April 13, 2008

Governor vistis National Guard troops

Governor Tim Pawlenty is on a trip this weekend to visit Minnesota National Guard troops currently serving overseas in Kosovo, reports the Star Tribune.

The governor left Minnesota Friday, in secret for his protection, to visit over 400 of Minnesota's National Guards soldiers who are in Kosovo on a peacekeeping mission.

"We're here to let them know Minnesotans are thinking of them," Pawlenty said in a conference call with the Star Tribune on Saturday.

The troops were deployed to Kosovo in October as part of the United Nations' international peacekeeping mission in the country.

In February Kosovo declared it's independence from Serbia in what some consider a controversial move.

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Desmond Tutu visits Twin Cities

Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited several Twin Cities locations this week for a PeaceJam conference, reports the Star Tribune.

Tutu spoke to a group of youths Saturday at Minneapolis' North High School, which is in one of the more troubled urban areas of the Twin Cities.

The night before Tutu spoke at the Minneapolis Convention Center, bringing a message of peace and need from human connection, “I wouldn’t know how to be human except by learning it from other human beings.? (Quote from African Path.

Tutu spoke as part of Metropolitan State University President's Lecture which is run by a nonprofit youth organization known as "youthrive."

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March 31, 2008

Guthrie architect wins highest honor

The French architect who designed the new Guthrie Theater has won the highest honor awarded in his profession, reports Minnesota Public Radio.

Jean Nouvel, 62, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize Sunday in Los Angeles. Along with the bragging rights, Nouvel will receive 100-thousand dollar grant as well as a bronze medallion.

Past winners of the award include Frank Gehry and I.M. Pei.

Nouvel's design the the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, which opened in 2006, was a major factor in Nouvel's receiving of the honor. The Theater was welcomed with worldwide acclaim from the architectural community.

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Suspect in custody after high speed chase

MINNEAPOLIS - A man accused of robbing a bank early Friday was arrested after a high speed chase and gun fight in the streets of northwestern suburbs, reports the Star Tribune.

The suspect had reached speeds of nearly 100 miles-per-hour before crashing his car. The supsect was shot by police and taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The chase involved several towns police forces, including Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove.

The man is suspected of robbing the TCF Bank in St. Louis Park on March 13.

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March 17, 2008

Man robs St. Louis Park Bank

A masked man robbed a TCF bank early Thursday morning, reports the Star Tribune; police believe that this may be the second time he's robbed this specific bank.

Around 6:45 in the morning the suspect threw a large piece of asphalt into the banks front door, and gained entrance. The man then moved to a back room and, at gunpoint, forced employees to put the money into bags.

This same bank was robbed February 1 and police believe it was the same person. Authorities are also looking at the suspect in regards to two other robberies.

Police are asking that anyone with information contact the FBI.

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March 9, 2008

Bars find loophole in smoking ban

Minnesota bars have found a loophole in the states ban on smoking through "theater nights," reports Minnesota Public Radio.

The ban, put into place in 2007, legally bans smoking from bars and restaurants but allows it for theatrical productions. This is where bar owners have found their loophole. Owners have declared that their bars are in fact theaters and the employees as well as the patrons are the actors.

This loophole has many at the department of health fuming. Officials say they will be taking measures to ensure that bars start following the law despite the newly found loophole.

Bars that violate the ban could face a $10,000 fine or lose their licenses.

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March 8, 2008

Stabbing death in North Minneapolis

KARE 11 reports that a man has been arrested and charged in the stabbing death of another man, he what he claims was self defense.

Police were called to the Lowry Towers apartment complex late Thursday night by Opele Onyongo Oboya, claiming that he had just been in an altercation with another man and that he had injured him.

When authorities arrived they found the victim, Luanyo Alomo Duangi, dead from a stab wound. Oboya, whose hands were covered with blood confessed to stabbing the man, claiming that Duangi was trying to fight him.

Oboya was charged with murder in the second degree and is being held in custody with a $500,000 bail.

This is the sixth homicide of the year in Minneapolis.

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March 3, 2008

Man to serve 90 days in underage drinking death

An Excelsior man will serve 90 days in jail for serving alcohol to a 19-year-old man, who later died as a result of it last year, reports MPR.

Joshua Julien, plead guilty to the felony charges and was sentenced on Friday. Last year served alcohol to Sean Humphrey, 19, at a Chaska house party. Humphrey later left the party, intoxicated, and fell onto the curb. Humphrey was knocked unconscious and later found frozen to death. Officals listed the cause of death as hypothermia and acute intoxication.

In an interview with KSTP Sean's father, Bob Humphrey, said that he forgives those involved in his sons death and he hopes that others may learn from such a tragedy. "They need to be aware of what tolerance is, need to be aware of the safety factor." He said.

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1 weekend, 3 murders

Three people were murdered in separate incidents in the metro, between Saturday and Sunday, as reported by KARE 11. Two were killed on Saturday afternoon and one early Sunday morning

A boy in his mid-teens was shot to death Saturday afternoon near the corner of East Lake Street and Portland Avenue South, then about four hours later an 18-year old man, identified as Gustavo Ortega was gunned down in a drive by shooting in Richfield. Police are looking into whether or not these two shootings were related.

