>>Former GOP House Speaker Daudt Retiring from Legislature
(St. Paul, MN) — A high-profile Republican at the Minnesota Legislature, former House Speaker Kurt Daudt, says he’s resigning his House seat February 11th, the day before the start of the 2024 session. Daudt, from the tiny community of Crown just north of the Twin Cities, was known for his relentless and frequently fiery style in floor debate, particularly when Republicans were in the minority. Daudt was House speaker from 2015 through the end of 2018, pushing for tax cuts, reduced government spending and education reform. Governor Tim Walz must now call a special election to choose Daudt’s successor.
>>Walz Touts USDA Summer Nutrition Program for Children
(Maplewood, MN) — The U-S Agriculture Department says Minnesota this summer will be among 35 states to launch a new summer grocery benefits program for children, called Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer. Governor Tim Walz says, “Minnesota’s going to participate in that. We’re receiving the federal money that will go into (it). We’ll use our funds to help match that, of making sure there’s no gap in the summer, that students are able to get this.” Walz says he’s “somewhat amazed” that Iowa and Nebraska are not participating. Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds says in a statement: “Federal COVID-era cash benefit programs are not sustainable and don’t provide long-term solutions…. An EBT card does nothing to promote nutrition at a time when childhood obesity has become an epidemic.”
>>Big Lake Woman Pleads Guilty in “Feeding Our Future” Case
(Minneapolis, MN) — A Minnesota woman is pleading guilty to a charge of wire fraud after admitting to stealing over two-million dollars from the federal government. Fifty-three-year-old Sharon Ross of Big Lake is the 17th person to enter a guilty plea in connection with the Feeding Our Future fraud scheme. Prosecutors say Ross claimed to have served 900-thousand meals to needy children during the COVID-19 pandemic while using the money she collected to buy a house and pay for vacations and trips. The U-S Attorney’s Office in Minnesota has charged 60 people in the case, which prosecutors call the largest pandemic fraud in the United States with $250 million in federal child nutrition funds stolen.
>>New Leader Picked For St. John’s Abbey
(Collegeville, MN) — A Catholic monastery in central Minnesota is welcoming a new leader. Reverend Douglas Mullin has been selected to replace Abbot John Klassen as head of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville. Klassen is stepping down from the position because he is nearly 75 years old, which is the mandatory retirement age for the Catholic Church. A blessing for the new abbot will be held at the Abbey on January 28th.
>>Minnesota BCA Identifies Man Shot by St. Paul Police Officer
(St. Paul, MN) — The Minnesota B-C-A is identifying a man shot last Friday by a St. Paul police officer in an apartment. Agents say 31-year-old Brett Kohl of St. Paul was shot once by Officer Josh Needham following the report of a physical and sexual assault by an armed man. Officers say the woman safely left the scene and Fraser ran out into a hallway where Needham fired three rounds, striking Fraser in the arm. He was treated and released from the hospital and taken into custody. Investigators say a replica handgun was discovered inside a backpack in the apartment. Responding officers were wearing body cameras during the incident.
>>Man Found Unresponsive on Piece of Equipment Dies in Waseca
(Waseca, MN) — Authorities in south central Minnesota are investigating the death of a man found unresponsive on a piece of equipment in Waseca. Police and paramedics provided first aid but say the victim died at the scene Tuesday afternoon. Investigators aren’t releasing any other details.
>>New London-Spicer Students Remember Classmate Who Died in UTV Crash
(New London, MN) — Students and staff at New London-Spicer High School are encouraged to wear cammo or blaze orange today (Thurs) in memory of 15-year-old Will Dahl, who died following a Sunday afternoon pickup-UTV crash near Sunburg. At last check Will’s younger brother, Harrison, remained 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 for the Dahl family — one on gofundme.com and the other at The Open Door Christian Church in New London. More than 100-thousand dollars has been raised so far to help the Dahl family with medical and other expenses.
>>Austin Man Backs Out of Plea Deal for Deadly Hit and Run
(Austin, MN) — An Austin man backed out of a plea agreement in a case involving a fatal hit and run after it became apparent the judge in the case would likely send him to prison. Thirty-six-year-old Darin Finley earlier pleaded guilty to a criminal vehicular homicide charge in the death of 41-year-old Melissa Rack of Austin on the night of December 30, 2022. Finley was allegedly driving drunk when his vehicle struck the woman. The complaint says one of the witnesses saw the driver of a white S-U-V stop near the site of the collision, run back to the intersection where the victim was located, and then return to the S-U-V before speeding away. Finley is currently scheduled to stand trial in May.