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May 1, 2008

Twins headed on the right path

The Star Tribune reported Thursday the Minnesota Twins ended the first month of the season on the right path.

Even though things have not gone according to plans, the Twins (13-14) sit 1.5 games behind the leaders, the Chicago White Sox.

Francesco Liriano was expected to be the ace of the Twins since Santana left, but was sent to the minors after posting a record of 0-3 with an 11.32 ERA. Furthermore, young slugger Delmon Young has yet to hit a homerun and Mike Lamb is batting .203.

However, expected AL Central front-runners Detroit and Cleveland struggled in April, giving the Twins an early advantage in the standings.

“Everybody said Detroit and Cleveland have slumped, but I think it’s just a credit to how good this division is and how good this league is,? Twins closer Joe Nathan said. “Teams are going to beat each other up. If you can keep your head above water, stay in the race, who knows what can happen if it comes down to the last couple of months?? (Star Tribune)

The Pioneer Press reported the Twins young players have progressed through the first month of play.

It helps that Coach Gardenhire has kept an identical lineup card from spots 2-8 for five consecutive games.

One reason is Carlos Gomez and Young are batting .265, both of whom are 22-years-old.

“We expect very good things out of him,? Gardenhire said of Young. “We’re just not trying to put too much pressure on him that he has to hit 40 homeruns. Just play the game the right way, and he’s done that.? (Star Tribune)

Yet, there is one problem the Twins are facing. Currently, they lack a fifth started, but Kevin Slowey is working to fulfill that spot.

April 30, 2008

Former Viking arrested for domestic assault

The Pioneer Press reported Wednesday former Minnesota Viking defensive end Darrion Scott was arrested in Eden Prairie on suspicion of domestic assault.

Scott, 26, was booked into Hennepin County jail on the charges of suspicion of assult, domestic assault and malicious punishment of a child. Authorities have not released any additionally information due to the case remaining under investigation.

The Star Tribune reported Scott was a third-round pick by the Vikings in 2004 and spent the last four seasons in Minnesota before becoming a free agent. He led the team in sacks with 5.5 in 2006 and played in a total of 28 games. Last season Scott broke his foot and the Vikings expressed little interest in bringing him back.

In addition, this isn’t Scott’s first run in with the law. Last December, Scott was charged for a misdemeanor marijuana possession and was ticketed for failing to signal when being pulled over. The incident occurred in Charleston, W. Va.

Scott’s agent, Tim DePiero, could not be reached for comment.

April 17, 2008

Timberwolves win in overtime

The Star Tribune reported Wednesday the Timberwolves won their final game of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks 110-101 in overtime at the Target Center.

With the victory, Minnesota finished with three wins in their final four games and 22 overall. The win tied the Wolves with Memphis for the league’s third-worst record.

“We need to win games,? guard Randy Foye said. “If we lose games, what does that say?? (Star Tribune)

Foye led the Wolves in scoring with a career-high 32 points, which included 10 of the Wolves’ 16 overtime points.

However, the victory diminished Minnesota’s chance of winning the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. The Wolves moved from a 15.6 percent chance to either a 13.8 or 13.7 percent chance, which could either be third or fourth best, depending on the blind draw with Memphis on Friday.

The Pioneer Press reported fans gave the Wolves a standing ovation for their effort, even after a 60-loss season. However, in the last 22 games, Minnesota went 10-12, which may be signs of a better season next year.

“It was an up and down season,? Minnesota’s Al Jefferson said. “I look at this season as a learning process.? (Pioneer Press)

Yet, six of the Wolves’ roster will be free agents in the offseason and Minnesota will most likely have a high draft pick in the coming draft.

For most of the game the Timberwolves trailed the Bucks. However, Minnesota tied the game twice in the fourth quarter, which stayed the same after Rashad McCants missed a potential winning shot before the buzzer sounded.

Afterwards Foye dominated the game and led the Wolves to the victory.

