Minnesota News Briefs: Man hit by shrapnel at bachelor party dies
RUSHFORD, Minn. - A man died after he was accidentally hit by shrapnel during a bachelor-bachelorette party in southeastern Minnesota.
Fillmore County Sheriff Daryl Jensen says 47-year-old Jeffrey Taylor of Utica and his two sons were invited to the party at a neighbor's home, and they watched other party attendees shoot at "explosive targets for fun." Jensen says Taylor was hit in the abdomen by the shrapnel, collapsed, and was rushed to a waiting Mayo Clinic helicopter, but died before reaching the hospital.
The victim of a stabbing walked into the lobby of the North Mankato Police Department yesterday, looking for help. The man told officers he had been stabbed during an argument at his home. Police arrested his 18-year-old roommate without incident. The victim is hospitalized in serious condition.
A man accused of using body art to threaten an Minneapolis police officer has pled guilty to making terroristic threats, and after 21-year-old Antonio Jenkins Jr. blocked out parts of the tattoo with black ink the prosecutor agreed to a plea deal and he was sentenced to probation. Jenkins was charged after a sheriff's deputy saw a picture of the tattoo on Facebook; the homemade ink shows a person holding a gun in the mouth of a pig dressed in a Minneapolis police uniform, with the badge number of an officer that had angered Jenkins.
An Iowa business owner was arrested in Minnesota and charged with indecent contact with a child. Cresco police say they began investigating Clarence Bouwma, the owner of a bowling alley, in May after they received reports of possible assaults against underage customers. He is charged with inappropriate contact with two girls ages 11 and 13, but police are also investigating the possible assault of a 12-year-old girl. Bouwma is also charged with supplying alcohol to a minor and engaging in criminal activity in his place of business. Bouwma took off when the investigation first began, but was tracked down to Blaine, Minnesota and arrested last week.
After a one-day delay caused by an equipment malfunction, the construction on Interstate 694 between Highway 100 in Brooklyn Center and Interstate 35W in Arden Hills has resumed, and that means heavy congestion and long traffic jams that were expected yesterday morning are now expected this morning. During heavier daytime traffic hours, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. two lanes will be open in each direction, but overnight I-694 traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction. MnDot is expecting drivers will encounter lengthy delays during rush hours. Construction projects are already slowing drivers down on Highway 169 and on Interstate 94 between Clearwater and St. Cloud.
Minnesota has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. The Gopher State tied California for fifth place in growth of domestic product(GDP) last year, based on data for durable-goods manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, wholesale trade, and finance and insurance. GDP for Minnesota climbed 3.5 percent in 2012, a full percentage point better than the national average. Minnesota also has one of the country's lowest unemployment rates, ranking 11th nationally in April at 5.3 percent. Oil-rich North Dakota had the fastest-growing economy in 2012, with a GDP growth of 13.4 percent. Texas was second with 4.8 percent growth, followed by Oregon (3.9 percent) and Washington (3.6 percent).
A 32-year-old man is dead after falling out of a boat in Isanti County early Sunday morning. Dylan Dusbabek of Isanti fell overboard while boating on Long Lake shortly after three a.m. Passengers on the boat were questioned by investigators and the boat was impounded. No word yet on whether drugs or alcohol were involved Dusbabek was not wearing a life jacket.
Over 50 soldiers from the Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion return to Minnesota today after serving nearly a year in Afghanistan. National Guard Major Dan O'Meara says the company flew more than 3,200 hours and covered an area of approximately 62,000 square miles in western Afghanistan. A welcome home ceremony will be held over the noon hour at the Army Aviation Support Facility in St. Cloud.
The U.S. Senate continues lengthy debate on a bipartisan immigration reform bill. It includes border enforcement, reform of the worker visa program, and a path to citizenship for 11-million undocumented immigrants. John Keller with the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota says those changes are need for the future of the state and national economy He says with the baby boomers retiring in record numbers, replacement workers are needed. Keller says an estimated 85-thousand immigrants living in Minnesota who are not in the U.S. legally could benefit from the reform bill.
