May 4, 2008

Tuition rates will increase at the University of Minnesota

The tuition rates at the University of Minnesota would go up 9.5 percent next year if the state budget cuts are adopted, MPR said.

The 9.5 percent increase is one of three scenarios for budget proposals released by President Robert Bruininks, while the other two would increase tuition by 7.5 percent, according to the Star Tribune

The university had already planned to raise tuition, but the university warned of the additional 2 percentage point increase if Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposed cut of $27.3 million is enacted, Star Tribune

The 2008-09 school year will be the first time the university has seen tuition rates of over $10,000 if the budget cuts are enacted.

April 30, 2008

Plans to double Mall of America

Powerful Minnesota legislators united on Tuesday in backing a large Mall of America expansion behind a major Mall of America based on millions in public tax subsidies, MPR said.

Thousands of construction workers gathered at the State Capitol in a rally to support the expansion and call for employment. Star Tribune

Four major legislators, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and Senate Minority Leader David Senjem, said they are in support of state clearance for the $2.1 billion project. Star Tribune

"In this particular project we actually, in a net sense, will have more money for the state treasury, more people put to work, more tourism, more jobs, more economic development than any other project that I can think of before the Legislature right now," Senjem said. Star Tribune

Tom Bakk, the chair of the Senate Taxes Committee, is the chief sponsor of the project, and he says that it will create around 7,000 jobs for construction workers. MPR

"That is going to be the number one thing on my mind the final day when we close this session up, to make sure everybody in this room has got a job," he said. MPR

April 15, 2008

Standoff in south Minneapolis ends

The standoff between police and a burglary suspect in a south Minneapolis residence area ended peacefully on Tuesday. Kare 11

The suspect was taken into custody Tuesday morning, police said. Star Tribune

The man had been inside a townhouse on E. 25th Street since about 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, and had taken two women and two children hostage. The four people were later released unharmed, but the man stayed inside until the SWAT Team talked him into surrendering about four hours later, police said. Kare 11

The standoff began at around 5 a.m. when the suspect allegedly fired shots in an attempted burglary blocks away, police said. Kare 11

An hour later a woman called the police and whispered that she needed help, police said. Star Tribune

It was likely that the suspect knew the hostages and the entry to the house was "not random," police said. Star Tribune

One dead in St. Croix river accident

A Stillwater man died after his car plunged into the St. Croix River on Monday, authorities said. Associated Press

Mohanraj Pothiraj, 28, drove his SUV into the River, which was covered with a thin layer of ice. It was not clear why, authorities said. MPR

Pothiraj was accompanied by Rohini Krishnamurthy, 27, Kalai Selvi Vijaya Kumar, 25, who both were in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul and Deepa Veluswamy, 25, who was in serious condition. Associated Press

Five to 10 minutes passed before rescuers responding to a frantic 911 call broke the car window and pulled the victims out. MPR

April 10, 2008

$65 million given to University of Minnesota for cancer research

The Minnesota Masonic Charities donated $65 million on Thursday to the University of Minnesota for cancer research, its largest donation ever, MPR said.

The donation will be given over a period of 15 years.

Masonic support of cancer research and care at the University of Minnesota over the past 53 years now totals $100 million. In recognition of this record-breaking gift, the University of Minnesota Cancer Center will now be called the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Earth Times

The state has nearly 17,000 Mason, of which Dr. Ray Christensen is Grand Master. At the signing agreement for the donation, Christensen said the Masons have supported several other charities over the years from the Shriner's Hospital for Children to housing and health care for seniors.MPR

"As a fraternity, I wanted to look at something personally that affected both genders, all ages, all walks of life and certainly cancer is one of those things," Christensen said.

