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Recently in Local News Category

An envelope containing a suspicious substance prompted authorities to evacuate a Wells Fargo building in Shoreview on Thursday, news sources report.

The Pioneer Press reports that authorities arrived on the scene around 2:30 p.m. after a person at the operation center for the bank opened the envelope. The building's security safely evacuated all people before authorities arrived.

According to the Pioneer Press, one person was treated on the scene and then taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. Although the person did not show any symptoms at the time, he or she might have come into contact with the suspicious substance.

The Star Tribune reports that the North Suburban Hazardous Materials Team handled the removal of the suspicious substance, which is now being tested by the Minnesota Department of Health.

According to the Star Tribune, the building and surrounding area was decontaminated and cleared by authorities.

Minneapolis fire destroys deli and closes busy street

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A fire broke out in a Minneapolis deli and grocery store early Thursday that destroyed the building, news sources report.

Kare 11 reports that the fire broke out around 3 a.m. in the basement of Chicago Avenue Food and Deli. The fire lasted for a few hours and left the building destroyed.

According to Kare 11, fire alarms at the nearby Children's Hospital went off because the wind blew the smoke over. However, the hospital was not damaged at all.

The Star Tribune reports that the street where the deli is located, Chicago Avenue, will stay closed until fire officials are sure that the situation is completely under control.

According to the Star Tribune, there were no injuries related to the fire. The fire's cause is unknown at this point.

Computer problems stop state math test for thousands

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Computer problems forced the Minnesota Department of Education to stop the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment math test, which thousands of students were taking Tuesday, news sources report.

The Star Tribune reports that the computer server slowed down and caused problems for some of the 15,000 students that were taking the test online. Some could not log in to take the test and some were forced to stop taking the test before they were finished.

Joe Cohen, executive vice president of American Institutes for Research, told the Star Tribune that the cause of the computer problems was identified and that testing will resume tomorrow.

The Pioneer Press reports that 9,000 students were able to successfully take the test. The system will be closely monitored as testing resumes.

According to the Pioneer Press, schools are transitioning to taking all of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests online. Charlene Briner, chief of staff for the Minnesota Department of Education, says that students feel more comfortable taking tests on computers and teachers like the instant feedback the online tests provide.

A bust of a walleye poaching ring in northern Minnesota resulted in 21 people being charged for fish poaching, news sources report.

The Pioneer Press reports that the bust was a result of a three year investigation called Operation Squarehook. Minnesota wildlife officials worked with national officials, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in the investigation.

According to the Pioneer Press, the charges, which were announced on Monday, include illegal purchase and sale of game fish. The fish, which were mostly walleye, were taken from Cass, Leech, Red, and Winnibigoshish lakes on the Red Lake and Leech Lake reservations.

The Star Tribune reports that this case is the largest fish poaching case in Minnesota since 1993. Despite the bust, DNR enforcement chief Jim Konrad said he thinks "there is a lot more of this activity going on out there."

According to the Star Tribune, the people facing charges are not members of either tribe working on the investigation. They face state fines amounting to thousands of dollars.

A Minneapolis man was charged with assault Wednesday after he bit off the finger of a decorated Minneapolis police officer on Tuesday, news sources report.

The Star Tribune reports that the 54-year-old man, James Curtis Dawkins, was an ex-felon and had previously attacked police officers. Police were responding to a complaint of a man causing a disturbance when Dawkins attacked them.

According to the Star Tribune, Dawkins attacked officers Chad Meyer and Laura Turner. Meyer, whose finger was bitten off by Dawkins, is a decorated officer for the Minneapolis police department.

The Pioneer Press reports that Dawkins punched and kicked Meyer and Turner before biting Meyer's finger through his glove. Meyer permanently lost the part of his finger up to the first knuckle.

According to the Pioneer Press, Dawkins is being charged with first-degree assault and his first court date is scheduled for Thursday.

A pilot was charged Tuesday after being arrested on Jan. 4 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when he was suspected of being drunk during preflight checks, news sources report.

The Pioneer Press reports that a blood test showed that Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen, 48, had a blood alcohol content of .09 percent at the time of the flight. The state's legal limit to fly a commercial plane is .04 percent.

