Minnesota News Briefs: Fire destroys grain elevator in AdaMinnesota News
-- More than a dozen fire departments battled a massive fire that destroyed most of a grain elevator complex in downtown Ada in northwestern Minnesota Thursday night.
ADA, Minn. -- More than a dozen fire departments battled a massive fire that destroyed most of a grain elevator complex in downtown Ada in northwestern Minnesota Thursday night.
The Triple Crown Elevator processes oats for race horses. Fire crews are still on scene this morning mopping up hot spots. Fire department spokesman Kim Lewis says a cause has not been determined. Firefighters were able to save a newer addition to the grain complex. No injuries were reported. Ada's water supply was drained twice as crews pumped thousands of gallons of water on the blaze. Tanker trucks had to retrieve water from nearby Hendrum and Twin Valley.
The state's auto industry is roaring back after a long, painful recovery from the recession. Scott Lambert of the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association says sales increased significantly in 2012. He says sales were up about 18 percent over the same period. Auto sales increased 13 percent across the U.S. last year. Lambert says Minnesota lost about 40 dealerships during the economic downturn but now a couple of new franchises are being built.
A group of nurses from Bagley, Bemidji and Thief River Falls is gathered in northern Minnesota Friday to push for patient safety legislation. Carrie Mortrud with the Minnesota Nurses Association says there needs to be a maximum patient assignment level set. She says the push comes in response to a recent survey that showed more patients are at risk of negative outcomes when nurses are short-staffed.
A man from Merrifield is dead after the pickup he was driving collided with a semi on a county road west of Deerwood Thursday morning. The name of the 53-year-old victim is being withheld until relatives are notified. The driver of the semi, 47-year-old William Hanson of Cloquet, was treated at the scene and released. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
State Representative Steve Gottwalt of Saint Cloud says he'll resign his seat in the Minnesota House before the end of the month. Gottwalt's announcement came after news reports that he'd accepted a national position with the Center for Diagnostic Imaging -- a medical company which lobbies the Minnesota Legislature. In a letter to his colleagues, Gottwalt says he's "proud to be working with a health care company actively seeking solutions at a critical time" -- and adds it's more than a full-time job and won't allow him the time he needs to represent the people of his district. Gottwalt was elected in 2006 and chaired a key health care committee before Republicans lost control of the Minnesota House in the fall election.
During the latest reporting week 226 people were hospitalized with the flu across Minnesota. Since the start of the season, nearly 600 people have been hospitalized. Officials say two people died from flu-related complications during the latest reporting period, bringing the total to four statewide since October Health officials say 17 nursing homes reported outbreaks. The good news, no schools reported influenza outbreaks but that's likely due to many districts being on winter break. Health officials say it's not to late to get a flu shot and there is plenty of vaccine available.
The DNR says an electric barrier at the downtown Minneapolis lock-and-dam is *not* a feasible way to keep invasive Asian Carp from moving upstream on the Mississippi River. A study cites public safety hazards and possible damage to the lock itself. The DNR plans to instead use a combination of acoustic, air-bubble and strobe light technology. It could cost between 12-and 19-million dollars.
Two Grand Rapids schools were locked down Friday after a man called 911 threatening suicide. District 318 Superintendent Joe Silko says when police traced the individual's cell phone, it pinged in the area of Elkington Middle School, later it pinged around Southwest Elementary School, then back in the area of the middle school. The individual was located at his residence and is being dealt with by law enforcement. Silko says at no time were students in danger. The schools have reopened.
An American Airlines pilot is under arrest for suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol this (Fri) morning at Minneapolis-St.Paul International. Airport spokesman Pat Hogan says a witness reported smelling alcohol on the pilot's breath, airport police followed up and found the pilot on board the aircraft doing pre-flight check. The pilot failed a breathalyzer test and was taken to Fairview Southdale Hospital for a blood test and follow up. Hogan says the results of the blood-alcohol tests could take up to three weeks. The pilot is expected to be booked today. His name has not been released.