April 26, 2009

Driver Will Not Be Jailed for Accident

A driver who struck and killed a road-construction worker last year on what was U.S. 212 will not receive any jail time, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

LuAllen Kettner spoke at his trial Friday, where he told the judge that he would trade his life for 47-year-old Leo Kuisle from Stewartville.

Kettner struck Kuisle with his SUV while Kuisle was working on a stretch of road in Carver County that has now been renamed Highway 61.

Prosecutors were seeking a 15-day jail sentence for Kettner, but the judge disagreed and sentenced Kettner to 40 hours of community service and a $685 fine.

Riot Erupts iNear Dinkytown

Six people were arrested Saturday night after a riot broke out during a block party near Dinkytown.

Police were called several times and forced to employ crowd control tactics such as tear gas, smoke grenades and rubber bullets.

The crowd, estimated to be in the several hundreds, were gathered to celebrate the annual Spring Jam hosted at the University of Minnesota.(Associated Press)

Along with smashed beer bottles, the crowd tore down street signs and started several fires and threw beer bottles and other debris at police officers.

The names of those being arrested have not been released yet. (Minnesota Daily)

April 19, 2009

Hopkins Man Killed In Fast-Food Parking Lot

A 24-year-old Hopkins man was shot and killed Sunday following an argument between two groups of people in a fast food parking lot, The Pioneer Press reported.

Police have two suspects in custody but have not yet released more information.

The police station told the Star Tribune that witnesses saw two groups of people begin arguing in a White Castle parking lot in Hopkins at about 2 a.m. when shots were fired.

April 12, 2009

Body Found in Mississippi River

A body found Saturday morning is not that of missing St. Thomas freshman Dan Zamlen, the Star Tribune Reports.

According to the Pioneer Press, the body, discovered near Warner Road in downtown St. Paul, is a woman’s. Police believe it may be the woman who reportedly jumped from the Roberts Street Bridge a few weeks ago.

Police are waiting for the body to be identified, although it appears to have been in the water for some time. The body was discovered by employees of a local barge company near the intersection of Childs and Shepard Roads.

April 9, 2009

3M Offering 3600 Workers Early Retirement packages

3M is offering 3,600 people, 11 percent of its U.S. work force, an early retirement package as part of their ongoing efforts to reduce costs.

The voluntary buyout is directed towards nonunion U.S. employees who are either 59 years old and have five or more years of company service or 55 years old with at least 30 years of service.

3M spokesperson Jacqueline Berry told the Associated Press that employees will be notified of the package on Thursday. They will have until May 31 to decide.

3M cut over 2,400 jobs in 2008 and have already cut 1,200 from its international labor force in 2009. The buyouts come as the next cost-saving step. The company has already saved $235 million.

Currently 57 percent of 3M’s workforce is outside the United States, and the company now earns about two –thirds of its business overseas. (Pioneer Press)

April 5, 2009

Star Trib Reporters Out To Save Paper

A group of reporters from the bankrupt Star Tribune are launching a campaign to build up public support for the paper. (Associated Press)

The group’s website,, goes up Monday. Members of the group will be out and about Monday, including showing up at the Twins’ home opener, to raise public awareness, collect petition signatures and give out hats and T-shirts with Star Tribune logos on them.

A spokesperson for the group said that now is not a time to look back at what caused the paper to fall into bankruptcy, but instead to look forward towards convincing people that the paper is a vital resource.

The group plans to solicit ideas from people on possible new business model or ownerships to ensure the paper’s continued existence.

St. Thomas Freshman Missing

A St. Thomas freshman was reported missing early this morning after his cell phone conversation ended abruptly, the Star Tribune reports.

Dan Zamlen, 18, was last heard from around 3 a.m. Sunday. His friends told the Pioneer Press that he was headed home after a party and was walking on Mississippi River Boulevard, near St. Claire Avenue. Friends said they heard an exclamation, and then the phone went silent.

Zamlen, from Eveleth, Minn., was diabetic and had an insulin pump attached to his arm. Because of this, police suspect that he may need medical attention.

Zamlen’s family has come down to the St. Thomas campus while waiting for news. His mother, Sally Zamlen, said that there is evidence to suggest that Zamlen might have fallen into the river. She told the Star Tribune that his friends told her that they had just told him that they would come pick him up.

“Then they heard, 'Oh my God, oh my God,' so we think he fell," Sally Zamlen said.

So far, no broad police search has begun. Police Spokesman Pete Panos told the Star Tribune that police have no reason to suspect foul play and as an adult, Zamlen has the right to stay out of touch.

