April 26, 2009

Police respond to riot in Dinkytown

Police came in with riot gear after a block party in Dinkytown became unruly Saturday, the Star Tribune reported.

About three dozen police officers used tear gas, pepper spray and projectiles to control the crowd, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Some party-goers had started a street fire and others threw glass bottles at police. According to reports, six people were arrested, the Star Tribune reported.

The Minnesota Daily wrote that more then 400 people had congregated on the street at one point in the evening.

No serious injuries have been reported.

April 25, 2009

White Bear Lake beach to stay closed

Ramsey County has decided to close White Bear Lake beach for the summer due to the shrinking of the lake, the Star Tribune reported.

The lake has receded 50 feet from the shore and is now only a few feet away from a drop-off, the Pioneer Press reported.

The drop-off, which is a six- to eight-foot drop, could prove a hazard to beach goers. White Bear Lake has generally had a large shallow stretch, making it more child-friendly, the Pioneer Press reported.

On the busiest days, the beach has drawn up to 500 people, the county told the Pioneer Press.

No lifeguard will be employed at the lake for the summer, but the county wants to install emergency telephones, Jody Youngers, director of Ramsey County's park services and operations, told the Star Tribune.

The lake's boat ramp, playground and picnic area will remain open.

April 19, 2009

One dead after crash with stolen car

A woman was killed in St. Paul Saturday after a man driving a stolen car crashed into her vehicle, police told the Star Tribune.

A man in the woman's vehicle was also seriously injured, and an 8-year-old boy in the car with the suspect was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Roseville police arrested the suspect, Tito Fonzio Campbell, 33, of Roseville, at the crash scene, the Pioneer Press reported.

Police received a report that the suspect had stolen a car and proceeded to the scene, where they saw the car, a Chrysler 300M, driving away, the Pioneer Press reported. The police pursued the car until it started driving recklessly at an estimated speed of 90 mph, at which point "the officer immediately discontinued the pursuit due to the suspect's aggressive and dangerous driving," the Roseville police told the Pioneer Press.

The officers continued in the same direction as they had seen the car proceed, and were later stopped by witnesses to the crash. The crash occurred by the Larpenteur exit of Interstate 35E.

The suspect was "only slightly wounded" and was taken to the Regions Hospital for a blood-alcohol draw, police told the Pioneer Press.

April 17, 2009

Settlements of bridge victims released

Minnesota reached final settlements Thursday with the 179 victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, the Pioneer Press reported.

The state had a $36.6 million settlement fund in all.

The bridge collapse, which occurred on Aug. 1, 2009 during rush-hour, killed 13 people and injured 145, the Star Tribune reported.

Thursday was the last day for settlement offers to be accepted or rejected. The state of Minnesota has limited legal liability for the collapse, so most victims accepted settlements as they were, the Star Tribune reported.

The settlements covered a range from $4,500 to $2.2 million, the Pioneer Press reported.

April 12, 2009

Woman's body found in river in St. Paul

A woman's body was found Saturday in the Mississippi River, the Star Tribune reported.

Police recovered the body near Warner Road in downtown St. Paul, the Pioneer Press reported.

Employees of a barge company found the body tangled in debris. The body matches the description of a woman seen jumping off a nearby bridge a few weeks ago, but the body has not yet been positively identified, police told the Star Tribune.

St. Paul authorities found the body of a man in the river earlier in the month when they were searching for the woman seen jumping from the bridge, the Pioneer Press reported.

April 11, 2009

Prior Lake possibly invested with zebra mussels

A homeowner found zebra mussel shells on the shore of Prior Lake, causing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to plan an investigation of the lake and suggest boaters to take precautions, the Pioneer Press reported.

When the lake warms up, the DNR plans to search to see if its been invaded by the species, but "likely it's infested," Luke Skinner, supervisor of the DNR invasive species unit, told the Star Tribune.

Zebra mussels are considered an invasive species and will generally outcompete other mussel species and will also cluster around boats and docks.

They can be spread from hauling boats and water from invested lakes or other bodies of water to clean ones, the Star Tribune reported.

The discovery of the mussels in Minnesota lakes heightened concerns that Lake Minnetonka, the state's busiest lake, as well as other lakes, might become infested.

April 5, 2009

GOP newcomer to run as St. Paul mayoral cantidate

St. Paul Republicans unanimously endorsed Eva Ng's candidacy for St. Paul mayor during the party convention Saturday, the Star Tribune reported.

