December 8, 2007

WI Girl Shot and Killed Outside Bar

A 16-year-old Racine Wisc., girl was shot and killed around 1:30 a.m. today according to the Star Tribune.

Police arrived at Cera's Tequila Bar around 1:15 a.m. after receiving reports of a fight. They found the girl with a gunshot wound in her back according to the Star Tribune.

No suspects have been taken into custody. According to the Journal Times, " Investigators would like to speak to anyone who was at the bar Friday night or early Saturday morning prior to the incident. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Racine Police Department at (262) 635-7700, or Crimestoppers at (262) 636-9330."

Northfield Police Chief to Take Job in Kansas

Northfield Police Chief Gary Smith will be taking a job in Emporia Kansas according to the Star Tribune.

Smith met with Emporia City Manager Matt Zimmerman last Friday and called the meeting "productive" according to the Northfield News.

Smith took a medical leave of absence July 3 after holding a news conference that stated "150 to 250 young people were using heroin or a related narcotic," according to the Star Tribune.

Northfield Superintendendant Chris Richardson said there was a "considerable difference" between the school district's data and Smith's data according to the Star Tribune.

November 28, 2007

Minnesota Contractor Killed By Bomb in Iraq

Bill Juneau,36, of Rush City was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq and died in an Iraqi Army hospital Monday, according to the Pioneer Press.

Juneau was a former deputy in Chisago County and was working as a security contractor in Iraq. Juneau worked as a volunteer peace officer in Iraq for Dyn Corp International. His job was to train Iraqi police forces, according to the Pioneer Press.

Juneau will be missed by many family and friends, including his twin sister, Bridget Sura, and his best friend, Jake, a black lab, according to the Star Tribune. Sura said, “"Jake is a part of my brother. [Bill] will be missed by a lot of people. This will leave a hole in a lot of people's hearts." (quote courtesy of the Star Tribune.)

Murder Suicide in Shoreview

A Shoreview woman, 53, was killed after being repeatedly stabbed by her son, 22, who then killed himself with a knife according to the Pioneer Press. The woman was Susan Marie Wolter who was killed in her home and her son was Paul Wayne Wolter.

According to Ramsey County Undersheriff, George Altendorfer, “"The son was wrestling with mental health issues, but we don't think any of the family members envisioned this." (Quote courtesy of the Pioneer Press)

Paul lived with his parents in a condo in Shoreview, according to the Star Tribune. His father, Wayne Wolter, was out of town on vacation at the time of the incident.

Neighbors of the Wolter’s are shocked by the violent deaths. According to Elaine Malat, a neighbor, “"It's very shocking and sad. So sad. They're such nice people." (Quote courtesy of the Star Tribune)

November 18, 2007

State Crackdown on Agriculture Tax Hurts Small Farms

Minnesota is cracking down on people taking advantage of the state agriculture tax breaks but some small farms are getting hurt because of it, according to the Star Tribune. Susan Mecredy owns Cherith Farms on 10-acres, south of Belle Plain. She grows fruits and vegetables for the public to pick and pay for and it is her livelihood, according to the Star Tribune. She has recently received a letter from the state claiming her farm is not large enough to constitute the agriculture tax according to the Star Tribune.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty spoke at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Convention in Bloomington on Saturday and said, “Minnesota agriculture faces both great challenges and a promising future,? according to the Pioneer Press.

Mobile Home Explosion Kills Two

Two people were killed in a mobile home explosion on Saturday in North Mankato, according to the Pioneer Press. The Mankato police received 911 phone calls around 1:25 a.m. and when fire fighters arrived on the scene the rear of the home was covered in flames, according to the Pioneer Press.

Shawn and Beth Marxen are the two people believed to have been killed in the blast although the bodies found on the scene are still receiving autopsies and have not been identified according to the Star Tribune. Neighbors tried breaking out windows to help the couple out but could not reach them according to the Star Tribune. The couple’s two daughters were not at home, at the time of the blast. The fire is still under investigation, according to the Star Tribune.

November 12, 2007

St Paul: Suspect Arrested in Girl's Rape

According to the Pioneer Press a man, 19, has been arrested in connection to the rape of a girl, 17, that happened in her home in the East Side area of St. Paul, last Wednesday.

According to the Star Tribune the arrest happened around 8p.m. on Saturday. According to the newspaper, the man is suspected of breaking into the girl’s home and assaulting her.

November 4, 2007

Two 12-Year-Olds Charged With Terroristic Threats

On Tuesday two 7th grade boys, both 12, from the Washington Technology Magnet Middle school in St. Paul were accused of terrorist threats to a female student after a school staff member overheard them according to the Pioneer Press.

The boys threatened to use a gun that was described during the threat and later found at the home of one of the boys. Classes were not interrupted that day according to the Pioneer Press.

