MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Minneapolis Police Chief to release investigation of officer-involved fatal crash
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau this morning (10am) releases results of an investigation after a police vehicle on the way to a shoot-out situation last May ran a red light and killed a motorcyclist. 24-year-old Ivan Olivares died in the crash and his girlfriend was injured. Police were en route to a house where officers fatally shot a burglary suspect, 22-year-old Terrance Franklin. Earlier this fall, a Hennepin County grand jury cleared officers of any wrongdoing in Franklin's killing. Investigators allege he shot two officers and was about to fire again when another officer shot and killed him.
No sex offenders will be released from prison in Minnesota until the legislature can review the current system. Governor Mark Dayton suspended all releases yesterday, but is still not standing in the way of the provisional release of serial rapist Thomas Duvall. He called the reaction to that case a political circus. A federal judge in St. Paul will hear arguments in December on the constitutionality of the state's sex offender program.
Archbishop John Nienstedt and former Vicar General Peter Laird of the Archdiocese of St. paul and Minneapolis are not currently under a criminal investigation. Thats the word from St. Paul Police as they investigate sex abuse claims against clergy members. Police spokesman Howie Padilla says investigators have talked to very courageous folks who have come forward to tell about their experiences being sexually abused by priests. Nienstedt has launched an investigation of his own.
Federal officials have awarded Minnesota nearly 99-million dollars to fund the state's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LIHEAP. State Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman says it's about a 10-percent reduction from last year, but he's optimistic another round of allocations will be made. Rothman says last year, Minnesota served nearly 148-thousand households and renters with 109.6 million dollars in funds. For more information on the heating assistance program, you're encouraged to contact your local utility provider.
State lawmakers have put Thursday, December 5th on their calendars -- the day when the next economic forecast will be released. Tax revenue collections have been over 600 million dollars more than expected since the last forecast, likely due to the improving economy, but state law automatically commits that surplus to pay back schools for state aid that lawmakers delayed to balance the budget when times were lean. Lawmakers find out December 5th whether any additional surplus is forecast. If there is one, the first 200-plus million dollars would again go to repay remaining money still owed to Minnesota schools. If there were anything left after that, interest groups would then be vying for it at the Capitol.
A second photo is being circulated by University of Minnesota police of a man they're calling a person of interest in an on-campus attempted robbery this week. The man seem in surveillance footage that was released earlier has been cleared of any wrongdoing. A student was approached by a man with a gun monday afternoon in Anderson Hall demanding her laptop, and the robbery attempt prompted a campus-wide alert to take shelter. He ran off empty-handed when she screamed.
Mayo Clinic researchers have completed an animal study that seems to show a connection between Type One diabetes and gluten in wheat products. Immunologist Dr. Govin Rajagopalan says the goal of the research was not just to determine **if** gluten in wheat products leads to a higher incidence of diabetes but to determine why and how the amount of wheat, or gluten, in the diet affects the incidence of diabetes. Gastroenterologist Dr. Joseph Murray says gluten probably does not *cause* Type One diabetes, but the change in bacteria from avoiding gluten may offer protection against this form of diabetes. Type One diabetes is an inherited inability to produce insulin, rather than an acquired condition that can be brought on by obesity and other health factors.
The D-N-R is warning Minnesotans about the dangers of thin ice. Temperatures have been below freezing but not for an extended period of time. Water safety specialist Kara Owens says they're reminding people before going near a partially-frozen pond or lake to always check the ice because no ice is ever 100-percent safe. She says you need a good solid four inches for walking. Owens says she doesn't believe that any body of water right now has four inches of clear ice for walking on it. She says it's especially important to keep a close eye on children around water this time of year There were six ice fatalities in Minnesota last winter and all involved vehicles or snowmobiles.
The Salvation Army wants to make sure bell-ringers are standing next to their red kettles as much as possible during the upcoming holidays and they're putting out a call for volunteers. In Fergus Falls, Lieutenant Linda McCormick points out a red kettle without a bell-ringer doesn't bring in any money. She says "it's important that you feel that your donation is appreciated -- which it greatly is -- but it's nice to have somebody stand there and thank you for your donation." The Fergus Falls Salvation Army is also asking for donations of toys and other items for their Christmas giveaway.
School districts around the state continue to fight bullying. Willmar Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard says they have a relatively strong anti-bullying policy in place. He says what makes cyberbullying easy to do is the anonymity and lack of accountability in cyberbullying. When cyberbullying occurs there is not a lot of human interaction that happens, you are isolated from everybody and you continue to do it. Kjergaard says it's inappropriate and it's wrong. He says when the bullying happens off school grounds it's up to parents to know what their kids are doing. He says parents need to watch their kids, especially teens, if they are showing signs of being bullied -- if they don't want to go to school, or have changes in personality. And if your child is the bully be sure to take away your teen's smartphone or computer.