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U.S Rep Jim Oberstar was on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives when he got an e-mail on his BlackBerry, informing him that the Interstate 35W bridge across the Mississippi River had collapsed. Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been a vocal critic of what he sees as paltry funding for infrastructure. "I have repeatedly said our infrastructure needs are greater than our investment," he told the News Tribune Wednesday night.
Richard Lindholm of Minneapolis called his daughter "lucky, very lucky." The car in front of Amy Lindhom's on the Interstate 35W bridge Wednesday went into the water. Hers was only hit from behind, sending the Minneapolis resident to the hospital with a neck brace. But not right away, her father said. "She apparently got ahold of her cell phone and called [family members]," Richard Lindholm said of the instant after the accident before cell service went out. "She's a medical assistant. She went around and tried to help people.
When the Interstate 35 West bridge across the Mississippi River collapsed, former Duluth resident Brianne Stately was about half a city block away. Stately, who moved from Duluth to Minneapolis on July 18, was returning from a 2:30 p.m. appointment Wednesday in downtown Duluth. She and her mother Janet were trying to get around the I-35W bridge because they could see it was clogged with traffic, which she thought was because of a 7 p.m. Twins game at the Metrodome. "We were on the bridge right next to it, which is the 10th (Avenue) Bridge," Stately, 37, said.
Minnesota soldiers returning from service outside the United States in the past two years are eligible for free hunting and fishing licenses from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Returning soldiers, including those who served in the National Guard, may fish and hunt small game without a license for two years from their discharge. They may also obtain one free deer license under regulations passed by the 2007 Legislature.
A "Safe and Well" Web site is being operated by the American Red Cross which allows individuals to register themselves as safe and well, and for family members to check on loved ones. The Web site is available at www.safeandwell.org . Indviduals can also call the American Red Cross at 612.871.7676. According to the Red Cross a family assistance center has also been set up at the Holiday Inn-Metrodome, located at 1500 Washington Ave. in Minneapolis.
RED WING, Minn. - Some southeast Minnesota voters head to the polls in about three weeks for a special legislative election, the kind that often gets little attention. But this vote to decide who will replace 15-term Rep. Steve Sviggum in the House is garnering attention around the state, with Capitol insiders predicting major implications for Minnesota politics. Republicans are defending the seat fiercely, while Democrats - who control both chambers in the Legislature - see an alluring opportunity to extend their lead in the House.
The question of where Farmington residents will be allowed to park when they take the bus to work could hinge on a ruling on exactly who controls what happens with a parking lot at a Metropolitan Valley Transit Authority facility in Apple Valley. Last week the Apple Valley City Council voted unanimously to proceed with a plan to require permits for a parking lot at a transit facility in city -- essentially pushing Farmington and Lakeville residents out of the lot closest to the facility and either onto the street or into an auxiliary lot.
Talking to Joy Westenberg, you get a sense of just how much she enjoys her job. "It is the most rewarding," she said, "when I get to go home and cheer because I matched up two families and providers that day." Westenberg, who works from her office in New Prague, Minn., is the full-time director of the Green Care for Troops program through Project Evergreen.
GILBERT -- The mud hole looks like someplace where animals in Africa would gather to wallow and cool off. Its shores are barren brown earth, baking in the midday sun. The water is a thick slurry the color of red clay. But the only creature wallowing here at the moment is Jeff Erickson of Spooner, who is standing atop the seat of his Honda Rincon four-wheeler. He's bent double at the middle with his hands on the machine's handlebars.
DULUTH -- As of Sept. 1, the University of Minnesota Duluth will not allow smoking on campus. The school will be the first higher education institution in the state to test out a smoking ban on its property. Minnesota State University-Moorhead approved a ban last spring that will go into effect in January. "I think we do want to be a leader in environmental health and safety," said Katherine Morris, UMD's director of health services.