Minnesota News Briefs: Tests confirm boy died of rare ameoba in Stillwater lakeMinnesota News
-- The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed a rare amoeba infection claimed the life of a Minnesota boy.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed a rare amoeba infection claimed the life of a Minnesota boy.
Test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed what Minnesota health officials suspected from the beginning. It's believed seven-year-old Jack Ariola Erenberg contracted the rare form of meningitis in Lily Lake in Stillwater. Before Jack's death there was only one other confirmed case of this infection in August of 2010. That seven-year-old child also swam in Lily Lake. Officials say Lily Lake remains closed for now.
The Mankato City Council is the 12th in the state to publicly oppose the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. The council voted 4-1 with two members abstaining last (Mon) night against the November ballot measure. The group Minnesotans United for All Families applauded the Mankato City Council "for taking this bold and important stance."
Isanti County authorities are investigating their first fatal crash of the year. A rural Braham man was killed in a one-vehicle rollover last Friday night in Maple Ridge Township. It's believed 43-year-old Ronald Krause over corrected on a curve, entered the ditch on the opposite side of the road and hit an approach. Krause was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Toxicology reports are pending.
Minnesota farmers have just about completed their small grains harvest this year--quite a bit ahead of the average pace. The weekly crop update from the Minnesota Department of Agricultural Statistics shows that almost all of the spring wheat,oats and barley crops in Minnesota have already been harvested. The average for this time in mid-August is for about a third of the spring wheat harvest to be completed. Row crops are moving quickly toward maturity--the crop report shows about a quarter of the corn crop is in the dent stage, half the sweet corn crop has been picked and about a quarter of the canola crop is out. But we still need rain --
half of Minnesota's topsoil is rated short or very short of moisture.
The female polar bear displaced by flooding at Duluth's Lake Superior Zoo is now on display at Como Zoo in St.Paul. Berlin is sharing Como's Polar Bear Odyssey Exhibit with males Buzz and Neil. She had to spend 30 days in quarantine before she was able to meet the other bears. Berlin and two seals were transported from Duluth to St.Paul after their exhibits were flooded in June. Feisty and Vivian are also on display at Como Zoo. A fundraiser is being held in Duluth Wednesday to benefit the flood-damaged Lake Superior Zoo.
A Little Falls ethanol plant has suspended operations due to high corn prices and a low availability of corn locally. Late last month, the Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-op notified employees of the decision. The plant's general manager hopes to resume operations in September or October, once the new corn crop comes in. Up until now, the plant produced around 21 million gallons of ethanol a year.
A record amount of money is being distributed to food shelves across the state. This week, nearly 300 food pantries will receive a portion of the $900,000 raised during the annual March food campaign. Officials say shelves will be receiving checks ranging from 125 dollars to more than $36,000 dollars. There were more than three-million visits to food shelves statewide in 2010, up 62-percent from just two years before. Foodshelves are saying they are still seeing record numbers of people and expect that to continue into the fall.
Upstream opponents of the planned Red River Diversion gathered Monday night to discuss details of a lawsuit aimed at stopping the nearly two-billion dollar project form going forward. The legal challenge will be filed by the Richard-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority. The group argues the project violates both federal and state laws. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple believes the lawsuit can be avoided if all parties come back to the table. Residents who live south of Fargo says the project's water storage area would flood thousands of acres and displace three communities.
Not all Republicans in Minnesota are excited about the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan presidential ticket. Thirty-two delegates from the state will be voting for Ron Paul at the Republican National Convention this month in Tampa. Delegation chair Marianne Stebbins says Congressman Ryan is really not that much of a fiscal conservative because he voted for the auto bailouts and even his lauded budget plan doesn't balance the budget for 30 years. Stebbins has pledged to support the eventual GOP presidential nominee but says she expects many Paul supporters from Minnesota to vote for the Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate in November.
Law enforcement saturation patrols this week and next are focusing on buses, limousines and other passenger-carrying vehicles. MnDOT's Becky Ellinghuysen says they're making sure tires, lights, brakes and other safety-related equipment is in good working order...that the carriers have proper authorization...and that they have evidence of insurance at the proper limits. Ellinghuysen says law enforcement will also be looking for driver fatigue.
There’s a new program in place to protect local streams through improved farming conservation. It’s called Minnesota Farm Wise and it involves advisors from the Freshwater Society and the Cannon River Watershed Partnership working with local farmers and other agriculture professionals. The Farm Wise program is kicking off at the Rice Creek tributary of the Cannon River, as farmers develop a plan of action to protect the creek--the only remaining trout stream in Rice County.
The State Fire Marshal's office says an overheated compressor caused a deadly explosion at the Verso Paper Mill in Sartell on Memorial Day. Investigator John Steinbach says the water supply that cooled the compressor was severely reduced just before the explosion and two other compressors had already shut off. One person was killed in the explosion and others were injured. Company officials say damage is estimated at 50-million dollars and they will not re-open the mill. Many employees at Verso had been there for 20-plus years.