Minneapolis man charged with 2005 killing

The Star Tribune reported Thursday a Minneapolis man was charged for the killing of a Minneapolis woman in 2005, through the use of the state’s DNA database.

Antonio Medina, 33, who had lived in Minneapolis, was charged with a count of second-degree, intentional murder for the death of Laura Lynn DeMeules, 33, in November of 2005. DeMeules had been strangled and her naked body was found in a ditch near Interstate Hwy. 35, just west of Northfield.

Medina was arraigned and bail was set for $1 million by Rice County Judge Gerald Wolf, court officials said.

DeMeules case had gone unsolved for two years before Medina was convicted of a felony DWI in Hennepin County. A DNA sample was taken from Medina and sent to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in December 2007, where it was matched with a fingernail from DeMeules’ body.

In February, police interviewed Medina and he admitted to picking up DeMeules, while he was drunk and on either crack or cocaine. Medina told authorities the woman “freaked out? and he choked her to death in his pickup.

The Pioneer Press reported Medina told officials the woman had scratched his face and that he does not remember taking off her clothes. Afterwards, Medina returned home to his apartment.

April 9, 2008

Minnesota’s Frazee signs with the New Jersey Devils

The Star Tribune reported Wednesday University of Minnesota goalie Jeff Frazee signed with the New Jersey Devils, after being taken 38th in the 2005 NHL draft.

Frazee was expected to be the No. 1 goalie for the Golden Gophers, but was replaced in the second period by freshman Alex Kangas during the Jan. 12 game at St. Cloud State. Afterwards, Frazee never got his No. 1 position again.

“He grew and matured as a person,? Gopher coach Don Lucia said. “And as difficult a position he was in, he handled it with class and dignity. He was a terrific teammate and very supportive, where some players would have been disruptive.? (Star Tribune)

In all, Frazze finished the season with a record of 6-7-0 and a 2.93 goals-against average, with an .890 save percentage.

The Pioneer Press reported Frazee is excited about signing with the Devils and that he is looking forward to his future.

“The past is past,? Frazee said. “You can’t really change that.? (Pioneer Press)

Lucia said Kangas will remain as the No. 1 goalie for Minnesota next season with two freshmen acting as backup goalies.

Minneapolis man convicted in girl's murder

The Associated Press reported Wednesday a Minneapolis man faces life in prison after being convicted for a second time in the killing of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards six years ago.

A Hennepin County district judge convicted Myon Burrell, 23, on one count of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder for the benefit of a gang.

In addition, Burrell was also convicted of two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Burrell was convicted of first-degree murder in 2003, but the Minnesota Supreme Court set aside the conviction because of a statement he made to police, which was deemed inadmissible.

The Star Tribune reported killed Edwards more than five years ago while she was doing her homework at the dining room table.

After the verdict was announced, Linda Longino, Tyesha’s mother, wept next to her ex-husband, Jimmie Edwards.

However, several of Burrell’s supporters cursed Judge Charles Porter, which forced the judge to call a 15-minute recess.

The prosecution said Burrell was a member of the Rolling 30s Blood gang, and was shooting at a member of their rival Gangster Disciples.

April 3, 2008

Brooklyn Park man dies in crash

The Pioneer Press reported Wednesday a man died and a woman was injured in a collision in Waseca, Minnesota State Patrol said.

Around 5 p.m., Jordan R. Johnston, 27, of Brooklyn Park drove south on 150th Street, while Donna L. Finch, 43, of Janesville drove west on Minnesota 14. When the two cars reached the intersection of 150th Street and Minnesota 14, a collision took place, the State Patrol said.

Johnston was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., where he later died. Finch was taken to Waseca Hospital, but sustained no serious injuries.

The Star Tribune reported that both drivers had worn their seatbelts, according to the state patrol’s accident report.

The pavement was dry at the time of the crash and further investigation is underway.

April 2, 2008

Minnesota Senate rejects Vikings stadium

The Pioneer Press reported Wednesday the Minnesota Senate rejected a bill for a new stadium for the Vikings.

