Local News

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    POWER 96 News Brief for Monday 5-17

    05/17/2021

    Officials say they hope to know more about what caused a train derailment in Albert Lea over the weekend later today.

    On Saturday residents were warned via their devices that there was a derailment around the 1300 block of Eastgate Road and that there was a hazardous materials leak.

    The material was later identified as hydrochloric acid.

    It is possible that the acid leaked into Goose Lake and as a precaution, Union Pacific Railroad set up and are monitoring three different air monitoring systems.

    50 cars were reported as derailed and crews continue the cleanup process. Investigators from the railroad authority and Union Pacific are on the scene and attempting to determine just what caused the event.

    There were no injuries reported.

    The Bridge Avenue construction project continues to make progress thanks in part to favorable weather. Last week, crews removed pavement from Richway to the north. Began work on helical pile supported sanitary sewer, and installed concrete curb from Minnie Maddern to Richway.

    Plans for this week include, the continuation work on helical piles, the installation of the storm sewer and watermain north of Richway Drive, and the pouring sidewalk from Johnson to Minnie Maddern.

    Officials ask motorists to eliminate distractions in and around the construction zone and look for posted detours.

    The District 241 School Board will be in session tonight at 5 pm in the Boardroom at the Brookside Education Center to conduct the official business of the district. The board is expected to approve the Freeborn County Truancy Agreement between the district and Freeborn County Probationary Services. Officials will also receive reports from the Superintendent and Board Members. The board is also expected to receive a legislative update, a COVID-19 update, as well as a graduation update.   

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 5 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend. Public Health reported no deaths and 1 resident was reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county has now dropped to 20.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Thursday 5-13

    05/14/2021

    Supervised probation and restitution was the sentence for a Winona man who burglarized two Freeborn county homes.

    39 year old Joshua Thomas Lee pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary, third-degree burglary, and criminal damage to property. Stealing personal property valued at $3,200.00 from two Twin Lake homes, and doing about 800 dollars in damage, a Judge sentenced Lee to up to 10 years of supervised probation, ordered Lee to pay $4,166.30 in restitution and also ordered Lee perform 40 hours of community service.

    United Way of Freeborn County has announced the FINAL Pop Up Pantry that will be held on Friday, May 14th at Glenville Lutheran Church, 140 3rd Ave SW, Glenville, MN 56036.

    Boxes of produce, dairy and protein will be handed out from 11:00 am to 1:00 p.m. or until the food runs out. Food boxes are available to any local family in need, no questions asked. Persons unable to pick up food themselves are welcome to send someone to pick up for them.

    To ensure the safety of volunteers and residents, those picking up food will need to follow social distancing protocols at the drive-thru event.

    The Austin City Council has approved a permanent home for a farmers market in Austin.

    The new space is located just south of the historic Terp Ballroom.

    The empty lot will be the new home of the Cedar River Farmers Market. Thanks to Impact Austin and the City Council, it will soon be transformed to host a community experience for everyone in the area.

    The funds to build the structures are estimated to be about $2.5 million, but they were unable to get them for this summer. However, with plans already approved, they decided to still open this summer.

    The first day of the farmers market is June 18 from 3 to 7 p.m. and runs every Friday until October 15.

    Minnesota House Democrats have scheduled their recreational marijuana legalization bill for a floor vote today. If approved by both chambers and signed into law, the legislation would allow for the sale and possession of marijuana for adults in Minnesota. The legislation would come with a 10 percent sales tax. Those in the state's medical marijuana program would be exempt from that, however. Minnesota would also join 15 other states that have legalized marijuana.

    A Minnesota judge has denied media requests to allow cameras at an upcoming hearing for a suburban Minneapolis police officer charged in Daunte Wright's death. Kim Potter, 48, is charged with manslaughter in Wright's death during a traffic stop April 11 in Brooklyn Center. The city's police chief at the time said he believed Potter, who is white, mixed up her Taser with her handgun when she shot Wright.

    A Hennepin County judge has ruled that he will consider aggravating factors in the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder and manslaughter in George Floyd's death.

    In a court document filed Tuesday, Judge Peter Cahill said he determined several facts supporting an aggravated durational departure have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, including that Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority, treated Floyd with particular cruelty, acted with children present, and committed his acts as a group with the active participation of at least three other officers.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Wednesday 5-12

    05/12/2021

    Freeborn County Public Health reported no new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no deaths and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county has now dropped to 31.

    With only a 60 vote difference, a $41 million referendum aimed at updating district facilities in Byron Public Schools failed Tuesday night. The unofficial results were 1,120 NO and 1,060 YES.

    The referendum was split into two questions with $29 million toward facilities and other safety improvements and the rest for a new high school auditorium.

    Byron Superintendent Dr. Joey Page said the district will continue to engage families, students, staff, and community members into their process to determine the best solution and next steps for the district.

    Voters also rejected Byron's bond referendum last year, 1,344-725. That referendum was worth $58 million and proposed as one question.

    A Rochester teen accused of shooting his father following an argument entered a not guilty plea Tuesday.

    18-year-old Colby James Cleveland is charged with 2nd-degree attempted murder and 2nd-degree assault with a dangerous weapon causing substantial bodily harm.

    Rochester police say on March 19, Cleveland shot his father in the leg following an argument about rent in a Northwest Rochester apartment.

    A trial date for Cleveland has not been scheduled.

    Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced that Iowa will join a bevy of Republican-led states ending pandemic-related federal programs that give extra cash to unemployed workers.

    Reynolds announced the change in a news release, saying the state will end the federal boosts, including an additional $300-a-week unemployment payment.

    Reynolds said in the announcement that the benefits are keeping people from returning the work and are hindering the state's economy. The week ending June 12, 2021 will be the last week that the following federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs are available in Iowa.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Tuesday 5-11

    05/12/2021

    A bridge stretching over I-90, at 28th St. NE in Austin is approaching the end of its functional life and is in need of replacement.

    Yesterday, crews began a $3.9 million project to build a new one. Barricades and barrels were put in place to direct traffic before the bridge closes Wednesday and comes down this weekend.

    Demolition work will go from Friday night till early Monday morning. During demolition, traffic along I-90 will use the interstate on and off ramps to get by.

    MnDOT says this is just start of what"s to come.

    Several more bridges along I-90 near Austin are also ready for replacement.

    COVID-19 vaccines finally are headed for more kids as U.S. regulators have expanded the use of Pfizer's shot to those as young as 12.

    Shots could begin as soon as a federal vaccine advisory committee issues recommendations for using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds. That guidance is expected Wednesday.

    In a Pfizer submitted study to the FDA, 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15 were given COVID shots and the study found no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 among kids that were given dummy shots.

    Today, the fate of $41 million will be decided for the Byron Public School district. The people of Byron head to the polls today to vote on a referendum to decide whether or not the money should be spent on improvements throughout the school district.

