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November 9, 2008

St. Paul Woman Shoots Pregnant Woman

A woman charged with shooting in a St. Paul apartment injured a pregnant woman, her fetus and her boyfriend in May was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison, the Pioneer Press reported.
Evalyn Lia Bheaanu, 27, pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in connection.
Bheaanu went to the apartment of Andrea M. Benjamin with Benjamin's cousin to ask for a bedroom, according to a criminal complaint.
The cousin told Benjamin's boyfriend, Richard M. Brown, that he had met Bheaanu at the Cherry Pit bar on St. Paul's East Side and agreed to pay her $200 for sex. The cousin told Brown he had stolen $40 from Bheaanu's purse while she was asleep. Brown allegedly went into Bheaanu's purse, too, and took her cell phones.
Bheaanu called police to say she'd been sexually assaulted and robbed. She showed up later at Benjamin's apartment, apparently to take revenge.
A series of six gunshots was heard, and Benjamin, who was 7 1/2 months, said she had been shot. The baby was born the same day, six weeks premature, the Pioneer Press reported.
Bheaanu was sentenced to five years.

Source: Pioneer Press

Day Care Operator Convicted of Sexual Misconduct

A St. Paul day care operator was convicted of sexual misconduct with a 6-year-old girl Friday, the Star Tribune reported.
Gene Hegerman, 54, was convicted after the said that he touched her "culito," a Spanish slang word referring to her private parts. The girl said he took her into the bathroom and touched her.
Hegerman and his wife, Linda, operated a day care out of their home.
He told her "pinky swear don't tell anybody," the girl testified.
District Judge Salvador Rosas ordered Hegerman taken into custody until his sentencing Dec. 19. State sentencing guidelines call for a minimum sentence of 12 years, the Star Tribune reported.

Source: Star Tribune

October 29, 2008

Gang Member Arrested in Killing of Minneapolis Teen

A suspected gang member from Richfield was charged with murder and attempted murder in the fatal shooting of a teenager playing football behind his Minneapolis home during his cousin's birthday party, the Star Tribune reported.
Edgar Rene Barrientos-Quintana,25, is being held in the Hennepin County jail on $2 million bail, accused of killing Jesse Leon Omar Mickelson, 18, on Oct. 11.
Witnesses told police that a car came through an alley in and Barrientos-Quintana reached out of the window from the back seat and fired several shots.
Mickelson, a student at Roosevelt High School and aspiring rapper, was shot twice in the upper body, police said.
Witnesses said they either recognized the shooter as "Smoky" or by his real name. Police knew of a "Smoky" being Barrientos-Quintana and a Surenos gang member, according to a criminal complaint.
He was arrested last Wednesday in Plymouth and told police that he was a gang member and was familiar with the home where the shooting occurred.
The criminal complaint did not offer a motive for the shooting. Mickelson's guardian has speculated that the shots were aimed at people living in a nearby house.

Source: Star Tribune


Man suffocates in compost pile of leaves, plastic

A temporary worker died accidentally Monday while pulling plastic bags off of leaves at a composting business in north Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported.
The 21-year-old man, whose name hasn't been released, fell into the pile of leaves and plastic bags at Organic Tech Inc., and apparently suffocated, police spokesman Jesse Garcia said.
"It was a freak accident," he said. "It sounds like he was working hard and trying to make a better life. It was pretty sad."
The man was dead when police arrived.

Source: Star Tribune


October 26, 2008

Radiologists Host Mammogram Party

Radiologists hosted a mammogram party at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, Minn. Thursday, the Star Tribune reported.
11 women partcipated in the event not only included a mammogram but manicures, massages, wine and food.
St. Francis got the idea to offer mammo parties when Jimly Harris, manager of diagnostic services, heard of a similar program in Florida, the Star Tribune reported.
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among U.S. women, yet fewer women are getting mammograms, said Mary Hestness, medical director of radiology, said. The women who came to the party consistently forgot or avoided their mammogram appointments.
Without a party, "I never would have done this," Kelly Austin said. Austin had her first mammogram at the party. At 38, she's shy of the recommended age of 40 for this exam to begin but some doctors recommend that women start as early as 35, especially if there's a family history of breast cancer, the Star Tribune reported.
The medical center is booking future parties, which it expects will occur on a monthly basis.

