MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Teenager accused of stealing school bus back in court
The teenager accused of stealing a school bus in Roseville in February is due in Ramsey County Juvenile Court today. The 14-year-old boy is charged with felony motor vehicle theft and two counts of felony criminal damage to property. After his arrest, the teen told police he was trying to return the bus to the charter company that owns it and thought it had been abandoned. His drive lasted three and a half miles before the bus hit a gas pump as it was being driven through the lot of a Shell station.
The woman who admitted to having two babies and disposing of their bodies on the family's property in South Dakota was back in court this week in Yellow Medicine County. 34-year-old Kelly Anderson-Person, formerly of Clarkfield, plead guilty to the gross misdemeanor child endangerment charge. While being interviewed by police last August, Anderson-Person pulled out a .38-caliber revolver from underneath a couch cushion and attempted to shoot herself in the head. Officers were able to wrestle the gun from her, however a shot was fired. It was during that same interview that she told police that she disposed of two infants she gave birth to near Fish Lake in Deuel County, South Dakota. She could face up to a year in jail on the charge.
One of the two people charged following a fatal stabbing in Duluth has agreed to a plea deal. The Saint Louis County Attorney's Office says Joella Tucker admitted to her role in the murder of Kevin Tyman in his apartment, pleading guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Tucker's co-defendant Raymond Weeks is accused of stabbing Tyman in December of 2012. The Two Harbors man is charged with intentional second degree murder. His case is pending. In return for her plea, Tucker's level of involvement in the crime won't be considered by a grand jury, should one be convened. She faces more than ten years in prison when sentenced. No date has been set.
The subzero temperatures are likely in the rear view mirror, but Minnesotans will still be dealing with some of their effects for several more weeks. Fergus Falls City Operations Manager Steve Hames is concerned about the possibility of frozen water service lines, which many Minnesota communities have been battling because the frost is deeper than a normal year. He says usually their frost line is four-to-five feet deep in the street and right now it's averaging six-and-a-half feet deep. Hames says the service lines to newer homes are buried eight to nine feet, but that isn't always true of older homes and many are experiencing water problems. While the city has a machine that will unthaw the lines the homeowner would have to pay for the contractor's time. The expense and who pays it varies from community to community in Minnesota.
A Hennepin County jury convicted a Minneapolis man in the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy and the attempted murder of two other teens. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says 27-year-old Kemen Taylor the Second convinced 16-year-old Donquarius Copeland and 15-year-old Derrick Catchings to shoot at Rayjon Gomez and his friends in a Minneapolis alley in August of 2011. Testimony showed that Taylor was seeking revenge for injuries his younger brother suffered by a rival gang member. Copeland and Catchings pled guilty to second degree murder and testified against Taylor; at a previous hearing Catchings admitted that the murdered boy was not the person involved in the incident with Taylor's brother. Freeman says that, "boys shooting boys, egged on by an adult, is sickening," and he's pleased that Taylor will not be causing anymore deaths in the Twin Cities. The jury took about five hours to reach its verdict and Taylor was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Wisconsin officials are confirming some people receiving child support through their state have had money stolen as a result of the credit and debit card breach at Target stores. Nearly four-thousand EPPIC debit card holders had their cards compromised and replaced. Before that happened, however, the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" reports an official with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families says a "handful" of people were victims. One is a former Milwaukee resident now living in Massachusetts, who had nearly 36-hundred dollars stolen through ATM withdrawals overseas.
The state Court of Appeals has ruled (Wed) that Archbishop John Nienstedt (NINE'-stad) must testify under oath about church officials' response to child sex-abuse allegations against priests. A lower court earlier ordered that Nienstedt testify and the appeals court refused to consider an appeal by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis as well as the Diocese of Winona. A lawsuit by an alleged victim of ex-priest Thomas Adamson prompted the court battle. A brief statement from the Archdiocese says the church appreciates that the Court of Appeals considered the appeal and issued a timely opinion. No word, though, about whether they will appeal to the Supreme Court.
A bill that would basically extend Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule to propane suppliers has a hearing this afternoon (noon) in a state Senate committee. Northfield Democrat Kevin Dahle's (DAHLS) bill would require propane suppliers work out a reasonable payment agreement with financially-strapped customers. It would also regulate suppliers that have minimum delivery requirements, delivery fees and security deposits. Dahle says his bill would apply only to suppliers who accept 200 thousand dollars or more through the low-income heating assistance program. And municipal utilities and propane suppliers with less than three-thousand customers would be exempt.
The Minnesota Medical Association is weighing its position on whether to legalize medical marijuana. Two-thirds of physicians attending a forum in Eagan oppose the legislation at the State Capitol, but the M-M-A does not have an official position on medical marijuana. The organization is asking for members' opinions via a survey and will share those results and feedback from the forum with its public health committee, which is expected to develop a recommendation in mid-March. Board Chair Dr. Dave Thorson says the group of physicians definitely felt more research was needed on the topic. Supporters contend federal law has prevented extensive medical marijuana research.
The Libertarian Party of Minnesota will announce its 2014 candidate for governor today in St. Paul (Thurs 10am). LPMN executive director Andy Burns would not tip his hat prior to the news conference, but said their gubernational candidate will be "a recognizable name." He adds Libertarians offer Minnesotans a much needed alternative to politics as usual. The party's state convention is April 26th in Maple Grove.
A hearing in state Senate committee this afternoon (3pm) on a bill that would allow the U-of-M to continue selling beer and wine at TCF Bank Stadium. That permission sunsets under current Minnesota law. Northfield Democrat Kevin Dahle, who's sponsoring the extension, says the University tells him disturbances and incidents of public intoxication have actually dropped since beer and wine have been available at the stadium. The U originally planned to sell alcoholic beverages only in suites at TCF Bank Stadium, but the legislature passed a bill saying they had to sell them either everywhere in the stadium or nowhere. Beer and wine are currently sold in a designated area from one hour before kickoff through the end of halftime. (Alcoholic beverages are available in suites only at Mariucci and Williams Arena.
A moratorium on schools suspending students, except for violent behavior -- that's the call at the State Capitol this morning (9am) by a group of religious leaders. Students of color account for 60 percent of all disciplinary actions in Minnesota schools, even though they're only 30 percent of the student population. The Reverend Paul Slack with New Creation Church in Minneapolis says instead of spending more money on police and security officers in schools, those funds should go to hire more counselors and psychologists. Slack says a moratorium on all non-violent school suspensions would send a clear signal that the state is serious about keeping all kids in school and addressing the crisis of suspensions involving students of color.
Following a request from Senator Amy Klobuchar, the Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing today (thurs) on current challenges for freight and passenger rail and ways to boost safety. Klobuchar called for the comprehensive oversight hearing in the wake of recent derailments in Two Harbors, Casselton, North Dakota and Canada. She says safety investments must be made to protect communities from derailments that might involve hazardous materials.