April 26, 2009

MN Watches for Swine Flu

Minnesota state officials say that while no cases of the swine flu have yet been reported, they are investigating people who may have symptoms and expect to find a few cases, according to the Star Tribune.
While the disease has killed more than 80 people in Mexico, it has only caused mild illness in the United States.
While officials don't want the public to panic, they are concerned that the disease could mutate into a more dangerous form.
Hospitals are being asked to report any possible incidents, which has very similar symptoms to the regular flu, the Tribune said.
An article on the flu in the Pioneer Press said the United States has declared "public health emergency" over the disease, but also mentions that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said it "sounds more serious than it is."

Man Dead in Mississippi River Incident

One man died Sunday morning when rainwater rushed into a tunnel south of the Marshall Avenue Bridge and swept two men into the Mississippi River, the Star Tribune reported.
The two men were exploring the bridge when the incident occurred, and the second man was rescued, the article said.
One man was able to make it on his own to shore, while the other was rescued but later died at Hennepin County Medical Center.
The Pioneer Press reported the two men were photographing the tunnel, and also mentioned two University of St. Thomas rowing club members helped in the rescue of the second man who later died.

April 19, 2009

Woman and man dead in Maple Grove shooting

In what police are calling a domestic dispute, a woman was shot dead outside of a Maple Grove McDonald's Sunday, according to the Star Tribune.
A young woman's on and off boyfriend shot her to death outside the restaurant, and then committed suicide the Tribune reports.
After shooting the woman and causing her to fall on the sidewalk, the man shot her again at very close range, said police.
The man then fled in a white vehicle, while witnesses inside the restaurant screamed for the license plate numbers.
The woman died at the scene.
About 6 minutes after the initial 911 calls, a police officer pulled over the suspect on Interstate 694, and when he approached the car he found the man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Identities of the victims have not yet been released.

Workers Worry About Jobs

Workers at the St. Charles plant which was destroyed by fire are now worrying about their jobs.
According to the Star Tribune, the owners of the plant say the plant is a "total loss".
The fire, which started Friday, caused authorities to evacuate the entire town of St. Charles. The fire was not extinguished until Saturday morning.
According to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, when residents and workers returned to the town on Saturday they were relieved but also worried.
Total damage estimates to the plant have not yet been released, and owners are unsure if they will rebuild the plant in St. Charles, or in another town.

April 12, 2009

Senate Race That Never Ends

The Minnesota Supreme Court may not have the last word in the still-contested Minnesota Senate Race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken, the Star Tribune reported.
As Coleman faces almost certain defeat in the election trial, he is preparing his appeal to the State Supreme Court.
However, Coleman could also appeal to the federal courts, an option he "has refused to rule out," according to the Tribune. A federal appeal could leave the seat open for another six months or more, depriving Senate Democrats of a crucial vote against Republican filibusters.
While courts have ruled that no Senator can be seated until all of the state judicial proceedings have finished, the question is if an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court would be included in those proceedings.
It is possible the U.S. Supreme Court could fast-track its review.

Still Hope for Missing Student

An Iron-Range church is keeping hope alive that a missing St. Thomas student will be found the Star Tribune reported Sunday.
Sunday, church members at Resurrection Catholic Church gathered to say prayers for the missing Dan Zamlen, who disappeared near the Mississippi River on April 5th.
Many family and friends have left the Iron Range to search for Zamlen in the Twin Cities. The church told the Star Tribune that Zamlen's mother said the search is far from over.

April 5, 2009

From Porn to Child Care

A court in Northern Minnesota ruled Sunday that a couple who had previously worked in web porn can qualify for a license for child care and foster care.
A couple from Grand Rapids, Minn., who filmed live, explicit web-feeds from their home was hoping to be able to retain custody of two young children they want to adopt.
The webiste was shut down in 2004, according to the Star Tribune, only one year before the couple started running a day-care out of their home.
Like all child-care workers, the couple underwent background checks, and the Itasca County officials were aware the couple had been involved in pornography when they approved their license in 2005, according to the Tribune.
The couple is now in court after a mother who had intended to give up her children in a private adoption is now fighting for custody back from the couple.
The story did not appear on the Pioneer Press website.

