzlement and one misdemeanor.

Several teens from Burnsville church hurt in bus rollover

The crash happened on icy Hwy. 52 near Rochester.

South metro suburbs favor familiar candidates

Voters in the south metro hit the polls and rewarded familiar candidates in Savage and Northfield races. (See results of Minnesota election contests here.)…
Peter Leatherman, a consultant from the Morris Leatherman Company, delivered the results of Prior Lake’s Community Survey last month at Club Prior.

What's missing in Prior Lake? Very little, survey says

As the population of Prior Lake grows, so too does the enthusiasm of its residents.
The defunct monorail track passes above the Hanifl Family Wild Woods Play Area at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

Minnesota Zoo to request nearly $35 million in 2018 bonding bill

It will ask the Legislature to fund an aerial walkway, a trolley system and critical infrastructure improvements at its 40-year-old campus.
Gary Anger credit: school district

Retired Shakopee schools superintendent to lead district temporarily

Jon McBroom in contract talks to replace Gary Anger, who is on a medical leave.
Shakopee Schools Interim Superintendent Gary Anger is taking a medical leave for cancer treatment.

Shakopee superintendent takes medical leave after cancer diagnosis

Gary Anger will immediately begin treatment for small cell carcinoma.
Incumbent Gene Abbott, left, Carl J. Boudreau and Bob Coughlen took part in the forum at Savage City Hall on Tuesday night.

Savage City Council candidates hold first public forum

Two veterans will face a longtime incumbent in quest for two open seats.
Chad Rygwall loved flying his single-engine Cessna, family members said.

Princeton couple were in plane that crashed near Ramsey in river

A woman's body has been recovered, and attempts continued Saturday to find the body of a second victim, presumed to be her husband.
Shakopee's comprehensive plan, dubbed “Envision Shakopee,” outlines how amenities from housing to parks to transportation should develop over the

Shakopee hopes to maintain 'small-town feel' amid major growth

Residents will help develop a vision for housing, parks and lifestyle in 2040 Comprehensive plan.
Last year, Scott Korum, then a senior on the Shakopee Senior High School robotics team, worked on robots in the new Amazon fulfillment center. Amazon

Scott County offers Amazon design freedom in pitch for HQ2

Sites in Shakopee and Elko New Market are vying to make the state's cut for regional bid.
A MnDOT traffic camera revealed a very dark and empty Interstate 35W just south of downtown Minneapolis on Saturday night.

I-35W closure in Minneapolis detouring motorists, slowing traffic

MnDOT says plan alternative routes, leave early to avoid major traffic delays.
The exterior of Mystic Lake Center is seen on the right as a construction worker focuses on scaffolding in the skyway entrance area on Thursday.

Big Mystic Lake hotel on tight deadline to open for Super Bowl

Lofty addition is on track to help Mystic Lake become one of the region's largest hotels.
Curt Olson hung posters at a junior high calling for the school board in Shakopee to step down.

Shakopee watchdog group sets sights on school board

Some Shakopee residents have rallied together to form a community watchdog group with a single, unifying purpose: a demand that the school board step down. They want all seven members to resign but say they'll settle for a few.

Small plane crash in northwestern Minn. kills all 3 people aboard

Three men were found dead Saturday morning after the single-engine plane they were in crashed near Thief River Falls, in northwestern Minnesota.
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