The previous week, the Senate taxes committee approved a Senate tax bill that included a measure to direct the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission to spend $2 million on a possible study for a new Vikings stadium.

This week, however, the bill was shot down by a full Senate vote of 41-22.

The Star Tribune reported the measure would have allowed the commission to give lawmakers a recommendation on the Metrodome site for a new retractable-roof stadium.

Senator John Marty said the study would be a “foot in the door? for the Vikings to receive public money for a new stadium. Marty added Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has plenty of money and does not need taxpayers to help fund a new stadium.

March 24, 2008

Joe Nathan agrees to a three-year contract

The Star Tribune reported Monday closer Joe Nathan and the Twins agreed to a three-year extension, that includes a club option in 2012.

The two-time All-Star was in his final year of contract in 2008. He is going make $6 million, which is less than other ace relievers.

Last season, Nathan went 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA, 37 saves and 77 strikeouts. During his four seasons with the Twins, Nathan has amassed 160 saves with a 1.94 ERA.

The Associated Press reported Nathan will make $47 million in the next four years.

After having lost Johan Santana, Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva during the off-season, Minnesota worked hard to keep their All-Star closer.

“It was definitely a priority for us,? assistant general manager Rob Antony said. “We look at Joe as a key member of the core of this ballclub. We had to take care of some other things first… but when the time was right we did it. And it was well worth it.? (AP)

In the next four seasons, Nathan will earn $11.25 million with a $2 million buyout. In addition, Nathan’s option could be $14 million, if the 33-year-old closer can finish 55 games in 2010 and 2011. Nathan’s contract, also, has a limited no-trade clause.

During the off-season the Twins gave extensions to catcher Joe Mauer and right fielder Michael Cuddyer. Furthermore, all three players will be with the Twins when they move into their new ballpark in 2010.

St. Cloud bridge to be looked at by NTSB

The Associated Press reported Monday that federal investigators will examine the St. Cloud bridge that was closed last week after distorted gusset plates were discovered.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation said the National Transportation Safety Board wants to study the Minnesota 23 bridge because of its similarities to the 35W bridge that collapsed in August. The board was in the process of reviewing the 35W bridge collapse when the St. Cloud bridge had to be closed.

MnDOT said the federal investigators will look at the St. Cloud bridge on Wednesday.

The St. Cloud Bridge was closed after four gusset plates were found to have had slight bowing. State transportation officials said they will try to hire Wiss, Janney, Elstner and Associates Inc. to see if the gussets can be repaired.

The Star Tribune reported the St. Cloud bridge will continue to be closed and may never be reopened if it cannot be repaired.

Both MnDOT and NTSB would not comment about pictures showing bent gusset plates on the 35W bridge in 2003.

March 13, 2008

Roy leads Blazers past Timberwolves

The Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that Brandon Roy led the Portland Trailblazers to a 103-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.

Roy finished with a game-high 27 points with nine of them coming in the fourth quarter. In addition, Roy collected 9 assists.

“I thought he really came out tonight with that attitude: ‘We can’t lose this,? Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “He kind of willed this game, and he made plays down the stretch.? (Pioneer Press)

The Blazers won three of four road games that were scheduled during a five day span. Their only loss during the stretch came on Monday at Celeveland 88-80.

“We are making really good strides,? Roy said. “You go on a road trip and start out winning three out of four. We are a young team, and we are improving. Guys are finally starting to come into their own.? (Pioneer Press)

One player that the Blazers have had to deal without is their No. 1 pick from a year ago, Greg Odon, who won’t be able to play until next season.

Roy’s success Wednesday came against his former team. In 2006, the Timberwolves drafted Roy in the first round before trading him to Portland for Randy Foye and some money, the Star Tribune reported.

For most of the game, the Timberwolves held the lead in the contest, but with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left on the clock, Roy made a jump shot to put the Blazers up for good.

Al Jefferson of Minnesota scored 20 points of his own with 18 of them coming in the second half. However, his performance was not enough to outperform the all-star Roy.

