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December 14, 2008

Firey Accident Leaves One Dead

A blazing car crash killed one person says the Star Tribune and WCCO.

The accident happened Saturday night at the intersection of Highway 252 and 66th street in Brooklyn Center report both publications.

The Star Tribune says that accident occurred at 6:17 p.m. when a car rear-ended another car. This set off a chain-reaction involving five cars.

One of the cars caught fire, and the person in the car burned to death. WCCO says that this person was a male, but the Trib says although suspected to be a male, the gender of the person could not be confirmed because the body was so badly burned.

The victim was driving a 1994 Chrysler Lebaron says WCCO.

The Trib says that one other person was injured, but WCCO says that three others were injured.

Both articles say that the accident was alcohol-related, but the Trib added that no arrests had been made, and WCCO said that the roads were also wet that night.

Settlement Reached With Family Who Home was Mistakenly Raided

The city of Minneapolis reached a settlement deal on Friday with a family who home was mistakenly raided by the police in 2007 says K-SAX and WCCO.

F-SAX says that the Minneapolis City Council approved the settlement of $612,000 that the family will receive. The city said they will also make the rest of the payments on the home of the family, the house which was raided, although the family no longer resides there. The house is located in the 1300 block of Logan Avenue North.

That home was raided by Minneapolis police on Dec. 9, 2007 says K-SAX. They police believed that a gung member of the ‘Rolling 60’s gang’ lived at the house and that the gang member was stockpiling weapons in the house. This information reached the police from a reliable source the K-SAX article says. However, this information proved to be false.

WCCO says that city approved $800,000 for the settlement, and that about $600,000 of that will be paid to the family with the rest paying for the house payments on their house.

WCCO says that the raid occurred one week before Christmas last year. Yee Moua, the mother, called 911 while her husband, Vang Khang grabbed his shotgun when the intrusion started. Khang hit three officers with gunfire, but did not hurt any due to their body armor.

“This warrant was the result of a flawed investigation done by the Minneapolis Police Violent Offender Task Force,? Former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffefinger, who represented the family, said. “Shots missed Yee and Vang by less than a foot.? (WCCO)

WCCO says that the informant who gave the police the false information also used a fake name when giving them the information. She, Morgan Ashley Young, is still wanted for a felony prostitution charge.

December 7, 2008

Pilot Killed in Plane Crash

The pilot of a plane that took off from St. Paul died when his plane crashed in Michigan says the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

The plane was headed to Glen Falls, N.Y. say both publications. He was from Lake George, N.Y.

The Star Tribune says that the pilot, whom was never named but said to be a 47-years-old man, was dead at the scene. He was the only person onboard the single-engine plane. He took off in his Cessna 206 at 10:16 a.m. from St. Paul’s Holman Field. The plane crashed southeast of Traverse City, MI at 2:15 p.m. It circled the area for a little while, dipped its wing, and clipped some trees before crashing into a mobile home. Luckily, the occupants were outside shoveling and were not hurt. The plane crashed through their roof and destroyed their house. The Star Tribune also says that National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the crash.

The Pioneer Press reports some similar information and some different information. They say that the plane crashed in rural Kalkaska County, an area south of Traverse City, MI. The couple, Scott Sanford and Justin Rider, said that the plane “struck the edge of their home before coming to rest near a pole barn.? A section of the plane lodged into the couple’s mobile home. Sheriff Bill Artress said that contact with the plane was lost at 2:20 p.m. The name of the pilot was being withheld as his body was being taken to Grand Rapids for an autopsy Artress said.

December 1, 2008

Sex in the Metrodome

Two Iowans were cited for indecent conduct at the Metrodome during the Minnesota versus Iowa football last Saturday says WCCO and the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune says that a security officer saw the couple “having relations? in a handicap bathroom stall and found the police after seeing the incident. The police then separated the couple and cited them for misdemeanor indecent conduct. The two people, Ross M. Walsh, 26, and Lois K. Feldman, 38, engaged in the activity while a crowd cheered. Walsh is of Linden, Iowa, and Feldman is of Carroll, Iowa. The police say that both were intoxicated at the time. The police also said that Walsh was released to his girlfriend and Feldman to her husband.

WCCO reports a similar story. They said that about 15 people were gathered watching the couple inside the men’s handicap bathroom stall. They say that the security guard went and got police after he saw two sets of legs beneath the stall with pants and underwear around their ankles. WCCO did not name the two people, and only gave their ages of 26 and 38 years old. The women may have provided the police officers with a fake middle name at the scene. She could be charged with providing false name for this action.

November 29, 2008

All Cigarettes in Minnesota Must Be Fire-Proof Soon

All cigarettes sold in Minnesota must be fire proof starting Dec. 1 says WCCO and The Star Tribune.

