Recently in Local News Category

Drunk Passenger Causes Crash

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A drunk passenger of a vehicle caused who caused a car accident on 1-94 last spring is facing criminal charges, according to WCCO.

Mollie Lenzi was celebrating her birthday in St. Paul with three friends, one of which was the designated driver, according to WCCO.

On the drive home, Lenzi grabbed the steering wheel and turned it resulting in the car crashing into the median, according to the police report.

The driver broke a few ribs and Lenzi also went to the hospital, according to WCCO.

The trooper who talked to Lenzi at the hospital noted that her eyes were bloodshot, and watery, her speech was slurred and he could smell alcohol, according to WCCO.

Lenzi's blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit, according to WCCO.

"The statute regarding DWI clearly states that a person only needs to be in physical control of the vehicle," police told WCCO. "In this particular case, that physical control was the passenger grabbing the steering wheel and causing that vehicle to crash."

The charges against Lenzi are only allegations at this point, Lenzi's lawyer told WCCO.

Smells Like Dead Fish

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Hundreds of dead fish were found about ten miles east of Leech Lake a few days ago by a local hunter, according to WCCO.

The hunter told Bob Auel, a fisherman and summer fishing guide, about the pile of fish, according to WCCO.

The pile of fish was about two feet deep and were dumped recently, Auel told WCCO.

The pile consisted of about 200-300 dead fish, including Tullibees, Muskies, five-pound Northerns, and 30" Walleyes, Auel told WCCO.

"They cleaned the Walleyes, which were the best ones, and left the rest of the fish to rot," Auel said. "I mean, it's Wanton Waste."

It took Auel an hour just to locate the pile of fish because it was so deep in the woods, he told WCCO.

"It's a natural resource for all of us to use and respect," Auel said. "Not just take what we want and throw the rest away."

Auel reported this to State Conservation Officers and Leech Lake Reservation Conservation Officers in hopes of an investigation, according to WCCO.

There is a stiff law for Wonton Waste under Tribal law which includes a $100 fine plus $20 for each dead fish, according to WCCO.

Burned Students

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Four junior high students were burned and sent to the hospital Friday morning after working with a flammable gas in their science class.

The cause of the fire at Maple Grove Junior High School is still being investigated but some students claimed it had to do with methane gas, according to Kare 11.

The fire was put out with a fire extinguisher and fire coat before fire fighters arrived, according to the school district.

The four injured students were taken to HCMC, according to Kare 11.

Parents received an automated message after the fire to inform them on the incident, according to Kare 11.


"When they said gas I was concerned about that because even if my child wasn't burned, the gas fumes because she has asthma..." said Seretha Lee, mother of a Maple Grove Junior High Student. "I wanted to make sure she was properly cared for."

Lee told Kare 11 that she had left work when she heard about the fire to go see her daughter.

The fire was able to be contained in the one class room and there is no damage to the classroom, according to a district spokesperson.

The condition of the student who still remains in the hospital with more severe burns than the others is still unknown, according to Kare 11.

Man Shot and Killed by Roseville Police

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Police shot and killed a Roseville man outside of his apartment Thursday night while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

The Pioneer Press starts the story with some background on Wayne Malone and depicts his active role in the neighborhood. Malone shoveled sidewalks during the winter and always patrolled the apartment building he lived in, which led neighbors to believe he was a helpful and protective man.

However, last summer Malone was threatening to kill some of the apartment residents, family members and police told the Pioneer Press.

When officers arrived at the apartment responding to the domestic disturbance call, Malone was armed with a pistol, Roseville police said. Witnesses told the Pioneer Press that two officers fired around seven or eight shots.

The owner of the apartment building told the Pioneer Press that he could not believe Malone would threaten officers because "he wouldn't hurt a flea."

The owner also told the Pioneer Press that Malone had rented from him for twenty years.

The remaining 40 residents were put on a Metro Transit bus for seven hours before they could enter the apartment building again around 4 am.

Caretaker David Spriggs told the Pioneer Press that Malone was a "stand-up guy."