Source: Star Tribune


Congregation Accepts Lesbian Minister

An openly lesbian pastor was ordained at the Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis Saturday, the Star Tribune reported.
Jodi Barry has been a youth minister intern for a year at the church, but the ceremony was conducted by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM), a national network committed to full acceptance of gay and lesbian pastors in the Lutheran church.
Supporters hope the ordination will lead togreater acceptance of gays and lesbian pastors by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Star Tribune reported.
According to activists, such ordinations, are not officially recognized by the national church body and the openly gay ministers are not included on the church's national roster of pastors, the Star Tribune reported.
"Change comes slowly," Barry said."It took a long time for Martin Luther. Our goal has always been not to start a new church, not to leave the ELCA."
The service marked the first time a gay person has been called to a special ministry, a choice usually made by synod officials, not a congregation, ELM representatives said.

Source: Star Tribune

October 17, 2008

Woodbury Man Kills Girlfriend and Tells Wife

A Woodbury man shot his 19-year-old Maplewood girlfriend three times over an breakup and then called his wife to tell her of the slaying, according to criminal charges filed Tuesday in Hudson, Wis.
Christopher S. Ledesma, 29, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide after killing his girlfriend, Kelly Lynn Dahm, the Star Tribune reported.
She was found dead in the front passenger seat of Ledesma's car a parking lot of the St. Croix County Government Center in Hudson, police said.
Danielle Ledesma, his wife, told police that her husband called her at her boyfriend's house in Fond du Lac, Wis.
"She is dead. I put three bullets in her head," Ledesma he told his wife, according to the criminal complaint filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court.
Danielle Ledesma bought a handgun in Woodbury and she lent it to her husband two days before the shooting, and it was the same gun found the night he was arrested, according to the complaint.
Police described Ledesma and Dahm as having an "on-again, off-again" romantic relationship, reported the Star Tribune.
An autopsy by the Ramsey County showed she died from a gunshot to the left side of her head. She also was shot twice in the upper torso, the complaint said.

Source: Star Tribune

October 14, 2008

Four Northfield Men Jailed in Assualt of Disabled Man

Four Northfield men were jailed Sunday after being charged with false imprisonment and assault with a weapon of a mentally disabled man in Lakeville last weekend, police said.
The victim identified the men as Jonathon Diepold, 21, John Maniglia, 19, and Glen Ries, 33, police said.
The four men lured the victim from his home and beat him on two seperate occassions, the Star Tribune reported.
They confronted the victim and beat him severely within two to three hours. Then he was dropped off at the Lakeville home where he lives, police said.
The next night, he was again lured from the home, where he was beaten and struck again until he lost consciousness, said Dave Bellows, chief deputy with the Dakota County Sheriff's Office.
He was then let go and began walking down a road where he was found by a motorist who drove him to Northfield Hospital.
"I've seen the photographs from this particular beating, and in nearly 30 years of law enforcement, the level of beating this man took was savage, it was just savage," Bellows said.
Bellows said the relationship between the victim and suspects is unknown, but the motivation for the beating came from a story told to the suspects by a teenage girl about the victim.
Bellows would not say what the story was, but he said it was untrue, the Star Tribune reported.

Source: Star Tribune


October 12, 2008

U Pulls Out of Center in North Minneapolis

The University of Minnesota decided to pull out as be a main tenant of a planned $60 million social services building on the North Side of Minneapolis because of lack of finances, the Star Tribune reported.
The university's programs would have aimed at keeping families together and improving parenting skills but won't be offered at the planned building near Plymouth and Penn Avenues.
"I'm just very, very disappointed. I was very, very enthusiastic about it," Council Member Don Samuels said Wednesday.
Robert Jones, a senior university vice president, blamed a worsening financial picture for the university and the nation, and higher lease costs than the university could afford, the Star Tribune reported.
He said the university remains committed to renovating the center as a base for a variety of university outreach programs ranging from pre-kindergarten preparation to master gardening.

