MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Lt. Gov Prettner-Solon announces she will not run for second term
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon announced this morning she will not seek re-election as Governor Dayton's running mate this fall.
Prettner Solon says it's a decision she's given "much thought, much reflection and an equal dose of prayer." She says she expected to be more involved in the Dayton administration's policy initiatives, and found ways to do that by working on initiatives for seniors and Minnesotans with disabilities, plus nutrition and education issues. Prettner Solon says by doing those things, quote, "I found a way to fill that void." When asked if Governor Dayton ever asked her to stay on for a second term, Prettner Solon flatly said "no."
Target says it will pay for credit monitoring and identity theft help for 12 months for everyone who was affected by the massive data breach of credit and debit card transactions. Those interested must request an activation code online at CreditMonitoring.Target.com, and provide a name and email address. Further instructions will come in the mail within a week, with the services provided by Experian.
Investigators say a 24-year-old Babbitt man has been arrested in the murder of a Twin Cities man but formal charges have not been filed because the autopsy is not yet complete. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Department says 55-year-old Paul Bulen of Mahtomedi was found injured lying in the road late yesterday (Mon) morning and died at an Ely hospital.
Three people who fell into the icy Chicago River early Monday were all current or former students at the University of Minnesota. The Chicago Tribune reports 26-year-old David Hoang of St. Paul dropped his cell phone into the river and tumbled into the water trying to retrieve it. Twenty-one-year-old Lauren Li and a 23-year-old man also fell into the river in attempt to rescue Hoang. Crews pulled Hoang and the other man from the water, but they could not find Li. Hoang died at Northwestern Hospital. The 23-year-old survivor is in stable condition. The search for Li's body is scheduled to resume today.
A St. Cloud man is hospitalized after a snowmobile crash Monday evening on Highway 15 near Kimball. The Stearns County Sheriff's Office says 19-year-old Ryan Berdan was northbound in the ditch when he struck a field approach and was thrown from the machine. Berdan was taken to St. Cloud Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The DNR is urging snowmobilers in Minnesota to slow down and drive at a speed that's proper for conditions.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is pleading with drivers to move over and slow down when they come upon emergency vehicles along highways. It follows a weekend in which four Minnesota State Patrol cruisers were struck by other vehicles. Nobody was seriously hurt in any of those crashes. State law requires motorists to change lanes, or slow down if that's not possible, when they come upon law enforcement vehicles or other emergency responders stopped along roadways with emergency lights activated.
An organization representing thousands of Minnesota pediatricians is vowing to fight a court ruling that will result in the destruction of about a million newborn blood screening test results. Members of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MNAAP) warn it could have a dramatic impact on child health MNAAP President Dr. Robert Jacobson says storage of the tests allows for better diagnosis for critically ill children and the new guidelines that call for destruction of future tests after 71 days can risk an infant's health because in some cases it can take more than six months to confirm a diagnosis. The information collected through newborn screening has saved more than five thousand lives, and Jacobson says "MNAAP will do everything in its power to reverse these changes, restore the program, and save as many babies as possible." Opponents argue keeping the samples without parents' permission violates the 2006 Genetic Information Act.
The Minnesota Department of Health has begun destroying more than a million samples of blood taken from newborn babies in Minnesota, that were initially used for the Newborn Screening Program, but then were kept for use in research. Attorney Scott Kelly with Farish Johnson Law Office of Mankato brought a suit on behalf of parents who felt their baby's blood, and DNA, was a privacy issue. The blood samples dated back as far as 1997. The department had fought to keep the blood samples for research unless parents opted out of the program in writing. The state is now only allowed to keep blood samples that test positive for inherited or metabolic disorders for two years and just 71 days if they are negative. The Department of Health was agreed to destroy the samples and to pay nearly a million dollars in attorney fees.
Fire investigators in St. Paul don't know yet what started a fire that claimed the life of 30-year-old Christopher Meusburger over the weekend. At the same time, Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard tells the "St. Paul Pioneer Press" he's "certain that it was unintentional." Meusburger had a blood-alcohol level of point-26 when he died, more than three times the legal limit. Zaccard says the cause of the fire will be listed as undetermined unless they find proof of what happened.
Not many details are available, but the St. Louis County Sheriff's Department says they're investigating the discovery of an injured man near Babbit as a murder. The man was found lying in the road yesterday (Mon) morning and rushed to the hospital in Ely - but was pronounced dead. Further information is expected later in the day (Tue).