These cigarettes make the fire chief happy as the law states that all cigarettes must self-extinguish if left unattended for too long. (Star Tribune)

For the cigarettes to do this they are wrapped in thin bands of less porous paper so the tobacco burns more slowing and eventually will extinguish. (Star Tribune)

This measure is a precaution to help avoid death due to fire and home fires. Cigarettes are the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. said Nyle Zikmund of the Minnesota Fire Chiefs Association. Zimund also said this new law is the most important fire-safety law in the last 30 years. (Star Tribune)

These fire-proof cigarettes are made by all cigarette manufactures said WCCO. They also said that “smoking-related fires are the number one cause of fire deaths across the country.?

WCCO put the cigarettes to the test. They said that the normal cigarette took 16 minutes to burn out while the fire-proof one went out in just three minutes.

WCCO said that the cigarettes are wrapped in thicker paper and that it is the thicker points that act like speed bumps and help to extinguish the cigarette.

“Anything we can do to reduce fires, especially smoking-related fires, I think is a good idea,? Minneapolis Fire Marshall Bryan Tyner said. (WCCO)

November 23, 2008

Misery at the Metrodome for Gophers Football

The final game played in the Metrodome for the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team turned out to be the worst Big Ten loss the team has ever suffered according to the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune.

“Words can’t express the disappointment I feel as a football coach, the disappointment I have for Minnesotans and our university, just disappointed in my ability tonight to put a team on the field that could compete,? Gophers coach Tim Brewster said. “We just didn't get that done.? (Star Tribune)

The Star Tribune said that the loss made the history books. It was the fifth worst loss in the history of the school, the second worst loss at home for the team and the worst Big Ten loss ever. In fact, it had been almost 20 years since the Gophers were last shutout at a home game, and that last shutout is considered the worst loss ever for the team. The Pioneer Press says the defeat happened in 1989, but the Star Tribune says it happened in 1983. Both report that Nebraska beat the Gophers 84-13.

This year’s loss of 55-0 happened in front of a soldout crowd of 64,071 fans at the Metrodome says the Pioneer Press. Already losing 27-0 at halftime, many fans started exiting the dome for the last time ever at a Gopher game.

Playing for the Floyd of Rosendale trophy, this loss signaled the loss of all three trophy games this season for the Gophers says the Star Tribune.

Though starting quarterback Adam Weber didn’t play well, the loss was attributed to more than just his bad play say both papers. Weber threw two interceptions, only 127 passing yards, and completed a dismal 14 of 28 passes says the Pioneer Press. He was taken out of the game early in the fourth quarter.

“It is the most embarrassing game I've ever been a part of, in any sport,? Weber said. (Pioneer Press).

Once destined for the Insight Bowl, that bowl appears to now be a long shot with this fourth consecutive loss. Now the Motor City Bowl, which is played in Detroit on Dec. 26, seems to be the more likely scenario says the Pioneer Press.

November 8, 2008

Coleman's Request to restrain from counting 32 ballots is denied

Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin of Ramsey Country denied Norm Coleman’s request to block the counting of some absentee ballots on Saturday according to the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune.

Coleman and Al Franken are in a tight race for the Senate seat, which has not yet been decided.

The Coleman camp asked for a temporary restraining order of counting 32 ballots that were on not opened on Election Day or kept in sealed ballot boxes says the Pioneer Press. The Star Tribune made mention that the 32 ballots all came from Hennepin County, which is a highly democratic area.

However, the Judge denied restraining the counting due to lack of jurisdiction say both publications.

Request came due to “increasing questions about unexplained and improbable shifts in vote counts? said Coleman’s campaign. (Pioneer Press)

The Pioneer Press says that latest numbers from the Minnesota Secretary of State have Coleman ahead by 221 votes.

Coleman learned of the 32 ballots on Friday said his campaign, when he received a call from Cynthia Reichert at 7:45 p.m. telling him that 32 ballots had been found and would be counted the next morning says the Pioneer Press.

Yet, Coleman, due to his current lead, said he would not contest the results of his request.

Franken’s spokesman called Coleman’s move a “Saturday sneak attack? and said that he was afraid because Franken is gaining ground as the votes continue to be recounted the Pioneer Press reported.

November 3, 2008

St. Olaf Professor Steals McCain Signs

A visiting professor at St. Olaf College confessed via a national blog to stealing McCain yard signs in Northfield, Minnesota reports The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

Phillip Busse, who stole the signs, committed the action “to point out the foolish things people do in a highly charged political season? the Star Tribune said.

