April 29, 2007

James J. Hill Sapphire sold

The reports the gem's sale for a record high bid of $3.064 million at a New York City auction earlier this week, however, indisputably left officials of the Minnesota Historical Society in a pleasant state of shock at their unexpected windfall. James J. Hill gave his wife the 22.66 carat sapphire on Dec. 24, 1886.

"We're still reeling from the news," said Nina Archabal, Historical Society director. reports the money will be put toward the Hill House endowment, meant to preserve the home, which is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

The sale of the Kashmir sapphire set two world auction records – top sale price and record price per carat for a sapphire.

April 28, 2007

St. Paul mayor gets rear-ended reports a woman rear-ended St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's car about 9 p.m. Thursday. No one was hurt. Police said the mayor's unmarked Ford Crown Victoria town car was stopped at a red light on Summit Avenue when it was rear-ended by a Honda sedan.

Police said the 22-year-old St. Paul woman who was driving the Honda had a blood-alcohol content of 0.26 percent, far higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent. reports after the accident, Abbie Raymond, 22, of St. Paul was booked into the Ramsey County jail on a gross misdemeanor charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Coleman was leaving a forum at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in St. Paul when he was hit.

April 20, 2007

Pioneer Press battles in court with Star Tribune reports the Pioneer Press claims former publisher Par Ridder improperly shared insider information when he was named publisher of the Star Tribune last month. The Pioneer Press lawsuit claimed Ridder e-mailed financial data to other Star Tribune executives after he switched jobs.

"They contain virtually every facet of financial information that one would ever want to know about one's opposition," Pioneer Press attorney Daniel Oberdorfer said in court.

The reports a Ramsey County District Court judge has granted a request from the Pioneer Press that they be allowed to search at least a dozen computers owned or used by Star Tribune employees over concerns that the Minneapolis paper obtained its main competitor's confidential advertising information.

"We understand the judge's decision to preserve the status quo until all the evidence can be gathered and heard, and we will fully comply with the order," Star Tribune spokesman Ben Taylor said in a statement. "We're anxious to get a full hearing on the merits and look forward to presenting our case as soon as possible."

Double homicide in Minneapolis

The Startribune reports a 19-year-old Minneapolis man is charged with first-degree murder in the robbery-homicide of two men in a North Side alley Tuesday night. A girl, 17, and a boy, 15, also face charges. The girl is identified as Mattea Thurman, who lives on the same block where the killings occurred.

The victims were on their way home from a nearby bar when each was shot once in the head behind a home in the 4700 block of N. 6th St. reports charges were expected Friday in the execution-style double homicide. Minneapolis police Capt. Mike Martin said the homicide victims were picked at random, didn't know the suspects and weren't involved in anything illegal that would have led to violence.

"Who does that to people?" Christianson's brother David Wiener said.

April 13, 2007

Browns Valley receives grant for flood reports the city of Browns Valley will receive a state grant for $264,000 as the western Minnesota town continues to clean up after a big spring flood. The grant will help pay for clearing debris and repairing public facilities, with $203,000 going toward fixing city streets.

Minnesota always comes together to help communities recover from natural disasters and this is another good piece of assistance," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said in a news release Thursday.

The StarTribune reports, in Browns Valley on March 14 an ice jam on the Little Minnesota River caused flooding that forced about 100 people from their homes in the town of 650. Pawlenty said other state agencies are looking for help for the community to recover from the flood.

Girl stabs her newborn 135 times

The StarTribune reports a 17-year-old Oakdale girl told police she gave birth on the laundry room floor early Monday, then panicked and stabbed the baby girl after seeing her move a finger. Investigators found the baby in a bloody garbage bag outside the teen's home with 135 stab wounds, most of the punctures were in the chest. The Ramsey County medical examiner's office said the baby was born alive and bled to death.

Nicole M. Beecroft was charged with first-degree premeditated murder Thursday in Washington County District Court. reports Beercroft's mom told police she did not know her overweight daughter was pregnant. Authorities were tipped off Tuesday when an anonymous caller told police that a cashier at a Cub Foods grocery store in St. Paul had given birth to a stillborn baby and threw it in the garbage at her home.

"She kills the baby and now her life will be changed forever," said Washington County Attorney Doug Johnson.

April 5, 2007

Construction hits roads hard with orange

The Pioneer Press reports the Minnesota Department of Transportation unveiled more than 150 road construction projects for the 2007 season Thursday.

Projects range from a two-month $110,000 bridge repair near Cloquet to the three-year $288 million reconstruction of the Crosstown in Minneapolis and Richfield.

The StarTribune reports there will be $1.5 billion spent on the summer road construction program. The program includes, 36 projects in the metro, and another 121 statewide, MnDOT said in a news release. Some of the major projects are the continuation of the I-694/I-35E reconstruction project in Vadnais Heights and Little Canada.

The scale of this year's construction program is similar to last year's, which included 170 projects with an overall cost of $1.5 billion.

Herb Carneal Dies

The StarTribune reports longtime Twins announcer, Herb Carneal, died Sunday from congestive heart failure. He was 83. Carneal announced the Twins games over the radio for the past 45 seasons.

