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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Six years since the 35W Bridge collapsed

MINNEAPOLIS -- On the evening of August 1st 2007, Lindsay Walz of Minneapolis was driving home from her job in Shoreview when the 35W Bridge collapsed. Lindsay broke several vertebrae in her back and suffered other injuries, and continues to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. She says her physical body healed from her injuries, but for a long time she felt emotionally cut off, not present, a ghost of herself. Lindsay says all that she went through in the aftermath of the bridge collapse renewed a long-held dream -- to help children. She's done just that by opening Courageous Hearts youth center in South Minneapolis, where kids that have experienced trauma can express themselves through art. 


Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak made the city's first same-sex marriage official. Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke were married at City Hall at midnight. The mayor also oversaw the marriage of Al Giraud and Jeff Isaacson, and 40 other same-sex couples. Hundreds--including Governor Dayton-- were on hand to witness the historic nuptials. Minnesota's "Freedom to Marry Act" was signed by the governor in May and became legal as of today (August 1st). 


The group Minnesota for Marriage is expected to announce today (Thurs) how it plans to continue the fight against same-sex marriage, on the same day it became legal in Minnesota. Meanwhile Richard Carlbom with Minnesotans United says his group will defend lawmakers who voted "yes" going into the next election. Carlbom says they will focus on, "Supporting legislators who supported freedom," and says the right to marry is a basic, fundamental freedom and those legislators who supported it will get support from the Minnesotans United effort. The organization has more than 80-thousand individual donors from Minnesota and more than 50 thousand volunteers. 


Friends and family gathered in Pelican Rapids last night to remember a teen killed in a car crash early yesterday (Wed). 15-year Jayme Honrud of Erhard was in a pickup with four other teens when it rolled on a Becker County road south of Detroit Lakes. More than 100 people filled Pelican Rapids High School to remember Jayme and to talk to counselors. The crash remains under investigation. Authorities say alcohol wasn't a factor. 


A St. Paul Catholic priest who fathered a child with a married woman nearly a decade ago has been suspended. The Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul has removed Father Daniel Conlin from his normal responsibilities until further notice. Conlin, who was ordained as a priest in 1990, was removed as pastor of St. Columbia Church in St. Paul shortly before his child was born, and had later served on the Metropolitan Tribunal, which oversees marriage annulments 


A Sandstone sex offender who violated the conditions of his supervised release was found at a remote campsite at Fort Ridgely State Park in Nicollet County. The Department of Corrections began looking for Rommel Fritz after they discovered he wasn't living at his approved address. Acting on a tip, corrections agents went to the campground and found Fritz, and say he surrendered. Fritz was convicted of molesting an underage girl, and was released last year after serving more than 12 years of a 20-year sentence. He will be on conditional supervised release for life. A court hearing will determine whether Fritz will be allowed to remain free on supervision or will be sent back to prison. 


Operations are back to normal and visitors are once again welcome, after a nearly week-long lockdown at the state prison in Stillwater. The Minnesota Department of Corrections says the prison was locked down so that staff could conduct a more thorough search of some areas, and, in a statement, Corrections Deputy Commissioner Terry Carlson says they continue to fight against the smuggling in of items not allowed at the prison and the lockdown gave officers a chance to find evidence and curtail problems proactively. Carlson says they found several banned items but would not elaborate, saying the investigation is active. 


Home prices have shown double-digit increases over the past year in 20 U-S cities, including Minneapolis. The Case-Shiller index shows home prices in the City of Lakes were 14 percent higher in May 2013 than in the same month in 2012. Auction-dot-com Executive Vice President Rick Sharga says that's positive news for homeowners who were "under water," or owed more on their mortgage than the property was worth. Sharga says the increase in value also allows new homeowners to build equity more quickly. But he says it may not be beneficial to first-time homebuyers, because the combination of price and interest rate increases could make buying a first home more financially challenging. 

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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