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St. Cloud Economy Expected To Remain Strong According To Report

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12/31/2012 - 11:45 AM

St. Cloud State Economists King Banaian and Rich Macdonald say that the St. Cloud area economy is experiencing a full blown expansion.

The recently released St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report shows that the local economy is expected to remain strong over the next several months.

Private sector employment grew at a 3.1 percent rate and education and healthcare employment grew at an annualized rate of 5.9 percent.

Also, 60 percent of the 82 firms surveyed by the Quarterly Business Report experienced improved business activity during the past three months.

Central Minnesota's definitive, survey-based analysis of economic activity is published by Times Media, Greater St. Cloud Development Corp., the SCSU Center for Economic Education, the SCSU Department of Economics and the SCSU School of Public Affairs. 

Fridley Man Dies In Accident In Big Lake Township

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12/28/2012 - 11:45 AM

A Fridley man was killed Thursday morning in a three vehicle collision in Big Lake Township.

According to the police report, the accident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. near the intersection of 211th Avenue and County Road 15.

48-year-old Ronald Talbot of Fridley was traveling North on County Road 15, while the other drivers, 52-year-old Blane Travis and 54-year-old Donna Travis both of Elk River were driving Southbound.

The vehicles driven by Talbot and Blane Travis struck each other head on before Talbot’s vehicle made contact with the vehicle driven by Donna Travis.

Talbot was pronounced dead at the scene; Donna was airlifted to North Memorial while Blane was transported by ambulance to New River Hospital.

The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Elk River Police and Big Lake Fire Departments.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

New Emergency Alert System Available To Stearns County Residents

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12/21/2012 - 9:15 AM

Residents of Stearns County can now sign up for emergency alerts through a new mass notification system called Everbridge.

KVSC’s Amelia Rowland spoke with Stearns County Planner Erin Hausauer about the new system.  Click here for the story.

The notification system allows the Stearns County Emergency Management Department staff to communication essential information to residents within minutes in the event of an emergency, such as severe weather, public health concerns, environmental issues and public safety matters affecting the area where they live.  

Messages can be sent to residents through the device of their choice such as land line phones, cell phones, business phones, email, text and other mobile devices.  People can also choose to have messages sent to more than one location.  

Currently, people who are listed in the county's 911 database receive emergency alerts through their traditional land line phone.  However, by signing up for Everbridge, people can get notifications by other methods that they choose. 

 

St. Cloud School Cancels School Due To Flu Outbreak

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12/20/2012 - 9:30 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - An infectious disease specialist with the Minnesota Department of Health says an increasing number of schools across the state are reporting flu-like illnesses.

Karen Martin said Wednesday 47 schools have reported flu-like outbreaks so far this week. She says that's up from 12 last week and four the week before that. In St. Cloud, a Catholic school has canceled classes for Thursday and Friday due to a large number of students being out sick.

The St. Cloud Times reports the decision by St. Katharine Drexel administrators after 52 students missed school Tuesday. Their letter to parents said many of the children had flu.

Principal Erin Hatlestad says the number of students out sick was unprecedented.

Mark Vargas Announced As Dean Of Learning And Resources Services At SCSU

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12/20/2012 - 10:15 AM

Mark Vargas Announced As Dean Of Learning And Resources Services At SCSU

St. Cloud State has announced Mark Vargas as the new dean of Learning and Resources Services.

Vargas brings 25 years of leadership experience in learning resources to his new position. Vargas has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Indiana University Northwest, a Master of Arts in history and a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Maryland.

Vargas has been the director of the Robert and Mary Rita Murphy Stump Library since 2002 at Saint Xavier University in Chicago.

Keith Ewing, who has been the interim dean of LRS since July, will continue to lead discussions about strategic positioning of the library until Vargas begins the job on July 1st 2013.

Local Principal Wins The 2013 Science And Mathematics Principal Of The Year

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12/20/2012 - 10:15 AM

The principal of Kennedy Community School in St. Joseph, Diane Moeller, has been named the 2013 Science and Mathematics Elementary and Middle Level Principal of the Year.

