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December 2, 2007

Refinery worker dies in tank fire

A refinery worker was found dead Sunday after a fire broke out Saturday morning at the Marathon Petroleum refinery in St. Paul Park, according to the Pioneer Press.

After co-workers realized Nicholas Gunter, 29, was missing a 115-acre search involving up to 70 people and a police helicopter began.

Gunter was found in a blending tank at 1:40 p.m. on Sunday.

The cause of his death and the cause of the fire are being investigated, according to the Star Tribune.

November 17, 2007

Electronics recycling drive ends early due to huge turn-out

The three-day electronics recycling drive collected in one day, the amount of waste expected in three days, causing it to end early, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

The event ended early for safety reasons. There was no traffic control and thousands of cars lined up around the Mall of America, stretching back to the exit ramps on I-494. Some waited for over two hours to dispose of their old TVs and computer monitors.

They collected 1.5 million pounds of electronic waste in one day. They had expected to collect 1.2 to 1.5 million pounds over the three day drive.

WCCO reported that people had come from as far as Rochester and Owatonna to get rid of their electronics.

Though it had to be shut down early the company that organized the event saw it as an encouraging success.

There are places that you can recycle your electronics year-round. JR's Recycling in Inver Grove Heights is one place people went instead of the mall. They experience overwhelming over-flow from Friday's recycling drive.

It is illegal in Minnesota to dump electronics like TVs and computer monitors because they can contain large amounts of lead.

State money to help with foreclosures

The State will be giving over $1 million to fund counselors to help families with mortgage problems, according to the Star Tribune.

This will increase the number of counselors from 18 to 37, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune reported that about 80,000 people are predicted to be behind on their mortgages by the end of this year. That's almost twice as much as last year.

The funding could save as many as 5,700 households from foreclosure. 20,000 are expected to lose their homes this year.

The state has also approved more money to fund the investigation of possible fraud and unfair lending practices.

November 11, 2007

Man in jail dies after not recieving proper treatment

A man, arrested on suspicion of driving a motorized bicycle drunk, dies in jail from untreated diabetes, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Randy Gallmeyer was taken to Ramsey County Jail Friday, Oct. 19 and died the following Sunday at Regions Hospital after he was found on his the floor of his cell early Sunday. Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said that Gallmeyer refused blood sugar testing twice on Saturday but should have been offered testing at 3:30 p.m. and again around 8 p.m., but he was not, according to MPR.

Gallmeyer's family have filed a wrongful death suit.

The nurse who failed to check Gallmeyer's blood pressure could face criminal charges, according to the Star Tribune.

The nurse resigned and is under investigation for criminal negligence.

Rape suspect arrested

St. Paul police arrested a 19-year-old man Saturday in connection with last week's rape of a 17-year-old girl last, according to the Star Tribune.

The man was booked into the Ramsey County jail on suspicion of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and an outstanding probation-violation warrant.

The man is suspected of forcing his way into the girls home on St. Paul's East Side.

The girl was treated and released from Regions Hospital in St. Paul. DNA from last weeks rape is being analyzed to see if there is a connection between this rape and a stranger rape in January that has yet to be solved, according to the Pioneer Press.

November 4, 2007

Deer hunter dies after being shot in the Chest

A man died Saturday after being shot in the chest while dear hunting just south of Elbow Lake, according to WCCO.

The man, 60, whose names is not being released, was taken to Lake Region Hospital where he died.

It was opening day for the deer hunting season and the man was posting, waiting for deer to show up, with a group of other hunters.

The Grant County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Natural Resources are investigating the incident, according to the Star Tribune.

Man shot and killed in Minneapolis

A shooting in Minneapolis Friday left one man dead and one man injured, according to the Star Tribune.

Police did not release the victims names Friday night and have no suspect in custody.

This is Minneapolis' third homicide in three days after a double homicide in North Minneapolis two days before this one, according to the Pioneer Press.

October 24, 2007

Woman dies after being hit by a dump truck

Judy Rye, 55, was hit by a dump truck and killed Tuesday while she was crossing the street in the Elliot Park neighborhood in Minneapolis, according to WCCO

Rye was on her way to a nursing home to visit her mother, her daughter said. As she was crossing 11th Avenue S. a city dump truck turning left off of E. 15th Street, struck her and rolled over her, witnesses said, according to the Star Tribune.