"I'm sure he touched a lot of people's hearts," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're going to miss him. He lived a good life, and he'll be up there announcing in heaven."

The NY TImes reports Carneal called the Athletics, Phillies and Orioles games before he came to Minnesota. He announced every season for the Twins except for the first.

Carneal received the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting in 1996.

March 29, 2007

Robber is caught fleeing from bank reports Wednesday police were out to enfore the Move Over Law which requires drivers to make way for squad cars on the side of the road or at least slow down if they can't.

During their stakeout, police received a call about a bank robbery at a New Market Bank in Lakeville. Right as police were getting the description of the vehicle, the car drove by more than a dozen officers on the sting operation. The driver, a 47-year-old Buffalo, Minn. man is now in custody following the robbery.

The StarTribune reports, the Buffalo man allegedly had held up six banks prior to the one he robbed in Lakeville.

"We've had quite a run in the last eight days," said FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe. "But overall, this has been kind of a normal year" for this type of activity.

Federal bank charges could be filed as early as the next day. If the man is convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

Brakes blamed in Ham Lake bus crash reports authorities said Wednesday that brake failure was to blame for the December school bus crash in Ham Lake that sent 18 children to the hospital and left one woman in a coma. "The Minnesota State Patrol said its investigation revealed that a modification made by the bus company created a situation in which the brake pedal rod became disengaged from the brake system s power-assist booster."

The bus involved in the accident was one of seven vehicles that were modified in the course of maintenance owned by the Kottkes Bus Service of Andover.

Sgt. Paul Skoglund, an investigator, said, "Kottke took a pedal rod out of an old GM booster and used it in a new, less-expensive International booster but had to modify it to make it fit."

The driver of the bus, Seth Withers, said he tried to swerve to avoid two vehicles but he ended up hitting both of them. Withers told investigators the brakes of the bus turned "rock hard" as he tried to turn the bus.

March 23, 2007

Man arrested for decapitating dog

The West Central Tribune reports a 24-year-old man was arrested Thursday for suspicion of beheading a 17-year-old girl's dog and sending the head of the dog in a gift wrap box. The man is being held on suspicion of terroristic threats and animal cruelty, police said.

"I think I can sleep a lot better now," said the girl, Crystal Brown. "It will make me feel way safer. Now we can walk around the whole block."

The StarTribune reports "for three weeks, Crystal and her grandmother, Shirley Brown, have lived in fear of the suspect, who lives in the Rice Street-area neighborhood."

The man wanted Crystal to be his girlfriend, but she just wanted to be friends which caused the man to kill the dog.§ion=news&freebie_check&CFID=26200115&CFTOKEN=70275330&jsessionid=8830a3cb504f432761e6

Three people dead after shooting in St. Paul

West Central Tribune reports three people were killed in a shooting in St. Paul, Friday. There were two adults and a teen who were killed around 7 a.m. Two of the victims died at the scene and the third victim died at Regions Hospital.

The StarTribune reports around 6:30 a.m., at least two men broke into the victims' house and demanded money. A male was killed after he told the men they did not have any money. The girlfriend of the man was killed after he was killed. The relationship between the suspects and the victims are unknown.

March 9, 2007

Santana wants contract extension soon reports Johan Santana, a starting pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, wants a contract extension or to be re-signed as soon as possible. He is willing to stay in Minnesota even though the Twins are a small market baseball team. Santana has been valuable to the Twins, winning two Cy Youngs and contributing in the playoffs.

"We have a chance to keep a good team for a long time. Hopefully they'll find a way to keep this team together," Santana said.

Even though Santana still has two years remaining on his four-year, $40 million deal, there already has been plenty of talk of just where the pitcher might end up if he becomes a free agent at the end of the 2008 season. Pitchers in the league are starting to get paid noticeably higher than the norm, like Barry Zitos's seven-year, $126 million deal, have only increased the urgency for the Twins to complete a deal with Santana.

The StarTribune reports Santana said Thursday that he had not heard anything from his agent, Peter Greenberg, but the longer the team waits to negotiate, the more expensive it will be for a contract extension.

Reciprocity issue not a problem for 2007 reports Wisconsin and Minnesota students who cross the border will not have to worry about reciprocity while they are in school. The states' higher education boards have agreed students entering in the fall of 2007 will be covered under the current terms for at least the next four years.

The University of Minnesota wanted to end the pact with Wisconsin unless students from Wisconsin would be willing to pay as much as Minnesota students who attend in-state colleges.

The StarTribune reports the talks about reciprocity are still taking place. Higher education officials in both states had said they hoped to reach agreements by the end of February. The governors of both states are also interested and involved in the discussions.

March 2, 2007

Woman pleads guilty to murder charges in bathtub incident

The is reporting Thursday, a Blaine woman pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Julie Meier and her boyfriend, Jason Gonsioroski, are accused of scalding their 10-year-old daughter Jordan Gonsiorosk to death last July.

Jason forced Jordan to get into a bathtub full of scalding water because she was hiding food in her clothes. Meier was afraid to interfere with Jason, but she knew something was not right when Jason left Jordan in the bathtub. Meier went to go check on the girl.

