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December 7, 2008

Third Oldest Person in the World Dies

At age 114, Catherine Hagel went down in the record books as the third oldest person in the world, and the oldest in Minnesota.

She is survived by 35 grandchildren, 58 great-grandchildren, and 20 great-great grandchildren, the Star Tribune reported.

Hagel has been living at Minnesota Masonic Home North Ridge in New Hope for the last 14 years, reported the Star Tribune.

Services for Hagel will be held at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church at St. Martin in Rogers on Wednesday.

Faribault College Teacher Kills Himself

Faribault preparatory college is grieving the loss of their teacher after he shot himself Friday night.

Len Jones, 24, shot himself with a handgun in his faculty apartment at St. Mary’s School Friday night, the Star Tribune reported.

Seventh and ninth grade boys were in the dormitory at the time of the shooting and were quickly taken to another location while the adults went to the aid of Jones, Amy Wolf, a spokeswoman for the school said.

Jones started working at St. Mary’s six years ago and brought with his “southern flare? from South Carolina, Wolf said.

Faribault’s flags flew half-staff Saturday in remembrance of the beloved teacher, the Star Tribune reported.

November 23, 2008

Community College Professor Earns Ultimate Award

North Hennepin Community College’s chemistry Professor earned the 2008 U.S. Community College Professor of the Year award.

Eugenia Paulus was named by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement and Support of Education for her outstanding work.The ceremony was held in Washington on Thursday, the Star Tribune reported.

Paulus was nominated for her outstanding work in raising money needed for new equipment needed to help teach a Web-based industry skills course she developed, reported the Star Tribune.

Bow Hunter Shoots White Buck


White deer have been seen periodically throughout the last couple years, and a 29-year-old man found one.

Joe Furrer hit the jackpot while hunting in western Waukesha County, a 10-point white buck.

White deer are similar to Albino deer because of their white fur, but white deer have brown eyes and sometimes brown spots, whereas Albino deer have red eyes, reported the Star Tribune.

Furrer is in the process of full-body mounting the beast, reported the Star Tribune.

November 13, 2008

Trick or Wedding Ring?

A good Samaritan answered the prayers of a Ramsey man on Thursday.

Mike Janiak, 44, lost his wedding ring Halloween night. He was handing out candy for Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ramsey when his ring went missing, the Star Tribune reported.

Janiak thinks the ring slipped off his finger in the cold weather without him knowing.

A story about Janiak’s ring ran in the Star Tribune’s North Extra section on Wednesday along with many prayers. Thursday morning, Janiak’s ring was in his mailbox, the Star Tribune reported.

"The prayers apparently got through," Janiak said. "There's a heck of a good connection there."

November 9, 2008

A Kidney For An Acquaintance

Dan Heins lost both of his legs in recent years to diabetes, had a heart attack, a stroke, and quadruple bypass surgery, but received the gift of life from a casual friend, a kidney, reported the Star Tribune.

Nancy Volk, a twice-divorced mother of three daughters, Main Street Deli in Anoka owner, and paraprofessional in the Anoka-Hennepin School District wanted to do something for a friend, give him his life back.

"Never underestimate the power of an act so generous and maybe, in this case, so unexpected," said Dr. Mikel Prieto, the Mayo Clinic's living-donor authority and the surgeon who removed Volk's kidney in September so it could be transplanted into Heins, the StarTribune reported.

Volk was set on closing her deli down in Sept. after her surgery because she couldn’t keep it up, as well as her new medical bills, but donations flooded from around the country. More than $1,000 dollars was raised in a wicker basket in the deli that read “Nancy’s Kidney Fund? and thousands more were raised in a bake sale, a silent auction, and an Oct. benefit, the Star Tribune reported.

The surgery was a success for both parties and Heins said he hasn’t felt this good in 20 years.

"I got a thank-you card with a kidney bean in it," Volk said. "But I'm the one who's grateful,? reported the Star Tribune.

New Turf In Blaine

The National Sports Center in Blaine is hosting a field day for the public on Sunday to test the new turf that was installed this week.

The $275,000 turf is used in the Metrodome as well as 21 NFL stadiums. it is made up of monofilament fiber blades of synthetic grass along with sand and rubber pellets, reported the Star Tribune.

The public is encouraged to bring their soccer, football, or lacross gear and test out the new turf on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. They ask that no metal cleats are used, reported the Star Tribune.

October 26, 2008

Mayo Clinic's Lights Causing Bird Deaths

The Mayo Clinic was asked to dim its lights, with statements saying the upward facing beams cause birds to fly into reflective windows.

A local Audobon Society reported that 231 birds were killed or injured on the grounds of the Mayo clinic over a 10-month period, which ended in June, reported the Star Tribune.

The Mayo Clinic agreed to turn off some of its lights but the Audobon volunteers are striving for more.

October 19, 2008

Walgreens Busted From The Inside

Walgreens handed out $9.9 million in a lawsuit after their own employees turned them in, stating they were over-billing customers.