The driver, who has been working for the city for seven years, will undergo standard drug and alcohol testing.

The police are still unsure of the cause and are reconstructing the accident.

October 23, 2007

Tutu will speak, if St. Thomas reverses professor's demotion

The archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel peace laureate, will only speak at St. Thomas University in the spring if the university reverses it's demotion of professor Cris Toffolo, according to the Star Tribune.

The controversy started when St. Thomas announced that they do not want Tutu to come to campus and speak because of some previous "hurtful" comments made about Israel's treatment of Palestinians and the "Jewish lobby" in the United States, according to the Pioneer Press. Because of the way Toffolo challenged the University's decision, she was demoted from her administrative position.

St. Thomas president Fr. Dennis Dease announced two weeks ago that he had made the wrong call and said that the University would like to have Tutu come to campus to speak in the spring, according to the Pioneer Press.

Tutu responded happily to the invite but said he would only come if Toffolo was reinstated to her leadership position as the director of Justice and Peace studies program and her file was cleared of any negative comments.

There is a rally to be held Tuesday on the university's campus by faculty members and staff in support of Toffolo, according to the Star Tribune.

October 21, 2007

Teachers with a history of sexual misconduct can still get jobs

From 2001 to 2005 there were 69 teachers in Minnesota that had their licenses revoked, suspended, or denied because of sexual misconduct. One-third of the victims were students, according to WCCO.

Troubled pasts like this don't always come up in background checks that schools are required to do. Only felonies and gross misdemeanor charges show up in the background check, leaving out any trouble a teacher may have had just because they were never charged with a crime.

The 69 teachers with a troubled past is only a small fraction of Minnesota's 52,800 licensed teachers, but is still cause for concern for legislators and families, according to WCCO.

One teacher, Patrick Holmes, had his license suspended after writing notes about his desires and thoughts to one of his students in Deer River. He was instructed to take therapy before his license would be reinstated, He now teaches in another district in Minnesota, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Tom Knoll, who was not the superintendent and is now at the school Holmes now works at, was not aware of Holmes past. Knoll said that if he had been superintendent at th time and had uncovered Holmes licensing record, he would have never been interviewed.

Holmes did not respond to phone messages and e-mail messages from the AP seeking comment.

*both articles were from the Associated Press, one just providing more detail on specific cases of teacher's with a problematic past.

Boy opens fire from inside his home

A 15-year-old boy fired about 100 rounds, injuring no one, from inside his home near Hudson, Wis., according to the Star Tribune.

The boy was taken to a mental hospital in Madison for evaluation.

The St. Croix County Sheriffs Office said the boy had two handguns and a .22 caliber pistol, according to the Star Tribune.

When police arrived they took cover and evacuated several nearby homes, according to the Pioneer Press. It appeared that the boy was shooting above homes and not directing fire at officers, said St. Croix County Sheriff Dennis Hillstead.

After Negotiating with the boy for three hours they finally persuaded him to surrender at about 12:30 a.m.

October 14, 2007

Man Arrested in Light Rail Abuduction

A 28-year-old man was arrested Friday in the abduction and rape of a woman from the 38th Street light rail station, according to the Pioneer Press.

According to WCCO, it was a 20-year-old man that was arrested in this case.

Police said he is expected to be charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and aggravated robbery, according to the WCCO.

Metro Transit police are pleased to have made an arrest in this very brutal assault, they hope it will bring the victim some peace of mind, according to WCCO.

The cameras at the light rail station and witnesses helped police find the suspect, according to the Pioneer Press.

*Both the Pioneer Press and WCCO attributed the articles to the Associated Press.

55-Year-Old Shooting Victim is Identified

The 55-year-old shooting victim, identified as Marvin Latimer of Minneapolis, was shot to death Friday in the 1400 block of Portland Avenue S., according to the Star Tribune.

Police said this homicide, the 37th of the year for Minneapolis, was not random but have not discussed a motive yet.

No arrests have been made and police have asked anyone with information to call the police tip line at 612-692-8477, according to the Pioneer Press.

