MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Kidnapper sentenced to three years in prison
MINNEAPOLIS -- The woman who kidnapped a friend's baby from an apartment in south Minneapolis will spend three years in prison. The Hennepin County Attorney's office says 30-year-old Isabel Diaz-Castillo pled guilty last month to kidnapping 8-month-old Carlos Orozco in February while his mother was in the shower. Four hours after Vicky Orozco reported her infant missing he was found unharmed in the basement of the home of Castillo's relatives. She will likely be deported upon release.
A Nowthen man is charged with criminal sexual conduct after he was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl, twice at a school bus shelter in Oak Grove and two more times inside his truck. Investigators say 22-year-old Kelly Jenkins spent the day hanging out with the victim and other friends, and the assaults occurred when he offered her a ride home. The teen remembered Jenkins' vehicle tag number and contacted police after he dropped her off on the street near her home.
A Shakopee man was arrested for domestic assault last month, and now that arrest has led to murder accusations in a 14-year-old crime in Iowa. Following the July arrest, Cedar Rapids police got in touch with Shakopee authorities and told them they believe 34-year-old Deshaun Phillips killed Judith Weeks in April of 1999. Family members say Phillips was arrested after his DNA matched blood left at the crime scene, but Cedar Rapids Police have not confirmed any details.
Officials in Saint Louis County in northeastern Minnesota are preparing for a possible strike by public employees as soon as August 29th, after contract negotiations broke down. Officials with the AFSCME public employees union say the sticking point is sick leave, not wages. Currently, Saint Louis County employees can accumulate 19-hundred hours in unused sick leave -- nearly a full year's pay -- which is paid into a health care savings plan when they retire. County officials say to reduce the cost to taxpayers, they're proposing that *future* employees be allowed to accumulate about seven months' worth of sick-leave benefits AFSCME officials respond they instead want a 20 percent overall reduction in how much sick-leave *all* employees can accumulate, without taking anything away from current employees who have already accumulated sick leave over that amount. If the dispute isn't resolved, about a thousand St. Louis County workers could go on strike.
The U-S Army Corps of Engineers is facing a federal lawsuit over their proposed flood-diversion project in Fargo-Moorhead. A group of local governments from North Dakota and western Minnesota allege the Corps didn't consider less-costly and more environmentally-friendly alternatives. Wilkin County Attorney Tim Fox says, "If you're talking about protecting people from flooding, you don't flood other people to do that." Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority Chairman Darrell Vanyo responds he's baffled by the basis for the lawsuit. Vanyo says the Corps of Engineers has been "really cautious" making sure that all the i's are dotted and t's crossed.
A Minnesota immigration reform group is on to Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana today after yesterday's (Mon) vigils at the offices of Congressmen Erik Paulsen and John Kline, and Iowa colleague Steve King. Pablo Tapia with the Assembly for Civil Rights says families are being torn apart every day, many of them with children -- and they want Congress to do something about immigration reform and include a path to citizenship. Tapia's group will be in Ohio tomorrow (Wed) and in Missouri on Thursday.
Explore Minnesota is looking for a new ad agency to market all the state has to offer. It means the current "More to Explore in Minnesota" campaign will be retired in January. State Tourism Director John Edman says additional state funding will allow them to do even more promotion. Edman says firms will be competing for a seven-and-a-half-million-dollar contract, nearly double the current agency's contract. Explore Minnesota says each dollar spent on advertising generates eight dollars in spending by visitors.
A Grand Rapids man is facing attempted murder, assault, weapon and drug charges, after police say the victim awoke to find 28-year-old Joshua Julien on top of him, stabbing him with a large kitchen knife. Officers chased Julien through the woods and eventually caught him. Investigators found meth and a pipe in his discarded belongings, a set of brass knuckles in his jacket pocket, and the bloody knife was recovered from the scene. The victim's girlfriend told police that he had asked Julien to leave his home earlier in the day, but he walked out peacefully. She could not identify a motive for the stabbing.
One-hundred-eighty animals and plants have been added to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' endangered, threatened and special concern species list, including moose and Canada lynx. Twenty-nine species have been removed--including the bald eagle, wolf and snapping turtle. The D-N-R's Rich Baker says the law prohibits the taking or possession of endangered and threatened species except in very limited situations. Minnesota's endangered list was last updated in 1996.