    School officials are adding classrooms to the high school, renovating kitchens at the elementary and middle school and making improvements to athletic facilities at the middle school.

    There are 2 question on the ballot, with the second one asking for 11 million dollars to add an auditorium to the high school.

    Voting runs until 8 p.m. at Byron Middle School.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 4 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no deaths and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county has now dropped to 36.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Monday 5-10

    05/11/2021

    The 6 best days of summer are coming back for 2021. The Freeborn County Agricultural Society has announced that the Freeborn County Fair is back on for this summer running from August 3rd thru the 8th.

    Thanks to good planning, the Midway, the food and the entertainment in the grandstand are all returning.

    The decision to bring back the 6 best days of summer is due to Gov. Tim Walz's lifting of COVID restrictions and dialing back limitations that the state had placed on events to limit the spread of COVID 19. Fair Manager Mike Woitis was able to successfully re-book all the grand stand entertainers that were scheduled to appear last year.

    The Freeborn County Agricultural Society, in conjunction with the Freeborn county Board of Commissioners said that the fair will proceed without limitations.

    After originally canceling the 2021 Back to the '50s event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, the event will go on as scheduled for its 47th year.

    The news comes after Gov. Tim Walz's announcement of opening up more restrictions last week.

    Regarding restrictions for the event, the only restriction that will remain are masks being required on the fairgrounds. The event is scheduled for June 18-20, Father's Day weekend.

    The Albert Lea City Council will be in session tonight at 7 pm via Zoom Teleconference. The city will make a proclamation calling May, Mental Health Awareness Month in Albert Lea. The city will look for a resolution awarding the sale of General Obligation Bonds. The city will look to approve a Resolution Approving Contract For Private Development And Final Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Agreement With Vortex Cold Storage. There will be a public hearing regarding an Order For Removal of 405 Court Street. The city will also look for a resolution authorizing an Order For Removal of Hazardous Structures And Abatement of Nuisance At 405 Court Street. All 3 Quik Trip stores will be looking for the approval from the city for the sale of 3.2% off-sale beverages.

    The Bridge Avenue construction project contines to move along with crews wrapping up the grading of the roadway from Minnie Maddern to Richway. Crews also Began pouring sidewalk and steps from Johnson to Minnie Maddern. This week, crews will remove pavement from Richway to the north, begin work on a helical pile supported sanitary sewer near box culvert.

    Continue pouring sidewalk from Johnson to Minnie Maddern and prepare the roadway for the concrete curb from Minnie Maddern to Richway.

    A smoke and carbon monoxide alarm maker has issued a recall for several of its models for failure to alert when there's a fire.

    The roughly 226,000-alarm recall specifically involves Kidde TruSense Smoke Alarms and Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms.

    The alarms were sold at Walmart, Home Depot, Menards and other nationwide departments, home and hardware stores as well as online via Amazon.com, ShopKidde.com and other online retailers from May 2019 through September 2020.

    The Minnesota Legislature is entering the last full week of its 2021 session, lawmakers now face long hours of tough negotiations as they seek to agree on a balanced budget by next Monday"s mandatory adjournment date. And given the Legislature"s partisan split, the final package is expected to make only incremental changes instead of sweeping overhauls.

    There are deep disagreements over what should be in the major spending bills that will form the core of the next two-year budget.

    If the divided Legislature can"t pass all its budget bills by the adjournment deadline, they"ll have to go into an overtime special session to finish the work.

    Minnesota regulators got a green light to adopt new “clean car” rules without getting approval from the Legislature.

    A ruling from an administrative law judge allows the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to move forward with its plan to write new regulations that would require manufacturers to deliver more electric cars and hybrids for sale at Minnesota car lots. The new rules would be similar to those in California and more than a dozen other states.

    Several Republican lawmakers and auto dealers from across the state objected to the proposed rules, arguing that new emission standards should come from the Legislature. But Administrative Law Judge Jessica Palmer-Denig ruled that the agency has clear authority to adopt rules that address air pollution.

    A Cresco man was arrested over the weekend after a woman called police to report that her car was stolen. The Howard County Sheriff's Office says they found the stolen vehicle near Bonair. Authorities arrested Tyler Dane Harbin of Cresco, Iowa. Harbin is being charged with operating without owner's consent and driving while having a suspended driver's license.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Thursday 5-06

    05/06/2021

    A street re-naming ceremony will take place at 4:30 this afternoon on the north side of the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

    Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. is scheduled to read a proclamation at the ceremony where Water Street in the block next to the theater will be renamed as Marion Ross Street.

    On July 2nd, a bronze statue of Ross will be unveiled.

    Ross, who grew up in Albert Lea, is best known for her roll as Mrs. Cunningham from the TV Series "Happy Days".

    A Stewartville teenager is facing charges in connection to an after-school fight that left a 12-year-old with a concussion.

    According to Olmsted County Sheriff's Captain Scott Behrns, a 14-year-old student got into a fight with a 12-year-old student after school on April 29th in Stewartville. It was reported around 4:40 p.m., after school ended, but happened on school property.

    Behrns said the 14-year-old knocked the victim to the ground, and hit him at least five times in the head.

    The 12-year-old went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion.

    The 14-year-old is facing a felony 3rd-degree assault charge as well as a misdemeanor charge for disorderly conduct.

    One person is dead following a shooting incident that occurred during a commercial vehicle traffic stop at the Miracle Mile shopping center parking lot Wednesday morning.

    According to the Department of Public Safety, three troopers assigned to the Minnesota State Patrol Commercial Vehicle unit stopped a semi-truck for a vehicle inspection around 6:45 a.m.

    Troopers attempted to detain the semi-truck driver for failing to produce identification around 8:30 a.m.

    According to the preliminary investigation, the driver took out a gun and fired two rounds, both of which were self-inflicted shots to his head.

    The truck driver was taken to Saint Mary"s hospital with life-threatening injuries and was later pronounced dead.

    No troopers fired their weapons, and no troopers were injured.

    A St. Paul man was sentenced for his role in the burning of the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct building.

    The U.S. Attorney's Office said 23-year-old Branden Michael Wolfe was sentenced to over three years in prison and was ordered to pay $12 million in restitution. He will also serve two years of supervised release.

    Court documents say Wolfe went to the Third Precinct on the night of May 28, 2020, where hundreds of people had gathered. As some people tore down a fence designed to keep trespassers out, Wolfe pushed a barrel into a fire in the entrance of the precinct to try to accelerate the fire. Prosecutors say Wolfe also entered the precinct and stole several items, including a police vest, handcuffs, a knife, pistol magazine, police radio and ammunition.

    Co-conspirators Bryce Michael Williams and Davon De-Andre Turner have also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson at the precinct. They will be sentenced at a later date.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Wednesday 5-05

    05/06/2021

    Gov. Tim Walz is expected to announce another loosening of COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday.

