(Update) Minnesota News Briefs: St. Peter Superintendent attending State of the Union AddressMinnesota News
-- The 2013 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year is attending tonight's (Tues) State of the Union Address in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON D.C. - The 2013 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year is attending tonight's State of the Union Address in Washington, D.C.
St.Peter Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Olson will be sitting with Congressman Tim Walz (DFL-Mankato). Dr. Olson says he was thrilled to be invited after spending 16 years as a government teacher. He calls it one of those "bucket list" kind of things to have an opportunity to hear the president address Congress and the country Dr.Olson says he hopes President Obama will talk about school safety, reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, special education funding and repairing aging school infrastructure.
President Obama will deliver the 2013 State of the Union Address tonight and a Minnesota congressman met with the president this week and says jobs and the economy will dominate the speech. DFL Representative Rick Nolan of Crosby says he couldn't agree more. He says putting together a budget and plan that will create jobs, strengthen wages and income security is what the country needs more than anything. Nolan says the president will also touch on gun control and immigration reform.
Several Minnesotans will be in the U.S. House gallery tonight for President Obama's State of the Union Address. St. Cloud State University President Dr. Earl Potter will be the guest of Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) and Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) invited Central Lakes College President Dr. Larry Lundblad. Sami Rahimim, son of slain Accent Signage owner Reuven Rahimim, will be sitting with Congressman Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis). 21-year-old Abby Schanfield of Minneapolis will be sitting next to First Lady Michelle Obama.
Although the snow has stopped falling and Minnesota highways are back open, the Minnesota Department of Transportation continues to warn drivers of potential hazards that may still exist after the weekend storm. MnDOT is warning that high snow banks are limiting visibility at intersections and driveways, so drivers should be very careful in those places and not assume that other drivers can see them. Snowplow drivers have been extremely busy clearing roads across the state, and officials say once they've finally caught up on that task they'll begin removing those problematic snow piles from the berms and medians.
A jealous husband accused of using a hammer to kill a man and assault his ex and her children is now an admitted killer. Thirty-year-old Brian Daniel Freeman pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree intentional murder and three counts of first-degree assault. Prosecutors say Freeman walked into a Blue Earth home in February of 2012, and used a hammer to kill 37-year-old Christopher Fulmer. Freeman's wife, Candice Freeman, and her two teenage daughters were also beaten with the hammer and suffered skull fractures and other severe injuries. Freeman faces 33 years in prison when he's sentenced March 11.
Minnesotans may be able to take advantage of some extra tax deductions if a House-passed bill also makes it through the Senate. The Minnesota House unanimously voted to match some federal tax deductions that were recently put in place, including teachers' education expenses, homeowners mortgage insurance premiums, and deductions for the cost of college. Republicans wanted to add more deductions but failed, with Democrats saying those that were approved will already cost the state $18.5-million dollars.
State revenue collections in January came in $140-million more than forecast. Minnesota Management and Budget reports individual income and sales taxes led the way as the state collected one-point-eight-billion dollars. Income taxes paid last month were $136.9-million more than expected. State budget officials say that could reflect an acceleration of income into tax year 2012 by high-income payers in anticipation of higher federal tax rates in 2013. The next state economic forecast will be released at the end of February.
Prosecutors in the case of a Little Falls man charged with killing two teenagers have ask the judge to stop defense lawyers from releasing evidence to the public. 64-year-old Byron Smith is accused of killing 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer on Thanksgiving Day, and leaving their bodies lying in his basement until police were called by a neighbor the following day. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput is prosecuting the case for Morrison County, and says they've given Smith's lawyers police reports, pictures, audio recordings and other evidence, and he's asked the judge to order it be kept under wraps until trial. Orput also filed an objection to a defense request for the victims' school, cellphone, medical and mental health records, saying some of that information is confidential and goes beyond what is required by law. Smith is charged with two counts of second degree murder.
Voters in the St.Cloud and St. Peter areas go to the polls today to elect two new state representatives. The House District 14A seat was vacated by Representative Steve Gottwalt of St.Cloud and Representative Terry Morrow of St. Peter resigned in House District 19A. The candidates vying for Gottwalt's seat are Republican Tama Thies, DFLer Joanne Dorsher and the Independence Party's Todd McKee. Republican Allen Quist, DFLer Clark Johnson and IP candidate Tim Gieseke are competing for the seat vacated by Morrow. The results of today's special election will not affect the DFL's control of the state legislature.
The Minnesota state House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that will save the state money and give $35,000 more low-income residents access to health care. The legislation now heads to the Senate. Senator Kathy Sheran says expanding Medical Assistance eligibility would allow the state to offer coverage to those within 138 percent of the federal poverty guideline. She says staying at 75 percent would be the same situation where states were fully responsible for paying for the coverage. Sheran says this proposal, combined with the "Early Expansion" Governor Dayton implemented in 2011, would save the state approximately one-billion by 2015.
Police say a seven-year-old boy was incredibly lucky to have escaped serious injury when he was thrown from his grandparents' car in an accident near Eveleth. The St Louis County Sheriff's Department says a passing pickup lost control on an icy road and slammed into a car driven by 52-year-old Peter Thorsen. William Evans-Peterson was thrown from the back seat and landed in the ditch, but was treated and released for only a minor knee injury. His grandmother Michele Thorsen was kept overnight for observation, and Peter Thorsen and the driver of the pickup were uninjured. The car was almost completely destroyed.
After eight years of monitoring and aggressive management, there is no sign of bovine tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota's deer herd. The DNR's Lou Cornicelli says they're at a point where hopefully the disease is eliminated it and they can increase deer densities instead of keeping them low. None of the 325 deer harvested during the 2012 firearms season tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, marking the third consecutive year of negative TB testing. The DNR has now ended sampling of hunter-harvested deer in a 164-square mile management zone in northwestern Minnesota.
An elementary school in Princeton is closed today after a snowplow hit the building Sunday. The extent of the damage is not known, but it was enough to cancel classes today. Officials say the snowplow that hit the building was privately owned and the incident is under investigation. District officials closed all schools Monday due to the winter storm that moved through over the weekend.
An Onamia High School teacher is accused of having sexual relations with a student. Prosecutors say 33-year-old Adam Michael Lee had sex with a 17-year-old female student on at least two occasions in December and January. Mille Lacs County Sheriff's deputies began investigating Lee after school officials discovered another student's computer journal entry describing the alleged relationship between the suspect and the victim. Lee is charged with third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in a position of authority, both felonies.
A house fire in south St. Cloud Monday was started when a child playing with a lighter set a mattress on fire in the basement. According to fire officials, the resident tried to pull the mattress from the home, which also started a fire on the porch. And to top it off, a pan cooking on the stove with oil also started on fire. Four people were in the home at the time, and all were treated for smoke inhalation.