“They’ve got shooters all the way from 1 to 4 [point guard through power forward] and then they got Big Boy [Joel Przybilla] dunking the ball and blocking shots,? Jefferson said. “That makes it tough. When they get Odon back next year, that’s going to be even worse. Better for them, worse for us.? (Star Tribune)

March 12, 2008

Mankato bar denies claims of wrongdoings

The Pionner Press reported Wednesday a Mankato bar are denying allegations filed by the family of a 21-year-old woman who died after drinking there on her birthday.

Amanda Jax partied Oct. 29, 2007 at the Sideline Bar & Grill, before her friends took her back to her apartment. Once she returned to her apartment, Jax died.

Jax died of alcohol poisoning and had a blood alcohol concentration of nearly .46, which is more than five times the .08 amount that the law says impairs a person’s ability to drive.

The lawsuit also names several of Jax’s friends who had been buying the drinks for Jax, police records showed. Jenny Haag, Jax’s mother, said that if her friends had stopped buying drinks, then Jax would still be alive.

The Star Tribune reported the lawsuit was filed in Blue Earth County District Court about a month ago.

Craig and Adam Blattner are the owners of the bar, which has been closed down after the City Council took action.

Steve Tomsche, the Blattner’s attorney, said that they willl seek “an amount in excess of $50,000? in damages. Tomsche claims that Jax’s friends and the bartender continued to give Jax alcohol even after she was perceived to be intoxicated. (Star Tribune)

The bartender, however, is not being charged.

March 4, 2008

Keillor puts house on market

The Pioneer Press reported Tuesday humorist and radio star Garrison Keillor has placed his Crocus Hill home on the market.

Keillor is asking for $1.65 million for his seven-bedroom, five-bath, 5,960-square foot home, according to www.realtor.com. The home is located on the historic block of Portland Avenue in St. Paul.

In January, Keillor sued his neighbor Lori Anderson and the city of St. Paul after she planned on building a two-car garage seven feet from Keillor’s home. A settlement was reached, but was not released due to judge’s orders.

The Star Tribune reported Keillor believed that the construction of the garage would hinder the air quality and light to his property.

In addition, Keillor has made an offer on a new home in the 200 block of Summit Avenue that has around 4,000 square feet more space and is atop a half-acre lot on a bluff, Lind Nilsson, Keillor’s realtor, said. The price of the home is no longer public, but its tax value was said to be $1.6 million.

Coincidentally, Keillor’s new home is just blocks away from his old one.

Vikings sign new running back

The Associated Press reported Tuesday the Minnesota Vikings signed free-agent running back and kickoff returner Maurice Hicks to a three-year deal.

Hicks will be replacing Mewelde Moore as the Vikings No. 3 running back, behind Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. Moore joined the Pittsburgh Steelers during the off season.

The 29-year-old Hicks will help the Vikings with their special team play. Last season with San Francisco, Hicks averaged 23.8 yards per kickoff return. In addition, he has amassed 50 special teams tackles in the past three years.

The Star Tribune reported Hicks is the fourth free agent to sign with the Vikings in the past week. Hicks will join new Vikings safety Madieu Williams, fullback Thomas Tapeh and wide receiver Bernard Berrian.

“Coming into this league, to stay in this league, one of the things they tell you when you’re not a big-time draft pick is you’ve got to be good on special teams,? Hicks said. (AP)

March 1, 2008

Juvenile shot in Minneapolis

The Pioneer Press reported that a boy was shot and killed in Minneapolis Saturday afternoon.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Portland Ave. S. and Lake St. E. at about 2 p.m., police said.

The Star Tribune reported that police spokesman Jesse Garcia would not release the name or age of the victim. He did, however, say that the juvenile was shot in the torso and died at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Police don’t know a motive for the shooting yet and they are looking for suspects.

