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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Student hit by school bus after last day of year

OTSEGO, Minn. -- A six-year-old girl is hospitalized after being hit by her school bus after her final day of kindergarten in Otsego.  The girl had gotten off the bus and a witness says she dropped something as she was walking in front of it, and was hit when she bent down to pick it up.  The girl's parents were at the scene waiting for her to get in the car so she didn't have to walk down the street in the rain.  She was flown to a nearby hospital.


The Minnesota Department of Commerce is recommending that Xcel Energy reduce its rate increase request for its electric service by 60 percent.  Xcel is proposing a 291-million-dollar rate increase in 2014 and 2015 and the state Division of Energy Resources wants it trimmed by 174 million.  A Commerce Department review concluded Xcel would still be able to provide safe, reliable service by making needed improvements to distribution, transmission and generation facilities at the pared-down level. Commisioner Mike Rothman says "Xcel's requested rate increase is way too high."  Public hearings on the rate increase request are the week of June 23rd in the Twin Cities, Mankato (6/25) and St.Cloud (6/27). 


June is Rail Crossing Safety Awareness Month in Minnesota and officials are reminding motorists and pedestrians to be alert.  Last year there were 53 highway-rail grade crossing collisions resulting in six fatalities and 26 injuries in the state.  Bill Gardner with the Minnesota Department of Transportation urges pedestrians not to trespass and to only cross tracks where they are marked for crossing.  And he says, when the gates are down, it's illegal to drive or walk around them.  He also says: don't be fooled--the train is closer and faster than you think--if you see a train, just wait. 


More than 1,000 Minnesota prisoners, 13 percent of those released from state facilities, were set free after serving their maximum sentences -- meaning they are sent to their home communities without probation or supervision of any sort.  The report was compiled by the Public Safety Performance Project for the Pew Charitable Trusts, and director Adam Gelb says that's not right for either the offender or the community.  He says we shouldn't have inmates leaving our prisons where they are under lock and key for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and go straight from the cell to the street without any supervision.  Gelb says research suggests that for many offenders, shorter prison terms followed by supervision can reduce not just the odds that the offender will end up back behind bars, but may also reduce corrections costs as well. 


Two people were able to swim to shore after their canoe capsized on the Sauk River near the Heim’s Mill canoe access in Stearns County, but rescuers had to pull a third from a nearby island.  Sheriff John Sanner says 27-year-old Jared Stroeing of Sauk Rapids and 25-year-old Lisa Fowler of St Cloud were able to swim to shore after the boat tipped, but 28-year-old Scott Nordmann of St. Cloud only made it to a nearby island, where he clung to branches and trees until the Sartell/LeSauk Fire Dept. was able to rescue him.  Sanner says the water on many Minnesota rivers and streams is unusually high and swift moving and can quickly lead to a dangerous situation for anyone who travels on it. 


The wife of a former Minnesota State football player who was beaten and critically injured a month ago in a confrontation that involved another college football player has given birth to the couple's second daughter.  Molly Kolstad and the baby are doing well.  Isaac Kolstad is in critical condition at the same Mankato hospital, after he was hurt on May 11 in a confrontation that included former Minnesota Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson.  Kolstad was able to respond to verbal commands this week, but a post on his CaringBridge site also says physicians are concerned about a dangerous blood clotting condition.


The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is telling people not to eat certain cheese and salsa produced by Parkers Farm of Coon Rapids because of possible contamination with Listeria bacteria.  Nobody has gotten ill, but the bacteria can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially serious disease marked by fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and nausea. It doesn’t often affect healthy people but can sometimes cause fatal infections in infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis can also lead to miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.  The products were sold at several retail stores including but not limited to Cub, Rainbow, County Market, and Kowalski’s. Anyone with questions can contact the company at (800) 869-6685 or the website:  

Additional information:

The list of recalled products includes:

•    8-ounce Parkers cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar and port wine varieties with a sell by date of 5/21/2015; 

•    14-ounce Parkers cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar and port wine varieties with a sell by date of 5/20/2015; 

•    16-ounce Parkers salsa in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including hot, mild, garlic, and fire-roasted varieties with a sell by date of 9/19/2014;

•    5-pound and 10-pound bulk foodservice products including cold pack cheese foods and cheese spreads with a sell by date of 2/17/2015.


Fire officials say the fire that broke out at Owatonna High School earlier this week was caused by a an unattended stage light that ignited a stage curtain.  The school’s sprinkler system activated and kept the fire from spreading.  Nobody was in the auditorium when the fire started and nobody was hurt.  School officials say fire and water damage was limited to the stage and auditorium floors, and the drama storage room below the auditorium was also damaged by water.


A jury has convicted a St. Paul man of attempted second-degree murder of a rival gang member outside of a Lake Street food store, after about six hours of deliberation.  Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says 25-year-old Zakaria Yusuf is likely to be sent to prison for 14 to 17 years when he is sentenced July 1.  Court testimony shows that the victim, who is a member of Somali Outlawz Gang, was standing outside the store talking with two friends when Yusuf pulled a gun from his waistband and shot the man several times.  Yusuf was known to associate with the St. Pistol Boys gang in St. Paul as well as Somali gangs in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside area.


 A 33-year-old man convicted of raping a woman at gunpoint last summer after she left a bar in south Minneapolis is headed to prison for 30 years.  Demarcus Chaney was sentenced yesterday, receiving a penalty that's toward the top of the sentencing guidelines for rape.  The victim did not attend the hearing, while Chaney declined to speak.  His attorney had argued for a sentence no longer than 22 years.