MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Gov. Dayton signs Disaster Relief Bill
ST. PAUL -- State lawmakers took four hours in special session Monday to pass a storm relief bill for 20 Minnesota counties and Governor Dayton signed it into law two hours later. The governor says "when a disaster strikes we're all Minnesotans - we're not Republicans or Democrats - and the legislature to its credit showed that." And although both political parties agreed on storm relief, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (dowt) called the special session a lost opportunity to repeal business-to-business taxes that even some Democrats acknowledge were mistakes. Dayton responds he waited two months for Republicans to tell him where they're going to come up with 310-million dollars to pay for those tax repeals.
Governor Dayton says he's glad the Vikings owners' personal wealth might be made public, as part of a New Jersey lawsuit over one of their real estate businesses. The governor says he understands why the Wilfs aren't in favor of it, but he also believes that transparency is generally in the public interest, "and so in this case I'm glad that the judge has made the determination that she has." The governor notes if there's an appeal the judge's order will be withheld until after that. Meanwhile, Dayton is waiting for the results of a special audit of the Vikings finances, which is expected to show that the Wilfs have the ability to meet their obligations on the Vikings stadium. That report could be made public later this week.
On this Suicide Prevention Day (TUE), Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson is reminding everyone to look for the warning signs of friends or family members in despair. She says that includes someone talking about wanting to die or kill themselves, if they're looking for ways to kill themselves, such as going online or buying a gun, if they're talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live, if they're feeling trapped or in unbearable pain or a marked increase in drugs or alcohol. The state Health Department reports a 13-percent increase in adult suicides in Minnesota between 2010 and 2011. Jesson urges anyone in need to call the toll-free Minnesota Crisis Hot Line at 866-379-6363.
Funeral services are this morning for a Granite Falls woman killed in her home September 2nd. The family of 26-year-old Kara Monson says they cannot rest until a suspect in the case is caught. Services for Monson will be this morning at 11:00 at Granite Falls Lutheran Church. Monson leaves behind a five year-old daughter. On Sunday, Monson's boyfriend 28-year-old Christopher Panitzke, of Redwood Falls, also died of gunshot wounds he suffered in the incident. Authorities continue to look for a person of interest in the case Monson's ex-boyfriend, 28-year-old Andrew Dikken of Granite Falls. Dikken's abandoned truck was found two days after the shooting about 20 miles southeast of Granite Falls in a remote area. Anyone with information on Dikken's whereabouts is asked to call police.
A Dilworth man has been sentenced for killing his girlfriend's 22-month old daughter in August of 2012, while he was babysitting the child and her older brother. Raul Perez admitted that he killed Ariel Reyes. Norman County Attorney James Brue says Perez received a stiffer sentence than court guidelines recommend because of aggravating factors, including the fact that the girl's now-6-year-old brother witnessed the crime, but Ariel's Aunt Ida says that 20 years in prison is still not enough time. Perez will be eligible for supervised release after 13 years.