Minnesota News Briefs: Lawmakers, prosecutor unveil domestic violence firearm billMinnesota News
-- People convicted of domestic violence -- even though they didn't use a gun to commit the crime -- would be prohibited from having a firearm under a bill unveiled at the Minnesota Capitol yesterday
ST. PAUL -- People convicted of domestic violence -- even though they didn't use a gun to commit the crime -- would be prohibited from having a firearm under a bill unveiled at the Minnesota Capitol yesterday.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman argues domestic abusers should not be allowed to have a gun because of the repetitive nature of the crime and because it often escalates. The bill would also toughen penalties for juvenile offenders who commit repeat offenses using a gun, and felons would be prohibited from possessing ammunition, just as they're currently not allowed to have a gun. And those with mental illness that a court has ruled are a danger to themselves or others could not have a gun, even if they go to a private hospital rather than a state facility.
A new report shows "adverse health events" in Minnesota hospitals stayed flat in 2012, but patient deaths and serious injuries are up. The state Health Department says there were 14 deaths last year compared to five in 2011, and the number of serious injuries went from 84 in 2011 to 89 in 2012. Officials blame serious falls for the increases. During the same period, serious bedsores decreased eight percent, retained foreign objects declined by 16 percent and medication errors dropped 75 percent.
A northwest Minnesota man is dead after a three-vehicle crash involving a snow plow Wednesday in Beltrami County The State Patrol says 41-year-old Chanin Johnson of Kelliher was traveling behind a plow on Highway 72 when he lost control of his pickup. Johnson's truck spun into the oncoming lanes and collided with a semi causing the semi to lose control and crash into a car. Johnson died at a Bemidji hospital while the car's driver was hospitalized in critical condition The accident report shows the blacktop was icy at the time of the wreck.
A 37-year-old Maple Grove woman has pleaded guilty to giving her 12-year-old daughter heroin on a regular basis, and is expected to serve 4 years in prison. The Hennepin County Attorney's office says Rebecca Hill was living in her car when she and her daughter were caught stealing clothes at the Mall of America. Mom was taken to jail, the girl was allowed to leave with her grandmother, and the next day her father called police to report that he had taken her to the hospital to be treated for withdrawl. The girl is now in a treatment program. In exchange for Hill's plea, charges of child endangerment, car theft and giving false information to police will be dropped.
Fans around the world are mourning the death of the last surviving member of the Minnesota-born Andrews sisters. Ninety-four-year-old Patty Andrews died Wednesday of natural causes at her home in California. Patty was born in Mound, grew up in Minneapolis and at age 14 began singing professionally with sisters Maxene and LaVerne. Patty was the middle sister and lead singer. The Andrews sisters were credited with lifting the nation's spirit during World War Two - and announced the end of the war in 1945 during a USO concert in Italy. They received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987.
Details about the upcoming presidential visit to the Twin Cities have been revealed. President Obama will visit Minneapolis on Monday to discuss his comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence. The White House says Obama will meet with local officials to discuss steps that can be taken to cut the number of gun-related crimes.
The head of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation says he's looking forward to learning more about the company buying the Verso Paper Mill. CEO John Kramer says because it's a publicly traded company, the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation couldn't have access to any potential suitors, unless those suitors contacted them. Kramer says he never got a call from anyone representing American Iron & Metal Co., the new owner. AIM president Herbert Black says they won't operate the site as a paper mill because there's no market for it, but will reuse some of the buildings somehow. Black says he'll have a better idea of how the property will be developed after he visits in February.
A new report by the Environmental Protection Agency shows more children are being diagnosed with cancer each year. Mindy Dykes with the Minnesota Children's Cancer Research Fund says every year over 13-thousand kids are diagnosed with cancer across the country. If you break it down even further, she says there is a child being diagnosed with cancer at about one in every four elementary schools. In Minnesota, around 170 kids are diagnosed with cancer each year. The study examined several potential factors -- including air pollutants, pesticides, car exhaust, tobacco smoke and U-V radiation. There was evidence that each could contribute to childhood cancer, but none proved conclusive.
Today people all across Minnesota will be wearing red, in support of the American Heart Association's effort to raise awareness that heart disease is the top killer of women in the US. University of Minnesota physician Jennifer Dankle says it's been seen for so long as a men's issue that many women and their doctors don't consider heart disease when health issues emerge. And it's not always older or high-risk women -- Jennifer Thorson of St. Paul was 37 and training for her seond marathon when she was hospitalized. On average, about 14 women in Minnesota die from heart disease and stroke every day.
A week after being charged with sexually abusing three students, a former Bemidji teacher has been found dead in his home in rural Cass lake. Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp says 58-year-old John Wangberg's body was found by a relative, and they don't suspect foul play. Wangberg was a teacher in the Bemidji area for 30 years before he resigned in March of 2011, just two days before the first victim talked with police. He was charged last week with two felony sex charges and one misdemeanor. The complaint alleged that Wangberg had sexual contact with victims between the ages of 5 and 7 on school property.
The 11th annual "Give Kids A Smile" event is expected to provide free dental care for six-thousand Minnesota children in need this Friday and Saturday. Appointments are required -- and in some areas all available appointments are already filled. But the Minnesota Dental Association says if parents don't mind a trip to the Twin Cities, there are many more appointments still open there. To schedule an appointment go to mndental-dot-org or call the United Way at 800-543-7709.
Mayo Clinic is asking the state to finance $600 million of infrastructure improvements in downtown Rochester -- and pledges to invest about ten times that much over 20 years to retain its world-class status as a medical facility. Legislative leaders appear open to talking about it. House Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL-St. Paul) says it's his hope that they can move forward. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) says he's "optimistic that this group will be able to arrive at a solution." But Governor Dayton is a bit more tentative about the plan's chances -- noting his lack of success in getting bonding money for convention center upgrades in Rochester, Saint Cloud and Mankato.
More kudos for Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport. The Travel Leaders Survey ranked MSP in the top six nationally in all categories. Spokesman Pat Hogan says Twin Cities airport was in the top-two U.S. airports for amenities, dining, and traveling with kids -- fourth in the nation for business travel services -- and sixth overall for best airports to make a connection through. Last spring, "Travel and Leisure" magazine named MSP the best airport in America.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken has introduced a bill he says was born directly from the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Franken says his "Mental Health in Schools Act" would provide funding for schools to improve access to mental health services for students. He says if kids who are identified early with mental health issues are treated early, there can be very good outcomes that change people's lives. Statistics show only one-in-five children who have mental health issues get diagnosed or treated. And Minnesota ranks 48th in the nation for the ratio of students to counselors, with one counselor for every 780 students.
A Taser lost by a Burnsville officer six weeks ago popped back up in a Subway restaurant robbery. Officials with the Dakota County Drug Task Force say it was accidentally left behind during a drug raid, but they weren't aware it was missing until the Taser was found in the parking lot of the sandwich shop after the robbery. The department is investigating how the weapon was left behind and why the officer didn't report it. JesusYbarra of Eagan, Jake Benson of Apple Valley and Emily Schuster of Lakeville have been charged with robbery and terroristic threats for the January 21 holdup of the Subway. Benson is a former restaurant employee who was apparently fired a week before the robbery.
Four Stillwater state prison workers were hurt in an incident yesterday that led to a lockdown. Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesman John Schadl says two of the injuries were minor, but two other corrections officers required hospital treatment. They were treated and released. Schadl says an investigation is underway, and no details are being released until it's wrapped up.