Source: Star Tribune

October 10, 2008

St. Paul Rape Suspect Denied Charges

A teenage boy denied rape charges of a disabled teenage girl and a 57-year-old woman in a tape-recorded interview Friday in Ramsey County District Court in Saint Paul, police said.
Joshua L. Smith, was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in 2006, who has mental and physical disabilities, the Star Tribune reported.
He also is charged with raping and beating a 57-year-old woman in the parking lot behind the Salvation Army building on Payne Avenue on New Year's Day 2007, police said.
Both attacks happened when Smith was 16.
Smith, now 18, is on trial in Ramsey County District Court on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, the Star Tribune reported.
Smith was interviewed by Sgt. Jennifer O'Donnell. When asked about the attack of the teenage girl, Smith denied all accusations.
"Are you sure you never had sex with her?" O'Donnell asked.
"Sure," Smith said.
"Are you sure she never gave you [oral sex]?"
"Sure."
Steven Swenson, a forensic scientist for the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, was the last to take the witness stand Friday.
He testified that semen was found on the 17-year-old victim's underwear, on the oral and genital swab taken from the 57-year-old victim during a sex assault exam.
Although semen was found, there was no testimony Friday stating that it was Smith’s DNA. The trial is expected continue Monday, the Star Tribune reported.

Source: Star Tribune

October 5, 2008

Maplewood Man Charged with Possession of Child Pornography

A Maplewood man faces multiple charges for possession of child pornography after he allegedly
viewed sexual pictures involving minors in the basement of a house where his mother provides
day care, a complaint recently filed in Ramsey County District Court said.
Michael James Lundblad, 25, allegedly used a laptop computer to view teens performing sexual
acts and to solicit sex from a teenage boy while on an America Online chat line in 2007,
according to the complaint.
Authorities were notified of the solicitation by AOL and determined that a man using the username "cuteboytyler15" belonged to Lundblad. 174 files containing images of child pornography on the computer was found by authorities, the Star Tribune reported.
Lundblad was booked into the Ramsey County Jail on Friday. If convicted, he faces 5 years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both on each of the 10 counts.

Source: Star Tribune

Teens Clean Up Graffiti

Teens clean up graffiti Friday after vandalizing several small businesses in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported.
The businesses said their property was spray-painted with graffiti Thursday night, but the vandals came back to apologize.
Diamond Lake Rental owner Bill Graham said his truck was spray-painted, but a group of teenagers apologized and cleaned up.
The teens' parents made them clean up, authorities said.
Police cited three teens with damage to property.

Sources: Star Tribune

September 24, 2008

Teen Sentenced to 15 Years for Kidnapping

Minneapolis teenager pleaded guilty Wednesday to robbing and kidnapping a man last January.
Tavaris Dixon, 18, was sentenced in Hennepin County District Court to 177 months or 15 years in prison for kidnapping Joel Ganley.
On January 17, Dixon and Trevonnie Terrell Mack, 19, of Minneapolis decided to steal a car because they didn't want to take the bus home, the Star Tribune reported.
They robbed Ganley and then ordered him into the stolen car, which they abandoned and left Ganley in the trunk.
He was locked in the trunk for several hours in the freezing temperature.
Dixon said he was armed with a BB gun and admitted that he left Ganley in the trunk.
"Each night I pray on it. I pray for Mr. Ganley," Dixon said.

