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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Police ID predestrian struck in Hermantown accident

HERMANTOWN - Police in Hermantown have identified a pedestrian struck and killed by a vehicle Sunday night. 

Officers say 28-year-old Jeremy Reeves of Hermantown died in a Duluth hospital more than an hour after the accident.  The driver and passenger of the vehicle that hit Reeves were not injured. Investigators do not believe alcohol or road conditions were factors in that fatal accident.  No other details have been released. 


Minnesota is getting a dose of almost spring-like weather after weeks and weeks of brutal cold.  Temperatures are already in the upper 30's in parts of southwest Minnesota with much of the state not far behind.  The Weather Service says today's (Tues) highs will range from the mid 30s to the low 40s.  But get ready for another dose of winter:  Forecasters have issued a blizzard watch for parts of south-central and southeast Minnesota for Thursday and Thursday night. 


Gas prices are on the rise in Minnesota.  Today's statewide average of $3.39 a gallon is a 12 cents more than last week and 18 cents higher than one month ago.  Many stations in the Twin Cities are charging $3.45 per gallon.  The cheapest gas is going for $3.19 at Costco and Sam's Club in the metro and several stations in the Moorhead area.  The national average is $3.35 per gallon. 


Temperatures are expected to climb into the 30's and 40's this week, and the DNR is encouraging Minnesotans to get outside and visit a state park. The DNR's Pat Arndt says there might be fewer services in some parks and maybe not as many staff, but Minnesotans have access to all 76 state parks every day of the year.  Arndt says a number of parks are also offering naturalist programs and ski-and-snowshoe events.  For more information go to the DNR's website.


The U.S. Green Building Council is out with the latest list of states with the most LEED-certified environmentally friendly buildings, and Minnesota ranked 10th.  Leadership in Environmentally Friendly Design's Scot Horst calls it "very impressive."  Horst says LEED-certified buildings are often more different in the way they feel than how they look: better air quality, usually a view to the outdoors and some connection with nature, with nicer and more natural light.  In addition, Horst says LEED-certified buildings use less energy and are a healthier environment in which to work or live.


The Minnesota State Patrol is still investigating a fatal weekend crash on Highway 14 in New Ulm.  Troopers say 27-year-old Randyn Groebner of New Ulm was killed when the car he was riding in hit a snowbank, rolled over and struck a lightpole. Groebner died at the scene.  The driver and a passenger were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with serious injuries.  The accident report shows alcohol was detected in the driver's system.  


An autopsy is planned on the body of a man found dead on a lake in northwestern Minnesota.  Polk County investigators say they found the body of Kory Stromstad or rural Crookston under water in his fish-house on Maple Lake, southeast of Crookston Saturday.  He was taken to the hospital in Crookston where he was pronounced dead.  Stromstad was 37.  The investigation is on-going.


The 2014 aerial moose survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows no significant change in the moose population even though more animals were seen than last year.  Results of the survey put the statewide moose population at 4,350 compared to last year's count of 2,760.  Wildlife Manager Lou Cornicelli says the higher number is likely related to ideal survey conditions rather than an increase in the population.  This year's heavy snow across northeastern Minnesota made it easier to spot the moose.  The long-term trend still shows a significant drop in the number of moose in the state from an estimated 8,840 in 2006.  The aerial surveys have been conducted by the DNR since 1960.


A 911 call about a woman walking on a rural road near Aurora in northeast Minnesota "without proper clothing" got even more unusual when a St. Louis County deputy began looking into the incident.  Officials say 19-year-old Jessica Zapf stole a handgun from one home and then broke into another home while the elderly female homeowner was asleep.  She had no idea there was an armed intruder in her home until the officer knocked on the door.  Zapf was arrested without incident and is charged with burglary and theft.  The stolen gun was found in the basement of the home.