    During a press conference Tuesday, the governor said he hopes to make a COVID announcement to give Minnesotans more guidance on what to expect going forward.

    The governor didn't provide details but said talks are ongoing over what he will announce. He did add, "Thursday's announcement should go a long way, I think, toward moving things forward."

    The Freeborn County Fairgrounds will be reopening, but only on a case by case basis. That was the decision of the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning.

    The fairgrounds have been closed to public events since the start of the pandemic. All requests by the public and organizations to use the fairgrounds should send their requests to Freeborn County Administrator Tom Jensen.

    Southern Minnesota Area Rual Transit, otherwise known as the SMART Bus that is owned and operated by Cedar Valley Services has announced that SMART Transit buses will begin collecting fares again beginning July 6th of 2021 for all services.

    Token and pass prices will remain the same prices they were before the suspension on the collection of fares.   

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 3 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no deaths and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 55.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Tuesday 5-04

    05/04/2021

    Lisa Hanson, the owner of The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro, appeared in court Monday morning for two civil cases that stemmed from the business staying open despite Governor Walz's Executive Orders last winter.

    A trial for both civil cases is set to begin on Nov. 29, 2021.

    Hanson, is also scheduled to be back in court on Thursday for a bail hearing related to two criminal cases from the business staying open.

    Hanson is expected to go on trial for the criminal cases on July 20, 2021.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 6 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no deaths and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 63.

    Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan are calling on the Legislature to pass the summer learning package in Minnesota"s COVID-19 Recovery Budget. The $150 million package will help students catch up on learning disruptions from the pandemic. It includes proposals for school- and community-based learning opportunities, field trips and hands-on learning, mental health support, summer preschool, and college courses for graduating seniors.

    The body of a 28-year-old man was found in the bathroom of a grocery store in Mankato Sunday night.

    His body was discovered at 10:11 p.m. in the bathroom of the Hy-Vee on Riverfront Drive.

    There were no signs of foul play and there were no signs of trauma. The medical examiner will determine his cause of death.

    No other details were released about the incident.

    The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported an increase of 27% in drug overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020, going from 792 Minnesotans dying from an overdose in 2019 to 1,008 dying from an overdose in 2020. The trend shows each month in 2020 had a higher number of overdose deaths than the same month the year before.

    Preliminary data show a 59% increase from 2019 to 2020 for all opioid-involved deaths among Minnesota residents (412 to 654 deaths). Deaths involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, increased 81% (298 to 539 deaths), and were involved in 82% of all opioid-involved deaths. Deaths involving commonly prescribed opioids, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet), morphine and methadone, increased 53% (135 to 207 deaths). Deaths involving heroin increased 15%.

    Vaccinations may be allowed for teens under 16 soon. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for youngsters ages 12 to 15 by next week, according to a federal official and a person familiar with the process, setting up shots for many before the beginning of the next school year.

    The announcement is set to come a month after the company found that its shot, which is already authorized for those age 16 and older, also provided protection for the younger group.

    Pfizer in late March released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15, showing there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 18 among those given dummy shots.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Monday 5-03

    05/03/2021

    Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan highlighted the state"s new rental assistance program, RentHelpMN. The program, which is now open for applications, makes it possible for low- and moderate-income renters to get caught up on overdue rent and utilities dating back to March 13, 2020. It also makes provisions for those at risk of falling behind on rent payments due to the pandemic.

    Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho said, “Currently we"re inviting eligible renters who owe back rent to apply to get caught up and to request three months of prospective rent,”.

    Renters can apply directly or learn more about the application process by visiting renthelpmn.org

    The Bridge Avenue Construction project continues to move along in Albert Lea. Last week, construction crews replaced the fence along the fairgrounds and excavated the roadway from Minnie Maddern to Richway.

    This week, the crews are scheduled to grade the roadway section from Minnie Maddern to Richway and Begin pouring sidewalk and steps from Johnson to Minnie Maddern.

    Bridge Avenue its self is closed from the southerly Fairground entrance (north of Minnie Maddern) to Hammer Road. Construction and safety officals ask that drivers slow down through construction zone for the safety of others, and the workers on site, as well as your own safety and avoid using a cellular phone when walking or driving near a construction zone.

    Seven people were injured in St. Paul from three separate shootings over a three-hour span late Saturday night and into early Sunday morning.

    In a news conference Sunday afternoon, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell expressed his disgust at the sheer scale of the shootings, which totaled at least 173 shots fired.

    Also in Sunday's news conference, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter called the events of the last night a "nightmare" and said he heard gunshots from his home. He pleaded for the cycle of gun violence to stop.

    All seven victims were treated for non life threatening injuries and are expected to fully recover from their injuries.

    The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners will be in session Tuesday at 8:30 am both in person at the Freeborn County Government Center and via Zoom teleconference. The Commissioners are expected to receive reports from various county offices and consider a resolution to open the Freeborn County Fairgrounds for approved activities.

    The District 241 School Board will be in session tonight at 5:00 in the Brookside Education Center Boardroom in order to conduct a study session. The board is expected to receive a COVID-19 update, discuss a school board scholarship and hear a 21-22 new school year transportation presentation from Superintendent Dr. Michael Funk.

    The Freeborn County Agricultural Society announced that the 2021 Freeborn County Fair in Albert Lea has been canceled.

    In a press release, the Society stated, "Along with concern for the safety of the public, the Fair Board is also responsible for the financial stability of the Fair to ensure it will be able to continue for many years to come. A decision had to be made at this time to avoid the large expense of entertainment, as there is no guarantee when restrictions will be lifted. The Entertainment contracts alone, along with stage, sound and lights are $300,000.

    According to Manager Mike Woitas, “This is a very difficult decision that the Board and I had to make, not taking it lightly. We understand that people want to get out and enjoy the Fair, but planning for a successful fair at this time when there isn"t any guarantee the restrictions will be lifted, would jeopardize the fair for years to come.”

    POWER 96 News Brief for Thursday 4-29

    04/29/2021

    A pop up pantry drive thru event will take place in Albert Lea Friday at the YMCA parking lot. All community members are welcome to pick up a box of free food. The Family Y is located at 2021 W. Main Street in Albert Lea. Pick up hours will begin at 11 am and last until the food runs out.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 4 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no deaths and one resident was reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 66.

    Almost a week ago, U.S. Health leaders lifted the pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccines, that one dose shot after reports of rare but sever blood clots caused a review of the vaccine.

    Minnesota state health leaders are saying if the opportunity is there for you to get the vaccine, get it.

    Kris Ehresmann, director of MDH infectious disease epidemiology said the state has not seen any Johnson & Johnson vaccine shipments this week, but there are over 9,000 vaccines waiting to be distributed.

