April 29, 2007

Feud interrupts service of St. Paul bus shooting victim

A service for Earl Freeman, the teen killed on a St. Paul city bus, was interrupted by an ongoing feud between groups of youths.

A church service was to be held Friday for Freeman, 16.

Seventeen-year-old Jerome Cross has been charged with second-degree murder in Freeman's death. He has denied the shooting. His family and friends say he is innocent. Prosecutor’s claim the shooting on the bus happened after two groups had fought.

Police will not comment on whether the fights or the shooting were gang related.

April 22, 2007

Judge blocks ex-Pioneer Press executive from starting Star Tribune

A Ramsey County judge on Friday blocked a former St. Paul Pioneer Press executive from starting her new job at the Star Tribune, saying it's clear the new job would violate a non-compete agreement.

Judge David C. Higgs granted a Pioneer Press request for a temporary restraining order to keep Jennifer Parratt from becoming director of niche publications at the Star Tribune.

The order stems from a lawsuit filed by the Pioneer Press over former publisher Par Ridder, who defected to become the Star Tribune's publisher and CEO last month. The Pioneer Press lawsuit alleges that Ridder broke a non-compete agreement and that he handed over sensitive data about finances, advertising, and circulation.

The restraining order granted Friday required the judge to decide which side was more likely to be right about Parratt's non-compete agreement. The Star Tribune will get a chance to argue against it at an injunction hearing scheduled for June 18.

April 15, 2007

Man lied about child being abandoned

St. Paul police said Saturday that the man who reported finding a toddler abandoned on a Frogtown street corner was supposed to be caring for the boy, whose mother is in jail.

Chou Xiong, 44, called police around 4pm Thursday to report he found a child, between 18 months and 2 years old, abandoned on the corner of Kent Street and Edmund Avenue.

Police say Xiong is the boy's stepfather who was supposed to be caring for the child because the boy's mother is currently in the Ramsey County Jail. Thirty-three year old Zia Yang was arrested Wednesday night on an outstanding warrant for felony forgery and theft.

Police spokesman Tom Walsh said Xiong admitted the hoax early Saturday after relatives, who had seen some of the media coverage of the story, pressured him to tell the truth.

The boy remains in the custody of Ramsey County child protection services.

Investigators from St. Paul and Ramsey County will start the process on Monday to decide whether to press any charges.

Bail set for teen charged with killing baby

Bail is set at $1 million for the 17-year-old Oakdale teenager, Nicole Beecroft, accused of stabbing her newborn to death, authorities said.

Authorities said Beecroft gave birth to a baby girl on Monday in her Oakdale home and then threw the baby in a trash can after she stabbed her more than 130 times.

An autopsy determined the infant had been born alive, but suffered numerous puncture wounds in the chest area and bled to death.

According to the criminal complaint Beecroft hid her pregnancy from family and friends. No one knew. Not even her mother. Beecroft told police she panicked.

Beecroft said nothing during her appearance in Washington County District Court. She was returned to juvenile detention, with her next court appearance set for April 27th.

April 8, 2007

Minneapolis couple survives cruise ship disaster

A Minnesota couple on vacation suddenly became two of the 1,600 people trying to escape a sinking cruise ship.

Jon Hof and his wife Carol were on the Sea Diamond cruise ship navigating the Mediterranean Thursday, about to embark on a day in the port city of Santorini, when the ship hit a volcanic reef.

"All of the sudden we just hear this awful noise, all of the sudden things start to break, you could hear glassware shattering," Carol said. "I couldn't believe this was happening. This was a huge mistake, a major human error was made coming into port."

That ship now sits at the bottom of the Agean Sea near Greece.

Two people on board are still missing.

Three Gopher football players accused of sexual assault

The University of Minnesota Police Department is investigating allegations of criminal sexual conduct against three football players.

Defensive end Alex Daniels, cornerback Keith Massey and running back E.J. Jones were taken into custody after an 18-year-old woman told police she was raped Friday night.