"I asked, 'Why is there toilet paper in the bathtub?'" Meier testified. "I did a double look and saw it was her skin."

Jordan was left in the tub for four and a half hours.

The St. Paul Pioneer is reporting the water in the tub was 148 degrees and Jordan suffered burns to more than 70 percent of her body.

February 23, 2007

University of Minnesota study flawed is reporting the 2002 stem-cell study by the University of Minnesota was flawed. The 2002 study found "a type of adult stem cells in mice could have as much potential to treat disease as those taken from embryos. But an expert panel at the University of Minnesota concluded the experiment was flawed.

The StarTribune is reporting Dr. Catherine Verfaillie verified with the university the study was flawed. Verfaillie the lead scientist said, "The problem was an honest mistake." Verfaillie said the part of the study that was flawed did not hinder the results of the outcome.

There is still growing skepticism about how accurate the study is and if the study can be repeated with the same results.

February 22, 2007

State drought task force meets with winter storm on way

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting central Minnesota and Wisconsin could be hit with a snow storm as early as Friday. The storm might turn into a full blizzard later on during the weekend. There will be snow and high winds during the weekend.

The StarTribune is reporting Minnesota's drought task force met Thursday in Minneapolis to discuss concerns about the lack of snow this winter and the possible consequences. The task force met while a winter storm approached. The drought task force includes experts in agriculture, forestry, public water use, emergency response and other fields.

The main concern for the task force was to figure out how they will deal with the dry climate. There will be more chances for forest fires and the fire season would begin earlier and be more intense.

February 16, 2007

Man wins back-to-back

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Raymond Snouffer of Maplewood, 44 , won the lottery two days in a row. Each prize was worth $25,000.

Snouffer won Minnesota's daily Northstar Cash lottery Saturday, with a ticket that matched the winning numbers of 11, 14, 23, 26 and 31. The next night's drawing matched Snouffer's ticket of 3, 7, 11, 19 and 28.

The StarTribune reports this event has never happened in the state of Minnesota. The odds were about 170,000 to 1.

February 15, 2007

State Patrol urge motorists to give them room

The reports Minnesota State Patrol Officers are urging citizens to watch out for emergency vehicles. There have been six accidents with motorists running into state patrol officers while performing roadside duties in the past month.

"It's a 3,000-pound metal bullet that's coming down the road at them," said Col. Mark Dunaski, chief of the State Patrol.

Dunaski also commented on how expensive the accidents are. He said taxpayers have to pay for the damaged patrol car and on worker compensation for the injured officers.

The Pioneer Press reports there was a news conference on Thursday bringing up the accidents and reminding citizens about the "Move over" law. During the press conference, there was also video footage of a driver crashing into a state trooper on Interstate 35.

February 9, 2007

People in Minnesota cannot sneeze out the flu

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that two more children have died of influenza raising the deaths to three this season.

The two children who recently died both lived in the Minneapolis area. One child was 8-years-old and the other was a 17-month old.

The StarTribune reports parents are getting worried from the recent deaths. Children's Hospital and Clinics announced they will be giving out free flu vaccinations on Saturday in the St. Paul area.

State officials are saying that the flu virus is not as dangerous than any other year. State officials are making it clear to parents to get their children vaccinated because none of the children that died had flu shots.

Sjodin case verdict

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting a federal judge issued the death penalty on Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. on Thursday. Rodriguez was found guilty of killing Dru Sjodin, 22 and a University of North Dakota student.

A jury found Rodriguez, 53 from Crookston, guilty on charges of kidnapping and murder. The same jury recommended the death sentence.

The StarTribune interviewed the U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson. Erickson said, "Today is the most difficult day of my life," referring to the decision of putting Rodriguez to death. Erickson also rejected a motion for a new trial.

The case was tried in a federal court because the crime took place across state lines which is why Rodriguez can be sentenced to death.

Rodriguez abducted Sjodin from a shopping mall parking lot in Grand Forks in November 2003.

February 2, 2007

Smoking bans outside?

There have been cities in Minnesota that want to put an end to smoking in public areas such as city parks and youth sports fields.

A group of girl scouts from the ham Lake area convinced Ham Lake City Council smoking in city parks is not good. The scouts brought in a jar full of cigarette butts found around parks in Ham Lake.

There are other cities that are outlawing smoking in public areas as well. St. Francis adopted a similar ban the same day as Ham Lake.

In 2001, Bloomington was one of the first cities to adopt an ordinance against smoking around youth sports fields. The only way people can smoke is to go in their cars and light up.

StarTribune Friday, February 2, 2007 Twin Cities+Region

The death of a boy triggers many for flu shots

The Startribune repots that doctor offices are being filled with people after the death of an 8-year-old boy that died of the flu.

The death of the boy prompted Children's Hospital in St. Paul to "schedule a special flu shot clinic Saturday morning for children six months and older and their parents."

There has not been a death related to the flu since the 2004-05 season according to the Pioneer Press.

Fifty-five schools across Minnesota reported likely flu outbreaks and absences doubled.

The Startribune Friday, February 2, 2007 Twin Cities+Region