Friday, April 2, 2010

Deputy Accused Of Sexual Abuse

(AP) A Stearns County sheriff's deputy is accused of sexually abusing three teenagers. 44-year old Deputy Phillip Meemken was charged Friday with 21 counts, including 18 counts of criminal sexual conduct. The complaint says the three alleged victims included two relatives of Meemken and a friend.

Meemken headed the Stearns County Police Explorer Program, which involves young people in law enforcement. Some of the alleged victims were part of that program. One of the teens reported sexual assaults that allegedly happened over 18 months, from July 2008 to December of 2009. None of the alleged incidents apparently happened while Meemken was on duty.

Meemken is a 17-year veteran of the sheriff's office. He was placed on administrative leave last December when the allegations were reported. He's being held in the Crow Wing County Jail in Brainerd.

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Denny Hecker Out Of Jail

Bankrupt Twin Cities Auto Executive Denny Hecker is out of jail. Hecker was released Friday after a court hearing determined he had me conditions of his release. Hecker was sentenced to 90 days in jail Tuesday morning. Judge Jay Quam said Hecker was behind on payments to two ex-wives and had not provided enough financial information in a divorce case.

But court documents obtained by a Twin Cities TV station show Hecker has since come up with $30,000 for his ex-wives and has been helping his lawyers with the financial disclosure. In Court, Hecker said being in jail was "an eye-opening experience." He told the judge he intends to comply with all of the court's orders.

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New Highway 10 Bridge To Be Built

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced that a new Highway 10 bridge will be built to replace the damaged bridge, instead of repairing the old bridge near Little Falls. According to Dave Schwarting, MnDot District 3 bridge engineer, replacing the old bridge would be more cost effective than repairing the damaged structure and an increase in the flow through the overflow channel since the bridge was built 37 years ago. It's expected that the new bridge will be completed by the end of this year, with temporary crossovers in place so that traffic can continue to use the Higway 10 bridge during construction.

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Champlin Man Pleads Guilty to Pedestrian's Death

(AP) A driver from Champlin has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter for killing 3-year Jack Larson of Buffalo in Merrifield. According to authorities, 67-year old Sherman Frederick drove on the shoulder to avoid cars that were waiting for children to cross a street when he struck the child. Sentencing is scheduled for May 6th.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wild Fires Prevalent in the State

(AP) According to the State Department of Natural Resources, they have responded to 319 wildfires already this year. That number is three times the number of fires that typically break out in the Spring. The rapid loss of snow cover, combined with the warm, dry weather has the whole of the State on high-alert for wildfires.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tickets on sale now for 15th Annual YMCA Charity Ball

Make plans to attend the 15th annual Brainerd Family YMCA Charity Ball on Friday, May 7th. Come dance to the legendary Johnny Holm band. The Charity Ball will be held in the new Gull Lake Center at Grandview Lodge with social hour beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be a sit down dinner that begins at 7:30 and a silent auction throughout the night. Visit the YMCA website at for an up-to-date list of auction items beginning April 15th. Tickets are on sale now at the YMCA; $75 per person ($35 is tax-deductible). Proceeds raised from the Charity Ball go towards youth programs held at the YMCA. Tickets may be purchased by calling 829-4767, or stop by the YMCA in person. Limited table reservations for 10 are available. Both dressy casual and formal attire are welcome.

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More Asbestos-Related Cancer Found Among Taconite Workers

(AP) According to the State Department of Health, four more cases of a rare asbestos-related cancer have been identified among Minnesota taconite workers. Those cases bring the total number of workers diagnosed with that ailment to 63. The cases were discovered by the Department among 63,000 people who worked in the State's mining industry between the 1930's, and 1982.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brainerd School District Receives Benefits

The Brainerd Public School District (Independent School District 181) has been selected as the only district in the U.S. to receive the benefits of an in-depth facilities management program that will increase efficiencies in district facilities, reduce energy and maintenance costs, and much more. Johnson Controls is implementing a $70,000 Enterprise Sustainability Manager (ESM) system in two of the district’s facilities beginning April 1, at no cost to the district. ISD 181 is always seeking new ways of improving learning for our young people, while at the same time building on our commitment to operating in an environmentally-responsible manner, said Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Steve Razidlo. This one-of-a-kind partnership with Johnson Controls will help the district identify many areas for improving efficiencies and saving tax dollars now and in the future, allowing us to dedicate more funds to programming for students.

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Denny Hecker Jailed

(AP) A judge has ordered embattled former Minnesota auto mogul Denny Hecker jailed. Judge Jay Quam ordered hecker taken into custody Tuesday morning, saying Hecker had failed to provide adequate financial information in the divorce case of his second wife. Hecker was handcuffed and taken to the Hennepin County Jail. He didn't appear in Quam's courtroom at the second hearing on Tuesday over money owed to this fourth wife. The judge also denied a request to allow Hecker out on work release.

In a filing on Monday, Hecker admitted to taking money from a retirement account and his children's trust funds, without authorization, and using it to pay attorneys and personal expenses.

Hecker goes on trial on federal fraud charges October 18. He's pleaded not guilty. He's also embroiled in separate bankruptcy proceedings.

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Muslim Rallies in St. Cloud

(AP) Well over twenty Muslims and their supporters rallied across from Apollo High School in St. Cloud yesterday in support of Muslim students who attend St. Cloud schools. The groups says that the staff of the school are not doing enough to keep Muslim students from being harassed, and occasionally contribute to the harassment. Steve Jordahl, Superintendent of the St. Cloud schools said that the staff does respond to each complaint appropriately, and denies that they are not doing enough to stop harassment of Muslim students. A Federal probe has been called for by a Muslim civil rights group to investigate harassment complaints.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

St. Cloud Schools and Civil Rights Group May Issue Joint Statement

(AP) A Minnesota Islamic civil rights group and the St. Cloud School District are considering issuing a joint-statement saying they've been partners in working through issues in the schools. The Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a complaint last week against the district, claiming that Muslim students confront an hostile learning environment in St. Cloud schools.

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