    She says next week, the state will receive over 12,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

    Hy-Vee announced Wednesday that all pharmacy locations now offer free walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations.

    Hy-Vee Pharmacies will offer free vaccines with no appointment necessary to provide the option to walk in and receive the vaccine when it"s convenient for the recipient.

    For those who prefer to make a vaccine appointment in advance, that option is still available by visiting www.hy-vee.com/covidvaccine

    Mayo Clinic has announced plans to build an 11-floor biomedical research building in downtown Rochester. According to a news release from Mayo Clinic, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Building will be located at the intersection of 3rd Street SW and 4th Avenue SW. Mayo Clinic said it is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2023.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Wednesday 4-28

    04/29/2021

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 6 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no deaths and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 68.

    Sun County Airlines announced 2 new routes departing from Rochester for the first time.

    Starting February 3rd, Sun Country will start service to Southwest Florida International Airport flying twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays with one way tickets starting at 79.00. On February 4th 2022, service will begin to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Mondays and Fridays, with one way tickets as low as 69.00

    The federal government has extended the REAL ID full enforcement deadline, which is good news for procrastinating Minnesotans.

    The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) full enforcement deadline for REAL ID — meaning people wouldn't be able to fly or enter federal facilities with anything other than a passport/passport card, REAL ID or enhanced driver's license — was Oct. 1, 2021.

    But now, DHS has extended that full enforcement deadline by 19 months to May 3, 2023, due to the COVID-19 pandemic

    The decision now gives Minnesotans an extra 18 months to get a REAL ID or enhanced driver's license if they don't want to travel with their passport.

    Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says new federal guidance allowing vaccinated people to go mask-free in many outdoor settings is a sign of progress and could help result in scaling back more COVID-19 restrictions next week. Walz says he hopes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement, coupled with drop in active caseloads and new case counts, will allow an increase in capacity limits.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Tuesday 4-27

    04/28/2021

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 8 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no deaths and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 72.

    The U.S. Census Bureau released the first population data from Census 2020, showing that Minnesota grew just enough to hold on to all 8 of its congressional seats. The state"s population grew by 7.6 percent to 5,706,494, outpacing most Midwestern states and keeping pace with the national average. The nationwide head count showed that the country"s population on April 1, 2020 was 331,449,281, up from 308,745,538 in 2010, for a 7.4 percent increase.

    Minnesota hung on to the 435th seat in Congress by a close margin—less than 1,000 people.

    A student was arrested at Plymouth Middle School after firing several gunshots in a hallway Monday morning.

    The incident sparked a lockdown at the school, but nobody was injured and the student was taken into custody without incident.

    According to police, the shots were fired at 8:45 a.m. outside of a bathroom, with the student arrested by a school resource officer, with a gun recovered.

    Per the Star Tribune, the sixth-grader took the gun from his father's bedroom and brought it to school.

    The Minnesota Department of Health issued a statement upon confirmation of a COVID-19 related death involving a school-aged child.

    We are deeply saddened to confirm that a child under age 10 from southwestern Minnesota has died due to complications from COVID-19. While COVID-related deaths in children are rare, they can occur even in otherwise healthy children. Since the start of the pandemic, three Minnesota children under age 18 have died due to COVID-19.

    Because this is a death in a school-aged student in Minnesota, it will be included in Thursday"s school data update.

    In honor and remembrance of Olmsted County Adult Detention Center Detention Deputy Mark Edward Anderson, Governor Tim Walz has ordered all United States flags and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings in the State of Minnesota, from sunrise until sunset on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

    Detention Deputy Anderson dedicated 11 years to the Olmsted County Sheriff"s Office.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Monday 4-26

    04/26/2021

    The victim that died from a Minneapolis shooting in the Phillips neighborhood was identified.

    According to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, 19-year-old Iaan James Wade of Minneapolis died due to multiple gunshot wounds. The manner of death is ruled a homicide.

    It is believed the suspect and Wade were familiar with each other.

    The suspect fled the scene before police arrived.

    The Bridge Avenue construction project is moving along with crews last week working on the storm sewer from Richway Drive to Minnie Maddern, and also the western leg of the Richway intersection.

    Other crews resumed grading and prep work for sidewalk and sodding from Sheridan to Johnson.

    This week, construction crews will begin pouring concrete sidewalk and steps from Sheridan to Johnson and excavate and grade the roadway section from Minnie Maddern to Richway.

    The City of Albert Lea will hold a work session for the City Council tonight beginning at 5:30 via Zoom teleconference. Council members will receive a 2021 assessment summary from the County Assessor.

    The councilors will also receive a first quarter General Fund report from the city finance director.

    Tonight at 7 pm, the council will hold their regular city council meeting via Zoom.   The Council will look for a resolution approving plans and specifications and ordering the advertisement of bids

    for the 1-million gallon central water tower.

    The council will also look for a resolution approving a Memorandum of Understanding With Bird Rides, Inc. The city and Bird are working through liability issues with the scooter service.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 22 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend. Public Health also reported no deaths and one resident was reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 77.

    Macalester College announced on Friday it will require students, staff and faculty returning to campus in the fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

    In a letter to the college community, President Suzanne Rivera said anyone planning on returning to campus must be fully vaccinated by Aug. 2.

    Students and employees may seek an exemption using the same process for other immunizations.

    A psychologist who worked for the Minnesota Sex Offender Program is charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct after allegedly engaging in inappropriate sexual relationships with two different program clients.

    Michelle Brownfield, 38, faces two criminal sexual conduct charges, according to a criminal complaint.

    The Moose Lake Police Department began investigating Brownfield after receiving a tip in October that she was in a sexual relationship with a client at the MSOP facility in Moose Lake, which treats “clients committed as sexually dangerous persons and sexually psychopathic personalities.”

    The complaint states that two clients reported having sexual relationships with Brownfield, and text messages from her phone showed evidence of the relationships.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Thursday 4-22

    04/22/2021

    The man charged with the 2019 murders of his 2-year-old daughter, Noelani Robinson, and her mother, and injuring her mother"s friend has pled guilty to two of the crimes.

    Dariaz Lewis Higgins, 37 of Milwaukee, WI, pleaded guilty to first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide in Milwaukee County District Court Tuesday.

    Higgins admitted to the shooting death of 24-year-old Sierra Robinson and injuring her friend outside a Milwaukee apartment building in March 2019.

    Higgins faces charges of 2nd-degree murder for the killing of Noelani Robinson, which were filed in Mower County.

    In the criminal complaint from Mower County, it alleges Higgins then went to Milwaukee, got a car, returned to Austin and in the early morning hours of March 10, 2019, he put the child's body in the vehicle and began driving to Minneapolis with another woman.

    According to the complaint, Higgins stopped by the side of the road and put the child"s body in the ditch, where she was found a few days later.

    Higgins is scheduled to be sentenced for the Wisconsin murder on July 26.

