Feds lift roadblock to copper mining near Boundary Waters
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Trump administration has lifted a roadblock to copper-nickel mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota.
The Obama administration in 2016 withdrew around 234,000 acres of the Rainy River watershed near Ely from eligibility for mineral leasing pending further study, citing the potential threat to the Boundary Waters.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday canceled the withdrawal, saying its review revealed no new scientific information. It says companies may soon be able to sign mineral leases in the area.
The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters denounced the decision, saying the administration ignored science and facts.
Twin Metals Minnesota, which hopes to build a copper-nickel mine near Ely, says the decision ensures that federal lands that had been open to mining activities for decades will remain open.
Records: Cop accused in Australian’s death can’t take stress
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Court records show training officers voiced concerns about a former Minneapolis police officer’s fitness for duty long before he fatally shot an Australian woman.
In a response Wednesday to a defense motion seeking to dismiss murder and manslaughter charges against Mohamed Noor, Hennepin County prosecutors say officers who were training Noor reported instances in which he had problems with stress, and seemed unwilling to deal with people.
Noor also took a psychological test in 2015 that showed he disliked being around people and is more likely to be impatient and have difficulty confronting people. Still, a psychiatrist found Noor was “psychiatrically fit” to work as a cadet officer .
Noor is charged in the July 2017 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who had called 911 to report a possible assault.
This story has been corrected to note that Noor took a psychological test and was flagged by training officers, instead of being flagged by two psychiatrists.
Garnett sues accountant over $77M lost to wealth manager
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Garnett is suing an accountant and his firm, alleging they helped a wealth manager steal $77 million from the retired Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics star.
The federal malpractice lawsuit alleges Kentucky-based accountant Michael Wertheim and Welenken CPAs enabled Charles Banks IV of Atlanta to defraud Garnett through businesses in which Garnett and Banks shared an interest.
The lawsuit contends Wertheim “possessed actual knowledge that Banks was helping himself to millions of dollars of Garnett’s money and did nothing about it.”
Defense attorney Greg Simpson tells the Star Tribune his clients deny the allegations and will “vigorously” fight the suit.
Banks was not named as a defendant. Banks was sentenced last year to four years in federal prison for defrauding another former NBA star, retired San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan, of millions of dollars.
Minnesota State Fair expects growth amid record attendance
(Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org)
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota State Fair officials say it’s possible to make room for even more people at the event that continues to set attendance records.
The Minnesota Public Radio reports that attendance last month topped 2 million for the first time in the fair’s history. The record came as the fair in Falcon Heights prepares to break ground next month on a $14 million expansion that includes a new performing arts space and a traveling exhibit hall.
The fair has managed to grow over the years to keep up with attendees, the most recent addition being a reboot of the fairgrounds’ north side this year.
General manager Jerry Hammer says the 322-acre fairgrounds can get crowded during peak hours, but “even on our biggest days, there’s plenty of room for people.”
Record-breaking September cold hits northern Minnesota
HIBBING, Minn. (AP) — The mercury is falling in northern Minnesota, with cold air bringing in a record-breaking chill.
The National Weather Service says temperatures plunged below the freezing mark in several locations early Thursday.
It was 28 degrees (-2 Celsius) in International Falls, breaking the Sept. 6 record of 31 (-0.5 C). It was 29 degrees (-1.6 C) in Hibbing, exceeding the bone-chilling lowest low of 33 (0.5 C) for the same date.
Hardest hit was the St. Louis County community of Robinson, where it was 24 degrees (-4.5 C).
The weather service says temperatures across northern Minnesota will moderate through the weekend with highs in the mid-60s to near 70 and lows in the 40s and 50s.
MINNESOTA FLOODING-DISASTER DECLARATION
Trump issues disaster declaration for storm-hit Minnesota
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for parts of Minnesota hit by severe storms and flooding from June 15 to July 11.
The declaration announced late Wednesday, which was requested by Gov. Mark Dayton , makes funding available to state, local and tribal governments and certain nonprofits for emergency work, repair or replacement of damaged facilities, and reducing risks from natural hazards.
The declaration covers 27 counties and three Indian reservations statewide.
The severe storms from mid-June to mid-July spawned heavy rain, widespread flooding, tornadoes and high straight-line winds. Dayton declared a state of emergency for 36 counties and one reservation at the time.
The governor’s office says damage assessments in late July verified more than $21 million in eligible damages, nearly triple the federal threshold of $7.7 million.
Man pleads guilty to stalking for threats, fake porn photos
DENVER (AP) — A Minnesota man accused of harassing women by posting their photos online alongside pornographic images resembling the victims has pleaded guilty to federal stalking charges.
According to records filed with the U.S. District Court in Denver, 43-year-old Eric Ronald Bolduan of Rochester pleaded guilty on Thursday to three counts of stalking and three counts of interstate communications. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 29.
According to prosecutors, Bolduan created postings on pornographic sites that included the victims’ names, non-pornographic photos of them that he found online and pornographic images that resembled the victims. Bolduan also sent the postings the women’s family members and employers.
The records say Bolduan then sent threatening emails, telling each woman that he was stalking her and would soon rape, torture and kill her.