Thursday, March 26, 2015

Iowa Afternoon Summary 3/26/15


 

The death of an Oskaloosa woman who was found in a creek near a wrecked car last month has been ruled an accident. Polk County authorities said Wednesday that the cause of 45-year-old Sallie West's death was determined to be fresh water drowning, with hypothermia and acute ethanol intoxication as contributing factors. Police found a car submerged in a creek on February 27th near Grimes with no one inside. West's body was later discovered nearby, but not immediately identified. West had been reported missing February 23rd. Authorities say evidence and witness statements gathered throughout the investigation led them to believe that West had been driving erratically when her vehicle rolled in reverse down a steep hill into the creek. Authorities say they're unsure how West exited the vehicle.

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Police in Preston say three people have been charged after an active methamphetamine lab was found and destroyed in an area apartment. Authorities say Clyde Squires, Kelly Lucy and a 17-year-old were arrested following a search of their apartment last week. Squires faces several charges that include manufacturing methamphetamine. Lucy is also charged with manufacturing of meth and gathering where drugs are used. The 17-year-old is also facing charges of manufacturing meth. Investigators say the teenager has lived with the couple for the last two years.

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An Iowa police officer who fatally shot a woman when firing at a growling family dog is scheduled to return to work. The Burlington Police Department announced Wednesday that officer Jesse Hill will be released from administrative leave and resume duty Friday. The 31-year-old Hill has been on leave since the January 6th shooting of Autumn Steele. The announcement comes after the Department of Criminal Investigation released a 12-second body camera video Monday that shows Hill responding to a domestic disturbance. Hill fired two bullets to thwart an attack by an oncoming dog, one of which hit Steele in the chest. The Des Moines County Attorney decided last month not to file criminal charges against Hill. Burlington Police Chief Dough Beaird says Hill won't face discipline for the shooting.

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Officials from Clarinda Mental Health Institute have begun to transfer mentally ill senior citizens from the facility to private nursing homes. The institute is scheduled to close July 1st.The Department of Human Services says that it is looking for safe placements for the senior citizens. Patient advocates say most of the senior citizens in the program were placed in the institution because private facilities found them too difficult to handle

Nebraska Afternoon Summary 3/26/15







A bill designed to reduce Nebraska's prison crowding and expand parole services is slated for debate by state lawmakers. A legislative committee voted 5-0 Wednesday to advance a measure sponsored by Senator Heath Mello of Omaha. The measure is intended to slow population growth in the state prison system, which was 59 percent above its design capacity as of January. Supporters say it also would reduce relapses into criminal behavior in a system criticized for ineffective parole policies, and use probation for low-level offenses. The legislative proposal resulted from an investigation into the Department of Correctional Services last year.


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Authorities in Fremont are investigating the death of an 8-year-old girl who may have suffered fatal injuries before being involved in a car crash. The Fremont Police were dispatched a little after 7:15 P-M Wednesday to handle a report of a vehicle collision. The officers were told after they arrived that someone involved already had been taken to Fremont Health Medical Center. The officers learned at the hospital that the girl who had died had been injured at a Fremont residence before the traffic accident


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Omaha police say a woman reported that she was gang-raped after a man she met on a smartphone dating app showed up to their date with his friends. Authorities say the 22-year-old woman met the man on the internet site called Tinder and invited him to her apartment earlier this month. They say the man arrived at the residence with other men and they all sexually assaulted her. No arrests have been made.


 


 

Missouri Afternoon Summary 3/26/15


The city of Joplin is suing its former master developer and two men who ran the Texas-based company. The lawsuit seeks one-point-five million dollars from Wallace Bajjali Development Partners and accuses the company of fraud. The city hired the Sugar Land, Texas-based development partners in 2012 to lead the Joplin's recovery from the 2011 tornado. The city learned in January that the company had closed and that the partners, David Wallace and Costa Bajjali, had resigned. Wallace filed for bankruptcy Tuesday in federal court in Houston. Peter Edwards, attorney for Joplin, says Wallace's bankruptcy filing might not protect him from Joplin's lawsuit.

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Senator Claire McCaskill says Missourians with Alzheimer’s would be better served if the state would adopt Medicaid expansion. At a U-S Senate Committee hearing on Alzheimer’s issues Wednesday, Senator McCaskill raised the refusal by a Republican-controlled Missouri legislature to expand Medicaid expansion under federal healthcare reform legislation. McCaskill thinks there are stereotypes surrounding Medicaid and says those who oppose expansion do not realize the percentage of those suffering from Alzheimer’s that Medicaid could help. The U-S Senate Special Committee on Aging discussed the financial, economic, and emotional challenges facing those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. McCaskill is the ranking Democrat on the committee. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates the cost of Alzheimer’s Care could reach one-point-one trillion dollars by 2050.

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Saying he isn't learning much because he can't access classes over the internet, a student told to take online courses from home after being suspended from school is suing the St. Louis school district .The suit says the Roosevelt High School freshman doesn't have a computer at home and can't afford one and the closest library near his residence doesn't allow minors to use its computers during school hours. The Post-Dispatch reports the student was placed in the school's Virtual Learning Center in September after he was involved in a fight. He was later suspected of stealing bus tickets from a teacher's cabinet and was suspended in October.

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A real-estate business operator in the Kansas City-area has been sentenced to six years behind bars for her role in a five-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme. Forty-one-year-old Teresa Jean Whitten of Claycomo was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri. She was also ordered to pay one-point-five million dollars in restitution. Whitten pleaded guilty in November to charges of wire fraud, money laundering and theft of government money. Prosecutors say that while doing business as Leadership to Homeownership, Whitten engaged in the fraud scheme from mid-2007 through early 2009. The government alleges that Whitten also defrauded the Social Security program by getting nearly 80-thousand dollars in disability insurance benefits and auxiliary payments for her children to which she wasn't entitled.

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The Columbia College Board of Trustees will vote next month on a proposal to split the college into separate schools. A task force that studied the proposal for several months has endorsed the change. President Scott Dalrymple says the college has more than 25,000 students on 36 satellite campuses but has only one dean. Decisions about the number of colleges and a timeline for the change could be announced when the trustees vote in April.




