Minnesota News Briefs: Drought's affects reaching into MinnesotaMinnesota News
-- The latest USDA report shows lack of rain is causing major concern for farmers, particularly in dry southwestern Minnesota where most corn is at its vulnerable silking stage.
The latest USDA report shows lack of rain is causing major concern for farmers, particularly in dry southwestern Minnesota where most corn is at its vulnerable silking stage.
It seems the stress in many Minnesota farm fields is growing faster than the crops. The latest report out from the USDA shows a lack of rain is causing major concern for farmers, especially in dry southwestern Minnesota, where most corn is at its vulnerable silking stage. Topsoil moisture slid again in the past week -- to a level of 47-percent rated adequate to surplus. Among other crops, 80-percent of the state's soybeans are now blooming and the harvest of small grains began this week.
Luverne Fire Chief Dan Nath says a lot of the crops will wind up drying out. Nath reminds residents to be very careful with open burning as long as it stays like this. Southwestern, southeastern and northwestern Minnesota are all experiencing drought. Some business owners in the Red River Valley are concerned what the drought will do to their bottom line. The Otter Tail River is flowing 75 percent lower than normal this year, which could be disastrous for tubing businesses with the dog days of summer in full swing Roger Klemm, who owns K-&-K tubing near Detroit Lakes, says business is down 40 percent because of low water levels. Klemm says he may have to close tomorrow, and that would mean a loss of $600-dollars a day.
Delta Air Lines says needles were found in six turkey sandwiches Sunday on four flights from Amsterdam to the U.S. and one passenger on a flight to Minneapolis was injured but declined medical attention. The carrier is trying to figure out how it happened and says security for meal production has been increased. Delta adds that more pre-packaged food is being used while an investigation continues. Officials say the sandwiches were prepared in the kitchen of a catering company in Amsterdam.
Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union ask the Minnesota Supreme Court this afternoon (1:30pm) to throw out the ballot question on the proposed voter photo-ID constitutional amendment, claiming it's misleading. Chuck Samuelson with ACLU Minnesota says the ballot question does not let voters know about changes -- like provisional ballots required for people who can't immediately produce ID -- which he warns will discourage some people from voting But Dan McGrath with Minnesota Majority responds voter photo-ID will prevent election day fraud and he says opponents are "trying to thwart the will of the people and prevent this important election integrity measure from taking place."
A Rochester man was sentenced to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to stabbing a two-year-old boy in early March. 23-year-old Antonio Roebuck admitted to repeatedly stabbing the toddler in his bedroom after breaking into the family's apartment. According to investigators, Roebuck was upset over a breakup with the boy's mother and stabbed the child in a jealous rage. The boy survived, but suffered brain damage and continues to go to physical therapy five days a week.
A 56-year-old man is dead after being electrocuted Sunday night while working on a boatlift at his home on Eagle lake between Willmar and Spicer. Kandiyohi County Sheriff's officials say Brian Van Engen was moving his boatlift when it came into contact with an extension cord that had been rubbed bare. The cord had been used to supply power to his electric lift. A neighbor was able to unplug the cord and pull Van Engen from the water. He was pronounced dead at at a Willmar hospital.
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester is number-three again in the 2012-2013 Best Hospitals Honor Roll. U.S. News and World Reports ranks Mayo number-one in the nation for adult specialties in diabetes and endocrinology, gynecology, and gastroenterology. Mayo received top-five rankings for cardiology and heart surgery, neurology, nephrology, orthopedics, pulmonology, rheumatology, urology and cancer. Massachusetts General Hospital topped the list for the first time this year ending John Hopkins' 21-year reign as the number-one hospital in the U.S. Mayo Clinic was third last year and ranked second two years ago.
A state employee has been indicted for allegedly using a fake identity to receive 18-thousand dollars in low-income housing tax credits. Fifty-three-year-old Oluremi George of Woodbury is charged with Social Security fraud, making false statements and passport fraud. Federal prosecutors say George used the name Victoria Ayoola and a fraudulent Social Security number to apply for housing assistance for a low-income townhome. George's salary from 2009 through 2011 was above the income limit to be eligible to live in one of the units. She is also accused of using the Ayoola name on a driver's license and passport application. George was reportedly working in the Minnesota Secretary of State's office during that time.
Officials are awaiting further results from the medical examiner's office to learn more about a body found in a burning van in Cannon City Township Sunday. Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn says an autospy has been completed but they are still waiting for dental records to assist in identification. He says what we do know is the victim was an adult male.
Sheriff Dunn says the registered owner of the van has not been located. Results from the medical examiner are expected later today. The state fire marshall's office is assisting with the investigation into what caused the fire.
The rising cost of rent and low vacancy rates are putting the squeeze on Minnesotans who are already struggling to make ends meet. Leigh Rosenberg with the Minnesota Housing Partnership says to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in the state, a person making minimum wage would have to work 86-hours a week. She says Minnesota has the worst affordability of any state in the midwest. Rosenberg says 54-percent of renters in Minnesota currently do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the "fair market rent" where they live.
Here's another scam to watch out for. The Minnesota Judicial Branch warns people of a bogus text message, telling them they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest because they failed to appear in court. The message directs them to call a phone number where they can pay 500-dollars to rid themselves of the warrant. The Minnesota State Court advises people not to reply to the text -- but to report it to local law enforcement.