On Friday the boys were at the Ramsey County Juvenile Court where they both pleaded not guilty. They are currently under house arrest, according to the Pioneer Press. The boys both face expulsion from school, according to Principle Mike McCroller.

McCroller sent out a letter to the parents of students from the school on Friday, describing the incident and the safety precautions taken, and can be read here (Star Tribune).

October 27, 2007

Former St. Paul Teacher Will Register as a Sex Offender

Joseph A. Tucker, 29, a former band teacher who taught at Como Park Senior High in St. Paul, has pleaded guilty to having sex with a former student according to the Pioneer Press.

Tucker appeared in the Ramsey District court on Friday in front of Judge M. Michael Monahan and said, "Your honor, I know that what I did was wrong. I destroyed a community that I love very much, and I betrayed a great trust that I worked very hard to establish." (Star Tribune)
Monahan gave Tucker an 18-month sentence with 3-months to be served in a work house, Tucker will also have to register as a sex offender according to the Star Tribune.

St. Paul Man Found Dead in an Alley

St. Paul police were called to the East Side of St. Paul Friday night after receiving a report of gunshots. Once police arrived they found a dead man in the alley way between Jessamine Avenue and Arcade Avenue according to the Star Tribune.

Police could not confirm if the victim was killed from being hit and dragged by a car, or from a possible head shot wound. A second victim was taken to the hospital to be treated for a bullet wound in his hand. Both victims were in their late teens to early twenties. The St. Paul Police gang unit is investigating this incident, according to the Pioneer Press.

October 21, 2007

Homes With Airport Noise to Receive Relief

A years long lawsuit between the city of Eagan and the Metropolitan Airports Commission was settled in Wednesday. The suit also includes Minneapolis and Richfield. The Metropolitan Airports Commission has agreed to pay over 700 homeowners $7.4 million dollars, over time, to help shield their homes from loud airport noise, according to the Pioneer Press.
According to the Star Tribune, 432 homes are affected by airport noise in Minneapolis and the Commission has agreed to start work on these homes in the next year and finish in 2009.
The years of 1994-2004 have seen a 19% increase in airport noise, to see if your home qualifies for the improvements you can visit the Star Tribune here.

Body Found In Minneapolis Lake

A lifeless male body was found in Cedar Lake in Minneapolis Saturday morning. The man's name is Bobby Joe Allen and he was 55-years-old. According to the Medical Examiner, Allen died from drowning, according to the Star Tribune.
Authorities arrived to the scene after receiving a 911 call from a man at 9:45 a.m. The caller said he saw a small boat overturned in the lake. Authorities then found the body close to the overturned boat. The drowning still remains under investigation, according to the Pioneer Press.

October 15, 2007

University of Minnesota Professor Wins Noble Prize

Leonid Hurwicz, 90, an emeritus professor of economics at the University of Minnesota will be sharing the honor of winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences which he won on Monday October 15. He will be sharing the prize with Eric S. Maskin and Roger B. Myerson for developing a theory on why markets are not always the model of perfection once taught in Economics 101 according to the Star Tribune.
Hurwicz was born in Moscow and is the oldest Nobel Prize winner ever according to the Royal Swedish academy of Sciences. The academy says the three researches, “"laid the foundations of mechanism design theory." (Pioneer Press).
Hurwicz thought at first the call telling him he had won was a joke saying, “The first thing I thought was that it was a joke, considering that it was 6 in the morning, not a very good joke." (Star Tribune).
University of Minnesota president is very proud of his faculty member saying, “"Professor Hurwicz has been one of the most outstanding economists in the entire world." (The Minnesota Daily)

October 14, 2007

Arrest Made in Light Rail Rape-Kidnapp

An arrest has been made in regards to the 44-year-old woman who was kidnapped from a light rail station in Minneapolis around 2a.m. on October 4. She was verbally assaulted and led to a nearby apartment building where she was brutally beaten, raped and robbed according to the Pioneer Press.
Police have arrested a 20-year old man on Friday around 4p.m. and he is being held at the Hennepin County Jail pending charges. Metro Transit police are in charge of the investigation. This has been the first abduction at a light rail station since the trains began running in 2004 according to the Star Tribune.