Ng, 50, announced her candidacy Friday and planned to run as an independent before the Republican party convention, the Pioneer Press reported. She has never before sought election.

John Krenik had previously announced his intention to run as a mayoral candidate, but at the party convention he stepped aside to run for the school board instead, the Star Tribune reported.

Ng will be running against DFL incumbent Mayor Chris Coleman

April 2, 2009

Craigslist killer sentenced to life in prison

Michael John Anderson was sentenced to life in prison without parole Wednesday for luring a woman to his house and killing her, the Pioneer Press reported.

District Judge Mary Theisen handed down the sentence to Anderson, 20, who became known as the "Craigslist killer" after luring 24-year-old Katherine Ann Olson to his house in Savage with a babysitting ad posted on the site and then shooting her.

Olson's family testified at the sentencing, the Star Tribune reported. The sentencing was also attended by Anderson's parents, police officers and six jurors from the case.

Olson's parents also read from a journal Olson wrote when she was 12, the Star Tribune reported.

Theisen said she thought the way Anderson shot Olson was an act of cowardice.

"You have shown no remorse or empathy, and I have no sympathy for you or your predicament," she said during the sentencing. "You are completely responsible for your actions."

March 28, 2009

Minnesota Orchestra makes plans for budget cuts

The Minnesota Orchestra announced budget cuts on Friday in response to economic conditions, the Star Tribune reported.

The orchestra plans to cut $2.3 million from its annual budget, the Pioneer Press reported.

The budget reductions affect the administration staff of the orchestra. Four full-time positions will be eliminated and six other positions will have reduced hours. Some part-time staffing will also be eliminated.

Music director Osmo Vänskä's salary will be reduced by 10 percent, and President and CEO Michael Henson's salary will be reduced by 7 percent, the Star Tribune reported.

The orchestra's box office will also now be closed on Mondays as part of the cutbacks, the Pioneer Press reported.

The total budget of the orchestra will be cut by 7 percent.

The musicians in the orchestra will be unaffected by the budget cuts, the Pioneer Press reported.

March 27, 2009

Dolphin is stillborn at Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo's much-anticipated dolphin calf was stillborn Thursday morning, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Minnesota Zoo, located in Apple Valley, hoped Allie, a 21-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, would have the zoo's first successful dolphin birth.

The zoo had carefully monitored Allie's 12-month pregnancy, the Star Tribune reported. Allie's ultrasound Tuesday showed the calf was still viable then.

The calf likely died because of labor complications, but a necropsy - an animal autopsy - will be performed, the Pioneer Press reported. This was Allie's second calf.

The zoo houses four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins: Allie, April, 41, Semo, 45, and Spree, 6.

March 10, 2009

More cold and snow for Minneapolis

Minneapolis is to expect another inch of snow Tuesday evening, with one to three more by Wednesday, the Pioneer Press reported.

Colder temperatures are going to return with the winter storm as well, with Wednesday wind chills expected to reach -14, the National Weather Service told the Pioneer Press.

Roads closed in western Minnesota Tuesday afternoon, after the storm came through, starting to drop the expected 6 to 12 inches of snow expected for the area.

More than 100 school districts shut down in the western part of the state, the Star Tribune reported. In addition to the greater accumulation of snow in western Minnesota, winds reached up to 40 mph, creating low visibility.

Black River Falls suicide pact rumors unnerve students

About two-thirds of the students from Black River Falls High School stayed home Monday after rumors of a planned school shooting as part of a suicide pact, officials told the Star Tribune.

Officials found no evidence to support the rumors, but heightened security at Black River Falls High School and Middle School.

The rumors started after two teens who attended the high school committed suicide in the past two weeks. Officials believe the suicides to be unrelated.

Students apparently started rumors that the two students were on a list of some sort, and morphed from there, Wisconsin Radio Network reported.

"As the rumor grew it morphed. It was supposed to be the high school at first, then it morphed into the middle school and then into the grade school," Black River Falls Police Chief Don Gilberg told Wisconsin Radio Network. "I want to make it very clear that it was a rumor started by some kids at the school, and they didn't even do it maliciously."

March 6, 2009

Mountain lion spotted in Wisconsin

Wisconsin residents spotted a mountain lion near Spooner Tuesday, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources tried and failed to sedate it and fit it with a radio collar, the Star Tribune reported.

