Minnesota News Briefs: Rep. Gauthier announces he will not run for re-electionMinnesota News
-- State Representative Kerry Gauthier at the center of a sex scandal involving an underage boy, changed his mind Wednesday and will not run for re-election.
DULUTH -- State Representative Kerry Gauthier at the center of a sex scandal involving an underage boy, changed his mind Wednesday and will not run for re-election.
Gauthier called a Duluth TV station and said he's not resigning his House seat, but is withdrawing from the race. Gauthier reportedly said there's been too much fallout and it's been too hard on him psychologically. Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin says he's grateful that Gauthier chose to do the right thing. Martin says it's been a very difficult ordeal for the DFL party and its legislative leaders -- and certainly for Gauthier and the people involved. A chorus of DFL leaders -- including Governor Dayton -- had urged Gauthier not to run for re-election.
Minnesota State University Mankato football coach Todd Hoffner has been charged with two felony child pornography counts. Both charges stem from videos found on Hoffner's work cell phone and police say the videos involve his three children. In court Hoffner's attorney told the judge the videos were private, family moments and it's only an interpretation that the images on the videos are pornographic. Hoffner was reportedly released on 40-thousand dollars' bail.
An off-duty Fridley police officer died Tuesday afternoon in a motorcycle crash -- the second such tragedy for the Fridley public-safety force this year. 38-year-old Barry Pankonin, a 12-year veteran of the Fridley Police Department, was killed while riding his motorcycle near his home in Plymouth. He was wearing a helmet and officials say they do not believe alcohol or drugs were involved. In March, on-call Fridley firefighter Scott Allard was also killed in a motorcycle accident.
A man from New York Mills has been sentenced to four years in prison for a 114-mile-per-hour crash that killed one of his passengers and seriously injured another. Twenty-two-year-old Daniel Resch's blood alcohol level measured point-one-three and he told officers he did not remember the accident. Ty Bell was dead at the scene and a juvenile female had a broken pelvic bone and traumatic brain injury.
Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney won't be the only candidates for president on Minnesota's ballot in November. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will appear as the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee. Johnson supporters delivered a petition with more than 3,200 names on it to the Secretary of State's office this week. He served two terms as the Republican governor of New Mexico and even participated in early GOP presidential debates. Johnson attended the Libertarian Party of Minnesota's state convention in April.
St. Cloud Police are investigating an early morning homicide. Authorities say a suspect is in custody and the death was related to a domestic situation. According to the police report, a 68-year-old woman was found at the scene with life-threatening injuries and then pronounced dead at a local hospital. A father, mother and son were living in the home. A 40-year-old male family member from the Twin Cities is being held for questioning.
Police are reconstructing the scene northwest of the Twin Cities after a pedestrian was killed by a car overnight. Reports say the woman, who has not been identified, was hit in a construction zone in Maple Grove but no other details have been released.
Just like the situation here in Minnesota four years ago, Republican National Convention plans could change due to weather. The big concern for those heading to Tampa this year is Tropical Storm Isaac, which is bearing down on Florida. But Virginia GOP delegate Jason Vespoli says Republican activists always weather the elements and he doesn't think anything's going to hold them back. In 2008, the RNC canceled most of the first day's events in the Twin Cities when Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast. Forecasters think Isaac could become a hurricane by the time it reaches the U.S.
Lawmakers come back to the State Capitol tomorrow for a one-day special session on flood relief for northeastern Minnesota. The $167-million-package, most of it from the state's budget reserve, is less than the $190-million Governor Dayton wanted. Republican leaders were leery of the size of Dayton's flood-relief proposal, pointing to the state's still-shaky budget situation.
Firefighters are getting a workout in northwestern Minnesota where dry conditions have spawned more wildfires. Around 750 acres are now charred in Roseau, Marshall and northern Beltrami counties. The volatile fire danger has spread in recent days from the northwest corner of the state as far south and east as Hubbard and Cass counties and no rain is in the forecast for now.