Minnesota News Briefs: Dakota County Judge Arrested For Drunk DrivingMinnesota News
-- A district judge from Dakota County was arrested for drunken driving Christmas Eve after allegedly hitting several parked cars in St. Paul.
ST. PAUL -- A district judge from Dakota County was arrested for drunken driving Christmas Eve after allegedly hitting several parked cars in St. Paul.
63-year-old Judge Michael Sovis of Apple Valley was charged with two counts of third-degree drunken driving. Court documents show his blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota. Sovis' wife was with him in the car, neither were injured. Sovis is currently out of jail on $12,000 bond.
Minnesotans are urged to find a designated driver for their New Year's Eve party. Jean Ryan is impaired driving coordinator for the state Office of Traffic Safety and says they are hoping this will be the state's fifth year in row with absolutely zero drunken driving deaths that occur. She says it's just a tough time of year with a lot of celebration going on.
Law enforcement in the state will have extra DWI patrols through New Year's Day.
The numbers confirm that the winter flu season is off to an early start. More than 120 Minnesotans were hospitalized with the flu last week, nearly twice the number the week before. Health officials say a woman in her 90's with underlying health problems died of complications from the flu during the latest reporting period. She was the second Minnesotan to die of the flu in two weeks. Last winter, 33 people died from flu-related complications across the state. Officials say it's not to late to get a flu shot and there is plenty of influenza vaccine out there.
Authorities have released the names of a husband and wife killed when their van collided with a semi Thursday morning in Kandiyohi County. 82-year-old Arthur Dove and 77-year-old Elaine Dove died in the crash at the intersection of Highways 9 and 71 near New London. The truck driver, a 63-year-old man from Hector, was critically injured and airlifted to Saint Cloud Hospital. The collision knocked down a utility pole and a tree and caused a fuel spill.
"A nice snow event" is what forecasters call the storm system passing through the state today. National Weather Service Meterologist Rick Hiltbrand is predicting three to four inches in southern Minnesota and says untreated roads will be icy -- but wind won't be a big factor. Hiltbrand says the north will likely see only a dusting, central Minnesota could get three-quarters of an inch and one to two is forecast for the Twin Cities. Winter weather advisories are in effect for the southern third of the state until noon today.
If Congress doesn't reach a deal on the so-called "fiscal cliff" negotiations, it won't be good news for low-income households across the state. Orn Bodvarsson with St. Cloud State University says lower income households will get hit the worst -- their dollar amount in taxes won't go up as much as higher-income households, but as a percentage of income their taxes will increase the most. Bodvarsson believes Congress *will* reach an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff - but says it will likely be a stop-gap measure that will have to be revised later in January.