MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Prayer service for victims of Kenya Mall shooting
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. -- Two students at St. John's Prep had family members killed in the terrorist attacks on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Principal Matt Reichert says the student's uncle and a grandfather, as well as other close friends and neighbors, are among the 68 people killed. This (Monday) morning at 9:25 a.m. St. John's students and faculty will hold a prayer service for the victims of the attack, and all those affected by the tragedy.
Brooklyn Center Police are investigating an early morning shooting that left two men dead and a woman injured. It's believed the two men are a father and son and the woman injured is the son's mother. Officials say the woman was treated and released from the hospital. It appears this was a domestic situation and police don't believe the public is in any danger. More information is expected to be released later today.
What do Minnesotans think about the possibility of a federal government shutdown, which could happen after House Republicans passed a bill on Friday that would maintain government spending until December but would defund the health care reform act -- a measure doomed to fail? President Barack Obama used his weekly address on Saturday to blame "a faction on the far right of the Republican party." While not unfazed, most Minnesotans say they don't think the U-S government as a whole will shut down -- and believe it's political maneuvering by the parties.
A suburban Twin Cities crude oil refinery fire is being investigated. Company officials are working to assess the damage at Northern Tier Energy in St. Paul Park, after the fire that originated at a reduced crude pump. Fire officials say it happened in a small part of the refinery, and was doused in under two hours. The refinery generates an average of 81,500 barrels per day.
St. Thomas Marketing Professor Dave Brennan supports the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates at their current level and to continue buying U.S. Bonds. Brennan says there is too much uncertainty surrounding Congress when it comes to passing a budget and raising the debt ceiling. He says once Congress comes to an agreement he believe the Federal Reserve will begin to pull back, but that agreement is currently unlikely. Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke has come under criticism from some for not changing course.
Congressman Collin Peterson says the Republican plan approved by the House to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program sets up a major clash with the Senate. The Minnesota Democrat says it likely killed any hope for passage of a new five year farm bill and spells big trouble for producers -- and says the possibility of extending the current bill is highly unlikely. North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer disagrees, and believes lawmakers will find compromise. He also says the purpose of the bill is to restore to an out-of-control food stamp program. The House vote was largely along party lines, 217 to 210, with 15 republicans joining all house Democrats in voting no.
It was a very quiet summer for severe weather across the region. The National Weather Service office in Grand Forks says they only confirmed twelve tornadoes this year. The office covers the eastern third of North Dakota and much of northwestern Minnesota. N-W-S warning coordinator Greg Gust says typically the district would see between 35 and 40 twisters, and the extended winter weather chased away much of the bad weather. Gust says the region had 85 tornadoes in 2010. The strongest storm this summer season was an early morning tornado east of Mahnomen and into Clearwater county in late July. Statewide there were 14 confirmed tornadoes in Minnesota this summer and 14 in north Dakota.
The next flu shot season will bring several new vaccine options for Minnesotans, and Mayo Clinic vaccine expert Doctor Gregory Poland says the new choices have a more personalized approach, and there is a best choice for each individual. Protection against a fourth strain of the flu virus is included in this year's vaccine; a more potent vaccine meant to better protect the elderly is available; and a vaccine using a microneedle that is less painful is available for those afraid of the poke.