Neil Thompson has been working with medications ever since his youth at his family’s drugstore, but at age 45 he decided to become a lawyer.

Thompson wanted to expose the way pharmacies sometimes over-charge on medications, and he wanted the expertise to do it. Upon becoming a lawyer, Thompson returned to pharmacy and was hired at Walgreens where he began to uncover the truth along with fellow employee Dan Bieurance.

In 2005, Thompson became a state-sanctioned undercover investigator, scouring files and records in Walgreens’ offices where he found the billing errors, reported the Star Tribune.

Thompson and Bieurance brought their findings to the U.S. attorney in Minneapolis and an investigation got underway.

The investigation continued through 2007 to no avail. Walgreens officially admitted no wrong doing but agreed to pay $9.9 million to the government, the Star Tribune reported.

Thompson and Bieurance each received $483,000 for their discovery.

392-Foot Tower Dispute in St. Louis Park

Northern Lights Broadcasting proposed a 392-foot FM radio tower to St. Louis Park city council and was met with unclear city ordinances and upset residence.

The city’s ordinance for tower height states the limit is 200 feet, but also states no specific height. The council is looking to amend the ordinance and allow towers up to 400 feet high but only on a permit basis.

"I'm very concerned that if we adopt this ordinance as issued, allowing tall towers and short setbacks, that what we will see is a gravitation of other towers," said Council Member Susan Sanger. "We'll be a magnet."

St. Louis Park residence are concerned the tower will affect their cell phone and radio signals, but because the tower is FM it will not interfere with current signal strength, the Star Tribune reported.

"There are towers all over, you hardly notice them anymore," Steve Woodbury Northern Lights' president and CEO said.

October 9, 2008

UW-Madison Band on Suspension


Allegations of hazing and other inappropriate behavior led the University of Wisconsin- Madison to suspend its band.

Letters have been sent to parents of band members asking them to encourage their children to tell the truth and cooperate with the investigation taking place. Dean of Students Lori Berquam said parents were told that their children might have been placed in unsafe situations and a humiliating atmosphere, reported the Star Tribune.

Allegations say some band members were forced to cut their hair, drink alcohol or drinks containing alcohol, unwillingly touched sexually, or made to eat disgusting items.

The band will play at Saturday’s football game, but will not travel in the near future, the Star Tribune reported.

This is the second time the UW-Madison band has been in trouble. Two years ago they were placed on probation and told to shape up or lose travel privileges.

No ruling has been made as to the outcome of the situation, but the school is looking into the matter.

Minnesota Ranked 12th for Vehicle-Deer Collisions

A study done by State Farm Insurance over the last six months of 2007 and the first half of this year, concluded that you are more likely to get audited by the IRS than hit a deer, reported the Star Tribune.

Minnesota is still considered as a higher risk state with 1 in every 139 vehicles on average hitting a deer, but is only the 12th ranked state in the country for such collisions.

West Virginia ranks number one in the nation with 1 in 45 odds followed by Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Arkansas, reported the Star Tribune.

Minnesota Department of Traffic Safety reports indicate that 3,144 vehicle-deer collisions occurred last year; resulting in 336 injuries and six fatalities, reported the Star Tribune.

Deer tend to be more prevalent during the fall and during the hours of dusk. Drivers should take extra care when driving during these times, as well as throughout the year.

October 5, 2008

15 Year Anniversary for Radio K

Radio K, the University of Minnesota’s radio station, is celebrating fifteen years of broadcasting Tuesday at First Avenue in Minneapolis, reported the Star Tribune.

It took hard work and persuasion to get the University of Minnesota to accept a radio
Station, but on October 1, 1993, Steve Nelson played the first song on the airwaves.

"We had this vision of creating this station that would serve the local music community, serve local music lovers, who weren't being served elsewhere and create a place where students could learn and grow and become professional broadcasters and all this work had culminated into this one five-minute stretch of radio," Nelson, now the director for The Current said.

Radio K has since built a reputation for its independent and local music. It was named the best radio station in the Twin Cities by City Pages in 1994, reported the Star Tribune.

"I think the school should be as proud of Radio K as they are of the Gophers," Mark Wheat, former program director said.

The Star Tribune attributed The Minnesota Daily for information.

Rewards for Recycling

Starting in January, Maple Grove will be the first city in Minn. to reward its neighborhoods for recycling.

RecycleBank is the program introduced by Allied Waste Services Management that will track recycling levels through computer chips and reward neighborhoods accordingly for their contributions.

Coupons and gift certificates are being used to compensate recyclers for their paper and containers, the Star Tribune reported.

Rewards are determined by the weight of product recycled. “For every one pound recycled, a participant will earn 2.5 RecycleBank Points,? the Star Tribune reported.
Homeowners can access their personal accounts online and trade points in for the coupons that they prefer.

Eden Prairie and other cities are in the process of adopting the new recycling initiative.

