Groups on Minnesota’s Iron Range say they’ll boycott a July 18th hearing in Saint Paul on plans to withdraw mineral leases in northern Minnesota, but will attend another hearing in Virginia, Minnesota in full force one week later. Saint Louis County Commissioner Tom Rukavina says they’re tired of the attack on their way of life, and the charade of having hearings all over the state. “We’re tired of running all over the place. You don’t have a hearing on the Saint Croix Bridge in Virginia or in Ely, so why do we have to run down there all the time?” Officials say there are strong feelings in the Twin Cities about proposed mines near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Iron Range groups say the Saint Paul hearing is about politics, theatrics and allowing mining critics to stuff the comment box.
Minnesota missed the fury of Mother Nature on Wednesday as a tornado touched down in western Wisconsin, damaging more than two dozen homes and farms. The National Weather Service reports the twister hit in Pierce County, near Ellsworth, causing at least one injury. Two other twisters were reported in Wisconsin.
While three twisters missed Minnesota Wednesday, causing damage in western Wisconsin, heavy rains pushed levels way up along the Whitewater River in southeastern Minnesota. The middle fork of the river is out of its banks between Plainview and St. Charles but forecasters say flood warnings will end later today.
Diamond Reynolds, the girlfriend of Philando Castile who live-streamed the aftermath of his shooting by a police officer, plans to travel the U-S next month for T-V appearances, plus make an August trip to London for an art exhibit created in her honor. The Star Tribune reports Reynolds’ attorneys informed a judge during a Wednesday court hearing when Reynolds pleaded *not* guilty to unrelated assault charges in connection with an alleged hammer attack on a woman in February.
Another all-nighter over the St. Croix River and the Stillwater Lift Bridge is back and operating on its normal schedule this morning. Crews fixed the electrical issues which caused the historic bridge deck to get stuck in mid-lift about 30-feet over the water on Tuesday.
A woman from Eden Prairie makes her first court appearance today as the third person charged with murdering a teenager during an attempted robbery in north Minneapolis earlier this month. 18-year-old Sequoia Bulson-Bratton turned herself in to police Tuesday night. Another defendant told police they targeted 17-year-old Austin Young because he’d been seen carrying a significant amount of money.
A woman from Cass Lake and three people from the Twin Cities have received sentences ranging from five to nine years for what federal prosecutors say was a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation and in surrounding areas. During traffic stops in March of 2016, officers seized more than 14-hundred grams of meth that had been thrown into a wooded area, plus marijuana and cash. A search warrant netted an additional 400-plus grams of meth.
Officials are getting the word out early: there’s going to be stepped enforcement on the state’s waterways over the holiday weekend. The DNR’s Lisa Dugan cautions that “drunk boating is drunk driving and I think that might be something that’s often a little looked over. When you’re out on the water, it feels a little bit more free, but boating while intoxicated is illegal and it does carry the same repercussions as a DWI.” She says operating a recreational vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or above is illegal in Minnesota. Dugan says there were 17 boating fatalities in Minnesota last year–which is higher than normal. And Dugan says “unfortunately this year we’re heading on a higher trend. This has been our deadliest start of the season on the water since 2005. So unfortunately we already have nine boating fatalities.” In 2016, alcohol was a factor in nine of the 17 deaths. A stepped up “Operation Dry Water” campaign kicks off tomorrow and runs through July 2nd.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals is weighing a request from a group of parents who want the state’s teacher tenure laws struck down, after hearing arguments from both sides Wednesday morning in Saint Paul. Plaintiffs’ attorney Jim Swanson argues those statutes interfere with the constitutional right of an adequate education for all students. Swanson says, “These laws, which result in the retention of teachers who aren’t doing a very good job — actually doing a poor job — need to be stricken from the books on the basis that they’re unconstitutional.” Denise Specht, head of the Education Minnesota teachers union, says current laws “don’t prevent bad teachers from getting fired. They prevent good teachers from being fired for bad reasons.” The group of parents is appealing after a district court judge dismissed their lawsuit last fall.
Although not directly related to this case, changes in teacher licensing laws is one issue in Governor Mark Dayton’s court battle with Republicans after he vetoed operating funds for the legislature.
A video intended for YouTube captured the shooting death of a Halstad, Minnesota man Monday night. A complaint charges 20-year-old MonaLisa Perez with manslaughter in the shooting of her boyfriend, 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz the Third. Norman County Deputies were told by Perez that she shot Ruiz in the Chest from about a foot away with a large caliber handgun. The bullet went through a book that Ruiz was holding. The complaint says Ruiz had shown Perez a different book that he had shot earlier and the bullet didn’t go all the way through. Two cameras had been positioned to record the shooting.
The public comment period of a city council meeting in St. Anthony turned into a protest over the recent verdict after last July’s fatal shooting of Philando Castile by officer Jeronimo Yanez. Demonstrators called for the resignation of Mayor Jerry Faust and other officials, saying the city had failed the community. On Monday, the city agreed to pay Castile’s family nearly three-million dollars as a settlement.
It was a close call for a police officer in the Clay County city of Glyndon on Monday. During a late evening traffic stop, the officer was talking to a motorist on Highway 10 when a gunshot narrowly missed him. It’s not clear if someone was aiming at the officer or somewhere else. Authorities are still looking for who was responsible.
A northwestern Minnesota woman is charged in the shooting death of her boyfriend. The Norman County Sheriff’s Office says 20-year old Mona Perez of Halstad is being held after the incident Monday night. The 22-year old man’s name has not yet been released.
The Stillwater Lift Bridge has reopened. The historic span over the St. Croix River suffered an electrical malfunction Tuesday afternoon, freezing in position about 30 feet over the water. Mn-DOT says crews worked all night, making temporary repairs in order to get the lift bridge open for this morning’s rush hour. It will close for repairs again late this evening.
While much of Minnesota is getting a dose of rain today, North Dakota remains on alert due to dry conditions. 30 counties statewide have declared emergency situations and banned burning across our western border.
The Red Sox clubbed the Twins last night at Fenway Park, 9-2. Hector Santiago fell to 4-and-7 with the loss. The teams waited out two rain delays to finish the game. The third game of the four-game series is tonight.
The state Court of Appeals hears arguments this morning from four parents who claim Minnesota’s teacher tenure laws protect ineffective teachers and prevent low-income students and those of color from receiving a quality education. The parents appealed after a district court judge dismissed the lawsuit last October, saying the plaintiffs did not establish a clear connection between academic achievement and due process for teacher tenure laws. The group says ineffective teachers often end up in low income schools because they have the hardest time filling teacher vacancies. The Education Minnesota teachers union says the lawsuit is a distraction from the real problems facing schools. Although not directly related to this case, changes in teacher licensing laws is one issue in Governor Mark Dayton’s court battle with Republicans after he vetoed operating funds for the legislature.
Governor Mark Dayton has appointed the state’s Rail Director as new chair of the Metropolitan Council. Alene Tchourumoff (pronounced un-LEEN SHWAR-um-off) will take over after current Chairman Adam Duininck steps down July 31st. Tchourumoff becomes Met Council head at a time when rail transit is a controversial topic both nationally and at the Minnesota Legislature. Republicans strongly oppose the Southwest Light Rail line in the Twin Cities, arguing bus rapid transit is much more cost-effective.
Groups on Minnesota’s Iron Range say they’ll boycott a July 18th hearing in Saint Paul on plans to withdraw mineral leases in northern Minnesota, but will attend another hearing in Virginia, Minnesota in full force one week later. Saint Louis County Commissioner Tom Rukavina says they’re tired of the attack on their way of life, […]