Main

December 5, 2008

Denny Hecker in Car Crash

Twin Cities’ car dealer Denny Hecker was hospitalized Wednesday after his car hit a utility poke, according to a Jon Auston, a Hecker spokesman, reported StarTribune.com.
Hecker, 56, was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and is listed in fair condition, a hospital official said, reported TwinCities.com.
"He got banged up pretty good, but I think he's going to be OK," Austin said. "None of the injuries are described as life-threatening."
The accident occurred near his home. He was on his way home from his business located near interstate 394 and U.S. 169.
Police are investigating the cause of the accident.
Austin said Hecker will remain hospitalized for a short time, but was uncertain about the length of the stay.

State Budget Deficit $5.3 Billion

Minnesota's projected two year budget deficit is $5.3 billion dollars state budget officials announced Thursday, reported TwinCities.com.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty demanded that most state agencies cut 10 percent from their budgets — not including prisons, state troopers, crime labs or military programs. He also said he may cut spending on his own, as state law allows,
reported StarTribune.com.
Pawlenty reconfirmed his pledge to not raise taxes, citing revenues of$32 billion during the current cycle.
"There is no deficit if we live within that amount of money," Pawlenty said.
The state's budget crisis stems from the national financial crisis. It is not alone, 40 states are in a similar situation.
The dismal budget will force legislatures to look at cuts in health, education and social services, On the revenue side, an increase in taxes may be considered.

November 21, 2008

Car Smashes into Woodbury Townhomes

A car crashed into the garage of a Woodbury townhome before plowing into the kitchen of an adjoining townhome Friday morning police said, reported Twincities.com.
The townhomes were occupied at the time of the crash. The residents were taken to nearby hotels, said Woodbury police Sgt. Curt Zacharias, reported StarTribune.com.
The driver of the vehicle was speeding and missed a turn. There is "a good possibility" alcohol is involved police said, StinCities.com.
The driver, a 27-year-old man, was pinned in the car for a while and was taken by ambulance to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Coleman's Lead Narrows

Sen. Norm Coleman's lead shrank to 136 votes over challenger Al Franken Thursday, reported StarTribune.com.
After the second day of the recount with 46 percent of the ballots counted Sen. Norm Coleman is clinging to a narrow lead.
In the Democratic stronghold of St. Louis County Al Franken has netted 19 votes with 67 percent of the precincts counted, TwinCities.com.
"We are pretty happy with these numbers," Coleman press secretary Luke Friedrich said.
A Ramsey County judge has ruled that the Franken campaign is entitled to get access to the names of voters whose absentee ballots were rejected, reported TwinCities.com.

November 14, 2008

Cause of 35w Bridge Collapse Released

A fatal design flaw caused the collapse of the 35W bridge according to a statement released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety board, reported TwinCities.com.
The forty-year-old bridge was resurfaced in 1977. It was not designed to withstand the additional layer of pavement and the 250 tons of construction material which were on the bridge when it collapsed according to the NTSB.
"On the final day, the day of the collapse, there was this concentrated location of construction materials and equipment on the bridge. And all of those things combined to overload the gusset plates and cause the collapse," said Carl Schultheisz, a spokesman for the NTSB.
The thickness of critical gusset plates was one half of an inch. The NTBS determined the thickness should have been 1 inch, reported StarTribune.com.

Beer to be Sold at New Gopher Stadium


The University of Minnesota Board of Regents announced Thursday it is considering selling beer and wine at the new gopher stadium, reported TwinCities.com.
Sales will be limited to executive suites at the new TCF stadium. The remaining sections - including the student section - will not sell alcohol, reported StarTribune.com.
Thousands of underage students attend games and it would be impossible to police them said University spokesman Dan Wolter.
Wolter said the proposal,? provides a good balance by providing adequate controls on alcohol consumption, while also enabling us to make these more attractive venues."

November 7, 2008

Winter Prelude Arrives

A wintery blast swept into Minnesota Friday with snow falling in the southern third of the state, according to the National Weather Service, reported the Pioneer Press.
In central Minnesota, Lester Prairie reported 3 inches of snow. The Twin Cities is expected to receive between one half of an inch and two inches Friday the Weather Service said, reported the Star Tribune.
Flurries may continue into Saturday, but the majority of the snow should end Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Franken Narrows Gap

The gap between Democratic candidate for senate Al Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman narrowed Wednesday after irregularities were found, reported the Star Tribune.
Coleman held a 725-vote advantage when the polls closed after the election, but after county officials looked for irregularities the lead dropped to 236.
In Pine County Franken's vote total was revised upward by 100 votes. Officials incorrectly entered 24 rather than 124 when the final votes were tallied, reported the Pioneer Press.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said, "That is why we have recounts."
The margin of error is less than one half of one percent which triggers an automatic recount.
"Coleman has really got reason to be nervous today," said a Republican operative, reported the Star Tribune.

