Minnesota News Briefs: Ride breaks down at Minnesota State FairMinnesota News
-- A new ride at the Minnesota State Fair left some people high and dry on opening day.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- A new ride at the fair left some people high and dry on opening day.
Officials say the Stratosphere Swing Tower got stuck yesterday afternoon, stranding about 25 riders 100-feet in the air for 45-minutes. No one was hurt. The ride was eventually fixed and is up and running again today.
The fairgrounds dried out after recent rains across the metro area -- with mostly sunny skies in the forecast today. Among today's attractions: the daily parade which features marching bands and more, running 14 blocks amid the crowds. Also, country star Alan Jackson plays at the grandstand tonight.
Test results confirm the Cokato man involved in the crash that killed three family members east of Willmar a week ago today was over the legal limit for alcohol. Kandiyohi County Attorney Jenna Fischer says the results show 21-year-old Paul Wickenhauser had a blood alcohol level of .09, just over the legal limit of .08. Preliminary test results showed him at .07. Fischer says they've filed an amended complaint against Wickenhauser and he now faces eight felonie counts due to the latest blood test results. He's currently free on bond and his next court appearance is set for November 19th but he will now have to make an initial appearance on the additional charges and the date has not yet been set. Killed in the crash were 68-year-old Marta Stoffers of Atwater, her daughter-in-law 40-year-old Michelle Hoffman of Eden Prairie and her eight-year-old daughter, Julia. Hoffman's five year old son Jason was also badly injured.
People from across Minnesota were at the State Capitol today protesting the scheduled fall wolf hunting and trapping season. The rally included members of the state's American Indian tribes, the Humane Society of the U.S. the group Howling for Wolves, veterinarians and wolf experts. Leaders are urging Governor Dayton to listen to the people and use his power to stop what they call the unnecessary and inhumane trapping and hunt of the Minnesota wolf. The gray wolf was removed from the federal endangered species list last winter.
Of the state's 200 or so driving fatalities so far this year, a city in Anoka County seems to have more than its share. A third deadly crash happened late last night in Ramsey when two cars met head-on at an intersection. One driver died and the other was taken to a hospital in Coon Rapids. More details are due out soon from the State Patrol.
A man who told homicide investigators that "he wanted to hurt police officers" has been charged after an attack on two members of the Minneapolis Park Police Department. Police say 38-year-old Marsenior Johnson stabbed officers Katherine Hammes and James Huber in an ambush. Hammes was stabbed in the neck and also suffered head lacerations when she fell. Huber was stabbed in the chest but was wearing protective armor which prevented injury. Police say officer Huber shot Johnson as he was poised to kill officer Hammes. Hammes and the suspect are still recovering from their wounds.
Carlton County authorities have identified the woman killed when her car was struck by a freight train on Wednesday. The local sheriff's office says 67-year old Susan McPhail of Wright died at the scene. A Burlington Northern Sante Fe train hit the car at the East Mud Lake crossing.
It wasn't just home and business owners who were affected by flooding in northeastern Minnesota earlier this summer. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson says at least 30 farmers sustained major damage on their properties and are in line for help. At the Capitol, a special session of the Minnesota Legislature addresses flood relief funding today. Governor Mark Dayton is hopeful they'll agree on the $167-million-dollar, saying: "when disaster strikes, there aren't Republicans or Democrats, we're all Minnesotans -- and I hope that spirit will prevail."
Northeastern Minnesota got another dose of high water -- this time in Cook and Lake counties where heavy downpours have caused flash flooding overnight. The National Weather Service reports up to five-inches of rain in areas just south of the BWCA.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has another of its Disaster Loan Centers open at the Fond du Lac Tribal Center in Cloquet for the next two days. Hours are 9 to 5:30 today and 10-to-2 tomorrow. Flood-stricken homeowners, renters, non-profits and businesses can apply for low-interest loans. Representatives are available to provide one-on-one assistance. Loan applications are also available at SBA.gov.
Drought conditions continue to worsen across parts of Minnesota. State Climatologist Pete Boulay says about a third of the state is in moderate to severe drought. He says the worst of it is in southwestern Minnesota and also northwestern portions of the state -- and is beginning to creep a little farther east across southern Minnesota as well. Minnesota is still in better shape than several other Midwest states that are in much more severe droughts.
State officials say a brand of whole-muscle turkey jerky has been linked to four salmonella cases in Minnesota. The manufacturer, Hoffman Town and Country Meat Market of Detroit Lakes, has issued a voluntary recall of any of that product sold on or before August 21st. The state Health Department says one of the salmonella cases is from the Twin Cities and three are from Greater Minnesota. One person was hospitalized but all have recovered. For more information on the recall, contact Hoffman Town and Country Meat Market.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney skipped the State Fair but rallied supporters in Minnetonka Beach on Thursday, making a call to bring jobs back from overseas. About 350 people attended Romney's fundraiser, paying a minimum of $2,500 per person to hear his speech. Vice-President Joe Biden visited the Twin Cities earlier this week.
This day marks the 193rd anniversary of the arrival of the people who started work on Minnesota's most famous military outpost. At the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, Colonel Henry Leavenworth and the Fifth Infantry of nearly 100 soldiers and their families arrived in Mendota to build what eventually became known as Fort Snelling. It was originally named Fort St. Anthony