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VERNDALE -- In the pre-dawn blackness of a stormy December Sunday, the Verndale Fire Department received a call around 6 a.m. that a fire had broken out at the Central Minnesota Arena and Event Center on the northwest edge of Verndale, a business also known as R&J Horse Sales. One of the Verndale firemen answering the call was Ryan Sundby. The call had special significance for him. Ryan is the son of Ron and Judy Sundby and one of the co-owners of Sundby Enterprises, the business that was on fire. "We don't know what caused it," Ryan Sundby said.
THIEF RIVER FALLS, MINN. - Steve Lappegaard spent Thanksgiving Day thinking about his daughter Gina Anderson, who went missing two months ago today. Now, he looks back on Thanksgiving with regret. "I still have guilt of not being as thankful as I should have been," said Lappegaard, his voice choking with emotion. "Here I'm missing Gina and, ah, I should have just been thankful for Jill and still having my Jack," said Lappegaard, referring to Jackie Pagel, 29, his middle daughter, and Jill Lappegaard, his youngest. Jill, 22, died Dec.
An Afton man was charged Monday with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for an incident involving two of his juvenile granddaughters. Washington County Sheriff's deputies arrested Richard Allen Balsimo, 62, at his Afton residence on Thursday, Dec. 11. He was taken into custody without incident and was held over the weekend at the Washington County Jail in Stillwater pending the charges. Each of the charges, which were filed by the Washington County Attorney Monday morning, carries a maximum of 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.
Minnesota has recorded its first culture-confirmed case of influenza for the 2008-09 season in a 39-year-old man from Chisago County. The man's illness was caused by the A (H1) strain of the virus, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Friday, Dec. 12.
A family has been found for the newborn boy left anonymously at a Fergus Falls hospital Monday. The family will care for the baby and likely will be his adoptive parents pending adoption proceedings, said Otter Tail County Social Services Supervisor Brad Vold. Vold said Wednesday that the county is pursuing termination of parental rights for the child's biological parents before the adoption proceedings begin. He would not identify the prospective adoptive parents or say where they live.
ST. PAUL - The country's economy could worsen if the federal government sends aid to financially hurting states, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty warned Tuesday after meeting with the in-coming president. "It is gravely concerning, the amount of money being thrown at this problem," Pawlenty told reporters, predicting harmful inflation due to federal deficit spending. "The states should substantially fix their own problems," the Republican governor told a reporter in Philadelphia, where he and other governors met with president-elect Barack Obama.
ST. PAUL - Al Franken no longer can be considered the potential 60th vote. A runoff election Tuesday in Georgia left Minnesota with the only unresolved U.S. Senate race this year - and Franken hoping to be Senate Democrat's 59th vote, not the critical 60th that would allow them to block GOP filibusters. The Southern race was important beyond Georgia because Democrats needed to win there and to see Franken beat Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota's recount in order to reach that 60-vote threshold. But the Georgia victory by GOP Sen.
ST. PAUL - Students increasingly want Internet-based classes, so Minnesota colleges should expand those opportunities, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has agreed to work toward a Pawlenty goal that by 2015, 25 percent of all credits earned at MnSCU campuses will come from online courses. Students are encouraged to take more online courses, and the MnSCU system will be asked to make additional online classes available.
ST. PAUL - A comment Barack Obama made to Time Magazine has upset Republican farmers, who use it as proof he does not understand agriculture.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said his office is prepared for possible recounts following Tuesday's election. Ritchie, the state's top elections official, said it is possible races could end up within a difference of 0.5 percent, the threshold that triggers an automatic state-paid manual ballot recount. There was little public attention paid to a Supreme Court race recount in the September primary. Ritchie predicted that would be different if U.S. Senate race results prompt a recount. "It'll be jammed," he said.