March 17, 2008

Woman dies in car crash

A 25-year-old Maple Grove woman died in car crash almost 13 years after she survived a car crash that left her in a coma for nine weeks reports Star Tribune.

Nikki Anderson was killed about 1 a.m. when her 2003 Chevy Impala caught fire after she struck a light pole and then hit a tree at the entrance of Interstate 694 from White Bear Avenue.

Police and fire fighters tried to contain the fire and get her out of the car but the fire was too intense and they had to back away.

“The fire dictates what you can and can’t do,? said Lt. Mark Peterson of the State Patrol.

The roads were wet on the time of the accident but they do not believe that was a factor in the crash.

When Anderson was 12-years-old she was in a car accident near Fargo, N.D. that left her in a coma for nine weeks, she gained some fame locally when she regained consciousness.

March 10, 2008

Alumini creates Web software for monitoring procrastination

Alumni create Web software to monitor time wasted on the Internet. Web procrastination has become a widespread problem observed by experts who are concerned with the addictive properties that come with the Internet, reports the Minnesota Daily.

With a start-up funds from investment firm Y Combinator, they have designed a software tool, 8aweek, which observes and monitors a persons browsing habits.

“A recent survey says that the average paid employee wastes eight paid hours online browsing the Web,? Fowler said. “This toolbar is kind of a way to get those eight hours back.?

Garbow and Fowler met while working at IBM in Rochester and were one of the 20 startups that received funding from Y Combinator. Y Combinator chooses 20 startups twice a year and gives them seed money and three months to launch a software company.

Jessica Livingston, a partner at Y Combinator, said the group started giving out small grants to startups in 2005. The partners are independently wealthy after they sold their own software to Yahoo! in the early 1990s.

“The 8aweek guys have already launched,? Livingston said. “Their statistics are really good; they’re growing their user base. Our philosophy is launch early and launch often.?

The founders present their product to over 100 capital investors in hopes of securing future business investments said Livingston.

Garbow and Fowler said they initially created their product with themselves in mind.

Transplant for Shakopee Baby Comes Through

A 7-and-a-half-month-old from Shakopee, Minn. is recovering from an eight-organ transplant reports WCCO.

Sidney Markie had a rare disorder called microvillus inclusion disease, which prevents nutrients to be absorbed.

Last Tuesday, Markie’s parents received a call from a donor at Miami, Florida. After a 12 hour surgery, Markie received transplanted small intestines, large intestines, liver, stomach, pancreas, bladder and two kidneys donated from a 6-and-a-half-year-old boy from Miami.

Markie will stay in Miami for recovery and follow-up treatments for several months.

February 29, 2008

University gives permission for students to go to Sudan

University of Minnesota grad student is going back to his home country in Sudan to help rescue his abducted nieces with the permission of the university, reports The Pioneer Press.

The University has granted special permission for Gabriel ‘Kou’ Solomon and two other university students’ to travel to Sudan with university financial and logistical support. Sudan remains in the travel warning list issues by the U.S. State Department, but with the universities permission is has opened door for former “lost boy? and his friends to break through the first obstacle in retrieving his nieces.

Last October, Yar, then 3, and Ajak, then 18 months were abducted by an armed cattle nomad group Murle who have been abducting girls as a response of low fertility rate among the Murle women. The abducted girls are raised until they are old enough to become the spouse of one of the young Murle boys.

Solomon who too was kidnapped as a child along with hundreds of other children and taken to Ethiopia to become a child soldier flee to Kenya with three other brothers and after a long journey was granted refugee status in the U.S.

Solomon will now return to Sudan where he will spend the Summer, his friends and university students, Robyn Skrebes and Kait Dougherty will accompany him to Juba the regional capital of southern Sudan where they will remain for ten days before Solomon continues his quest.

Students in Solomon’s human-rights-advocacy class built a website that talks about abducted children in Sudan and tells the story of Ajak and Yar.

February 27, 2008

Man sentenced to life without parole for poisoning his wife

Man accused of poising his wife and suffocating her has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole, reported

Mark Jensen, 48, was found guilty on Thursday for the murder of his wife Julie Jensen in 1998.

"Your crime is so enormous, so monstrous, so unspeakably cruel that it overcome all other consideration," said Konosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder before pronouncing the parole sentence.

Prosecutor contended that Jensen poisoned his 40-year-old wife with antifreeze and then suffocated her.

A witness testified that Jensen was getting impatient when the poison wasn't working and suffocated her instead, reported Pioneer Press.

According to, the defense argued that Julie Jensen was a depressed woman who killed herself and framed her husband.

Jensen was having an affair to the woman that he is now married to, reported Pioneer Press.

A letter written by Julie Jensen and given to her neighbor about her suspicion that her husband was plotting to kill her.

Julie had made comments to the Police and her sons teacher about her husband trying to kill her.

In the letter written by Julie read in court said, "I pray I'm wrong + nothing happens... but I am suspicious of Mark's suspicious behaviors + fear for my early demise."

The juror said that the letter gave them a "clear road map" in the convection of Mark Jensen.

The couples sons also wrote a letter that was read before the sentencing of Jensen, in it they plead that their father has parole and describe him as a loving father who held them at their mother's death and supported the family.

February 22, 2008

Man without driver's license for 13 years is arrested for hit-and-run

A driver under arrest in Wednewsday hit-and-run that killed pedestrian in St. Paul
hasn't had valid driver's license since 1995, reports The Pioneer Press.

