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WILLMAR -- The prosecution rested this morning, and the defense team began calling witnesses in the trial of Olga Marina Franco del Cid, 24, of Minneota. Franco is accused of a total of 24 criminal charges stemming from the fatal Feb. 19 school bus crash near Cottonwood. Three witnesses -- James Blodgett, Fabian Marcial, and the defendant's cousin Luciana Franco -- testified that they came upon the accident along state Highway 23 and saw a person running away from the scene west along County Road 24.
A Lake Elmo woman could face as many as five years in prison over her role in a scheme to smuggle protected wildlife from Laos. Tia Yang, 36, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on July 24 to one count of conspiracy to smuggle wildlife. Pa Lor, an Oakdale woman of unknown age, pleaded guilty to the same charge. Both women face potential maximum penalties of five years in prison and will be sentenced by Judge Joan Ericksen on an as yet undetermined date. According to the women's plea agreements, Yang leased a booth at the International Marketplace in St.
ST. PAUL - The state's top election official says a new program could boost voter turnout tenfold among Minnesotans overseas. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie on Thursday unveiled a new Web site meant to make it easier for Minnesotans abroad - military members and civilians - to receive absentee election ballots. Only 5 percent of Minnesota soldiers and their relatives who were overseas during the 2004 presidential election voted, compared to the state's overall voter turnout of about 78 percent.
On a recent trip to Great Britain my wife and I were pointedly reminded that the United States is running out of independent bookstores. Everywhere we went on that tight little island, we found charming little bookstores. Our first stop was a small village in the Cotswalds, called Stowe-on-Wold. Sure enough, two independent bookstores. On a trip to the West Country, we stopped for lunch at Jamaica Inn, which takes its name from Daphne DuMaurier's famous novel which was also made into a movie.
A group of humanitarian aid workers and refugees in Iraq face starvation and imminent attack from terrorists. Your mission: Hop aboard an armed Humvee to transport aid to the workers while using machine guns and a missile launcher to wipe out terrorists who stand in your way. That's the scenario presented in the Virtual Army Experience, a combat simulation U.S. Army recruiters will bring to the Duluth Airshow on July 19-20 to demonstrate what life could be like as a soldier. That simulation has some community members calling for a boycott of the Airshow.
U.S. Rep. John Kline, locked in a re-election contest with Steve Sarvi -- who like Kline is a war veteran with sterling military credentials -- sought Monday to display his solutions to energy problems. Kline, a Republican who consistently earns one of the lowest rankings in Congress from the League of Conservation Voters, promoted his "real energy solutions" through his Minnesota Second District Energy Tour.
An Indiana man drowned Monday in Lost Lake northwest of Cass Lake in Ten Lake Township, according to a press release from the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office. Larry Wayne Clem, 57, of Columbia City, Ind., reportedly fell out of a fishing boat on Lost Lake and did not resurface, the press release said. The incident was reported at 10:30 a.m.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty named three new Minnesota Appeals Court judges Tuesday, including a former co-worker and a Duluth attorney. Louise Dovre Bjorkman, who was raised in Moorhead, worked with Pawlenty at Rider Bennett Egan and Arundel law firm in the 1990s. She is a former Ramsey County judge. Larry Stauber Jr. is an attorney in his hometown of Duluth. Michelle A Larkin, a St. Paul attorney, also is a former Ramsey County judge and, like Pawlenty, a University of Minnesota law school graduate. The three will be among 19 Appeals Court judges.
A Farmington family lost its home after a fire broke out in the garage early Sunday morning. Darcy and Pam Zehnder and their daughter were awakened to the sound of fire alarms at about 2:30 a.m., Pam said. The family got out of the house, and they were able to get one of their two dogs out as well. "By the time we got out, flames were just shooting out of the garage," Pam said. The Zehnders have lived at their Flagstaff Avenue home for 14 years.
ST. PAUL - On the day Senate candidate Al Franken kicked off a recent campaign tour around Minnesota, Sen. Norm Coleman hopped a flight to Washington for his job on Capitol Hill. Yet as Franken was traveling the state to tout his Democratic candidacy, Coleman announced a TV advertising buy that blanketed much of Minnesota with a message highlighting the Republican senator's bipartisan knack for getting things done. Minnesotans already are seeing and hearing plenty from the candidates in this year's U.S.