Minnesota News Briefs: DFL will not give up on union bill
ST. PAUL - The fight over the bill that inspired an 18-hour filibuster by Minnesota Republicans last week continues.
In the most recent move, after an $800-million bonding proposal failed, Republican leadership implied they might put forth the necessary votes to pass it if DFLers were to drop the bill that would allow home day care and personal health care aids to form a union. AFSCME's Elliot Seide says that would be unjust. He says "it would be a real travesty if providers and personal care attendants were denied the right to have an election so they could choose to have a union or not." It may be a moot point; House Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL-St. Paul) says Democrats would be unwilling to abandon the day care union bill.
As we head into the summer driving season, the state is ramping up seat belt enforcement on Minnesota roads. Starting today, nearly 400 law enforcement agencies will participate in the push to get people to buckle up. Donna Berger with the Office of Traffic Safety says teen and young adult drivers are typically among the least likely to wear their belts. Berger says in the last three years on Minnesota roads, 42-percent of unbelted motorists killed in crashes were 16- to 29-years-old.
The 18-year-old Lakeland man with terminal cancer whose song "Clouds" became an Internet sensation has died. Zach Sobiech passed away this morning surrounded by his sisters, brother, parents and girlfriend. Sobiech was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and began receiving worldwide attention in November of 2012 when his song was posted to You-Tube and went viral. Zach said he wrote the song as a message about his cancer and cry for help to those he loved.
Lack of life jacket use is the number-one contributing factor to boating fatalities in Minnesota. That's the main message from the DNR during National Safe Boating Week. Boat and water safety specialist Kara Owen says 45 people have died in boat accidents since 2010, and 35 of those victims were not wearing a life jacket. There were 15 boating deaths in 2012. The DNR is also urging Minnesotans not to drink alcohol while operating a boat. Authorities in Minnesota made 158 boating while intoxicated - or BWI - arrests last year.
Authorities in Mankato are asking for the public? help in solving a weekend burglary at a car dealership. Two cars, the keys to several vehicles and other times were stolen from Northtown Auto between 10:30 Saturday night and 8:50 Sunday morning. Police are looking for a maroon 1999 Cadillac Deville with Minnesota license plate 075-EJM and a brown 2008 Chevy Silverado with Minnesota plate XAW-562. Anyone who has seen the vehicles is asked to call local law enforcement or Mankato police.
Police in St. Cloud are investigating a report of gunshots fired late Saturday night near the Short Stop restaurant. Investigators confirmed that a firearm had been discharged at the scene. No injuries were reported. Officers say the suspects fled the area in a red or maroon PT- Cruiser with a sun roof and tinted windows. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the St. Cloud Police Department or Tri-County Crimestoppers.
A Lino lakes Police officer has died after a medical emergency at the Blue Heron Bar and Grill in Hugo. Washington County sheriff's deputies say 37-year-old Sergeant Chris Bragelman was found unresponsive and could not be revived Officials say there was no obvious cause of death, and they are awaiting full autopsy results. The sheriff's department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating.
There have been two animal cruelty cases in just one week in Freeborn County, and police say it appears that several dogs may have intentionally been left for dead. Last week a dog was left to die in its cage southeast of Glenville. Now investigators say they found three dogs in trash bags in a ditch just off I-35 west of Glenville. It appeared the dogs had been there for some time, and officers do not know how the dogs died. Unless they get a tip from the public, investigators may never know how or why the dogs were discarded the way they were.
Minnesota music legend Prince received the 'Icon Award' during last night's Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. He also performed live. Prince is just the third artist to receive the award.
Severe storms rumbled across eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin last night, and some areas could see continued rough weather today. The National Weather Service in Chanhassen says there were some tornado warnings associated with the severe thunderstorms, but no confirmed touchdowns. There have been scattered reports of power outages, downed lines and tree damage across the region. Meteorologists say there were wind gusts as high as 60 mph in Rochester, street flooding was reported in Chanhassen and Waseca, and by high winds near Blooming Prairie bent over power lines. One inch diameter hail fell in Winona, and there are large trees and branches down in Rollingstone. Severe weather, including periods of heavy rain, is possible in portions of southeast Minnesota today. Several rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected through early next week.
Even though the winning Powerball ticket was sold in Florida, Minnesota did benefit from the hoopla surrounding the record $590-million lottery jackpot. Minnesotans won more than three million dollars in the drawing, with two players winning a million each and a dozen players winning $10,000. In addition, retailers in the state earned just over a million dollars on commissions by selling tickets. Lottery Executive Director Ed Van Petten says most importantly, Minnesota will transfer eight-point-eight million dollars earned from the sale of lottery tickets to the state's General Fund or environmental projects that receive money from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust, Game and Fish and Natural Resources Funds.
Charges are expected soon against two men accused of making illegal fireworks in Wyoming, Minnesota. Police responded to a medical call following an explosion on Saturday afternoon and found a man with first-degree burns on his arms, hands and face. Upon further investigation, authorities discovered what appeared to be an illegal fireworks manufacturing operation in the garage near where the explosion occurred. A search turned up mortar-style fireworks, which were dismantled and seized by authorities. The injured man and another man at the scene were arrested--they could be charged with manufacturing illegal fireworks--a felony.
>>Extra Seat Belt Patrols on State's Highways
(St. Paul, MN) -- Extra seat-belt patrols will be on the state's roads starting today (MON). The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says nearly 400 agencies will participate in the push to get people to buckle up. Data shows motorists are six times more likely to be injured when not buckled up. And, in the last three years on Minnesota roads, 42-percent of motorists who died in crashes were not buckled up. Of particular concern to traffic safety officials is the fact that teens and young adults are among the least likely to be belted.