Minnesota News Briefs: General Mills plans jobs cutsMore information is coming out on planned job cuts at Golden Valley-based General Mills. About half the reductions to the company's worldwide workforce will reportedly be in the Twin Cities area.
GOLDEN VALLEY - More information is coming out on planned job cuts at Golden Valley-based General Mills. About half the reductions to the company's worldwide workforce will reportedly be in the Twin Cities area.
That means over 400 positions. General Mills has about 35,000 workers in all. The food-making giant today unveiled restructuring plans aimed at improving productivity and cutting costs -- and the company says cuts will happen in every area of its business. General Mills says it will spend $109-million for the restructuring which includes severance packages to its separated employees.
Few details have been released about a fatal accident last night in northern Minnesota involving a pickup truck and two people. The State Patrol says the truck's driver lost control on Highway-65 in Nashwauk, crashing into a tree There was also a passenger in the pickup. More information is expected this afternoon.
The Minnesota Association of Realtors is reporting an increase in median sales prices for the third straight month. CEO Chris Galler says prices are up 11-point-five percent from last April. Galler says it's significant for two reasons: Distressed property inventory is down, plus there are not a lot of well-maintained properties on the market and that's starting to push some prices up. The median sales price statewide was 145-thousand dollars last month. Galler says buyers are confident the housing market has bottomed out and they want to get in before interest rates go up. Pending sales rose 14-percent in April.
Duluth fire officials are investigating a string of early-morning arson fires in the West Duluth neighborhood. Firefighters responded to an RV engulfed in flames at 2 a.m. this morning and were extinguishing that fire when a second blaze involving a pickup was reported a block-and-a-half away. Minutes later, police reported a large structure fire that destroyed a garage and two nearby cars. The garage fire burned power lines down, leaving the area without electricity. Minnesota Power is currently working to restore power. Total damage from the three fires is estimated at more than $31,000 dollars.
A Grand Rapids man accused of setting a fire inside a United Methodist Church last July has pleaded guilty to fifth-degree arson. As part of the plea agreement, 67-year-old Robert Evans Shepard received a 90-day stayed sentence with credit for time served and was ordered to pay one-thousand dollars in restitution. The former custodian must also submit a DNA sample and stay away from the church for a year. Shepard allegedly set the fire that caused $50,000 damage because he was upset with the church over losing his job.
For Minnesota farmers, nearly a full week of good weather resulted in a boost in planting. The USDA reports 81-percent of the beans are in the ground, compared to 30-percent this time last year. Nearly all the state's corn, canola and potato crops are planted -- also ahead of 2011. The Crop report noted that Minnesota's topsoil moisture is mostly adequate but still a bit on the dry side.
At the end of the month, a group of Minnesota soldiers with the Monticello-based 257th Military Police Company are being deployed to Afghanistan for one year. Captain Troy Hyland says the group consists of 124 soldiers ranging in age from 19 to 51. Hyland says the soldiers will be partnering with the Afghan National Army. There will be a departure ceremony Wednesday night at 7 in the Monticello High School auditorium.
About a week after the return of six Minnesotans from Mount Everest, at least four other people have died while decending the 29-thousand foot peak. One of the climbers died from high-altitude cerebral edema, a severe and often fatal form of altitude sickness. The Minnesotans who were there earlier this month were Mayo Clinic researchers, studying the effects of thin air on organs and sleep.
There's a first court appearance this afternoon for a St. Paul man charged with two counts of criminal vehicular operation after a hit-and-run that left a four-year-old boy in critical condition. Prosecutors say witnesses told them 25-year-old Ernest Jonas repeatedly sped up and down the street on his motorcycle, popping wheelies and ignoring calls to slow down. They say he hit the child at a high rate of speed as his mother was getting ready to put the boy in her car for his birthday party. Ramsey County Attorney John Choi says, not only did Jonas have blatant disregard for pedestrian safety, but also fled the scene, leaving a child fighting for his life. Jonas was arrested Sunday at a hotel in Shakopee.
Authorities are still on the lookout for the suspect in a kidnapping-assault case. The manhunt continues for 39-year old Dennis Aasen after he allegedly kidnapped 30-year old Jenna Lee Forslin from her home in the Pope County town of Clontarf. Forslin was later found safe. Authorities say Aasen was last seen driving a dark pickup truck north of the Twin Cities. Anyone who sees Aasen is advised to call 911 since he is considered dangerous.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of a tornado that tore up north Minneapolis. It left two people dead, scores homeless and property damage in the tens of millions of dollars. Louis King heads the Northside Community Response Team that's coordinating the clean-up and rebuilding of the area, and gives the effort top grades. He says they're "prepared to declare the response effort pretty much over" and calls it "a pretty successful operation." King says jobs are needed now for those in the economically-challenged Minneapolis northside. Tornado victims are asked to bring personal mementos from the storm such as a house shingle or photo for today's community memorial marking the tornado that struck last year.
About 3,500 unionized medical workers at eight Twin Cities hospitals vote today and tomorrow on a new contract with results to be announced Wednesday night. Negotiators hammered out a tentative agreement last Wednesday, after union members overwhelmingly authorized their leaders to call a two- to five-day strike. Service Employees International Union lead negotiator Tee McClenty says the negotiating committee is recommending members vote "yes" on the tentative contract. They're not disclosing specifics of the deal at this time, but the disagreement was over wages and benefits. The union represents nursing assistants, ER technicians, maintenance and food service workers at the following hospitals: Bethesda, St. Paul Children's, Minneapolis Children's, North Memorial, Fairview Riverside, Fairview Southdale, Methodist and St. John's.
Filings open today for citizens who plan to run for public office in Minnesota. The Secretary of State's Office expects thousands of Minnesotans to put in the paperwork to seek elected positions throughout the state, including all the seats in the legislature. Filings are being accepted through June 5th. Forms, and a list of those who enter their names will be updated on the Secretary of State's website at SOS.state.mn.us.
Memorial Day weekend isn't far off and gas prices remain lower than last year at this time. Minnesota-Gas-Prices.com reports regular unleaded averaging just under $3.56 a gallon statewide this morning, about a dime less than a month ago and about a quarter below where it was last May. Diesel is still around four-dollars on average.
Minnesota welcomes in another late spring weather system today and southwestern residents will feel it first. Forecasters say wind gusts will hit 45-miles-an-hour in places like Worthington, Luverne and Marshall starting at 10 a.m. and continuing into the evening. What follows will likely be rain and more storms over much of the state on Wednesday.
A popular Minnesota bike trail has become the first U.S. Bicycle Route in the state. Nearly 150-miles of the Mississippi River Trail from Hastings to the Iowa border are now designated as U.S. Bicycle Route-45. Mn-DOT's Jessica Wiens says the designation brings national recognition. Wiens says Mn-DOT is in the process of turning the entire Mississippi River Trail into U.S. Bicycle Route-45. Once finished, it will connect the headwaters of the Mississippi River to New Orleans.
Here are the winning numbers from the Minnesota State Lottery for Monday, May 21st, 2012. The Daily Three: 7-8-5. Northstar Cash: 2-4-6-26-27. Gopher Five: 2-3-16-31-39.
This week in 1925 saw an extreme spring temperature swing in southern Minnesota. It started on this day, when a heat wave hit towns like Tracy and New Ulm, with each reaching 100-degrees. Within two days, the mercury had fallen to the freezing mark.