Police know Malone to be a much more violent and dangerous man, demonstrated by the police records attributed by the Pioneer Press.

Twin Cities Supermarkets Deprived of Eggs

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Local supermarkets pulled eggs from their shelves Saturday due to animal abuse on the farms that they buy from.

The Star Tribune begins the story with an inside look at the confusion in a Midway SuperTarget.

The SuperTarget posted a sign where the eggs used to be that read "Eggs are not available at this location," according to the Star Tribune.

Missie Weiss, a SuperTarget shopper, had to ask where the eggs were after doing a double-take and told the Star Tribune she thought she was losing her mind.

Target Corp. pulled all of the eggs they bought from Sparboe farms due to a recently released video containing animal abuse at the farm, according to the Star Tribune.

Some Targets in the Midwest were still able to sell another brand they carried, while others will be without eggs for a few days, according to the Star Tribune.

This decision was sparked by McDonald's discontinuing of purchasing Sparboe Farms eggs Friday, according to the Star Tribune.

SuperValu Inc., based in Eden Prairie, also announced that it will no longer distribute Sparboe Farms products, as spokesman Mike Siemienas was quoted in the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune then closed the story with a scene back at the Midway SuperTarget, this time quoting shopper Amy Wagner expressing her opinion on the minor inconvenience and telling the Star Tribune she is happy that the animals are being taken care of.

17 Fires within 13 Blocks

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17 small fires were set over a 13-block area over a four hour period in Minneapolis Friday night.

The fires happened in the Longfellow area of South Minneapolis near West River Parkway, according to the Star Tribune.

More than 20 police "combed' the area, according to Pioneer Press, who had very minimal information on the issue and referred solely to the police report.

The Star Tribune began the story with an anecdote about Shawn Junjak who was raking with his two daughters earlier on Friday, and their leaves were later set on fire, according to the Star Tribune.

In contrast with the 20 police officers at the scene reported by the Pioneer Press, the Star Tribune said that 20 squad cars showed up to the fires from all five precincts, carrying up to 40 officers total.

10 fires were started with leaf piles or garbage bags full of leaves, according to the Star Tribune, and three vehicles, two garages, and a dumpster were damage according to the police report.

The Junjaks estimate that their garage will cost about $40,000 to rebuild, according to the Star Tribune.

Police have not arrested anyone in connections with the fire, but they arrested a man on an unrelated charge, according to the police report attributed by both the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune.

Man Accused Of Stealing Over $16,000 From Dying Man

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A pastor of a St. Paul church, from Roseville, was accused of stealing $16,321.69 from a 78-year-old man whom he was friends with.

Gregory Maurice Oats, 31, is being charged with four felony counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, according to the Pioneer Press.

According to the Pioneer Press, Oats stole from a man who had Parkinson's disease, diabetes, paranoid schizophrenia, and was wheelchair-bound. However, the Star Tribune actually named the man, Vernon Rollins, and claimed he also suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

Both the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune attribute the criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court which states that Oats began as a care agent on health issues for Rollins on October 8, 2009 and he gained control of Rollins' finances on February 16, 2010.

In June, 2010 Oats put Rollins in a nursing home and had full control of his bank account, which led to "suspicious withdrawls" amounting to $16,321.69 which consisted of 130 cash withdraws and random purchases at various retailers, according to the Pioneer Press.

Oats also failed to pay for Rollins' bill at the nursing home from July, 2010 to March, 2011, which amounted to $12,990 and almost resulted in Rollins' eviction, according to the Pioneer Press.

Whereas the Pioneer Press relied solely on the criminal complaint, the Star Tribune utilized other sources.

The Star Tribune contacted Rollins' daughter, Rachel Rollins, who told the Star Tribune that she thought Oats was a good guy and especially a good friend to her dad, but then got suspicious.

The Star Tribune also talked to Carmen Castaneda of the Hennepin County Adult Protection Services, which is the agency that Rollins' daughter had called about Oats' activity.