The family said that Zamlen’s phone was still accepting calls and messages until this morning, so it still works.

Zamlen’s sister, Andrea, 17, just wants the affair to be over.

"He's my big brother, and I just want him to come home," she said.

March 29, 2009

Two People Dead After Shooting

Two people are dead after a shooting and a police chase near Big Lake, thePioneer Press reports.

Peter Tek, 42, reportedly shot his girlfriend’s son at the family’s home in Big Lake. Cheth Tek told the Star Tribune that Peter Tek and his girlfriend went to a party and got home around 2 a.m. Saturday. Tek was involved in an altercation with Savang Sath,27, and two females. Tek shot Sath twice and held the two women hostage for about 20 minutes, Tek left with Sath’s mother.

Police were called at 3:08 a.m. Deputies discovered Sath’s body and were told that Tek was in a Lincoln Navigator.

Tek called his ex-wife and told her that he had killed his girlfriend’s son, and hinted to his son, Phath Bauer, that he was going to kill himself.

“I won’t be able to see you and your sister grow up, and for that I’m very sorry,” Tek said.

Bauer told the Star Tribune that he didn’t realize his father was implying suicide.

“He expressed his love for me, my sister, and my mom. I told him, ‘ I love you too, dad.’” Bauer told the Star Tribune.

Around two hours later, on a barricaded section of Interstate 94, Tek released his girlfriend and shot himself in the head.

Besides Bauer, Tek is survived by a 15-year-old daughter and his parents.

Governor Pawlenty Urges State Employees to Take Days Off

Governor Tim Pawlenty wants state workers to take over a month off over the next two years in order to help the state budget deficit.

The plan was proposed to AFSCME Council 5 and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, the two largest labor unions representing state workers.

Pawlenty’s plan proposes workers take 48 unpaid days off over the next two years. In statements to their members, both unions called the proposed furlough a “bomb”, the Pioneer Press reported Friday

AFSCME Council 5 represents around 19,000 state workers, while MAPE has over 12,000 members, the Star Tribune reported Thursday.

In a statement on their website, the AFSCME says the pay cuts are not feasible.

“Who can pay their bills after the loss of one month's pay,” the statement reads. “Worse yet, he’d give managers the right to arbitrarily decide who gets furloughed, when they get furloughed, and for how long. That's an invitation for the boss to play favorites.”

The statement accuses Pawlenty of trying to “balance the budget on the backs of AFSCME state employees who earn $37,000 on average.”

The state currently has a projected budget deficit of $4.6 billion over the next two years. The unpaid time off is just one aspect of a plan to try and decrease the deficit. Other measures include a state-wide pay cuts and a hiring freeze.

March 14, 2009

Basketball Game Fight Requires 20 Police to Break Up

Police arrested an 18-year-old for possession of a stolen firearm during a fight that broke out at a high school basketball game.

The fight, which involved both players and fans, happened during a boys high school basketball tournament in St. Paul.

Edward Wayne Ballard, of St. Paul, did not expose the weapon, it fell out of his waistband when he was struggling with police officers, Sgt. Pete Crum told the Pioneer Press. Ballard was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm on school grounds and possession of stolen property because the gun was considered stolen.

Police report no injuries but Crum told the Star Tribune that a chemical irritant was used. A 17-year-old was also cited for disorderly conduct.

Monday, the Ramsey County attorney’s office set Ballard’s bail a $15,000. Ballard told police that he had the gun because he was scared and had been jumped in the past. He added that his cousin, an East Side Boys gang member, had given him the gun.

St. Paul Man Forced To Rob Bank

A St. Paul man who robbed an in-store Maplewood bank said that three armed men who had robbed him of over $2,000 threatened to kill his children if he did not come up with more money, the Star Tribune reports.

James Matthew Hood, 25, was indicted Monday of robbing Guaranty Bank of $2,355 in the Rainbow Foods at 2501 White Bear A. N. on Feb. 10.

According to the Star Tribune, the indictment said that Hood walked through the grocery store at about 1 p.m., placed items in the shopping cart and then went into the bank. He gave the teller a note that said “I have a gun—you know what to do—100’s, 50’s, 20’s, no boobie traps or you will regret it.”

Hood said, “I have a gun; you have 10 seconds. Be quick.” The teller gave Hood cash, then Hood apologized, saying “They will kill my kids.” Hood then fled on foot.

Before Maplewood police could find and take Hood into custody, he called 911 from a home in St. Paul where his children were being cared for and surrendered.