"Right now, there are allegations out there," associate athletics director Tom Wistrcill said. "We have to wait and see if there are charges filed and go from there."

The three players have not been charged with a crime, but they are being held without bail while being questioned by police.

Head Football Coach Tim Brewster immediately suspended the players.

"Obviously, this is disappointing news for any coach to receive," said Brewster. "There is an on-going investigation and we will cooperate fully with law enforcement on this matter," he added.

April 1, 2007

Red Lake boys bodies found in icy lake

The Red Lake Net News website have posted a statement Sunday that said: "unconfirmed report has been received that the two missing boys have been found in Red Lake at an area where junk cars are stored in a small lake. Red Lake Law Enforcement won't confirmed or deny this, and no one is available at the FBI office at this time."

Tristan White, 4, and Avery Stately, 2, were first reported missing on November 22, 2006.

The bodies of the boys were found encased in ice in a lake about a half-mile from the boys' home on the reservation in far northern Minnesota, about 250 miles from the Twin Cities, said FBI special agent-in-charge Ralph Boelter.

The bodies were found by a volunteer rescue squad from St. Louis County, which included a half-dozen searchers and three dogs, Boelter said.

A $30,000 reward had been offered for information about the boys and they had been featured on a segment of "America's Most Wanted."

Twins broadcast legend Carneal dies

Hall of Fame broadcaster Herb Carneal, whose smooth baritone narrated Minnesota Twins games for the past 45 seasons, died this morning of congestive heart failure at his home in Minnetonka, the team announced. He was 83.

Carneal joined the Twins broadcast booth in 1962 after spending the first five years of his career as part of the play-by-play team for the Baltimore Orioles. He was behind the microphone for all but the first of the Twins' 46 seasons in Minnesota.

Carneal was given the Ford C. Frick Award and a spot in the broadcaster's wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1996.

"Herb Carneal's voice was the signature element of Twins baseball for multiple generations of fans," said club president Dave St. Peter, a longtime friend of Carneal's. "Clearly, he was one of the most beloved figures in Minnesota sports history."

March 25, 2007

Minnesota National Guard soldier dies in Iraq

Minnesota National Guard Sgt. Greg Riewer, 28, nicknamed Smiley by his family in Frazee because of his quiet nature, was killed in Iraq while on patrol Friday near Fallujah.

He was with soldiers from the Bemidji-based Company A, 2nd Battalion, 136th Infantry when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, Col. Kevin Gutknecht, a Guard spokesman, said. Two other Minnesota National Guard soldiers were injured in the attack.

A 1997 graduate of Frazee High School, near Detroit Lakes, Riewer enlisted shortly after graduating. He was single and had five sisters and seven brothers, one of whom, Andrew, is serving in the same unit, Gutknecht said.

Major General Larry Shellito, the adjutant general of Minnesota, says the loss of Sergeant Riewer is a tragedy. He says Riewer was proudly serving his state and nation in a combat zone when he was taken.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

March 4, 2007

Teenage drunk driver sentenced to two years in jail

A teenage drunken driver was sentenced Friday to two years in jail and 23 years on probation for a crash that killed two of her friends and seriously injured another.

Heather Ann Tucci, 18, of White Bear Lake, must abstain from alcohol and drugs during her probation. If she relapses during those 23 years, she faces up to five years in prison.

Tucci pleaded guilty Jan. 8 to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of criminal vehicular operation causing substantial bodily harm in connection with the accident on Aug. 19.

Tucci had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent.

"Yes, it's my fault because I was the driver," Tucci wrote in a message on the social networking Web site But she also said her dead friends "knew what they were getting into.�

Child molester gets 10-year sentence.

A homeless man who admitted molesting a 12-year-old autistic boy on a St. Paul park bench was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Charles J. Sathers, 59, admitted that he engaged in oral sex with the boy in Nov., at Kellogg Park.

Several passersby saw the incident, and one of them called police. Witnesses who reported the assault told police they couldn't believe their eyes.

The boy, who was spending time in the park while his father worked, told the police that Sathers made him do it.

