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May 5, 2008

Man Killed While Fighting Police

A suicidal man presumably on a controlled substance died Sunday morning after fighting with St. Paul police officers, according to the Star Tribune.
According to the police report, officers were called to a home in the 300 block of Wheelock Parkway about a suicide in progress with a controlled substance.
The man confronted and attacked the officers as they tried to calm him down. Officers sprayed a chemical substance on the man, which had no effect, so they used a taser. The man fought but restrained and became unresponsive, according to the Pioneer Press.
Paramedics treated him but he died at the scene.
The name of the man was not released.
The incident is under investigation.

Two Shot In St. Paul

A 19-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy were shot Saturday evening in St. Paul, according to the Star Tribune.
According to a police report, the boy is in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul after being shot in the back. The man was shot in the leg and is in stable condition.
The incidents took place in a one-block area but police can’t confirm if the incidents are related.
The department’s gang unit involved in the investigation is trying to determine what motives were used for the shootings.
St. Paul police stopped a suspicious car after the shootings took place and recovered a gun believed to be used on the attacks. Two teenagers have been taken into custody for questioning, according to the Pioneer Press.

35W Bridge To Be Completed Early

The constructors of the 35W bridge believe that the bridge will be open in the middle of September instead of late December, according to the Star Tribune.
During a public tour of the construction site on Saturday, representatives for Flatiron Constructors said that the bridge is "65 percent" complete and that the process of hanging concrete segments over the river could begin soon.
The recent projection of the bridge being complete in the middle of September comes right after the state holds the Republican National Convention from September 1st through the 4th. However, officials don't believe this had any influence on the bridge's work.
Flatiron Constructors was awarded the $234 million contract from the Minnesota Department of Transportation last September. The contract calls for the bridge to be completed by December 24th, but includes a $200,000 a-day incentive for each day the bridge is completed before then. The recent projection would put the total bonus awarded to $20 million, according to the Pioneer Press.
The total cost of the project, which includes the removal of the previous bridge, is expected to be nearly $400 million. The federal government is picking up nearly all of the cost.

April 21, 2008

Two Minneapolis Officers Put On Leave

The Minneapolis Police Department placed two officers on administrative leave Friday, according to the Star Tribune.
Officials would not disclose information about the two officers, except for their names, officer Michael Roberts and Lt. Lee Edwards. But officials did say the situation is under federal investigation.
Edwards is part of a discrimination suit against the department, according to the Pioneer Press.
The lawsuit, filed four months ago, claims the Chief of Police and other high-ranking officials passed over four black Minneapolis officers for promotions they deserved, created a hostile work environment and discriminated against them because they were black.
Edwards' attorney said there is no connection between the two officers.
The situation is under investigation.

Father Shoots Son In Hunting Accident

An 8-year-old Belle Plaine boy was killed after his father mistook him for a wild turkey Saturday evening while hunting in Sibley County, according to the Star Tribune.
Anthony Klaseus and son, Hunter, saw wild turkeys in a nearby farm close to Belle Plaine.
According to authorities, Klaseus told his son to stay put while he snuck up on the turkeys. After awhile, the boy decided to catch up to his father. The boy was about 20 to 30 yards away in a grassy field when Klaseus mistook him for a turkey and shot him in the chest with a 12-guage shotgun.
Klaseus called the police and carried his son a quarter-mile to emergency personnel.
Both father and son were wearing camoflauge.
The incident is under investigation.

U of M Professors Under Investigation

Two University of Minnesota professors are under investigation for receiving compensation after leaving another job, according to the Star Tribune.
Two university professors have been identified for collecting paychecks from Georgia Tech University after accepting jobs at the University of Minnesota.
Both professors, husband and wife, accepted jobs at the university in October and moved to Minnesota in January, according to the Pioneer Press.
Georgia Tech officials said the university renewed the professors contracts in October. However, officials noticed the issue in a review of expense records by an internal audit department.
The university has brought the issue to the Georgia attorneys general. Both professors, and the University of Minnesota, have said to be willing to cooperate with authorities.

