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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Tractor rollover claims life of grandfather, grandson

A 5-year-old boy and his grandfather are both dead after a tractor accident in Clearwater. Wright County Sheriff's investigators say 50-year-old Ron Gufstafson of Monticello and his grandson Rollie Gufstafson were working on a fence line when the tractor they were on rolled over into a deep ditch. Ron Gufstafson was pronounced dead at the scene. 5-year-old Rollie was rushed to Children's Hospital but died a short time later. The deaths have been ruled an accident by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. A joint funeral for grandfather and grandson will be held Wednesday morning at Daniel Funeral Home in Clearwater. 


State and federal officials are holding public assistance briefings this week for 18 Minnesota counties affected by severe storms and flooding in June. Applicants eligible for disaster aid include cities and counties, electric cooperatives, non-profits and schools. State Emergency Management Director Kris Eide says applicants at these briefings will learn about the types of damages and costs that are eligible. Following that the state and FEMA will follow up with each individual applicant and help them fill out the paperwork for their reimbursement. Eide says this is the first step in getting public assistance. The federal government covers 75 percent of costs and the state and/or local government will pay the other 25 percent. 

(Mon 8/5 Mcleod and Sibley; Tues 8/6 Wilkin, Traverse/Grant, Hennepin, Big Stone/Swift; Wed 8/7 Stearns/Benton/Morrison, Stevens, Pope/Douglas; Thurs 8/8 Faribault, Freeborn, Houston and Fillmore) 


Minneapolis Police Chief Jane?Harteau says her top priority when taking the leadership role in the department was building a strong culture of respect and community partnership, and she was appalled by the video footage showing two officers using racial slurs and being generally disorderly with Green Bay police officers. While Harteau can't, by law, specifically comment on personnel matters, the chief's statement says any police misconduct does major damage to the progress made in building public trust. Harteau says there is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind within the MPD. She has appointed a new Police Conduct Oversight Commission, which Harteau says will be working by September. She has also pledged to work with Minneapolis?Civil Rights Director to engage the help of cultural and faith leaders to, "Rebuild trust with all Minneapolis communities." The chief was unavailable for further comment. 


The largest annual food drive in Minnesota continues to pay dividends for nearly 300 pantries across the state and for the families that they serve. Most of the food and monetary donations were made directly to local food shelves. Another $775,000 went directly to Minnesota FoodShare, and coordinator Sarah O'Brien says overall the entire campaign raised over 12 million combined pounds and dollars. Those funds are now being distributed. O'Brien says food shelves could see even greater demand, since some in Congress are pushing to cut funding for food stamps, which are now called SNAP benefits. 


Parent Aware is a new service that helps Minnesota parents find child care and early education providers that are, "focused on high quality early learning and kindergarten readiness." It uses a one-to four-star ratings system which measures best practices identified by research that help children succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Debi Mathias of QRIS National Learning Network says it goes beyond just helping a parent find a safe place to "park" children under age 5, but identifies well-qualified, skilled teachers to give families the best possible outcomes in school readiness. Mathias says around 90 percent of brain development happens by age 5, and 60 percent of kids in that early age group spend time in the care of someone other than their parents. 


A preschooler has been reelected mayor of a small tourist town in northern Minnesota. 4-year-old Robert Tufts' name was picked Sunday during annual Taste of Dorset festival to be mayor for a second term. Dorset has no formal city government and a population of less than 30 residents. Ballot boxes were placed in local stores, it cost a dollar per vote, and the money raised supports Taste of Dorset. Bobby starts preschool this fall. 

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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