Hood told the FBI that he robbed the bank at gunpoint because three unidentified men had pulled him over at gunpoint the previous day and robbed him of more than $2,000 but demanded $4,000 more. Hood said the robbers told him they knew where he lived and threatened to kill his children unless he came up with the money.

Hood told authorities he had kept the account of being robbed from his wife and law enforcement, and he had the $2,000 on him because he was going to the bank to work out a deal to pay off his car, according to an uncle, Chris Orr, of Rapid City, S.D.

Hood’s mother-in-law, Liz Kimmel, told the Star Tribune that he had never been in legal trouble.

“He’s just a devoted father, and he couldn’t love his wife and kids more,” Kimmel said.

March 8, 2009

Teenager Found Safe After Kidnapping

A 17-year-old Elbow Lake girl who was kidnapped at gunpoint by her stepfather was found unharmed early Sunday morning.

David R. Sabby, 46, kidnapped Amy Henning around 7 p.m. Saturday at the West Ridge Mall, Fergus Falls police chief Tim Brennan told the Pioneer Press.

Henning and her stepbrother, who is not Sabby’s biological son, were going to see a movie when Sabby approached them in the parking lot with a gun drawn. Sabby proceeded to duct tape the stepbrother and left him in the car that he and Henning had arrived in. Sabby then fled with the girl outside city limits, the Star Tribune reports.

The stepbrother managed to free himself after about 20 minutes of struggling and called the police. An Amber Alert was issued at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

At around 1:15 a.m. Sunday, Sabby gave Henning the keys to his truck and walked away, Brennan said. Henning drove to a nearby gas station and called the police.

Sabby was taken into custody a short while later near Swan Lake, in Otter Tail County, when a homeowner called police to complain of a strange person showing up at his door.

Brennan told the Pioneer Press that the motive for the kidnapping is still unclear and that Sabby was currently not cooperating with the investigation.

Apple Valley Woman In Critical Condition After Hit and Run

An Apple Valley woman is in critical condition Sunday after being struck by an unidentified vehicle Friday night, the Associated Press reports.

Joan Le Vasseur, 26, is in a medically-induced coma after being struck while crossing Cedar Avenue at the intersection of 153rd street by an unidentified vehicle, described by witnesses as a tan van, SUV or large sedan. The driver of the vehicle has not yet come forward.

Le Vasseur, who is deaf, was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center. Sgt. Joe Shaw of the Apple Valley Police Department told the Star Tribune that although several witnesses saw the crash, no one was able to identify the vehicle or a license plate number.

Le Vasseur’s mother, Patty Boever, could not believe someone could simply drive away from such an accident.

“We work hard all our lives to keep our children safe and someone just does this and drives away?" Boever told the Star Tribune. "This is insane. Don't people have a heart?"

Le Vasseur’s sister-in-law, Lori Le Vasseur, said that she suffered severe head trauma, including brain injuries, along with multiple fractures in her legs, pelvis and ribs. She also told the Star Tribune that her sister-in-law was engaged and had recently embarked on a goal to lose weight by walking more often.

"Joan was 26, responsible, and walked a lot. Everywhere," Lori LeVasseur said. "You wouldn't know she was deaf.”

Joan Le Vasseur’s step-father, Robert Boever, urged the driver of the vehicle to identify themselves.

“Accidents happen and we need to do the right thing. We're hoping someone responsible for this will come forward," Boever told the Star Tribune. “"There's a lot of broken hearts asking for someone to come forward. Please."

March 1, 2009

Lakeville Man Acquitted of Charges in Baseball Bat Death

A Lakeville man has been acquitted of all charges in the fatal beating of his longtime friend.

Charlie Reynolds, 32, admitted he killed his friend Joshua Skare, 33, with a baseball bat during an altercation last March, but said that it was in self defense.

The Pioneer Press reported Sunday that jurors deliberated for over 30 hours before delivering a not guilty charge on charges of second-degree murder with intent to kill, second-degree murder without intent to kill while committing a first-degree assault, and second-degree murder without intent to kill while committing a second-degree assault.

Reynolds’ defense attorney, Kevin DeVore, told the Star Tribune that the verdict was bittersweet for his client.

“He lost his best friend and he’s going to have to struggle with that for the rest of his life.” DeVore said.

Throughout over seven days of testimony, prosecution and the defense agreed that Reynolds struck and killed Skare with a baseball bat. Most of the testimony centered on whether or not Reynolds planned to kill Skare.

“They (the jurors) obviously struggled with the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Joshua Skare,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom told the Star Tribune in a statement. “Ultimately, the jury concluded that the state had not proved beyond reasonable doubt that self-defense was not a factor in the case.”