St. Cloud bridge to be repaired

Construction will begin on a replacement of the De Soto bridge, a segment of Highway 23 that runs through St. Cloud, transportation officials said on Thursday. MPR

The bridge was closed abruptly last month when bent gusset plates were discovered by examiners, the St. Cloud Times said. Flawed gusset plates were the reason for last year's I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

A replacement bridge will cost about $35 million, compared to $325,000 for repairs that could have been done in about seven week, state bridge engineer Dan Dorgan said. Ultimately the decision was made to replace the bridge so it could coincide with other construction already planned for Highway 23, so there will be less disruption for commuters. St. Cloud Times

Construction will start in September, and completion is expected to be in November 2009. MPR

April 1, 2008

Woman wills $1.8 million for loons

A Minneapolis woman left $1.8 million of her estate for the protection of loons, said MPR

Iva Weir, a school teacher, died in 2006 at the age of 85. Her money will now go to the Nature Conservatory in Minnesota for the protection of the Minnesota state bird. WCCO

It is one of the largest donations made to the conservatory for a single species.MPR

Weir was born in Moorehead, Minn. and grew up in Bemidji, Minn. before moving to Oregon in her 20s. WCCO

Chris Weir Koetter of Bemidji is Iva Weir's niece, and she said her aunt loved nature and the loon.

"She was truly a Minnesota girl at heart, and the loon was Minnesota," Koetter said. "She came back several times, and I'd take her out, and she always thrilled at seeing them. She made embroidery of loons, and had them on her mailbox, and I sent her tapes of their calls when those became available, and she just liked them."

Snowy opener for the Twins

The Minnesota Twins sold out their MLB season opener on a snowy Monday, the StarTribune said.

Thousands of Twins fans waited outside the Metrodome for an hour in the snow, WCCO said.

Weather reports showed that Minneapolis received over five inches of snow. Fans were in good spirits, however. "My ears are cold, but I'm OK," Peter Winter, 9, said. "It's the Opening Day." StarTribune

The first pitch of the season was thrown by Livan Hernandez to visitors Los Angeles Angels. StarTribune

The new outdoor stadium will host the Twins season opener in 2010. WCCO

March 29, 2008

Earth Hour tonight

Between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m., several buildings in downtown Minneapolis will shut off their lights, MPR said.

The city will join in shutting off their lights as part of the the International Earth Hour Saturday night, Kare 11 News said.

The IDS Center, the U.S. Bancorp building, the Wells Fargo Center and other Minneapolis skyscrapers will go completely dark tonight.MPR

The Stone Arch Bridge and some buildings in the theater district will also turn out the lights as the city joins the global Earth Hour event.
Kare 11 News

Earth Hour is an event designed to encourage the world to conserve energy.

Earth Hour already started on the other side of the globe, as the lights went out in Sydney, Australia. After Australia, lights will go out in major Asian cities before moving to Europe and North America.

City leaders in Minneapolis are encouraging residents and other businesses to participate as well. Kare 11 News

March 27, 2008

Henry Sibley beats Mayo

The Henry Sibley High School men's varsity basketball team beat Mayo High School in the first round of the state varsity boys basketball tournament.

The game, which had a final score of 68-58, took place at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

It was both teams' first ever state tournament men's basketball game, said Kare 11 News.

The second-seeded Henry Sibley had all five starters score in double figures, led by Peter Leslie with a team-high 19 points. Lucas Kuipers scored 18 points for Mayo. Kare 11 News

"I just couldn't get a rhythm going," Jordan Hicks, starting guard for Mayo High School said. Hicks, whose mother is battling cancer, has lead the team in scoring this year. He will attend Rice College next year on a full-ride basketball scholarship.

"It's hard to lose. We worked really hard to get here," Barry Kenny, a member of the Mayo Spartan's team, said.

March 15, 2008

High school student killed

A Rosemount high school senior was killed by a fellow student, leaving one dead and one in jail, the Star Tribune said.

Seventeen-year-old Cody Casey was stabbed by a 16-year-old boy in a dispute about a girlfriend, police said. Casey was taken to Regions Hospital in Rosemount on Thursday and died several hours later. WCCO

"He had a lot of friends and he didn't really have any problems with people, people most of the time just really liked him," said Ali Gullickson, a friend of Cody's. WCCO

Casey rode his bike to a rival's house who was interested in his girlfriend, police said. The rival was not home, but his younger brother was. The boys got into a fight in which Casey was stabbed several times. The boy made it a few blocks on his bike, but collapsed on a sidewalk on Dodd Road in Rosemount. Star Tribune

Memorials can be seen around Rosemount, and Casey's girlfriend started a fund to raise money for the boy's family. Star Tribune

March 4, 2008

Minnesota Senate passes bill

The Minnesota Senate passed a $1 billion support state borrowing bill today, for the use of construction on public colleges, prisons, and flood zones, said MPR .

