Minnesota News Briefs: Ramsey County officials out with new stadium proposalMinnesota News
-- Ramsey County officials are out with a new plan to fund the local share of a proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium in Arden Hills.
ST. PAUL -- Ramsey County officials are out with a new plan to fund the local share of a proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium in Arden Hills.
Supporters say user and advertising fees plus property taxes on stadium-related business and new development could raise $321-million. Their original proposal called for a half-cent countywide sales tax that would have covered $350-million of the $1.1-billion dollar cost. Representatives from Ramsey County are meeting this morning with legislators and Governor Dayton.
Police are investigating a body which turned up in north Minneapolis this morning (Fri). No identity has been released. Officers say the case is suspicious but have not said whether they are searching for a suspect.
Most of Rep. Michele Bachmann's CPAC speech Thursday focused on foreign policy but the ex-presidential hopeful also poked some fun at herself. Bachmann said running for president is one series of humiliations after another... and she learned some things. She says she learned where John Wayne was born and the day Elvis Presley was born. Bachmann jokingly said they were vital issues to our republic. Bachmann said that John Wayne was born in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa when he was actually from Winterset and she mistakenly wished Elvis a happy birthday on August 16th which is the anniversary of his death.
The final certified 2012 property tax levy numbers show the elimination of the Market Value Homestead Credit will increase property taxes by $370-million. This means Minnesota now has the highest property tax level in the 154-year history of the state. Governor Dayton signed the Republican-backed tax bill that eliminated the homestead credit to end the state government shutdown. The non-partisan House Research report found that property taxes on homeowners rose by 71-million dollars, $52-million on farmers and businesses $133-million. Representative Paul Marquart of Dilworth is calling for a complete restoration of the Homestead Credit to lower property taxes.
Law enforcement could sell forfeited firearms to federally-licensed dealers at auction, under a bill that cleared a key Senate committee Thursday. Anti-gun-violence groups warn, despite background checks, more weapons will get into the hands of criminals. Columbia Heights Democrat Barb Goodwin says having our law enforcement agencies selling weapons is really kind of a bad image. But Alexandria Republican Bill Ingebrigtsen, a retired county sheriff, responds to say this legislation would be adding to street violence is a real stretch, in fact it's false. The bill now awaits a vote in the GOP-controlled Minnesota Senate.
A former business manager for Chokio-Alberta Public Schools has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for stealing $300,000 from the district. Forty-four-year-old Liane Claasen was also ordered to pay more than $263,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to wire fraud. She admitted to using the school district's computer to pay herself more than her salary allowed between July of 1999 and August of 2010. Claasen was responsible for payroll for all district employees and authorized bank transfers.
So this is what real winter feels like. An extreme cold warning remains over northwestern Minnesota this morning with negative temperatures and extreme wind chills. The National Weather Service says it will continue to feel like 30-to-40-below-zero until afternoon across much of the upper third of the state. Two examples this morning: Fosston and Flag Island both have readings around 15-below with near 40-below wind chills.
State education officials think Minnesota can start closing the student achievement gap now that Minnesota is free of the federal No Child Left Behind law. Minnesota is among ten states granted waivers from a law whose pupil progress standards are widely considered unrealistic and unworkable The state Education Department's Charlene Briner says they are now given some flexibility to measure schools' progress more accurately and fairly. She says the state should now make greater strides in closing the achievement gap between white students and some minority children, especially Native Americans and African-Americans.
Two young children are safe this morning after jumping into the arms of neighbors from a burning duplex in St. Paul. Fire officials say a four-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl were saved by neighbors who put a mattress on the ground and caught them. The children's mother and her fiance made their way to safety down a ladder. Fire officials say the Marion Street fire is likely a case of arson.
The Minnesota state House of Representatives has passed a bill that would prohibit taking union dues out of state payments to home-based day-care providers. Governor Dayton's order for a union election at day-care providers is under court challenge, but GOP lawmakers want additional insurance in case the governor has his way. Dayton says his executive order makes it clear that no one has to pay union dues who choses not to be a member, even if the union is formed. Dayton calls the move "just another one of these gambits to try to make some political mileage.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) continues to push for an extension of the payroll tax cuts through 2012. Sen. Klobuchar says during challenging times, the last thing middle class families need is a tax hike. Congress passed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut in December which expires at the end of this month. Klobuchar says if it is not extended the average Minnesotan will pay an additional $525 and a family will see a tax increase of more than one-thousand dollars. Klobuchar's website now has an interactive map which breaks down the average savings to workers of every county in the state.
If you know someone who is having an bad reaction to a synthetic drug, how do you quickly relay that information to medical professionals? Students at St. Cloud Apollo High School and the Alternative Learning Center are starting to implement the safe term "Bogo" to let medical personnel know they have a synthetic drug in their system, but don't know what it is exactly. Dan Becker, a Chemical health counselor for District-742, says the students have come up with the safe word "Bogo" because there have been several emergencies involving synthetic drugs at schools throughout central Minnesota. Students have been working to spread the safety-word "Bogo" to school staff, E-M-Ts, E-R doctors and community leaders in the area.
>>Weak Ice Across Minnesota
(St. Paul, MN) -- Caution is the word when venturing onto frozen lakes and waterways in Minnesota. The D-N-R's Tim Smalley says the ice is dangerous all over the state but especially across the southern half. Smalley says conditions are somewhat better in the northern half of the state but some vehicles have gone through the ice as far north as the Canadian border. He says it's best to check ice conditions at a local bait shop. They are in daily contact with anglers and others who go onto the ice and have the latest information.
>>Fatal Head On Crash In Nobles County
(Adrian, MN) -- The State Patrol is still sorting out details from Thursday afternoon's fatal head-on crash in southwestern Minnesota. They say an S-U-V being driven in the wrong lane collided with a car near the Nobles County town of Adrian. No identities have been released.
>>Hecker Moved To Another Prison
(Undated) -- Ex-auto mogul Denny Hecker has been moved to a higher-security prison in Wisconsin. According to reports, Hecker's attorney says his client may not have been obeying phone rules or was perceived as a flight risk. Hecker was moved from a federal minimum security prison in Duluth to a medium-security facility in Oxford, near Madison. Hecker is serving a ten-year sentence after admitting he orchestrated a scheme to defraud Chrysler Financial Services and others out of millions of dollars.
Winning Lottery Numbers
(Roseville, MN) -- Here are the winning numbers from the Minnesota State Lottery for Thursday, February 9th, 2012. The Daily Three: 3-7-6. Northstar Cash: 1-4-7-11-25.