“It’s a busy intersection,? Garcia said. “Shooting in broad daylight just shows how brazen some of these suspects are.? (Star Tribune)

A nearby Midas shop was hit by a bullet, which shattered a window, Diana Cordero, who works at a nearby car dealership called Portland Lake Motors. She said the shooter ran down Portland Avenue and many people came to the victim’s aid.

February 28, 2008

Man throws woman into highway

An enraged driver threw a Prior Lake mother into rush-hour traffic on Thursday on Hwy. 169, the Star Tribune reported.

Jennifer Boulden, 34, had made a U-turn on Hwy. 169 just south of Shakopee when a man coming fast behind her started honking. The man motioned Boulden to pull over.

After Boulden stopped, the man got out of his pickup and began to yell at Boulden. She followed him back to his truck, trying to apologize, when he turned around and grabbed the 5-foot-5, 125-pound mother of five and threw her.

Several Good Samaritans moved Boulden out of the highway and onto the shoulder, where her car was parked. She was released from the St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee on Thursday.

Police said that the man sped off after he threw Boulden and nobody got his license plate. Witnesses gave different descriptions of the truck and man, said Capt. Greg Muelken of the Scott County Sheriff’s office.

Road rage assaults do happen, but it is rare for a person to throw another into traffic. The state doesn’t collective road rage information, but State Patrol Mark Peterson said people drive too aggressively.

“I hear about fights, but not a man taking a female and throwing her on a road. That’s a new one for me,? Peterson said. “Do not play the game.? (Star Tribune)

WCCO reported that Boulden admits to not acting courteous, but that she never expected to be attacked.

“Just like a rag doll… he threw me right in the middle of the highway,? Boulden said. “I didn’t think people are like that. I mean, that they are, but you never think it would happen to you.? (WCCO)

February 23, 2008

Suicide man identified as missing man

The Star Tribune reported Friday that a man who committed suicide on Feb. 19, 2003 was identified by the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office as Sean Rush.

For five years, officials have been trying to identify a 22-year-old man who jumped off a parking ramp at the Mall of America in Bloomington. Not much was known about the man and little was released until his burial.

Coincidentally, three weeks later Rush was reported missing by the St. Paul police. No connection was made because the dates did not match, police said.

However, Rush’s family had investigators look into the case to see if the suicide victim was Rush. The family gave police DNA samples that allowed them to identify the man as Rush, Tom Walsh, the St. Paul police spokesman, said.

The Pioneer Press reported that the police made a composite sketch of the unidentified man, but Rush’s parents did not see it because they do not live in Minnesota.

Rush was buried in St. Paul’s Oakland Cemetery after he could not be identified after 11 months. Donations were made to give Rush a simple granite headstone that is only engraved with the year he died. Rush’s family hasn’t decided what they want to do yet with the grave.

“I’m glad to know where he is, but I’m just so sad that he was so lost that he felt there was no place to turn,? Sheila Hellerich, Rush’s mother, said.. “It’s really hard for me to figure out. He must have been in so much pain he wasn’t thinking right.? (Pioneer Press)

February 18, 2008

Como Zoo’s orangutan given a name

The Como Zoo announced Monday that after a four-week contest that allowed the public to vote on a name, Jaya was picked as the new name for the zoo’s baby orangutan, the Star Tribune reported.

The contest allowed members of the public to donate money to the name of their favorite choice. The public chose the name Jaya, which means “victorious? or “celebration? in Indonesian. It beat out other names Pandu, which means scout or leader, and Bejo, which means lucky.

In the end, Jaya received 32,564 votes that amounted to $325.64. Each vote was a penny and the Como Zoo was able to generate $767.52 from the contest. Some of the money will go to the Conservatory Society’s contribution to an orangutan training program.

Jaya had been born Dec. 13 through a cesarean section, which was only the ninth such one done in captivity, zoo officials said.

The Pioneer Press reported that this was the second time that Jaya’s mother, Markisa, had given birth. The first time took place in 2005, but that pregnancy ended with a stillborn birth.

