Minnesota News Briefs: Minnesota man to be new White House Chief of StaffMinnesota News
-- Minnesota native Denis McDonough was officially named White House chief of staff today. McDonough is a long time aide of President Obama and currently serves as deputy national security adviser.
(Washington, DC) -- Minnesota native Denis McDonough was officially named White House chief of staff today. McDonough is a long time aide of President Obama and currently serves as deputy national security adviser.
Forty-three-year-old McDonough grew up in Stillwater and graduated from St.John's University in Collegeville. He will take over for outgoing Chief of Staff Jack Lew, who is the president's nominee for Treasury secretary. McDonough was in the situation room during the Navy SEAL raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden and played a key role in a number of national security decisions.
The Minnesota National Guard is welcoming the olicy change to allow women to serve in combat positions. Staff Sergeant Andrea Drost says this move really opens a lot of doors for female soldiers. She says the point of this is to get the best qualified candidate into a position, and it gives the military the opportunity to select from a broader pool. Women represent around 16-percent of the Minnesota National Guard.
A Zimmerman man and his passenger escaped without injury when their vehicle went through the ice last night (Thurs) in central Minnesota. The vehicle broke through roughly three feet of water in a channel between Rush and Briggs Lakes in Palmer Township. The 22-year-old driver says he was unfamiliar with the area's ice conditions. The Sherburne County Sheriff's Office says the conditions between the lakes are unsafe for vehicle travel throughout the winter.
A St. Cloud man was arrested yesterday, right outside the corrections office, in connection with a stabbing during a burglary gone bad earlier this month. Police say 23-year-old Adam Hinnenkamp broke into a home on January 12 and started gathering things to steal when the homeowner arrived. Prosectors say Hinnencamp cut the man with a knife in order to make his getaway. The resident wasn't seriously hurt. Hinnenkamp was booked on suspicion of first-degree burglary and aggravated robbery.
A new poll shows Minnesotans are nearly evenly split on the idea of legalizing gay marriage. The Public Policy Polling survey shows 47 percent support it and 45 percent are opposed Gay-rights supporters in Minnesota saw a victory of sorts in November when voters defeated a proposed amendment that would have added a definition of marriage as the union of a man and woman to the state's constitution. Advocates are now trying to build on that victory by lobbying for a change in state law to make same-sex marriage legal. The poll also shows that Minnesotans support banning assault weapons, 54-37 percent.
A Washington County man is suing the Department of Natural Resources after his records were accessed by a now-former employee. Jeffrey Ness is one of about five-thousand people whose driving or motor vehicle records were illegally accessed, and he is seeking class-action status for the federal suit. His is believed to be the first lawsuit to come out of the data breach. The employee, listed as John Doe, is named as a defendant, along with the DNR, the Department of Public Safety, and commissioners of those agencies. The lawsuit claims they violated data privacy laws.
A missing man from Warren was found dead in a northwestern, Minnesota field Thursday. The 59-year-old was discovered about a quarter-mile from his rural home. It's believed the man's ATV got stuck in the snow and he tried to walk back home. An autopsy is planned but it's likely he died from exposure to the cold. The man's name has not been released.
Maple Grove Senior High says it has created an "action plan" in response to an incident that left 13 of its varsity hockey players suspended. Officials with Osseo School District won't say exactly what happened, but the incident reportedly took place at a private home in December. As part of the "action plan," school officials say they will hold meetings with winter coaches from all sports within the next two-weeks, will reinforce the school's "code of honor," and plan to gather anonymous surveys from students.
While flu activity has settled a bit compared to recent weeks, health officials say it's still widespread. Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Department of Health says 15 people died from flu-related complications during the latest reporting week, bringing the total to 75 so far this season. During this reporting week, 208 people were hospitalized and there were flu outbreaks reported in 112 schools and nine nursing homes.
Families, children and teachers are marching in Minneapolis today to raise awareness about the importance of early childhood education. Event spokeswoman Anita Patel says one of the reasons for the march is to urge lawmakers to support funding for early schooling outlined in Governor Dayton's budget proposal. Patel says the goal is to get access for all Minnesota kids into early childhood education programs. She says research shows kids who receive a quality education in the first five years of life are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college.
After catching wind of an event dubbed "St. Cloud: The Takeover", law enforcement officials decided to assign additional officers to the downtown area this weekend. St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson says the concert promoters plans are to bus people 18 and over from the Twin Cities to St. Cloud and back. Blair says the folks who live, work and play in St. Cloud know that their safety is paramount to the department. Blair says they are not going to have folks who don't live in St. Cloud, work and pay taxes, or anything else...coming into St. Cloud and upset that balance. Chief Blair says officers have been directed to approach this event with a "zero tolerance" mindset with regards to criminal behavior.
December was a bit of a disappointing month for the folks who sell homes in the state. Chris Galler with the Minnesota Association of Realtors says some of the key indicators slipped last month. He says December closed sales were down three-point-two percent. Pending sales were off point-nine percent. Galler says pending sales were higher in November so they were expecting better closed sales numbers for December. He says the median sales price increased 16 percent while the inventory of homes in the state continues to decline.
A member of the Native Mob gang has admitted to killing a Minneapolis teenager in 2010, and will spend 26 years in prison. Prosecutors say Thomas Neeland pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder of 16-year-old Andrew Battees, and that he killed the teen because he feared he would go to police and share what he knew about a robbery gone wrong in New Brighton. Both Neeland and Battees were linked to the attempted robbery and the shootings of four men during the holdup. All four have since recovered. Neeland was linked to the teen's death when police found the gun used to shoot him during the attempted robbery investigation.