According to the Pioneer Press, Kristiansen is charged with attempting to operate an aircraft under the influence of alcohol. He is currently not allowed to fly and potentially faces jail time and fines.

The Star Tribune reports that airport police officers saw Kristiansen before his flight and thought he showed signs of being drunk. He admitted to drinking the previous night.

Peter Wold, the attorney for Kristiansen, told the Star Tribune, "He never operated the aircraft. He never touched the controls."

A Twin Cities man pleaded guilty Thursday in a case regarding a 2011 crash on I-94 in St. Paul, new sources report.

Kare 11 reports that the 63-year-old man, Eugene Michael Farrell, pleaded guilty to counts of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation. Farrell was drunk at the time of the crash.

According to the Pioneer Press, Farrell and a passenger were driving near the scene of a previous accident on the left shoulder of I-94 near Lexington Avenue on the night of Dec. 18, 2011. Farrell's van hit an overturned car and three people standing outside of it.

The Pioneer Press reports that Marcus Andary, 21, was thrown in to traffic and fatally hit by another car. The other victims, Keith Barnes, 38, and Alicia Kaufenberg, 23, both had to have a leg amputated as a result of their injuries from the incident.

The article by the Pioneer Press states that at the time of the crash, Farrell's blood alcohol level was .01 over the legal limit. "I don't remember hitting any people or car, but if the film shows I did, then I did," Farrell said in court.

A five-year-old St. Paul girl, along with St. Paul firefighters and doctors, was honored and thanked Tuesday for helping to save a teen from a burning house in January, news sources report.

The Star Tribune reports that the girl, Shayna Yang, insisted multiple times to her father, Ong Yang, that she smelled something burning on the afternoon of Jan. 31. Hearing a loud noise, her father went outside and found their neighbor's house on fire, prompting him to call 911.

According to the Star Tribune, Daphine Scott, 17, was trapped inside the burning house. Scott was unconscious and did not have a heartbeat when firefighters found her. However, Scott has been released after extensive treatment at Regions Hospital, Hennepin County Medical Center, and Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.

The Pioneer Press reports that Janella Scott, Daphine's mother, went to St. Paul Fire Station No. 7 Tuesday to thank firefighters, Yang, and doctors who helped to save her daughter's life. Scott told the Pioneer Press, "I'm just so grateful to ... all these people. I got the best gift I could ever receive in life and that's my daughter. ... I'm just so blessed."

According to the Pioneer Press, Daphine Scott returned to school on Monday. Her mother said that she is not going to school full time yet though, because she still gets weak and tired.

Authorities say that a Minneapolis man who died from a cardiac arrest after a fight is now considered a homicide victim, news sources report.

The Star Tribune reports that Jimmie Ray G. Herron Jr., 45, died following a fight on March 4 outside of a Denny's in south Minneapolis. The man was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, and he died there a few hours after the fight.

According to the Pioneer Press, when authorities came to the Denny's in response to the fight, Herron told them he had a pre-existing health problem and he needed to be treated. The other person who the man fought with had fled by the time authorities arrived.

The Star Tribune reports that the medical examiner's office reported that the assault on Herron was a factor that led to his cardiac arrest. Police are looking for the suspect, who they think is a man is his 20s.

The man's mother, Assata Damani, told the Star Tribune that Herron was a "very quiet person...who wasn't one to start conflicts, but he wasn't one to back away, either."

Minneapolis synagogue vandalized

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Vandals sprayed graffiti on Temple Israel, the largest synagogue in Minnesota, on Tuesday night, new sources report.

MPR News reports that the vandalism occurred before midnight on Tuesday, the second night of Passover. Workers who removed the purple graffiti from the building on Wednesday say that the graffiti did not seem like it was obviously anti-Semitic.

According to MPR News, Senior Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman said that the building's security cameras showed that one person was responsible for the vandalism.

Zimmerman told the Star Tribune that the vandalism "jogs the historic memory of vandalism throughout the world in the Jewish community."

The Star Tribune reports that about 6,000 people attend the synagogue, which was built in 1928. The synagogue and other buildings in the neighborhood have been spray painted by vandals in the past.

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