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State's First Winter Storm is a Doozy

by Matt Carlson

We could expect up to eight inches of snow by Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune

That will be joined by heavy wind and temperatures approaching zero degrees. The National Weather Service described it, simply, as "an extremely dangerous winter storm," according to the Star Tribune.

The storm is forecast to be even worse in the south.  With hundreds of schools already closed for Wednesday, the storm hadn't let up. The  Minnesota Department of Transportation warned drivers in 21 counties to stay off the roads, according to the Star Tribune article.

Despite the harsh weather the Minnesota State Patrol reports no fatalities, at least according to the Star Tribune article.  In a similar article about the storm in The St. Paul Pioneer Press, The Minnesota State Patrol said there was indeed one fatality.

A 22-year-old woman from Rogers swerved to avoid a car on the side of the road.  She rolled her car and came to a stop upside down in a pond for 25 minutes.  She died early Wednesday morning, the Pioneer Press reports.

The Pioneer Press article warns the snow will continue to fall through the day on Wednesday with a winter weather advisory in effect all day long. 

The National Weather Service urges motorists to have a winter weather preparedness kit in their cars and exercise caution when driving in winter weather conditions, according to the Pioneer Press.

E. Coli Suit Against Minnesota's Cargill

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by Matt Carlson

A 22-year-old woman from Cold Spring, Minnesota is suing, Cargill, the nation's largest private company for $100 million in response to nearly dying, all from eating beef tainted with E. coli.

In 2007, Stephanie Smith and her family ate hambugers at a family barbecue.  The illness she incurred from the beef left her paralyzed.

Smith's medical bills already exceed $2 million, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  Smith was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that can lead to kidney failure, according to the Associated Press.

Cargill officials maintain that the illness of Smith is not their fault, even though they have paid for some of her and others' medical expenses regarded the 2007 E. coli outbreak, which sickened 24 Americans, according to the Pioneer Press.

In a New York Times article published two months ago, it was reported that E. coli was found in trimmings that were processed in Cargill's plants.  Cargill officials suggested to the Times that the trimmings were tainted before reaching Cargill processing facilities, according to the Pioneer Press.

Smith's attorney, Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food-illness attorney, said that regardless of when or where the beef was contaminated, they are responsible as the distributors of the beef.

Smith's story in the Times garnered attention from Washington where a food safety bill is making slow progress.  The Pioneer Press also reports that scientists are now conducting large-scale trials vaccinating cattle against the E. coli bacteria, a venture that Cargill is invested in.

Cooking hamburgers to at least 160 degrees will kill the bacteria, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Pioneer Press article.

U's Light Rail Talks Continue

by Matt Carlson

The University of Minnesota has once again met with the Metropolitan Council to discuss a new 11-mile-long light rail corridor to connect St. Paul and Minneapolis.

A Met Council representative told Minnesota Public Radio that progress has been made, however the University still has concerns about the project.

The $941 million project will run through the U's Minneapolis campus.  School officials are concerned that vibrations and electromagnetic interference would adversely affect research equipment along Washington Avenue, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Met Council chairman Peter Bell said If the two parties do not reach an agreement, the project could lose have of its funding or necessary federal approvals, according to MPR.

The Federal Transit Administration, which is scheduled to fund have of the projects cost, said the project can't go forward with a University lawsuit in place, according to the Star Tribune.

The talks are schedule to continue next Wednesday.

More Arrests in Youtube Assault Case

by Matt Carlson

Minneapolis Police have arrested two more suspects Wednesday in connection with Twin Cities assaults that were videotaped and posted on Youtube, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

A 16-year-old and 17-year-old were arrested for the alleged assault of a 50-year-old man who was riding his bicycle on the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis.  This particular attack was not taped, but investigators have linked the two boys to the attack, according to an Associated Press article posted on the Worthington Daily Globe website.

Police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said that the motivation for the attacks is still unknown.  "If anybody thinks this is just kids doing stupid things, they might think differently if they were a victim," Garcia said in an interview with the Star Tribune. "People are getting pushed off bikes and into streets, which could cause serious injuries. This isn't acceptable behavior."

The investigation and subsequent arrests hinged on the group posting a Youtube video of the assaults which was set to music and included clear images and names of the suspects.  The video was taken down from the site on Thursday, according to the Star Tribune.

The total number of arrests related to the assaults is now four.  A 17-year-old and 19-year-old were arrested on Tuesday.




U2 to Rock the Bank

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by Matt Carlson

The worldwide popular band U2 has announced plans to play in Minneapolis on the University of Minnesota Campus' TCF Bank Stadium this coming June, according to Ganpati News.