Terrance Leonard Oliver, 45, has been caught without a license at least a dozen times since 1995, according to state driving records.

The woman that was killed in the hit-and-run was identified as Margret "Peggy" Prowse, 59, said police.

Her family released a statement, "She was a very kind-hearted, generous person."

Prowse and Oliver lived about a block apart from each other.

Oliver hit Prowse as she was crossing University Avenue, east of Fairview Avenue at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday, said police.

Oliver then fled the scene, but tips from the public led to his arrest.

Woman is charged in bush crash, her real identity is not known

The van driver involved in school bus crash in Cottonwood that killed four students was charged on Friday, reported the Star Tribune.

She is believed to be in the United States illegaly using an alias under the name Alianiss Nunez Morales. The woman has been charged with four counts of criminal-vehucular homicide, running a stop sign and driving without a license at the time of the crash on Tuesday.

It was confirmed on Friday By Lyon County Attorney Richard Maes that woman ran over a stop sign.

The driver appeared in court Friday morning in wheelchair and in what appeared to be a cast. She
told the court that her name was Alianiss Morales and that she had been working at Cottonwood cabinet shop for a month. She had been living with her boyfriend in a trailer but they broke up on the day of the accident

The woman is being held without bail. Her next court appearance is set for April 21.

According to the complaint, the van driver told police in the hospital that the bus hit her. She also said that she had never been in that intersection before. When asked for her address she did not remember it, but told police that she lived in a trailer with her boyfriend. She also told police that she did not have a driver's license.

Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcemnt believe that the driver is in the country illegally and that the name she gives authority is not her real name, said ICE spokesman Claud Arnold reports The Pioneer Press.

Prosecutors have asked that the woman be held without a bail because she is in "an extreme flight risk". Prosecturos also found relatives belonging to the real Alianiss in Puerto Rico and when they showed the picture of the driver to Morales grandparents they did not recognize the woman in the pictures, reports Pioneer Press.

Lakeview School, where the students attended, will be closed on Monday for the funeral of the brothers Jesse Javens, 13, and Hunter Javens, 9, both of Cottonwood. Also killed in the accident were Reed Stevens, 12, of Marshall; and Emilee Olson, 9, of Cottonwood.

February 11, 2008

Witness led to the arrest of a woman involved in death of 4-year-old boy

A 4-year-old boy was found badly beaten after his disappearance on Wednesday. The woman who called the police about the boys disappearance was arrested Sunday morning after the child's body was found near her residence reports The Star Tribune.

Demond Reed was found already dead when police arrived at the woman's apartment. His body was so badly beaten that police were unable to identify his body and police requested dental records to help identify the body.

Police said that what led to her arrest was "a statement from a witness that she hit the child several times, the child became ill and subsequently died."

Police will investigate further and are treating the death of Reed as a homicide. An autopsy will determine the cause of death which will be done today.

Escape tunnel found in Stillwater prison

An escape tunnel was found by one of the supervisors in the basement storage at the Stillwater prison on Wednesday, reports The Pioneer Press.

It is the first escape tunnel ever found in Minnesota. There was however no risk of escapes and all the inmates were accounted for said prison officials.

It is uncertain who was involved in it and exactly where it would lead to. Information will not be disclosed during the investigation. "Deputy Corrections Commissioners Dennis Benson called it 'a pretty sophiscated operation,''" reports the Pioneer Press.

The area where the tunnel was found is an industrial area where twine, desks and farm materials are made. The exact room where it was found is a storage room for materials. It was well hidden and it seems like someone might have tipped them off about the location of the tunnel. Only four inmates work in that area and they are supervised at all times. So it unclear how this operation could have been done.

The exact details of the tunnel were not disclosed but Benson said that it was "about 50 or 60 feet from the building to the prison wall."

Even though it is common to see escape tunnels in movie, they are not a very common way for inmates in real life to actually escape.

February 3, 2008

Baby Orangutan needs a name

On Dec. 13 an orangutan named Markisa gave birth to a baby orangutan born from a Caesarean section at the University Veterinary Medical Center reports The Minnesota Daily.

This is considered a rare procedure and only nine orangutan have been ever born from a Caesarean from 1,658 born in captivity said Megan Elder, primate zookeeper and lead orangutan trainer at Como Zoo.

This is the first orangutan born at the Como Zoo since 1999. Markisa was pregnant but gave birth to a stillborn in 2005.

It was a complicated procedure and at a certain point the baby orangutan stopped breathing but was revived. It was placed in the medical center intensive care where staff wore orangutan suits and held the baby for 24 hours a day.

On Christmas day it was finally reunited with its mother.

Now Como Zoo wants the public to help vote for a name for the baby orangutan.

The votes take part in money donations and there are three Indonesian names to choose from.
Jaya, which means celebration or victorious
Pandu, which means leader or scout
Bejo, which means luck
The voting is open until Feb. 13.

Click here to vote on the baby orangutan's name.

Campus Connector hit pedestrian

The Minnesota Daily reported that a Campus Connector hit a pedestrian on Friday.

The pedestrian who was crossing the street while the “don’t walk? sign was flashing suffered no major injuries after he fell to the ground and was taken by ambulance to the Fairview Health Service said University Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson.

The Campus Connector was on route at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Union Street when it hit the pedestrian at about 2 p.m.

The pedestrian is believed not to be a student, after Johnson said that the pedestrians name was not found in the University student/staff directory.

The driver is not employed directly by the University, but subcontracted. At this point he will not be facing any direct disciplinary actions from PTS.