Author: Stuart Sudak

Stuart Sudak Stuart Sudak is a longtime freelance journalist based in Minnesota. Over the years, he has written for newspapers, magazines, websites, and corporations. Stuart also served as an editor at several newspapers in Minnesota and Illinois, including the Eden Prairie News from 2000-05. He lives in Chaska with his wife Tracy and three children. To view some of his recent work, visit https://www.clippings.me/users/stuartsudak

Eden Prairie siblings Sasha and Nico Allen are making their mark by digging into the past. The budding historians earned two of the top three honors among Minnesota students participating last month in the 2021 National History Day Contest. Sasha, 15, and Nico, 13, the children of Scott and Juliana Allen, were among 60 Minnesota students who competed in the annual competition. Held virtually this year because of the pandemic, it usually takes place in Washington, D.C. According to its website, the contest encourages middle school and high school students to do original research on historical topics. Students presented exhibits, papers,…

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When it came to uncovering Eden Prairie’s past, Ernie Shuldhiess was quite the detective. Sifting through old newspaper articles on 200 rolls of microfilm, the longtime Eden Prairie resident unearthed a treasure trove of historic anecdotes chronicling the city’s early days. The result of his labor? Two books authored by Shuldhiess on Eden Prairie history. Longtime Eden Prairie resident Ernie Shuldhiess died in 2007 at 58. Photo credit Stuart Sudak His first, Eden Prairie Book of Days, features a short nugget of Eden Prairie history for each of the 365 days of the year. Shuldhiess once described it as a…

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Instead of flowers, Spencer Conrad’s family asked that people honor him by donating to the Minnesota Fire Initiative (MnFire). Former Eden Prairie Fire Chief George Esbensen and several of his firefighting colleagues formed the statewide advocacy organization in 2016. The 501 (c)(3) non-profit MnFire provides firefighters with the tools, training, and support they need to prioritize and protect their health from cancer, emotional trauma, and cardiac disease. According to MnFire, those three are affecting firefighters at rates about double those of the general population.  Through its efforts, MnFire aims to reverse those trends. Esbensen serves as president of the MnFire board.…

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When doctors could do nothing more to fight his cancer, it was time for former Eden Prairie Fire Chief Spencer Conrad to come home. But, the retired firefighter didn’t make the May 13 trip alone. Conrad’s firefighting brothers and sisters escorted Conrad from the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis to his Eden Prairie house. The Eden Prairie Fire Department planned the convoy to pay tribute to Conrad, who served his hometown as a volunteer firefighter for 28 years, 12 as fire chief from 1990-2002. Initially, his wife Janet asked for one Eden Prairie fire truck to accompany him.…

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One year after George Floyd’s murder, the question of what happens next on police reforms in Minneapolis remains largely unresolved. Tom Heffelfinger, a former U.S. attorney for Minnesota who served from 1991-93 and again from 2001-06, has followed the legal maneuverings arising from Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020. Floyd’s death under the knee of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin sparked global protests and a call for reforms combating misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias in policing. Those efforts include the proposed federal George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, winding its way through Congress. Former Eden Prairie resident Tom…

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From Adisa Preston’s perspective, racial injustices involving police can happen anywhere. As an African-American, the 18-year-old Eden Prairie High School senior said that’s “something you automatically know.” From afar, Preston saw it happen in Louisville when plainclothes officers killed Breonna Taylor in March 2020 and Atlanta when police killed Rayshard Brooks in June 2020. But it is Eden Prairie’s close proximity to the deaths of George Floyd and Daunte Wright that gives her the most pause. “It hurts more when you realize this is in your own backyard,” Preston said. “That could have been you, or it could have been…

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Here’s what some Eden Prairie religious leaders and politicians had to say after a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Father J. Michael (Mike) Byron, pastor of Pax Christi Catholic Community in Eden Prairie, said there’s a collective sense of appropriate accountability in these verdicts. “But I am also aware that there is something much bigger behind this tragedy that won’t be adequately addressed by one man’s death being honored or one police officer going to prison,” he said. “It’s the question of how we live together…

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Christopher Ferguson, Metropolitan Council member for District 3, stands near the Southwest Light-Rail Transit extension project taking shape in Eden Prairie. The extension will run about 14.5 miles from Target Field Station in Minneapolis to Southwest Station in Eden Prairie. When it comes to racial equity in the Twin Cities, Christopher Ferguson doesn’t think much has changed in the two decades he’s called Minnesota home. Though there has been some incremental progress, the Metropolitan Council District 3 board member and Eden Prairie resident said it’s far from enough. Ferguson, 50, has been on the 17-member policy-making board that guides the metro area’s…

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Residents had until Feb. 21 to share their input on the Eden Prairie Police Department’s body-worn camera policy. Police will share those comments as part of its presentation of the policy to the Eden Prairie City Council on Tuesday, March 2. According to the city, feedback resulted in one response regarding the department’s use of body-worn cameras when working with other law enforcement agencies. The council needs to sign off on the purchase of cameras. Police are eyeing buying body-worn cameras for all its sworn officers. (A longer article with details regarding the Eden Prairie Police Department’s body-worn camera program can be…

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