September 30, 2007

New Dividers in Men's Restrooms

The infamous men's bathrooms at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport are getting $25, 000 worth of new dividers to discourage the sexual activities that have been known to take place in them, according to an Associated Press article for Minnesota Public Radio.

The airport is choosing the two bathrooms that have been advertised online as hot spots for sexual encounters. The airport has over 80 bathrooms and to put the new dividers in every bathroom would cost $1 million.

The police have made 41 arrests from these two bathrooms on suspicions of sexual behaviors, according to the Star Tribune. The sexual activity in the bathrooms has dissipated since the publicity surrounding Senator Larry Craig's arrest has brought much attention and surveillance of the bathrooms in the airport.

Other airports have taken measures such as increased police presence and even cameras in some cases.

Trucker Shot by Squirrel Hunters

A man driving a semitrailer was shot in the forearm by two juveniles ages 11and 12, aiming at a squirrel, according to the Star Tribune.

The bullet came from a .22 caliber rifle, through the passenger side window and into the mans forearm. He continued driving north to a hospital in International Falls and was treated and released there.

The two juveniles later admitted to shooting at a squirrel towards the highway. The county sheriff urged parents to closely supervise children with firearms and shooters to be aware of what is behind their target, according to the Pioneer Press.

September 20, 2007

Grandmother and Grandson Held Hostage in Dakota County

A man posing as a police officer took a woman and her grandson hostage Tuesday. The womans daughter, who is a bank manager at a TCF branch in Farmington, cooperated with the kidnapper because he told her he had her mother and son hostage, according to WCCO.

The man, dressed in plain clothes, was invited in after telling the grandmother he was a police officer. He handcuffed her and took her and the 2-year-old grandson to the TCF bank.

About $20,000 was dropped off at the Farmington ice arena where the kidnapper picked it up. The two victims were dropped off at near by kindergarten center, which then went into lock-down as a safety precaution.

Dakota County officials could not elaborate on specifics of the incident while investigations had begun.

The family did not comment much because the investigation is underway. The kidnapping is being investigated by the FBI and the local police. A sketch of the kidnapper is being prepared and will soon be released, according to the Star Tribune.

September 16, 2007

Shooting at the Target Center

A shot was fired in the Target Center concourse Saturday night during a mixed marshal arts event. The shot came after an argument between two men. The Star Tribune reported that no one was hit by the gunfire but some blood had spilled, according to police.

The Pioneer Press reported that witnesses saw the victim of the shooting fall down a stairwell and then flee the building. No one was immediately taken into custody. A witness said he was at the top of the stairwell where the shooting occurred and spotted the gunman who has a red cut or mark on his face.

The event, which drew thousands of people, continued after the gunshot until about midnight.
Police could not provide very much information late Saturday night.

*An interesting difference between these two articles is the sources. The Star Tribune attributed most of their information to the police. The Pioneer Press attributed their information to the AP and witnesses.

September 11, 2007

Inmate Walks Away from Lino Lakes Prison

Months from parole, Jun William Vang, 27, walked away from the Lino Lakes minimum security facility.
The Pioneer Press reported that officials are still looking for him. Local officers checked the community and then handed the matter over to the Minnesota Department of Corrections Unit because they believe he has left the city.
Vang was a gang member who was the driver in a drive by shooting in Maplewood in 1999. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for second-degree attempted murder reports the Star Tribune. He could have been released on parole in next February.
"He is described as 5 feet 4, 145 pounds and Asian with brown eyes and black hair. He has numerous tattoos on his chest and arms and a small tattoo on his neck" accordingly to the Star Tribune. The Pioneer Press has published photos of Vang, including close-ups of his tattoos for identification purposes.
According the Pioneer Press he walked away from the facility Saturday afternoon, police were notified two hours later, and information was released to the public at about 1:30p.m. on Monday. Vang is not considered a "violent offender" in which case the public would be notified immediately.

*The article in the Pioneer Press was written by one of their reporters and the article in the Star Tribune was written by the Associated Press. The article in the Star Tribune was quite a bit shorter while the Pioneer Press article was longer and dealt with some concerns the community might have as well as posting detailed pictures that may be helped in identifying the escapee.