MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: "Rock and Roll" Buck Zumhofe found guilty
WILLMAR, Minn. -- Former pro wrestler Eugene Buck "Rock and Roll" Zumhofe has been found guilty on 12 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Sixty-two-year-old Zumhofe of Cyrus was accused by his now-29-year-old daughter of sexually molesting her over the span of 12 years, beginning in 1999 when she was 15 and living with him in New London. They later moved to Cyrus when she began college at U of M-Morris. Zumhofe has two previous sex convictions from the 1980s. On the stand this week, Zumhofe denied doing anything improper with his daughter. In his closing arguments, prosecutor Nate Midolo told the jury they had to decide who was lying.
A University of St.Thomas law professor says he wasn't surprised the state Court of Appeals ruled that Archbishop John Nienstedt must testify under oath about church officials' response to child sex-abuse allegations against priests. As for appealing to the state Supreme Court, Dr. Charles Reid says they may go to the high court but my expectation there is the same result. A lower court earlier ordered that Nienstedt testify and the appeals court refused to consider an appeal by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis as well as the Diocese of Winona. A lawsuit by an alleged victim of ex-priest Thomas Adamson prompted the court battle.
Two juveniles are in custody following the declaration of a campus emergency this morning at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Police spokesman Jim Hansen says officers were called to assist campus police on the report of two males with a gun near Kirby Plaza. The two suspects were caught a short time later and "airsoft gun" was recovered. Police say no threat now exists and UMD is back to normal operations.
Otter Tail County authorities are investigating the death of a delivery truck driver near Battle Lake. A passerby saw the UPS truck running on the side of Highway 83 Tuesday afternoon and found the 55-year-old driver lying on the floor. The cause of death is unknown and autopsy results are pending.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is proposing that half of the state's $1.2 billion budget surplus be returned to taxpayers through tax cuts. Dayton rolled out his supplemental budget today in response to the revised state economic forecast. As before, the governor wants to eliminate the so-called "marriage penalty" on state income taxes, plus expand eligibility for the Working Family Tax Credit and increase tax credits for day care. And he wants three business-to-business sales taxes repealed. In addition to his previous plan, Dayton now proposes doubling the exemption on estate tax to two million dollars, plus eliminating the gift tax. He also wants to eliminate sales tax that local governments pay and reduce the tax for non-profits.
A Duluth DFL state senator and a top Republican in the Minnesota House have joined forces to renew the push to allow liquor stores to be open on Sunday. Senator Roger Reinert and Represesentative Jenifer Loon from Eden Prairie propose a number of options -- all the way from repealing the statewide off-sale Sunday liquor ban, to allowing local governments to decide, to putting the issue on the ballot this fall. They say it's time to "repeal a Prohibition-era ban that just does not fit in 21st-century Minnesota." Reinert acknowledges there's not a lot of movement at the legislature toward allowing Sunday liquor store sales, but contends that allowing microbrewery tap rooms to be open on Sunday does have some traction.
Hundreds of Minnesotans are taking part in a mental health rally this afternoon in the State Capitol Rotunda this afternoon. Sue Abderholden of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota (NAMI) says the state's mental health system remains woefully under-funded and many children and adults are unable to access basic services and supports that they need. Busloads of mental health advocates from across Minnesota came to St.Paul for the event.
A southern Minnesota lawmaker believes the state minimum wage will be increased this session. DFL Representative Jeanne Poppe of Austin is pretty confident that it will be around $9.50 for large businesses. She says they're looking at a three-year phase in and by the end of the time it would be at $9.50. Small businesses with revenues under $625,000 would be able to pay their employees a lower minimum wage.
Two suspects are in the Todd County jail after a meth bust at the train depot in Staples. Police received a report about a man traveling on Amtrak from the state of Washington to Minnesota with a large amount of methamphetamine. On Tuesday, officers arrested a 29-year-old Washington man with a small amount of meth and a loaded handgun. A 37-year-old Wadena man who went to the train station to pick up the Washington man was also arrested with a small amount of methamphetamine. Charges are pending with the Todd County attorney's office.
Wisconsin officials are confirming some people receiving child support through their state have had money stolen as a result of the credit and debit card breach at Target stores. Nearly four-thousand EPPIC debit card holders had their cards compromised and replaced. Before that happened, however, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports an official with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families says a "handful" of people were victims. One is a former Milwaukee resident now living in Massachusetts, who had nearly 36-hundred dollars stolen through ATM withdrawals overseas.