Minnesota State News Briefs: Fergus Falls band plays at inaugural paradeMinnesota News
-- The Fergus Falls High School Marching Band was in Washington D.C. today taking part in President Obama's second inaugural.
WASHINGTON D.C. - The Fergus Falls High School Marching Band was in Washington D.C. today taking part in President Obama's second inaugural.
Band Director Scott Kummrow says the parade begins at 1:30 p-m central time. He adds today is filled with lots of security checks. The Fergus Falls ensemble will be the lone Minnesota band to participate in the presidential inauguration. Band members raised $78,000 for the trip in less than a month.
Sami Rahamim, who lost his father Reuven in the Accent Signage shootings, is in Washington D.C. today for President Obama's inauguration as a guest of 5th District Congressman Keith Ellison. Ellison says it's important that people make a human connection to the victims of gun violence instead of just throwing the numbers around. He says it's not a numbers issue, it's a human issue. Ellison says 17-year-old Rahamim, a high school senior, has become a "pretty eloquent spokesperson" for gun violence prevention.
The nation's first African-American president was sworn-in was his second term today. Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison -- Minnesota's first African-American U.S. representative -- says America fought a Civil War because people were excluded on the basis of race. He says the president' re-election shows that Americans are "open-minded people who believe in focusing on the content of a person's character."
Temperatures were below zero statewide as Minnesotans woke up on this Martin Luther King Junior Day and they haven't gone up much. The mercury dipped to minus 29 at Babbitt; 27 below in Embarrass; negative 26 in Ely, Grand Marais, and Big Fork; and minus 23 at International Falls. It was 21 below in Bemidji; negative 20 in Duluth and Wadena; and double-digits below zero in Alexandria, Saint Cloud and the Twin Cities. Places like Rochester, Austin and Mankato were minus 9 with wind chills between 30 and 35 below zero. Forecasters are expecting even colder temperatures overnight but winds won't be as strong on Tuesday.
The flu season hit Minnesota earlier than usual, and the outbreak is a bit more intense. An expert says that's because it's a return visit from an old strain. Dr. Paul Cieslak says immunity to this particular type of flu is down. Cieslak says it's the main strain that's circulated in the U.S. since 1968 and was then known as the "Hong Kong flu." He says it got edged out by the H1N1 strain in 2009, but is back again in mutated form. The current flu strain is known as the H3N2 virus and Cieslak says its symptoms are "a little worse" than the types of flu that went around the last couple of years.
A Duluth man was killed in an oil field in western North Dakota Saturday. 49-year-old Mike Krajewski was stationed at a hydraulic fracturing site north of Watford City when the accident happened. The preliminary investigation shows that while Krajewski was working, a valve was turned wrong and somehow a pipe came disconnected and ended up hitting him in the head. OSHA will be conducting a full investigation.
The Minnesota State Patrol has identified the driver killed in a two-vehicle crash Saturday on Highway 15 near New Ulm. Troopers say 68-year-old Shirley Glasser of Madelia lost control of the vehcile, crossed the centerline and was broadsided by an SUV. Glasser died at the scene. The SUV driver - 57-year-old Dwight Hughes of New Ulm - was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The accident report shows the blacktop was icy at the time.
Expanding Medical Assistance for very-low-income Minnesotans without children is on the agenda of Democrats at the state Legislature as they begin to implement the Affordable Care Act. DFLers are also talking about a re-worked Minnesotacare program that would cover more people. Senator Al Franken met with lawmakers at the Minnesota Capitol on Friday, saying his goal is "to help support what our state legislature wants to do."
A man with ties to several organizations in Rochester, including some focused on children, has been charged with criminal sexual conduct involving a child. Prosecutors say 38-year-old Frederick Douglas was charged in Olmsted County District Court with two felony counts after he was accused of exposing himself to a 13-year-old girl and touching her inappropriately. Douglas is a member of the board of directors for Child Care Resource & Referral, has worked with the Diversity Council, the local NAACP chapter, and has volunteered with Rochester Public Schools Douglas made news early in the year when he was apparently stabbed during an argument with his brother. He'll be back in court to answer to the child sex abuse charges January 10th.
Veterans in need of legal advice can stop by the St. Cloud VA tomorrow. (Tuesday). The VA has teamed-up with several community partners to provide the free legal clinic. A number of resource providers will be on hand covering a variety of topics, including: housing, consumer affairs, child support, employment and family law. The clinic is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the VA auditorium. An appointment is not required.
Jealousy may have sent a St. Cloud man to jail on an assault charge. Police say 23-year-old Matthew Blackmore of Albany punched another man in the head outside the Red Carpet nightclub, and the 24-year-old victim was taken to the hospital for stitches. Blackmore was picked up by police just a couple of blocks away, and is facing a shirt-sleeve assault charge. Investigators say the victim was on a date with Blackmore's ex-girlfriend when the incident took place, and the two men had never met before.
St. Cloud police are investigating an apparent armed robbery, and say a shot was fired during the incident. Investigators say three men were walking through an alley when they were confronted by two men. One of them had a handgun, and police say he fired it during the robbery attempt but the bullet didn't hit anyone. One of the victims was pushed to the ground and received minor injuries.
Two snowmobilers from Hibbing spent a chilly Saturday night in an unheated boathouse in Voyageurs National Park, after they got disoriented in blowing and drifting snow. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Department was searching the area Sunday morning when the men made their way back to the Ash River Trail. One of them suffered a minor back injury, but neither was hospitalized. Temperatures fell to nearly 20 below zero in the area early Sunday.
Some people are learning the hard way about the dangers of sub-zero temperatures. Frostbite and hypothermia are the twin perils of overexposing bare flesh to severe cold. Preventing exposure to the elements really comes down to common sense: limiting your time outdoors, and dressing warmly. Another good tip is to dress in layers and avoid over-exertion. Sweating is a real danger in extreme cold because it causes rapid loss of body heat. Also avoid drinking alcohol, if you have outdoor activities planned. Alcohol tends to accelerate the loss of body heat.
An Eagan man is dead after a fire at his townhouse, but two others managed to escape from the smoke-filled home. Fire officials say Roger Yarusso was found dead in his second floor bedroom. 30-year-old roommate Matthew Haggerty is recovering in the hospital after breaking his foot jumping from a second floor window and minor burns suffered while trying to rescue his trapped friend; 58-year-old Alan Marty is also hospitalized after falling face first while jumping to escape the flames, and breaking his nose and ribs. Haggerty was listed in good condition, Marty in serious. Yarusso had celebrated his 33rd birthday with friends the night before the fire. Eagan authorities and state fire marshals continue to investigate the cause of the fire.
University of Minnesota students are back on campus today after winter break, but if they aren't there because they're sick they'll get a pass. The ongoing flu outbreak means the attendance policy that says students have to be in class the first day of the semester unless they have a note from the doctor has been suspended because of the high number of flu cases. School officials are asking anyone that has flu symptoms to stay home, and to do so until they've been symptom-free for at least 24 hours. There have been at least 60 flu-related deaths in Minnesota at last count.
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life is inviting supporters to its annual "March for Life" Tuesday at the state Capitol (12 p.m. Tues). This year's event falls on the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. MCCL is calling on state and federal legislators to pass laws that protect unborn human life and young mothers. Officials at Planned Parenthood say, despite a woman's constitutional right to make her own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians, access to safe and legal abortion is still at risk.