December 6, 2008

Pilot Killed in Northern Michigan Plane

A pilot died when his single-engine airplane crashed into a northwestern Michigan mobile home Saturday, KSTP said.

The residents of the home were shoveling snow outside at the time of the crash, WCCO reported.

The pilot, whose name has not been released, took off from St. Paul and appeared to be headed to Glens Falls, N.Y., Tony Molinaro, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Chicago, told KSTP.

He was trying to land at Cherry Capital Airport in “harsh, wintery conditions? when he crashed, Ron Hubbard, a FFA official based in northern Michigan told the Traverse City Record-Eagle said.

The two witnesses of the crash, Scott Sanford and Justin Rider, said that the pilot was the only occupant of the aircraft.

“We had just stepped out, maybe two minutes before,? Stanford said to the Traverse City Record-Eagle. “It went right into our house.?

The pilot was a 47-year-old man from Lake George, N.Y., Sheriff Bill Artress said, according to WCCO.

Investigation is underway to identify the cause of the crash, the Traverse City Record-Eagle said.

Sunday Benefit for Daughter of Slain Anoka Woman

Family friends are planning a benefit Sunday for a girl whose mother authorities say was killed by the child’s father.

Four-year-old Savannah should still get a bright future, the family friends told the Pioneer Press.

The girl’s mother, Natasha Waalen, 28, was found in Andover in what appeared to be a motorcycle crash in September. Investigators arrested Waalen’s boyfriend, Ryan Boland, and his brother, Timothy Boland, on charges of murder when facts didn’t add up, WCCO reported.

"This incident took Tasha away from us, but we cannot let it stand in the way of Savannah's future," Stacey Anderson, one of the lead organizers of the benefit, said to the Pioneer Press.

At least 24 children in Minnesota lost their mothers as a result of domestic violence last year, the executive director of Alexandra House in Blaine, Connie Moore, told the Pioneer Press.

The benefit will include live music, a silent auction and appearances by cheerleaders for the Minnesota Vikings, the Fort Mill Times said.

November 23, 2008

U of M, Augsburg Students Named Rhodes Scholars

Two Minnesotan college students were named Rhodes Scholars on Sunday, KSTP reported.

Brian Krohn, a senior majoring in chemistry at Augsburg College, and Ashley Nord, a physics, astrophysics and global studies senior at the University of Minnesota will study at Oxford University in England next year under the prestigious scholarship, the Star Tribune said.

Krohn, the first Rhodes Scholar from Augsburg, presented some of his biodiesel research to Congress members earlier this year, KSTP said.

Nord plans to pursue a career in biophysics after earning a doctorate in condensed matter physics at Oxford, WCCO reported. Nord is from Rapid City, S.D.

Krohn and Nord were among the 31 out of 769 applicants selected for 2009, WCCO said.

The Star Tribune reported that, according to the scholarship trust, 32 United States students were selected for the scholarship.

Rhodes Scholarships were created by Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist, in 1902. The awards are the oldest international study scholarships for U.S. students, the Star Tribune said.

Denny Hecker Closes 6 Dealerships

Denny Hecker, the prominent Twin Cities car dealer entrepreneur, closed six of his dealerships and sold three others this week because of the “sour economy,? WCCO said.

About 400 employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closings, the Pioneer Press reported. The recent closings reflect the problems many other dealers are facing.

According to the Star Tribune, in a release last week, state employment figures revealed that 2,000 dealership jobs were lost in October alone.

On Saturday the Hecker Automotive group shut down the Blaine Bargain lot, Froest Lake Chrysler Jeep Dodge Mitsubishi, Sillwater Ford Lincoln Mercury, Moticello Dodge Ford and Mercury, Shakopee Chrysler Jeep Dodge, and Rosedale Hyundai.

"The decision to realign our dealership came as we found ourselves in the midst of a 'perfect storm' of economic bad news: a financial crisis on Wall Street, chaos in the housing market, consumer confidence at all time low and the sight of the Big Three on their knees in Washington asking for a bailout loan." Denny Hecker Automotive Group President Barbara Jerich said in a statement on Friday night.

November 16, 2008

American Girl Store Opens at the Mall of America

The opening of the American Girl store drew hundreds to the Mall of America early Saturday morning, according to the Star Tribune.

