Minnesota News Briefs: Suspect in Missouri murders arrested in MinneapolisMinnesota News
-- A man wanted for a double murder in Missouri has turned himself in to Minneapolis police.
MINNEAPOLIS -- A man wanted for a double murder in Missouri has turned himself in to Minneapolis police.
Twenty-nine-year-old Darnell Vaughn called 911 early this morning from south Minneapolis and was taken into custody without incident. Police were asking the public's help finding Vaughn, who was believed to be armed, but no firearm was located when he was arrested. Vaughn is being held in Hennepin County jail on a Missouri warrant without bond.
A deceased male was found in a car outside of Crosby off a county road in north-central Minnesota. Sheriff's officials say the man was likely in the vehicle for at least a day before a call came in alerting authorities to the vehicle -- which was hidden by trees. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting in the investigation. No other information has been released.
A woman was killed in a fire on the west end of St. Paul. Fire officials say it happened overnight and they are investigating whether arson might have been a factor. Firefighters also found numerous candles in the partially-destroyed home.
A cause of death has not been released but authorities have confirmed the identity of a body found in a wooded area of Anoka County. Thirty-one-year-old Alan Taylor of Coon Rapids had been missing since late August when his body turned up earlier this week about a mile from a dam on the Mississippi River. Police say there were no visible signs of trauma to the body and none of his personal information was stolen.
Minnesota Republicans are criticizing President Obama for mixed results in the August jobs report. The national unemployment rate fell slightly from 8.3 to 8.1 percent last month. But the 96,000 jobs created is much lower than analysts predicted. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann called the unemployment report "another illustration of President Obama's failed economic record." State GOP Chair Pat Shortridge says the Obama agenda is not working for Minnesota families and small businesses. The White House says more needs to be done to improve the economy and adds the report is further proof the economy is recovering.
It's now 60 days until the November elections and both presidential candidates are off and running. So, how important is Minnesota in this election? Hamline University political analyst David Schultz notes Minnesota sits between two key swing states, Wisconsin and Iowa. He predicts Minnesota votes will likely go to Obama but adds there's plenty of money here that could go to both political camps. Schultz says Minnesota remains a "very, very good place" for both Democrats and Republicans to fund-raise because of very generous and active donors. The Democratic National Convention wrapped up last night in Charlotte, North Carolina.
For one Minnesota delegate at the Democratic National Convention, it's been the event of a lifetime. Richfield high school teacher Mary Stanton says it's been "very exhilarating" to meet people from other places with similar mindsets. Stanton says she's heard fantastic speakers on a number of issues.
From going through people's mailboxes to sifting through trash cans, four Twin Cities area residents have been found guilty in a large-scale identity theft scheme. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Joel Powell Junior, Desmond Burks, Norman Allen and Adrianne Hamilton were among nearly 30 people charged for their roles in the two-million-dollar theft ring which spanned 14 states. Several more Minnesotans are also charged in the caper which used the stolen information to create counterfeit checks and other financial documents.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows too many Minnesotans have high blood pressure. James Peacock with the Minnesota Department of Health says one out of four Minnesotans do experience blood pressure which is considered high. He says high blood pressure is a pre-cursor for both heart disease and stroke, which are the first and third leading cause of death in Minnesota and nationally. In 2010 about 75 percent of Minnesotans between the ages of 18 and 85 received a diagnosis of hypertension. Peacock says blood pressure can to some degree be fairly well controlled, as long as people follow medication regimens and lifestyle changes recommended by their doctor.
It's been two years since one of the state's most well-known neighborhoods had what you might call "an open house." Tickets are still available for this Sunday's St. Paul Summit Hill House Tour. Tour co-chair Ann Nerland says the event is architecture and history at your fingertips and a lot of the homes were built by people who built St. Paul. The Summit Hill House Tour runs from noon to 6 p.m. this Sunday. It includes around a dozen homes plus two public spaces.
The state's tourism industry continues to recover from the recession. A new survey shows more than half of resorts and campgrounds saw an increase in summer revenues. Explore Minnesota Director John Edman says people still cannot afford long-distance vacations. Edman believes there was a lot of pent-up demand and the nice weather led people to a closer stay-cation. He says the summer of 2012 was the third straight year of moderate growth for lodging and camping businesses in the state. The number of users on the state's travel website was up 26 percent this summer. (www.exploreminnesota.com)
Dogs that have been trained to detect logs infested with emerald ash borer are on display in Winona this morning (10am). State ag department entomologist Mark Abrahamson says a pilot project demonstrated the dogs picked it up faster and did a lot better than anyone expected. There are quarantines on transport of ash wood in several Minnesota counties with emerald ash borer infestations.
It's not exactly the last spike being driven on the Great Northern Railway, but light rail tracks reaching across the Twin Cities are now linked. Officials say the unfinished Central Corridor tracks are now hooked up with the Hiawatha Rail Line which extends from Bloomington to Minneapolis. The tracks were welded together along a stretch between the Metrodome and the Cedar-Riverside Light Rail Station. Progress on the Central Corridor line continues and it's now around 70-percent finished. Officials hope to have trains running along St. Paul's University Avenue in 2014. With Wednesday's joining of the tracks, there are now 63-miles of light rail track throughout the Twin Cities area.
The Metrodome will host an open house featuring the architectural firms competing to build its replacement. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says a handful of companies are represented competing for the contract to build the new $975-million-dollar Vikings stadium.
The nation's largest African-American theater is suspending its productions for now due to a lack of money. St. Paul-based Penumbra Theatre is reportedly trying to trim $800,000 from its budget -- and has cut half-a-dozen staff members. Artistic Director Lou Bellamy says they're shooting to raise enough money to put up a show next spring.
Financially-struggling Supervalu says it will close about 60 stores in its chains that operate in California and other western states, plus some East Coast stores. Officials say the closings will not affect Twin Cities area-based Cub Foods. The stores that will close in early December include several Albertson's, Save-A-Lot and Acme stores around the country.
As plans move forward for Minnesota's first wolf hunting season this fall, a citizens group continues trying to convince Governor Dayton to put things on hold. Maureen Hackett with Howling for Wolves says Minnesota is the only state in the lower 48 with its original wolf population and it should not be disturbed, persecuted or hunted for sport. Hackett says the DNR's estimate of Minnesota's wolf population is inaccurate -- something DNR officials dispute.