The announcement of the show puts to rest rumors of the past week and will be the first non-sporting, large-scale event at TCF Bank Stadium, Ganpati News also reported.

The tickets, going on sale November 21st at 10:00 a.m., sold out in a mere two hours, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  Fans of the band that are students or season ticket holders of Gopher sports were given the opportunity to buy tickets before they went on sale to the public.

Ticket costs ranged from $295 to $30.  The stadium will hold "thousands more" than the typical 50,000 guests for the upcoming concert scheduled for June 27th, 2010, according to the Star Tribune.

Upset by loss, Packers fan stabs man

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by Matt Carlson

A Green Bay Packers fan allegedly stabbed a man outside the Leaning Tower of Pizza restaurant on Monday night after a disappointing loss to the Vikings, authorities said.

Minneapolis man Ryan Andrew Hinderaker, 30, has been charged with second-degree assault as a result of the incident, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

According to the criminal complaint, Hinderaker, 30, was arguing with 41-year-old Lefi Heide over the Packers-Vikings when the two stepped outside.

Hinderaker then pulled a knife out of his right pants pocket and stabbed the Heide in the stomach, according to FOX9 news.

Some officers were confused by the incident, given that Heide was reportedly a Seattle Seahawks fan, according to MPR.

Hinderaker later called 911 and turned himself into police custody.  Heide was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for surgery to treat his injury.


U of M budgets $240 million for buildings

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by Matt Carlson
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents unanimously approved a request for $193.3 million for new building projects and renovations. 

A total budget of $240 million will be available once the University puts in its own $46.7 million.

The plan is that $100 million would go toward maintenance and improvements of existing buildings, while $80 million would be put into new physics and nanotechnology research centers.  Folwell hall was also said to be in line for a face lift, according to the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.

An additional $10 million is marked for an American Indian Learning Resource Center at the Duluth campus and there will be $5.5 million set aside for improvements to the Itasca Biological Station, according to KARE 11 news.

Big sports weekend in the Twin Cities

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by Matt Carlson

Over the weekend there will be some high-profile games played in the Twin Cities including a collegiate grid iron battle, a late-season baseball slugfest and the classic Monday night showdown between the Vikings and Green Bay Packers, according to KARE 11 news.

The Badgers are in town for a Big Ten conference game against the Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium.  Meanwhile the Twins will be chasing down the Detroit Tiger's lead in the American League Central Division while playing the Kansas City Royals in the Metrodome.  The marquee match-up, however, comes Monday as former cheesehead Brett Favre helms the Vikings in his first-ever appearance playing against the Green Bay Packers.

The Pioneer Press also mentioned the Twin Cities marathon, which will be held on Sunday morning with about 11,500 entrants running the 26.2 mile course beginning at the Metrodome and ending at the Capitol in St. Paul.

Minnesota needs the Vikings, Pawlenty says

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by Matt Carlson

Governor Tim Pawlenty recently said in his weekly Friday morning radio show that Minnesota needs the Vikings.

Pawlenty focused on the issue of the Metrodome.  The team has leased the bubble through 2011, but does not plan to extend the lease.  While saying something has to be done to keep the team in the state, Pawlenty did go so far as to endorse a mostly public-funded stadium.

A far less costly plan to renovate the Metrodome has been proposed by the venue's operating commission, according to KSTP news.

While Pawlenty claims that the team needs a new stadium and the state needs the state, he remains neutral in his political action.  Considering a jeopardized 2012 presidential election bid, Pawlenty would be straying from a fiscally conservative philosophy.

Pawlenty would contend, however, the Vikings are an asset to the state and give great joy to many people in the state.  He also said, even though the public doesn't like to spend its money on private industry, it is the state's responsibility to provide "infrastructure for public amenities such as hunting and fishing grounds, the arts and bike trails," as was written in the KSTP article.

Callers on Pawlenty's radio show called for a public-private partnership to get any new deals in the works, according to the Star Tribune.

Pawlenty will be attending Monday night's border battle between the Vikings and Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.

Two dead in Lino Lakes murder-suicide

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by Matt Carlson

The St. Paul Pioneer Press and KARE 11 both report an apparent murder-suicide in Lino Lakes that took place on Thursday night.

The police have been tight-lipped and said the two people have not been identified, according to the Pioneer Press.

However, the police also said that it appears that the two people knew each other as published in the KARE 11 article.

The police have no suspects and the case is still under investigation.

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