 

World/National Afternoon Summary 3/26/15


Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes Wednesday against rebel positions in Yemen and pledged to protect its neighbor from Iran-backed Shiite militants. The announcement came after Yemeni President Hadi fled by boat earlier in the day as rebels advanced to take the southern port city of Aden, where he had taken refuge. The Saudi ambassador to the United States announced the airstrikes campaign at the Saudi embassy in Washington in a news conference. News reports out of the area state that Saudi Arabia has also deployed 150-thousand troops and 100 fighter jets. Other Arab nations were poised to act as well, including The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

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A story of early morning abduction in Northern California, a ransom and a woman missing for days may not be what it seems. Investigators Wednesday night said it appears the reported kidnapping of Denise Huskins was an "orchestrated event" and "not a kidnapping." Huskins, who lived in Vallejo reportedly with her boyfriend, went missing Monday morning, launching a large-scale search effort using officers from several agencies around California. She was found in Southern California Wednesday morning. Vallejo Police say she has retained a lawyer and has not spoken with investigators. Vallejo and FBI officers arranged for a jet to bring Huskins from Huntington Beach to Northern California for an interview, and to return home. Huskins was reported missing Monday afternoon by her boyfriend, who told police she had been taken against her will from their home sometime early in the morning. Investigators are still looking into what exactly happened and have not said if Huskins or her boyfriend committed any crime.

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Pregnant workers can claim the same accommodations to continue working that employers grant to large numbers of similarly restricted workers, a divided U-S Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. While indicating that getting pregnant isn't automatically a ticket to light duty at work, the court ruled 6-3 that United Parcel Service could not deny a pregnant worker accommodations it made available to large numbers of others. The 6-3 ruling, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, was not a complete victory for former U-P-S driver Peggy Young or pregnant workers like her. But it tossed out an appeals court decision that backed U-P-S and sent the case back for further review.

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In the tiny town of Hudson, Florida, an argument over food led a 13-year-old to shoot two of his brothers, leaving a 6-year-old dead and a 16-year-old wounded on Wednesday night. Authorities say the 13-year-old then killed himself. Investigators say the boys were at their home in the coastal town northwest of Tampa eating dinner when an argument started over food just after 6 P-M. The 13-year-old got a handgun, shot and killed his 6-year-old brother, shot the 16-year-old, and then shot himself. The 16-year-old was able to call police for help. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and is expected to recover.  Authorities say five people live in the house, a mother and her four sons. The mother was at work and an 18-year-old son was not at home at the time of the shootings

Wheeler News - Afternoon State News #2 - 3/26/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Afternoon State News #2

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:


Two teens killed when the stolen car they were in collided with another auto in Milwaukee were identified today as 17-year-old Jamar Canady and 16-year-old Marquise Tate.  Police said both teens were passengers in a car stolen two days earlier, which breezed through a stop-sign and collided with a car coming from its right.  Officials said the 18-year-old driver of the stolen auto and a 17-year-old passenger were taken into custody after getting treated for their injuries. The other driver, a 47-year-old man, was treated at a hospital and later released. The crash occurred late yesterday afternoon in a west side Milwaukee neighborhood.  The teen driver has been arrested for auto theft before -- along with having a dangerous weapon at school, and obstructing police.

-3/26-

A state appeals court says a Beaver Dam woman cannot collect damages, after she was hurt by a hot air balloon that blew out of control.  Patti Roberts was in line for a balloon ride at a charitable event when a gust of wind caused the balloon to skid on the ground and knock Roberts down.  The balloon was tethered to the ground by three ropes that were attached to a large truck and a couple of trees.  Roberts blamed Sundog Ballooning for her injuries -- but an appellate court said today that the company was immune from liability, since it happened during a recreational event.  

-3/26-

The State Crime Lab is helping investigate what police were first told was an accidental shooting in South Milwaukee.  Sixty-eight year old Scheherazade (zheh-hair-zah-day) Chadwick died from her wounds.  Police said they tried resuscitating her but couldn't.  The incident happened early this morning.  

(End)

Wheeler News - Afternoon State News #1 - 3/26/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Afternoon State News #1

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

A research team led by U-W Madison scientist Yoshihiro Kawaoka has developed its version of a vaccine to fight the dreaded Ebola virus.  The university announced the discovery today, as an article appeared in the prestigious journal Science.  Kawaoka's breakthrough was tested in monkeys and not in people. It's an in-activated "whole virus vaccine" that can prime a body's immune system with a complete range of Ebola genes and proteins -- thus making it more likely to cause a more robust immune response. Kawaoka said the whole virus vaccine offers "excellent protection."  And it's different than other Ebola vaccines which are now in the development stage. Ebola has killed over 10-thousand people in recent months in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  It was first discovered in the 1970's near the Ebola River in what's now the Congo in Africa.  Kawaoka's group has not found a manufacturer to back it yet.  Experts say major sponsorship is needed to fund human trials that can cost millions of dollars.

-3/26-

A 14-year-old boy missing since late yesterday was found dead today in far western Wisconsin.  Trempealeau County authorities said Ayrton Platt's body was found about nine a-m in a creek near his all-terrain vehicle, which had overturned.  Platt, also known as "A-J," left his grandparents' house on his A-T-V late yesterday afternoon.  State and local authorities were later told he was missing, and they started a search.  Officials said foul play was not suspected in the teen's death.

-3/26-

Two Wisconsinites got to spend time with Pope Francis in Rome this week. State Farmers' Union president Darin Von Ruden of Westby was among a group of rural leaders meeting with the pope yesterday.  They were part of a week-long series of meetings with the Vatican on the role of family farmers in providing food security to the needy, and preserving the environment.  Also, a Jesuit pastor at the Church of the Gesu at Marquette University attended a mass with the pontiff today.  He was diagnosed recently with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He filed requests with diplomatic channels to worship with Pope Francis.  

(End)

Wheeler News - Afternoon State Sports - 3/26/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Afternoon State Sports

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

Marquette senior Matt Carlino will compete in a college basketball three-point contest during Final Four week.  The Golden Eagles said today that Carlino will take part in the State Farm College Three-Point Championship a week from today at the Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.  The city will host the national men's semi-finals a week from Saturday, and the national title game the following Monday.  Butler plays at Hinkle -- and the Bulldogs' Alex Barlow will take part in the three-point competition.  The event also includes a Slam Dunk contest.  Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski says he's happy for Carlino, and he's glad he'll represent the program one more time.  Carlino is a graduate transfer from B-Y-U and shot 42-percent from three-point range in his only season at Marquette.  He led the Big East Conference with 82 total treys, with an average of three per game.

-3/26-

The Milwaukee Brewers have scored at least nine runs in four of their last five exhibition games.  They hope to keep the trend going this afternoon, when they play the Seattle Mariners in a Cactus League contest in Phoenix.  Milwaukee is 3-1-and-1 in its last five outings, after playing to a 9-9 tie yesterday against Oakland.  Right-hander Mike Fiers will start for the Crew today.  Brandon Kintzler will be the first in relief followed by Will Smith, Neal Cotts, and Rob Wooten.  Left-hander Roenis Elias starts for the Mariners.