Some started lining up around 5:30 a.m. to be the first in the store, the Star Tribune said.

The Pioneer Press called the opening of the store “one of the most anticipated of the year in the Twin Cities.?

The first American Girl store opened in Chicago in 1998, when the company became a division of toy giant Mattel Inc.

The Minneapolis location is the seventh American Girl store in the nation, the Star Tribune reported.

The store is made to be an experience, where the average customer spends two hours browsing dozens of displays, eating lunch at the café, and purchasing dolls, books or matching outfits for girls and their dolls.

The company was started by Pleasant Rowland to encourage girls to read while sparking pride in America’s history, the Star Tribune said.

November 15, 2008

Fridley Teen Killed in Gun Accident

A high school senior was shot and killed at his home by a friend who thought his gun was empty, according to the Star Tribune.

Emmanuel Bartuoh, 18, was watching the high school football semifinals when his friend, Samuel Keleih Dennis, 20, pointed a semi-automatic gun he did not know was loaded at Bartuoh and pulled the trigger, the Pioneer Press said.

WCCO reported a man named “Teri? to be the one who “allegedly killed? Bartuoh.

Dennis was booked into the Anoka County Jail on charges of second-degree manslaughter, according to the Pioneer Press.

Bartuoh played high school football with the dream of earning scholarships for college.

"I've known the guy since childhood. His dream all along was to play football, but here's why," Fridley High School senior A.B. Borner, a teammate, said. "I remember when he was a kid, he made a promise to his mom to support her. That's why he played his heart out. Everything he did, he did it for her," the Star Tribune reported.

The teenager moved to America from Africa with his mom, who he financially supported, WCCO said.

Bartuoh was known for his “attitude, drive and respect for fellow students,? WCCO reported.

His football coach, Lambert Brown, told the Pioneer Press that Bartuoh was a quiet leader and a standout player.

November 8, 2008

Rare Whooping Cranes Pass Through SW Minnesota

A whooping crane breeding program is giving southwestern Minnesotan residents a rare look at the bird, according to a Department of Natural Resources official, the Star Tribune reported.

Four whooping cranes, a bird listed as an endangered species, have been sighted in Lincoln County since mid-Sept., Bob Meyer, DNR area wildlife manager said.

Myer told WCCO that the wild population of whooping cranes "doesn't fly through here at all and these were hundreds of miles from where they were raised in Wisconsin."

The birds are the result of a breeding program that would not allow all the birds to concentrate in one area in order to lessen the risk of the cranes being wiped out, WCCO said.

The cranes will likely be leaving the area soon, as the temperature continues to drop, KARE 11 reported.

Lakeville Girl Dies in Car Accident

One of the two Lakeville sisters injured in a Wednesday car crash has died, her parents said in a statement released Saturday, according to the Pioneer Press.

Kayla J. Borgerson, 17 “was not able to survive the multiple, traumatic injuries she sustained from the crash,? Keith and Sue Borgerson, her parents, said, according to the Star Tribune.

Kayla was driving with her sister, Katie Borgerson, 15, near the Borgerson home when their Toyota Camry collided with a pickup truck around 6 p.m., Lakeville Police Chief Tom Vonhof said, according to the Star Tribune.

Kayla was flown by helicopter to Hennepin County medical Center because her injuries were life threatening.

Katie was also taken to HCMC, where she remains in serious condition.

November 2, 2008

Man Charged with Piggy Bank Theft

A 34-year-old Eden Prairie man was charged Saturday with stealing eight piggy banks from a Hopkins home, according to a KWTX report.

The change from the piggy banks totaled more than $2,700, KARE 11 said.

Robert Black stood at a coin-counting machine for more than half an hour while the money was counted, police said, according to WCCO.

Police said Blake then picked up his girlfriend and bought her boots, shirts, and a coat at Burlington Coat Factory, according to the Pioneer Press.

A neighbor called the police and wrote down the license number of the white Lincoln Town Car after seeing a man leave the house with two large nylon bags, KARE 11 reported.

The victim’s son told police Blake had lived with the family in the past, the Pioneer Press said.

The Pioneer Press found through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that Blake “has four previous convictions, including two for first-degree burglary.?

