MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Senators Franken, Klobuchar calling for Redskins name change
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Minnesota's two U-S senators are among the 50 Senate Democrats calling on the N-F-L to change the name of the Washington Redskins. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar signed the letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to remove what they say is a racial slur. Klobuchar says we are proud of our tribal heritage in Minnesota and that particular name is not the kind of name you want on your team. The N-F-L claims the intent of the Redskins' name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image. Klobuchar says she's worked really well with the N-F-L on combating sex trafficking and the league just awarded Minnesota the Super Bowl in 2018.
Sunday is "Missing Children's Day." Allison Feigh with the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center says they are asking Minnesotans to donate 25 dollars on May 25th. She says 60 percent of their outreach efforts are done at a reduced or free cost and they never charge any money for services they give to searching families. She adds that it helps bridge the gap and the services they provide to the community. To make a donation and for more information -- go to the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center website at JWRC.org.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation urges motorists to use extra caution while driving through highway work zones this Memorial Day weekend. Mn-DOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht says people need to be careful when they encounter those work zones because there will be narrower lanes, maybe some detours, maybe some rough roads...and folks just need to slow down. Gutknect says crews will stop work later today and won't return until Tuesday, but motorists still need to follow the posted speeds. For additional road information go to 511mn.org.
A new survey shows the majority of Minnesotans plan to take at least one trip of 50 miles or more this summer. Triple-A's Gail Weinholzer says a whopping 83 percent of us will take a vacation that requires an overnight accomodation. She says city destinations topped the list at 49 percent, beaches came in second at 17 percent and theme parks were third at 13 percent. Weinholzer says 75 percent plan to spend 15-hundred dollars or less on travel over the next three months. The survey also found that 56 percent will pay for a hotel while 35 percent will stay with family or friends.
The DNR is reminding people that lakes and rivers are still extremely cold and to use caution. The air temperature is warmer, but that doesn't mean the water temperatures are ready for swimming this Memorial Day Weekend. The DNR says for boaters and swimmers the cold water can prove dangerous or even deadly. Water temperatures below 70-degrees are considered cold. The temperature on Twin Cities area lakes is still hovering around 60, meaning lakes and rivers to the north will likely be even colder. That cold water can cause you to immediately gasp for air, inhale water or even cause cardiac arrest in healthy people. Officials say cold water robs the body of heat 25 times faster than air of the same temperature.
The summer lift schedule for the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth will begin today. (Friday) The bridge will lift for marine traffic of less than 300 tons on the hour and half hour between 7 a-m and 9 p-m each day. The bridge will continue to open on request for larger ships and others in distress or engaged in emergency operations. The schedule was put in place, with U-S Coast Guard approval, in 2011 to help ease vehicle traffic congestion near the bridge during the peak navigation and tourist season.
Earlier this month, Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar joined all 20 women Senators calling for the United Nations to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group - and now the U.N. has taken that action. Klobuchar says that triggers an international asset freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo against identified members of the group. She says while the designation alone won’t bring back the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, it will help signify the determination to bring the terrorists to justice.
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has released the names and assignment history information of three priests and two religious brothers against whom claims of child sexual abuse have been substantiated. The abusive clergy include Stephen Baker, Edmund Frost, Robert Ruglovsky, Justin Weger, and Francis Zachman. Spokesman Jim Accurso says all five are dead and in all cases the abuse occurred more than 25 years ago. While religious brothers are not ordained clergy, he says their names are included because they had an official parish assignment within this archdiocese. The names of all of the sexually abusive priests that have been released so far can be found by going to archspm.org and clicking on “Clergy Abuse Disclosures” in the upper right sidebar.
Fox News says it hasn't been determined when anchor Gregg Jarrett will return to the airwaves. Jarrett was released from jail Thursday morning after a run-in with airport police in Minneapolis. An airport spokesman says Jarrett was arrested Wednesday after he became intoxicated and belligerent at a bar at Minneapolis-St. Paul International. WCCO-TV reports that Jarrett became agitated at the police station and struggled with police - and it took more than one officer to handcuff him. A search of Jarrett’s bag showed he was just released from a drug and alcohol treatment facility. Fox News says the 59-year-old Jarrett is dealing with some personal issues and was on leave from the news channel.
CenterPoint Energy officials are reminding natural gas customers to be cautions during Minnesota’s severe weather season. Pipeline safety manager Dean Headlee says knowing how to respond to an emergency and planning ahead of a storm can make all the difference. He’s urging homeowners with natural gas service to be alert for leaking gas after a storm and says that anyone that smells, hears, of sees a gas leak should leave the area immediately on foot and should not drive into or near a gas leak or vapor cloud. He also cautions homeowners not to turn lights on or off, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that might cause a spark -- including a flashlight or generator.
A better than expected earnings report for Best Buy was offset by continued falling revenue. Company officials made another $95 million in cost cutting measures, which allowed Best Buy to report a profit for the first quarter. The Twin Cities-based company reported net income per share of $1.31, which compares to 24 cents per share a year earlier. Revenue, though, fell by 3.3 percent. In the earnings report, President and CEO Hubert Joly says the total cost-cutting associated with the “Renew Blue” movement is at $860 million.
A Little Canada chiropractor has been charged with raping a client. Prosecutors say a 27-year-old woman went to 54-year old Paul Thompson’s clinic early this month, and he forcibly sexually assaulted her in a back room of the office. The criminal complaint shows that Thompson later sent her a text that reads, “I am sorry for how I treated you.” The victim told investigators that she had been a client for about ten years, seeking ongoing treatment for injuries she sustained in a car accident. The Vadnais Heights man is charged with third- and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The former Robbinsdale police chief has pleaded guilty to prostitution -- but it might not end up on his record. Steven Smith received a stay of adjudication from an Anoka County judge - which means as long as he pays a $300 fine, completes one year of probation, completes an anti-prostitution program and meets all the conditions set by the court, the case will be dismissed. That means only his arrest and the accusations against him will remain on his record. He resigned from the police department in March, more than a month after the arrest during a February prostitution sting.