April 7, 2008

St. Paul Testing LED Lights

The city of St. Paul is testing light-emitting diode, or LED lamps in street lights in hope that the new lamps would reduce the energy use, according to the Star Tribune.
The hope from city officials is that the new lamps will be whiter, brighter and cheaper to maintain.
St. Paul is one of many cities following in the footsteps of other eco-friendly cities, like Austin, Texas; and Ann Arbor, MI.
LED's are most commonly used in video screens, signs and traffic signals.
Each year, the city spends about $8.5 million on electricity and natural gas. The city began testing LED's in 2003 in traffic signals and walk signs. Overall, the city has saved $85,000 in labor costs and $180,000 in electricity.
Manufacturers say that they typically will reduce energy use by 50 percent, they have longer life and are need less maintenance than normal street lights.
The biggest disadvantage right now is the cost of the lights and getting the right color and lighting effect.

St. Paul Testing LED Lights

The city of St. Paul is testing light-emitting diode, or LED lamps in street lights in hope that the new lamps would reduce the energy use, according to the Star Tribune.
The hope from city officials is that the new lamps will be whiter, brighter and cheaper to maintain.
St. Paul is one of many cities following in the footsteps of other eco-friendly cities, like Austin, Texas; and Ann Arbor, MI.
LED's are most commonly used in video screens, signs and traffic signals.
Each year, the city spends about $8.5 million on electricity and natural gas. The city began testing LED's in 2003 in traffic signals and walk signs. Overall, the city has saved $85,000 in labor costs and $180,000 in electricity.
Manufacturers say that they typically will reduce energy use by 50 percent, they have longer life and are need less maintenance than normal street lights.
The biggest disadvantage right now is the cost of the lights and getting the right color and lighting effect.

St. Paul Testing LED Lights

The city of St. Paul is testing light-emitting diode, or LED lamps in street lights in hope that the new lamps would reduce the energy use, according to the Star Tribune.
The hope from city officials is that the new lamps will be whiter, brighter and cheaper to maintain.
St. Paul is one of many cities following in the footsteps of other eco-friendly cities, like Austin, Texas; and Ann Arbor, MI.
LED's are most commonly used in video screens, signs and traffic signals.
Each year, the city spends about $8.5 million on electricity and natural gas. The city began testing LED's in 2003 in traffic signals and walk signs. Overall, the city has saved $85,000 in labor costs and $180,000 in electricity.
Manufacturers say that they typically will reduce energy use by 50 percent, they have longer life and are need less maintenance than normal street lights.
The biggest disadvantage right now is the cost of the lights and getting the right color and lighting effect.

St. Paul Testing LED Lights

The city of St. Paul is testing light-emitting diode, or LED lamps in street lights in hope that the new lamps would reduce the energy use, according to the Star Tribune.
The hope from city officials is that the new lamps will be whiter, brighter and cheaper to maintain.
St. Paul is one of many cities following in the footsteps of other eco-friendly cities, like Austin, Texas; and Ann Arbor, MI.
LED's are most commonly used in video screens, signs and traffic signals.
Each year, the city spends about $8.5 million on electricity and natural gas. The city began testing LED's in 2003 in traffic signals and walk signs. Overall, the city has saved $85,000 in labor costs and $180,000 in electricity.
Manufacturers say that they typically will reduce energy use by 50 percent, they have longer life and are need less maintenance than normal street lights.
The biggest disadvantage right now is the cost of the lights and getting the right color and lighting effect.

Stolen Car Crash Kills Woman, Injures Children

A car speeding away from Minneapolis police officers Sunday morning crashed into another car, killing a woman and injuring two young children, according to the Star Tribune.
The two young children were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. The names of the victims were not released.
According to a police department news release, officers first attempted to stop the car after a traffic violation. The driver refused to stop and sped away.
During the chase, dispatchers told officers the car was stolen and the patrol sergeant called off the chase because of the risk of public safety.
As the car sped away, police said they saw a cloud of debris rise in the air.
The suspect fled the scene but was later arrested in a nearby Kmart, according to the Pioneer Press.

March 31, 2008

College Funding Program In Danger

A college aid program, called the Power Of You, is in danger of losing its purpose because of its lack of funding, according to the Pioneer Press.
The program's purpose is to help make college affordable for hundreds of St. Paul and Minneapolis high school students. It closes the gap between paying for tuition and the students financial aid package, so the first two years of college are free.
It was unveiled two years ago, promising to cover tuition for at least two years for students who graduate from a St. Paul or Minneapolis high school and who enroll in a St. Paul or Minneapolis college.
But without any funding towards the program, the graduating seniors this year may be the last to benefit from the program.
Supporters rallied at a legislative meeting for a $4 million bill that would help out the program.