It was passed overwhelmingly with a 51-7 vote. The House will vote by the end of the for its own version of the bill, which entails about the same amount of money. MPR

Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, chairman of the Capital Investment Committee, said the bill is good for helping out the failing economy. Star Tribune

"It helps to turn around the economy to have these people working," Langseth said. "It's the best time to be selling these bonds and constructing these projects. Doing it during booming times means the price is going to be considerable higher." Star Tribune

Power outage in Minneapolis

Thousands of XCel Energy customers lost power on Sunday due to the wet weather and salt on roads, XCel Energy said. MPR

600 customers are still without power, a number down from a peak of 7,000 on Sunday. Power transformers were short-circuited because of the combined weather and salt spray, and the tops of some of the poles caught on fire, XCel Energy said. No other damage was reported. Star Tribune

The power outage hit three areas of St. Paul and one in Oakdale, along with some 1,000 customers in northeast Minneapolis. MPR

"We always tell people to stay away from lines and call us," said Tom Hoen, a spokesman for XCel Energy. "But people need not be overly concerned." Star Tribune

February 28, 2008

Drunk driver charged

The car crash that killed a Two Harbors veterinarian was caused by a drunk driver from Cambridge. MSNBC

Ann Marie Brodman, 53, was charged with criminal vehicular homicide Thursday, police said. She was also charged with criminal vehicular operation and drunken driving. Duluth News

Mary Schlangen, 35, was a small-animal veterinarian who practiced in Duluth. She was the author of "Zoe's Good-bye," a children's book about coping with the death of pets. Duluth News

Schlangen's husband Mark, a school teacher, was the driver of the car, and was seriously injured. The couple's two children, ages 8 and 5, suffered slight injuries, medical personnel said. Brodman was unharmed. MSNBC

Mark Schalangen told reporters that his family is still "learning to live with a new reality" since the crash. MSNBC

February 26, 2008

Monticello father charged with drug paraphernalia

A Monticello man was charged Tuesday on a count of storing drug paraphernalia in front of children and two counts of first-degree drug possession, after drugs were found according to a complaint filed Monday in Wright County Court. Star Tribune

In Range, the business of Shea Pedersen, 32, was searched Thursday, along with his home in Monticello, the complaint said. Drugs and paraphernalia were found at the business, and trace amounts of drugs and explosives were found in the home. Monticello Times

The Minneapolis Bomb Squad was called in to destroy the explosives, and the drugs and drug paraphernalia, and 3 fire arms found in Pedersen's home were confiscated, the complaint said. Star Tribune

Jessica Pedersen, Shea Pedersen's wife, was also arrested and was charged with negligent storage of a firearm. Star Tribune The couple's children, ages 3,4, and 6, were placed in Wright County Human Services.
Monticello Times

February 23, 2008

Hit and run on University Avenue

A 59-year-old woman was struck and killed in a hit and run accident on University Avenue Wednesday.

The man who hit the woman was Terrance Leonard Oliver, 45, a St. Paul man who was driving on University Avenue near Fairview Avenue at around 8 a.m. when he struck Margaret Prowse. Prowse was walking across the street where there were no crosswalks or street lights, according to the criminal complaint in Ramsey County District Court. Star Tribune

Injuries included those to the pelvis, significant bleeding, a torn aorta, and brain damage. Prowse was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital.

Oliver told authorities that the sun was blinding, and that he initially stopped, but kept going because his driver's license was revoked in 1996. Star Tribune

Van driver charged

The van driver who crashed with a Cottonwood school bus appeared in court Friday to face vehicular homicide charges, authorities said. Star Tribune

The woman said her name was Alianiss Nunez Morales, but authorities are unsure who she is, saying that she is in the country illegally and using a fake name.

The woman also told authorities that she has been working in United States at a cabinet shop and living with her boyfriend in a trailer, where a search was conducted by federal immigration officers. "ICE is executing a search warrant in relation to the investigation into the crash and her identity," said State Patrol Cpl. Al Uecker. Star Tribune

The identification of the woman has sparked an immigration debate.

February 14, 2008

Man arrested for intoxicated driving dies

A man arrested on suspicion of drunk driving died after being taken to a hospital on Wednesday, said the WCCO.

