Minnesota News Briefs: Travel difficult through western, central MinnesotaMinnesota News
-- Travel was difficult today throughout west-central Minnesota. MnDOT's Jeremiah Moerke says blowing and drifting snow is causing white-out conditions in many areas.
Travel was difficult today throughout west-central Minnesota. MnDOT's Jeremiah Moerke says blowing and drifting snow is causing white-out conditions in many areas.
He says there is a "no travel" advisory for most of the area and they're asking people to stay home if possible. Moerke says Interstate 94 from Moorhead to Alexandria remains closed, as are Highway 10 from Moorhead to Audubon and Highway 210 from Breckenridge to Fergus Falls.
A Minnesota State Patrol car was struck by another vehicle this morning at the scene of a crash on Highway 169 near Jordan. The squad was parked with its emergency lights flashing and was rear-ended as the trooper was exiting the car. State Trooper Mark Lund suffered minor injuries in the collision, the other driver wasn't hurt. The accident report says the roadway was slush- and snow-covered at the time.
An Aitkin man is dead following a head-on crash in far northwestern Minnesota. 54-year-old Steven Wink was a passenger in a car that crossed the center line on Highway 11 in Kittson County Sunday. Wink's 25-year-old son, who was driving the car, and another passenger were taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. The State Patrol says the roads were icy at the time of the crash.
A Paynesville man is jailed in Stearns County after an alleged knife assault involving his girlfriend. The woman called 911 early Sunday to report she had been stabbed and the suspect left the home on foot. Deputies located the 39-year-old boyfriend walking along a nearby road with a wound to his abdomen. The alleged victim had a knife wound to her back and also told investigators her boyfriend stomped on her neck and assaulted her. She was taken to the Paynesville Hospital while the suspect was treated and released. He's awaiting arraignment for assault and possible attempted murder charges.
The state Senate held a hearing today about the Standards of Care Act which addresses staffing levels and patient safety. On Friday, the bill passed a committee in the House, with an amendment calling on hospitals to report actual direct patient care hours for regulators and consumers to examine online. Executive Director of the Minnesota Nurses Association, Walter Frederickson calls that progress. He says they've been working on staffing for 20 years and it's a baby step to getting data to expose the problems and conditions of staffing these facilities. If the bill is approved, online data would also go to the state Health Department for a study of staffing levels and how they correlate to patient outcomes.
Identity thieves are working overtime this year trying to get Minnesotans to reveal personal information by email and phone so they can steal tax refunds. Harold Moldoff is a volunteer "Fraud Fighter" with AARP and says identity thieves have already made off with an estimated $5.2 billion in fraudulent tax refunds. Most scammers work by phone and by email, and he says they usually say "we'll get you 80 dollars in extra refunds if complete a survey for the IRS." He warns that this is a scam. Moldoff says the IRS only makes initial contact through the U.S. mail and agents never use e-mail or call on the phone.
The Minnesota woman who was ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for illegal music downloading has lost her appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices today let the judgment against Jammie Thomas-Rasset of Brainerd stand. In September 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the recording industry in a ruling that called for Thomas-Rasset to pay $222,000 to record companies. She claimed the ordered payment was excessive. Most of the lawsuits against people accused of downloading without permission settled for $3,500 dollars.
A Minnesota woman is in serious condition after a bus carrying her college lacrosse team left the Pennsylvania Turnpike and hit a tree. Amanda Michalski of Coon Rapids is a freshman attacker for Seton Hall University. The extent of the 2012 Coon Rapids High grad's injuries has not been confirmed. The lacrosse coach, her unborn child, and the bus driver all died in the wreck.
The pilot of a twin engine plane was forced to make an emergency landing in a soybean field near Winsted, but all six people on board walked away without injury. The crash happened about a mile from the airport, when the pilot brought the plane down on its belly after one of the engines lost power mid-flight. The plane is owned by West Metro Aviation, and was traveling from Jamestown, N.D. to nearby Buffalo. Most of the six people on board were employees of a local drilling company. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.