March 17, 2008

St. Paul Men Involved With Cockfighting

Four St. Paul men were released from a Colorado jail Sunday after suspicion of their involvement with cockfighting, according to the Pioneer Press.
The men were stopped for a license plate violation when an officer noticed 27 chickens in cardboard boxes. The men were arrested with the intent to use the chickens in cockfights.
The men admitted to transporting the chickens from California to Minnesota to use them in cockfights. None of the men have been formally charged.
The chickens were taken to an animal shelter.
Cockfighting is an illegal act in every state.

New Roads Around U Campus

With the Central Corridor light-rail running on Washington Avenue, the University of Minnesota is looking into ways to build a new road around campus.
The university had hoped that the light-rail would run under the bridge and into a tunnel. However, that did not happen and the university wants to close the bridge to cars and possibly buses.
In response, the university has begun looking into building a separate road that would run under the bridges in Dinkytown, possibly all the way to highway 280, according to the Star Tribune. When the bridges of Dinkytown were build, the engineers made sure to leave room under them for a possible road.
The university first estimate of cost of the project was $32 million.
Also, the city of Minneapolis wants to build a street light and ramp to 35W northbound. City officials said this would lessen traffic on Washington Avenue and would only cost around $3-$4 million.

March 10, 2008

Officers Shoot Man with Sword, Knife

Two police officers shot a man with a sword and knife Thursday afternoon at a house in St. Paul's East Side neighborhood, according to the Star Tribune.
Officers responded to a burglary call at a house in St. Paul. When police arrived, they were confronted by Donald W. Gehl, a neighbor who lived on the street.
Gehl, 27 was holding a sword and knife and confronted police before being shot once in the right arm and twice in the legs after refusing to put down the weapons, according to a police spokesman.
Gehl was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where he is in critical but stable condition. Gehl reportedly has a history of mental illness.
According to a police report, the officers did not see anybody in the house but heard a disturbance outside. That is when they were confronted by Gehl. After Gehl refused to put the weapons down, he was shot and fell to the ground. Gehl got back up and coninued toward the officers when he was shot wice more.
Police are looking into whether Gehl had any role in the burglary.

Anoka-Hennepin Continues to Lose Students

Anoka-Hennepin school district is projected to lose students for the 2008-2009 school year, the second consecutive year of declining enrollment, according to the Star Tribune.
Anoka-Hennepin, the largest district in the state, along with school districts in Mounds View, Minneapolis, St Paul and White Bear Lake are all expected to lose students for the next school year.
An explanation for this can be seen through smaller population growth with smaller amounts of young children ready for school. Other factors that contribute include more school options and a bad housing market.
Mounds View has seen an enrollment decline for the past 10 years, which caused two elementary schools to close in 2005. The reason for this is that the district is fully developed with no room for housing and fewer families live there with young children.
Student loss is important because state funding relies on it. State funding is decided on a per-pupil basis which means less students, less money. In Anoka-Hennepin, the district is projected to lose 664 students next year which translates to a loss of $4.2 million, according to district officials.

March 3, 2008

Two Teens Killed In Same Area

Two teenagers were killed within seven miles of each other in Minneapolis and Richfield on Saturday.
One teen was shot and killed near the Midas Auto Service Shop on Lake St and Portland Ave S in Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune.
Police said the victim was shot in the torso and taken to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died. Police believe there was no motive for the shooting and they are searching for suspects.
One witness, Dianna Cordero, said the shooter ran down Portland Ave and many people stopped to help the victim. (Star Tribune)
In Richfield, an 18-year-old man was shot and killed shortly before 6 p.m. in a drive by shooting near Interstate 494 and Portland Ave S, accroding to WCCO.
The victim and three friends were walking near Arby's when shots were fired from a car. No one else was injured. The victim's name is being withheld until the family is notified. Police believe there is no motive for the shooting but are working with a vehicle description.
Police are trying to determine if both of the shootings are linked.

