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December 7, 2008

Hecker Released From Hospital

Denny Hecker, a local auto dealership owner, has been released from the hospital Friday following a car accident ,the Star Tribune reported.

Hecker crashed his 2008 Range Rover in Plymouth on County Road 6, west of Hwy. 101 at approximately 8:15 p.m. Wednesday.

The crash remains under investigation. Police have declined to answer questions regarding alcohol and drug tests, as well as whether or not Hecker was wearing his seat belt.

Tim Thornton, Hecker's attorney, said Hecker was heading home from his headquarters at the time of the crash. He was only a block from his home.

In a Pioneer Press report on the crash, Hecker's spokesman had said Thursday that his injuries from a car crash Wednesday night are "extensive enough to require hospitalization, but not anything that's been characterized as life threatening."

Last month, Hecker sued Chrysler Finance, accusing it of wrongfully pulling funding. A week later, Hecker closed six dealerships and sold three others.

Skater Falls Through Thin Ice

An ice skater was pulled from Medicine Lake in Plymouth Thursday the Star Tribune reported.

The skater, whose identity has not been released by authorities, was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. The man was not responsive to resuscitation attempts and had no pulse.

The skater was found in open water at approximately 2 p.m. after a fellow skater spotted a hat floating in the water and called police, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Water Patrol reported.

According to a WCCO report, the man's condition is currently unknown. Authorities are unclear how long the man was in the water.

The man, who was wearing ice skates and a camera around his neck, is believed to be an out of town visitor, Sgt. Chris Mathisen of the Sheriff's Department said.

Mathisen reported that the area of the lake where the man was found had open water Saturday night that froze overnight. The overnight snowfall may have made the ice appear thicker.

The Star Tribune ran a story Tuesday warning locals to take ice thickness into consideration before venturing out onto the partial frozen lakes.

In that report, officials urged fishermen to use caution.

"Anglers are still advised to exercise extreme caution when traveling on the ice,'' Duke Broughten, a conservation officer for the Department of Natural Resources, said.

November 23, 2008

Senate Race Ballot Recount

With nearly two-thirds of the nearly 3 million ballots counted, officials hope to finish the recount in the U.S. senate race before Thanksgiving the Pioneer Press reported.

The recount has been ordered to determine whether Republican U.S. Senator Norm Coleman will retain his senate seat or if Democratic candidate Al Franken will replace him.

The post-election tally had Coleman leading by 215 votes. At last count, Coleman's lead has been reduced to 167.

These margin, however, does not include roughly 1,893 rejected ballots currently being challenged by both sides.

According to the Star Tribune, both sides are fighting over whether or not to reexamine these ballots.

On Wednesday, both sides will meet at a state Canvassing Board hearing in order to determine if the rejected absentee ballots are in or out.

If the Canvassing Board decides to allow the review of the previously rejected absentee ballots, many still unexamined votes could be added into the race.

St. Louis Park Man Pleads Guilty to Five Robberies

A 27-year-old St. Louis Park man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a series of bank robberies in the Twin Cities area, the Star Tribune reported.

Suresh Harlan Small plead guilty to five counts of armed robbery in federal court in St. Paul for robberies that spanned from Nov. 2, 2007, to March 28.

According to an FBI affidavit, Small's last incident occured when he he robbed a TCF Bank on Silver Lake Road in St. Anthony. Fleeing the scene, Small lead officers on high speed chase. Gunfire was exchanged with officers before Small was stopped at Interstate 494 and Hwy. 55 in Plymouth.

Small also was responsible for two earlier robberies at the same TCF bank, as well as incidents at another TCF Bank in St. Louis Park

A Fox 9 News report said that Small stated that he robbed the banks by force, violence and intimidation, and took an undisclosed amount of money .

Small faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison for each robbery account.

November 16, 2008

Robbinsdale Man Sexually Assaulted Girl

A 39-year-old Robbinsdale man has been charged with molesting an 11-year-old girl he met online, the Star Tribune reported.

Dennis Roy White, who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct almost 10 years ago, was charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Dakota County District Court.

Investigators spoke with the young girl who said she met White at an Apple Valley park after chatting with him online, the charges said. The girl told police that White kissed her and touched her chest and inside her pants while at the park.

According to the charges, White told police he had agreed to met a female online and went to the park to meet her, but drove away when he saw the girl's age.

White was convicted of the same charge in 1999. White is currently in the Dakota County jail in lieu of $400,000 bail. According to a second report, White faces up to 25 years in prison, a $35,000 fine, or both, if convicted.

