MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: St. Paul man jailed after plotting to kill ex-wife
ST. PAUL -- A St. Paul man with a history of domestic violence is jailed after apparently plotting to kill his ex-wife and several other people. Police say Michael Mangan's brother-in-law called police after Mangan claimed to keep track of several people he feels treated him poorly. The people on Mangan's hit list include his ex and her friend, two pastors, a court official who handled his divorce, and a St. Paul Police sergeant. Investigators found sketches of Mangan's ex-wife's home, her place of employment, and other buildings. They also discovered letters Mangan had written to his former spouse and ten other people, which police say his current girlfriend was supposed to deliver after he murdered his ex. A weapon and ammunition was also found. Mangan is charged with seven counts of stalking and making terroristic threats.
The former fire chief of a small town about two hours north of Duluth has been charged in federal court with setting fires in the Superior National Forest and trying to set a fire at a resort while he was chief. Ryan Scharber resigned as fire chief last December, just after the federal investigation began. Scharber is charged with two counts of setting fires in the Superior National Forest in October of 2011 and April of 2012. He is also charged with one count of attempted arson at Mattila's Birch Lake Resort in Babbitt in December of 2011. Scharber joined the Babbitt Fire Department as a volunteer in August 2005 and was appointed fire chief in January 2008. In September of 2011 he told the Fox television affiliate in Duluth that they were busy fighting fires - and while the department usual handled 40 to 50 calls a year they were up to nearly 80. The first fire Scharber was charged with setting began a week after that interview.
A Coon Rapids man with a history of improper behavior with children has been arrested on sexual misconduct charges for inappropriately touching a 13-year-old Eden Prairie boy. Robert Ladwig is a private music teacher, and investigators say he was giving flute lessons at the young teen's home when the father walked in on the two sitting very closely together -- and became suspicious when Ladwig moved away when he walked into the room. When police spoke to the victim he told them that Ladwig had rubbed his feet several times over the past three months, and at the end of June the 29-year-old music teacher fondled his genitals. Ladwig pled guilty in 2011 to disorderly conduct charges, after he was accused of kissing a young female student. Police say he also admitted to his ex-wife that he was in counseling for engaging in child pornography.
Seat belt use is at a record-high 94-point-8 percent in Minnesota, according to a June survey by the state Public Safety Department. But Traffic Safety Director Donna Berger says we can do better. She says in over half of traffic fatalities, people are unbelted -- and if the state could get the compliance rate closer to 100 percent, many more lives would be saved. Berger says in rural Minnesota, 80 percent of traffic fatalities are unbelted. And seat belt compliance rates are significantly lower for pickup drivers and their passengers. Minnesotans age 16 to 29 also buckle up less than other age groups.
A big uptick in air travelers is expected at M-S-P as families head out of town for the Education Minnesota Professional Conference weekend. Airport spokesman Pat Hogan says activity really starts to pick up today (Wed) as people fly out, and then Saturday and Sunday when they return. Hogan says the T-S-A expanded its pre-check program October 10th and boarding passes are now randomly selected for expedited security screening. He recommends all travelers arrive at least two hours in advance of their flight.
Lawmakers today (Wed) begin the second leg of their tour of projects competing for state bonding dollars in 2014. A Senate committee is visiting south-central and southwest Minnesota this week. Chairman Leroy Stumpf says one category of projects is state facilities like parks, trails, state hospitals and prisons. And then there are projects on the campuses of state colleges and universities, plus the University of Minnesota. And Stumpf says there are a number of local projects competing for state bonding dollars. His panel visits Faribault, Saint Peter and Mankato today (Wed), Jackson and Marshall tomorrow, and Willmar, New London and Shakopee on Friday.
The U-S Army Corps of Engineers is closing its regulatory offices in Minnesota and Wisconsin because of the federal government shutdown. The corps says the facilities will not consider or issue permits for developing wetlands, due to a lack of funding. The agency says it won't resume those activities until the shutdown has ended. It's in its third week.