October 31, 2008

Siblings Arrested; Andover Man Found Dead over Inheritance

A missing man from Andover, Minn., may have been killed by his own brother and sister over their grandmother’s inheritance, according to Anoka County authorities, the Star Tribune reported Friday.

Andrew T. Hawes, 36, of Robbisnsdale and Elizabeth M. Hawes, 43, of Minneapolis were arrested on charges of second-degree murder after they were caught trying to burn their brother’s remains in a fire pit in Cottonwood County, according to KARE 11’s report.

Lt. Paul Sommer said authorities believe the siblings thought Edwin Hawes, 46, the conservator of the inheritance, was not distributing the money fairly, the Star Tribune reported.

Last month Andrew Hawes was arrested for first-degree assault when he tried to run over Edwin Hawes, his brother, with his car in Minneapolis, Sommer told the Star Tribune.

Police also arrested Andrew Hawe’s friend, Kristina M. Dorniden, 29, in connection to the case, according to KSTP.

The remains have not been identified and no charges have been filed, according to KARE 11.

October 26, 2008

Minnesota's Independence Party will not Endorse a Presidential Nominee

Minnesota’s Independence Party voted Saturday not to endorse a presidential candidate for the 2008 election.

The 70 delegates and 30 observers decided that none of the nominees entirely matched the party’s positions, state IP Chairman Craig Swaggert said according to the Star Tribune.

The party considered nominees from the Republican, Libertarian and Green parties, WCCO reported.

The Pioneer Press suggested that endorsing Republican nominee John McCain might have weakened Democratic voters’ appeal to the IP’s Senate candidate Dean Barkley.

Presidential nominee Barack Obama “shunned? the IP because he only wanted to be endorsed by the Democratic Party, Swaggert told the Pioneer Press.

October 25, 2008

In-the-Womb Surgery Gives “Miracle? Birth

The birth of twins suffering from Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome was called a “miracle? in a WCCO story.

Abbott Northwestern and Children’s Hospital doctors William Block and Brad Feltis performed an “experimental procedure? on the boys, who shared blood vessels and the placenta, which would have likely killed the twins otherwise, the Star Tribune said.

"Without the surgery, without any therapy at all, the loss rate for both babies approaches 80-90 percent so they wouldn't be here holding their babies," Block said to Kare11.

The doctors are the only ones in the Midwest to perform the operation for TTTS, which has previously had to recommend between 40 and 50 Minnesotan cases a year to Cincinnati or Seattle facilities to have the procedure done, according to WCCO.

The procedure, called fetoscopic laser ablation, involved inserting a very small scope into the mother’s abdomen in order to see inside her uterus where the doctors “cauterized? the connected blood vessels, WCCO said.

October 18, 2008

KFAN Broadcaster Arrested for Drug Possession

KFAN Sports Radio broadcaster Jeff Dubay was arrested Wednesday, KMSP, WCCO and the Star Tribune all reported; the details of the arrest were accounted for in varying degrees within the three reports.

WCCO reported that the co-host of the KFAN “PA and Dubay? show was arrested on felony possession of methamphetamine.

The Star Tribune article said that police have not provided any details about what drug might be involved- only that Dubay was suspected of “fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance.?

The Star Tribune and WCCO reported that Dubay also covers Minnesota Gopher Hockey for Fox Sports Net.

KMSP, the local Fox News station published a 49-word story on the arrest, only stating that Dubay was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and “released with charges.?

Dubay has not been on KFAN or FSN North since Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported.

The radio talk show host took a leave of absence from KFAN over the summer for personal reasons, according to WCCO.

"I can't believe it. I've listened to PA and Dubay for 10 years since they been on the radio and I can't believe that he would do anything like that," said KFAN listener Larry Miller to WCCO-TV.

October 17, 2008

Doctor Investigated in the Case of Counterfeit Casino Chips

Police are investigating a Roseville weight-loss physician for allegedly making and using counterfeit Mystic Lake Casino gambling chips, the Pioneer Press reported, citing a search warrant filed Wednesday.

An informant notified Minnesota’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division that Carol Straughan was making the chips at her clinic, Lighten Up with Dr. Carol, WCCO said, referencing the search warrant.

Investigators found video surveillance positively identifying Straughan as the person who inserted counterfeit chips into the high-stakes slots Oct. 8, jamming two machines, according to the Pioneer Press.

