Statewide: October 14, 2011 Archive
Rochester landlords have until Oct. 31 to comply with a new city law that requires them to attend a public safety and crime training seminar.
Earlier this year, the Rochester City Council passed a controversial ordinance that requires rental property owners to take a day-long class to specialize in tenant/landlord issues, including leases, evictions, building and safety, gangs and street crime.
The next safety seminar will be held tomorrow. Landowners also have the option to complete a take-home DVD seminar and test.
If they fail to attend the class or take the test, rental property owners will lose their rental certificate and will not be able to rent their properties until they comply with the requirement, according to Darrel Hildebrandt, a crime prevention specialist with the Rochester Police Department.
Hildebrandt said many of the city's roughly 1,000 landowners have expressed apprehension and doubt before complying with the requirement, but walk away from the training with useful information.
"I think it's an eye-opener for a lot of people," he said. "A lot of people are still stuck in the 60s and 70s-style of renting and we're getting a lot of problem tenants coming in from out of state and out of city."
Hildebrandt said the police department wants to encourage landowners to do the criminal background checks on prospective tenants, including national checks.
"We have a lot of [tenants] coming in from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and they're bringing in all of their baggage with them," Hildebrandt said.
To register for the class, call Hildebrandt at 507-328-6890 or email him at email@example.com. DVDs are also available to check for a two-week period from the Rochester Building Safety office.
Posted at 7:58 AM on October 14, 2011
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
Background for today's Big Story:
2 workers killed after car crashes into I-35W construction zone in Burnsville
State patrol officials say the two men were thrown 40-50 feet when a 21-year-old driver lost control of his car traveling north on I-35W just south of McAndrews Road in Burnsville (KARE).
Despite the construction, the speed limit was 70 mph, Roeske said. The driver, Kirk Deamos, 21, told officials he braked and turned right too sharply, and then turned left and then right again to try to maintain control of the car. The car spun out in the ditch on the right side of the road and struck the workers (MPR News).
Deamos, who lives with his grandparents, was on his way to the Twin Cities to see his girlfriend, said grandmother Wanda Akers (Star Tribune).
On a Facebook account apparently registered to Deamos, there was this posting Tuesday: "Today is a good day! I am now the proud owner of a red 3000gt that is basically faster than a rocket ... Ready to really test it out on the highway to Minnesota Thursday!!! So pumped! :)" (KARE)
"He was a very good husband and very good father. A very hard worker and a very giving person," said Jody Rajkowski about her husband, Ronald. Ronald Rajkowski, 44, of St. Joseph and Craig Carlson, 47, or Ramsey, were killed when a car crashed into them around 12:30 Thursday afternoon (KARE).
As a project manager, Craig Carlson rarely worked in the field.
"But this project was behind, so they wanted him out there," his brother said.
Craig Carlson was married and had a son and daughter in their midteens, his brother said.
"Too young. He was too young," he said. "Until I know more details, I don't want to say more" (Pioneer Press)
How to save a life in 22 seconds
We don't know, of course, what caused the accident. But we do know that few of us actually slow to 40 or 45 mph as requested in construction zones. We have places to go and things to do, and cars to get off our tails if we do slow down (News Cut).
Also on MN Today
As bear season in Minn. wraps up, far fewer killed so far
Hunters killed a little more than 2,000 bears this year, down about 25 percent from last year -- even though there were roughly the same number of hunters. DNR biologists attribute the decline to an ample supply of wild food, which makes it more difficult for hunters to lure bears with bait (MPR News).
Gore links climate change to Great Lakes problems
Former Vice President Al Gore linked climate change to a rash of environmental catastrophes Thursday, from floods in Pakistan to drought in Texas and rampant algae blooms sucking oxygen from Lake Erie (MPR News).
Dayton lobbies supercommittee
Govs. Mark Dayton of Minnesota and Christine Gregoire of Washington met separately with the Senate Democratic supercommittee members and the House Democratic supercommittee members in the Capitol (Politico).
Montevideo ready to roll out a grass carpet for Governor's Pheasant Opener
Mayor Debra Lee Fader has lots of experience at welcoming hunters to Montevideo (West Central Tribune).
Bumping and grinding at school dance concerns some in Brainerd
"Our chaperones are there circling around the kids to sit and watch and they graciously listen to pounding music," said Principal Rusk. "They don't get too close because, to be honest, it gets really hot and smelly" (Brainerd Dispatch)
Bachmann began to fuse God and justice at Oral Roberts law school
The aim of the Oral Roberts law school was to train the next generation of legal minds to "integrate their Christian faith into their chosen profession," and to "restore law to its historic roots in the Bible" (New York Times).
Michele Bachmann claims 92K donors; will skip Nevada primary
She also said she would boycott the Nevada caucuses in a show of support for New Hampshire's status as the nation's first presidential primary. Nevada has moved its caucus date to Jan. 14, putting pressure on the traditional nominating calendar in which Iowa's caucuses go first, followed by New Hampshire's primary (Des Moines Register).
