MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: More severe weather on tap for southern Minnesota
CHANHASSEN, Minn. -- Minnesota's southern border communities will spend their Tuesday cleaning up from last night's storms -- if they can get it done before the next system moves in.
Meteorologist Mike Griesinger of the National Weather Service in Chanhassen says much of Monday's severe weather erupted along the Iowa border and while there was substantial wind damage in some areas no tornadoes are suspected, and he believes the culprit was strong straight line winds. Some areas along the I-90 corridor reported 70 to 80 mile per hour wind gusts. Griesinger says the most likely areas for severe weather this afternoon are in those same locations. Waves of thunderstorms are expected for various parts of southern and central Minnesota through at least Friday.
Dr. Jennifer Halverson has the distinction of being the first Minnesotan to contract a mosquito-borne virus that is spreading quickly throughout the Caribbean. She fell ill with chikungunya while working in Haiti, which immobilized her and delayed her return home, where she works in the emergency room for Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the virus originated in Africa and federal health officials are worried it will eventually come to the mainland United States. There is currently no treatment for the chikungunya virus.
Nearly a fourth of those living in northwestern Minnesota's Lake Park are asking Mayor Aaron Wittnebel to resign. A petition calling on the mayor to step down, signed by more than 200 people, was presented at a recent city council meeting. Wittnebel was accused of stealing from his sister, who has Downs Syndrome, and the judge granted a stay of judgement -- which allows the charge to be dismissed if he successfully completes probation. It's not the only issue the city has with Wittnebel. Council member Kimberly Holloway says city resources have been misused. Other city officials aren't saying whether they believe Wittnebel should remain in office. Residents will be able to voice their concerns at meetings that will be held the next two Mondays at the Lake Park City Center. Wittnebel's term ends in 2016.
It's been a year since 87-year old Henry "Hank" Volochenko was found murdered in his Moorhead home. No arrests have been made, but police continue to follow up on leads. Lieutenant Tory Jacobson says it's possible whoever killed Volochenko is no longer in the area . Police still haven't found the Volechenko's missing black cane. A $1,000 reward is offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Opponents of silica sand mining in southeastern Minnesota were handed a setback when the Minnesota Court of Appeals shot down a challenge to a decision by the Winona County Board. The Appeals Court found the evidence supports the County Board's decision not to require a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement for the silica sand mining operation south of Saint Charles. The Nisbit mine was the first frac-sand mine approved in Winona County and started running last fall.
The Rochester City Council is considering a ban on what officials call "aggressive panhandling." The city has seen an increase in the number of people begging on public property, but because the courts have repeatedly found act of begging is a form of free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution the city's options are limited. The Council was briefed Monday on a proposal to outlaw loud or repeated demands, touching or following the person being solicited, and begging in places that are considered particularly intimidating, such as near ATM machines, restrooms, public buses, sidewalk cafes or a person's vehicle. The Council directed City Attorney Terry Adkins to draft an ordinance and bring it back to the Council for a vote on July 7th.
A Clay County mother of three has appeared in court on her sixth drunk driving arrest. 28-year-old Cathy Sanchez was arrested near Glyndon in May. Officers found "Jello Shots" in her pockets when they took her into custody. She is being held in the Clay County jail on $20,000 bond. Sanchez previously served 42 months in prison on drunk driving charges. Her next court appearance is June 30th.
A Lindstrom motorcyclist was arrested in Wisconsin after a police officer clocked him at nearly 105 miles per hour. The 23-year- old was booked on a reckless endangerment charge. He told arresting officers that his speedometer was broken and he didn't realize he was going that fast. Speed was a factor in at least one of the motorcycle fatalities in Minnesota this year.