    MercyOne employees can expect to receive a heftier paycheck.

    The health care company announced to its employees it"ll be moving its minimum pay to $15 per hour starting April 26.

    Team members making $15-18 per hour will receive a 1.5% increase in pay.

    Colleagues on-call can expect an increase from $2.00 to $2.50 with a goal of $3.00 by January 2022.

    In a statement, MercyOne said, "MercyOne is committed to the well-being of our colleagues and ensuring they are able to live their best lives. In support of this commitment, a $15 minimum wage has been implemented across all MercyOne sites of care.

    This change in our wage program is just one way MercyOne can help each of our amazing colleagues and their families have a brighter future.”

    Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is being held at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights on "administrative segregation" away from other inmates for his safety, according to state corrections.

    Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill said Chauvin will be sentenced in eight weeks.

    Chauvin left the court in handcuffs Tuesday after being found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd's death.

    Prosecutors filed their intent for an even higher sentence citing five factors against Chauvin.

    The recommended sentence under the sentencing guidelines is 150 months or 12.5 years.

    People in Mason City now have new way to move around town.

    The city has approved for Bird to bring their stand up electric scooters to the community.

    In Albert Lea, the council is close to securing scooters too. An agreement could be approved at the next meeting.

    Mason City City Administrator Aaron Burnett said, Electric scooters are something people love to hate, but Burnett says the benefits should outweigh the issues.

    Bird could bring the scooters to Mason City as early as next week.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Wednesday 4-21

    04/21/2021

    A jury on Tuesday found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd's death.

    Attorney General Keith Ellison held a conference about 30 minutes after the verdict. He celebrated the legal victory, thanked those involved in the trial, and, along with the prosecution team, and called for further reforms in policing.

    Judge Peter Cahill will next decide whether there are aggravating circumstances that could be considered at sentencing.

    The Judge said sentencing will happen in about 8 weeks.

    Chauvin"s bail was revoked and he was taken into custody where he will remain.

    Olmsted County is giving some relief to individuals, businesses, and property owners across the county as they continue to deal with the many effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As a result, some Olmsted County taxpayers may have difficulty meeting the May 17, 2021 deadline for the first half payment of 2021 property taxes.

    Tuesday, the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners approved a one-time temporary abatement of the penalty and interest for late property tax payments. This will extend the date that late payment penalties begin to accrue from May 17 to July 15, 2021.

    Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that his office has settled its lawsuit against New Prague eatery St. Patrick's Tavern & Restaurant for violations of Gov. Tim Walz's Executive Orders.

    According to the terms of a consent judgment, the establishment will pay a $15,000 fine and comply with the requirements of Walz's current and future executive orders that apply to bars and restaurants. If St. Patrick's Tavern & Restaurant were to violate any of the terms, it would be subject to a civil penalty of $25,000.

    This is the sixth settlement the Attorney General's Office has reached with businesses against which it had filed enforcement actions. The cases against the Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro in Albert Lea still remains open.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Tuesday 4-20

    04/21/2021

    Two Minnesota women are going to prison after leading Iowa police on a high-speed chase through three North Iowa counties.

    Heather Marie Krumrie and Marion Marie Baca were arrested on January 31 after being spotted in a vehicle speeding. Police attempted to stop the vehicle and a chase began that lead officers through 3 counties with speeds hitting as high as 150 miles per hour.

    According to records, Krumrie pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and failure to use a drug tax stamp. She"s been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Baca pleaded guilty to eluding and was given a five year prison term.

    The murder case against former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd went to the jury Monday in a city on edge against another round of unrest like the one that erupted last year over the harrowing video of Chauvin with his knee on the Black man's neck.

    The jury began deliberating after nearly a full day of closing arguments in which prosecutors argued that Chauvin squeezed the life out of Floyd last May in a way that even a child knew was wrong.

    The defense contended that the now-fired white officer acted reasonably and that the 46-year-old Floyd died of a heart condition and illegal drug use.

    The jurors deliberated about four hours before retiring for the night. The jurors are set to resume deliberations today.

    The gunshots that were fired at Minnesota National Guardsmen, injuring two, have led to an arrest for illegal weapons possession.

    Minneapolis police officers patrolling late Sunday evening in the area of 6th Street South and Cedar Avenue South say they encountered a 2002 Ford Explorer that matched the description of the vehicle involved in the early morning shooting. The officers stopped the vehicle and placed the driver, Andrew Thomas, and a juvenile passenger in separate patrol cars.

    Police say they obtained a search warrant and found a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, a .22 caliber revolver with a destroyed serial number, ammunition, and two discharged casings in the SUV.

    The U.S. Attorney"s Office says Thomas, 28 of Minneapolis, has a prior felony conviction in Hennepin County and federal law prohibits him having firearms or ammunition. He has been charged with one count of felon in possession of a firearm.

    Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, a liberal icon who lost the most lopsided presidential election after bluntly telling voters to expect a tax increase if he won, died Monday. He was 93.

    In 1976, Jimmy Carter chose Mondale as No. 2 on his ticket and went on to unseat Gerald Ford.

    The death of the former senator, ambassador and Minnesota attorney general was announced in a statement from his family. No cause was cited.

    After the news broke, Governor Tim Walz ordered all Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings in the State of Minnesota immediately last night until sunset on the day of the interment of former Vice President Mondale, to honor his life and legacy.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Monday 4-19

    04/20/2021

    Authorities are investigating an officer-involved shooting in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville.

    The Burnsville Police Department released a statement saying the incident started after a white male, believed to be in his 20s, allegedly stole a car on Sunday afternoon. Burnsville Police say initial reports indicate that the suspect fired numerous shots at officers who returned fire. The incident took place near the Interstate 35W and County Road 13 exit ramps. Police say the suspect was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center where he later died.

    Governor Tim Walz has directed all flags at state and federal buildings in Minnesota to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, April 19, 2021. He has directed flags to fly at half-staff on the 19th of every month to remember, mourn, and honor lives lost due to COVID-19. Thus far, over 7,000 Minnesotans have died due to COVID-19.

    Albert Lea Area Schools District 241 School Board will be in session tonight at 5 pm in the Brookside Education Center Board Room to conduct the official business of the district.

    Some of the agenda items include a Memorandum of Understanding with the Albert Lea Education Association. The board will receive reports from the Superintendent, School Board members, and a teachers report. The board will receive a COVID-19 update from Kathy Niebuhr. The board will look to approve the renewal of the Food Service Management Contract with Chartwells. Dr. Michael Funk will present discussion over the Minnesota State High School League and the districts membership.

    The Minnesota National Guard says team members had minor injuries after a drive-by shooting targeting National Guard members early Sunday morning.

    Authorities sent a statement saying the shooting took place around 4:19 a.m. on Sunday. A light colored SUV was seen firing several shots at an Operation Safety Net security team providing neighborhood security near Penn Avenue and Broadway.

