Author: The Associated Press

Governor to Hire Outside Experts to Study Troubled Agency

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Gov Tim Walz says his administration will hire outside experts to make recommendations on whether to restructure the state’s troubled Department of Human Services. They’re engaging the company Public Sector Consultants to determine the scope for a third-party outside review of the agency by prospective consultants. That review will include specific recommendations for the future…

Report: Flu Season in Minnesota Kicking Off With Influenza B

B Strains Have Historically Spread Faster Among Children

MINNEAPOLIS – Flu season in Minnesota is off to an unusual start, with the B strain of influenza causing most of the lab-confirmed cases instead of the usual A strain. The Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Department of Health released data Thursday showing that B strains made up about 80% of the positive flu specimens obtained in clinics and…

Hidden Recording Devices Found in Student Rooms at Minnesota Hotel

No Suspects are in Custody at This Time

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A Wisconsin school district has put a staff member on leave after some students from Madison East High School found recording devices in their hotel rooms during a field trip to Minneapolis. A Madison school district spokesman tells the Wisconsin State Journal the response was a cautionary measure that’s standard during a police investigation. The police chief…

House Panel Approves 2 Trump Impeachment Charges

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool) WASHINGTON (AP) – The House Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The charges now go to the full House for an expected vote next week. The abuse of power charge stems from Trump’s July phone call with the Ukraine president pressuring him to announce an investigation of Democrats as he…

U of Minn Regents OK New Provost Contract of $500K-Plus

MINNEAPOLIS – Regents at the University of Minnesota has approved a salary of more than a half-million dollars for a new provost. The board voted 8-4 Thursday to approve Rachel Croson’s contract as the university’s next executive vice president and provost. Croson is currently dean of Michigan State University’s College of Social Science. She is the first major hire by…

FCC Votes to Set Up 3-Digit Suicide Hotline Number

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. regulators are setting up a new three-digit number to reach a suicide prevention hotline in order to make it easier to seek help and reduce the stigma associated with mental health. Similar to 911 for emergencies, people will just need to dial 988 to seek help – once it’s implemented. Currently, the National Suicide Prevention…

Recording Devices Found in Downtown Minneapolis Hotel Rooms

MINNEAPOLIS – Police are investigating after recording devices were found in guest rooms at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Police spokesman John Elder says it’s not immediately known if the devices recorded any guests, but police are still gathering data. When asked how many rooms were involved he said “not many.” Elder says it doesn’t appear that anyone…

$1M Bail for Teen Charged in Wisconsin School Officer Attack

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) – Bail has been set at $1 million for a 16-year-old Wisconsin boy charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a school resource officer with a barbecue fork. Grant Fuhrman was charged as an adult Wednesday in last week’s attack on Oshkosh West High School Resource Officer Mike Wissink. Wissink shot and wounded Fuhrman during the attack…

GOP Support Grows to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The push to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin is growing. Republican lawmakers for the first time introduced a measure Wednesday to legalize medical marijuana in the state. Democrats have tried to legalize medical marijuana for years, with little to no Republican backing. But in recent years, some Republicans have come to support loosening Wisconsin’s marijuana laws….

Climate Activist Greta Thunberg is Time ‘Person of the Year’

Thunberg is the Youngest Person Ever to Hold the Title

NEW YORK (AP) – Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has become the youngest person ever to be named Time’s “person of the year.” The U.S. news magazine gave the 16-year-old Thunberg the honor on Wednesday for “sounding the alarm about humanity’s predatory relationship with the only home we have.” Leaving a United Nations climate conference in Madrid, Thunberg told The…

Pay Raises for Wisconsin State Workers up for Approval

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Pay raises for Wisconsin state employees are scheduled to be voted on by a special legislative committee next week. The panel of legislative leaders is scheduled to meet on Dec. 18 to act on pay plans that Gov. Tony Evers’ administration forwarded for approval last month. Democrats had been calling on Republican legislative leaders to set…

Minnesota On Track to Meet Deadlines for Replacing MNLARS

(courtesy: Fox 9) ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s legislative auditor says the state is on track to meet the project implementation deadlines for replacing the state’s troubled driver and vehicle registration system known as MNLARS. However, the auditor’s report found some minor risks to completing the project on time and on budget, and says managers should address them soon….

Duluth to Consider Banning Conversion Therapy

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) – Duluth is the latest city to consider banning conversion therapy aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation. City Council member Gary Anderson said at a meeting Monday night that he introduced the measure because of a lack of action by the state legislature. A proposed statewide conversion therapy ban failed in the Legislature earlier this year….