Posted at 3:00 PM on October 14, 2011
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
Talks set to resume between sugar company, workers
A federal mediation service in Minneapolis announced Friday that talks have been scheduled for Oct. 24. The time and place was not disclosed (AP).Union representatives indicated recently their members are willing to make a "substantial" compromise.
Also on MN Today
Tax hike saddles business, property owners
Chris Keenan has run a small cabinet-making business here for nearly 35 years, typically employing four to six people until the recession. Orders stopped coming in and he laid off all his workers.
Now, like businesses all over Minnesota, he's facing another blow with a property tax hike next year. Tax officials say a Bemidji business worth $300,000 will see taxes go up 8 percent, almost $700.
Figures are similar elsewhere, a check with county auditors shows. A similar property in Duluth will see a 9 percent increase, in St. Paul 11 percent, in Hibbing 13 percent. Those figures are based on preliminary tax levies that school, city and county officials have approved. They could lower them when they determine their budgets in December (MPR News).
OccupyMN protesters plan to pitch tents, prepare for possible arrests
OccupyMN protesters say they're going to start erecting shelters on the plaza outside the Hennepin County Government Center this weekend, despite a ban (MPR News).
Rural Minnesota lawmakers question Vikings stadium chances
Minnesota political leaders have a month to agree on a Vikings football stadium deal before chances of success diminish. Regardless of the timing, rural lawmakers who in the past have cast key votes in favor of stadiums are pessimistic of its chances (Grand Forks Herald).
It's time for a debate on the effects of non-ferrous mining
If new mines are permitted, the state won't be able to shut them down even if the worst fears of opponents are realized. Once the state pulls the trigger on copper-nickel mining, we're stuck with it, for good or ill (Timberjay).
Bad gas, not so bad after all?
Local gas stations still have questions about bad gas
Minnesota gasoline cannot contain more than 10 percent ethanol, but some of the gas may have had up to 63 percent ethanol, according to the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce. Hy-Vee Gas in Albert Lea received some of the faulty gas Saturday. The station never had to suspend sales, however (Austin Daily Herald).
Progress toward safer lakes
Mercury levels in the Great Lakes basin have fallen about 20 percent, the exhaustive study involving more than 170 scientists and researchers found.But here's the bad news: The mercury levels found in the six most commonly eaten game fish are still well above the Environmental Protection Agency's safety thresholds (Madison.com).
Report: Farm runoff declining near Great Lakes
A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers are cutting back significantly on the amount of soil and nutrients eroding from fields to the Great Lakes and neighboring waterways (WCCO).
Posted at 4:40 PM on October 14, 2011
by Julie Siple
Filed under: Hunger
Second Harvest Heartland warehouse (Courtesy of Second Harvest)
The Minnesota Pork Board today donated 1,860 pounds of ground pork to Second Harvest Heartland, a Maplewood-based food bank. The pork is worth about $5,000, a tiny piece of Minnesota's yearly yield from some 14 million hogs.
But for a food bank seeking new ways to find food, the donation is good news. Second Harvest distributes to hundreds of food shelves and meal programs in a 59-county area of southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Those organizations have seen a big jump in need since the start of the economic downturn.
"Certainly 1,800 pounds isn't going to fill that need, but it's a start," said David Frederickson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, who was on hand for today's donation. "And I think that Minnesota pork producers are on to something here."
Second Harvest Heartland is exploring ways to find more -- and different -- food.
"While we love the traditional can drive food of peanut butter and beans, having some additional foods like pork is really important," said Rob Zeaske, executive director of Second Harvest Heartland. "We're always looking for not only more nutritious food, but we're also looking for more variety in those kinds of foods, and something that people can build a meal around."
While today's donation is relatively small, Zeaske said it's important for what it represents: a growing relationship between farmers and organizations that distribute food to people who need help.
"As we continue to try to find more food beyond our traditional manufactured style food, we need to work more with our growers," he said.
Zeaske and others are also interested in tapping into Minnesota crops that go to waste each year, whether left in fields or discarded from grocery stores or farmers markets.
Dave Preisler, Executive Director of the Minnesota Pork Board, said farmers are interested in helping fight hunger.
"Living in rural communities, you care about your neighbor," he said. "Hunger isn't unique to urban areas, to downtown Twin Cities or somewhere else."
Such donations can also help promote the product, Preisler said.
The Minnesota Pork Board engaged Minnesotans in conversations about pork -- including where it comes from and how to cook it -- over the summer. The board donated one pound of pork for each question asked by a member of the public.
"Just because you've gone to a food shelf once, because things may have changed with circumstances in your life, doesn't mean you won't be a purchasing consumer a month from now, or a year from now," said Preisler. "So certainly there is promotion piece to this to, to let people know that we do raise a good, healthy product."
He hopes the Minnesota Pork Board will be back again next year with a bigger donation.