Minnesota News Briefs: Dayton urges Crystal Sugar, union to bargainMinnesota News
-- Governor Dayton is waiting for a response to a letter he wrote urging American Crystal Sugar and union leaders to return to the bargaining table
ST. PAUL -- Governor Dayton is waiting for a response to a letter he wrote urging American Crystal Sugar and union leaders to return to the bargaining table.
Dayton says it might be time to bring in a new high-level mediator. The governor says the people who work to build up American Crystal's profitability "have just been shut out of the operation and left now for a year with very little income and apparently no prospects for going back to work in sight." Dayton says American Crystal's owner-growers have been part of the problem, not the solution. The company isn't commenting on the governor's letter.
More than 100 Sun Country Airlines pilots did informational picketing this afternoon at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Captain Jake Yockers of Minneapolis says their goal is a fair contract, they've been in negotiations for two-and-a-half years, and are unhappy with the pace. Yockers says Sun Country is out of bankruptcy and making a profit and the pilots are seeking a contract similar to their peers flying similar aircraft.
With about two-thirds of Americans said to be overweight, the latest obesity study shows a concerning trend for individual states. Obesity rates in both Minnesota and Wisconsin are expected to drastically increase over the next two decades. A report by the Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows 26-percent of Minnesotans and 28-percent of Wisconsinites are obese. That means the states rank 30th and 26th respectively. If trends continues, by 2030 the obesity rate for Minnesota could to rise to 55-percent. Mississippi has the nation's highest rate, followed closely by Louisiana. Colorado has the lowest obesity rate in the country.
At the end of a nearly ten-hour standoff in Bloomington which caused evacuations and street closures, a Bloomington man was arrested by police and booked for probable cause burglary. Police were called to a condemned home after a passerby noticed someone pointing a laser at them. The suspect fled to a nearby apartment after police arrived and it took tear gas and concussion grenades to flush 50-year-old Paul Solfelt of Bloomington out. He was taken to the hospital then to jail.
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory across most of western Minnesota into this evening. Gusts up to 40-miles-an-hour out of the Dakotas could make for hazardous driving conditions. Meanwhile, most all of both North Dakota and South Dakota, right up to Minnesota's western border, are under red flag warnings for high fire danger starting this afternoon.
A string of DWI's adds up to five-years in jail for a Fergus Falls man. After being arrested last fall, 62-year-old Richard Papenfuss is headed to jail because of having nearly a dozen DWI's on his record, plus a felony conviction. The last incident involved him driving a vehicle which was seen swerving on posted land. The car was later found in a ditch and authorities found Papenfuss hiding in some trees.
Utility companies from across the state are competing this week in the "Best in Glass" taste test. It determines which community has the best drinking water in Minnesota. Water professionals are gathering in Duluth for the Minnesota Chapter of the American Water Works Association annual convention. From all the entries, conference attendees will vote to determine the top three contenders and then a panel of tasting experts will choose the big winner. Last year, St. Cloud Public Utilities took home the "Best in Glass" trophy.
Tuesday's rush hour out of the Twin Cities proved fatal for a Minneapolis man riding a motorcycle. The State Patrol says 66-year-old Michael Sjoberg got sandwiched between two cars as traffic slowed in I-35 in Bloomington. The car behind him collided with his bike, then hit another car. Four vehicles in all were involved. Sjoberg died from his injuries. None of the other drivers were hurt.
The state is pinning its hopes on electronic pull-tabs to help raise money for a new Vikings stadium. However, following final approval on Tuesday, only a handful of bars in Minnesota are up and running with the new form of gambling. A spokesperson for the game's distributor, Express Games Minnesota, says electronic pull-tabs work just like the paper version. You pay to play up front, you're handed an ipad and if you win, you cash out with the person running the pull-tab booth.
A new poll shows in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Virginia and Colorado -- voters are leaning toward President Obama over Republican rival Mitt Romney. The Quinnipiac University survey shows the president leads by 51-45-percent, despite Tomney's running mate being Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan. Polls earlier this month show about the same percentage between the two candidates in Minnesota.