(Update) Minnesota News Roundup: Air traffic from Minnesota to the East Coast starting to be restored
Air traffic from Minnesota to the East Coast is slowly being restored in the wake of "Superstorm Sandy," with JFK and Newark Airports now re-opened while LaGuardia remains closed.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International spokesman Patrick Hogan says patience and flexibility are the keys right now, stressing that travelers should work with their airline to try to find some alternatives "to get you there." Hogan says it's still a good idea for people to check with their airline before making the trip to the airport.
A new survey gives President Obama a seven-point lead over Mitt Romney in Minnesota less than a week from Election Day. The KSTP/SurveyUSA poll shows Obama with 50 percent support, Romney at 43 percent and seven percent undecided. The president had a ten-point advantage over his Republican challenger in the same survey two weeks ago. Meanwhile in the latest Star Tribune Minnesota poll, Romney was only three points behind Obama which is within the margin of error. The SurveyUSA poll also suggests the state's marriage amendment is still too close to call: 48 percent of respondents plan to vote "yes" and 47 percent will vote "no." )
A judge in Mankato is now waiting for written arguments after Minnesota State University Mankato's football coach asked her to dismiss child pornography charges against him. Todd Hoffner took the stand Wednesday to explain two videos on his work cellphone showing his naked children dancing and laughing. An earlier search warrant found no other incriminating materials at his home. A human services investigation found that the videos did *not* show sexual abuse of the children. Blue Earth County Judge Krista Jass will receive written arguments by November 14th and then make her decision.
Authorities in northwest Minnesota are doing an aerial search this afternoon for a Bemidji man who has been missing nearly two weeks. Thirty-one-year-old Matthew Pulis was last seen October 20th in downtown Bemidji. Police have completed a 200-block, door-to-door search for Pulis between downtown and his residence. The shorelines of Lake Bemidji and Lake Irvine have been checked by boat and side-scan sonar. Residents in the area are asked to check any outbuildings and structures on their property. Pulis is five-foot seven, 165 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is taking some heat for his political activism following his worst performance of the season against Tampa Bay. Some fans worry he's more focused on defeating Minnesota's same-sex marriage amendment than on football. Kluwe responds when he's at work, football is the only thing he's focusing on. The rest of the time, he says, "I have a life." The Vikings worked out a free-agent punter this week after Kluwe shanked a 20-yard punt out of bounds in the loss to the Buccaneers. Kluwe holds the Vikings career average record at 44.3 yards per punt.
The Salvation Army in Minnesota is getting ready to send personnel to the storm-stricken East Coast. Spokeswoman Annette Bauer says they haven't been called out yet, but have been asked to put together a four- to six-person leadership team to handle logistics.
Bauer says the leadership team will oversee meal and shelter programs -- also provide trauma counselors and financial assistance -- plus handle warehouse logisitics.
As relief efforts continue on the East Coast following Hurricane Sandy, local officials are urging that people who donate to charities be mindful of scams. The Minnesota Better Business Bureau recommends researching any organization you're considering contributing to. And they say it's a good idea to give to established charities with vast experience in carrying out relief efforts. For more information on reputable charities, you can visit Give-dot-Org.
Analysts do not expect a gas price increase in Minnesota due to Superstorm Sandy's destruction on the East Coast. Triple-A Minnesota's Gail Weinholzer says with 20-thousand fewer airline flights and millions of people not driving their automobiles, while there has been some interruption in supply there has also been a significant interruption in demand. Weinholzer says the East Coast refineries that shut down temporarily did not suffer any long-term damage. The drop in demand for gas in the heavily-populated New York-New Jersey area may lead to lower prices at the pump. Minnesota's current statewide average stands at 3-25 a gallon.
Election Day is getting close -- and big names are pushing for "yes" and "no" votes in one of the state's biggest battles. Former Minnesota resident and well-known evangelist Billy Graham has given his blessing to the proposed marriage amendment that's on the ballot next Tuesday. On Wednesday, Graham said quote: "I pray that the good people of Minnesota will show their support for God's definition of marriage, between a man and a woman." That statement was being released about the same time actor Brad Pitt was pledging 100-thousand-dollars, 25-thousand of that for Minnesota groups, pushing for a "no" vote on the marriage amendment. Pitt's statement read: "It's unbelievable to me that people's lives and relationships are literally being voted on in a matter of days." Polls show the battle over the marriage amendment a dead heat in Minnesota.
It's about as good a harvest as Minnesota farmers could want. Fall has provided plenty of dry weather for hauling in the crops and nearly all of the state's corn, sugarbeets and sunflowers have been harvested. The latest USDA Crop Report shows the pace way ahead of normal but the prolonged dry weather has left many fields much drier than they should be going into the winter season.