Seven People Robbed in Seperate Incidents Saturday Night

Seven people were robbed in five separate holdups Saturday night in Minneapolis.
The suspects, described as two men in their 20s, drove up to people in a car and threatened them with a gun. Nobody was injured, the Star Tribune reports.
Police are not sure if the five robberies are linked in any way. Sgt. Bill Palmer told the Pioneer Press that although the robberies had some similarities, police were not prepared to call them related.
The robberies happened all over Minneapolis, from near Richfield to southeast Minneapolis near the Mississippi River, at Franklin Avenue. Palmer told the Star Tribune that the areas were mostly residential.
The robbers stole wallets, purses, cell phones, cash and clothing.
Police are not prepared to release any more details regarding descriptions of the robbers or their car yet because the robbery unit had not yet investigated the case.

February 22, 2009

Retired St. Paul Officer Injured When Gun Discharges

A retired St. Paul police officer was injured Saturday when a pistol belonging to a Minneapolis police officer accidently discharged at a gun show.

Both men were working security at the Minneapolis Gun Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The Minneapolis police officer’s gun went off when its holster got caught on the chair the man was sitting on. A bullet hit the floor and fragmented pieces struck the retired St. Paul officer in the leg and hand. The officer was treated for a small wound and released Saturday, according to the Star Tribune.

The Minneapolis officer, who has been on the force for over 20 years, was not injured.

The gun’s safety was off, as Minneapolis officers keep it off when a gun is in a holster, and Minneapolis police will do an internal investigation which will include examining the gun and holster. The event is considered an accident and the department is not considering disciplinary action.

Police Sgt. Jessie Garcia told the Pioneer Press it was a very freak accident.

“You could probably sit in the chair 10,000 times and it will never happen again,” he said.

Shakopee Police Kill Suspect During Arrest Attempt

A knife-wielding man was shot and killed by two Shakopee police officers on Saturday.
The Pioneer Press reports that Gordon William Denmark, 36, ignored police orders to drop his weapon and was not affected by a Taser used on him.
Denmark was wanted on second-degree assault, second-degree domestic assault and violation of an order for protection charges after allegedly assaulting his estranged spouse and a neighbor with a knife Friday night.
Police arrived at the house to continue their investigation around 4 p.m. Saturday and found evidence that someone had broken into the home. When they entered the house, officers found Denmark hiding in an attic space in a bedroom.
Denmark emerged with a knife in his hand and police say he ignored repeated orders to put the weapon down. One officer tasered Denmark, which did not affect him, and two officers shot him out of fear for their own lives. Denmark died on the scene.
The Star Tribune reports that the officers involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is currently investigating the incident.

February 15, 2009

Minnesota Will Receive Over $2 Billion From Stimulus Package

Minnesota could gain over $3 billion from the national stimulus bill, the Star Tribune reported Thursday. The Pioneer Press reported the figure to be closer to $2 billion.
Officials say that the bill will also create or retain over 66,000 jobs for the state and that the cash will be spread over almost every sector of the state budget, with money going to roads, bridges, schools, health care, local government and more.
Over a third of the budget is going to tax cuts and individuals can expect to see up to $400 per individual or $800 jointly, with more tax credits for school-age and college children.
In addition to tax cuts, Minnesota will receive at least $29 million to use on road and bridge projects, many of which will begin over the summer.
The money will help Minnesota try to trim a budget deficit that is expected to reach $7 billion by March, according to the Pioneer Press.
House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, thought that although “a lot of the details are not as crisp as we would like,? there seems to be much more flexibility than state officials initially thought.
Kelliher also said that any state that could not find enough projects to spend half the money they receive will have to return it to the government to be redistributed among other states.

University Receives Record Donation

The University of Minnesota received an unexpected surprise on Tuesday.
The daughter of Dr. Kurt Amplatz, a respected medical inventor, has donated $50 million to fund a new children's hospital, which will be called The University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital to honor the gift, reports The Star Tribune.
Caroline Amplatz, who resides in Golden Valley, gave out the second largest donation in school history.(Associated Press)
Dr. Kurt Amplatz taught at the University of Minnesota from 1957 until his retirement in 1999. He is best known for inventing a small device, known as the Amplatzer Septal Occluder, which is used to repair congenital heart defects in children and adults. He also holds over 30 patents.
University President Robert Bruininks said that Dr. Amplatz was “one of the great pioneers of medical research and of Minnesota's medical device industry.?
The donation will be paid out over a 12-year span and will contribute to a new state-of-the-art facility for children with damaged hearts.