Democrats Unveil Trump Impeachment Charges

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democrats have announced two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The charges announced Tuesday stem from Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals as he withheld aid to the country. Earlier Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he did “NOTHING” wrong and that impeaching a president…

Student Accused in Wisconsin Shooting ‘Tired of Being Picked on”

Smith is Due Back in Court on December 17

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) – A Wisconsin teenager who was shot by a police officer after he allegedly pointed a pellet gun at another student’s head says he was “tired of being picked on.” Eighteen-year-old Tyrone Smith was charged Monday with several counts, including second-degree recklessly endangering safety and dangerous weapons on school premises. Smith was 17 last week when authorities…

Court Rejects Minnesota’s Renewal of US Steel Mine Permit

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota Court of Appeals has reversed a decision by state regulators to renew a wastewater permit for U.S. Steel’s Minntac iron mine in northeastern Minnesota. The court sent the dispute back to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for further proceedings. The agency renewed the permit last year amid a protracted dispute over whether Minntac had to…

No Major Impacts on Lake Superior Found From Line 3 Pipeline

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An updated environmental review released by a state agency Monday found no serious threat to Lake Superior if crude oil ever leaked from a new pipeline to replace Enbridge Energy’s aging Line 3 across northern Minnesota. State regulators ordered the update after the Minnesota Court of Appeals in June declared that an earlier review, issued in February…

Missing Toddler Found Dead in Northwestern Wisconsin

The Girl was Found Shortly Before 11:00 p.m. Sunday

RICE LAKE, Wis. (AP) — A toddler who went missing in northwestern Wisconsin has been found dead, according to officials. Rice Lake police say they received a call about 9:30 p.m. Sunday that a 2-year-old girl was missing from her home and that the front door was open. Officers began searching and issued an urgent call for help in finding…

Woman, Boy Hurt in Car-Train Crash in Northeast Minnesota

The Crash Remains Under Investigation

ESKO, Minn. (AP) – Authorities in northeastern Minnesota say a woman and a boy were hurt in a collision between a car and a train. Carlton County dispatchers got a report of the crash at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Thomson Township. A 41-year-old woman and a 10-year-old boy from Thomson Township were injured. The two were taken to a hospital…

Minnesota National Guard Identifies Three Soldiers Killed in Helicopter Crash

(courtesy: Fox 9) ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota National Guard says the three soldiers who were killed when their helicopter crashed near St. Cloud this week were part of a unit that returned last May from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East. The Guard identified the men who were killed in Thursday’s crash as Chief Warrant Officers…

Audit Faults Oversight of Wisconsin State-Owned Residential Properties

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A new audit has found that the state of Wisconsin has not properly tracked all residential properties it owns that are leased to state employees like park rangers and University of Wisconsin faculty. The report released Friday by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau says that mismanagement resulted in the undercharging of nearly $63,000 in rent this…

Spirit Mountain to Ask City of Duluth for Financial Assistance

DULUTH, Minn. – Spirit Mountain is bringing forward a resolution on Monday to ask the City of Duluth for financial assistance to offset losses due to the cancellation of the 2019 Snocross Race. The resolution states that Spirit Mountain is asking the city for $235,000 which it says is “necessary to assure the sustainability of operations.” If the resolution is…

Mayo Clinic Closes Hospital, Clinics in Southwest Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Mayo Clinic is closing a hospital and several clinics in southwest Minnesota, blaming a lack of patients and doctors. The closure of the hospital, ER and clinics in Springfield plus clinics in nearby Lamberton reflects the financial challenges faced by rural health care facilities statewide. Mayo said this week that about 60 employees will be affected…

Shooter Kills 2, Wounds Others, is Dead at Florida Navy Base

A Shooter Opened Fire at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola Friday Morning

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A shooter opened fire at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola Friday morning in an attack that left three people dead including the assailant. The gunfire prompted a massive law enforcement response to the base, which was locked down. The U.S. Navy tweeted that a second victim was dead. Area hospital representatives told The Associated Press…

Minnesota Judge Finds ‘Miracle on Ice’ Star is Mentally Ill

GRAND MARAIS, Minn. (AP) – A Minnesota judge has found that a former member of the “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey team is mentally ill and dangerous. The judge ruled Wednesday that 61-year-old Mark Pavelich should be committed to a secure treatment facility. Pavelich was charged after he allegedly beat a friend with a metal pole in August. His criminal…

Woman Sent to Prison for Selling Drugs at Wisconsin ‘Meth Farm’

BUTTERNUT, Wis. (AP) – A woman will spend more than five years in federal prison for selling methamphetamine from a rural property in northern Wisconsin known as the ‘meth farm.’ Investigators say 64-year-old Becky Peterson conspired with Mark Moore to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine at a farm near Butternut in Ashland County over the past several years….

