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One person is confirmed dead after a small plane broke through the clouds Friday and crashed into a cornfield in Leon Township. The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office received the call at about 2:18 p.m. Friday from a man who witnessed the plane's descent into the cornfield off 100th Avenue, one mile west of U.S. 52. Paul Gram, who rents a house on the property, said he heard the plane before seeing it break through the clouds.
Xcel Energy officials are gearing up to make a case that Minnesota's electricity needs require a massive expansion of transmission lines. The project would extend new high-voltage transmission lines from the Twin Cities to Rochester, approximately 150 miles. Xcel officials anticipate the line would head south through Hampton on its way to Rochester, though they won't rule out a second option that would run lines east to the Prairie Island nuclear plant. Utility officials will present their case - possibly by July - to the state's Public Utilities Commission. Notices to be sent
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Planning Commission has upheld its previous denial of a conditional use permit for a biomass pelletizing plant in northeast Willmar. The City Council on June 4 had asked the Planning Commission to reconsider its denial of the permit sought by Earth Tech Energy of Shoreview for the proposed biomass plant. The commission's decision is final, said Bruce Peterson, director of planning and development services.
ST. PAUL -- There is a special guest list of nearly 50,000 Minnesotans for the upcoming dedication of a new World War II memorial. Organizers are trying to round up the state's World War II veterans and their families to attend the June 9 ceremony dedicating the memorial located on the Capitol Mall. John Polley, whose Army service from 1942-45 took him from North Africa to Norway, plans to be there.
It's not often that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Planned Parenthood find a common cause, but they did when the Republican signed a bill into law last month. He signed the "prevention first initiative," which is designed to help prevent unintended pregnancies. "Strong family planning makes good sense from both a fiscal and a social perspective," said Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota President Sarah Stoesz. "For every dollar that is spent on family planning services to women in need, a savings of $3.80 is realized the following year.
ON THE GUNFLINT TRAIL -- The Ham Lake fire may have blackened 36,000 acres along the Gunflint Trail. But it couldn't get the walleyes. Thanks to the efforts of firefighters, Mike Berg's Seagull Creek Fishing Camp near the tip of the trail survived the fire. Now, Berg's guides and others along the upper Gunflint Trail are back on the water, putting their clients in touch with Saganaga Lake's trophy fish. Any concerns about the state of the lake's walleyes were dispelled when Berg set the hook on his first walleye of the season last weekend.
Policymakers agreed on the need to get federal help for businesses and residents near northeastern Minnesota's Gunflint Trail after last month's fire, but they don't agree on who deserves the credit once the aid was announced. Many of those policymakers sent news releases demanding that federal agencies do more to help fire victims. Once it came, they did not hesitate to plug their roles in the action. U.S. Sen.
MaryBeth Garrigan isn't shy about her feelings when she looks at the new brick building that is now home to Harriet, Angel and Columbia, bald eagles who have been grounded by injury but still work hard to educate the public about their world. "For me, this has been a project of the heart," said Garrigan, director of programming and public relations at the National Eagle Center. "This building has a lot of soul in it," she added.
A plan to require all Minnesota school districts to join an insurance pool passed the Senate 43-23, sending it to the governor. When insurance is pooled like in the bill, the theory is that it would cost less. Opponents said districts should not be forced to join the pool, as well as expressing fears that there would be too little oversight. Some suburban lawmakers said their districts would suffer, while those in western Minnesota would see big benefits.