He published an essay to the Huffington Post named “Confessions of a Lawn Sign Stealer? on Thursday the Pioneer Press reports. In the essay he mentioned that his actions were immature, but that it was one of the most exhilarating political experiences of his life. (Star Tribune)

He reiterated the immaturity of his actions in an email to the Northfield News the Pioneer Press said.

“Writing the essay was an opportunity to explore and talk about political speech and the desire that most of us have to express our politics—both in mature and immature ways, and sometimes a mix of the two,? Busse said (Pioneer Press).

He mentioned disappointment people focusing on his action rather than his thoughts in the essay. (Pioneer Press)

St. Olaf was not pleased with the attention his actions have brought the school. (Star Tribune)

“His actions ... are in direct conflict with the college's values and mission, and we do not in any way condone them,? said Steve Blodgett, director of marketing and communications at St. Olaf. (Star Tribune)

Busse is teaching a class in the theater department at St. Olaf the Pioneer Press says. The Star Tribune says he is teaching a media class.

Busse offered to return all the property. He should hear by next weeks if charges will be filed The Star Tribune said. According to the Pioneer Press the Northfield police said the action is considered a misdemeanor and victims rarely press charges.

October 27, 2008

Twins Survive Thanks to New Procedure

Identical twins survive birth after a relatively new operation performed at a Minneapolis hospital saved their life reports the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio.

The twins of parents Jeana and Jeff Cassellius of Wisconsin suffered form something called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. It is a condition where twins share the placenta unevenly – one twin gets too much blood while the other twin does not receive enough. This eventually leads to the starvation of one twin and heart damage for the other says the Star Tribune. The syndrome also affects the mother as it can cause bleeding and early contractions due to the creation of too much amniotic fluid.

This condition occurs in about 40 to 50 pregnancies in Minnesota reports the Star Tribune while Minnesota Public Radio says it affects only about 40 pregnancies in the state.

Untreated, this syndrome can be fatal for one or both of the twins. But, a relatively new pre-natal surgery ups the chances of survival. According to the Star Tribune the surgery gives an 80 percent chance of at least one of the twins surviving. The Minnesota Public Radio reports the chance of survival of at least one of the twins at 90 percent. They also mention that there is still a less than 50-50 chance that both twins will survive even with the procedure, but that number is hopeful compared to the 90 percent rate of fatality of the twins if the syndrome is left untreated. The Star Tribune says that the complication occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of all identical twins.

A fiber optic laser procedure, performed by doctors at the Abott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, allowed the doctors to fix the shared blood vessels reports both publications. The Minnesota Public Radio reports that blood vessel, which they severed with the laser, were no thicker than human hair.

The success of the procedure is great news for families in the Midwest because prior to the closest place to get the procedure was in Ohio reports Minnesota Public Radio. The Star Tribune said that “doctors at Children’s Hospital and Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis are the first in Minnesota to offer the still experimental surgery.?

October 13, 2008

Body found in car near Harriet Island

On Friday construction workers found a dead body in a car retrieved from the Mississippi River near Harriet Island according to both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune.

The car was discovered in the river on Thursday while the construction crew was dredging the river. The Pioneer Press reports that a worker with a large backhoe struck the sunken car. The backhoe was located on a barge west of Wigington Pavilion.

The Star Tribune mentions that the car was retrieved from the water around 9 a.m. Friday. It was only then that the dead person inside the car was noticed.

The Pioneer Press reports that the police investigator said it took the construction crew about a day to pull the car out of the water.

“I looked in the car. It looked like an airbag, and then I saw the legs,? said a source refusing to give their name (Pioneer Press).

The Pioneer Press also reports that the car was a badly damaged white sedan. Although the investigator did not know what caused the damaged. He said it could have been pre-existing, caused by the backhoe, or even from river barges.

The police are still trying to identify the body both newspapers report. Once they have, no information will be released until the family of the victim has been contacted. The area where the construction workers were working and where the car was found was formerly a parking lot.

October 5, 2008

High School Could Start Later

According to the the schools in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan and Farmington school districts are considering changing the start of the high school school day.

This change is in consideration to the research over the years that proves teenagers naturally get tired later and wakeup later. Studies have also suggested that teenagers need more sleep than when they were younger. So, having school start early in the morning is difficult on teenager’s bodies. Tired teenagers in the morning can lead to low performance in morning classes and mood and behavior changes.

This is a not a new change. Schools in the metro-area of Minneapolis and in Edina have implemented the change in the last 15 years themselves.

Currently schools in the Farmington school districts start at 7:35 a.m. and end at 2:20 p.m., and schools in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan start at 7:30 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. Farmington is considering moving the start time of school to 8 a.m. or even 8:20a.m. This possible change would change the end time of class to 3 p.m. or 3:15 p.m. The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district anticipates that a time change would result in students getting dismissed by 3 p.m.