Authorities used White’s e-mail address to locate and arrest him.

Fridley Football Player's Death Declared Accidental

Emmanuel Bartuoh, 18, died of a gunshot wound at his Fridley home Friday, the Pioneer Press reported.

Bartuoh, a defensive back for the Fridley High football team, had been watching the state high school football tournament on television when Samuel Keleih Dennis, a 20-year-old graduate of Fridley High, pointed a semi-automatic gun at him, and pulled the trigger, authorities said. Bartuoh struck once in the chest and died shortly after the incident.

A Star Tribune story offers a more detailed look at the crime. Dennis called 911 and when police arrived at the Rice Creek Townhomes in Fridley, they found Dennis, sobbing and blood-soaked. Dennis turned himself in and confessed to investigators.

Dennis was unaware that the gun was loaded at the time. He was booked into the Anoka County Jail on suspicion of second-degree manslaughter, authorities said.

Bartuoh had been in scholarship talks with a Midwestern college earlier in the day.

"Wherever I need to go to play and get an education, I'm going to go," Bartuoh had told his coach, Lambert Brown.

Family members, students and faculty gathered at the high school for a candlelight vigil Saturday to grieve for Bartuoh, known as "E-man" to those close to him.

"It doesn't make sense. Oh, God, could this really be happening?" his older sister, Marthaline Bartuoh, said. "I can't say it was his time to go, because it's not. It was not his time to go."

November 9, 2008

Local Reporter Charged with Drunken Driving

The Star Tribune reported that a KMSP-TV reporter has been charged with careless driving, drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

According to a complaint filed in Hennepin County, Beth McDonough, 40, had a blood-alcohol reading of .24 percent. She refused a blood-alcohol test at first but later agreed.

McDonough previously had her driver's license revoked in December after she was convicted of third-degree drunken driving.

A Pioneer Press reported offered more details on the accident. According to the complaint, after the driver of the car was hit, the man called police and followed McDonough. A state trooper began following McDonough and arrested her after she arrived at her Minnetonka home.

Trooper Patrick Miles noted the "strong odor of an alcoholic beverage," bloodshot and watery eyes and slurred speech McDonoughhad when she spoke, State Patrol Sgt. Randy Anderson said.

"The defendant kept falling and using her vehicle to keep herself upright," Anderson wrote in the complaint. "On two occasions, the defendant used Trooper Miles to keep her balance."

McDonough has been suspended, KMSP-TV news director Bill Dallman said


Girl Dies Three Days After Car Crash

The Star Tribune reported that one of two girls injured in a car accident Wednesday has died, according to a statement released Saturday by the girls' parents.

Kayla Jo Borgerson, 17, suffered "multiple, traumatic injuries" as a result of the accident" her parents, Keith and Sue Borgerson, said in a statement. Her organs will be donated.

"This was Kayla's wish, and now her legacy of caring for others will live on," the statement said.

According to the Pioneer Press, Kayla was flown by helicopter to Hennepin County Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Her sister, Katie Borgerson, 15, is currently in serious condition at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The sisters were injured when the Toyota Camry they were driving collided with a pickup truck around 6 p.m. Wednesday in Lakeville, Police Chief Tom Vonhof said. Kayla was driving and making a turn from Juniper Path onto 205th Avenue when the crash occured.

The driver of the truck, Brandon Pekel, 25, was not seriously hurt and is not facing charges.

November 2, 2008

3 Killed in Car Crash

Police identified Wednesday the three people killed and one injured after a car went off the road in rural Wright County the Pioneer Press reported.

Stephen Dooher, 22, the driver of the car, was found inside the Chevrolet Corvette by police. Dooher was taken to St. Cloud Hospital and was in fair condition Wednesday authorities said.

Authorities also released the names of two men and one women who were apparent thrown from the car and killed: Andrea Northern, 23, of South Haven, and Michael Demars, 22, and Derek Kammerer, 22, both of Maple Lake.

A Star Tribune story offers a look into the ongoing conflicts between the victims' families.

Dooher was charged Friday with two counts of criminal-vehicular homicide for each of the three victims.

Dooher admitted to drinking and results from tests to determine his blood-alcohol level should be available to county authorities in 30 days, Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes said.

Michael DeMars family placed "absolutely no blame" on Dooher for the crash, and stated that "nothing will be gained by sending him to jail."

"Steve's a phenomenal kid, and we'll do everything we can to help him," Howard Kammerer, Derek's father, said.