"The courts made the right decision," the father, who asked not to be named to protect the identity of his son, said. "I left it up to the criminal justice system."

February 25, 2007

A man found partially frozen

A man found partially frozen to the street Saturday morning has died.

Chaska resident, Sean Patrick Humphrey, 19, died Sunday afternoon at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Humphrey was spotted by a city snowplow driver along Geske Road at Millpond Court, Sergeant Mike Duzan of the Chaska Police Department said.

“We think he probably was walking and fell. He’s got some injuries that the hospital described as consistent with falling down,� Duzan said.

As of late Sunday, there still were no indications of foul play, Duzan said.

Suspect arrested for woman’s death

A suspect is in custody for the slaying of a Mankato woman, 53, on Saturday.

Police say Judith Kay Ellgen was found dead in her downtown apartment from what appeared to be severe trauma to the head and upper body.

In the coming week, authorities plan to charge the suspect, a 32-year-old Mankato man, with second-degree murder, Jerry Huettl, Mankato's director of public safety said.

The suspect was arrested for assaulting an elderly woman in 2003 and served 90 days in jail.

February 18, 2007

Polk County homicide

A man was taken into custody Saturday after his neighbor, 33, was found dead in the Polk County village of Luck.

The body of Jason Madsen was found by the Sheriff's Department in a wooded area about five miles east of Luck, near Bone Lake.

The investigation started when Madsen's girlfriend reported him missing earlier in the morning.

Neighbor Timothy Lehman, 33, was questioned and then taken into custody when he provided false information to an officer. The charge was later upgraded.

The cause of death and charges are still undetermined and continues to be investigated, authorities said.

Median-crossing deaths

A head-on collision Saturday in Inver Grove Heights was the third median-crossing deaths on three highways.

A 2006 Toyota Rav4 was traveling north on Highway 52 near Inver Grove Trail when a 1992 Ford Explorer driving southbound crossed the median about 6:50 a.m. The Explorer then hit the SUV, killing the driver, the State Patrol said.

The victim's name was not released.

The three median-crossing deaths on three highways are "definitely a little out of the normal," said Kent Barnard, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The agency has been installing cable-type barriers where such accidents had been frequent, Barnard said.

February 11, 2007

Twin Cities janitors accept new contract

The Twin Cities janitors union voted Saturday on a new three-year contract. The contract lowers-cost health insurance, more full-time jobs and higher wages, according to the union.

The vote was “overwhelming,� a spokeswoman for the union said. The union represents more than 4,200 janitors.

The janitors' contract expired more than a month ago and members authorized a strike three weeks ago.

St. Paul man killed in kitchen fire

A St. Paul man died in a kitchen fire, police said.

The 29 year-old man was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital. His name wasn’t immediately released.

The fire occurred late Saturday in his home near the 200 block of Goodrich Avenue. Firefighters believe the man tried to put out a grease fire with water.

I noticed that both articles came directly from the Associated Press and kept similar material together.

February 4, 2007

Cab Driver Murdered

A cab driver from Brooklyn Center was shot to death in a parking lot on Sunday. The shooting occurred around 4 a.m. near the Brook Haven Apartments.

The man suffered from multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene of the incident.

Robbery was the motivation for the murder police said.

January 28, 2007

Fire in Oakdale home

Burning trailer home in Oakdale Saturday morning leaves 61-year-old man dead.

Authorities said the man tried to escape his home but wasn’t fast enough.

Investigators say the fire started in the kitchen but they don’t yet know the cause of the fire. Oakdale police have yet to release the victim’s name.

3M chemicals in groundwater

Investigators search for source of groundwater contamination in the east metro. The contamination in the drinking water comes from chemicals once manufactured by 3M.

Extended searching will take place in the next two weeks to find the source of the pollution.

“We believe the first step in taking care of what's in the environment is to determine where it's coming from," 3M spokesman Bill Nelson said.

I noticed that the lead for this story created major curiosity to read more about this pollution problem.