Minnesota State News Briefs: Fire destroys part of Roseville apartment complexMinnesota News
-- A fire destroyed part of an apartment building in Roseville Thursday evening. More than 60 people were evacuated as firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- A fire destroyed part of an apartment building in Roseville Thursday evening. More than 60 people were evacuated as firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
Four units were a complete loss, and six more were heavily damaged. The Red Cross helped evacuees find places to stay for the night. There were no injuries reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
With the month of August heading out, the number of whooping cough cases is on the way down. The Minnesota Department of Health reports of pertussis have dropped signficantly since peaking around the start of August. Still, so far this year there have been more than 27-hundred cases of whooping cough statewide.
The St. Paul police union says a video showing an officer kicking a suspect on the ground is misleading. Officer Jesse Zilge was put on leave after the video of Tuesday's arrest was made public. Zilge arrested a man who had been accused of threatening a former girlfriend. In the video, Zilge is seen kicking the suspect while he's laying on the ground, but the president of the St. Paul Police Federation says the video doesn't give the complete context of the arrest and doesn't show how the officer may have felt threatened.
Attendance figures haven't been released for the Minnesota State Fair, but up to then, turnout has been strong. After a moderate start the first three days in Falcon Heights, attendance has far out-distanced the same days from last year -- although no records have been set.
Two large medical providers are combining services across the metro area into western Wisconsin. HealthPartners and Park Nicollet Health Services have agreed to form a 15-hundred-physician group practice integrated with the HealthPartners health plan. Officials say the benefits will include stronger coordination of patient care.
Remember, when you try to write a check with no money, you end up paying more money. That goes for 32-year old Joshua Moen of Fergus Falls, who will spend over a month in jail, serve probation and pay out nine-thousand-dollars in fines, fees and restitution for writing bad checks. Moen got his sentence after writing 23-thousand-dollars worth of checks on a closed account. What's more, the account was that of a dead relative.
Moisture levels continue dropping, prompting officials to declare an extreme fire danger rating across southern Minnesota. The area ranges from Iowa as far north as Big Stone, Swift, Kandiyohi and Meeker counties -- all the way over to the Wisconsin border along the Mississippi. The northwestern corner of the state remains under an extreme fire danger rating -- as it has been much of this summer. The statewide high on Thursday hit a whopping 100 in Waseca, with 99-degree readings in Owatonna, Fairmont and Red Wing. But National Weather Service Meteorologist Kerry Hanko says today will a slight bit of relief, with highs mostly between 80- and 90-degrees over much of the lower half of Minnesota. As for the State Fair, yesterday's high reached into the mid-90's. The hottest day ever during the event in Falcon Heights was back in 1931 when the temperature reached 104-degrees. As temperatures rose at the State Fair, the heat took its toll on some attendees. According to reports, about 20 fairgoers were treated for heat-related illnesses yesterday but none had to go to the hospital. Added nurses and responders were staffed on Thursday and the St. Paul Fire Department opened up three "misting stations" to cool off folks in Falcon Heights.
Most of Minnesota is very dry and officials are urging Minnesotans enjoying Labor Day weekend recreation to keep their campfires small. Jean Goad at the Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids advises people clear vegetation around their campfire, keep water available, attend the fire at all times, and make certain it's completely out -- cold to the touch -- before leaving. Goad notes that burning permits for clearing debris are currently not allowed in most areas of Minnesota because of dry conditions.
The Minnesota DNR is adding Ballantyne Lake near Madison Lake, plus Cedar Lake near Hutchinson to the list of infested waters. Eurasian watermilfoil was recently discovered growing in both lakes. The aquatic invasive plants can form dense mats of vegetation and crowd out native plants, clog boat propellers and make water recreation difficult. Boaters who use these lakes are urged to be extra thorough when looking for and removing aquatic plants from their equipment. Eurasian watermilfoil has been found in more than 260 lakes, rivers and streams in the state.
New figures show job openings in Minnesota increased more than 15-percent during the second quarter. Orian Casale with the Department of Employment and Economic Development says employers in the state appear to be in hiring mode. She says there are 62,900 job vacancies, basically the same level the state was before the recession started -- but she says state officials would still characterize the labor market as more competitive. Casale says there are still more job seekers and unemployed Minnesotans than before the recession. Around 55-percent of the job openings are in the seven-county metro area and 45-percent are in Greater Minnesota.
Prosecutors are frustrated that a man will not be sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to burglarizing two Moorhead insurance agencies and trying to break into a third. Clay County prosecutor Jenny Samarzja says state guidelines mean Juan Quevedo's sentence is 144 days of jail time already served. Samarzja says it "somewhat makes you feel helpless" -- prosecutors "have to sit back and wait for him to continue to commit crimes until...he's accumulated enough criminal history to actually make him a prison inmate." Samarzja says Quevedo has been linked to about a dozen area burglaries and evidence is still being gathered that could lead to additional charges.