Also, the Star Tribune looked into previous court records and found that Oats and his wife had filed for bankruptcy in December, 2009 with $43,000 in debts and not even $10,000 in assets. This was ten weeks before Oats had begun controlling Rollins' finances, the Star Tribune noted.

Obituary: Ritchie, tomato and machine expert

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Lewis M. Ritchie of western Wisconsin died in his Minnetonka home Sunday at age 94 and was known for his tomatoes and his love for machines.

Ritchie's wife of 69 years, Genevieve, told the Star Tribune, "I got big pails just full of tomatoes."

Ritchie's son Dennis told the Star Tribune that anytime someone visited Ritchie, he would make them leave with bags of his vegetables.

Ritchie started out attending a one-room school in Wisconsin and worked on the family farm until he was 23 and married his wife, according to the Star Tribune.

He then continued to enlist in the Army Air Corps during WWII as an airplane mechanic, according to the Star Tribune.

Ritchie's son told the Star Tribune that he remembers his father taking advanced math classes to "improve his skills" as a machinist in a Minneapolis Honeywell Plant.

His son also told the Star Tribune that his father made parts designed by engineers for the space program to see if they would actually function.

Though he retired from working at the plant, he could not stop pursuing his passion of machines. He began teaching at a night school, now Anoka Technical College, according to the Star Tribune.

Ritchie's wife told the Star Tribune that her husband especially enjoyed teaching Hmong students because he told her they were eager to learn.

Obituary: Kwame McDonald, lifelong teacher and activist

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Kwame McDonald, 80, died of cancer in St. Paul Wednesday after a long life of teaching and changing lives.

In 1968, James Cornell McDonald traveled to Africa to teach and study at the University of Ghana, according to the Star Tribune.

His son, Mitchell McDonald, told the Star Tribune that he went to Ghana to be among black people who were in charge of things. He also said that it helped his father figure out who he truly was.

McDonald changed his name to Kwame which means "born on Saturday" in Ghanaian, according to the Star Tribune.

McDonald was from Madison, Wis. And he attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, according to the Star Tribune.

After he married Mary Palmer in 1956, he worked for the Urban League in Milwaukee and later came to Minnesota to work with Gov. Elmer L. Anderson and run Minnesota's Commission Against Discrimination, according to the Star Tribune.

In Minnesota, McDonald held numerous positions from working on a crime prevention council, to hosting a cable TV show, to teaching at local schools, according to the Star Tribune.

His son told the Star Tribune that his father was his "dad, brother, best friend, all rolled into one."

Just a few weeks ago, 300 people gathered at St. Paul Central High School to honor McDonald and his lifetime achievements as a "teacher, administrator, mentor, coach, sportswriter, broadcaster and activist," as Charles Hallman wrote for the Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder. Among the crowd was Tubby Smith, according to Hallman.
According to the Star Tribune,

McDonald also worked at colleges in North Carolina, New York and Washington, D.C.

Obituary: Dr. Utz, Mayo Clinic Surgeon and Urologist

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Dr. David C. Utz died Sunday at his winter home in Scottsdale, Ariz. after holding numerous positions as a urologist and surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He was 87.

According to the Star Tribune, Utz performed a prostate surgery on Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Utz's son, William Utz, provided the Star Tribune with plenty of insight of how his father treated his patients, and he said that Reagan would have approved.

Among Utz's every-day patients were also celebrities, Supreme Court Justices, and Billy Graham, according to the Star Tribune.

Utz earned his medical degree at St. Louis University School of Medicine and went on to earn his advanced degree in urology at the University of Minnesota, according to the Star Tribune. He was also a member of the Board of Regents from 1973-1979 at the University of Minnesota.

Other achievements include writing a total of 143 publications and becoming the executive secretary of American Board of Urology, according to the Star Tribune.

Utz's son told the Star Tribune that the most memorable moment of his father's career was a first-ever prostate surgery procedure that formed the surgical prostate surgery database widely used by urologists today.

Utz retired in 1988, and he and his late wife moved into their winter home in the same town the Mayo's Virginia Nehring Utz Clinical Skill Labs was opening.

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