Allied Waste Services Management hopes the new service will increase people’s recycling habits and reward those who are already avid recyclers.

September 28, 2008

Woman Dies After Bike and SUV Hit

A St. Paul woman died Saturday after she was hit by an SUV while riding her bicycle in the vicinity of Snelling and Summit Avenues.

“51-year-old Virginia Heuerbowar was wearing a helmet when she was hit at 8:10 a.m., said Pete Panos, a spokesman for St. Paul police,? The Star Tribune reported.

Heuerbowar died at Regions Hospital in St. Paul about seven hours later after sustaining severe head injuries.

The accident is still under investigation and no tickets were issued, police reported.

Mentally Disabled Woman Supposedly Raped By Driver

A disabled woman was picked up by a driver and allegedly raped in a medical transport van June 18, 2008.

40-year-old Vladimir A. Yulchinchuk of Rogers was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, reported The Star Tribune.

Yulchinchuk picked up the woman from her appointment, ordered her into the van and then stripped and raped her in a back alley not far from her medical treatment center.

“Mental disorders, including paranoia, mild retardation, an IQ of 80 and a brain injury," was the description of the woman’s disabilities given by the director of her treatment center, The Star Tribune reported.

Yulchinhuk was never scheduled to pick up the woman, and denies all allegations.

He was fired immediately from his medical transport job.

September 21, 2008

Eden Prairie Ranked Top Three for Retirement

Coming in just behind Bella Vista, AR, and Boulder, CO, Eden Prairie claimed the 3rd healthiest retirement spot in the country.

U.S. News and World Report publish annual rankings of ideal retirement cities based on cost of living, recreational opportunities, climate and other ideologies, reported The Star Tribune.

Eden Prairie is home to 100-miles worth of trails, many parks, lake accessibility, fitness centers, and new community center.

“The 10 cities on the list were "way ahead of the curve" when it comes to providing places to exercise, promoting strong social support and encouraging healthy lifestyle habits, the magazine said,? reported The Star Tribune.

Teenage Clinic Postponed At Hopkins High School


Contraceptives and STD testing would have been offered by a new on-campus clinic at Hopkins High School had the school board not received complaints.

Parents’ rights and an increase in student sexuality were among the complaints, reported the Star Tribune. After such complaints, the school board postponed the clinic plans indefinitely.

“As a superintendent, it's my job to ensure that the school board has every angle on the issues and items that are on a board agenda," said Superintendent John Schultz.

Nineteen-year-old Jamie Bell from Eden Prairie spoke at the Sept. 4 school board meeting. She said the West Suburban Teen Clinic, which is what the Hopkins clinic would be based upon; enabled her to lie to her parents about sex and other things, reported the Star Tribune.

"You need to uphold the desires of the parents," Bell told the school board. "My parents tried to protect me, and the clinic took that right away."

The West Suburban Teen Clinic is primarily a reproductive health clinic but is now offering adolescent primary and acute services. Hopkins High School would have been the first suburban school to offer such care had the clinic been approved.

Hopkins students are still able to access health care from the West Suburban Teen Clinic in Excelsior, ten miles away.

"We are very happy to work closely with Hopkins Schools to build community support, to assess the needs of their students and to provide any help and support we can," said Terry Bosacker, executive director of the clinic. "We will work together with the school to see what a suburban model looks like."

September 14, 2008

Twins Ballpark Looking For $3 Million In Upgrades

Mayor R.T Rybak will be proposing a $3 million upgrade for “little projects? around the new Twins ballpark.

According to MinnPost, if the City Council approves of the project, it would become the first city money invested in the new ballpark. The plans would improve pedestrian areas as well as transit access around the park.

"It's a first for the city," Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat said of the $3 million; "We've been waiting for this at the county . . . We hope the City Council works quickly, swiftly and affirmatively . . . It's a good first step, and we look for more. We'll keep pressing you, Mayor," reported MinnPost.

A 3 percent entertainment tax, which will begin in 2010, will be taken from Twins ticket sales inside the new park. This will pay for the “little projects? which will be prepaid by the city.

Money earned from the entertainment tax will be used for future safety and traffic control around the ballpark, reported MinnPost.

"It's money that wouldn't be generated if the ballpark wasn't here," Rybak said.

Too Many Kids

According to the Star Tribune, a Bloomington day care center was over its limit by eight children on Aug. 28th. A 22-month-old boy was found strapped in a car seat, unresponsive, that day according to a warrant made public on Thursday.

22-month-old Demar Joseph-Amir Hicks died two days after the incident.

Doris Meeks and her daughter run Mama D’s Day Care in Bloomington. According to the police warrant, Meeks and her daughter had conflicting accounts of who put the baby down for a nap.

"I don't know what happened, but they were over on kids, and that's a no-no," LuAnn Schmaus, a spokeswoman with the Hennepin County public affairs office reported to the Star Tribune.

Cause of death has not yet been determined, according to the Star Tribune, but the day care's license has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.