St. Thomas Student Goes Missing

A diabetic University of St. Thomas student is still missing after a cell phone call to a friend abruptly ended at 3 a.m. Sunday morning, according to the Star Tribune.
Daniel Zamlen was reported missing by a friend who spoke with him while he was walking along Mississippi River Boulevard when suddenly Zamlen made an exclamation and then ended the call, said the family members to the Star Tribune.
On Sunday afternoon family and friends gathered near the spot he was last heard from to search.
Family members told the Star Tribune they believe Zamlen fell when the call ended.
The Pioneer Press reported family members are worried the diabetic Zamlen may be in a diabetic coma.
Zamlen's friends said he had been at a party on Saturday night drinking before he became upset and suddenly left.

March 29, 2009

City Grapples with Pull-Over Problem

After a publicized New Year's Eve incident where a man's car was rammed for not pulling over for police quickly enough, Minneapolis police are questioning how long a driver can delay the stop without getting in trouble.
Sunday's report by the Star Tribune said that after an incident where a man who was attempting to exit a busy freeway before pulling over was rammed, police are admitting the officer did break protocol.
Police also say the man could have pulled over sooner, despite worries of a snow-covered shouler and his children in the backseat.
While state laws state a driver must pull over "immediately", that doesn't mean slamming on the breaks. Police feel there is room for common sense, and it should be used before pulling over in a potentially dangerous area.

Delta Officially Replaces Northwest

Today Delta Airlines, which purchased Minneapolis-based airline Northwest last year, officially rebranded terminals and baggage claims according to the Star Tribune.
Everything Northwest will be changed to Delta, and the effort will take the remainder of the week, the report said.
Delta has already rebranded airplanes, and will continue to work at other airports throughout the world.
The report was missing from coverage on the Pioneer Press website, the only other major news outlet in the Twin Cities.

March 16, 2009

Complaining Teacher Fired

A teacher who complained the state about her school was then fired, according to the Star Tribune. Lauren Strom, who worked for a downtown day-care center called the Cradle Club, complained to the Minnesota Department of Human Services that she felt a student-teacher ratio rule was being violated. After the violation was confirmed by a state inspector, Strom was blamed for the rule breakage by the Club owner and subsequently fired, the Star Tribune said. Strom told the Tribune she sees it as direct retaliation against her. However, the club owner told the Star Tribune she was not even aware Strom had called the state, and that it would have had no effect on her decision. The club owner blames Strom for not calling more teachers for help on the inspection day, according to the Star Tribune.

Man Shot By Police

A man shot by a Litchfield police officer was airlifted to HCMC, the Star Tribune said. The incident, which occurred around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, left the man in critical condition. Litchfield police refused to release details on the incident, the Star Tribune said. The man is currently in ICU, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, who is investigating the incident, also denied requests for details. Neither the injured man nor the police officer have been identified, said the Tribune.

March 8, 2009

Kidnapped Girl Safe

The Star Tribune reported Sunday on an amber alert that was called shortly after midnight.
A 17-year-old girl from Elbow Lake, Minn. was kidnapped by gunpoint by her stepfather, the Tribune reported.
The girl, who had a restraining order against her stepfather, was kidnapped in a parking lot while she was about to attend a movie with her step-brother (not her stepfather's biological son). The stepbrother was bound and left in the car for 30 minutes before he freed himself and called the police.
Later Saturday evening, the stepfather released the girl and allowed her to drive away in his car, the Tribune said.
The Pioneer Press also reported on the story, and talked with a gas station attendant who was working at the gas station the girl called the police from after being released.
The Press reported the girl looked visibly shaken and looked around to see if her stepfather was in the area, according to the attendant.

Southwest comes to Minneapolis

The Star Tribune reported Sunday about the newest airline to Minneapolis. St. Paul International, Southwest Airlines.
The Star Tribune reported that before the first flight left for Chicago at 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning, passengers performed a small song and dance to commemerate the maiden voyage.
The new airline boasts no baggage fees, open seating, leather seats, good service, and free wireless internet, the Tribune reports.
Southwest is based in Dallas and will run eight flights a day to Chicago from MSP, the Tribune said.
The Pioneer Press also ran a small article on the airline, citing how the airline has already driven down fares across the board.

March 1, 2009

Southdale Shooting

Two teenage boys were shot Friday in a parking lot at Southdale Mall in Edina, the Star Tribune reported.
Police called the shooting gang-related, and the incident happened just after 6 p.m. in the JCPenny parking lot outside of the mall.
The two teens were takent to HCMC. One was shot in the leg and the other in the stomach. Their identities have not been released.
Police told the Star Tribune at least four shots were fired. They are still unsure who was firing and why the two groups were in the parking lot.
The Star Tribune reported crimes like this are very rare at Southdale.
The Pioneer Press also covered the incident, and they reported one boy as "seriously injured." They also reported the boy was still in surgery late Friday evening.

