MInnesota News Briefs: Grand Rapids shooter back in courtMinnesota News
-- The man accused of shooting a Grand Rapids woman and her son is due back in court today.
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. -- The man accused of shooting a Grand Rapids woman and her son is due back in court today.
William Payne had already been charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting 32-year-old Paul Johnson and 59-year-old Rosemary Oberg-Johnson. On Friday, six days after the December 22nd shootings, Oberg-Johnson died Duluth hospital as a result of her wounds and Payne could now face murder charges. He's is also accused of kidnapping his own wife from the scene of the shootings and making terroristic threats. Payne's wife had obtained an order of protection against her husband just days before the shootings.
The Connecticut school shootings has sparked plenty of debate whether armed officers should be in our schools In St. Cloud, it's already being done. Police Sergeant Jim Steve says there are six officers in the School Resource Officers program -- and local high schools and middle schools have an armed officer assigned to buildings anytime school is in session. The officers also rotate through the elementary buildings. Steve says the program is about building trust. Besides being there to protect the staff and students, the officers also give presentations on things like sexting and bullying. The cost for the program is split between the school district and the city.
A southern Minnesota woman and her 23-month-old daughter are lucky to be alive after the vehicle they were in landed in a western Wisconsin river. Authorities say 21-year-old Daniella Overett of Elko feel asleep at the wheel on Interstate-94 near Menominee early Sunday -- driving over a bridge and into the Red Cedar River. Overett was able to climb out with her daughter, escaping with just minor injuries.
A number of new state laws take effect New Year's Day in Minnesota. One new law prohibits third parties from soliciting business from Minnesotans who have been in automobile accidents, unless they clearly say who they are and the clinic where they work. Violating the statute could result in license revocation. House author, Anoka Republican Jim Abeler, says the law will affect companies that may use unethical business practices, such as promising financial payments to injured people or using actors posing as law enforcement to attract customers. Brainerd Republican Paul Gazelka sponsored the measure in the state Senate.
The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety hopes to make it five straight years tonight (MON) without a drunken driving death on New Year's Eve. Impaired driving coordinator Jean Ryan believes the state's DWI campaigns have been effective but it goes beyond the holiday. Ryan says "what we need to do is have these people have that plan all year long, it can't be just New Year's Eve. There have been eight drunken driving deaths in Minnesota over the past ten New Year's holidays, but none since 2007.
A safer ride to school for Minnesota children is the goal of a new state law that takes effect tomorrow. All school buses used in Minnesota that are manufactured after January 1st must have a control arm on the right front bumper that automatically expands out whenever the bus is stopped and its flashing red lights are on. The idea is to direct students getting on or off the bus away from the vehicle itself as far as possible so the driver can see them. Many buses in Minnesota already have the arms. Officials say in addition to that, national school bus specifications are being updated to use 2010 standards rather than those created in 2005. The new Minnesota law was authored by Walker Representative Larry Howes and Spring Lake Park Senator Pam Wolf.
A new Minnesota law taking effect tomorrow clarifies state regulations on insurance that's sold for portable electronic devices. Insurance for mobile phones, laptops, iPads and the like is typically sold at the place of purchase. A law passed in 2010 says the counter-person does not have to be an independent insurance agent, but that training is necessary. The new law requires that insurance for portable devices be offered separately -- not as part of a package deal -- and mandates that customers be told that, if they cancel the insurance, the premium they've paid will be refunded on a pro-rated basis.
Unless there's a sudden spike, 2012 will end with gas prices lower than they were a year ago. Minnesota-Gas-Prices.com reports regular unleaded averaging just under $3.06 a gallon -- about where it was a week ago but nearly 15-cents less than on the last day of 2011.