High School Player Collapses

A Monticello High School basketball player collapsed from a heart attack during a game Friday.
According to the family's website, Adam Theilen, 18, has regained consciousness and is talking to family members at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.
According to the Star Tribune, Theilen played the first five minutes of the game against Rogers. He came off the court after a substitution and within two minutes of sitting on the bench, he collapsed with a heart attack. They had to restart his heart twice with a portable defibrillator before he reached the hospital.
Theilen was put in an induced coma Saturday and had his body cooled in order to minimize the damage. By Sunday morning, his body was rewarmed and doctors planned to remove the medications that kept him in a coma, according to Kare 11.

February 18, 2008

MN Highest Teen Behind the Wheel Deaths

Minnesota ranks as the highest percentage of teenage behind the wheel deaths in the country according to a U.S. Department of Transportation study.
In the study, Minnesota teenagers were behind the wheel in 18.4% of fatal crashes resulting in death from the years 2004-2006. The national average was 14.3%. That averages out to be one teenager death in about every five days.
Minnesota doesn't have wide-ranging restrictions for teenage drivers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the state a mediocre grade because it doesn't limit teenage riders in a car and night driving, according to the Star Tribune.
Many states prohibit 16-year-old and 17-year-old drivers to have more than one passenger while driving or driving after midnight. In the past year, Illinois, Ohio, and Idaho have tightened their driving restrictions. Such restrictions can reduce fatal crashes by up to 20%, according to a Johns Hopkins University study.
Minnesota has laws banning cell phone use and requires seat belts for 16-year olds and 17-year-olds. However, the state wants to change the law and teenagers want tougher restrictions. A proposed bill this year would prohibit texting while driving.
One town in particular has seen an abundance of fatal deaths. In the small city of Princeton, seven teenagers have died in car accidents since March 1, 2006.

Storm Tunnels Needing Repair

Miles of storm tunnels underneath the Twin Cities are falling apart under pressure of heavy rain, leading to the risk of collapsing that could flood city streets and buildings, according to Kare 11.
In Minneapolis, there are 15 miles of storm tunnels, many more than a decade old, that need to be repaired. The estimated cost of repair is about $75 million according to engineers. St. Paul faces a similar situation.
The tunnels collect storm water from the streets and deposits it in the Mississippi river. With increased runoff and heavy rainfall, the tunnels can fill to capacity which creates pressure. Excessive water pressure can crack tunnel walls in spots. If they collapse, they would flood the neighborhood above.
One incident of excessive pressure was on Interstate 35W South of Minneapolis when a geyser erupted from a manhole. Two men died in St.Paul in July after becoming trapped in a storm tunnel and drowning.
Engineers estimate a total of ten years to completely fix the tunnels, but that depends on the weather. However, the city's budget is about $2 million a year whereas replacing just three tunnels would cost $19 million, according to WCCO.

February 10, 2008

Fire In Plymouth Forces 50 People Out

A large fire erupted at a Plymouth apartment buildign saturday afternoon, injuring one and forcing about 50 people out of their homes, reports the Pioneer Press.
The one injured person was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
Firefighters were called to the Plymouth Oaks Apartment complex around 3:20 p.m. The fire started on the second floor and extended to the third floor and into the attic. 30 apartments were damaged from fire, smoke, and water.
The American Red Cross set up a shelter at Armstrong High School in Plymouth for the 50 people who were displaced by the fire. The one injured person was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation but it doesn't appear suspicious, said Plymouth Fire Chief Richard Kline. Firefighters fought a similar fire at the same apartment building in July.
"It's in almost the same exact spot as the last fire on July 12th," said Lanny Johnson, who was evacuated during that fire, too, reported Kare 11.

Body of 4-year-old Found

Police recovered the body of a four-year-old boy who had disappeared from a Minneapolis home on Sunday, according to the Pioneer Press.
Demond Reed had been missing since Wednesday and his body was found in a home on the city's north side where he had been staying with a family acquaintance.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office had not immediately determined the cause of death, but police are investigating homicide. A woman was brought into custody but no charges have been filed.
Reed was staying with some relatives after coming from Chicago to visit his father,who is incarcerated.
"A lot of the details in this case have been fairly unclear," said Sgt. William Palmer, a spokesman for the department. (Pioneer Press)
There has been speculation why the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension did not issue an Amber Alert for Reed after he went missing. The BCA office said there was not enough sufficient details to issue a warning, reports WCCO.
Police have declined to comment on the relationship between the woman and Reed.