- 6/18/13; West Hancock vs. Corwith Wesley Luverne Baseball will play varsity first at 5:45 p.m. No JV. :
STATE EMPLOYEE CONTRACTS Senate approves raise for state employees ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Thousands of state employees may soon get a raise. State Senators Thursday approved a new contract that includes a 2 percent pay hike. The House, which is also controlled by Democrats, is expected to vote on the contract sometime next week. The new contract covers seven different working groups, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees. It will expire June 30th. Republicans tried but failed to add provisions that would require employees to chip in for their health care premiums. The Senate eventually ratified the contract on a 40-25 vote, largely on party lines. Negotiations for the next deal just started. Gov. Mark Dayton says he will push to include same-sex domestic partnership benefits in that contract.
SENATE-BRODKORB-CRASH Patrol: Brodkorb BAC over legal limit after crash ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota State Patrol says test results show fired Minnesota Senate aide Michael Brodkorb’s blood-alcohol content was over the legal limit after he crashed his SUV last month. The patrol said Thursday that Brodkorb had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent, which is over Minnesota’s legal limit of 0.08 percent. The patrol says the case has been submitted to Lilydale City Attorney Tom Lehmann for review and possible charges. A phone message left for Brodkorb was not immediately returned Thursday. Brodkorb crashed his SUV on a highway near St. Paul on January 23rd. He was taken to Regions Hospital, where his family has said he was improving. Brodkorb was a communications aide to Senate Republicans. He was fired in 2011 after an affair with then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (kohk).
CIGARETTE TAX House DFLer wants substantial cigarette tax hike ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – An influential Minnesota House Democrat wants to more than double the state’s cigarette tax. Representative Ann Lenczewski (len-CHESS’-kee) of Bloomington says Thursday that she’s more motivated by public health concerns than by the tax money that would be raised. She cites studies showing higher-priced cigarettes encourages smokers to quit and discourages potential smokers from starting. The proposal would raise the state’s tax per pack by $1.60, from $1.23 to $2.83. Governor Mark Dayton has proposed a smaller increase of 94 cents per pack. Lenczewski’s proposal is projected to raise an additional $440 million in tax dollars in the next two years. The House Taxes Committee reviewed the proposal but did not vote on it. Critics say it would hurt business for tobacco wholesalers and mom and pop retailers.
RAW MILK-MINNESOTA Judge refuses to dismiss Minn. raw milk charges (Information in the following story is from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com) ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) – A Stearns County judge says a Freeport farmer must face all the charges against him in a raw milk case. Organic egg producer Alvin Schlangen had asked the judge to dismiss three of the six charges. Schlangen argued those charges were similar to ones he was acquitted on in Hennepin County. But Judge Thomas Knapp disagreed. The judge ruled the Stearns County allegations were for actions that happened 10 days after the Hennepin County incident and involved different food items. In October, a Hennepin County jury found Schlangen not guilty of selling raw milk, operating without a food handler’s license and handling adulterated food. Schlangen faces those three charges in Stearns County as well as three other misdemeanors. The St. Cloud Times reports no trial date has been set.
SUV THROUGH ICE-FATHER CHARGED Minn. dad charged in ice accident that killed baby MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A suburban Minneapolis man is charged with a felony for allegedly driving drunk when the family’s SUV plunged through the ice on Lake Minnetonka, killing his baby daughter last month. Hennepin County prosecutors charged 41-year-old Jonathan Markle of Minnetrista Thursday with one count of criminal vehicular homicide. According to the complaint, Markle told police he had two beers at a restaurant before driving on the ice January 18th. The SUV went through the ice with Markle’s 8-month-old daughter Tabitha strapped in the backseat. Markle, his wife and their 2-year-old daughter were able to escape. Firefighters pulled the baby from the SUV, but she died at a hospital. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning. Markle is scheduled to appear in court Friday. His attorney, Joe Friedberg, had no comment Thursday.
CHILD’S DEATH-MOTHER CHARGED Teen mother charged in son’s death in SW Minn. (Information in the following story is from: KLGR-AM, http://www.myklgr.com) REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. (AP) – An 18-year-old mother is charged with second-degree murder in the death of her young son in southwestern Minnesota last weekend. Sandra Highbear of North Redwood was charged Thursday in Redwood County. She’s accused in the death of her 22-month-old son Conroy. According to the complaint, police were called Saturday night to a Redwood Falls home where Highbear was living on a report of a child not breathing. Officers found Conroy lying on a couch and his mother in the kitchen crying. Officers tried to revive the boy, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital. An autopsy found the boy had bruises and died from peritonitis due to a ruptured stomach. Highbear was arrested Wednesday. KLGR-AM reports unconditional bail was set at $2 million. Highbear remains in jail.
SORORITY HOUSE-CARBON MONOXIDE 9 treated after CO problem at SCSU sorority house (Information in the following story is from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com) ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) – Elevated carbon monoxide levels at a St. Cloud State sorority house sent nine people to the hospital this week. The St. Cloud Times reports the house had to be evacuated until the problem was fixed. Police and firefighters were called after a doctor at St. Cloud Hospital detected elevated carbon monoxide levels in a tenant who went to the emergency room. St. Cloud Fire Marshal Mike Post says rescuers went to the house early Wednesday and found potentially dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Post says the fire department was called to the same house about a week earlier on a report of a gas smell but couldn’t find anything. A clogged vent line in a water heater may have been the source. The house owner replaced the water heater Thursday.
FLU-MINNESOTA Minnesota confirms 15 more flu deaths ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Flu season may have peaked in Minnesota, but the state is still reporting flu-related deaths. The Minnesota Department of Health said Thursday that 15 more flu deaths were confirmed last week. Since the start of the influenza season, Minnesota has confirmed 127 deaths. Hospitalizations due to flu were down last week. Health officials say 108 people were hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza last week, compared with 135 the week before. So far this season, Minnesota has seen 2,612 hospitalizations. Only one nursing home reported a confirmed outbreak of flu last week while 19 schools reported outbreaks. Health officials announced last week that the worst of the flu season is likely over in Minnesota.
VIKINGS STADIUM Search for Vikings stadium builder down to 2 firms (Information in the following story is from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com) MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minneapolis company that built new stadiums for the Minnesota Twins and the University of Minnesota football team is among two finalists to build the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium. Mortenson Construction made the cut this week, along with Hunt Construction of Scottsdale, Arizona. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen says a third firm, Swedish-based Skanska AB, is no longer being considered. A builder for the Vikings’ $975 million stadium was expected to be announced at Friday’s authority meeting. But Kelm-Helgen tells the Star Tribune more time is needed. Mortenson has built several stadiums in the Twin Cities, including Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium, Xcel Energy Center and Target Center. Hunt Construction has built a dozen NFL stadiums, including the homes of the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals.