MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Diocese of Duluth to release list of offenders
DULUTH - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Duluth plans to release the names of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors this morning.
The Duluth News-Tribune reports the announcement comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed seeking the release of the information on the 17 priests. Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba will release the list during a news conference later this morning at the diocese's headquarters. Attorney Mike Finnegan with Anderson and Associates says while this is a step in the right direction, in order for there to be true transparency, the Diocese must also release the secret documents that it has on each priest on the list. He says these documents will show what the Bishops knew, when they knew it, and what they did in response.
This is the last day to enroll for health insurance through the new MNsure exchange if you want coverage to begin January 1st. Some website problems persist, although officials say they're addressing them -- and hold times at the telephone contact center have reportedly been long. MNsure's Jenni Bowring-McDonough acknowledges it's certainly not ideal, and adds they increased staff a few weeks ago to meet demand in a better way. McDonough says they'd like to see shorter wait times buts adds it's a busy time with the January 1st enrollment date nearly here.
Minnesota's exports of manufactured, agricultural and mining products set another record in the third quarter of 2013 -- $5.2 billion dollars, up eight-tenths of a percent from the same period one year ago. State officials say exports of manufactured goods grew four-and-a-half percent, outpacing the national rate. And even though total export sales dropped to North American countries, they increased one percent in the state's second-largest export market, Asia. The state Department of Employment and Economic Development says some of the strongest growth occurred in what are historically smaller export markets for Minnesota companies -- including Central and South America, the Middle East and Africa. In areas other than manufacturing, wood pulp sales more than tripled to areas like Taiwan and Indonesia. Dairy product sales increased 66 percent, including large gains to Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.
Target has another big headache to deal with from the holiday shopping season. The Minneapolis-based retail giant sold thousands of gift cards that weren't activated properly, meaning they don't have any value. A company spokesperson recommends calling the number on the back of the gift card for help. Target is still reeling from a massive data breach earlier this month, that resulted in millions of customers being exposed to possible identity theft through their credit and debit card information.
Don't drink and drive. That's the message from law enforcement as people gear up for their New Year's Eve celebrations. State Patrol Lieutenant Eric Roeske says even though more people are thinking ahead for sober rides on New Year's Eve, DWI arrests and drunken driving crashes are still abundant on the state's roads. He encourages public transportation as one option. For a third straight year, Metro Transit is offering free rides on buses and light rail on certain routes. For more information, check metrotransit.org.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Minnesota's population grew by more than 40,000 in 2013. State Demographer Susan Brower says 5.42 million people represents about an eight-tenths-of-a-percent growth rate. Brower says population growth appears to be picking up a bit from the three previous years. Minnesota's population is still ranked 21st in the nation, right behind neighboring Wisconsin.
If you're getting health insurance through the new MNsure state marketplace and you want coverage to begin tomorrow, January 1st, you must enroll by the end of the day today (Tues). MNsure's Jenni Bowring-McDonough says payment must then be made by the close of business January 10th -- either at MNsure or at the health plan, or made electronically. She notes if you don't need your health care coverage to begin January 1st, open enrollment runs through the end of March.
Governor Dayton has proclaimed January Radon Action Month in Minnesota. And, starting January 1st, a new law goes into effect requiring specific and detailed radon disclosure and notification during most home sales. The state Health Department's Dan Tranter says even though about two in five Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon, a lot of people aren't aware of radon. He says the purpose of this law is to ensure that everyone buying a house has some basic understanding of radon. The colorless, odorless gas is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. -- and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. For a list of where you can find radon testing kits, you can visit the Minnesota Health Department's website.
Law enforcement will be out in full force tonight looking for impaired drivers. State Patrol Lieutenant Eric Roeske says more people are planning ahead for a sober ride, but for those who don't their excuse is that they didn't want to leave their vehicle somewhere or they didn't plan on a drinking as much as they did and they didn't feel they had another option. Roeske encourages people to use public transportation, taxis, whatever you have to do to get home or get a sober ride home. Since this latest enforcement campaign began November 27th, over two thousand people have been arrested for DWI in Minnesota.
A Minneapolis man convicted of selling heroin that ultimately led to the death of a Little Falls woman has been sentenced to just over 11 years in prison. A Morrison County District Court judge sentenced Keon Mangun for his role in the death of 19-year-old Miranda Gosiak. Gosiak died of a heroin overdose in February of 2012. A jury found Mangun guilty of third degree murder in October. Mangun sold heroin to Brandon Bedford in North Minneapolis and the judge found there was sufficient evidence that proved to the jury, the day Gosiak died, Bedford gave her heroin he had bought from Mangun.
Folks in northeastern Minnesota woke up to the coldest temperatures of the winter Monday morning. The National Weather Service in Duluth reports the mercury dropped to 40-below zero in Embarrass, minus-38 at Babbitt, negative 37 at International Falls, 36 below at Orr, and minus-35 in Cook and Ely. Many areas of Minnesota are under a windchill advisory.
The timing couldn't have been worse for about 4,500 Xcel Energy customers who lost power in south Minneapolis late Sunday night. Temperatures were steady at around 11-below-zero for most of the night. Many of those who had lost power got it back within a few hours, but at least 200 customers didn't get power back until at least noon. The utility is blaming the outage on equipment failure.
The 18-year-old Prior Lake woman killed in a rollover accident near Elko Saturday died from blunt force head injuries. The Hennepin County Examiner's Office says Jordan Huver died shortly after the crash. The State Patrol says alcohol was detected in all three occupants of the car, including the driver -- a 29-year-old Lakeville man -- and a 26-year-old man from Lonsdale. The two men had non-life-threatening injuries. The accident remains under investigation.