-3/26-

Wisconsin men's hockey goaltender Joel Rumpel is turning pro.  The N-H-L's San Jose Sharks said today that the Badgers' senior signed a one-year standard entry level contract.  He's being assigned to the Worcester (woo-ster) Sharks of the American Hockey League.  The 24-year-old Rumpel is a native of Swift Current in Saskatchewan Canada.  In four years with the U-W, Rumpel ranks second in school annals with ten career shutouts, third with a .918 save percentage, fourth in total appearances and minutes played, and fifth in wins with 53.   He ranks sixth all-time at Wisconsin with a two-point-five-one goals-against average.  Rumpel had a 47-save shutout this past season, second-highest of its kind in team history.  Rumpel was a Top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award a year ago and has several conference honors in both the Big Ten and the W-C-H-A. 

-3/26-

Madison golfer Jerry Kelly was tied for third place early this afternoon at the P-G-A's Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.  Kelly was at even par after 13 holes of his first round.  Pewaukee native Mark Wilson was at eight-over going into his final hole.  He was tied for 60th at that point.  High winds kept scores from falling well-below par.  Matt Kuchar and Aaron Baddeley were the early afternoon leaders at minus-one.  

(End)

Wheeler News - Mid-Day State News #2 - 3/26/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Mid-Day State News #2

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

A Wisconsin police union says Madison officer Matt Kenny was sober in the hours after he shot-and-killed Tony Robinson almost three weeks ago.  The state's Professional Police Association released test results today of Kenny's blood samples collected two hours after the incident on March 6th.  The tests showed no signs of alcohol or other drugs in Kenny's system.  Kenny shot Robinson after officers were told that the 19-year-old bi-racial man darted in and out of traffic, and beat someone.  Police said Robinson punched the officer in the head before Kenny used deadly force.  The state Justice Department has said it would complete its investigation of the incident by tomorrow, and submit it to Dane County D-A Ismael Ozanne for a decision on whether to prosecute the officer.

-3/26-

A proposed electric transmission line from Madison to La Crosse took a step forward today.  The state Public Service Commission made a preliminary decision which favored the project.  The panel must now choose one of two proposed routes -- one that generally follows the Interstate highways between Madison and La Crosse, or a more direct route to the north.  Depending on which one's chosen, the line would run from 154 miles to 187 miles, at a cost of 540-to-580 million dollars.  The three commissioners, all Walker appointees, say the new 345-thousand volt power line would save money for customers over the long haul.  They said it would make it easier to reach lower-cost wholesale energy power sources, and help utilities bring in renewable energy from strong wind-power states like Iowa.  The American Transmission Company and X-cel Energy proposed the new line.  Among other things, opponents pointed to a slower growth in electric power sales in recent years.  

-3/26-

Keep that winter coat out for awhile.  The National Weather Service says parts of far northern Wisconsin will drop down to the single digits above zero tomorrow and Saturday mornings.  A high-pressure system is expected to pass through the Upper Midwest tonight through Saturday, giving us clear skies and cold temperatures at least through Saturday afternoon -- when a cold front will bring more light rain-and-snow and warmer conditions.  Highs today and tomorrow are supposed to be in the 30's, with light snow showers possible through tonight in the far north.  A sunny day is on tap statewide tomorrow. Forecasters say we won't see 50-degrees again until Sunday in far western Wisconsin, and on Monday for much of the rest of the Badger State.

(End)

Minnesota News from MNN - 3/26/15

"Minnesota Summary"

Mental Health And Prisons

(Washington D.C.) --  Senator Al Franken has reintroduced a bill that would address the high number of mentally ill people housed within the prison system.  Franken says the bill would fund mental health courts, and allow judges and prosecutors to agree on who should be sentenced in them.  He says someone who's been arrested for a nonviolent crime really should be treated for mental illness and putting them in prison would be counterproductive.  Franken says that in many parts of the country jails hold more people with severe mental illness than psychiatric facilities do.  The legislation also funds veteran treatment courts, for returning members of the military suffering from PTSD and other related issues.

Farm Bureau Delegation In D.C.

(Washington, D.C.) --  A delegation representing the Minnesota Farm Bureau is in Washington D.C., meeting with the state's congressional delegation this week.  Loren Molenaar is a farmer from Raymond and says there have been talks about reopening the farm bill -- approved last year -- for budget reasons.  One hope is that lawmakers will keep the crop insurance portion of the bill intact.  The group is also pushing lawmakers to reconsider de-listing wolves from the Endangered Species Act. 

DNR Needs Your Help

(St. Paul, MN) --  The  Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says two bull elk were recently found dead from gunshot wounds on state land in an area of northern Minnesota that has been off-limits to elk hunters for several years.  The carcasses were spotted during an aerial census of the herd near Grygla in late February.  This area is home to the state's smallest elk herd and hunting was banned their in 2012 in hopes of preventing its demise. The Grygla herd, which is one of three elk herds in Minnesota, is now down to just 18 animals.  DNR officials are asking anyone with information about those responsible -- contact the state's "Turn In Poachers"(TIP) program.  

Shipping Season Open On Soo Locks

(Sault, Ste. Marie, MI) --  The U-S Army Corps of Engineers officially opened the Soo Locks Wednesday morning kicking off the 2015 shipping season on the Great Lakes. The locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan are among 16 that form the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system that extends from the Port of Duluth-Superior to the Atlantic Ocean.  The 16 locks lift or lower ships 600 feet along the trip.  Since the Soo Locks closed in January, the Corps has been doing winter maintenance and repairs on the gates and electrical systems.  The entire St. Lawrence Seaway is scheduled to open on April 2nd.

Oil Boom/Rising Populations 

(Washington D.C.) --  New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show a population trend that's no surprise to anyone living in North Dakota: The last couple of years have been a good time to be an oil state.  Two of the fastest growing counties in the country between 2013 and last year were the oil patch counties of Williams and Stark.  The new estimates show the Fargo-Moorhead metro area's population grew two percent last year, to more than 228,000.  The data also shows among small counties, with a population between 5,000 and 10,000, McKenzie County, North Dakota was tops in growth, up more than 18%. Bismarck was the fastest growing metro area outside of the south or west, ranked 22nd. In micro area's of the U.S., the two fastest growing area's between 2013 and 2014 were Williston and Dickinson.

Winning Lotto Ticket Expires Today

(Roseville, MN) --  Time is running out for the person who bought a Powerball lottery ticket in Hennepin County last year.  It was purchased on March 26th - a year ago today, and won a second place prize that is worth one-million dollars.  As of yesterday, the ticket had not been turned in.  The holder of the ticket has until 5 p.m. today to have it verified and then it will expire. If no one comes forward, the money will be put in the state government's General Fund.

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Redel

Wheeler News - Mid-Day State News #1 - 3/26/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Mid-Day State News #1

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

Governor Scott Walker's second effort to scale back the popular Senior-Care prescription drug program appears to be dead.  State legislative finance co-chair John Nygren told reporters in Madison today his fellow Assembly Republicans will not support Walker's plan to make seniors use Medicare Part-"D" for their basic prescriptions -- and then use Senior-Care for what Part-"D" won't cover. Nygren said it is possible that lawmakers would approve an increase in the 30-dollar annual fee to join Senior-Care.  He says he can't remember the basic fee going up since the program began in 2002.  For many seniors, the state program is cheaper and easier to use than Part-"D."  Lower-income seniors have smaller annual fees -- and Senior-Care takes advantage of volume discounts and rebates which Medicare is prohibited from using for its clients.  The governor's office says the state government would save 15-million dollars over two years -- but the higher costs for many seniors resulted in both Walker's own Republicans and Democrats rejecting a similar move in 2011.  Senior-Care serves about 85-thousand Wisconsinites.  The proposed cut back has been a popular target of criticism at public hearings on the Walker budget.  The Joint Finance Committee is holding the last of its four hearings today in Reedsburg.

-3/26-

Veterans Affairs' officials say they're trying to set new limits on painkiller prescriptions at V-A hospitals around the country.  But V-A health undersecretary Carolyn Clancy told a U-S Senate committee this morning that computer systems in 29 states don't mesh with state-run programs.  Because of that, Clancy says some patients can obtain painkillers from both V-A doctors and others.  She cited the V-A's new tracking system for opioid prescriptions as a vast improvement from the past -- and the program has had success in a number of places.  Clancy told the Senate Veterans Affairs panel she's working to address the gap.  Senator Richard Blumenthal called the V-A system "abysmally inaccurate."  Today's hearing was also expected to address concerns about alleged over-prescriptions of painkillers at the V-A Medical Center in Tomah.  In written testimony, Clancy promised to hold any employees engaging in misconduct accountable -- and she's deeply concerned about the problems at Tomah, which are now under a V-A investigation.  The Tomah matter will be the lone subject of discussion at a joint House-Senate committee hearing on Monday afternoon in Tomah.

-3/26-

State D-N-R officials say they want to adopt a limit of three-walleye-per-day on lakes and other waters where Chippewa Indians have spearfishing rights. Right now, limits for sport anglers are adjusted according to how many fish the tribal members spear before the state's inland fishing season begins in early May.  The state Natural Resources Board will consider a steady bag limit on walleye in the ceded territory, when the panel meets on April 8th.  Republican legislators from northern Wisconsin support the idea, saying it brings "certainty" to anglers in planning their fishing trips.  D-N-R Secretary Cathy Stepp goes along with the steady limit as well, saying it's an effective solution based on "sound science and long-term management practices."  Chippewa Indians have special off-reservation spearing as part of their treaty rights granted centuries ago.  Those rights were upheld by a federal court in the 1980's for about the northern third of Wisconsin, dropping down to some central areas.  

(End)

Iowa Midday Summary - 3/26/15


Iowa’s attorney general and governor are on opposite sides of a lawsuit which was argued before the U-S Supreme Court Wednesday.  Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller joined attorneys general from 15 states in supporting new mercury and toxic air emissions standards for power plants.  The E-P-A has said the standards will prevent tens of thousands of asthma and heart attacks, saving many lives.  Republican Governor Terry Branstad joined 20 other governors trying to get rid of the standards issued three years ago.  They say the case is another effort by the Obama administration and the E-P-A to increase government red tape and costs for consumers. 


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An urban planner tells Des Moines city leaders they should do away with one-way streets.  The original idea was to make it easy to get out of the downtown area when the work day was over.  Now, consultant Jeff Speck says the goal should be to keep people there.  That has meant much more business activity in other cities.  Speck also says Des Moines streets are too wide.  He says narrower streets would slow traffic down, making room for more pedestrians and bicycle riders.  He says Des Moines has been telling potential shoppers it’s time to leave, don’t spend any more time here.  


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Having a loaded handgun on school grounds has cost a Des Moines Public Schools custodian his job.  Thirty-nine-year-old John Lyle Keith says he brought the .380 pistol to school accidentally.  He had worked for the district as a custodian for 15 years.  Police found the pistol in his van parked in the Central campus parking lot Monday afternoon.  Having a firearm on a school campus is a felony offense with a possible five-year prison term attached.


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A 59-year-old Nebraska man says his former girlfriend took him for a 125-thousand dollar romantic ride, but now she won’t return his phone calls or his money.  The man has filed a complaint with police.  He says he wrote two checks to the Council Bluffs woman for six thousand dollars and 65-hundred dollars as gifts.  He says he later found out the check amounts had been changed to 60-thousand and 65-thousand dollars.  She promised to pay him back, but never did.  He tells police he doesn’t know her address.

Missouri Midday Summary - 3/26/15


The trial for a St. Charles man accused of strangling and sodomizing a four-month-old baby is in its third day.  Twenty-six-year-old Jordan Lafayette Prince is charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and forcible sodomy.  The child’s mother, 27-year-old Jessica Lynn Howell, is already serving 25 years on her guilty plea to felony murder and child abuse charges.  Ashlynn Lillith Peters died of her injuries in 2012.  Prince’s attorney says investigators found no D-N-A belonging to his client on the victim.


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West County is the hot spot for new home construction in the St. Louis metro area.  The president of the St. Louis Association of Realtors says the spring home building season has started, with much of the activity in Wildwood, St. Charles, Ballwin and High Ridge.  Jane Judd says any time a subdivision goes up in West County, there are lines of people and appointments already in place when the models open.  The overall real estate market in St. Louis is considered to be only “medium warm,” but buyers are willing to pay more for homes in good school districts.


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Police in Ste. Genevieve say a man impersonating an officer has pulled over at least one woman.  The suspect wears a brown uniform and drives a white Crown Victoria.  The victim says she was stopped Tuesday night, searched and patted down.  People driving alone – especially women – are being advised to call 9-1-1 and ask if a squad car has been dispatched to the area.  The suspect is said to be white, 45-to-50 years old, wearing glasses with scruffy facial hair and short, brown hair. 


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Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel says he has returned 11 accounts to their owners since January, each worth more than 100-thousand dollars.  Zweifel says technological innovations make the claims process easier than ever before.  He says two-and-a-half-million dollars of unclaimed property have been returned to Missouri families and businesses this year alone.  The largest account returned was worth more than 600-thousand dollars.  Zweifel is hoping everyone will look for their name at ShowMeMoney-dot-com.


