MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Rochester police investigating suspicious death
ROCHESTER, Minn. - Rochester police are investigating what they term the suspicious death of a man found unresponsive at a park Monday morning.
54-year-old Roger Ingalls died later that day at the hospital and the medical examiner determined it might not have been of natural causes. More tests are being conducted. Ingalls was last seen Sunday evening riding his bicycle and investigators believe they found it at an elementary school on Monday. They are working to uncover more information about what happened to Ingalls during the 12-hour period between when he was last seen and when he was found.
A Brooklyn Park man faces charges after authorities say he crashed a vehicle early Tuesday morning and fled from the scene, leaving his critically-injured children inside. Earl Ward is charged with child endangerment, criminal vehicular operation and violating a no-contact order. He was arrested at a relative's house several hours after the crash. Fourteen-year-old Amarya Ward-West suffered a broken neck and eight-year-old Almond Ward-West had a broken femur.
A new report confirms something that many Minnesotans have been worried about for some time -- that privacy concerns arise when law enforcement agencies use automatic license plate readers. The devices retain information about every license plate read, and while the study outlines many ways that data can be used to solve crimes, it also says the information could be used to track people's movements, even if they are not suspects in a crime. The Rand Corporation report also points to a problem Minnesota lawmakers have been struggling to address for two legislative sessions without success: how long the information should be kept and whether collecting it violates privacy rights. Despite several hearings and hours of testimony earlier this year, the Minnesota Legislature for the second year in a row didn't pass laws on automated license plate readers.
The federal government is setting aside as much as $50-million dollars to help mitigate flooding in the Red River Valley. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement Wednesday. The money will be available over the next five years through a new regional conservation program. Vilsack says it's being made possible through a new designation in the new farm bill to improve soil and water quality.
U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) is surveyed the massive mudslide behind the University of Minnesota Fairview Hospital today in Minneapolis. The collapse on the Mississippi River bluff forced evacuations and the closure of West River Parkway. Franken toured the site with officials and then discuss ongoing efforts to deal with major flooding across the state.
Workers with Great Plains Natural Gas trying to put in a new line through a Fergus Falls alley have been slowed down by remnants of the city's past. City Engineer Dan Edwards says the line work was to be done underground, but now workers will have to open a trench to install it because foundations of former buildings are in the way. Crews are filling the area back Thursday for the holiday weekend and will close the alley again on Monday and get back to work. It's expected to remain closed all next week.