“Not only was the survival a huge victory, but it was a victory for Como and for Markisa, to finally be a mom,? said Megan Elder, primate zookeeper and lead orangutan trainer at the Como Zoo. (Pioneer Press)

February 13, 2008

Illinois win streak up to eighteen against Gophers

The Minnesota Golden Gophers lost to the Illinois Fighting Illini 84-60 Tuesday night in front of a sellout crowd at Williams Arena, reported the Pioneer Press.

The loss was Minnesota’s 18th straight defeat to Illinois and leaves the Gophers (15-8, 5-6 Big Ten) with questions about postseason play. Any NCAA birth that the Gophers were thinking of having is dwindling away as the Gophers lost yet another home game.

“We’ve had conversations about keeping our eyes on the prize,? Gopher coach Tubby Smith said. “When you get beat like this at home, that’s the last thing … I’m sure they’ve been talking about it among themselves.? (Pioneer Press)

Illinois is having a mediocre season (11-14, 3-9 Big Ten) and will probably not make any postseason play. However, the Illini came out and gave the Gophers their worst defeat since 2006.

The Star Tribune reported that the first half was about even between the two teams. Both squads shot 57 percent from the field, but the Illini went in at half with a six-point lead.

In the second half it was all Illinois as they brought their shooting percentage almost to 59 percent for the game. On the other hand, the Gophers came out stagnant and went 8-for-39 in the second half (21 percent). Illinois started the second half on a 28-9 run that basically sealed the victory for the visitors.

“I’ve got to give Illinois a lot of credit,? said Gopher center Spencer Tollackson. “They played good defense. We just couldn’t shoot.? (Star Tribune)

Illini big men Mike Tisdale and Shaun Pruitt combined for 23 points and five blocked shots.

The Gopher’s leading scorer for the game was freshman Blake Hoffarber, who had 11 points. Hoffarber hit three three-pointers, which broke Minnesota’s record of 51 three-pointers by a freshman. In all, Hoffarber has amassed 53 of them during his freshman season.

February 11, 2008

Como Zoo’s polar bear’s to move to Detroit during remodeling

The Star Tribune reported that the Como Zoo is making final arrangements to send its polar bears to the Detroit Zoo while the polar bear exhibit is under construction.

Officials for the Como Zoo said their first choice, Buffalo, rejected the offer to host Buzz and Neil because they did not have the facilities to support the bears. But with the advice from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, the Como Zoo found a home in Detroit for the bears.

“Detroit Zoo is an industry leader in the exhibition, management and breeding of polar bears and we are pleased that the bears could be calling it home,? Michael Hahm, Director of the Como Park Zoo, said. “Our team is excited to be working with the Detroit Zoo and are confident that this will be a good placement for the bears.? (Star Tribune)

The AP reported that the bears will leave sometime around late winter to early spring. The bears are expected to return to the Como Zoo in 2010, when the Polar Bear Odyssey project will be completed.

The project will cost the Como Zoo $14.3 million and will have more than 13,140 square feet of natural landscape with soil and gravel. The exhibit will be outdoors and will also feature three pools for Neil and Buzz.

February 8, 2008

Escape tunnel by inmates found

Stillwater authorities discovered a tunnel in the basement of one of the prison’s industry buildings Wednesday morning, reported the Star Tribune.

Four inmates, who worked in the area, are being investigated, but none of them escaped, according to prison officials. All inmates were accounted for and the tunnel was not close to the prison’s perimeter.

Warden Lynn Dingle said that the names of the inmates will not be given out because of potential criminal charges. He wouldn’t say what tools were used and the extent of the tunnel.

About 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, a prison supervisor discovered the tunnel and reported it, said David Crist, an assistant commissioner in the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

The prison has a walled perimeter around its maximum and minimum-security areas. Included in that, is the prison industry buildings where 350 inmates work six-hour days include manufacturing, paint shop, welding, machine shops and carpentry. Only 12 supervisors oversee these prison inmates.

The Pioneer Press reported that prison officials claimed that the tunnel wasn’t like “The Shawshank Redemption.?