Minnesota Projects $1.3 Billion State Budget Surplus

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota budget officials are projecting a $1.3 billion surplus in the current two-year budget period thanks to an improving economic outlook. Minnesota Management and Budget announced the forecast Thursday morning ahead of a more detailed presentation later in the day. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders from both parties plan to comment on the…

Aerial Lift Bridge Sheds More Ice, Now Fully Operational

DULUTH, Minn. – The Aerial Lift Bridge is now fully operational. According to city officials the bridge shed more ice weight Thursday morning allowing it to become operational again. The bridge had been stuck in the down position since Monday due to large amounts of heavy ice weighing down the structure. City crews working to de-ice the bridge were called…

House Will Draft Trump Impeachment Articles, Pelosi Says

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Pelosi delivered the historic announcement Thursday from the speaker’s offices at the Capitol. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that if Democrats are going to impeach him, he wants them to “do it now, fast”‘ so he can get on…

Minnesota Sues E-Cigarette Maker Juul Over Youth Vaping Rise

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison sued Juul Labs on Wednesday, accusing the e-cigarette maker of unlawfully targeting young people with its products to get a new generation addicted to nicotine. The lawsuit filed in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis seeks to force Juul to stop marketing to young people; fund a corrective public education…

Wisconsin Researchers Find Microplastics in Boundary Water

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) – Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have found microplastics in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of northern Minnesota. The researchers say they found microplastics – particularly fibers – in water, soil and worms collected this summer. Biology professor Todd Wellnitz says they found 80 pieces of microplastics in one earthworm alone. And he…

Kamala Harris Announces End of Democratic Presidential Campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Kamala Harris is ending her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. She told supporters in an email Tuesday that she simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue. Harris launched her campaign in front of 20,000 people at a chilly, outdoor campaign launch in January. The first woman and first black attorney general and U.S….

Student, Officer Injured in Another Wisconsin High School Shooting

OSHKOSH, Wis.-Police say there’s been another shooting at a Wisconsin high school in which an armed student was confronted by a police officer. The shooting happened Tuesday morning at Oshkosh West High School. Oshkosh police say the student and the officer were injured and have been taken to hospitals. It follows a similar shooting at Waukesha South High School in…

Cleveland-Cliffs Buying AK Steel in $1.1B Stock Deal

CLEVELAND-Cleveland-Cliffs is buying AK Steel in a stock deal valued at about $1.1 billion. After a brief spike in steel prices, U.S. steel producers have struggled since the Trump administration put steel tariffs into place last year. Domestic demand has slumped along with the energy sector as drillers pull back on purchases of steel pipe. The companies said Tuesday that…

Shooting at Suburban Milwaukee High School

A School Spokesperson Says a Student Exchanged Gunfire With a School Resource Officer at a Suburban Milwaukee High School Monday

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) – A school spokesperson says a student exchanged gunfire with a school resource officer at a suburban Milwaukee high school. The suspect is in custody. Terry Schuster told The Associated Press there’s no threat to Waukesha South High School. At this time, Schuster doesn’t know of any injuries to students. She didn’t know the medical status of…

Report: Gray Wolves Adjusting Nicely on Isle Royale National Park

The Findings Released Monday are From Observations of Wolves That Were Recently Relocated to the Lake Superior Park

HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) – Scientists say gray wolves relocated to Isle Royale National Park are adjusting nicely to their new surroundings and finding plenty of prey. Officials released findings Monday, December 2 from observations of wolves that were captured on the mainland and taken to the Lake Superior park over the past year. They concluded that more than half of…

President Trump Makes Surprise Thanksgiving Visit to U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) – President Donald Trump paid a surprise Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan, where he announced the U.S. and Taliban have been engaged in ongoing peace talks and said he believes the Taliban want a cease-fire. In his first trip to the site of America’s longest war, Trump arrived at Bagram Air Field shortly after 8:30 p.m….