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A candidate running for mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is catching heat for his comparison of that city to Ferguson, Missouri.  Democrat Richard Stevenson said “there is a lot of similarity” between the two cities during a candidates’ forum last weekend.  Fort Wayne’s city safety director says any comparison of the two is “reckless and unfortunate.”  Stevenson is back-tracking on his comment, saying his intent was to show dissatisfaction with the city administration on how it deal with the 2007 shooting of a motorist by a police officer. 

Nebraska Midday Summary - 3/26/15


Lincoln Public School officials say spending three million dollars on upgrades will mean all school buildings in the district are finally secure.  Thirty-two older buildings offer some challenges.  Some have entrances which are far from the office, making it hard to put the security check point in a good location.  In other cases, people are used to using doors which are more convenient than the main entrance.  The district has been securing its school entrances since 2006, the year after a man walked into an elementary school and sexually assaulted a boy in a restroom. 


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A Verdigre (VUR duh gree) man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges in the shooting death of his wife.  Sixty-six-year-old Phillip Privett is scheduled for sentencing May 26th.  Linda Privett was killed last October.  The defense had been considering an insanity plea, but an examination earlier this month determined Privett was competent to stand trial.  He also pleaded guilty to a weapons charge during a court appearance in the Knox County courthouse Tuesday. 


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A 59-year-old Omaha man says his former girlfriend took him for a 125-thousand dollar romantic ride, but now she won’t return his phone calls.  The man has filed a complaint with police.  He says he wrote two checks to the woman for six thousand dollars and 65-hundred dollars as gifts.  He says he later found out the check amounts had been changed to 10 times those amounts.  She promised to pay him back, but never did.  He tells police she has blocked her phone number and he doesn’t know her address.

World / National Midday Summary - 3/26/15


A prosecutor in Marseille (mar say) says pounding can be heard on the cockpit door during the final minutes of the doomed Germanwings flight as descent alarms sounded.  Brice Robin says it is apparent the pilot was trying to enter and the co-pilot at the controls was refusing to open that door.  Robin refused to give details on the religion or the ethnic background of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz.  Work on identifying the remains of the 150 victims of the crash has begun.  It could take several weeks to complete.


--


Autopsies are scheduled to be performed today or tomorrow in Detroit on the bodies of two children found in freezer.  The procedure may have to wait because the Wayne County medical examiner's office says the bodies of the 14-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother will have to thaw first.  Court officers found the bodies Tuesday while they were serving an evacuation notice.  The children's 35-year-old mother has been arrested on other charges while the investigation is completed.


--


It will be up to federal regulators to decide if Lumber Liquidators sold products which represented a health risk to customers.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating complaints that the products contained unsafe levels of formaldehyde.  The television magazine "60 Minutes" reported some samples of Chinese-manufactured wood flooring contained levels of the cancer-causing chemical which were too high.


--


President Obama says he is ready to sign a bipartisan bill to fix Medicare's doctor payment problem.  If a repair bill isn't passed, doctors will face a 21-percent cut in Medicare fees.  That happens due to a 1990s budget law which Congress has repeatedly waived every time it came up for a vote.  Obama made is comments about Medicare at a Wednesday event marking the five-year anniversary of his signing of the Affordable Care Act.


--


The leader of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus says former University of Oklahoma student Levi Pettit called her to personally apologize and asked to meet her face-to-face.  Anastasia Pittman met with Pettit Wednesday, with leaders from the state's black community in attendance.  Pettit was seen on video leading a racist chant.  He was expelled from his classes at the university and the fraternity has been closed.

Wheeler News - Noon State Sports - 3/26/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Noon State Sports

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

Wisconsin point guard Traevon Jackson expects to play tonight, when the top-seeded Badgers play four-seed North Carolina in a N-C-A-A Sweet-16 contest in Los Angeles.  Jackson said he took part in a full practice yesterday for the first time since he broke his right foot January 11th in a Badger loss at Rutgers.  He was medically cleared last week, and the senior Jackson says there are "no limitations" on his footwork.  However, U-W associate head coach Greg Gard says Jackson is still rusty in both his physical and mental game.  In his words, "He's got to play a little faster, and make decisions better."  Bronson Koenig has been a solid contributor in Jackson's place -- so the U-W is in no hurry to make a change.  Still, we can expect to see Jackson get at least some playing time against the Tar Heels.  Wisconsin comes in at 33-and-3.  Carolina comes in at 26-and-11.  Tonight's winner will face either Arizona or Xavier on Saturday for a chance to advance to the Final Four.

-3/26-

With a week-and-a-half to go before Opening Day, the Milwaukee Brewers still have five non-roster players in their Major League camp.  They include utility player Elian Herrera, former Cleveland closer Chris Perez, and right-hander Ariel Pena whom the Brewers obtained in the 2012 trade that sent Zack Grienke out West.  The 30-year-old Herrera had four stints with Milwaukee last season, when he hit .274 and had five hits in a game against Saint Louis.  This spring, Herrera is batting .333 with a homer and six R-B-I's in 27 at-bats.  He's competing for a roster spot with a couple of other utility players -- Hector Gomez and Luis Jimenez.  The Brewers are 9-11-and-1 in the Cactus League this month.  They'll play the Seattle Mariners this afternoon in Phoenix.  Right-hander Mike Fiers will start for the Crew against Seattle left-hander Ronnie Elias.

-3/26-

After a couple weeks off, Wisconsin's two P-G-A golf regulars are back in action today at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.  Pewaukee native Mark Wilson double-bogeyed his third hole this morning, and he was at two-over going into Hole-Number-four.  Jerry Kelly of Madison was starting his first round at mid-morning.  Cameron Percy, Brian Davis, and John Peterson had the mid-morning lead at minus-one.

-3/26-

The Wisconsin Badgers will have four individuals and four relay teams at the N-C-A-A men's swimming-and-diving meet that's getting underway in Iowa City. Badgers' senior Drew teDuits will compete in the 100-and-200-yard backstroke events.  He won the national crown in the 200 two seasons ago.  Senior Nicholas Schafer from Australia will be in the 100-and-200 breaststrokes. Wisconsin sophomore Matt Hutchins will compete in the 500-freestyle, and sophomore Cannon Clifton will be in the 50-and-100 freestyle events.  The Badgers also qualified for the 200, 400, and 800-freestyle relays -- along with the 400-yard medley relay.

