MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Obama declares 18 counties as a federal disaster area
President Obama has declared a federal disaster area in 18 Minnesota counties hit by storms and flash flooding last month, making federal money available to cities and counties to repair roads, bridges, parks and public buildings. The state did not request disaster assistance for *individuals* affected by the storms. The state Public Safety Department's Doug Neville says there are clear thresholds for public assistance and Minnesota met them -- but it's different for individual assistance. Neville says there needs to be widespread damage throughout the state to get those declarations. It's an open question whether the legislature would provide storm-damage assistance to individuals.
A preschooler died at the Burnsville home he shared with his mother back in June, and now the Hennepin County Medical Examiner has ruled four-year-old Keyontay Miller-Peterson died of blunt-force trauma to the abdomen and his death was a homicide. Police were called to the townhouse on a report of medical problems and say the boy was dead when officers arrived. The mother's 24-year-old boyfriend was arrested. He has not yet been charged in connection with Keyontay's death.
Authorities in Minneapolis Thursday afternoon rescued a boy who fell into Minnehaha Creek south of the falls while he was chasing after a football. The Star Tribune reports he was floating toward the Mississippi River when two emergency responders pulled him to safety. A spokewoman for the Park and Recreation Board says the 12-year-old was being swept down the creek but remained calm enough to grab onto a log. The lucky youth was reportedly unhurt.
"He'd be a very strong candidate," says state D-F-L Party Chairman Ken Martin about reports that former T-V anchor Don Shelby is considering a run for Congress in Minnesota's 3rd District. But Carleton College political science Professor Steven Schier cautions no polling has been done...and notes that incumbent Republican Erik Paulsen won a second term very comfortably in a marginally-Republican district. Schier says the one advantage Shelby brings is name recognition, which probably will also bring him considerable money if he decides to run. But Schier notes Shelby has never run before and it's hard to know how voters will react to it. He adds 2014 is not necessarily shaping as a good year for Democrats.
A motorcyclist was killed in an accident yesterday (Thu) in Rochester, on Highway 14 westbound, at the interchange of County Road 22. Investigators say it appears the biker may have lost control on the off ramp. Motorcycle fatalities are up more than 60 percent from this time last year in Minnesota. Thirty-five people have been killed and more than half were single-vehicle crashes.
A young man who was injured when a car driven by a drunk driver crossed the centerline and hit his vehicle is suing the city of Duluth and the management of Enger Park Golf Course for serving alcohol to an "obviously intoxicated" man. 21-year-old Stephen Ballard suffered a broken ankle, a broken wrist and a head injury in the July 2011 crash when Robert Chesser drove across the centerline into the oncoming lane and struck Ballard. The suit claims that Professional Golf Management and the city, through their employees, illegally sold alcoholic beverages to Chesser while he was obviously intoxicated, in violation of Minnesota law. Chesser's blood-alcohol content registered .22, more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit. Ballard is asking for $50,000 in damages.
Two Inver Grove Heights men have been charged with drug possession and sales, after the Dakota County Drug Task Force worked with a confidential informant to catch 27-year-old Mike Sanchez trying to deliver more than two pounds of cocaine, and a later search of his home turned up almost four more pounds of cocaine, 3 pounds of meth, and an ounce of marijuana. 22-year-old Josue Ledezma-Lopez was arrested during the search of Sanchez's home. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom says the amount of cocaine seized in this investigation was more than three times the amount of cocaine seized in all of 2012 in the county. He estimates the street value of the drugs seized at more than $150,000.