    Two National Guard members had minor injuries from the shooting incident. One Guardsman had injuries from shattered glass and was taken to a hospital. Another Guardsman had "superficial injuries.: No other team members were injured.

    The Bridge Avenue construction project keeps moving along. Last week crews excavated Goose Creek Pond, completed the watermain at Richway Drive, and continued work on fence installation at Fairgrounds. This week, crews are expected to Begin the reconstruction of the sanitary sewer from Richway Drive to the north, as well as Work on the storm sewer from Richway Drive to Minnie Maddern.

    The prosecution and defense in the Chauvin trial will present their closing arguments on Monday, with the jury then expected to be sent out to deliberate on the verdict.

    They will be sequestered at a Twin Cities hotel during their deliberations, with a verdict potentially due to be delivered towards the end of next week.

    Authorities are on high alert for possible civil unrest following the verdict, with the Minnesota National Guard maintaining a heavy presence in Minneapolis during the course of the trial, which has been stepped up following the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center.

    Minnesota health officials on Sunday reported 1,847 new COVID-19 cases and 15 new deaths due to complications from the coronavirus.

    The update lifted the total number of positive virus tests to 556,381. There were nearly 504 new cases per 100,000 people in Minnesota over the past two weeks, which ranks fourth in the country for new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

    Researchers said, one in every 394 people in the state tested positive in the past week.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Thursday 4-15

    04/15/2021

    For the fourth consecutive evening, the intersection outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department was the epicenter of calls for justice over the deadly police shooting of Daunte Wright.

    As the area became saturated with more protesters, some people in the crowd began shooting fireworks and throwing items at law enforcement, while some worked to take down a fence around the police station.

    After 9 p.m., law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly and gave the first order to disperse. Three more orders were given, with the fourth occurring just after the 10 p.m. curfew went into effect in the city.

    Police used a barrage of tear gas canisters to clear the area right in front of the police station, and began to make arrests at about 10:30 p.m.

    The Washington County Attorney's Office formally charged former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright.

    If convicted, Potter could face a maximum of 10 years in jail, a $20,000 fine or both.

    According to the BCA, Potter was booked in the Hennepin County Jail. She was later released with no conditions on a $100,000 bond.

    Her initial court appearance is set for this afternoon.

    As Minnesota continues to ramp up vaccination distribution and monitor new variants of COVID-19, Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 21-19 to extend the peacetime emergency in Minnesota. The governors office says that the peacetime emergency is critical to the state"s ability to respond to the pandemic, including efficiently distributing the vaccine. The federal government and 46 other states remain in a state of emergency. Minnesota"s peacetime emergency gives the state the tools necessary to quickly establish additional state vaccination sites and acquire supplies and technology to support the vaccine effort.

    A Hutchinson man was arrested Wednesday after assaulting a Menards employee and later dragging a police officer with his car and hitting him with a hammer.

    According to the Hutchinson Police Department, police responded to a report of a man assaulting a Menards employee with some lumber just before 2 p.m. on the 1500 block of Montreal Street Southeast. The altercation reportedly began with a dispute over wearing a mask.

    The 61-year-old man left the store but was spotted by an officer shortly after in the Walmart parking lot just down the road. The officer tried to stop the vehicle but was led on a low-speed pursuit that ended when the man stopped about a block away, near Highway 15 and Freemont.

    Police say the officer tried to engage the man through the driver-side window, he got stuck, and the driver took off with the officer hanging onto the vehicle. The suspect hit the officer in the head with a hammer during the struggle.

    The officer was taken to the hospital for his injuries and is stable.

    The suspect was arrested at the scene.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Wednesday 4-14

    04/14/2021

    Voters in Mower County have selected a new District One County Commissioner in a special election Tuesday evening.

    According to the Mower County Auditor's Office, unofficial results have John Mueller defeating Tim Duren, 408 to 304.

    John Mueller retired in February after serving 30 years in law enforcement, 27 of those as a lieutenant for the Austin Police Department. Mueller was born and raised in Austin and plans to work with residents and business owners in the district.

    Back in November, Commissioner Tim Gabrielson passed away and the board approved to hold a special election for the seat.

    The special election was needed due to Gabrielson just being re-elected to another four-year term.

    Sources have told KSTP News that the Washington County Attorney's Office is planning on charging former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter today.

    The case was sent to the Washington County Attorney's Office to avoid a conflict of interest with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, which works closely with Brooklyn Center Police on criminal cases. The extent of the charges will be learned tomorrow.

    Brooklyn Center's former police chief, Tim Gannon, publicly stated he believed Potter accidentally discharged her weapon believing she was using her taser and not her gun.

    Potter and Gannon resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Tuesday.

    Minnesota has complied with the federal pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The pause of the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was recommended early Tuesday morning after six women ages 18 to 48 in the United States reported rare blood clots six to 13 days after receiving the J & J vaccine.

    One woman has died and a second woman has been hospitalized and is in critical condition.

    Gov. Tim Walz says this pause is being done out of an abundance of caution and should only last a few days.

    In response, the state of Minnesota has been told they will be receiving a high number of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to make up for this pause.

    Only five percent of the 3.3 million doses administered in Minnesota have been J & J vaccines.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 6 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no deaths and one resident was reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 101.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Tuesday 4-13

    04/14/2021

    After identifying an outbreak of COVID-19 cases associated with a Minnesota youth wrestling tournament held in South Dakota, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) have alerted schools around the state to watch for potential cases and to double down on masking, social distancing and other prevention measures.

    Health officials are also asking anyone who attended the tournament to get tested immediately for COVID-19 and to watch for symptoms.

    The Northland Youth Wrestling Association (NYWA) 2021 State Wrestling Tournament was held at the PREMIER Center Complex in Sioux Falls from Wednesday, March 31, to Saturday, April 3. The event was for Minnesota youth club wrestling teams and included approximately 2,000 wrestlers in addition to spectators.

    MDH is now monitoring a growing COVID-19 outbreak among people who attended the tournament. As of Monday morning, MDH has linked 16 confirmed cases to the event.

    MDH learned that 64 teams from at least 52 Minnesota counties participated in the tournament, including those from Freeborn and Mower counties.

    The MDH is urging all Tournament participants, their families, and other spectators to get tested now. All schools should ensure consistent compliance with prevention measures and be aware of any symptom(s) of illness.

    The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension identified the officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center Sunday.

    The BCA identified the long-time veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department as Officer Kim Potter. Further personnel data are not public from the BCA under Minnesota law during an active investigation.

    Potter is on standard administrative leave.

    The BCA investigation of the incident is ongoing.

    During a news conference Monday, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officer "drew their handgun instead of their Taser" during a fatal traffic stop Sunday.

    Family members identified the man killed in the shooting as 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

    Monday evening, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office reported Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest. The medical examiner's office declared the manner of death a homicide.