In addition to the two male victims, Minneapolis police are investigating the murder of a 40-year-old mother who was shot in her home early Sunday morning. Another woman was injured in the incident but not seriously.

KSTP reports that police arrested Nidjia Dean Nicks, 28, later that day. Charges were expected to be filed Monday.

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February 24, 2008

Van driver charged in deadly crash

The van driver responsible for the accident which killed four children Tuesday has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Alianiss Nunez Morales, 23, ran through a stop sign and collided with the school bus, carrying 28 children, near the Southwestern town of Cottonwood.

Agents belonging to Immigration and Customs Enforcement believe that Morales is in the United States illegally. She does not have a valid Minnesota drivers license and has not given authorities her real name.

Morales faces four counts of homicide, each carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The Pioneer Press reported thursday that the ages of the victims ranged from 9 to 13. A memorial for the students killed took place on Thursday.

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February 17, 2008

Kindergarten student injured by falling radiator

A Chaska kindergarten student was injured Thursday afternoon when a radiator crashed through the ceiling of his classroom, reported the Star Tribune.

The kindergarten class at Guardian Angels Catholic School, in Chaska, was celebrating Valentines day when the 400-pound heater fell through the ceiling, breaking the young student's leg. The incident also injured two fellow students and two teachers, but none of those injuries were serious enough to require medical treatment.

The Pioneer Press reports the piece of equipment being about 3-feet by 5-feet in size. It is unclear what caused the fall but structural engineers are expected to look into the exact cause.

With the exception of the student whose leg was broken, all students were healthy enough to attend class the next day.

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February 16, 2008

Teens arrested in stabbing death

Two teens were arrested Friday in connection with the stabbing death of 70-year-old Pirkko Gaultney, in Minneapolis, as reported Friday by the Star Tribune.

The two teens, whose identities have not yet been released by police, are said to be brothers ages 15 and 16. The brothers were apprehended Friday at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, in Plymouth.

The teens are the second set of arrests made in connection with Gaultney's slaying. A 15-year-old boy was arrested after his father had notified police that the boy was in possession of Gaultney's credit card.

KSTP reports that Gaultney's body was discovered in her home Wednesday night, dead from apparent stab wounds. Her home had apparent signs of forced entry, according to police.

The three teens held in the case have not yet been formally charged, police say that all three are acquainted with each other but have no gang affiliations.

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February 8, 2008

Tunnel discovered at Stillwater Prison

The Pioneer Press has reported that official at the Stillwater Prison discovered an escape tunnel late Wednesday morning. Though they are remaining tight lipped when it comes to details about the tunnels construction they are assuring the public that all all prisoners are accounted for and that there is no present danger.

The tunnel which was discovered beneath a storage facility at the rear of the prison was apparently a long way from completion. The distance between the building where the tunnel was discovered and the prison wall is roughly 50 to 60 feet. Officials didn't release just how long this tunnel was, but said that it had a long way to go before it was complete.

Despite the fact that the tunnel was discovered in its early stages of construction the prison still plans on implementing new security measures to prevent attempts such as this in the future.

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Former Gopher pleads not guilty

KSTP reported Friday that former Minnesota Gophers football player Dominic Jones has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault. The charges stem from a complaint that surfaced last April in which an 18-year-old woman claimed that she was assaulted by four of the players, Jones included.

The woman claims that after an evening of drinking alcohol she was too inebriated to give her consent. At which point she was allegedly assaulted by three of the players who took turns having sex with the woman.

Dominic Jones arrived at the location later and also had sex with the victim. This act was recorded via a cell phone and police were able to identify Jones through DNA testing.

Although the three other players haven't been charged in the crime, the University's football team has cut its ties with the men.

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February 3, 2008

Obama Speaks to Packed Target Center

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama spoke to a near sell out crowd at the Target Center Saturday afternoon, reports the Pioneer Press. The Target Center was nearly filled to it's capacity of 20,000 with many spectators waiting five hours to get their seats.

Obama spoke to the crowd of supporters about his message of hope and change, a common theme that has driven his campaign so far.

The visit comes just days before Minnesotans, and many other states vote in their primary elections on Tuesday, known commonly by the press as "Super Tuesday," because of it's importance in the candidates race for their parties nomination.

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February 1, 2008

Health Department Says HPV Vaccine Should Not Be Mandatory

The Star Tribune reported Friday that the Minnesota Department of Health is expected to recommend to legislators that the new vaccine for the Human Papilloma Virus not be required for girls entering schools. The findings are a result of a report commissioned by the Minnesota State Legislature in 2007.

Health officials have said that though they highly recommend girls be vaccinated the drug is too new to be required for school admissions.

"We think it's going to turn out to be fine, but we don't want to mandate something until more of those studies have been done," said Dr. Edward Ehlinger, as quoted by the Pioneer Press. Doctor Ehlinger works on a state advisory board that deals with immunization practices.

The vaccine is said to block two common forms of HPV, which causes around 70 percent of all cervical cancers. The fact that HPV is passed through sexual activity has grabbed the attention of many conservative groups who fear that the vaccine will encourage young adults to have premarital sex.

Currently the United States has about 20 million diagnosed cases of HPV.

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