MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Mandy Matula's body found near Sartell
SARTELL -- Eden Prairie Police have received confirmation that the body found Saturday in Stearns County is that of Mandy Matula. The remains were found in a shallow grave by a hiker in a park near Sartell, when he investigated a piece of fabric sticking out of the ground and discovered a body wrapped in a blanket. Mandy's brother Steven Matula says the family was not surprised by the medical examiner's confirmation that the body was his sister's, after they learned that a sweatshirt with the UMD fast pitch softball and the number 14 were found with the body. Mandy disappeared May 1 and was last seen with former boyfriend David Roe. Roe shot himself to death in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie Police Department, just before he was expected to meet with investigators to discuss Mandy's disappearance.
Mandy Matula was one of three Twin Cities women who disappeared this year in apparent incidents of domestic violence. Kira Steger disappeared in February, and her body was recovered from the Mississippi River in May; her husband Jeffery Trevino was convicted of her murder in October and will be sentenced next month. Steger's funeral was Saturday in Wisconsin. 27-year-old Danielle Jelinek's body was found last May in a swamp near Chisago Lakes, just a couple hundred yards from on-and-off boyfriend Aaron Schnagl's home. He is jailed on unrelated drug charges and police say he has been uncooperative in the investigation.
Friends and family said good-bye to Kira Steger at a funeral in her hometown of Rothschild, Wisconsin Saturday. Steger disappeared in February, and her body was recovered several months later in the Mississippi River. On October 2nd, Steger's husband, Jeffery Trevino, was convicted of second-degree murder in her death. His sentencing is set for November.
A man was arrested after an all-night standoff with police in Eden Prairie. Police say the man threatened someone's life Saturday night, then barricaded himself inside his home. Police negotiated with the suspect for hours, and he eventually surrendered and was arrested early Sunday morning.
The recent show-down in Washington, D.C. over the budget has increased the sense of urgency to get a farm bill passed. U-S Senator Al Franken says when the bill comes out of conference committee it will have a nutrition title. He says the conflict isn't over the assistance itself, it's over how much to spend on it. He says there's a lot of room between the House's 40-billion-dollar cut and the Senate's 4-billion-dollar cut. He says the conferees are going to have to come up with something that can pass both Houses, and the Senate will not pass something that reflects too many cuts. After the revolt of the people over the federal government shutdown, Franken doesn't think the conferees will fail to reach agreement on farm legislation.
A U-S House committee held a hearing last week on foster care children who have become involved in sex trafficking. The U-S Justice Department says the Twin Cities is the 13th most heavily trafficked metropolitan area in the U.S., but the actual number of people transported to and through Minnesota isn't known. Many trafficked individuals come from other countries, but some of them come from rural Minnesota. Human trafficking in Minnesota is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and the state legislature has required that the Department of Public Safety compile and analyze data on human trafficking in the state. A bill proposed in Washington D.C. includes an amendment to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act that would include victims of sex trafficking, and make survivors eligible for services in child welfare systems.
The legal battle may not be over, even though Minnesota's top elected officials voted late last week (Fri) to grant mineral leases to several mining companies that want to explore for non-ferrous metals in northern Minnesota. A group of citizens is asking the state Supreme Court to review a Court of Appeals ruling that environmental review is *not* necessary. Their attorney is Paula Maccabee. She says the very act of leasing -- mineral leasing -- affects property rights and affects communities. Backers of non-ferrous mining in northern Minnesota say state agencies are doing a good job monitoring environmental effects.
State Representative Ryan Winkler joins minimum wage workers at Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport this afternoon to release a report on the impact of low-wage jobs at MSP. Winkler says the report focuses on about 600 aircraft cabin cleaners, wheelchair agents and electric cart drivers who work for airline subcontractors. He says they earn an average of 7-73 an hour. Winkler and other Democrats have been pushing for a minimum wage increase and Governor Dayton also supports it, but the DFL-controlled Minnesota House and Senate couldn't agree last session on a number and other details. Republicans warn a minimum wage increase will hurt job creation and shrink the pool of available jobs for Minnesotans entering the work force.
Electronic cigarettes have ignited a smoke-free firestorm of controversy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that their use by children doubled from 2011 to 2012. The founder and director of Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center Doctor Richard Hurt says the claims that they help people quit smoking are completely unproven, as is the overall safety of ecigarettes. FDA analysis of two popular brands found variable amounts of nicotine and traces of toxic chemicals, including known cancer-causing substances. The agency has issued a warning about potential health risks associated with electronic cigarettes, but is not yet regulating their use or standards of manufacture.
The nation's largest group of eye doctors is issuing a warning to Minnesotans that may be shopping for their Halloween costume this week: Don't buy costume lenses that have become so popular unless they are purchased through your ophthalmologist or optometrist. Doctor Price Kloess (Clowse) with the American Academy of Ophthalmology says not only can they cause permanent eye damage, but it's been illegal since 2006. Kloess (Clowse) says the lenses, which may not be manufactured to meet federal health and safety standards, can cause injuries such as cuts and open sores in the eye, as well as potentially blinding bacterial infections.
A certified medical assistant working in an Inver Grove Heights clinic has been accused of viewing the electronic medical records of more than 3,000 patients without permission. The electronic medical records system covers the entire Allina Health system, so not all of the patients that were impacted were seen at the Inver Grove Heights Clinic. The employee has been fired, but not before clinic officials say the person accessed information that includes medical information, health insurance information, and partial social security numbers. Allina Health is offering free identity and financial monitoring services for those affected by the breach.
Speculation continues to build that Hillary Clinton is planning another run for the White House. The former First Lady, U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State spoke last night at Beth El Synagogue in Saint Louis Park. Clinton was speaking at the synagogue as part of its national speaker series, and her address was sold out. She lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama in 2008.
An 8-year-old girl was killed in a crash on Highway 169 Sunday afternoon near Blakeley Trail in Scott County. According to the State Patrol, a 48-year-old Mankato man was slowing down when his vehicle was struck from behind by a truck carrying a horse trailer. The 62-year-old driver of the truck lost control and rolled into the ditch, causing the trailer to roll on top of the truck. The truck's driver and one of his passengers suffered non-life threatening injuries. A second passenger, 8-year-old Larua Maloney of Pine City, was killed. The crash remains under investigation.
The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating a petting zoo and farm in Dayton. In the past several weeks, three children have been infected and are recovering from E. coli infections after visiting Dehn's Pumpkins. The kids are between the ages of 15 months and seven years, and all live in the Twin Cities area. One child is still hospitalized with serious complications including kidney failure.