(End)

Wheeler News - Morning State News #4 - 3/26/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Morning State News #4

===Stations: The Journal Sentinel has set up a searchable database with population figures for all Wisconsin counties (lead story).  To find those in your coverage area, go to:
     http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/dataondemand/population-changes-by-county-in-the-US-2013-2014-297608181.html#!/stname.desc.1/stname=Wisconsin&popestimate2014%5Bmin%5D=86&popestimate2014%5Bmax%5D=10116705&npopchg2014%5Bmin%5D=-10899&npopchg2014%5Bmax%5D=88618&pctchange1314%5Bmin%5D=-17&pctchange1314%5Bmax%5D=19&netmig2014%5Bmin%5D=-29105&netmig2014%5Bmax%5D=46392/ 
     Select "Wisconsin" at the top center, then either scroll down or type in your preferred county at the upper left.  ===

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

Almost half of Wisconsin's 72 counties saw their populations go down during the year ending last July.  The U-S Census Bureau said Adams County had the largest percentage decline in the Badger State, losing one-point-four percent of its residents.  Menominee County, home of the Indian tribe that carries its name, had the largest percentage growth in its one-year population at three-point-two percent.  Dane County, which includes Madison, gained the largest number of residents with over 62-hundred.  Manitowoc County had the biggest net loss of people, with 463.  Milwaukee County, the state's most populated by far, had a small net gain of 20 residents.  The Census Bureau said Wisconsin gained about 14-thousand-600 residents from July of 2013 to July of '14, for a total population of five-million-757-thousand-564.  That's almost 68-thousand more than in the last Census in 2010.

-3/26-

State child care subsidies would be given to low-income parents instead of their care providers under a budget measure endorsed yesterday.  The Joint Finance Committee approved the change on a 10-to-4 vote.  Parents in the Wisconsin Shares program would get electronic debit cards to pay for their care upfront, instead of having providers send billing payments and get reimbursed after the fact.  Several years ago, numerous providers were criminally charged for getting false reimbursements from the state, defrauding taxpayers of well over 20-million dollars.  Lawmakers made a number of changes to make Wisconsin Shares more accountable.  State Children-and-Families Secretary Eloise Anderson has said the proposed debit cards would add to the accountability, by making parents aware of what their care providers should be billing.  The new debit card system would cost almost nine-million dollars over the next two years, and four-million a year after that.  Assembly Democrat Chris Taylor of Madison said the money should be used instead to pay more to the providers. She said it would make child care more accessible to those in Wisconsin Shares.

-3/26-

The head of the U-W Board of Regents said it was an "insult" for faculty to ask System President Ray Cross if he'd resign, if the university loses academic freedom and 300-million dollars in state funds.  Several faculty members raised that question to Cross at a forum on the Milwaukee campus yesterday.  Cross said he would quit if he couldn't win a major reduction in the proposed budget cut, plus continued faculty tenure protections and shared campus governance. Regents' president Michael Falbo later told the Journal Sentinel the challenge of Cross quitting was a "personal attack" that was "totally inappropriate."  Falbo said Cross is doing a lot behind the scenes to win a better deal for the U-W -- and putting out public statements about it "isn't the best way to accomplish things." Falbo says U-W faculty have no idea what Cross is accomplishing for them -- and they have no business asking for his resignation.   Cross said after the U-W-M forum that he believes the state funding cut in Governor Scott Walker's proposed state budget will be reduced.  He also said tenure and shared governance is a part of higher education, and it won't go away.  The 67-year-old Cross said he didn't think he wanted to be part of a system that doesn't have it.

-3/26-

Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin is among four U-S Senate Democrats proposing stronger safety standards for freight trains that carry crude oil.  They introduced a bill yesterday to have railroads stop using over 100-thousand older tanker cars that were not designed to carry North Dakota crude.  The bill would also order new rules to make gases in the oil less volatile.  Baldwin says the pipeline industry has similar requirements.  For some time, we've known that large numbers of trains carry Bakken crude oil through Wisconsin.  Baldwin said it has increased the risk to her constituents.  State data shows that the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad carries 29-to-39 crude oil trains each week along Wisconsin's Mississippi River corridor -- and around ten Canadian Pacific tankers run through eleven Wisconsin counties each week.  That includes the most populated areas of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Kenosha counties.  

(End)

Minnesota News from MNN - 3/26/15

"Minnesota Summary"        3/26/15

Larger Reward Offered in Case of Missing Crystal Boy 

(Crystal, MN) -- A larger reward is being offered in the case of a missing ten-year-old Crystal boy. Barway Collins disappeared more than a week ago after last being seen in front of the Cedarwood Apartment Complex. The Crystal Crime Prevention Board and Minnesota Crime Stoppers are now offering up to 12-thousand-dollars for information leading to an arrest Earlier this week, police said that the boy's father, Pierre Collins, was a suspect in the case. He is denying any involvement. 

Emerald Ash Borer Found In Anoka County

(Ham Lake, MN)  -- Emerald ash borer has turned up in another Minnesota county.  The state Agriculture Department has confirmed an infestation of the tree-killing pest on private property in the city of Ham Lake.  Anoka County will now be put under emergency quarantine and eventually join Houston, Olmsted, Winona, Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties in the state and federal quarantine.  Officials are urging people not to transport firewood and to watch for signs of emerald ash borer on their trees.  For more information, visit the state Agriculture Department's website.

House Committee Vote Today On Lowering Tax On Premium Cigars

(St. Paul, MN)  --  Debate continues this morning (1015am) and a vote is expected in a Minnesota House committee on a bill to reduce the state tax on premium cigars  Delano Republican Joe McDonald backs it, saying kids don't smoke premium cigars that cost 10 dollars each or more -- and to argue that an exorbidant tax will deter them is "really preposterous... and completely unfair."  But Jack McNaney (mc-NAY'-nee), a student at Cretin Derham Hall and member of the Ramsey Tobacco Coalition, says lawmakers should think again, if they believe kids don't know how to smoke cigars.  McNaney says young people model adult behaviors, particularly adults who appear powerful.

Gov. Dayton to Push for $10 an Hour Wage for Airport Workers

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Governor Mark Dayton wants to raise the minimum wage for employees at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. Dayton told a group of Muslim leaders yesterday at an event in St. Paul that he is going to urge the Metropolitan Airports Commission to raise the wage to ten-dollars an hour.  He says the airline industry can afford the increase and there is not a threat that the airport is going to leave the state. 

Vikings Head Coach:  No AP Trade

(Minneapolis, MN)  --  The head coach of the Minnesota Vikings is hoping Adrian Peterson is back with his team this fall.  Mike Zimmer spoke at the N-F-L Owners Meetings yesterday in Arizona and says they don't plan on trading the star running back and the fully expect him to be in the locker room next fall.  Peterson played in only one game last year after a child abuse case in Texas put him on the commissioner's exempt list.  Peterson's agent earlier in the week suggested Peterson might be best served finishing his career somewhere other than Minnesota.  But, the former M-V-P is under contract with the Vikings.

Minneapolis to Begin Offering App to Pay for Parking

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Minneapolis drivers will soon be able to pay for parking in some parts of the city with their smartphones. "The Star Tribune" reports the city will begin offering an app in may that will allow people to pay at about 500 parking meters. The pay-by-phone system could be expanded throughout the entire city by late fall.

Drugged Driver Sentenced to Nearly Seven Years in Prison in Deadly Crash

(Minnetonka, MN)  --  An Apple Valley man will spend almost seven years in prison, for driving under the influence and killing the driver of another car.  Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says Darvin Basche admitted that he drove under the influence of methamphetamine and caused the death of 58-year-old Elizabeth Ketcher.  In September of 2013 Basche drove his employer’s commercial pickup through a red light in Minnetonka and hit the driver’s side door of Ketcher’s car, killing her.  Ketcher’s daughter says her mom was on her way to a new job at Excelsior Elementary School.  A test of blood was positive for meth.  

March Building Permits Lower in the Metro

(Roseville, MN)  --  Single-family home construction in the St. Paul and Minneapolis area slowed this month, after the Builder’s Association of the Twin Cities says there was a slight peak in February as many rushed to get permits filed before the new building code took effect. Single-family permits were down seven percent compared to last March, while multi-family permits spiked by more than 92 percent from this time last year.  BATC (BAT’-see) President Chris Contreras says he remains deeply concerned that the new building code and the unnecessary costs that come with it could stifle the industry this year 

Klobuchar’s Driver Privacy Bill Moves on to Full Senate

(Washington, DC)  --  Legislation to protect the privacy of a driver’s personal data has passed out of a U.S. Senate committee, sending it to the full Senate.  U-S Senators Amy Klobuchar’s bill makes clear that the owner of a vehicle is also the owner of any information collected by an Event Data Recorder (EDR) - essentially a black box for cars.  The senators’ legislation would ensure that the vehicle owner controls the data and their personal privacy is protected  Klobuchar says Minnesotans and others shouldn’t have to choose between improving driver safety and protecting driver privacy.

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Weston

Wheeler News - Morning State News #3 - 3/26/15

Wheeler News Service - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Morning State News #3

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions: wheelernews@yahoo.com
Wheeler Blog: http://learfielddata.blogspot.com

Here are the details:

A U-S Senate committee expects to learn more today about drug over-prescriptions at the V-A Medical Center in Tomah.  Several officials from the Department of Veterans' Affairs are expected to testify -- along with watchdogs from the V-A inspector general's office, and medical experts.  Written testimony was released yesterday from V-A health undersecretary Carolyn Clancy.  She said she's deeply concerned about the allegations of rampant over-prescribings of painkillers at Tomah -- and retaliation against employees who tried exposing it. Clancy said if employee misconduct is found, those responsible will be held accountable.  Also, she said the V-A has succeeded elsewhere in limiting narcotics for treating pain.  Clancy said the V-A's Cleveland hospital was recognized by the American Pain Society for using alternative medicines that reduce a reliance on opioids.  Clancy is also expected to testify Monday at a congressional hearing on the same subject in Tomah.  Relatives of two patients who died at the facility will also give testimony -- and so will former Tomah hospital director Mario DeSanctis, who was recently re-assigned to the Great Lakes Health Care System's network office.

-3/26-

A consultant says it's not feasible for the state government to set up its own health insurance program for state employees next year.  However, preliminary findings from the Atlanta-based Segal Consulting show that the state could save 50-to-70-million dollars a year beginning in 2017.  The Walker administration has considered having the state pay its own benefits to about 240-thousand employees and their families -- instead of buying coverage from 18 H-M-O's. The Republican Walker put the idea on hold last year, and called for a further study after objections from the state's Association of Health Plans and the state's largest employee union.  According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the consultant said Wisconsin state workers get better health benefits than those in neighboring states.  The report recommends higher deductibles for state workers next year, higher costs for brand-name medicines, and other changes to save about 42-million dollars for 2016.  A leader of the health plans' group, Phil Dougherty, takes issue with the notion that self-funding could be viable in '17. He said the current system gives state workers a choice of plans from local providers.  Dougherty said self-funding would take away that choice, and create more risk for the state government.  

-3/26-

Law enforcement officers throughout the nation have expressed condolences to the family of Trevor Casper.  The 21-year-old state trooper from Kiel was in his first day of solo patrol, when he was killed in a shootout in Fond du Lac late Tuesday.  Officers around the state who never met Casper say they're taking the loss hard -- because they know it could be them sometime.  Captain Clay Schulz of the Everest Metro police force near Wausau say the grief is something most everyday people don't understand.  In Schulz' words, "The general public would be surprised what happens when the street-lights come on at night and the types of situations we are dealt -- danger we are put in on a daily basis." He says officers are physically and mentally trained -- but they also have to prepare their families for what could possibly happen.  Funeral arrangements are pending for Casper, who died along with suspected murderer and bank robber Steven Snyder of suburban Detroit.  There's an online fundraiser that seeks to provide 10-thousand dollars for Casper's family to help with related expenses. You'll find that at GoFundMe-Dot-Com-slash-troopercasper.  Just over 52-hundred dollars has been raised as of this morning.  The same fund is also taking in-person donations at National Exchange Banks.  

(Thanks for help Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau)

-3/26- 

A Wausau area man is accused of burning his girlfriend's 16-month-old son on purpose.  The 22-year-old suspect from Weston could face charges today in Marathon County.  Everest Metro Police said the toddler's face may have been immersed in hot water.  Staffers at a Weston hospital notified police when they were first asked to treat the youngster.  Officials said he's now at U-W Hospital in Madison, with second-degree facial burns.

(End)

Minnesota Sports from MNN - 3/26/15

"Minnesota Sports Summary"

Vikings' Zimmer:  No Plans To Trade Peterson

(Phoenix, AZ)  --  Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is expecting to have running back Adrian Peterson on his team this year.  Speaking at the NFL Owners Meetings on Wednesday, Zimmer says the Vikings are not looking to trade the former league MVP.  Peterson missed all but one game last season while dealing with an off-the-field child-abuse charge stemming from the disciplining of his four-year-old son with a tree branch.  "A.P." was deactivated for Week Two and then placed on the commissioner's exempt list while the legal process played out.  Peterson has since said he doesn't feel the Vikings supported him enough through his situation, and his agent says Minnesota is no longer the "right fit" for his client.