Update: All Victims in Minneapolis High-Rise Fire Identified as Adults

Investigators Believe the Fire to be Accidental

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office has identified four of the five people who died in a high-rise apartment fire in Minneapolis. Three of those victims are women and the fourth is a man. The medical examiner’s office says the four died of smoke inhalation when the fire broke out early Wednesday. The name of the fifth…

Five Killed After Fire Breaks Out in Minneapolis High-Rise

Spokesperson: No Known Safety Issues in Minneapolis Apartment Complex

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A Minneapolis Public Housing Authority spokesperson says he’s not aware of any history of safety issues in an apartment tower where a fire killed five people early Wednesday morning. Jeff Horwich told the Star Tribune that the 24-floor Cedar High Apartments has smoke alarms but isn’t required to have a sprinkler system by code due to its…

Hunters Kill 90,286 Deer During Wisconsin Gun Opening Weekend

That Figure is Down Nearly 24% From Last Year

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin wildlife officials say preliminary data shows hunters killed dramatically fewer deer during opening weekend of the state’s traditional nine-day gun season than in 2018. The state Department of Natural Resources released figures Tuesday that show hunters killed 90,286 on Saturday and Sunday. That’s down nearly 24% from 118,670 deer last year. The DNR had sold…

Wisconsin Sees Uptick in Fatal Police Shootings in 2019

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin is ending the year with more fatal police shootings than last year. Data collected by the Wisconsin Professional Police Association shows police shot and killed 16 people this year. There were 13 fatal police shootings in 2018. Wisconsin Public Radio reported Monday that 11 of those killed this year were white, three were black and…

Middle Schools Student Held, Accused of Making Bomb Threat

The Boy Made the Threat on November 18

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. (AP) – An International Falls Middle School student is in custody after he was accused of making a bomb threat. The Koochiching County Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case and deciding whether to issue a juvenile delinquency petition against the 12-year-old. He could have a detention hearing Monday in juvenile court to determine whether he should continue…

Home Destroyed by Fire in Greenwood Township

There Were no Reported Injuries

(photo courtesy: The Northland FireWire) GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP, Minn. – A house in Greenwood Township is a total loss after it went up in flames Sunday. The fire broke out around 3:00 p.m. at a home on the 2600 Block of Mordini Road. Multiple agencies responded to the fire at the residence which fire crews say was completely engulfed in flames….

Winter Snowstorm Could Impact Holiday Travel

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Forecasters say a winter snowstorm could muddle Thanksgiving travel plans in southern Minnesota. Up to 6 inches of snow is expected to begin falling Tuesday afternoon followed by strong winds on Wednesday. Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Jake Loesch tells the Star Tribune the agency has more than 800 snowplows ready to go and plenty of salt…

Four People Injured During Opening Weekend of Wisconsin’s Deer Hunt

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Four people are recovering after they were shot during the opening weekend of Wisconsin’s gun deer hunt. The Department of Natural Resources says it needs more information about a man who was shot in Washburn County Sunday. Elsewhere, two hunters shot themselves in the foot in two separate incidents in Oneida and Marathon counties. And, a…

Minnesota to Do State Review of Proposed Twin Metals Copper-Nickel Mine

MINNEAPOLIS-Minnesota officials say they will do a state environmental impact statement for a proposed copper-nickel mine upstream of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The Department of Natural Resources announced the move Friday, saying a credible and neutral assessment of the proposed Twin Metals mine depends upon both state and federal environmental reviews. Environmentalists have warned that the proposed mine…

TSA Reopens Strategic Checkpoint at Twin Cities Airport

MINNEAPOLIS-Transportation Security Administration officials have decided to reopen a Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport checkpoint it closed earlier this week claiming it was underused. The move to close the checkpoint linked to the Intercontinental Hotel riled airport officials who feared longer passenger wait times as holiday travel approached. The closure came just a year after airport operators spent $24 million to…

Evers Vetoes Bill Allowing Schools to Release Parents’ Names

MADISON, Wis.-Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed a bill that would have allowed public schools to release the names of students’ parents and guardians in student directories. Evers vetoed the measure Thursday, citing privacy concerns. Opponents had argued that allowing people to obtain the names of students’ parents was an invasion of privacy that could lead to unintended consequences. Supporters argued…

DNR: Ten Elk Shot in Wisconsin’s Second Hunt

Hunters Kill Ten Elk in Wisconsin's Second Hunt

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin wildlife officials say hunters killed 10 elk in Wisconsin’s second elk season. The Department of Natural Resources set a 10-bull limit for the season, which ran from October 12 to November 10 in Ashland, Bayfield, Price and Sawyer counties. The department says hunters authorized by the state killed five bulls. Ojibwe tribal hunters killed five….