    Police say officers pulled Wright over for expired tabs but then found he had a warrant out for his arrest after running his name through their system.

    Court records reveal the warrant was issued on April 2 of this year. Wright was wanted for failure to appear in court on charges alleging that he waved a gun in public and then ran from police last summer.

    Mason City police are investigating a shooting that left two injured on Saturday evening.

    Around 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, officers responded West Park at 1st and North Jackson for a report of gunshots being fired.

    Officers arrived to find an unoccupied car that had crashed into a utility pole in the area but no one was located.

    At roughly the same time officers arrived at the park, a victim arrived at Mercy One North Iowa with a gunshot wound. About 20 minutes after the original call, a second gunshot victim arrived at the emergency room.

    During the investigation, a second vehicle was located near the intersection of 6th and North Federal with several holes from gunfire.

    Officials believe that vehicle had been driven to that location from West Park and abandoned.

    The shooting victims were both males and in their early 20"s. One has been released from the hospital and the other is still recovering.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 16 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. Public Health also reported no deaths and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 105.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Thursday 4-12

    04/12/2021

    Albert Lea's City Council will be in session tonight at 7 pm via Zoom Teleconference. The council will receive a presentation from Mike Butler over the possibility of bringing rental motorized scooters to the city. After the presentation, if the council would like to poroceed, an agreement could be brought forward for approval on April 26th.

    The council will look for a resolution allowing a loan with MercyOne North Iowa. The City has a State Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund. The loan amount would be for $150,000 for a term of seven (7) years at three (3%) percent interest, the second part would be The Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund forgivable loan for $50,000 to create and retain five (5) jobs until April 15, 2026. If the five (5) jobs are created and retained through April 15, 2026, this loan is forgiven.

    The council will also look for a resolution allowing the sale of General Obligation Improvement Bonds to provide financing for accessible public improvement projects undertaken by the City. Staff recommends the sizing of the bond to be $2,325,000 to finance City improvement projects. The proposed bond would have a term of 10 years and be sold competitively

    After two misdemeanor warrants were issued, Lisa Hanson, owner of The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro in Albert Lea is now apparently a fugitive from the law.

    Hanson is facing legal sanctions for allegedly opening up her business in violation of Governor Walz" coronavirus restrictions. A civil lawsuit has been filed against her by the State of Minnesota and criminal charges have also been filed in Freeborn County.

    Authorities say the warrants were issued for Hanson after she failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 16 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend. Public Health also reported no deaths and no residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 90.

    The family of a 20-year-old Minnesota man told a crowd that he was shot by police Sunday before getting back into his car and driving away, then crashing the vehicle several blocks away. The family of Daunte Wright said he was later pronounced dead.

    According to a statement from Brooklyn Center Police, officers stopped an individual shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday after determining the driver had an outstanding warrant. Police said when they tried to arrest the driver, the driver reentered the vehicle and drove away. An officer fired at the vehicle, striking the driver. Police said the vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle.

    The incident, which sparked protests late into Sunday night, happened with Minneapolis already on edge and midway through the trial of the first of four police officers in George Floyd's death.

    Late Sunday night, Brooklyn Center police fired gas into a crowd of protesters who had gathered outside the police station. No reports of damage, injuries or arrests were immediately available.

    The Brooklyn Center Police Department said it has asked the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate.

    Brooklyn Center is a city with a population of about 30,000 people located on the northwest border of Minneapolis.

    The Brooklyn Park Police Department says someone shot at the department Sunday night, shattering the glass doors to the lobby.

    According to the department, the incident happened just after 8 p.m. It's unclear how many rounds were fired.

    No injuries were reported.

    The incident happened the same day police in neighboring Brooklyn Center shot and killed a man during a traffic stop, setting off protests in the area.

    Governor Tim Walz announced Sunday that more than 2 million Minnesotans have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine — five weeks after announcing 1 million Minnesotans had at least one dose on March 6. Administering the first million first doses took nearly 12 weeks once the vaccine arrived in the state in December.

    Walz said, "We are working tirelessly to get vaccines to all Minnesotans who need them, and if everyone gets a shot when they are able, we will put this pandemic behind us and enjoy the brighter days we know are ahead.”

    Minnesota continues to be a national leader in getting vaccines into arms and consistently ranks in the top ten states for percent of doses administered and people with complete series administered per 100,000.

    As of Sunday"s vaccine report, 2,050,888 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 1,386,766 Minnesotans have completed the vaccine series.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Thursday 4-08

    04/09/2021

    A COVID-19 death was reported in Freeborn County yesterday by the Minnesota Department of Health, the death was one of 19 according to state health officials.

    The death involved a person in their early 90"s, and marks the 28th death in Freeborn county since the start of the pandemic. Wednesday"s deaths involved 14 private residents and five patients in long-term care.

    Minnesota"s death toll now stands at 6,908.

    Albert Lea High Schools Kevin Gentz, who teaches math was the recipient of the District 241 Teacher of the Year Award. IN a ceremony held in the schools auditorium and heard live on POWER 96, Gentz said he has been fortunate to work with great students and wonderful teachers over the years in a subject that is not always everybody"s favorite.

    A 13 year veteran of the district, Gentz has been nominated for the award five times and a finalist for four.

    If you drive in Med City, keep an eye out for new speed limit signs. Speed limit changes are taking place in Rochester. The speed limit on un-posted streets will be 25 mph. For streets with a speed limit other than 25 mph, any changes take effect as soon as signage is installed. Signage installation is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

    The public is advised to pay attention to speed limit signage as it will likely change from what is previously posted on low volume streets. The implementation process is expected to take six months to complete.

    The topic was first brought before City Council after a 2019 change in State legislation that granted cities the authority to set speed limits on streets under their jurisdiction.

    In a news conference yesterday, Gov. Tim Walz said, Minnesota will not adopt a vaccine passport system.

    The nationwide debate over requiring proof of vaccination to enter various venues is growing heated as vaccines become more widely available.

    The White House has already said there will be no national vaccine mandate.

    Walz said, "Our vaccine passport is get the shot. Get the shot and we get beyond this. So we have no intention of doing it."

    Even without a state or federal mandate, private businesses throughout the United States are making their own rules.

    House Democrats unveiled $1.5 billion in transportation tax and fee increases Monday in their Transportation Omnibus bill, including some proposals that had not even received committee hearings. House Democrats are proposing more than $350 million over the next four years in gas tax increases by indexing the gas tax, nearly $1 billion in sales tax hikes through a half percent increase to the Metro Sales to pay for light rail and other transit, and hundreds of millions in tax and fee increases, including tab and registration fee hikes, and an increase to Motor Vehicle Sales Tax.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Wednesday 4-07

    04/07/2021

    As state COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, Freeborn County Public Health is reminding residents that free COVID testing is available. The free saliva tests are done every Monday and Tuesday through the month of April at the Albert Lea Armory located at 410 Prospect Avenue in Albert Lea. Testing hours are Noon to 6 pm. Although testing is free, if you have insurance you are asked to bring your card with you. The saliva testing is open to everyone whether you have symptoms or no symptoms.

