Recently in Local Category

A Minneapolis two-year-old was accidentally killed on Wednesday after his 4-year-old brother was playing with a loaded handgun he found in their parents bedroom, according to the Star Tribune.

Someone in the house called 9-1-1 after shot were fired. Two-year-old Neegnco Xiong died in the ambulance. Parents Kao Xiong and Ma Vang were immediately taken for questioning and the other three children were taken into protective custody, according to the Star Tribune.

A vigil was held on Saturday to honor the boy, and the boys' father spoke, according to CBS Minnesota.

Father Kao (Lue) Xiong pleaded guilty to charges of negligent storing of firearms, according to the Star Tribune. Sentencing will be on December 13.

Sen. Franken pushes bill against stalker apps

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Senator Franken used Thursday's senate hearing to provide examples of the importance of cracking down on "stalker apps," according to the Star Tribune.

During the hearing, according to the Star Tribune, Franken read the homepage promises of the app ePhoneTracker: Worried that your spouse might be cheating?" "Track every text, every call and every move they make using our easy cell phone spy software..."

Other companies, such as EasyCell Spy Phone Software promise similar, according to Secrets of the City.

Franken's bill would require consent before providing collected data to a third party, as well as make it a crime to use a stalking app, according to CBS Minnesota.

"Tens of thousands of women are stalked annually through the use of GPS technology," Franken told the committee, according to CBS Minnesota.

Cold Springs police officer Tom Decker was responding to a call of a potential suicide when he was killed behind a local sports bar, according to the Star Tribune. Local community college student Ryan Michael Larson, 34, is being held as a suspect.

According to the Huffington Post, investigators believe the killing to have been an ambush, but would not elaborate. The officer had been wearing a bulletproof vest, but according to the Star Tribune, Decker had been shot in the face.

Larson had a permit to carry a weapon, and owned several guns, but according to the Star Tribune, many who knew Larson were surprised by the news that he was a suspect. Jeff Scoles, who owns the bar with his parents and had spent much of the day with Larson, said he hoped Larson is cleared. "I don't see him as a murderer," Scoles said, according to the Star Tribune.

Suspect in custody in near-campus sex assault case

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A police sketch released Tuesday has led to the arrest of a 48-year-old male who matches a sketch of the man who sexually assaulted a young woman in the early morning hours of Nov. 19th, according to the Star Tribune.

The man was arrested on an unrelated outstanding warrant after he was reported for approaching women in the parking area outside of Regions Hospital in St. Paul, according to CityPages.

Once in custody, one of the officers recalled the sketch and proceeded to detain the man. He remains in custody in Ramsey County, according to the Star Tribune.

No charges have yet been filed against the man in relation to this case, but he does have a record of domestic abuse. If charged and found guilty, he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to forty thousand dollars, according to City Pages.

Silent Inmate Baffles Authorities

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The female inmate has been in custody for months, but still refuses to respond to police questioning, including her own name. In court, she only responds to Jane Doe, according to the Star Tribune. Eventually authorities were able to identify her using fingerprints lifted from a glass.

According to the Pioneer Press, the woman is believed to be 37-year-old Tammy Antoinette Thomas, but she has refused to confirm this information.

"We don't know where she is from but her ... name came from a Texas arrest," said spokesman for the Anoka County sheriff's office, Lt. Paul Lenzmeier. The search for her identity also uncovered several arrest warrants out of Wisconsin, but Lenzmeier did not know details about the warrants.

The part that most confuses authorities is that if Thomas had cooperated, she would likely be finished with her sentence already. WIthout her help, the courts cannot rule her as competent to stand trial, and the entire case is delayed, according to the Star Tribune.

"If competency issues can't be resolved, some serious injustices could incur," Former Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said. "The system is flummoxed by this case, and I can understand why."

Woodbury Adapts to Solar Energy

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Woodbury's installation of solar panels on the roof of the town's Public Safety Building will prove to be a worthwhile investment, according to the Star Tribune. Similar systems were already installed in Oakdale, Maplewood and Little Canada.

On a sunny day, the panels can actually produce more power than the building itself will use, according to the Star Tribune. The city will then purchase the remaining power, and the city will save almost $6,000 in power bills, according to the Woodbury Bulletin.

Workers spent the Halloween weekend installing 185 panels at 3-by-4 feet each. The panels were even purchased from a Bloomington company, resulting in another $90,000 rebate, according to the Woodbury Bulletin.

According to the Woodbury Bulletin, Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt said that the city is paying over the six years will essentially be the same as what it would've paid for utilities over the same time period.

"Sleepout" Helps Raise Attention and Funds for Homeless

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Volunteers for the Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners' annual Sleep Out agree to spend a night outside in order to raise money to combat homelessness, according to the Star Tribune. Rob Shrewsbury and his 10-year-old daughter Emma have participated in the event for the past six years.

"It's cold, but it's only one night," Shrewsbury said, according to the Star Tribune. "A few times when I've been laying there with my daughter snuggled up in a box, I've thought, 'Wow, what would it be like to have to get up and go to work every day after spending the night out here?'"

The Sleep Out begins on Saturday and will continue until December 31st. According to Patch, the event began 17 years ago as a spontaneous effort to feed 100 families that regularly visit a local food shelf a Thanksgiving Dinner. The community rallied around the cause and actually raised $3,000 over the goal a week before Thanksgiving.

"It's not just guys with signs under overpasses," Shrewsbury said, according to the Star Tribune. "These are families whose kids may go to school with your kids. It really can happen to any of us."

Animal Hospital Fire -Spot Updating

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In all three locations that I read about this event, it was written in a brief, breaking-news format, with plenty of room for revisions and updates as more information is made available.

For the moment, all three were similarly written in a "margarita glass" format. All the vital summary information is at the top in the first paragraph, followed by what chronology officials had available at the time and small supporting details.

I believe for this sort of story, because it will undoubtedly be updated very soon, this formatting style was an ideal choice. There is no need for a great deal of trivial information at this point.

Several Animals Rescued from Animal Hospital Fire

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Five dogs and a cat were rescued from the North Branch Animal Hospital Sunday after the building was intentionally set on fire, according to the Star Tribune. The fire marshal has confirmed that the fire was a case of arson.

The fire began in the early hours on Sunday morning, and fire crews arrived just after 3 a.m. Damage to one corner of the building was extensive, and even a trash can across the street was ablaze, according to the Pioneer Press.

The dogs who were kept in the area with the most damage were all evacuated unharmed.

According to CBS Minnesota, there has been an escalating arson problem in the area, beginning with dumpsters and trash cans. Sunday's fire appears to have begun in the recycling bins outside of the hospital.

Officials have set up hotlines for anyone who may have information.

Minnesota is finally drawing in a few big names off of the campaign trail, like former president Bill Clinton and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. For the first time in many years, Minnesota is beginning to look like a swing state, according to the Star Tribune.

With several close races for other seats in national legislature, like Paul Ryan supporter Michelle Bachmann's diminishing lead over Democrat Jim Graves, the national Democratic party has begun to take notice and get trained in order to defeat a Republican legislature.

In years past, Minnesota has been torn in its voting, usually selecting a democratic many of the local races going republican but with this controversial election, some lines may be redrawn. According to the Pioneer Press, Paul Ryan's Sunday visit to Minnesota was to reassure "party faithful" that the GOP has a chance at winning Minnesota for the first time in over 40 years.

According to the Star Tribune, Pat Shortridge, Minnesota Republican Party Chairman, called Clinton's visit Sunday "a last-ditch effort to save a state they mistakenly took for granted. ... It's looking more and more likely that David Axelrod will be shaving his mustache on November 7."

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