Although unique, this wasn’t the first time an inmate found an unusual way to escape. In the past, inmates at other facilitations have tried escaping through shipping boxes and even a helicopter.

“I’ve learned over the years to never say never,? Dingle said. (Pioneer Press)

February 6, 2008

Macy’s plans to close Minneapolis headquarters

The Star Tribune reported that on Wednesday Macy’s announced plans to close down their Minneapolis headquarters, which would result in the loss of 950 jobs.

In recent months, the Cincinnati-based retailer struggled with slow sales. To combat this, Macy’s decided to consolidate $150 million by releasing 2,300 jobs nationwide, which includes the shutting down of Macy’s North headquarters in Nicollet Mall.

Macy’s East headquarters in New York will take over the duties of for the northern region. Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said that in spring Macy’s will hire about 40 district and regionally positions. These positions will make the decisions on whether Macy’s will continue to sponsor events like the spring flower show and the Holidazzle Parade.

“They’ll be in the best position to tell us what are the best places to donate because these are the places where our customers and employees are attached to,? said Lundgren. “We think community events are extremely important.? (Star Tribune)

The Pioneer Press reported that the districts will be based in major cities and will have small staffs that will report to the regional offices in Cincinnati, Seattle, Chicago and St. Louis.

During the same time on Wednesday, a different scene was unfolding at the Minneapolis Hilton. The Minneapolis Downtown Council praised Macys for its annual Holidazzle Parade.

“Macy’s was a one-company entertainment bonanza last year,? said Sam Grabarski, president and CEO of the council. (Star Tribune)

February 2, 2008

Eagan man sentenced to 4 years in prison after crash

On Friday, a judge ruled that an Eagan man would be sentenced to four years in prison for killing a University of Minnesota student while driving under the influence, reported the Star Tribune.

Logan H. McFarland ran a stoplight on Jan. 28, 2007 in Apple Valley and struck the car of university student Rebecca F. Yacob. The incident happened at about 2:30 a.m. after McFarland spent the night drinking with friends. McFarland, who is 20, was put on probation for underage drinking 19 days prior to the accident.

McFarland has served eight months of his time and with good behavior he can be released in about 28 months. He was forced to pay a fine of $600 and will also have to pay an additional undetermined amount of restitution.

The Pioneer Press reported that McFarland had four other alcohol-related convictions and another arrest before the fatal crash occurred. Three of the incidents were motor vehicle-related.

“I’m just hoping this sentence will set an example for others,? said Yacob’s cousin, Russom Solomon. “He was on probation when he did this. Accidents happen, people make mistakes, but when you’re constantly doing something wrong in a tragic way, you’re bound to do something major.? (Pioneer Press)

Yacob was on the University of Minnesota’s dean’s list and was preparing to study a semester in Rome. She was 21 years old and moved to Apple Valley 10 years ago from Ethiopia.

McFarland also received an unrelated charge of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. In 2006, he was convicted of having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl.

January 30, 2008

East Bethel man charged after killing girlfriend

The Pioneer Press reported that a woman in East Bethel, Minn. died Saturday after being stabbed by her boyfriend.
Sharon Chouinard was stabbed by her boyfriend, Raymond Robideau, in the neck twice before trying to commit suicide. Robideau slit his wrists and went to a friend’s house in Princeton, Minn. where he tried to set himself and the house on fire. He suffered burns on 25 percent of his body and is recovering in the hospital.
“My guess was he was trying to blow the whole place up and take himself with it,? said Capt. Robert Aldrich of the Anoka County sheriff’s office to the Pioneer Press.
Chouinard’s 14-year-old son found his mother’s body early Saturday morning and proceeded to call the police. He was not harmed and will be moving to California with his father, Benjamin Chouinard..
Chouinard said “There’s a lot of love in this family. She was a wonderful mother and loved her 14-year-old son very much.? (Pioneer Press)
The Star Tribune reported that Robideau will face second-degree intentional murder charges, according to court documents.