MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Vets disability/pension payments could be affected by gpvernment shutdown
WASHINGTON D.C. -- Disability or pension payments for nearly 67,000 Minnesota veterans might not be sent out in November if the government shutdown doesn't come to a quick end.
And nearly 10,000 Minnesotans take advantage of GI Bill education benefits to go to college. Andrew Keirn with AMVETS says that organization is calling on Congress to pass full fiscal-year funding for all veterans programs -- because he says short-term continuing resolutions or other stopgap measures are unacceptable solutions.
A kayaker who went missing along the Minnesota River in southern Minnesota this summer has been declared legally dead. Fifty-one-year-old Stephen Fritze of Watertown, South Dakota and two others were on the river near Courtland June 22nd when Fritze hit a tree and his kayak capsized. Dozens of law enforcement agencies searched the river for more than a month, but Fritze's body was never found. A Nicollet County judge recently ordered the state to register Fritze dead due to drowning.
A southern Minnesota woman is in serious condition at the HCMC Burn Center after a fire Wednesday in a duplex in Fairmont. Eighty-six-year-old Donna Albert was hospitalized in Fairmont for burns and smoke inhalation and later transferred to Minneapolis. The structure was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived and another resident was able to escape without injury. Investigators believe a faulty electric blanket in a downstairs apartment started the fire.
A top Minnesota law enforcement official testified yesterday before the House Committee on Homeland Security on the threat to the U.S. posed by Al-Shabaab, the terror group that recently carried out an attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Hennepin County is home to the largest Somali population in the country, and while Sheriff Rich Stanek defended the Somalian communities in his state, he did warn about potential threats from recent terrorist defectors from the community. Stanek says al-Shabaab operatives pose a significant threat to the U.S. of preying on vulnerable people or carrying out an attack. Homeland security officials say resources to carry out a successful attack are available and, given relative availability of firearms and ammunition in the U.S., it's doubtful terror organizations would have much trouble acquiring needed weapons.