However, Andrea Northern's mother, Shelly Lidster, said that "somebody had to pay."

"There was no reason for four people to be in that car," she said.

Fake Anthrax Sent to Local Newspapers

The Pioneer Press is the latest media outlet to receive a package containing hoax anthrax.

According to a Pioneer Press report, the newspaper discovered an envelope Saturday containing a small package labeled "anthrax."

Initial tests later determined the substance to be sugar, St. Paul police spokesman Pete Crum said.

The package contained a CD with a photo of Colin Powell labeled "Anthrax Shock and Awe Terror" and a package containing a white powder taped to the top labeled "Anthrax" and "Biohazard."

On Wednesday, Marc M. Keyser, 66, of Sacramento was arrested on suspicion of sending over 120 hoax letters labeled "anthrax" to scores of media outlets, the FBI said.

Minneapolis' Star Tribune also reported on the hoax package they received on Thursday.

Preliminary tests on the contents of the package sent to the Star Tribune were also negative for hazardous material Minneapolis police said.

More packages will probably be received over the next few dayssaid FBI agent Steve Dupre. Any recipients were instructed to contact their local FBI office.

October 26, 2008

St. Paul Teen Killed in Shooting

As reported by the Pioneer Press, an 18-year-old female was shot to death Saturday night in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood.

Police received a call of shots fired at 9:35 p.m. The shooting occured near Sixth Street East and Forest Street and the car the victim and a 24-year-old man were in traveled about four blocks to a gas station at Arcade Street and Minnehaha Avenue East, police spokesman Peter Panos said.

Police were unsure if the victims were in the car at the time they were shoot. The man was taken to Regions Hospital in unknown condition for a gunshot wound to the thigh, Panos said.

Later, the Star Tribune released a story identifying the teen girl as Jaques Dortch.

"She was really bright, really happy," her mother, Jah'ne Dortch, said. "She was always trying to help me around the house."

Jah'ne Dortch went on to attribute her daughter's death to gang activity, though police have not publicly discussed a possible motive or indicated if the shooting was gang-related.

Como Pool Closes

Como pool, a destination for local swimmers for the last 46 years, closed indefinately due to the high repairs costs and safety concerns the Pioneer Press reported.

In need for repairs for several years, the price of renovating the pool was predicted to be in the "millions and millions" of dollars. Due to these costs, the pool will not reopen next summer spokesman Brad Meyer said.

"The pool is beyond repair," Meyer said.

Official have not yet determined when another pool might be built to replace Como pool.

Built in 1962 by Public Pools Inc. for $161,000, the city purchased the pool shortly after when Public couldn't afford to run it anymore. The pool attracted an average of 15,000 visitors a year over the last few seasons.

A Star Tribune story featured the views and thoughts of community members. Concerning with what will come of the land in the future, community organizers will had a community meeting at Como Park's visitor center auditorium.

"All sides agree that something needs to be done," Rhonda DeBough, community organizer for the District 10 neighborhood council, said.


October 19, 2008

Minneapolis Man Charged with Child Neglect

A Minneapolis man was charged with child neglect after leaving two children home alone with an open open heating the house, the Pioneer Press reported.

Lawrence Edward Griffin, 36, approached a squad car around 1:15 a.m. Thursday to tell officers he had left a 14-month-old child home alone for 15 minutes while he went out to purchase cigars.

Police drove him to his home, on the 2500 block of 4th St. NE, where they found the 14-month-old sleeping in a crib and a 4-year-old sleeping in a bunk bed.

Police said the kitchen was hot because of the open oven door. Griffin told police it was the only way to heat the apartment.

Police said Griffin had been gone closer to 45 minutes and they tested his breath for alcohol, which registered a .09 BAC.


Ratchet the Puppy on his Way to the U.S.

An Iraqi puppy adpoted by a U.S. soliders began his trip to the U.S. Sunday after several attempts to fly him to his new home in Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported.

"Ratchet" was picked up by an animal rescue group in Baghdad on Sunday. He was adopted by Army Spc. Gwen Beberg, 28, of Minneapolis.

Operation Baghdad Pups tried three time to get Ratchet out of the country.

Beberg and her dog have become well-known through her attempts to adopt the puppy. An earlier Star Tribune story reports on some on the background information.

The puppy was confiscated at the Baghdad airport after one attempt to fly him out of Iraqi and it was reported that he was alive at the time after Beberg said she fear he would be destroyed if he was left behind. Later news broke that he had been placed on a plane in route to the US.

