1 dead, 2 injured in house explosion and fire in Princeton
PRINCETON, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say an explosion and fire at a house in Princeton left one person dead and two others with unknown injuries. Emergency personnel responded shortly after noon Thursday and discovered a collapsed structure that was fully engulfed in flames. A 39-year-old woman and a 59-year-old man, both of Princeton, were found outside the residence and transported to a hospital. Their conditions are not known. Authorities say the victim who died was found inside the structure. Princeton is about 50 miles (80.47 kilometers) north of Minneapolis
Regulators deny CenturyLink’s bid to change landline rules
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota regulators unanimously rejected CenturyLink’s petition to ease rules on landline service repairs, saying those customers should not suffer because most people have switched to broadband. CenturyLink had petitioned the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to scrap two long-standing regulations covering customer service response times. The company says it has lost 85% of its wired phone business in Minnesota since 2001, and 4.4% of all households rely solely on a landline for voice phone service. The Star Tribune reports that PUC commissioners questioned whether broadband was at odds with CenturyLink’s service obligations to landline customers. Commissioner Valerie Means says landline service is still important, particularly to elderly, rural and lower-income customers.
Dakotas health system makes COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A dominant health system in the Dakotas that bills itself as one of the largest health organizations in the country is making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all its employees, citing the spread of more contagious variants. Sanford Health is requiring all workers to get shots by Nov. 1. More than 90% of clinicians and 70% of nurses in the organization are already fully vaccinated. Sanford has 46 hospitals, 1,500 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and 10 countries. It is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and has major medical centers in Fargo and Bismarck, North Dakota, and Bemidji, Minnesota.
Trickling Gooseberry Falls is sign of Minnesota drought
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — As much of Minnesota experiences what is being categorized as a severe drought, the normally rushing waters of many inland tributaries and rivers have slowed to a trickle, including the western side of the North Shore’s Gooseberry Falls. Nick Hoffmann is assistant park manager for Gooseberry Falls State Park. He tells the Star Tribune that if the dry weather in the state continues, it’s possible the falls could dry up by late August — something that hasn’t happened in about 15 years. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows 72% of Minnesota is currently experiencing severe drought — a big jump from last week, when 52% of the state was considered to be in severe drought.
Moorhead man dies from injuries suffered in house fire
MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say a man who was injured in a Moorhead house fire earlier this week has died. The victim, 62-year-old Robert Blue, of Moorhead, died Wednesday at a Fargo, North Dakota hospital. Moorhead police are investigating the cause of death. The fire was reported by someone walking by the house shortly after noon Tuesday. Police evacuated a daycare provider and several children who were the house. They were not injured. The home is only used as a daycare and no one lives there. The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, which appears to have started in a second-floor kitchen.
15-year-old boy shot in Anoka County has died
FRIDLEY, Minn. (AP) — Anoka County sheriff’s officials say a 15-year-old boy who was shot over the weekend in Fridley has died. Authorities say Anthony Rouse, of Blaine, died Tuesday at Hennepin County Medical Center from a gunshot wound suffered Sunday evening. According to sheriff’s spokeswoman Tierney Peters, a 17-year-old boy was arrested and remained in custody. He has not been identified. Peters says the investigation is still active and details of the shooting and motive cannot yet be shared.
Minnesota’s share of opioid settlement could top $300M
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota stands to collect more than $300 million under a $26 billion settlement among states and opioid manufacturers and distributors. Attorney General Keith Ellison says the settlement will bring much-needed relief to communities that have been devastated by the opioid crisis. The attorney general says Minnesota’s share could be as much as $337 million over 18 years, with significant payments frontloaded in the first five years. The spending will be overseen by Minnesota’s Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council. Local governments have until Jan. 1 to join the settlement. Ellison is urging Minnesota communities to do so.
Minnesota House speaker defers action on embattled lawmaker
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman has told her chamber’s top Republican that she’s not planning any immediate ethics action against embattled Rep. John Thompson. Hortman, who is a Democrat, told GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt in a letter Wednesday that she would refer any Republican complaint to the House Ethics Committee. Hortman and other top Democrats called for Thompson to resign after domestic abuse allegations surfaced last week. But in the absence of an ethics complaint, she says, she won’t take action until after Thompson’s court proceedings on other matters conclude. Daudt says he’s disappointed in the speaker’s inaction.
The Associated Press