7 Robbed in South Minneapolis

Two suspects with a gun may have been responsible for five robberies in South Minneapolis Sunday morning, the Star Tribune reports.
Minneapolis police said the two suspects, bothdescribed as men in their mid-twenties, robbed seven people in five incidents between 12:30 and 2 a.m. Sunday.
No one was hurt, but police told the Star Tribune that anytime a gun is involved they are concerned.
While the Tribune reports it is too early to tell if the incidents are linked, police will inspect the possibility.
No story was reported on the incident in the Pioneer Press, the other major Twin Cities newspaper.

February 15, 2009

Delta to Continue in Bemidji

The Pioneer Press reported that Delta will continue to "robustly serve Bemidji", even after the rebranding and merger with Northwest Airlines is complete.
Airport managers had had questions about the continuation of service in January.
Delta Vice President for Coporate Affairs Tammy Lee Stanoch told the Pioneer Press that differences between the two airline's policies had been "harmonized."
Delta announced last week it planned to merge three regional carriers under Northwest and Delta into one, Regional Handling Services, and that the carrier would be based in Minnesota.
The Bemidji Pioneer also reported this story on Friday, and they reported Stanoch told them both Delta and Northwest tickets are recognized in ticket kiosks, and that 11 Northwest planes have been repainted with the Delta logo.

Man Killed By Train

A man was killed by a train in St. Paul late Saturday the Star Tribune reported.
The man's body was found on the tracks near Palen Blvd. and Payne Avenue by passersby. Police told the Star Tribune they believe the man may have passed out or fallen asleep on the tracks.
The Pioneer Press reported the man was 33-years-old.
The Press also continues further, saying a Union Pacific worker found the man and reported it at around 11 p.m.
The Press said the man was found on tracks near Bush Avenue and Burr Street, and that he appeared to have been hit.

February 5, 2009

Madoff and Minnesotans

Nearly 400 Minnesotans are on the list of Madoff clients, released today in U.S. Bankrupcy Court, the Star Tribune reports.
All of these people qould have lost money when Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme was revealed late last year, said the Star Tribune.
While the exact amount each person lost was not made public, local attorney's contacted by clients told the Star Tribune that local losses could exceed $300 million.
Clients included Sid Hartman and other notable Minnesotans such as Harold Roitenberg, the retired CEO of the former Modern Merchandising.
The Pioneer Press also names foundations such as the Mayo Foundation.
The Pioneer Press also notes the Madoff name spoke of wealth, and that investing with him was a "badge of honor."

Franken Asks for Election Certificate

Al Franken's lawyers asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to issue an election certificate today, citing Minnesota's constitutional responsibility to provide two senators as a reason why.
Franken's attorney Mark Elias told the court that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie are abusing their power and going against federal authority by not certifying Franken as the junior senator from Minnesota, according to the Star Tribune.
Lawyers for Norm Coleman, Franken's opponent, told the courts that Minnesota election law clearly states a certificate cannot be given until after all legal battles are finished.
The Star Tribune also reported how Judge Paul Anderson asked Elias if after a certificate was signed, he would argue that the recount trial was no longer legitimate. Elias, after Anderson pressured him, answered he would not argue that, the Star Tribune said.
Anderson also noted that the Senate could seat anyone it wanted, even without a certificate. However, the Star Tribune reported that would be unlikely, even in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The Pioneer Press's coverage of today's legal battle focused on one absentee ballot lawyers spent part of the morning arguing over. The article did not cover Franken's appeal for an election certificate.

January 28, 2009

Petters Associate Jailed

Michael Catain, an associate of Tom Petters who plead guilty in October to one count of money laundering conspiracy, has his bail rescinded Wednesday the Star Tribune reported.
Catain violated his bail when he took about $14,000 from his Excelsior car wash. There was a court-ordered freeze on all of his assets.
Catain's lawyer told the Star Tribune that Catain had taken the money to pay bills and buy supplies for the car wash, but the judge agreed with prosecutors and said there was probable cause to believe that Catain had committed a crime.
KSTP TV also reported the story, and said that Catain's lawyers did not present a defense, but did ask the court for leniency.
KSTP also reported that as Catain was arrested, he handed his rosary to his wife. Both Catain and his wife were "visibly shaken" KSTP said.