MInnesota News Briefs: Crop conditions vary throughout MinnesotaMinnesota News
-- Minnesota has some of the most variable crop conditions in the country according to the latest report from the state.
Minnesota has some of the most variable crop conditions in the country according to the latest report from the state.
Where rain has fallen most crops are in very good shape and will likely yield well this fall. But in some parts of Minnesota -- mostly western and southern counties -- hot, dry conditions this growing season have really hurt crops. Half the state's topsoil is rated dry or very dry -- while half the state has adequate to surplus amounts of moisture. The harvest of small grains like spring wheat, oats and barley is moving along at a very face past this year. The harvest of canola and potatoes is just getting under way.
The month of July ends with overall dry conditions around Minnesota, but far less dry than many other states. The latest USDA Crop report shows temperatures about three-degrees above normal in the past week with scattered rains easing drought conditions slightly. Corn, soybeans and most other crops continue ahead of the usual pace as August arrives.
A pickup driver from Starbuck faces three counts of criminal vehicular homicide and a DWI charge after a crash that killed the five-month-old son of the men's basketball coach at Southwest State University. Prosecutors charged 38-year-old Dana Schoen after the head-on collision which killed Drake Bigler and critically injured his father, Brad Bigler, and his great grandmother. The boy's mother, Heather, suffered minor injuries. The driver charged in the incident was not hurt.
Governor Mark Dayton has a different opinion than former President Bill Clinton about who should represent Minnesota's 8th District in the U.S. House. Dayton today announced he's backing DFL-endorsed candidate Rick Nolan, saying he's "a true common sense champion for the middle class." Dayton adds Nolan, a former business owner, has proven he knows how to create jobs and will always fight for working families. Last Friday, former President Clinton endorsed ex-state Senator Tarryl Clark for 8th District in Congress. Nolan, Clark and former Duluth City Councilman Jeff Anderson face off in the August 14th DFL primary.
More information will be released this afternoon about the desecration of a gravesite at Fort Snelling National Cemetery (Tues 2:30 p.m.). A maintenance worker discovered ground and soil had been removed from the grave of World War Two veteran Edward Redhead more than two weeks ago. Redhead was buried at Fort Snelling in 1971. The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs are still investigating.
Authorities have charged a Pine River man in the murder of a missing man in northern Minnesota. Twenty-eight-year old Dane Riley faces charges of intentional murder and interfering with a dead body -- after the body of 27-year old Mark Huesman was found in a shallow grave. The criminal complaint says a woman heard gunshots during the early morning hours of July 14th and witnessed Riley beating Huesman. Officers found charred remains in a burn pit, then found two areas where it appeared there had been recent excavation. Riley is due in court on August 13th.
Swiping your card at the gas pump is a lot more expensive than it was "back in the old days," but cheaper than last Tuesday. Minnesota-Gas-Prices-dot-Com puts the statewide average for regular unleaded at $3.56 a gallon this morning -- over a dime less than last week and much closer to the national average of around three-dollars and 51-cents.
Chicago debt-collector Accretive Health must cease operations in Minnesota within 90-days and cannot return to the state for two to six years -- that under an agreement with Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announced Monday in federal court. Swanson likened the debt-collection company's tactics to "a financial shakedown of patients" -- pointing to affidavits from, among others, a pregnant mother who was asked to pay money in the emergency room in the midst of miscarrying her first baby. The scandal cost Fairview CEO Mark Eustis his job and prompted federal investigations. Under the settlement, Accretive will pay about two-and-a-half million dollars to the State of Minnesota.
A northern Minnesota man is in court today (TUES) after a grand jury indicted him in the totem-pole death of his wife. Fifty-year-old Carl Muggli of Ray was already facing second-degree murder charges and now he's accused of first-degree murder. His wife, Linda, was killed in November of 2010 when a log that the couple had been carving for a totem pole fell on her.
In St. Paul on Monday, a former nun was struck and killed by a truck. Eighty-five-year-old Sister Mary Beneva Schulte was hit during a morning walk in the Highland Park neighborhood. She later died at the hospital. Police did issue any citations to the driver. Sister Mary retired from her work as an elementary school teacher in 2008.
Authorities say a 33-year old North Dakota suspect is still on the loose after a violent incident late last week. An arrest warrant has been issued and charges filed against Peter Ihnken after a domestic assault near Georgetown. Following a report of "strange noises" coming from a cornfield, deputies arrived to find a woman with bloody injuries, and without shoes or a shirt. She told investigators Ihnken assaulted her after they left a Georgetown bar together. Ihnken has a history of violent crimes. Those with information on his whereabouts should contact the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
The legal battle over Minnesota's two proposed constitutional amendments continues this morning (9am) before the state Supreme Court. The high court is hearing oral arguments for two lawsuits at the same time. Both are Republican lawmakers' challenging the title that Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie wants printed above each of the questions on the ballot this fall. For the marriage amendment question, Ritchie wants the title to read "Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples." Backers say it should read "Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman." On the voter Photo-ID question, Ritchie's heading is "Changes to In-Person and Absentee Voting and Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots." Backers want it to say "Photo Identification Required for Voting."
A top official from the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System is in Washington D.C. today (TUES), lobbying for money to extend the pipeline so Luverne, Worthington and other Minnesota communities can get water from the Missouri River. Water started flowing Monday to the Sioux Falls area but executive director Troy Larson says federal funding to finish the rest of the project is uncertain. Larson says communities in three states have kicked in 153 million dollars for the project. Minnesota's share, based on how much water will be used, is between 10 and 12-million dollars.
Crews have started removing old Defense Department barrels from Lake Superior near Duluth. Tribal interests and environmentalists have long speculated they could contain radioactive and other toxic materials, but the government says the barrels have old concrete and munitions scraps and pose no threat to the environment. Despite that, the U.S. Coast Guard has set up a 700-foot safety zone around the work vessels that is off-limit to boaters. Nearly 1,500 barrels were dumped at three locations between 1958 and 1962.