The award recognizes the vital importance of fostering lifelong science literacy and honors the key role principals play in developing a culture that encourages and celebrates student interest in math and science.

The award was created through a partnership between the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minnesota Elementary School Principal’s Association. Moeller strives to have students become critical thinkers and be able to interact with the world.

Moeller also believes in creating a science passion in students through inquiry into every day events.

 

Paynesville School Closed Today

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12/19/2012 - 9:30 AM

PAYNESVILLE, Minn. (AP) - Officials say they have found no environmental cause for an illness outbreak that sickened more than two dozen students at Paynesville Area Secondary School.

The school was declared safe after a hazardous materials team swept the building Tuesday.

In a letter to parents and students, Paynesville Superintendent Bob Huot (HYEW'-eht) says the district plans to sanitize the building Wednesday and secondary students can stay home. Elementary students also will have the day off due to transportation routes and staffing. School will resume Thursday.

Huot (HYEW'-eht) told the St. Cloud Times that seven students felt woozy during a choir concert Monday night and were taken to a hospital, but felt fine by Tuesday morning.

Students started feeling sick again as classes resumed Tuesday, so the school sent students home.

Local Mayors Are Set To Bell Ring For Salvation Army On Friday

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12/19/2012 - 12:00 PM

The title of “2012 Top Bell Ringing Mayor” is up for grabs for a 3rd year as five local mayors team up with the Salvation Army to help community members in need. The bell ringing challenge will be Friday at grocery stores in the area.

St. Cloud Salvation Army Advisory Board Chair Bill Kimball says there is a great desire in the community to reach out and have a positive impact on others and it shows in the fact that the mayors are working together.

The Salvation Army also reports that an anonymous donor has agreed to match all the money raised by the mayors.The mayors will have their kettles a few days early so donations can be dropped off at their respective City Hall.

  • St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis will be ringing in the morning from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at eastside Cashwise, and from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Byerly’s Sartell
  • Mayor Joe Perske will ring at the Sartell Walmart from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sauk Rapids Mayor Dave Sanders will ring at Coborn’s in Sauk Rapids from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • St. Augusta Mayor Bob Kroll will ring at Coborn’s on Cooper Avenue from 3 p.m to 7 p.m.
  • Waite Park Mayor Rick Miller will ring at Cashwise in Waite Park from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Woman Dies, Child In Critical Condition After Crash In Sauk Rapids

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12/18/2012 - 1:30 AM

A woman died and a child is in critical condition after a crash Monday afternoon in Sauk Rapids Township. The crash happened at Benton County Road 1 and Osauka Road Northeast.

According to the police report, 39-year-old Scott Radzak of Sauk Rapids was driving northbound on County Road 1 when a car driven by 41-year-old Rukia Hussein of Hopkins turned out in front of Radzak’s truck from Osauka Road. Radzack’s truck hit the driver’s side doors of Hussein’s car.

Sauk Rapids Police deputies administered first aid at the scene but Hussein died from her injuries. Hussein’s passengers, 50-year-old Asma Noor of St. Cloud received non-life threatening injuries and a 15-year-old child received life threatening injuries and is in critical condition at the St. Cloud Hospital. Radzak received minor injuries.

The accident is still under investigation.

Little Falls Man Released From Jail After Posting Recently Lowered Bail

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12/18/2012 - 1:00 AM

Little Falls Man Released From Jail After Posting Recently Lowered Bail

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) - A central Minnesota man charged with killing two teenage cousins who broke into his home on Thanksgiving is out of jail.

Morrison County jail officials say 64-year-old Byron David Smith, of rural Little Falls, posted $50,000 cash as conditional bail on Tuesday morning. His bail was originally $2 million without conditions, or $1 million with conditions.

Judge Douglas Anderson cut Smith's bail sharply Monday despite a plea by prosecutor Todd Kosovich (KAH'-she-vitch) to double or even triple it. Kosovich said the shootings of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Halie Kifer were an ambush, not self-defense.