Four mountain lion hunters, Mark Brown, Steven Thompson, Steve Curtis and Kevin Radman treed the animal with hunting dogs on Tuesday, which drew a crowd of onlookers. The hunters let the animal go.

The DNC contacted the hunters for assistance in treeing the animal again Wednesday, in hopes of tranquilizing it and track its future movements. Their efforts to do so didn't work, and Brown, Thompson, Curtis and Radman called off their dogs and decided not to harass the cat further.

The DNC attempted and again failed to sedate the animal on Thursday. Hayward, Wis., area wildlife supervisor Ken Jonas told the Star Tribune the animal wouldn't be tracked again any time soon.

The cat is an adult male weighing between 120 and 130 pounds, the Pioneer Press reported. Before the two recent confirmed sightings in the past two years, mountain lions hadn't been spotted in Wisconsin for 100 years.

Elk River man in critical condition after explosion

A 72-year-old Elk River man is in critical condition after a workshop explosion Wednesday near his home, the Pioneer Press reported.

Vern Ohman had been using a saw that sparked, which police believe ignited a propane line, causing the explosion, the Star Tribune reported. The state Office of Pipeline Safety plans to investigate the explosion.

Both Ohman and neighbors called 911 after the blast, Elk River Police Chief Jeff Beahen told the Pioneer Press. The blast was felt as far as 14 miles away from the explosion.

Dr. Leslie Smith, assistant director of HCMC's Burn Center, told the Star Tribune Ohman was lucky to have survived the explosion. Beahen said that if Ohman wasn't so near the center of the explosion, he would have died instantly.

Ohman is currently in a medically-induced coma, but is recovering.

February 28, 2009

Two shot in Southdale Mall parking lot

Two teens were shot in the parking lot of a Southdale mall Friday evening, with the suspect still at large, Edina police told the Pioneer Press.

Both teenage boys, 15 and 18, were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. One was shot in the leg, but was not seriously injured. The other was shot in the abdomen, and was in surgery Friday. His condition is not known, Police Chief Mike Siitari told the Star Tribune.

The shooter, believed to be between 15 and 18 years old, fired at least four shots from a .45-caliber handgun. Siitari told the Star Tribune that the shooting was the result of a fight between rival Hispanic groups.

Police were still reviewing evidence and looking for witnesses late Friday.

February 26, 2009

One dead in Hiawatha Avenue car crash

One person died in a two-car crash Thursday morning on Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis, police told the Star Tribune.

One car was stopped at a stoplight when a second car crashed into its rear end and started a fire in the first car. The driver of the first car was dead when police arrived at the scene.

Police told the Star Tribune that they believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. The driver of the second car is undergoing chemical testing.

The identities of the drivers have not been released.

The crash occurred at 4:30 a.m., the Pioneer Press reported. Officials closed Hiawatha Avenue while they investigated the crash.

February 21, 2009

Bloomington mother, daughter charged in death at day care

A Bloomington mother and daughter were indicted Thursday on multiple manslaughter charges for the death of a toddler at their day-care center, the Pioneer Press reported.

Doris D. Meeks, 48, and Harmony S. Newman, 21, were indicted by a Hennepin County grand jury on charges of second-degree manslaughter by way of child neglect, second-degree manslaughter by way of child endangerment and second-degree manslaughter by way of culpable negligence.

A 22-month-old boy, Demar Joseph-Amir Hicks, was found unconscious in a car seat in the basement of Mamma D's Day Care on Aug. 28, the Star Tribune reported. The boy wasn't breathing and didn't have a heartbeat. Paramedics re-started his heart and he was taken to a hospital. He died two days later.

On the day of the incident, Mamma D's was only licensed to have 14 children, but 23 were in the home, the Star Tribune reported. Newman was the only adult in the house at the time, although the day care was required to have two present.

February 17, 2009

10 people injured in Hastings apartment fire

Several residents and rescue workers received minor injuries in a Hastings apartment fire early Tuesday morning, the Pioneer Press reported.

The fire started on the third floor of the south Valley Manor apartment complex around 2 a.m. Hastings police officers were first to arrive at the apartment and rescued people on the third floor, the Hastings community relations coordinator, Shannon Rausch, told the Star Tribune.

"I believe we would have had some fatalities up there if it had not been for the actions of the police officers and the deputies," fire chief Mike Schutt told the Star Tribune.

