Minnesota News Briefs: Corcoran boy drowns in pondMinnesota News
-- Authorities have not yet identified the 11-year-old boy who drowned in a pond west of the Twin Cities
CORCORAN, Minn. - Authorities have not yet identified the 11-year-old boy who drowned in a pond west of the Twin Cities.
The boy and his brother were visiting from St. Paul when he went under in a pond on a farm in Corcoran. The boy was pulled out and given CPR but was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) and Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis), and 8th District Congressman Chip Cravaack (R-Duluth) are urging FEMA to swiftly re-consider its decision denying individual assistance to flood-stricken homeowners and businesses in northeastern Minnesota. Governor Dayton said Wednesday he's appealing after the agency said damage was "not of such severity and magnitude" to qualify. The denial does not affect already-granted federal disaster aid to help repair more than $100-million dollars in damage to roads and other public infrastructure. The state must pay one-fourth of that cost -- likely the main topic for a special legislative session planned for the second half of August.
An invasive species which carries a parasite that can kill ducks has turned up in some northwestern Minnesota ponds. The DNR's Barry Stratton says faucet snails were discovered in bags of leeches. Stratton says they checked 20 ponds so far and six contain faucet snails. The ponds are surrounded by either White Earth Tribal Nation land or northern Becker County land. Previously, the only places where faucet snails been found were in Lake Winnibigoshish and in the Mississippi River around La Crosse.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says this season's harvest is worsening by the day and a drop in supply will push consumer costs higher. For example, officials say beef will likely go up four- to five-percent in the next year while dairy costs will probably increase between three-and-a-half to four-percent. Minnesota's two biggest commodities -- corn and soybeans -- are at very high prices already and could go higher if the drought worsens. The rising cost of those commodities is passed down to livestock farmers too, in the form of feed. In turn, that cost makes the meat cost more in grocery stores.
Summer of 2012 is eroding the record books in southeastern Minnesota. Since the start of June, daytime highs in Rochester have averaged 74-point-one-degrees -- higher than the previous marks set in the 1930's and 40's. There have been 15 90-degree days so far this summer in Rochester. On average each year, there are nine. The city of Austin has already recorded eight daytime highs over 95-degrees. Usually there are fewer than two each summer.
Many fliers confronted with an ever-expanding array of fees for services are getting frustrated while trying to find the best bang for their buck. Twin Cities analyst Liz Fedor says many airlines are going to an "ala carte" pricing system and passengers who want more services will pay more. She says the days of a base fare which includes all services are likely behind us. A recent travel report shows Delta Air Lines is expected to increase airfares between five-and eight-percent at Minneapolis-St. Paul International next year, compared to about a three-percent increase projected for the rest of the country.
A family-owned bank in St. Paul has been sold to an Omaha bank holding company. However, the change in ownership will not reportedly affect Western Bank's branches or 70-plus employees. Western, which has five Twins Cities area locations, was bought out by American National Corporation. It's been in the Sands family since 1935.
Authorities want the public to be on the lookout for a panda -- somewhere between the Twin Cities. Not a real, rare panda bear but a school mascot that's made of wood, about five-feet tall and weighs about 100-pounds The hand-carved panda was taken from in front of an elementary School in the village of St. Anthony. Anyone with information can contact the St. Anthony Police Department.
The man who died in a house fire north of the Twin Cities Wednesday has been identified. Reports say the body of Joseph Harris was found in the rubble after the second story of his home collapsed in the Anoka County town of Linwood. Firefighters say once they got inside the burning residence, their access was restricted because of debris, plus piles of books and newspapers.
National President Richard Trumka says the AFL-CIO will escalate its campaign to get a new contract for workers at American Crystal Sugar, as the lockout of 1,300 employees approaches the one-year mark. Trumka says nothing is off the table, including advertising, lobbying lawmakers, and lobbying against the federal sugar program. As for a national boycott, Trumka says "we'll work our way to that." He says hopefully American Crystal Sugar will come back to the table and start negotiating in good faith. Executives at American Crystal Sugar were not immediately available to comment.
Activists this morning (10:30am) in St. Paul launch their campaign to increase welfare grants in Minnesota. Angel Buechner with the Welfare Rights Committee says a family of two gets only $437 a month to live on and there's been no increase in 26-years. She says the size of the grants is "just killing us right now, with the economy the way it is." Buechner acknowledges it will be a battle to convince lawmakers to increase welfare grants at a time when more state budget deficits are expected -- but she says it's a battle her group is ready to take on.