Police recovered copies of $100 chips and a coin printout among other things at Straughan’s office Friday, WCCO reported.

Straughan has not been charged.

October 11, 2008

Chaska Boy Dies After Running at School

A 10-year-old boy died Friday after collapsing at Oak Point Intermediate’s run club.

Joshua Damptey collapsed at the after-school run club around 2:30 p.m. Friday, an email sent to parents said, according to the Eden Prairie News.

Joshua’s mother was able to meet her son at Hennepin County Medical Center a short time before he died, Kare 11 said.

Officials have not released the cause of Joshua’s death, the Star Tribune reported.

The neighbors and friends of the fifth-grader described him as “a ‘sweet’ boy, a Cub Scout and a big brother,? according to a Kare 11 report.

“To think that he’s so innocent and so sweet, I’m just in shock that this could happen to him,? Joshua’s babysitter, Jenna Benson, said to Kare 11.

October 10, 2008

McCain Tells Minnesota Supporters to be Respectful to Obama

Republican presidential candidate John McCain was booed in a Lakeville town hall meeting when he described Barack Obama as a “decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States,? according to Kare 11.

One-third of the 21 questions directed at McCain challenged him to battle Obama more aggressively, the Star Tribune said.

“I will fight, but we will be respectful,? McCain said.

Voters expressed concerns that Obama would lead the nation into socialism. One man said “he did not want his unborn child raised in a country led by Obama,? Kare 11 reported.

McCain corrected one woman who called Obama “an Arab,? saying that was not true.

The Star Tribune noted that McCain continues to run “sharply negative ads against Obama,? even as he tried to reduce his supporters’ hostility toward the Democratic candidate.

Neither articles focused on what other topics were discussed at the rally.

October 3, 2008

14 Minnesotans Sick from Salmonella

Fourteen recent cases of Salmonella have been connected to raw stuffed chicken entrees that Minnesotan consumers assume to be precooked, the Minnesota Health Department said Friday in a Pioneer Press report.

Milford Valley Farms Chicken Cordon Bleu and Chicken Kiev, the products associated with the poisoning, are sold at many grocery chains around the state, according to a Minnesota Public Radio article.

Although Milford Valley Farms said their products clearly inform consumers not to cook the chicken in a microwave or toaster oven, Dr. Heidi Kassenborg of the state Health Department said people may not have realized that the chicken was raw, the MPR reported.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea and cramps, lasting about five to seven days, according to a WebMD article.

About 20 percent of salmonella cases send people to the hospital, KARE 11 reported.

October 1, 2008

Police Recovered Hundreds of Stolen Wallets, Purses from White Bear Lake Home

Police recovered hundreds of stolen purses and wallets during the raid of a White Bear Lake home Wednesday.

The items are believed to be the returns of a theft operation extended throughout the Metro and western Wisconsin, the Pioneer Press reported.

“This is an ongoing criminal investigation into financial crimes and some property crimes,? White Bear Lake Police Cpt. John Swenson said to KSTP.

Police conducted the search after being informed that there were narcotics at the 1556 5th Street home, according to KSTP’s report.

Tara Lynne Lee, 35, was arrested along with a man police did not identify, charged with narcotics violations, according to the Pioneer Press.

September 28, 2008

St. Paul Bicyclist Hit by SUV Dies

A St. Paul woman died Saturday afternoon after being hit by a sports-utility vehicle while riding her bicycle earlier in the morning.

The accident happened near Summit and Snellling avenues, a popular area with bicyclists, according to a Star Tribune article.

Although Virginia Marie Heuer-Bowar, 51, was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, she suffered from severe head injuries, police said according to ABC’s report.

A 39-year-old man was headed east on a service road that merges onto Summit Avenue. He told police he stopped at the stop sign where the two roads combine, a Pioneer Press article said.

“He stopped and accelerated, and all of a sudden, she was in front of him,? Pete Panos, a St. Paul police spokesman said in the Star Tribune account.

Police have not determined who was at fault in the accident.

September 27, 2008

U of M Researchers Identify Gene Linked to Labrador Collapse

University of Minnesota researchers say they have identified the gene that commonly causes Labrador retrievers to collapse during exercise.

About 3 percent to 5 percent of Labradors are affected by this condition, known as Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC), according to the Star Tribune.