October 31, 2008

Franken Grabs Lead in Senate Race

With less than five days remaining, Al Franken has grabbed a significant lead over Norm Coleman in Minnesota's senatorial race, reported StarTribune.com.
A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll released Thursday has Franken with a 43 to 34 lead. This is Franken's largest lead of the campaign, StarTribune.com.
The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 points. Additionally, the poll shows Coleman's favorability rating has fallen to 38 percent, an all time low for this poll.
Coleman blasted the poll calling it "flawed," reported StarTribune.com.

October 30, 2008

Franken Sued by Coleman

Norm Coleman's campaign filed a suit against Al Franken's campaign for violating campaign law, reported StarTribun.com.
Coleman is upset with the content of Franken's political ads. The ads claim that Coleman is "the fourth most corrupt senator in Washington" and "lives almost rent free" in Washington apartment.
"Al Franken has chosen to push the lines of believability far beyond the bounds of truth," Mark Drake, a Coleman spokesman said.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a Washington watchdog group listed the top three corrupt senators. Coleman was given honorable mention, but was not labeled as the fourth most corrupt.
Drake said the senator pays $600 for renting a basement apartment in Washington.
"Our ads are factual and true even if Norm Coleman doesn't like being held accountable for his conduct," said Colleen Murray, a Franken spokeswoman, reported TwinCities.com.

October 23, 2008

Minnesota Politician's Homes Vandalized

Minnesota politician's homes were vandalized Thursday morning, Twincities.com.
The homes of U.S. Sens. Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar and other Republican and Democratic members of the Minnesota congress were painted with graffiti that called for their resignation, Startribune.com.
"We're looking at this as an actual threat," Peter Panos, spokesman for the St. Paul Police said. "We're taking it quite seriously.
Political vandalism is increasing. In the last three months over 300 campaign-related crimes have occurred, Twincities.com.

Former Governor Arne Carlson Endorses Obama

Former Gov. Arne Carlson endorsed presidential candidate Barack Obama Thursday at the State Capital, StarTribune.com.
Carlson spoke at a rally for the Democratic candidate. He was introduces by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat.
"We have in Barack Obama the possibility of a truly great president,? Carlson said, TwinCities.com.
Carlson decided to endorse Obama after comments by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Republican, questioned Obama’s anti-American views Carlson said.
Carlson said that Bachmann’s comments smacked of McCarthyism.
"I don't want Minnesota to continue to be seen in the national picture as some sort of a land that has these rather strange views -- we don't," he said.

October 17, 2008

Stillwater Cop Charged With Criminal Sexual conduct

A Stillwater police officer was charged Wednesday with criminal sexual conduct and misconduct of a public officer, TwinCities.com.
Officer Scott Geving faces a felony charge of fourth-degree attempted criminal conduct and three gross-misdemeanor charges.
The criminal account filed Wednesday in Washington County District court alleges Geving forced himself upon a Stillwater motel employee while on duty
Stillwater Police Chief John Ganaway said Geving was suspended the day the department heard of the allegation.
Ganaway said Geving has an "excellent record."
To avoid a conflict of interest problem the Dakota County attorney's office is doing an investigation.

October 16, 2008

Senator Clinton to Campaign on Minnesota's Iron Range

The Barack Obama Campaign announced Thursday that Sen. Hillary Clinton will campaign next Tuesday on the Iron Range, Associated Press.
McCain is attempting to win over the hunters, fishermen and campers vote. The Iron Range is a traditional democratic stronghold.
Details of the events have not been released. Clinton will campaign with Al Franken in the Twin Cities on Tuesday also.
Clinton has been campaigning extensively for Obama since losing her presidential primary bid, TwinCities.com.

October 10, 2008

Pawlenty Sheds Petters Political Donations

Minnesota Gov.Tim Pawlenty is returning $4000 in campaign donations he received from Tom Petters the Pawlenty for Governor Committee said Thursday, reported TwinCities.com.
Petters, a prominent Minnesota businessman, is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice, reported starTribune.com.
Several other high ranking politicians are also returning donations. The list includes Norm Coleman, Amy Klobuchar and Jim Oberstar.

October 9, 2008

Missing Hikers Found in the Boundary Waters

Two hikers, missing for nearly a week, were rescued today in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, reported twincities.com.
The two Duluth women, — Maria Jacenko, 42, and Grace Knezevich, 23, were rescued by a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter. They are in relatively good health authorities said, reported StarTribune.com.
The women were found waving on high ground near Glee Lake about four miles from the Gunflint Trail their destination.
The women were taken to Smitty's lodge for a meal and a health check. Cook County authorities said the women were in good shape.
“They did everything right,? Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk said, "We just didn’t spot them right away."


October 3, 2008

From Paradise To Prison

A 38-year-old Minneapolis woman was charged with failure to turn over state funds Thursday for cashing a $2.6 million state check accidently sent to her by the state, reported TwinCities.com.
Sabrina Walker was sentenced to 9 months in the workhouse for cashing the check and going on a $267,000 spending spree within hours, StarTribune.com.
The check was intended to go to Hennepin County Medical Center. A clerical error sent it to Walker.
Walker said it was all a mistake and that she has suffered greatly.
"My dreams have been shattered," Walker said.