Five residents and five rescue workers were taken to Regina Medical Center in Hastings because of the fire. Only one remained there late Tuesday morning, Schutt told the Star Tribune.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

February 15, 2009

Man killed by train in St. Paul

A 33-year-old man was found dead late Saturday on a set of train tracks in St. Paul, police told the Pioneer Press.

A Union Pacific Railroad worker told authorities when he discovered the body. The body was discovered in the area of Bush Avenue and Burr Street, St. Paul police Cmdr. Kevin Casper told the Pioneer Press.

The victim apparently fell asleep or passed out on the tracks, police told KSTP-TV.

It is unclear how the man got on the tracks, as two fences, one of barbed wire, block access to the tracks, KSTP-TV reported.

The name of the man has not been released.

February 14, 2009

Former Winona hockey player killed in New York plane crash

A former St. Mary's University women's hockey player was among the victims killed in the Continental Airlines plane crash near Buffalo, N.Y., the Pioneer Press reported.

Madeline L. Loftus, 24, of Parsippany, N.J., graduated from St. Mary's in 2006 and played as a forward from 2004 through 2006. While there, she helped start the Cardinal Athletics Council, a student-athlete group active in community service projects, the Star Tribune reported.

"We are deeply saddened at the news of the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of so many, including one of our own. Madeline was an important part of the university and athletic communities," St. Mary's athletic director Nikki Fennern told the Star Tribune.

Loftus played at Buffalo State College in New York from 2002 through 2004, Jeff Ventura, the sports information director at Buffalo State, told the Pioneer Press. She was on her way to Buffalo Thursday to play in a reunion game for Buffalo State Saturday.

Buffalo State plans to hold a moment of silence in memory of Loftus and the other plane crash victims before Saturday's varsity women's hockey game.

February 7, 2009

Minneapolis mayor starts re-election campaign

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak launched his re-election bid Saturday at the Riverview Theater, the Star Tribune reported.

Rybak told the Star Tribune that he cannot guarantee he will serve the full four-year term if elected as he has been considering running for governor in 2010.

Rybak also revealed his "Opportunity Agenda," the Pioneer Press reported. With it, he plans to create jobs and improve public safety, transportation and education.

Rybak's best-known competitor in the election for Minneapolis mayor is Bob Miller, the Star Tribune reported.

February 5, 2009

Sexual assualt suspect charged

A 41-year-old Minneapolis man suspected of groping 10 female students at the University of Minnesota was charged Thursday with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, the Star Tribune reported.

Police arrested Phillip W. Acosta Tuesday night after two more assaults on the university's campus.

Minneapolis Police sex crimes Lt. Nancy Dunlap told the Minnesota Daily that Acosta had confessed to 10 offenses.

Acosta has a minor criminal history but nothing similar to the assaults he is now charged with, Dunlap told the Star Tribune.

The two officers who apprehended Acosta were working off-duty at an event at Northrop Auditorium when one of the victims reported the incident, the Minnesota Daily reported. The officers arrested Acosta on the university's West Bank campus.

According to the charges filed Thursday, Acosta groped the women because he is "attracted to the female buttocks," reported the Star Tribune.

February 1, 2009

Three die in Wisconsin plane crash

Three people died when a single-engine plane crashed in a Wisconsin field Friday, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Pioneer Press identified the victims as Laurence and Vicki Berg of Houlton, Wis., and Brett Weller of Hudson, Wis. They were the only people aboard the plane.

The crash was reported to the Dunn County Sheriff's office at 9:45 p.m. Friday, the Star Tribune reported. The plane crashed north of Menomonie, Wis., with the wreckage spread over 5 to 10 acres.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration told the Pioneer Press.

January 31, 2009

Three university students victims of sexual assault

A man sexually assaulted three female students on University of Minnesota's West Bank Thursday, university police told the Star Tribune.

In each assault, the man rode up on his bike and grabbed the woman from behind in the "genital area." The assaults took place around 8:30 a.m. Thursday outside of Anderson Hall and the Humphrey Institute, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Students can expect to see more officers patrolling the West Bank while the incidents are investigated, university police told the Minnesota Daily.

The suspect is described as a black 29- to 39-year-old male with a tall, thin build. He was wearing a brown coat, green hat, sunglasses, and white tennis shoes and riding a red bike, the Star Tribune reported. Police urge anyone with information about these incidents to contact them.