Federal Charges In Murder And Arson Case;  Third Person Dies From Weekend Cass County Crash;  MN Equal Rights Amendment Debate Is Contentious

>>Mother Charged With Federal Murder, Arson In Duluth

(Duluth, MN)    A woman who allegedly killed two of her children while setting her house on fire in Red Lake is now facing federal charges.  Thirty-five-year-old Jennifer Stately pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, arson and child neglect yesterday in U.S. District Court in Duluth.  Stately was arrested in Todd County in March after an Amber Alert was issued for her three-year-old son.  He was found in the back of her vehicle, covered in sores.  Her two other sons were found dead in a burned house in the Red Lake community that same day.  Stately is being held without bond, with the next hearing in the case set for June 17th. (24/7 News Source)

>>Third Person Dies As A Result Of A Cass County Crash

(Pine River)  A third person has died as a result of a head-on collision between a truck and and a car in Pine River Township. 36-year old Corey Stephen Peterson of Brainerd was a passenger in the Pontiac driven by 39-year-old Royal William Noe of Hillman.  Noe and another passenger, 50-year-old Heather Faye Ceballos of Brainerd, also died in the crash.  At least three others, including the driver of the F-150, 32-year-old Kyle Daniel Jones of Bayport, are hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Jones is suspected of alcohol impairment.  The crash happened around 1AM Sunday, according the Minnesota State Patrol. (Star Tribune)

>>Minnesota Lawmakers Debate Amendment To Protect Abortion And LGBTQ Rights

(St. Paul, MN) — Minnesota lawmakers are currently debating legislation to amend the state constitution to protect abortion and LGBTQ rights. If approved, the Minnesota Equal Rights Amendment would be one of the nation’s most expansive protections of these rights. The proposed amendment aims to prohibit discrimination based on various factors, including race, disability, and sex, encompassing gender identity, sexual orientation, and decisions related to pregnancy. Supporters argue that the amendment is crucial for ensuring reproductive justice and combating discrimination. At the same time, opponents express concerns about its potential impact on abortion access and gender-affirming care. (24/7 News Source)

>>St. Cloud Man Sentenced For Murder In Stearns County

ST. CLOUD – The Star Tribune reports a Stearns County judge on Monday sentenced a 44-year-old St. Cloud man to nearly 23 years in prison for fatally shooting a St. Cloud man outside his house two years ago.

Alphonso D. Cotto was charged with one felony count of first-degree murder, one felony count of second-degree murder and one felony count for illegal firearm possession following the death of 38-year-old St. Cloud resident Michael Batsche, who was shot in the head at a southside residence in May 2022.

In March, Cotto entered an Alford plea to the count of second-degree murder. Such a plea does not admit guilt, but says the defendant believes prosecutors would have a high probability of proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt. As part of the deal, the other two counts were dismissed. (Star Tribune)

>>Trump To Attend GOP Dinner In St. Paul Next Week

(St. Paul, MN)    Former President Donald Trump will make an appearance in Minnesota later this month.  The state Republican Party announced yesterday that Trump will be the featured speaker at the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in St. Paul.  The dinner is an annual fundraiser and will be held at the same time as the state Republican convention, which begins May 17th.

(24/7 News Source)

>>Measure To Put Right To Abortion On Statewide Ballot Passes House Committee

(St. Paul, MN)    A statehouse committee is advancing a measure that would give voters a chance to decide if abortion should be a right guaranteed by the state constitution.  The House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee passed the measure yesterday, moving it to a vote on the House floor.  Republicans objected to the measure, saying it hides the protection for abortion by using the phrase “whether to become or remain pregnant.”  The measure is likely to pass the House but may not make it out of the Senate, since DFL lawmakers only have a one-vote majority in that chamber.(24/7 News Source)

>>Parent Company Of Minnesota Power To Be Sold For $6.2B

(Duluth, MN)    The company that owns Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power is being sold for six-point-two-billion dollars.  Duluth-based Allete announced yesterday that it will become a private company after the deal with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Global Infrastructure Partners is complete.  The company will remain in Duluth and will reportedly retain all its employees and honor all current labor agreements.  Allete officials say the deal will help finance about four-billion dollars in clean energy and infrastructure projects over the next five years.(24/7 News Source)

>>UMD Grad To Bike From Minnesota To Maine To Raise Money For Nonprofit

(Duluth, MN)    A soon-to-be graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth will soon be hitting the road for a long and hopefully fruitful trip.  Britta Swanson will graduate on Saturday and will then join a group of friends for a bicycle trip to the Twin Cities.  From there, she and her cousin will head to Maine to raise money for World Bicycle Relief.  The international nonprofit uses donations to provide bikes to rural communities with few other transportation options.  Swanson hopes to raise 30-thousand dollars for the nonprofit during the trip.(24/7 News Source)

>>St. Cloud State University Plans Major Program And Faculty Cuts

(St. Cloud, MN) — St. Cloud State University is set to eliminate nearly 100 programs and 57 faculty positions to address a chronic budget deficit. University leaders aim to focus on the institution’s strongest degree and minor programs, reducing the total number of offerings. The proposed cuts come amid ongoing financial challenges attributed to declining enrollment and higher instructional costs, with the university facing a deficit of about 15 million dollars this year. (24/7 News Source)

>>Valleyfair Continues Chaperone Policy For 2024 Season Opening On Mother’s Day

(Shakopee, MN) — Valleyfair Amusement Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, has announced that it will uphold its chaperone policy for the upcoming 2024 season, which begins on Mother’s Day, May 12. The policy, first introduced last year, requires all guests aged 15 and under to be accompanied by a chaperone at least 21 years old after 4:00 p.m. This safety measure aims to enhance guest safety and prevent unruly behavior and violent incidents within the park. Visitors can find more details about the policy on the Code of Conduct page on Valleyfair’s website.

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