Members of Minnesota's peace and justice community are protesting NSA surveillance today outside U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar's office. Civil liberties supporters are speaking out against the National Security Agency's secret monitoring of telephone calls and emails. The Anti-War Committee and MN Committee to Stop FBI Repression will be carrying signs that read "Say no to NSA surveillance." Spokeswoman Meredith Aby says both Senators Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) and Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) have told the media that they knew of the NSA surveillance, yet aren't concerned. She says Minnesota's senators should use their positions on the Judiciary Committee to demand an end to the violation of privacy.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) has completed the investigation into two separate home explosions that happened in February of 2010. In the home explosion in Edina, a contractor hit a natural gas line while installing a telephone cable and the gas that was released underground leached into the house, causing it to blow. MnOps determined that Centerpoint energy failed to turn the gas off until 8 hours after the line was hit, and six hours after the house exploded. TD&I Cable Maintenance did have the property marked by Gopher State One Call, but hit the line because they uncovered an abandoned gas line and assumed it was the active one. The CPE fine was reduced from $1 million to $50,000 after the company took several actions to make sure such an incident would not be repeated. In St. Paul, a contractor working on a sewer line inadvertently set off a fire and explosion, not knowing that a natural gas line had been inserted through the sewer pipe and into the home. The contractor was hurt, but managed to get himself and the homeowner out of the house before it burned to the ground. In the aftermath, Northern States Power identified more than 90 homes with sewer-gas line conflicts, after inspecting roughly 50,000 properties, and plans to inspect 20,000 more this year. MNOPS initially fined NSP $1 million, but that was reduced to $20,000.
State Representative Mike Benson is the first Republican to launch a campaign for Congress in Minnesota's 1st District. The two-term legislator from Rochester is announcing today that he plans to run against DFL Congressman Tim Walz of Mankato next year. Benson says he's concerned about the growing number of federal mandates and regulations being forced on the states. Former state Senator Al DeKruif of Madison Lake is also considering a run for the 1st District GOP nomination.
However, State Senator Jeremy Miller will not challenge First District Congressman Tim Walz in 2014. The Winona Republican said after thoughtful consideration by he and his wife, he has decided to remain in the Minnesota Senate. Several people had approached Miller and encouraged him to run against the DFL incumbent. Miller says his growing family and fourth-generation recycling business were factors in his decision not to run for Congress. Thirty-year-old Miller was first elected to the state Senate in 2010.
Authorities in Carlton County are looking for a car that struck and injured a bicyclist Sunday in Thompson Township. Deputies say the suspect vehicle hit a 43-year-old Minneapolis man at an intersection on Highway 61 and did not stop. The victim was taken to a Duluth hospital for treatment. Witnesses told police the suspect vehicle was a gray Chevy Impala or Malibu with heavy roof and windshield damage. The driver was described as an elderly woman. Anyone with information on the hit-and-run is asked to contact the Carlton County Sheriff's Office.
The U.S. Senate approved the Farm Bill last week, and this week it is expected to go for a vote in the House. Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs calls the Senate passage "a step in the right direction," because the legislation contains needed help for Minnesota agricultural development, small businesses in more rural areas of the state, and those just starting to farm. While there are many good elements to the bill, Bruckner says the organization is concerned that it leaves federal crop insurance premium subsidies uncapped. The bill that passed the Senate would cost about $500 billion over the next five years.
A new poll shows the need for increased vigilance when it comes to children and prescription drugs and other poisons. The Minnesota Poison Control System receives more than 4,500 calls about poison exposures each month, and the Minnesota Safety Council says all medications should be stored out of a child's reach, even if they are in so-called child-proof bottles. Another contributor is improper supervision, but not necessarily neglect. Most child poisonings in Minnesota happen while parents are preparing a meal. Toxicologist Dr. Jennifer Lowry says parents need to be extra vigilant, but doctors also need to be careful not to overprescribe. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says in the last decade the number of children who died in car crashes decreased by more than 40 percent, while the number who died from accidental poisoning went up by 80 percent.