MLS Awards Expansion Team To Minnesota

(New York, NY)  --  Major League Soccer is coming to the Twin Cities.  Minnesota has been awarded a MLS expansion team that will begin play in 2018.  Dr. Bill McGuire will lead an ownership group that includes Robert Pohlad, Jim Pohlad, Wendy Carlson Nelson and Glen Taylor.  The club will play in a new soccer-specific stadium in Minneapolis, although funding mechanisms for that stadium are currently undetermined.  McGuire is the former CEO of UnitedHealth Group and the current owner of Minnesota United FC of the North American Soccer League, which he purchased in 2012.  The addition of Minnesota in 2018 will give MLS 23 clubs, with the league stating its intention to reach 24 teams by 2020.

Dayton Says No State Funding For Pro Soccer Stadium

(St. Paul, MN)  --  Governor Mark Dayton repeated Wednesday there isn't legislative or public support to help finance a stadium for major league soccer.  He says there's already an enormous commitment to a Vikings stadium and if professional soccer backers want to build a stadium with their own resources, next to Target Field or anywhere else, "then more power to them."  The governor says it would remove the shadow from over the project, if the owners made it clear publicly that they recognize there's not support at the legislature for state funding for a major league soccer stadium.

Lakers Top T'wolves In OT

(Minneapolis, MN)  --  Los Angeles forward Jordan Clarkson nailed two free throws with 0.3-seconds left in overtime to lift the Lakers past the Timberwolves 101-99 at the Target Center in Minneapolis last night.  Clarkson scored eight of his 20 points in the extra session.  Jeremy Lin had 19 points and Ed Davis added 14 to go with nine rebounds off the bench for LA, which has won two of three since a four-game skid.  Andrew Wiggins dropped in a game-high 27 points for the Wolves, who have dropped eight of 10.  Chase Budinger netted 22 off the pine in the loss.  Minnesota visits Houston tomorrow night.

Howard Returns To Rockets' Lineup

(New Orleans, LA)  --  Houston Rockets All-Star center Dwight Howard is back.  He was 2-of-3 from the field for four points and also grabbed seven rebounds in 16 minutes of action in Wednesday's 95-93 win over the Pelicans in New Orleans.  Howard played for the first time in two months after dealing with a swollen right knee.  The Rockets host the Timberwolves tomorrow night in Texas.

Twins Lose To Rays

(Fort Myers, FL)  --  Minnesota slugger Kennys Vargas went 2-for-3 with a home run as the Twins lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 in Fort Myers yesterday.  Kyle Gibson allowed just one run on two hits while striking out seven in six innings of work.  The Twins take on the Red Sox today.  Tommy Milone will start for Minnesota.

Twins MLB's 18th-Most Valuable Franchise

(Undated)  --  The Minnesota Twins are baseball's 18th-most valuable franchise.  "Forbes" estimates the club's worth at 895-million-dollars.  "Forbes" ranks the Yankees as MLB's most valuable franchise for the 18th straight year at 3.2-billion.  The average club value is 1.2-billion, up 48-percent from a year ago.

MSU-Moorhead Is Out

(Evansville, IN)  --  The dream season for the Dragons of Minnesota State-Moorhead came to a close last night with a loss in the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Elite Eight in Indiana.  MSU-Moorhead was beaten by Bellarmine of Kentucky 92-75.  The Dragons finished the most successful season in program history with a record of 35-and-4 and advanced further in the postseason than ever before.  Tyler Vaughan of Braham and Aaron Lien of Moorhead led four Dragons in double figures last night with 13 points apiece.  Jordan Riewer of Staples added 11 points and six assists in the setback.  Bellarmine will play in the D-II Final Four tonight.

Wisconsin's Jackson Could Play Tonight

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson could return to action Thursday against North Carolina.  Jackson will be a game-time decision for the NCAA Men's Basketball Sweet 16 affair in Los Angeles.  The senior hasn't played since January 11th due to a broken foot.  Jackson is averaging 9.4 points and 2.9 assists in 17 games this season.

Michigan Center Retires Due To Concussion Concerns

(Ann Arbor, MI)  --  Former Michigan Wolverines center Jack Miller says he hung up his cleats last month due to concussion concerns.  Miller tells ESPN that he's not returning for his senior season because of the potential long-term impact from past and possible future concussions.  The 21-year-old claims to have suffered two-to-three concussions playing for Big Blue, but only reported one.  He was named the Wolverines' top lineman in 2014.  He played 22 games at U-of-M, including 16 starts.  His brother Matt was a highly-recruited Wisconsin offensive lineman who retired after freshman preseason workouts due to the effects of multiple concussions in high school.  Miller added he isn't sure if he would allow a future son to play the game.

NCAA Men's Hockey Begins Tomorrow

(Undated)  --  Here is the upcoming regional schedule for the 2015 NCAA Men's College Hockey National Championship Tournament (each regional final winner advances to 2015 NCAA Frozen Four in Boston, April 9-11):

Northeast Regional First Round (Friday):  Minnesota-Duluth vs. Minnesota, 4:30pm (Manchester, New Hampshire)
Northeast Regional First Round (Friday):  Boston vs. Yale, 2pm (Manchester, New Hampshire)
Northeast Regional Final (Saturday):  Northeast Regional First Round winners, 4:30pm (Manchester, New Hampshire)

West Regional First Round (Friday):  St. Cloud State vs. Michigan Tech, 3:30pm (Fargo, ND)
West Regional First Round (Friday):  North Dakota vs. Quinnipiac, 7pm (Fargo, ND)
West Regional Final (Saturday):  West Regional First Round winners, 8pm (Fargo, ND)

Midwest Regional First Round (Saturday):  Minnesota State-Mankato vs. Rochester Institute of Technology, 3pm (South Bend, IN)
Midwest Regional First Round (Saturday):  Nebraska-Omaha vs. Harvard, 6:30pm (South Bend, IN)
Midwest Regional Final (Sunday):  Midwest Regional First Round winners, 6:30pm (South Bend, IN) 

East Regional First Round (Saturday):  Boston College vs. Denver, 2pm (Providence, RI)
East Regional First Round (Saturday):  Miami (OH) vs. Providence, 5:30pm (Providence, RI)
East Regional Final (Sunday):  East Regional First Round winners, 4pm (Providence, RI)

Wild Open Homestand Tomorrow Against Flames

(St. Paul, MN)  --  The Minnesota Wild open up a five-game homestand tomorrow night against the Calgary Flames at the Xcel Energy Center.  The Kings, Rangers, Red Wings and Jets will also come to town through April 6th.  Minnesota has won three in-a-row to remain in the top Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with 91 points.  Calgary is third in the Central Division with 87 points.  The Wild will have a late morning practice today in St. Paul.

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grimm