MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Minneapolis making bid to host another NCAA Final Four Tournament
ST. PAUL -- Officials are making a pitch to bring the N-C-A-A Final Four men's basketball tournament to the new Vikings stadium after it's finished. Governor Dayton, business leaders and sports celebrities make the announcement at a state Capitol news conference this afternoon (2pm). Minneapolis was named one of eight finalists in January to host the Final Four between 2017 to 2020. The Metrodome hosted Final Four tournaments in 1992 and 2001, which were both won by Duke University. The N-F-L awarded the 2018 Super Bowl to Minnesota last month.
A Madelia man has been convicted on four felony counts in the alleged rape of a four-year-old girl in Lewisville. Twenty-nine-year-old Edgar Cano Fernandez was initially charged with six counts of criminal sexual conduct after sexually assaulting the girl between last November and January of 2014. Cano Fernandez was found guilty Monday on four of the charges as well as giving a false name to a peace officer. He faces up to 30 years in prison at his sentence hearing on July 15th.
Two D-N-R "trail ambassadors" are being praised by two Iowa women who got lost on the Paul Bunyan Trail near Walker on Memorial Day. Sisters Donna Boos and Michelle Ertz of Dubuque say they made the rookie mistake of hiking without water or a cell phone. They were lost for about five hours and were nearly eight miles from their cabin on Leech Lake when rescued by Bob Metzer and his niece Charlene. The Metzers are volunteers trained to promote safe, environmentally responsible operation of off-highway vehicles (OHVs), but DNR conservation officer Paul Kuske says trail ambassadors are also a "second set of eyes" in an emergency situation. Char Metzer says Boos and Ertz were dehydrated, full of wood ticks and very scared -- and very glad to see their rescuers.
Nearly 90 Minnesota National Guard members from a Litchfield-based unit return home today (Tuesday) from Afghanistan. A welcome home ceremony for members of the 8-49th Mobility Augmentation Company -- deployed last July -- is this afternoon (230pm) at the Litchfield Civic Center. Captain Matt Jukkala says the company conducted route clearance for Afghan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Forces - and detected or destroyed nine improvised explosive devices. The 8-49th also performed 72 hours of continous operations at a voter polling site during the 2014 Afghan presidential elections.
The weekend deluge caused a landslide at a Dakota County park, and a portion the Big Rivers Trail between Eagan and Lilydale is closed as a result. The impassable portion of the trail is located in Northern Dakota County near Highway 13 and Lilydale Avenue., including sections 3 and 4. The Dakota County Parks Department has barricades and construction fencing at both the Lilydale and Mendota access points to warn pedestrian and bicycle traffic to stay out of the area. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is diligently working on cleanup but say it could take some time because they have to work relatively slowly to avoid a secondary landslide.
Heavy rainfall over the last few days and the resulting high waters levels are affecting a number of roads in St. Louis County. The Public Works Department has temporarily closed several county roads, mostly in the central and northern parts of the county, and has posted high water warning signs on others. Most of the roads are expected to reopen sometime today (Tue). Officials are asking anyone who encounters a dangerous road condition to call 9-1-1.
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway is being called a hero after helping two people stuck on Lake Minnetonka yesterday. The Vikings star noticed a pair of boaters stranded on a boat that they couldn't steer, perilously near the spillway at Gray's Bay Dam. Greenway jumped in the water and helped get them safely to shore.