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September 22, 2018

MINNESOTA HOUSE-KNOBLACH

Minnesota Rep. Jim Knoblach quits campaign amid allegations

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota state Rep. Jim Knoblach has abruptly ended his re-election campaign amid allegations of inappropriate touching from his adult daughter.

Minnesota Public Radio reports the announcement came Friday hours after the St. Cloud Republican’s attorney denied the allegations in an interview.

Knoblach’s 23-year-old daughter, Laura, tells MPR he inappropriately touched her for most of her life, with her first memories starting when she was 9 years old.

In a written statement, Knoblach called the allegations “indescribably hurtful” and says her claims are false.

Knoblach is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The timing of his exit could make his seat, already a top target for Democrats, difficult for Republicans to hold. Democrat Dan Wolgamott is running.

Authorities began an investigation last year but declined to file charges.

MINNEAPOLIS POLICE-SEDATION

Minneapolis won’t hire Yates to investigate ketamine use

(Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis City Council has decided against funding an independent investigation into whether police officers inappropriately urged paramedics to sedate people.

The Star Tribune reports that Mayor Jacob Frey had earlier announced plans to hire former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates to look into the issue. That came after a police conduct review found eight cases in the past two years where officers were involved in deciding whether paramedics should sedate citizens with ketamine.

Several members who voted against the plan Friday said that the city could not afford to pay Yates’ firm $195,000, especially since it would come out of an already-strained police budget.

The issue gained public attention three months ago when the Star Tribune reported findings from a draft report.

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CHURCH ABUSE-MINNESOTA

Church abuse victims approve plan for compensation

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse have overwhelmingly voted in favor of a reorganization plan for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that will compensate them for the abuse.

Court documents show that 398 out of 400 voters supported the plan.

The tentative settlement reached in May provides about $210 million to compensate abuse victims. All victims would receive at least $50,000, with greater compensation depending on the nature, duration and effects of the abuse suffered.

Jeff Anderson, an attorney for several of the victims, said Friday that the survivors wanted to be “heard, included and respected” and do something to protect children and make the community safer.

A confirmation hearing is scheduled Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.

SEVERE WEATHER-MINNESOTA-THE LATEST

The Latest: More tornadoes confirmed in Minnesota

FARIBAULT, Minn. (AP) — The National Weather Service has now confirmed that tornadoes struck near Faribault (FAIR’-boh), Lake Elysian and Waterville in southern Minnesota.

That’s in additions to touchdowns confirmed earlier near Granada and Morristown. The Weather Service says it’s still determining whether Lake Elysian and Waterville were hit by the same tornado, or two separate twisters.

Survey crews from the weather service fanned out across southern Minnesota on Friday to assess the damage from severe storms that struck Thursday evening, packing powerful winds and heavy rain. The hardest-hit area included Rice County, around 40 miles south of Minneapolis. But there were no immediate reports of injuries.

ISLE ROYALE WOLVES

Officials prepare to relocate wolves to Isle Royale park

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Officials are preparing to relocate six to eight mainland wolves to Isle Royale National Park, a first step toward rebuilding a depleted population of the predators that help keep the Lake Superior island’s ecology in balance.

Superintendent Phyllis Green says federal, state and tribal specialists plan to trap the gray wolves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation in Minnesota over the next six weeks.

The animals will be given a health exam, fitted with tracking collars and flown to the park.

Wolves have wandered Isle Royale since the late 1940s, helping keep the wilderness archipelago’s moose population under control. But their numbers have recently plummeted: only two remain.

Officials plan to take 20 to 30 wolves to the park in the next three years.

HOMELESS CAMP-RELOCATION

Minneapolis mayor says he has found site for homeless camp

(Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says he has found a new site for a homeless encampment, a declaration he made hours after the city council put off a decision on relocating the tents.

The Star Tribune reports that Frey is suggesting that residents living along Hiawatha Avenue be relocated to a 1.5-acre property on Cedar Avenue owned by the Red Lake Nation. It’s the former home of Amble’s Machinery and Hardware.

Frey says the site is supported by 10 American Indian tribes.

The council earlier Friday decided to postpone the decision on moving the site until Wednesday after protests by representatives of two charter schools near a location proposed by the city.

Council members say they will explore more options about possible relocation sites.

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POLICE SHOOTING-VADNAIS HEIGHTS

Ramsey County attorney will reopen review of police shooting

(Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says it overlooked a key piece of evidence in its investigation into the fatal police shooting of a Vadnais Heights man, prompting the Ramsey County Attorney’s office to take another look at the case.

The BCA says the overlooked evidence is an audio recording from Darren Jahnke’s cellphone of his interaction with Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies and his shooting in April 2017.

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office reviewed the BCA’s findings and cleared the deputy who killed Jahnke in March. The Star Tribune reports the BCA says the agent involved in overlooking the evidence is no longer assigned to the unit that investigates officer-involved shootings or homicides.

The 47-year-old Jahnke was fatally shot in Vadnais Heights after authorities say he ripped a deputy’s gun off her belt.

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OLD ABDUCTION-MINNESOTA

Sheriff faults investigation into ’89 Minnesota abduction

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota sheriff says opportunities were missed early on to catch the man who kidnapped and killed 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling in 1989.

Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson said Thursday that the investigation “went off the rails” decades before the suspect was finally caught.

Danny Heinrich confessed to killing Jacob and led investigators to his remains in 2016. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for child pornography.

The sheriff revealed that Heinrich was arrested at a bar in Roscoe, Minnesota, in February 1990, a few months after Jacob was kidnapped. But Gudmundson said inexperienced FBI profilers concluded after an interrogation that Heinrich did not abduct Jacob.

Former FBI agent Al Garber called the analysis unfair.

The sheriff spoke before releasing investigative documents that Jacob’s parents had fought to keep private.

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