Over 30,000 have signed a petition urged the Army to allow the puppy to return home with the solider.
Beberg and a fellow solider rescued the puppy from a burning pile of trash on Mother's Day.

October 12, 2008

Body Found in Car Pulled from Mississippi River

A body was found inside a car after it was pulled from the Mississippi River near, Harriet Island, the Star Tribune said.

An additional report on the incident reveals that a back hoe hit the submerged car while workers were dredging the river as part of a Harriet Island renovation project.

Workers removed the car from the river and saw what they believed to be a decomposing body.

"I looked in the car, it looked like an airbag, and then I saw the legs," said one worker who wished to remain anonymous.

Police have not yet identified the body, although they believe it has been in the water for a long period of time.


Pioneer Press: John Brewer

Argument Lead to Fatal Shooting of Augsburg Student

According to charges filed against a 16-year-old boy, an argument lead to the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Augsburg student outside of a Minneapolis community center last month, theStar Tribune reported.

Ramadan Abdi Shiekh Osman was charged with second degree murder in juvenile court. The juvenile court petition said Osman argued with the victim, Ahmednur Ali, outside the Brian Coyle Community Center at approximately 5 p.m. on Sept. 22.

Osman stuck Ali in the head with his gun and shot him before fleeing the scene, the charges said.

Police said that Osman may have been affiliated with a gang and several shootings have been reported in connections with Ali's death.

Witnesses to the crime were did not initially come forward because of fear of retaliation, police said.

In an earlier report on the shooting, no witnesses had come forward to police. There was also no known motive.

"We have talked to quite a few people who weren't witnesses who wish they had more to offer. But there are witnesses who haven't come forward," Capt. Amelia Huffman said.

The first report offers more personal information into the victim's background. Ahmednur Ali was a volunteer at the local community center where he was shot. He often played basketball with kids and taught computer skills.

Jennifer Belvins, head of the community center, said Ali had wanted to give something back to his Somali community.

Ali studyed political science and international relations at Augsburg College, was a member of the college's soccer team and was involved with a Muslim student association.

October 5, 2008

Twin Cities Marathon Winners

Fernando Cabada ran the fastest time at the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon, winning the race's men's division, the Star Tribune reported.

Cabada, 26, finished in 2:16:32, just one minute and six seconds ahead of second place finisher, Matt Gabrielson, a Minnesota native.

"At 20 miles I just got real mad and said, 'You're tough, attack these hills, you've done all the work, you're running for a lot of people today,'" Cabada said.

Cabada said he got into running because of pressure to play basketball and baseball from his jail-bound father. It wasn't until a growth spurt in his junior year of high school that he won his first cross-country race.

Russian Olga Glok won the women's division, finishing in 2:32:38. This was her first career marathon win.

Another winner from Sunday's race was Kara Goucher who won the U.S. national women's 10-mile road race championship this morning, as reported by the Pioneer Press.

Gloucher, a former Duluth resident, ran the 10 miles in 53 minutes, 15 seconds, a course-record time.

"I thought I was going to run faster. Really, I think my legs are pretty dead. If I would have tapered down, I think I could have run two minutes faster," Gloucher said.

Equipment Malfunction aused Monticello Nuclear Plant Shut Down

Glitches in the equipment that operates and protects the Monticello nuclear power plant was the reason for the plant's automatic shutdown in September, the Star Tribune reported.

The plant returned to full operation on Wednesday, after being shut down at zero percent power for three weeks. During this time, no radiation was released, said the plant's owner, Xcel Energy.

The equipment malfunction lead to a visit from the a special inspection team from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), who will report their findings next month. The NRC has inspected the plant once before in 1991 after an unexpected shutdown, Xcel officials said.

The power lose resulted from a broken cable that disconnected the plant from its main transformer and source of electricity, NRC documents stated and Xcel site vice president Tim O'Connor said.

MPR reported on the initial shut down. At this time is was believed a fuse opened up on the line that supplies electrical power to the single-unit nuclear plant, said Xcel spokesman Thomas Hoen.

Original statements also did not predict the amount of time that would be required to reopen the plant. "The plant right now is at zero percent power, and will be remaining at zero percent power for the next few days at least," Hoen said.

September 28, 2008

Stillwater Lift Bridge Stuck

The Star Tribune reported Friday afternoon that the Stillwater lift bridge was stuck in the open position, blocking traffic.

