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WILLMAR -- A civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Wednesday alleges that the Willmar School District, its administrators and a teacher violated the civil rights of a special education student. The lawsuit appeals the decision of a state administrative law judge to dismiss a request for a special education hearing.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's former transportation emergency response manager, fired for allegedly misusing tax dollars and government resources, filed paperwork Wednesday seeking to return to work. An attorney for Sonia Morphew Pitt of Red Wing, who remained on the East Coast for a week after the Aug. 1 Minneapolis bridge collapse, said Wednesday her termination last month from the Minnesota Department of Transportation was based on false allegations and that investigations into Pitt's actions ignored key facts.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is warning winter outdoor enthusiasts to stay off any ice less than four inches thick. On Sunday, an angler fell through about two inches of ice on Coon Lake, north of the Twin Cities, but was quickly rescued. Tim Smalley, DNR water safety specialist, said there were no reports of consistently walkable ice in the state. The DNR recommends a minimum of four inches of new clear ice for any foot travel on frozen water bodies.
WILLMAR -- Russ Bennett was leaving his office Monday morning to attend a health care forum with Sen. Norm Coleman when one of his employees stopped him with the news: The company's health care premiums are going up 15 percent next year. Bennett, the owner of Bennett Office Technologies, shared the story with Coleman less than an hour later to illustrate how rising health care costs are gulping up an ever-increasing share of small-business expenses. "We'd like to add a couple more positions, employ some people, but we can't," Bennett said.
BENSON, Minn. - Ethanol fuel production discussions baffled Dale Tolifson during early meetings of Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. more than a decade ago. "We could have just as well have been talking in German," the corn grower recalled. "I didn't understand what they were talking about." But Tolifson and hundreds of other Minnesota corn farmers quickly embraced the budding renewable fuel, believing it could result in a better price for their crops. It did. Southern and western Minnesota farmers like Tolifson invested in plants that turned corn into ethanol fuel.
Here are three non-fiction works by three accomplished fiction writers. "A true novelist can no more cease to receive impressions than a fish in mid-ocean can cease to let the water rush through its gills." That's what the great British author Virginia Woolf said, among many other things. In "The Virginia Woolf Writers' Workshop" (Bantam, $24) Danell Jones has sifted through Woolf's journals, letters, to come up with a short course in writing.
WILLMAR -- A new study concludes that Minnesota is ill-equipped to meet the mental health needs of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, especially those who are brain-injured. The study's authors recommend developing an innovative diagnostic and rehabilitation program for brain-injured soldiers in conjunction with a proposed veterans home in Willmar. Better identification of these soldiers will help lead to better treatment and enable them to return to a productive civilian life, said Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's transportation emergency management director was fired Friday in part because she remained on the East Coast 10 days after an Aug. 1 Minneapolis bridge collapse. Minnesota Department of Transportation officials fired Sonia Morphew Pitt, 43, of Red Wing after an investigation found she abused work-related travel privileges and did not return to the Twin Cities as her agency responded to the Interstate 35W bridge disaster. According to her termination letter, Pitt attended an emergency management conference in Boston July 31-Aug.
I came across the deer stand on a drizzly October grouse hunt. I wanted to spend some time at the stand, but we were moving briskly behind a couple of good English setters. This stand was the north-woods classic, a platform in the popples built square and stout from two-by-fours. Its only concession to luxury was the sturdy ladder that rose from the forest floor and connected to the front of the stand. No rickety climbing steps nailed to the tree for this hunter. I liked the stand. A lot of the stands you see in the woods now resemble one-bedroom apartments.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Monday he remains "hopeful" that he'll be able to support plans to build a $1.2 billion steel slab plant near Nashwauk. But first, he said, he needs assurances from its would-be owner, Essar Global Ltd., that the company will abide by sanctions aimed at punishing Iran for its terrorist activities. Pawlenty said he believes the Indian company's involvement in a proposed Iranian refinery project could constitute financial support for what the U.S. has labeled a terrorist state.