Minnesota News Briefs: GOP Convention opens in St. Cloud, Ron Paul to give speechMinnesota News
-- Five Republicans are vying for their party's endorsement to run for U.S. Senate as the GOP state convention opens in St. Cloud today.
ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Five Republicans are vying for their party's endorsement to run for U.S. Senate as the GOP state convention opens in St. Cloud today.
Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier says it could be a long endorsement fight and Ron Paul supporters are one of the important factions. Schier says State Representative Kurt Bills reportedly has a fair amount of support among the "Paulites" and perhaps that will be a decisive advantage. The other two front-runners are Minnesota National Guard Captain Pete Hegseth and former State Representative Dan "Doc" Severson. Ron Paul addresses the convention tonight. Paul supporters are looking to dominate Minnesota delegation to the national GOP convention in Tampa in late August after already securing 20 slots of the 40-person delegation.
A federal affidavit says a Minnesota man with suspected ties to white supremacist groups had plans to attack the Mexican consulate in St. Paul. The affidavit sheds new light on the case against Joseph Benjamin Thomas. Thomas was indicted in April on drug charges, but he was also being investigated as part of a domestic terrorism probe. The documents says Thomas plotted to have someone drive a pickup loaded with barrels of gas and oil into the consulate on the eve of May 1st. The mixture would spill, then be set ablaze. The FBI says it believes Thomas had the capacity to carry out his threats.
The former director of the Long Prairie Chamber of Commerce has been charged with two counts of felony theft. Thirty-three-year-old Kim Burkett is accused of embezzling nearly 30-thousand dollars from the chamber over the past year. According to the criminal complaint, Burkett used the chamber's debit card for personal buys including items from Victoria's Secret, tattoo removal, nail salons and making her husband's car payments. Burkett's husband is the Todd County administrator and as a result of his wife's investigation, the Todd County Board of Commissioners has called a special board meeting for Tuesday and is requesting an audit of Burkett's transactions.
Congressman Chip Cravaack (R-Duluth) took in some big donations for his re-election campaign at a fundraiser Thursday in Washington. Political action committees paid a minimum of five-thousand dollars each to attend the event. House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders are trying to help Cravaack and four other Republicans in swing districts hang onto their seats. Former Congressman Rick Nolan won the DFL endorsement in Minnesota's 8th District but will have to win the August primary to challenge Craavack in November.
The grand re-opening is today in Grand Portage for a new overlook at one of the most scenic spots on Minnesota's North Shore. A new observation deck, new picnic tables and new restrooms can be found at the Mount Josephine wayside along Highway 61, just a few miles shy of the Canadian border. It offers a breathtaking panorama of Wauswaugoning Bay, Hat Point and nearby islands. On a clear day, Isle Royale's 50-mile length is visible as is the "Sleeping Giant" about 40 miles away in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
A alleged abductee has been found safe but the man suspected of taking her against her will is still on the loose. The Pope County Sheriff's Office and BCA are looking for 39-year old Dennis Aason, who is considered dangerous and should not be approached. He is five-foot-ten and about 200-pounds. The alleged victim, 30-year old Jenna Lee Forslin was found along with her vehicle after she was taken from her western Minnesota home in Clontarf.
Hundreds are expected to take part in a walk tomorrow in honor of a teenage girl who committed suicide in April after being bullied in school. 13-year-old Rachel Ehmke's family said Rachel had been bullied in the Kasson-Mantorville district since last fall. Ashley Rye of Austin heard Rachel's story and decided to help organize a "Walk for Rachel." It kicks off at Mill Pond in Austin following a prayer vigil at 3pm. Rye is asking people to wear purple to show support for Rachel.
It's not well-known but a lot of people between the ages of 30 and 49 are moving from metro areas to rural Minnesota. A new U-of-M study refers to the rural in-migration as a "brain gain." Author Ben Winchester says the top three reasons they're moving to less-populated areas are: A slower pace, safety and security, and a lower cost of housing. Winchester says areas of southwestern Minnesota that are losing overall population are gaining residents in the 30-to-49 age group. He says things like the Internet and modern telecommunications are making it easier to stay connected in rural communities.
Mail processing centers in Duluth and Bemidji have avoided the budget ax this time around. But consolidation and job dislocations are on the way for postal facilities in Rochester, Mankato and St. Cloud. Mail processing centers in St. Cloud and Mankato will be consolidated into Minneapolis while the Rochester facility will be merged into the St. Paul center in Eagan Nowacki says it will happen in February of next year. He says the Duluth and Bemidji facilities, staying open for now, could face consolidation in a couple years.
Former Minnesota auto mogul Denny Hecker is putting on the miles. Hecker has reportedly been moved to a fourth prison in four months -- this time from a medium security prison in Indiana to a facility in Oklahoma City. The prison there is considered a transfer hub so it's not clear how long Hecker will stay in Oklahoma. Hecker is serving a ten-year sentence for fraud.
Here are the winning numbers from the Minnesota State Lottery for Thursday, May 17th, 2012. The Daily Three: 9-0-6. Northstar Cash: 2-5-11-24-29.