The problem in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district is that due to bus routes a delay in the start time of the high school may result in needing to start middle school 15-20 minutes earlier. Farmington says they have found a way they could start the high school earlier without it affecting the elementary or middle schools.

Overall the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district is receiving positive feedback about the start time idea from both parents and students. A decision could be made by November or December after it is bought to the school board in November. Farmington school district hopes to make the decision sometime during the fall but no month in which the proposal would be presented to the school board was given.

September 28, 2008

The Traveling Ren Fest

A homebound St. Paul man’s dream came true as the Minnesota Renaissance Festival scaled down and took the festivities to his home according to the Pioneer Press.

The 65-year-old had attended the festival every year for over 30 years until bone marrow cancer struck in March 2007.

Frank Tunison has battled the odds of survival with aggressive chemotherapy, drugs, holistic treatment. When his son returned from serving in Iraq in March 2007 the doctors told him his father had about 60 days left. A year and a half later, Tunison has beat science predictions, which means that he has missed the Renaissance Festival for two years in a row, which is very disappointing for man who “went religiously, every year, sometimes a couple times,? Tunison’s son said.

So, his daughter decided to make a phone call. She talked to the entertainment festival manager, Anita Kelling, who said responded to her story of her father with warmth.

“It’s something that really tugged at my heartstrings,? Kelling said. “I've had a number of performers who had family members that passed away from cancer. Those people were the first to volunteer.?

In fact, Anjila Olsen, a historical cook for the festival and who is in remission from ovarian cancer, was the first to respond the email from the festival listserv about Tunison’s situation. She offered to cook a meal.

Other performers jumped on board, too, including jugglers, fire and belly dancers, and musicians. Soon on Thursday evening the group assembled and set up out outside of Tunison’s home on the 500 block of Manomin Avenue. His daughter told him that she was organizing an Avon sales meeting to disguise the commotion outside.

Tunison was soon led outside by his wife. Amazed at what he witnessed he found out what his daughter had really been doing.

The festival bought a smile to his face which is amazing since, “You don’t see him smile very often,? longtime neighbor Richard Sorenson said.

September 21, 2008

Woman's Accident is Suspected as Murder

At first the police simply called it an “unfortunate accident.? It appeared that Natasha Waalen’s motorcycle crash killed her. At least that’s what it appeared like at first according to both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune.

The 28-year-old’s body was found on Tulip Stree NW, a quiet street, around 12:30am on Friday according to the Star Tribune. The described that scene with her body in the middle of the road and acrashed motorcycle nearby. The article did not mention what time the accident occurred. Then less than 24 after the “accident? police arrested Waalen’s boyfriend. Injuries that the police would not describe led them to believe that Waalen’s death did not happen by mere accident, and that she was actually murdered. The couple had a four-year-old daughter together. But, Waalen’s father does not believe that his daughter’s boyfriend is the criminal in the case, and that “he suspected that a man who had recently threatened to kill his daughter over a potential lawsuit might be the culprit.?

Ryan Boland, 33, was Waalen’s live-in boyfriend reports the Pioneer Press. According to this article he was arrested by Friday night. Saturday night he was awaiting charges as he was held in custody at the Anoka County Jail. Waalen lived only seven miles away from where her body was found. She and Boland lived at 816 Adams St. in Anoka. This article says that her family declined to comment other than confirming that she and Boland were in a relationship and had 4-year-old daughter together. Neighbors said Waalen and Boland were a quite couple who were not home together often. The article reports that Waalen was an acupuncturist who worked with disabled adults, and Boland last worked for a family-owned construction company. While Waalen did own a motorcycle, it is not confirmed that the motorcycle she crashed was her own. No possible motive for murder or exact cause of Waalen’s death has been released.

September 12, 2008

St. Kate's to Get a Namelift

Currently, the name of the biggest catholic woman’s college in the country is the College of St. Catherine. But that name will only be effective until the end of spring because starting in June 2009 the name changes to St. Catherine University, according to the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

The President of the college, Sister Andrea Lee, announced the news of the name change on Thursday morning at convocation according to the Pioneer Press.

The change reflects the growing population of the school, and that the school offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Renaming the school was no easy matter, and according to the Star Tribune it took about a year to come to the conclusion.

The Star Tribune reports of just under 3,000 undergraduates, about 1,400 graduate students enrolled currently, and that enrollment has been increasing annually for the last 10 years. The Pioneer Press gives exact statistics of the enrollement for Fall 2007 at St. Kate's: 5,238 total students of which 1,427 were graduates.