The most common symptom of the disorder is that the dog’s hind legs are temporarily unable to move. Some dogs have died in rare cases, reported WCCO.

“This is groundbreaking because this is the first naturally occurring mutation of this gene identified in any mammal,? James Mickelson, Ph.D., professor of veterinary sciences at the University said in a news release.

The researchers created a genetic test to find whether dogs carry the mutated or normal form of the gene. Breeders will be able to use this test to decrease the number of dogs carrying the gene.

Right now the University of Minnesota has the only lab performing this test in the world, the WCCO report said.

September 21, 2008

Boyfriend suspected of murder after motorcycle crash

Police now suspect the death of an Andover woman Friday to be the result of murder disguised as a motorcycle accident.

The body of 28-year –old Natasha Waalen was found early Friday morning in the middle of the road not far from her crashed motorcycle, according to one Star Tribune article.

Waalen’s injuries were “not consistent with a motor vehicle accident,? investigators told the Pioneer Press Saturday.

Police arrested Waalen’s longtime boyfriend, the father of her 4-year-old daughter, Saturday on probable cause of first degree murder, the Star Tribune reported.

Cindy Erickson, Waalen’s mother said “she believes her daughter’s death is the final result of a long-term abusive relationship,? according to kare11's report.

In contrast, the Star Tribune focused on the perspective of Jeff Waalen, the victim’s dad. He told the newspaper he suspected a different man, and “that if investigators were after Natasha Waalen’s boyfriend, ‘they’re barking up the wrong tree.’?

September 17, 2008

Community Speaks Out Against Teen Clinic

Plans to open an on-campus teen clinic offering contraception and STD testing for Hopkins High School were called off last week after the school board heard concerns expressed in the community.

The district staff proposed to open the teen clinic after a survey last year revealed that “at least half of Hopkins High seniors reported being sexually active,? reported the Fort Mill Times.

Parents voiced concern that the teen clinic would undermine parents’ rights to teach kids their own values, according one Star Tribune article.

Others said they were worried the center would encourage an increase in sexual activity among the students.

19-year-old Jamie Bell spoke to the board about her experience with the Excelsior West Suburban Teen Clinic, located ten minutes from Hopkins High. Bell shared how her access to the clinic allowed her to lie to her parents about sex and skip class, according to the Star Tribune report.

“My parents tried to protect me, and the clinic took that right away,? Bell told the board.

September 14, 2008

I-35 Bridge Opens with New Safety Features

As early as Tuesday, September 16, the new Interstate 35W bridge could open to traffic, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The bridge is made with safety features “no one has ever built before? including 300 sensors placed in the concrete which will monitor the bridge structure, according to WCCO.

The completed structure is to be “high quality, safe and last for at least 100 years,? the MnDOT said in a news release.

As the bridge opens to traffic, MnDOT will be monitoring the strength of the concrete, the movement of expansion joints and bearings, and other important signs through the installed sensors, reported the Pioneer Press.

Engineers will now have all the information on the bridge needed to identify warning signs in real time instead of photographs every two years.

“It’s safe to say this is one of the more- or most- instrumented bridges in the nation,? said the MnDot project manager, Jon Chiglo in a Pioneer Press report.

Cyclists Will Now be Fined for Biking over University Bridge

Starting Monday, $80 tickets will be given to students who ride their bicycles over the partially closed Washington Avenue Bridge.

The county closed the larger portion of the pedestrian bridge connecting the East and West Bank campuses earlier this year after engineers determined that reinforcement was needed in order for the outer portions of the bridge to be safe.

The 14-foot-wide space left open for pedestrians “is not wide enough for people to ride their bikes safely?, according to Greg Hestness in a WCCO report.

One student’s bicycle crash on the bridge earlier this week resulted in injuries and a trip to the hospital, reported the campus paper, the Minnesota Daily.

Some students, such as Chris Pulley, agree that bicyclists need to walk their bikes. “Because of the confined spaces, it’s up to the bikers to show their respect to other pedestrians,? he said in a Minnesota Daily article.

Other students, however, find it “inconvenient? to walk their bikes. Andrew Curtis reported to WCCO, “I saw ‘Violators will be fined’ and I’m a broke college kid and I don’t have money for that.?

The pedestrian bridge is expected to be restricted through the remaining school year.