Minnesota News Briefs: Fatal fire in Rochester kills oneMinnesota News
-- One person is dead after an early morning apartment fire in Rochester Tuesday.
(Rochester, Minnesota) -- One person is dead after an early morning apartment fire in Rochester Tuesday.
Fire officials say by the time they arrived they could see flames coming from both the balcony and the hallway of the apartment, and the person living there died before crews could get in to help. The fire did about $20,000 in damage and also left a neighboring couple without a place to stay.
A 13-year-old boy is hospitalized in critical condition after a hit-and-run accident Monday evening in St.Paul. A police officer in a squad car found the boy lying unresponsive in the street near University Avenue. Investigators believe the teen was struck by a car that fled the scene. He was taken to Regions Hospital with a serious head injury but is expected to survive. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the St.Paul Police Department.
One of three men arrested after a December drive-by shooting in Austin has entered a guilty plea. 34-year-old Raymundo Veraza pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and illegal possession of a firearm, and in exchange two additional felony weapons charges were dropped. He could draw up to seven years in prison when he's sentenced March 21. Veraza's 35-year-old brother Raynaldo and 31-year-old Fidel Molina previously plead not guilty to several assault and gun charges.
Emergency shelters around the state are at or near full capacity due to the extreme cold. The Salvation Army's Annette Bauer says in Minneapolis they had to open their chapel to accomodate the overflow for those in need. She says many outstate Salvation Army chapters don't operate shelter programs, but they will open their doors and let people sit inside to stay warm. Bauer says their shelters have been busy all winter In December, the Minneapolis shelter served over 670 people in one night, compared to 450 just two years ago.
St. Louis County in northeastern Minnesota was the coldest area of the state for the second straight morning today (Tues). Babbitt bottomed out at 38 below zero, the mercury fell to minus 36 at Embarrass and negative 35 in Crane Lake. Temperatures were more than 20 below zero across the north with negative teens in the west and central parts of the state. Locations in southern Minnesota were single digits below zero. High temps along Minnesota's southern border could reach positive territory this afternoon.
A new report suggests Minnesota's public high school graduation rate is on the rise. The 2010 data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 88-point-two percent of Minnesota students graduated in four years. That's a one-percent increase from 2008-2009 school year. The report also found that graduation rates for most minority students in the state is lower than their white classmates. The rate for American Indian students was 61.1 percent, 66.7 percent for Hispanics, 69.5 percent for blacks, 90 percent for Asian/Pacific and 92.3 percent for white students. Vermont had the highest overall graduation rate at 91.4 percent while Nevada was the lowest at 57.8 percent.
The Fergus Falls Marching Band is making their way back to Minnesota after playing in the president's second inaugural parade. Band director Scott Kummrow says you could feel the excitement. He says his chest started swelling with pride as they marched closer and then Vice President Biden gave them a thumbs-up and President Obama waved and smiled. Weather permitting, the bus is expected back in Fergus Falls around seven tonight.
A small Minnesota bank has been shut down by federal regulators, making it the second failure of a U.S. bank this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized 1st Regents Bank in Andover, which had around $50.2 million in assets and 49-point-one million in deposits at the end of the third quarter of 2012. First Minnesota Bank in Minnetonka has agreed to assume all of the deposits of the failed lender and will also buy all of 1st Regents' assets. There were 51 bank closures nationwide last year, and 157 banks went under at the height of the recession in 2010; four or five are the norm in an average economic year. The FDIC expects bank failures from 2012 through 2016 to cost ten-billion dollars.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton unveiled proposed budget today. The governor called for lower corporate income taxes, a reduction in property tax and additional education spending.
A Minneapolis man has been shot and killed in Oklahoma. 20-year-old Anthony Hartfield, Junior was visiting his father in Oklahoma City last Monday when an intruder broke into his father's home and shot him. Oklahoma City police are investigating the killing, but have made no arrests. Hartfield's father was unharmed.
The city of Duluth is receiving over two-million dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair damage to a wastewater interceptor caused by last June's massive storm and flooding. Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan (DFL-Duluth) says the money will cover about 75 percent of the cost to repair the interceptor. While this FEMA grant is significant and welcome, Nolan says there is clearly more work to be done to repair more than 300 bridges, hundreds of miles of roads and many more infrastructure-related needs throughout the Eighth District in northeastern Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Health is encouraging expectant mothers to make healthy lifestyle choices during their pregnancy. Governor Dayton has proclaimed January as Birth Defects Prevention Month. MDH spokeswoman Erica Fishman says there are small steps women can take to support a healthy pregnancy. Fishman says daily consumption of folic acid has been shown to prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spine. Birth defects affect more than two-thousand babies in Minnesota each year.
Organizers of the St. Paul Winter Carnival have postponed the Sled Dog Races due to a lack of snow. The races on Bald Eagle Lake were scheduled for this weekend but have been pushed back to the first weekend in February. A final decision on the races will be made this Sunday.
Pro-life activists will be bundled up for the annual "March for Life" at the state Capitol at noon, this time marking the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Bill Poehler with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life says they've gathered at the Capitol every anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, commemorating lives lost and calling on lawmakers to protect human life from the moment of conception. Poehler says 578,000 unborn babies in Minnesota have died since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion 40 years ago. Sarah Stoesz (STACE) with Planned Parenthood responds it's a shame that "super-overheated rhetoric from the MCCL continues at a time when we should be reaching out and seeking common solutions to some of the challenges that we have."
A 61-year-old man who was found in a Mahnomen storage building this weekend died from exposure to the cold. The medical examiner lists the preliminary cause of Gary Goodwin's death as hypothermia, but with possible complications from drug use. Results of a toxicology test are pending. Goodwin was found unresponsive in the storage building Saturday morning, and was pronounced dead at Mahnomen Health Center. Investigators say there were no signs of foul play.
Many schools in Minnesota were closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday but the cold snap kept students out of the classroom today as well in parts of the state. Administrators at several districts say there is no firm temperature threshold that dictates when they will cancel or delay classes, and one of the biggest factors is whether the buses start and run properly. School officials say many kids spend 10 to 15 minutes waiting for the bus, and that is too long on days when frostbite can set in quickly.
There's a public meeting tomorrow night at the Minneapolis VA to gather input on a proposal to renovate empty buildings at Fort Snelling for homeless veterans housing. VA spokesman spokesman Ralph Heussner says the buildings were constructed in the early 1900's and have been sitting empty for decades. Heussner says they are hoping to open 58 units to veterans in 2013. Most will be for families but there will also be some single units.