Minnesota News Briefs: Delta adding more flights to Dickinson, N.D.Minnesota News
-- The North Dakota oil boom has prompted Delta Airlines to add two daily nonstop flights between the Twin Cities and Dickinson, North Dakota.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The North Dakota oil boom has prompted Delta Airlines to add two daily nonstop flights between the Twin Cities and Dickinson, North Dakota.
Dickinson a town of nearly 20,000 sits on the edge of the state's Bakken oil fields. Last year North Dakota emerged as the nation's number two oil producer behind Texas. Officials say many of the state's newcomers are from Minnesota. New jobs continue to attract workers from across the country.
The controversial "frac sand" mining issue in southeastern Minnesota is back on lawmakers' plates at the State Capitol today. A bill sponsored by Senator Matt Schmit (DFL-Red Wing) would set up a board to monitor land use, authorize a silica sand production tax, and move ahead with a Generic Environmental Impact Statement. Busloads of southeastern Minnesota residents showed up at the Capitol last week to voice their opposition to frac sand mining. Proponents point to economic benefits. Also at the legislature today, debate on bills that would allow school districts to begin classes before Labor Day, and would increase the compulsory school attendance age from 16 up to 18. And a panel debates proposed legislation to ban the chemical BPA from children's food containers, and to prohibit formaldehyde in kids' products.
A proposed increase in the state's minimum wage was on lawmakers' plate at the Minnesota Capitol yesterday as a House panel heard presentations on its economic impact. Minnesota's minimum wage has been at $6.15 an hour since 2005, although many workers receive the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Competing bills would raise the state's minimum wage by a dollar or two -- or automatically link it to inflation. Also yesterday, a state Senate panel debated proposed Sunday liquor store sales in Minnesota. It's a perennial issue at the legislature. All the states neighboring Minnesota allow Sunday liquor sales.
Facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month would have to be licensed and the state Health Department could also inspect them, under a bill just introduced at the State Capitol. Bill Poehler with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life says they want to make sure that those facilities are safe for women. Poehler notes that licensing is required for all other outpatient surgical centers. But Linnea House with NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota calls it an attempt to close down abortion providers, adding "there have been no instances of women being harmed in any of our facilities." Pro-life groups have repeatedly tried to require licensing of abortion facilities in Minnesota but so far have been unsuccessful.
The Morrison County Sheriff's office has identified two people found dead in their Little Falls Township home Saturday night. 75-year-old Richard Lakeman and his 45-year-old wife Cynthia Lakeman both died from gunshot wounds. The .38 caliber revolver was recovered in the home. Sheriff Michel Wetzel said investigators are not actively seeking a suspect, and says the public is not in danger.
Starting next week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin conducting snow surveys around the state. Spokesman Patrick Moes says it's to get a general idea of how much water is contained within the snowpack. Moes says it helps agencies coordinate to determine flood potential during the upcoming spring melt. Survey teams will be in Duluth, International Falls, East Grand Forks, Moorhead and St. Cloud between March 4th and the 8th. Data collected will then be turned over to the National Weather Service and U.S. Geological Survey.
Low-income families statewide may be eligible for a free child car seat and training on how to properly install it. The Child Passenger Restraint and Education program is offered by the Department of Public Safety, and coordinator Heather Darby says installing a child seat correctly can make a big difference in reducing injuries or fatalities in crashes. In the last five years, 30 kids up to age seven were killed in Minnesota crashes--and only 37-percent were properly restrained. Darby says one of the most common mistakes parents make is trying to rush kids to the next car seat or position before they're ready for it.
A 35-year-old Maplewood man is dead following a single-vehicle accident Sunday night in the east metro. Authorities say David James was driving on Highway 61 when his vehicle drifted off the road, hit a guardrail and slammed into a concrete pillar. James was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials aren't sure what caused the crash and say road conditions were dry when the accident occurred.
A Rochester pastor charged with shooting and wounding his granddaughter is in court today. Stanley Wilkinson told investigators he was asleep when he heard someone trying to break into his house last December. He fired two shots...and ended up wounding his 16-year-old granddaughter Paige Wilkinson. She'd apparently left the house and was trying to sneak back in when she was shot. The teen has undergone several surgeries for her injuries.
The union representing two-thousand security guards in the metro and surrounding suburbs plan to conduct a one-day walkout strike some time this week. Contract talks between SEIU Local 26 and contractors for corporations including Target, US Bank and Wells Fargo broke down over the weekend. The workers have been without a contract since December. Wages and insurance costs are among the key issues the two side have been unable to agree on. The union also represents janitors, who were able to reach an agreement with contractors, and will be voting on a contract later this week.