February 8, 2009

Minneapolis Mayor Prepares to Run for Third Term

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced Saturday that he would seek a third term as mayor. (AP)
“I can't wait for the next four years,? he was quoted in the Star Tribune, “I can't wait to see what this city will do in these tough times."
In an earlier interview, Rybak, who is considered a candidate to run for governor in 2010, said that he could not guarantee he'd serve a full term as mayor.
His challenger, Bob Miller, said that he would make that pledge.
Rybak's profile was featured in a recent issue of Governing magazine, which said that Rybak was an example that “it's possible to be a left-leaning mayor in a left-leaning city and still be both a fiscal conservative and a friend to business and development." (Star Tribune)
The mayor's current fundraising pace is only slightly ahead of Miller's and Rybak has loaned his campaign $10,000.

St. Paul Man Murdered After Resisting Robbery

A St. Paul man was shot to death Saturday morning after refusing to surrender his wallet.
Suspect Ronald Hill reportedly approached Jeffery L. Logan, 44, and his cousin outside the Attucks-Brooks American Legion Hall at approximately 1 a.m. Saturday morning.
After brandishing a gun with a scope at the two men, Hill demanded they empty their wallets. Logan's cousin, identified as E.B., complied but Logan refused. Instead, he struck Hill, pulled his shirt over his head and took off running. (Pioneer Press)
The Star Tribune reports that Hill shot Logan once and after catching up with him, stood over the victim and fired the gun five more times.
Witnesses say that they heard Logan say “No, man, no,? and “Are you seriously going to do this?? to Hill before the suspect fired five more times.
Nathaniel Khaliq, president of the St. Paul NAACP, called the slaying “despicable?, “cowardly? and “an outrage? to the city's neighborhood.
“Mr. Hill certainly had other options than to kill Jeffery in cold blood.? Khaliq said. (Star Tribune)
“This type of murder frightens and upsets people because it has a 'there but for the grace of God go I' feel to it." Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner told the Star Tribune.
After shooting Logan, Hill allegedly fled in a Lincoln Town Car driven by two men who told police they was held at gunpoint and forced to comply.
The car crashed at a roundabout at Laurel Avenue and St. Albans Street. Hill fled and was eventually tracked by a K-9 police unit to a nearby garage where he was apprehended.
The two men who accompanied Hill were released pending further investigation.

February 1, 2009

Colorado Man Threatens Obama, Mall of America

A Colorado native has been indicted on charges that he threatened to kill President Barack Obama and blow up the Mall of America.
A warrant was issued Tuesday for the arrest of Timothy Ryan Gutierrez, 20, from Cortez, Colorado. According to the Star Tribune, Gutierrez sent an email to the FBI eight days before the presidential inauguration that said, “ I'm going to assassinate the new president of the United States of America. PS you have 48 hours to stop it from happening."
Federal court documents say that Gutierrez also emailed a threat against the Mall of America.
In the second email, Gutierrez said, “"I have rigged 40 pounds of C4 ... and my favorite TNT to 7 cars outside the Mall of America."
The Mall of America was allowed to open for business after authorities spent 16 to 18 hours searching the complex and determined the threat wasn't significant.
Gutierrez proceeded to turn himself in Thursday at the Durango office of the FBI in Colorado and is being held without bond, the Associated Press later reported.
Police say he will be charged with one count of transmission of threats and one count of falsely threatening to use explosives.

January 29, 2009

Burnsville Apartment Fire Reveals Tragedy

An apartment fire in Burnsville reveals a much more tragic tale. Two bodies were found inside the apartment, including its owner.
The Star Tribune reports that Adam Williams asphyxiated Brittany Givens-Copeland and then set his Burnsville apartment ablaze. Williams later died from smoke inhalation.
Williams was Givens-Copeland's ex-boyfriend. Givens-Copeland had a four-month old baby boy with her current boyfriend, Anthony Darst. Police investigators are calling the case a murder-suicide.
Darst told the Pioneer Press, “She was going over there to tell him that we were going to get back together. She was going to work things out with me. We were working things out. She wanted to tell him in person.?
Givens-Copeland had dated Williams for two months in early 2008, but he ended the relationship when she learned she was carrying Darst's child.
The Pioneer Press reports that Williams had trouble with the law earlier this year. On Aug. 16, Hennepin county charged him with two misdemeanors—disorderly conduct and failing to comply with a peace officer.
Williams pleaded guilty to failing to comply and was placed on a years probation with a $200 fine. The disorderly conduct charge was dropped.
The Pioneer Press stated that friends of Williams remember him as a “kind-hearted person? with a “positive outlook.?
Friends of the two deceased have set up Facebook pages to remember their lives.