    You can go to www.mn.gov/covid19 for more testing options and locations.

    Gov. Tim Walz has launched an outreach campaign aimed at vaccinating Minnesota workers in frontline industries in the coming weeks.

    The outreach effort aims to connect workers in industries like food service with opportunities to get vaccinated at state-run community vaccination sites.

    The campaign begins this week with workers at restaurants, bars and breweries across the state.

    A leading expert in use of force testified Tuesday that former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin"s force on George Floyd was excessive.

    Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd"s neck for more than nine minutes during the May 25 arrest, has been charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Floyd was in handcuffs and face down while in the restraint.

    Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified that the force used on Floyd was justified when officers were trying to get him into the squad car. But the force became “excessive” once Floyd was on the ground.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 11 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. 2 county residents were reported as being newly hospitalized. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 80.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Tuesday 4-06

    04/06/2021

    During last nights school board study session, District Superintendent Dr. Michal Funk presented the board with a plan to hold Albert Lea High Schools graduation outdoors at the Hammer Field Complex on Friday May 21st at 7 pm. A bad weather plan was also introduced that would take place Saturday May 22 at 1 pm. also at the Hammer Field Complex.

    Graduation will consist of 1 ceremony in which both sides of the bleachers would be used for guests and family. Each graduate will receive 4 tickets that will be issued electronically.

    Governor Tim Walz and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that Minnesota will receive a federal Community Vaccination Clinic, following the Governor"s request for a fully-supplied mass vaccination site to augment the state"s vaccination efforts. The site will be located at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and receive 168,000 doses over eight weeks. The site will administer a combination of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson doses, which will result in over 100,000 total people being vaccinated during the eight-week period. The doses administered at the Fairgrounds will be in addition to Minnesota"s regular statewide vaccine allocations.

    A Mason City man wanted for murder was taken into custody Monday afternoon.

    At approximately 4 p.m. 37-year-old Benjamin Gonzalez was taken into custody in Algona on a Mason City Police Department arrest warrant for Murder in the First Degree.

    The warrant charges Gonzalez with murder in the death of Michael Creviston, age 36, of Mason City, on March 31.

    Gonzalez is currently being held on a $1 million cash bond at the Cerro Gordo County Jail, pending further court proceedings.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 7 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yesterday. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 74 as of Monday.

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources clarified the fishing opener date due to some recent confusion.

    This year's fishing seasons opener for walleye, bass, trout in lakes, and northern pike will begin on Saturday, May 15, according to the DNR.

    Also related to May fishing, there is an error in the printed version of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations book regarding the dates for the 2021 Take a Mom Fishing Weekend.

    The correct dates for this year"s Take a Mom Fishing Weekend—when Minnesota-resident moms can fish without purchasing a license—are Saturday, May 8, to Sunday, May 9.

    Minnesota House Democrats have unveiled legislation that calls for more spending on education and recovery for those most affected by the pandemic while increasing taxes on wealthy residents and large companies. The package of legislation follows the $52.5 billion budget targets released by House Democrats late last month, which is more than both Democratic Gov. Tim Walz"s proposal and the Senate GOP proposal. Senate Republicans oppose any new tax increases, citing the state"s projected $1.6 billion surplus and around $4.8 billion in federal aid coming.

    POWER 96 News Brief for Monday 4-05

    04/05/2021

    The Albert Lea School Board will conduct a study session tonight at 5 pm at the Brookside Education Center Board Room. The board will discuss the May 2021 Graduation options, receive a legislative update and have a discussion about the 2021-2022 school year budget.

    The Albert Lea Transfer Station and Demolition Landfill have announced their summer hours. From now until September 30th the Transfer station and landfill will be open Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 7 pm. Tuesday and Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm.

    Freeborn County Public Health reported 4 new lab confirmed positive COVID-19 cases Saturday, with 1 resident being reported as being newly hospitalized. No numbers were released yesterday as the MDH was closed for Easter. The number of active cases within the county now stands at 87 as of Saturday.

    Freeborn County Commissioners are set to meet via Zoom teleconference on Tuesday April 6th at 8:30 in the morning.

    The commissioners are expected to consider a resolution approving a well sharing agreement for the Oakland Shop. Another resolution, if approved, would allow Harmony Park a 2 am closing license.

    Commissioners will also receive a report from County Administrator Tom Jensen who will also look for resolutions approving Law Library fees for 2021, the setting of the Law Librarian salary for 2021 and approval for an Application for Funding for the Freeborn-Waseca Regional Trail Master Plan.

    Gov. Tim Walz has ordered all Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings in Minnesota until sunset on Tuesday to honor the victims of the attack on the U.S Capitol.

    Minnesota joins states across the nation, in accordance with a proclamation issued by President Joe Biden, to remember, mourn, and honor the victims of the attack.

    Individuals, businesses, and other organizations are also encouraged to join in lowering their flags.

    Two men were injured after a natural gas cylinder exploded Saturday at a scrap metal recycling plant in St. Paul's Summit-University neighborhood.

    According to the St. Paul Fire Department, crews responded to a report of smoke in a commercial building around 11:35 a.m. on the 1400 block of Iglehart Avenue.

    The two men had attempted to recycle a natural gas cylinder, believing it to be empty, and it exploded when they cut into it. The fire department said half of the cylinder was found a block and a half away.

    One of the men had major soft tissue injuries. The other man's injuries were not as severe. The fire department said it didn't know whether their injuries are life-threatening.

    The Minnesota State Patrol says a 16-year-old girl from Rochester, who was traveling with another Rochester resident, died in a crash early Sunday morning. That fatal incident took place around 2:44 a.m. on Highway 52 at mile marker 92 in Cannon Falls. The State Patrol reports both the girl and the driver, 22-year-old Daniel Yeung, were not wearing their seatbelts.

    State Patrol says Yeung was driving a 2013 Kia Soul on Highway 52 going north when he lost control of his vehicle. The Kia left the roadway, entered the median, and then rolled across the southbound lanes of Highway 52.

    Yeung was brought to Saint Marys Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

    MN State Patrol says alcohol was not involved.

    More than 113,000 Minnesotans now have invalid driver's licenses, instruction permits or ID cards, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

    Wednesday was the last day of the COVID-19 extension for licenses, permits and ID cards.

    DPS said the 113,814 affected Minnesotans don't have to take any additional testing as long as the license expired less than a year ago and was in good standing prior to that.

    Options are available to those who want to renew their expired card in-person or online.

    More information can be found on the Driver and Vehicle Services website.

     

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