A 21-year-old woman from Superior died yesterday, after she was implanted with an artificial heart. The Duluth News-Tribune said Mara Krysiak inspired many people in northwest Wisconsin and northeast Minnesota over the way she fought for her life. Krysiak was the second person to receive an artificial heart implant at Children's Hospital near Milwaukee on November 11th. The family said she developed a blood infection just over a week ago.
The price of propane is about 30 percent higher in Minnesota this year compared to last winter. The recent cold snap added to a national shortage that's been going on since farmers used more propane to dry their crops last fall. Minnesota Propane Association Executive Director Roger Leider says he expects prices will start to soften a bit as the weather begins to warm up and supply starts turning around. He predicts the higher propane prices will be "very short-term." An estimated 225-250,000 Minnesotans depend on it to heat their homes and businesses.
The Minnesota Supreme Court is being asked to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the funding for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority filed a motion with the state's highest court yesterday after three people filed a challenge last week, challenging bond sales were illegal because Minnesota tax dollars were already going to the project. The state planned to start selling 486-milliol dollars in bonds yesterday. The timeline for the stadium is very tight, and legal delays could result in the Vikings not opening the 2016 NFL season in their new home.
There's a hearing at the State Capitol this afternoon on a bill that would increase recycling goals in the Twin Cities plus add organic composting. Minneapolis DFLer Frank Hornstein says it would be a "huge boost" for composting and the composting industry -- which he says is very important for the entire state, because soils can be enhanced and compost can be used for road fill and other purposes. Hornstein's bill would set a goal of 60 percent recycling and 15 percent organic composting in the Twin Cities by 2030. But a controversial proposal to require a deposit on beverage containers is *not* included in the measure.
A Mayo Clinic emergency room doctor is warning Minnesotans to be careful in subzero temperatures, just ahead of another polar vortex that is expected to drop the thermometer back to extreme lows later this week. Doctor David Nestler says it's important for people to listen to what their body is trying to tell them -- and when someone is either confused, intoxicated and avoiding those cues -- or stuck somewhere without shelter -- that's when bad things can happen. This week's cold weather event isn't expected to be as extreme as last week's. Daytime highs are expected to remain in positive territory, and most of Minnesota will only see it drop to a few degrees below zero overnight Thursday.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) is asking for congressional hearings on freight rail safety, pointing to recent derailments in Casselton, North Dakota and in Two Harbors. In a letter to the leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee, including ranking Republican John Thune of South Dakota, Klobuchar cites statistics that only about 14-thousand of the 92-thousand tank cars that carry hazardous materials meet the latest safety standards. Klobuchar says "rail tank car safety standards need to be updated and then implemented."
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater) is leery of Iran's pledge to start eliminating some of its uranium stockpile on January 20, and in exchange sanctions against the Mideast country will be eased. Bachmann says preventing a nuclear Iran is one of the defining issues of our time and this agreement "is on the wrong side of history." Bachmann contends economic sanctions were working, and nothing in the deal comes close to a full dismantling of Iran's nuclear programs. U.S. officials estimate the overall sanctions relief will total around seven billion dollars. Bachmann and others are calling for the passage of bipartisan legislation to increase, rather than lessen, sanctions on Iran. President Obama has vowed to veto any such legislation.
A 51-year-old Buffalo man is dead after a snowmobile accident in Wright County. Officials say Craig Peitz was riding in Silver Lake Township Saturday afternoon when he went over a hill, hit a snow crest and was thrown from the machine. Peitz was flown to North Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The crash remains under investigation.
A Duluth man was sent to the hospital after a snowmobile crash Sunday evening on Caribou Lake in Grand Lake Township. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office says 55-year-old Roger Anderson lost control on the uneven snow and was thrown from his machine as it rolled over on the ice. Anderson was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life- threatening injuries. Officers are reminding snowmobilers to use caution while riding on area lakes and streams.
A teenager is recovering from injuries he received after fleeing a Stearns County sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop. Officials say the 17-year-old was driving in St. Augusta Sunday night when he was pulled over and displayed signs of intoxication. When the deputy asked him to step out of the car for a field sobriety test, the teen put the car back in gear and fled. During the pursuit, the teen jumped out of the moving vehicle--which continued moving forward for several hundred feet. The suspect was treated for his injuries on the scene, then taken to St. Cloud Hospital.
It may be a tough concept to grasp in the middle of one of the coldest Minnesota winters in decades, but a new law aimed at using more energy from the sun is now in effect. The goal is to have solar power account for ten percent of Minnesota's energy usage by 2030. Hannah Terwilliger with Environment Minnesota says Minnesota compares to Germany in terms of solar resources available, and Germany is the leading nation in the world for installed solar capacity. Terwilliger says that over the next six years the new law will bring 30 times the amount of solar generated energy to the state.