Marcus James Burrell was pulled over on 23rd and Grand Avenues N.E. at about 2:30 a.m., police said. Police arrested him on charges of Driving While Intoxicated, and was placed in the back of a squad car. the WCCO.

Soon after, the man showed signs of a medical emergency and the EMS was called, police said. CPR was performed by police, and paramedics extracted a bag of possible crack cocaine from Burrell's airway.

Police said the man was pronounced dead at North Memorial Medical Center.

Light-rail debate

Critical planning on the future extension of the light-rail will be made soon, said

A debate rages as the Central Corridor light-rail line linking St. Paul and Minneapolis must find a route that is affordable and convenient, but also can be built by 2014.

The plan is to run the light-rail above ground along Washington Avenue to Snelling Avenue, and continue to downtown St. Paul. Administrators at the University of Minnesota are concerned with automotive and pedestrian traffic. WCCO

University of Minnesota Vice President Kathleen O'Brien said, "We believe that either the train needs to go below ground or the traffic needs to go somewhere else, or the train needs to go somewhere else."

Those for and against the plan are working on a compromise. A light-rail listening session wil be held on Wednesday at the University of Minnesota campus.

February 7, 2008

Macy's headquarters in Minneapolis to close

The Macy's headquarters in Minneapolis will close, laying off 950 employees, said Macy's Inc. on Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune.

The retailer announced that a $150 million consolidation was necessary due to slowing sales in recent months, and earnings would be below Wall Street estimates in the coming fiscal year, as shares fell nearly 5 percent. The consolidation will lay off 2,300 management positions nationwide, including the Minneapolis headquarters in Nicollet Mall. This is one of the biggest cuts in the area in recent years. Post Bulletin.

Macy's Chief Executive Terry Lundgren said the new consolidation is the right structure. "We think it is one that will get us back to the place where we can take market share and grow our business back," he said. Post Bulletin.

New York Times.

Obama and Romney take Minnesota in a strong turnout

The turnout at the Minnesota caucus broke records on Tuesday, the Pioneer Press said. Barack Obama out-polled Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party, and Mitt Romney won over McCain in Minnesota.

One in 10 voters participated at their party's caucus, the Secretary of State said. About 200,000 Democrats came to caucus and an estimated 60,000 Republicans came, Secretary Mark Ritchie said. An expected 330,000 out of 3 million eligible voters will come for additional parties caucuses by the end of this month, the Pioneer Press said.

At Coffman Memorial Union, about 1,700 people voted, and over 1,000 participated in the caucus.

Obama won the Democratic Party, beating Clinton 2-to-1. Mitt Romney beat John McCain in the Republican Party with over 41 percent of the vote. Minnesota Daily

February 4, 2008

Moratorium on Nuke Plants May Be Lifted

In a legislative proposal, Gov. Pawlenty tendered to lift the ban on building nuclear power plants in an effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The plan was prepared by the Office of Energy Security and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said MPR. (

The proposal is in compliance with the state's goal to reduce harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide by 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050, according to

The plan is tentative, and it will only lift the ban on building nuclear power plants. Edward Garvey, Director of the new Office of Energy Security, said: "Building any large electrical generation facility is a lengthy process, measured in years. All this proposal does is remove the moratorium. If someone wants to make a proposal to build a nuke, you can have discussion and we can consider whether that's a wise and appropriate way to proceed." (

The public will be able to voice their opinion on the matter.


Clinton Speaks at Augsburg College

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at Augsburg College today, and drew a crowd of approximately 4,000 into the overflowing gymnasium, according to the Star Tribune.

Her visit followed Barack Obama's at the Target Center on Saturday, with a crowd of about 20,000. Many who came planned to be late to Super Bowl parties, said MPR.

Clinton's speech was scheduled to focus on the economy, yet the candidate spoke on a variety of topics, including health care and the conflict in Iraq. ( Her speech also covered the collapse of the 35-W bridge.

Walter Mondale, former Vice President, introduced Clinton.

Clinton's visit to Augsburg College emphasized her need for the youth vote, a group that Obama has appealed to. The candidate has support, however. As college student Ali Minelli, 18, said: "Obama's young, he still has time. Hillary, I think this is her time." (