Lakeville Mother Charged in with her Baby's Death

Katherine Bodem, 38, was charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter in the drowning death of her 11-month old daughter on October 10. Bodem had claimed that she just left her daughter with her 2-year old brother while she went to look at shoes online for just a few minutes. When police got access to her computer they saw various websites and surf engines relating to shoes had been accessed for over 19 minutes before the 911 call was made according to the Pioneer Press.
Neighbors have stated that they have on numerous occasions tried to contact Le Suer and Dakota county Social Services in regards to Bodem's self-absorbed behavior but have always been told no laws have been broken. Todd and Christine Redmann, former neighbors of the Bodems have said, “"As professionals, both with experience in the mental health field, the signs were clear to us. Kathy often displayed indications of disordered thought -- at times grandiose and manic, and at other times listless and with almost complete disregard for everything and everyone around her." (Star Tribune)

October 8, 2007

River By Bridge Collapse Open to Boaters

The Mississippi River reopended to reacreational boaters on Saturday at 3p.m. along Lock and Dam 1, close to where the 35W bridge collapse happened. That part of the river had been closed to boaters since the bridge collapse. The river had to be deemed safe before it could reopen to the public. According to the Pioneer Press ,Chief Petty Officer Kelly Dentry of the U.S. coast gaurd had this to say, ""Contractors for (the Minnesota Department of Transportation) swept the bottom of the river to find any additional debris and they didn't find any."
According to the Star Tribune the ban had started to relax over the past few weeks, at first barges from two local companies were allowed to use certian parts of the river to transport goods, then on Friday other commercial boats such as tour boats were allowed through.
Dentry also said, "We've been anxious to make this happen because so many people are calling us wanting to make that trip to enjoy the fall colors." (Star Tribune)

October 1, 2007

New 35W Bridge Comes With High Price Tag

After the Minneapolis 35W bridge collapse in August, the federal government approved $250 million to go towards the cost of replacing the bridge.
MnDOT had originally estimated the new replacement bridge would cost around $393 million, leaving the state to come up with an additional $143 million to go towards the construction according to the Star Tribune. This new estimate has brought many concerns to a hearing by the Transportation Contingent Appropriation Group on October 1. One particular concern is the fact that Minnesota has only received $55 million of the promised money from the federal government. MnDOT would like to start rebuilding the bridge later this month and needs money for immediate expenses.
Kevin Gray, the Minnesota Department of Transportation's chief financial officer said that early estimates did not factor in: on-site cleanup, diverting traffic and stepping up the state's bridge safety checks according to the Pioneer Press.

September 26, 2007

Sen. Larry Craig Attempts to Take Back Guilty Plea

In June, Idaho Senator Larry Craig pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly-conduct charges when he was arrested by an undercover police officer in a men's restroom located in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, according to the Washington Post.
On September 26 Craig's lawyer, William Martin, argued that Craig should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plee, to Hennepin County District Court Judge, Charles Porter Jr. The argument stated that Craig's actions did not constitute a crime and therefore his guilty plee should be revoked, according to The Star Tribune. According to the same article, Craig's actions included foot tapping, putting his hand under toilet stall walls and peeking into accompanying stalls. The undercover officer was in the restroom, conducting an ongoing investigation in regards to sexual activity in the particular restroom. Craig has repeatedly stated he is innocent and denied he is gay.
According to the Idaho Statesman Sen. Craig has been accused with homosexual acts in the past.

September 24, 2007

Silver Star is Awarded

National Gaurd member, Staff Sergeant Chad Malmberg of St. Paul was awarded the Silver Star on Saturday, September 22. According to the Pioneer Press the silver star has not been awarded since WWII, Malberg received it after leading a firefight against Iraqi insurgents and protecting 20 supply trucks and thier drivers. According to the Star Tribune Governer Tim Pawlenty presented the award to Malmberg.

September 17, 2007

Troops Return Home

The First Brigade Team of the 34th Infantry Division returned home in the months of July and August. According to the Star Tribune no military unit in the nation had spent more time in Iraq since the war had began.
The troops were honored in a welcome home ceremony at the Bloomington Sheraton Hotel the evening of Sunday September 16. According to the Hutchinson Leader the unit was responsible for security, military intelligence, communications, resupply and reconstruction missions in Iraq

September 15, 2007

Housing Market Not So Great

The Minnesota housing market has seen a large decrease in home sales over the last few years with August being one of the worst months on record since 1994 according to the Star Tribune.
This may be to housing sales being down and home foreclosurs increasing, which are at near record highs through out Minnesota, according to Minnesota News organization WCCO. The main culprit of high foreclosures in our state appears to be homeowner's that are unable to pay thier high interest mortgages due to predatory lending practices used by some mortgage companies through out the state. According to Minnesota Public radio, laws are being made to help protect home buyers in the future.

Rudy Giuliani in St. Paul

Republican presidential candidate, former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, made a campaign stop in St. Paul, Thursday September 6.

According to the Star Tribune Giuliani spoke of his presidential campaign at St. Paul’s Parkview Café, over a cup of coffee and spoke of issues regarding tax and immigration before moving on to the 35W bridge collapse.

According to Minnesota Public Radio Giuliani may have to work to convince voters he is conservative enough for the Republican Party.