Sources: Star Tribune

Augsburg College Student Gunned Down

An Augsburg College student was killed Tuesday leaving a community center in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis.
Ahmed Nur Ahmed Ali, 20, was shot and killed after he left his work-study job at the Brian Coyle Community Center.
Police said, the circumstances surrounding Ali's death - a man known to many who was shot in broad daylight in front of a bustling gathering place - should be bringing witnesses and people with information out of the woodwork, the Star Tribune reported.
Despite the circumstances, no witnesses have come forth.
Police said they don't believe Ali was involved in any criminal activity that would have led to his killing.
"I wish I had more details," Capt. Amelia Huffman.
At the community center, Ali, played basketball with kids and teaching computer skills, the Pioneer Press reported.


Sources: Star Tribune, Pioneer Press


September 21, 2008

Boyfriend Suspected in Biker's Death

28-year-old mother died Friday in a motorcycle incident.
Natasha Waalen, appeared to have lost control of her motorcycle but after invesitgating her injuries, police believed it was more than a traffic crash, the Star Tribune reported.
"Multiple factors," reported a Saturday news release issued, "are not consistent with a motor vehicle accident.''
24 hours after Waalen's death her boyfriend and the father of her 4-year-old daughter was suspected of killing her.
Jeff Waalen, her father, had said that he suspected that a man who had recently threatened to kill his daughter over a potential lawsuit might be the culprit, the Tribune reported.
"They're barking up the wrong tree," Waalen said, referring to his daughter's bofriend.
The 33-year-old suspect was charged on probable cause of first-degree murder and sent to the Anoka County.

Sources: Star Tribune


High-speed Chase Near Superblock

A high-speed chase ended Monday in the superblock on the University of Minnesota campus.
Tarise Rogers, 18, and a 17-year old passenger lead the police from downtown Minneapolis to the intersection of Harvard and Delaware streets southeast.
After police pulled Rogers over for multiple moving violations at the intersection he sped away.
The suspects’ stolen car struck a yellow barrier near the superblock after hitting the police car.The police chased and arrested the suspects on campus, the Minnesota Daily reported.
Rodgers was charged with stealing and tampering with a car. He was also charged with fleeing the police.
The 17-year-old passenger was charged with tampering with a car and then he was taken to juvenile detention.

Sources: Minnesota Daily


September 15, 2008

Arsenic Cleanup in Minneapolis Neighborhoods

By Catherine Mayfield


Federal Regulators proposed a $17.9 million plan to clean up arsenic-tainted soil in several neighborhoods in south Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported.
The contamination was traced from CMC Heartland Lite Yard pesticide production and storage plant that operated from 1938 to 1968. A pesticide containing arsenic was produced there and material from an "open-air railcar- unloading and product-mixing operation is believed to have been wind-blown into nearby neighborhoods," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.
Some areas have arsenic levels higher than 25 parts per million, reported the Star Tribune. When the contaminated soil is removed, the Environmental Protection Agency will fill in the yards with clean soil and restore any disturbed landscaping.
Contractors will have removed contaminated soil from about 200 yards with the highest concentrations of arsenic by the end of the year.
Homeowners have to give permission for the cleanup. The federal Superfund will pay for the entire cleanup.

Sources: Star Tribune

Fines for Cyclists on Washington Ave. Bridge

Hennepin County issued a statement Aug. 21 that the Washington Ave. Bridge's upper deck has structural deficiencies that would prohibit pedestrian traffic and only allow “legal weight vehicles? to travel in the lower deck, the Minnesota Daily reported.
To insure safety, fences were placed on the sides of the upper deck leaving pedestrians and bikers to a 14 foot space to navigate to and from the West Bank Campus. As another safety precaution, bicyclists are to walk across the bridge.
University police Chief Greg Hestness announced that UMPD will begin giving out $80 fines to bicyclists who don’t walk their bikes across the bridge connecting the West and East Bank campuses, the Minnesota Daily reported.
“We know it's not an ideal situation, but we wish there was more access,? Vice President for University Services Kathleen O’Brien, said. “This is what the engineers believe is most safe.?

Sources: The Minnesota Daily