>>State senator unveils revised sports betting bill
(Winona, MN) — Republican state Senator Jeremy Miller from Winona has unveiled a revised sports betting bill, aimed at getting around sticking points that held up legislation during the 2023 session. Minnesota’s eleven tribal nations could obtain licenses for retail and mobile sports betting — and could also have such betting at horse tracks or pro sports stadiums if those facilities agree to a partnership — plus horse tracks would get part of a 15 percent tax on sports betting revenue. Miller says, “I’m hoping that there’s enough benefit in this proposal that the tribes can support [it], that the horse-racing tracks can support.” A portion of tax proceeds would also go to local charities affected by changes that lawmakers made to charitable gaming laws, and to programs to address problem gambling. Legislation stalled in the closing days of the 2023 legislative session as competing interests argued over who would control sports gambling, and how revenue would be split between Native American tribes and the state’s two horse tracks (Canterbury Park in Shakopee and Running Aces in Columbus). The tracks wanted a cut of all gambling tax proceeds, while the tribes didn’t want any expansion of sports betting options at the horse tracks.
>>Warm-up expected for Minnesota
(Undated) — After a deep freeze, warmer temperatures are on the horizon. D-N-R Climatologist Pete Boulay says a high-pressure system will keep temps low the rest of this week, but once it moves out of the area “winds will start to blow out of the southwest and warmer air will come up into the state and, really, it looks like in general a good chunk of the country.” The forecast call for highs in the upper-30s and low-40s by next weekend. Boulay says it’s on-par with “a typical January Minnesota thaw.”
>>Mankato man charged with assaulting grandmother, threatening her and child at gunpoint
(Minneapolis, MN) — A Mankato man is facing state and federal charges, after prosecutors say he fired at Minneapolis officers early Sunday at an apartment where he was holding a grandmother and a nine-year-old child at gunpoint. The Star Tribune reports 31-year-old Kamau Evans is charged with eight counts of assault and felony gun possession. The grandmother told police Evans pistol-whipped her in the head and the child said he pointed a gun at their heads. Authorities say Evans fired a shot in the direction of police as they forced entry into the residence, then jumped out a window and ran. Additional officers were able to arrest him.
>>Feds Sue Minnesota Insurance Company Over Health Care Provider Tax Payments
(Undated) — The U.S. Department of Labor is suing Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The federal agency claims the Eagan-based health insurer wrongly passed along to employer health plans a state “provider tax,” which is paid by hospitals and clinics. The Department of Labor says for years Blue Cross had self-funded employer health plans cover the costs of the tax as an undisclosed piece of the negotiated service rates they pay to health care providers. The insurance company says the allegations are without merit.
>>Man who injured two boys in tubing accident sentenced to probation, substance-abuse program
(St. Cloud, MN) — Probation and a substance-abuse program is the sentence for a Saint Joseph man who admitted to drinking before a July tubing accident that injured two boys. 43-year-old Ryan Willis told deputies he got too close to shore, and the tube with two boys that he was pulling hit a neighbor’s dock. One of the nine-year-olds was airlifted to a hospital with a reported skull fracture, a large cut on his head, bruised lung and other injuries. The other youth was taken to a hospital in Saint Cloud for pain and a possible concussion.
>>Fargo Woman Charged with Stealing $80K from Employer
(Fargo, N.D.) — A Fargo woman is charged with stealing between 80- and 100-thousand dollars from her employer. Court documents say Kelly Tweiten transferred money to her personal banking account and wrote fraudulent checks to herself from her employer, Dietrich Homes, a financial manager. Tweiten is believed to have stolen a total amount between $80,000 and $100,000. Her next court appearance is February 22nd.
>>Teenager Arrested in Stolen Vehicle Suspected in Hit-and-Run
(Rochester, MN) — A teenage girl is in custody for stealing a vehicle allegedly involved in a hit and run earlier in the day. Rochester police say officers identified the suspect vehicle Monday evening, arrested the driver, and brought her to the Anoka County Adult Detention Center.
>>Maple Lake Ice Fishing Derby Canceled
(Maple Lake, MN) — A local ice fishing tournament joins the growing list of Minnesota winter events canceled due to poor ice conditions. Officials have determined the ice isn’t suitable for the 49th Annual Maple Lake Ice Fishing Derby, previously scheduled for February 3rd. Derby officials say they still plan to give away the Ice Castle fish house in a $10 raffle to be drawn at Madigan’s during the St. Patty’s Day Celebration on March 11th. The 50th annual Maple Lake Ice Fishing Derby will be February 8th, 2025.
>>MN Supreme Court speeds up schedule to hear challenge to felon voting law
(St. Paul, MN) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to hear on an accelerated schedule a challenge to a new state law that allows felons to vote after they’re released from prison — and not having to wait until they finish probation. An Anoka County judge threw out the case and the Upper Midwest Law Center appealed. Senior counsel James Dickey says, “Because this issue… relates directly to eligibility to vote, we think it’s imperative that the Minnesota Supreme Court weigh in on it quickly so that the issue is fully resolved before the 2024 election.” Dickey contends the Minnesota Constitution doesn’t allow felons to vote until *all* their civil rights have been restored, including being able to hold office or serve on a jury. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says that argument was invalidated in a 2023 ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
>>Minneapolis Animal Care, Control Lowers Pet Adoption Fees to Boost Adoption Rates
(Minneapolis, MN) — Minneapolis Animal Care and Control has lowered adoption fees to boost adoption rates. Beginning January 1st, adoption fees for residents have been waived and only license fees need to be paid. Fees for non-residents were lowered from $250 to $100 for adult dogs and from $100 to $25 for cats. Adoption fees for puppies are $250 dollars for anyone applying. Anyone wishing to adopt can visit the shelter, which is currently at maximum capacity, from 1 p.m.-7 p.m. tomorrow (THURS) and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.
>>Minneapolis mayor says plan to revitalize downtown includes worker pay
(Minneapolis, MN) — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and SEIU Local 26 leaders released a report today (WED) highlighting their plan to revitalize downtown Minneapolis and advocate for higher pay and retirement security for workers. Frey says the consensus is people don’t just want to return to “pre-pandemic normal Minneapolis,” they want to transform the city, and one way to do that is through a Labor Standards Board. In a statement, the Minneapolis Regional Chamber says, “While we appreciate the region’s diverse stakeholders, we must be deliberate and measured so we ensure that the city doesn’t make operating a business here unnecessarily expensive and burdensome, especially as we continue to recover from a difficult past few years.”
>>Suspect in Loring Park Golf Club Murder Found Incompetent for Trial
(Minneapolis, MN) — A judge is ruling that the man charged in the stabbing death of a grocery store clerk in Minneapolis’s Loring Park neighborhood is not competent to stand trial. Forty-four-year-old Taylor Justin Schulz is accused of fatally stabbing 66-year-old Robert Skafte with a golf club in December. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says Schulz remains in custody and will undergo a thorough mental health review before prosecutors can move forward with civil commitment proceedings. The victim was an acclaimed ballet dancer who’d been a cashier at the Oak Grove grocery store for decades.
>>Fatal Chain Reaction Crash near Champlin
(Champlin, MN) — A fatal chain-reaction crash near Champlin this morning on Highway 169 at Hayden Lake Road. According to the State Patrol, a Penske box truck was stopped in the left turn lane for a red light and a SUV was in the left lane when a pickup swerved from the right lane to the left lane. In the process, the truck hit the SUV, which flipped and hit the box truck. The driver of the SUV, a 55-year-old woman from Ramsey, died in the crash. No other injuries were reported, and the crash remains under investigation.