>>Walz, Flanagan say new program serving a million more free school lunches monthly
(Maplewood, MN) — Over a million additional lunches have been served monthly in Minnesota’s new free school meals program, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced this afternoon (Wed) at Edgerton Elementary School in the Saint Paul suburb of Maplewood. Walz says, “Children learn best when their stomachs are full. Children learn best when they’re not stressed about that. Families are able to save the money on school meals to make sure that they’re able to do some of the other things they want to do.” Walz calls it an investment in Minnesota’s future, as the number of school lunches being served is up 11 percent — and breakfasts up 31 percent. Republicans say children who can’t afford school meals should certainly get them, but they say taxpayers are also providing free school meals to families who can afford to pay for them.
>>Upper Sioux Agency State Park to close permanently in February as land returned to Upper Sioux Community
(Undated) — Upper Sioux Agency State Park in southwest Minnesota will close for good on February 16th, the final step in a plan to transfer historic land back to the Upper Sioux Community. DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen says that land has special historical and cultural meaning to the Upper Sioux Community as the site of starvation and death of Dakota people during the summer of 1862, when the U-S government did not provide food promised to the Dakota by the Treaty. Strommen says the DNR will continue to collaborate with the public and partners to expand and improve outdoor recreation options in the area.
>>Cloquet Fatal Shooting Victims, Suspect Identified
(Cloquet, MN) — Cloquet police have identified the victims and assailant in connection with a fatal shooting Monday at a Super 8 Hotel. 32-year-old Nicholas Lenius of Ramsey was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The hotel clerk, who was shot and later died at a hospital, is 22-year-old Shellby Trettel of St. Cloud. The victim found inside a vehicle in the parking lot was identified as 35-year-old Patrick Roers of Deer River. There’s still no information about motive or whether there’s a connection between the shooter and his victims.
>>One of three injured boys dies after pickup-UTV crash in west-central Minnesota
(Undated) — One of three boys injured in a pickup-UTV crash Sunday afternoon near Sunburg in west-central Minnesota has died. The family’s Caringbridge page says 15-year-old Will Dahl passed away Tuesday morning. His younger brother, Harrison, remains in critical condition at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, while his other brother, Drew, appears to be recovering well from his injuries. Two funds have been set up to help the Dahl family — one on gofundme.com and the other at The Open Door Christian Church in New London. So far, more than 100-thousand dollars has been donated to help the Dahl family with medical and other expenses.
>>Report Shows Fargo Ambush Shooter Donated Guns to Sheriff’s Office in 2016
(Fargo, N.D.) — A report reveals that the man who ambushed Fargo police officers last summer had donated four guns to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in 2016. Mohamad Barakat indicated he purchased the guns to “fit in” while studying to become a dentist and had been asked by co-workers if he liked to hunt or go shooting.
Barakat said he was Muslim and from Syria and did not want to fall under suspicion as being a violent person. He donated the two shotguns and two rifles to the sheriff’s office for its gun sale, saying he wanted to see something good happen from his misguided purchases. Barakat ambushed police officers July 14th, killing Officer Jake Wallin, seriously injuring Officers Tyler Hawes and Anthony Dotas, and injuring a civilian woman. He was shot by Officer Zach Robinson and later died in a hospital.
>>Plymouth City Council Gives Go-Ahead for New Eagle Brook Church Campus
(Plymouth, MN) — The Plymouth City Council has reversed its prior vote, giving Eagle Brook Church — which had threatened to sue — the go-ahead to build a new mega-church in that west metro suburb. The city council approved the project on three conditions: two access points to lessen traffic problems, a landscaping plan to minimize impact on neighbors, and a less “industrial” look for the back of the building. The new church campus will accommodate around 15-hundred worshippers.
>>UTV Breaks Through West Central Minnesota Lake
(Ashby, MN) — The Grant County Sheriff’s Office says two people made it to shore safely after their UTV went through the ice on Pelican Lake near Indian Mounds Resort south of Ashby late Tuesday afternoon. The UTV sank in about 20 feet of water. The Sheriff’s Office says as recently as Sunday, many of lakes in Grant County still had open water and the current ice conditions are very inconsistent and not safe.
>>Teenage girl taken to Juvenile Detention Center for Assaulting Student with Box Cutter
(Barnum, MN) — A 14-year-old girl is in custody after police say she assaulted a classmate with a box cutter at Barnum High School in northeast Minnesota’s Carlton County. The school was placed on temporary lock-down. The victim, a 16-year-old boy, was taken to the hospital for a laceration to the chest. The female student was taken to a juvenile detention center in Duluth.
>>Minnesota man arrested in Des Moines area on robbery and attempted murder charges
(Adel, IA) — A Minnesota man is in custody in the Des Moines, Iowa area on charges of attempted murder and first-degree robbery. 22-year-old Jamal Jarbah was arrested after authorities executed a search warrant this morning (Wed) in West Des Moines, stemming from a December 19th incident in that city — but few other details are available. A police spokesman did say the victim is okay.