The lift of the historic bridge became stuck shortly after noon, Mary McFarland, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said. Crews were expected to fix the problem in time for evening rush hour, McFarland said.

The reason for the bridge malfunction was unknown. Drivers wishing to cross the St. Croix River were instructed to detour south to Interstate 94.

A later report in the Pioneer Press clarified some of the questions left unanswered from the Star Tribune piece.

An electrical malfunction in the bridge's sensors caused the bridge to get stuck open. The computer that operates the bridge thought that the bridge was down when it was actually up, McFarland said.

Traffic between Minnesota and Wisconsin was able to resume around 8:45 p.m. Friday.

St. Paul bicyclist dies after SUV collision

A 51-year-old St. Paul woman died Saturday, several hours after being struck by at SUV near Summit and Snelling Avenues, the Star Tribune reported.

Virginia Heuerbowar (reported as Heuer-Bowar by the Pioneer Press) was hit at 8:10 a.m., Pete Panos, a spokesman for St. Paul police, said.

Heuerbowar was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. She had sustained head injuries, although she was wearing a helmet, and died about 3 p.m.

Panos said Heuerbowar had been riding east on Summit Avenue from Snelling. The driver of the SUV, a 39-year-old Minneapolis man, told police he was driving east on a service road that merges onto Summit Avenue and had stopped at a stop sign at the merger.

"He stopped and accelerated, and all of a sudden, she was in front of him," Panos said the driver told police.

There were no witnesses to the accident. Police released the driver, pending investigation.

September 20, 2008

St. Kate's to modify its name

The College of St. Catherine will be undergoing a name change, the Pioneer Press reported. As of June, 2009, the institution will official go by St. Catherine University.

The new moniker was chosen unanimously on Aug. 28, beating out four other options because "its simple, it's elegant, and it put St. Catherine — which is our brand — first," Sister Andrea Lee, the college's president, said.

A Star Tribune report on the name change focused more on the reasoning behind the name change and what will become of well-known landmarks bearing the old moniker.

Lee said that St. Kate's budget and endowment have doubled over the past decade. The school has also had 10 consecutive years of enrollment growth.

As the nation's largest women's college, the school has just under 3,000 women working on four-year undergraduate degrees.

Eden Praire: Top ten healthiest place to retire

US News reported that Eden Prairie, Minn., has been ranked on a list of 10 ten healthiest places to retire in the United States.

A team of editor's from US News traveled in the county in order to compile their list. The locations were chosen based on exercise opportunities, social connections, and overall encouragement of healthy living.

The Star Tribune reports that Eden Prairie was ranked the 3rd healthiest place to retire. While this could not be determined from the online version of the US News article, it may be listed in the print version.

Eden Prairie was selected based on the close proximity to lakes, exercise programs tailored to seniors, and an abundance of park land, among other things.

September 14, 2008

3 Stabbed Saturday in South Minneapolis

Three people were hospitalized Saturday morning after an early morning knife fight, the Pioneer Press reported.

Police Sgt. William Palmer said that the fight took place around 3 a.m. outside the Taco Bell located near Lake Street and Third Avenue South.

According to the Star Tribune, a 26-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman both received stab wounds to the chest and a 24-year-old woman was stabbed in the arm. However the Pioneer Press reported that it was a man in his 20s that had been stabbed in the arm.

The victims were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. Their conditions were unknown.

Witnesses described the suspects as a man and a woman, of unknown age and description, who fled the scene.

Minneapolis Girl Struck by Stray Bullet

The Star Tribune reported that police are investigating the possibility that a stray bullet traveled over 5 blocks before striking a Minneapolis girl.

As identified in the Pioneer Press, Jasmine Krebs, 11, had finished her homework when she went outside to look for a toy by the family’s backyard pool. Around 7:00 p.m. Jasmine was hit by the bullet and began screaming that she had been shot.

Police Sgt. William Palmer said Krebs was hit in the upper leg by what was probably a ricochet, the Pioneer Press also reported. Palmer also said that a witness believes he heard the bullet ricochet off of his house.

Krebs was hospitalized overnight before being released and is expected to make a full recovery.

The Star Tribune reported that the Minneapolis Police Department is investigating the possibility that the bullet that hit Krebs is related to reports of multiple shots police received at approximately the same time at Richard Green Central Park.

As the Krebs house is located on the 3200 of First Avenue South, the bullet may have traveled over 5 blocks, through trees, across Interstate highway 35W, and through the Krebs’ backyard fence before striking Krebs in the upper leg.