But defense attorney Steve Meshbesher said Smith wants to stay in Little Falls and defend himself against the second-degree murder charges.

Smith told investigators his home had been burglarized several times before the Thanksgiving break-in.

911 Transcripts Released From Officer Decker Shooting

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12/18/2012 - 1:00 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Transcripts of 911 calls after the shooting of a Cold Spring police officer show a caller describing a "noisy black van" leaving the scene.

The transcripts were released Tuesday, a day after authorities announced a $100,000 reward for information that helps solve the Nov. 29 slaying of Officer Tom Decker. The first caller says an ambulance and police are needed behind Winner's Sports Bar. The operator asks the caller if she saw the shooting.

The caller says no, then appears to call someone else to the phone who describes a van with a loud exhaust heading west on Main Street. The speaker says he or she doesn't know if the van or its driver was involved in the shooting.

The second 911 caller is told officers are on the way.

Click here to read the transcripts.

Cold Spring Officer Partner Walked Away

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12/17/2012 - 9:20 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The partner of a police officer killed in Cold Spring retreated from the shooting and didn't pursue the assailant as he walked away.

That's according to a police document obtained by the Star Tribune. It outlines the chronology Nov. 29 and helps shed light on why no one is in custody. Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker was shot in the head behind a Cold Spring bar as he and Officer Greg Reiter were checking on a possible suicidal man.

According to the document, Officer Greg Reiter backed away from the handgun-wielding shooter. The 34-year-old man reported to be suicidal, Ryan Michael Larson, was arrested but was released five days later.

Reiter's phone rang unanswered and Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones didn't immediately respond to a message Saturday.

SCSU To Offer Webcast Of Commencement, Plus Other Services

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12/17/2012 - 12:30 PM

St. Cloud State University’s Fall Commencement is Saturday, Dec. 22 and the university is offering new services to accommodate graduates and their guests.

The 4th Avenue parking ramp will be free and open to the public on Saturday. There will also be a free shuttle bus running from Atwood Memorial Center to Halenbeck Hall from noon to 5 p.m. The bus will run in ten minutes loops. 

Guests can also watch the live webcast of the event in the Atwood Theatre. St. Cloud Charter cable subscribers will be able to watch the commencement on channel 8 and 21. A webcast will also be available online at this link.

Mick Sterling's At Christmas Comes To St. Cloud Wednesday

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12/17/2012 - 11:30 AM

This Wednesday Minnesota music veteran Mick Sterling will bring his Christmas theatre and music performance to the Pioneer Place on Fifth in St. Cloud. The show titled “At Christmas” is a in its fourth year of performances. Mick Sterling says that the show mixes comedy and drama to tell stories that ring true with families during the holiday season.

The 90 minute performance consists of three actors, Mick Sterling and his five piece band. The stories performed are written by alumni of sketch comedy group the Brave New Workshop. The performance will go back and forth performing short scenes and music from Sterling’s Christmas album “Blessed, Songs for Christmas Time.” Sterling got the idea for At Christmas when he wanted to do more than just perform his new album.

Proceeds from merchandise purchased at the show will benefit Sterling’s 30 Days Foundation, A nonprofit organization that helps families in need.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. 

Reward To Be Offered For Information Regarding The Murder Of Officer Decker

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12/17/2012 - 11:30 AM

Authorities investigating last month's shooting death of a Cold Spring police officer plan to announce a reward of up to $100,000 for information in the case. Information on the reward has been posted on the Department of Public Safety's website.

Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact the Stearns County Sheriff's Office at 1-877-782-5683 or the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at 1-877-996-6222 or  bca.tips@state.mn.us.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Stearns County Sheriff's Office held a news conference in St. Paul Monday afternoon.  A news release says officials are offering the reward in hopes that someone comes forward with information that helps solve the case.

Thirty-one-year-old Tom Decker was fatally shot Nov. 29 as he investigated a report of a possibly suicidal man. Police arrested a 34-year-old suspect an hour later. But he was released five days later after police and prosecutors agreed they didn't have the evidence to support filing charges.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says investigators are continuing to follow leads and gather evidence.

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