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A House panel approved legislation Wednesday that calls for new vehicle safety requirements for children. The bill by Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, would require children who are under age 8 and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches to use a child safety restraint. Existing law requires that only of children under age 4. The House transportation policy committee approved the measure on a voice vote. Similar legislation is moving through the Senate.
ST. PAUL - George Wagoner said all it took was two breaths of marijuana smoke and his wife could cope with the pain of terminal ovarian cancer. "She received dramatic relief," said Wagoner, a Michigan physician and medical marijuana advocate. Ryan Rasmussen said he is recovering from a troubled lifestyle that started when he smoked marijuana, which led him to dabble in a stronger street narcotic and criminal behavior. "Legalizing medical pot will cause more crime, not less crime," the 28-year-old Burnsville man warned.
A woman who had a surgical procedure performed at Woodwinds Health Campus last month reportedly contracted a rare "flesh-eating disease" as a result. According to a segment aired Tuesday on WCCO-TV, Rebecca Eckes went to Woodwinds in Woodbury last month to have a hysterectomy because of stomach pains. Later, Eckes' kidneys stopped functioning, she gained weight and got a rash. She was moved to the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
ST. PAUL -- Al Franken and Norm Coleman are spending millions in the ongoing U.S. Senate fight. The campaigns raised more than $3 million and burned through nearly as much in a late-2008 filing period that coincided with the statewide election recount. That came after the two campaigns spent about $40 million before the election. The recount ended in early January. Soon after, Coleman announced he would challenge Franken's 225-vote lead victory in the Minnesota race. That trial entered its second week Monday.
ST. PAUL -- Norm Coleman is confident he will return to the U.S. Senate, but will not rule out further lawsuits if a state election trial does not send him there. "I'm not ruling in or out any action," Coleman said. "I have confidence in the system." The trial will begin Monday after a three-judge panel rejected Al Franken's request to dismiss Coleman's case. Coleman said the trial should clear up concerns his campaign raised about double-counted votes, rejected absentee ballots and other vote issues.
A group supporting gay rights in the law proposes giving surviving same-sex partners the power to honor dying wishes. "Most Minnesotans from across the state expect our laws to treat people equally, yet 515 of our laws fall short," said Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth. "Changes to current law are necessary to ensure equal and fair treatment for all Minnesota families." For instance, under current law, same-sex partners do not have the right that married spouses have to control the remains of their partners after death.
ST. PAUL -- Thousands of abortion opponents from across the state sang "Amazing Grace" and rallied around encouraging words from Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Thursday, the 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. But even as Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life celebrated one of the best turnouts in recent years -- organizers said 4,000 to 5,000 people showed up -- leaders acknowledged that their struggle is more difficult this year. For one, the country just inaugurated a president who supports abortion rights.
Several years ago, my friend novelist Carolyn See wrote a tell-all book about her family's century-long love affair with alcohol addiction, written with her usual literary flair. See is a fine California novelist ("Rhine Maidens," "Making History") who doesn't get enough attention here in the Midwest. She was coming to read at the Hungry Mind in St. Paul, so I wrote a column about here appearance and hied myself over to see her. What a surprise! The place was packed with people - standing room only.
MOORHEAD, Minn. - When Harmit Bhangu arrived at a Moorhead rest stop on Sunday, he heard God order him to kill another truck driver who looked abnormal to him. Without saying a word, Bhangu approached Dale Morigeau and began repeatedly stabbing him, swinging the knife in a circular motion. Morigeau yelled to a woman for help, saying, "He's going to kill me" as Bhangu stabbed him eight to 10 times. Responding police found Bhangu holding onto the chest and neck area of Morigeau, who was covered in blood and suffering from multiple stab wounds, including one near his heart.
ST. PAUL -- Closing arguments in the Big Stone II transmission case yielded more questions from state officials weighing the project. Regulators on Tuesday questioned utilities led by Fergus Falls-based Otter Tail Power Company about their proposed electric transmission project in western Minnesota. The project's price tag and future costs to the utilities to limit pollutant emissions from the proposed coal-fired Big Stone II plant in eastern South Dakota remain key issues in the case.