Minnesota's Great Pumpkin

Minnesota declared its largest ever pumpkin at a weigh -off in Stillwater on Saturday.
Chad Revier's 1427.5 pound pumpkin, grown in Spicer, won the 4th annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off and received $1000, Star Tribune.com reported.
Revier has only competed for two years in the weigh-off, twincities.com. He plans to use seeds from the winner to grow future mammoth pumpkins.
He brought three pumpkins to the event. The largest was disqualified because it had cracks. Contestants have cheated by injected water in cracks at previous contestsStar Tribune.com.

Sun Country Airlines May Shutdown


Sun Country Airlines announced to its employees on Wednesday that it may shutdown as early as Dec. 1, Twin Cities .com.
The airline is in a financial crisis. John Fredericksen, the airline's general counsel said Sun Country must receive financial relief in the near future or a shutdown could occur soon, StarTribune.com.
The airline was planning for a short-term loan from Tom Petters, the majority shareholder of Sun country. Last week Petters became the target of a major federal fraud investigation, cancelling the loan.
Fredericksen said he is confident the company can get through the crisis. Federal law required Sun country to notify its employees a 60 days' notice.

September 26, 2008

Twins Grab Division Lead

The Twins shocked the Chicago White Sox with a dramatic win at the Metrodome Thursday.
Minnesota fought back from a five run deficit, finishing off the White sox 7-6 in the 10th inning with 43,601 fans in attendance.
"This was probably the best game that I've been a part of in my career," said Twins closer Joe Nathan, StarTribune.com
The victory leaves the Twins with a half-game lead alone in first place with just three games left to play. Chicago has four games left, TwinCities.com
Both teams have games Friday night. The Twins are at home against Kansas City. The White Sox are playing Cleveland at home.

September 25, 2008

Northstar rail line fares proposal rejected

The Metropolitan Council reopened discussions for fares on the Northstar rail line on Wednesday, StarTribune.com

The fares for the Northstar rail line which extends from Minneapolis to big Lake may be adjusted higher. The council will reexamine the fares with the Northstar Corridor Development Committee.

Last summer preliminary fares were established. The proposed one way weekday fare from Minneapolis to Big Lake was $7.50, TwinCities.com.

The initial fares would cover only 18 to 24 percent of the annual cost. The council believes riders should pay a larger share, StarTribune.com

September 18, 2008

Viking Game Blackout is Nearing

The NFL granted the Vikings a 24-hour extension Thursday to sell the remaining tickets for Sunday's game, reported StarTribune.com.
The remaining 1400 tickets must be sold by 2 p.m. Friday to avoid a blackout. This would be the first blackout since 1997, reported twinCities.com.
The Vikings are talking to local corporations attempting to sell the tickets. KMSP is one of those contacted. They are scheduled to broadcast the game Sunday, StarTribune.com.



Emerald Ash Borer Threatens Wisconsin


Wisconsin agricultural crews will chop down 700 trees in an attempt to locate the destructive Emerald Ash Borer state officials announced Thursday, reported StarTribune.com
The beetle blamed for the destruction of millions Ash trees in Canada and the U.S. has been found in four Southeastern Wisconsin counties.
Ash trees from North Carolina to Minnesota could be threatened, Albert Bell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regional manager said, reported MPR.
Wisconsin agricultural official estimate more than 765 million ash trees are in Wisconsin forests.

September 13, 2008

U Students Facing Tuition Hikes

Tuition for University of Minnesota students will increase in 2010 if a proposal by University President Robert Bruininks passes.
Bruininks unveiled his budget proposal Friday to the board of Regents. The proposal includes a 4.5 percent increase in intuition for 2010-2011, reported mndaily.com.
The Minnesota Legislature is being asked for a $147 million dollar budget request. Tuition could increase beyond 4.5 percent if the state funding request is rejected.
University Regent Dean Johnson, a former state legislature, doesn't like Bruininks' chances because the state is in difficult financial times, reported MPR.

September 12, 2008

35W Bridge Nearly Open

Monday, Sept. 12, Gov. Tim Pawlenty will announce when the I-35W Bridge will open spanning the Mississippi River, mndaily.com reported.
The bridge collapsed August 1, 2007. Thirteen people lost their lives in the collapse.
The new bridge is expected to open next week, less than 14 months after the collapse. Flatiron Construction will complete construction about three months early which will result in a $20 million bonus. “ It costs the road users $400,000 every day the bridge is closed because users have to travel further and burn more fuel,? said Kevin Gutknecht, spokesman for the Minnesota department of Transportation. (mndaily.com)
The new 10 lane bridge will be light-rail ready. The life-span is 100 years. This is partially due to the use of fly ash, a byproduct of coal production. Concrete made with fly ash is denser than portland based concrete. Denser concrete prevents water from penetrating to the bridges’ rebar, slowing erosion. (twincities.com)