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the latest: keillor pushes back against expanded allegations

minneapolis — the latest on a minnesota public radio statement giving new details of allegations of sexual harassment against former radio host garrison keillor (all times local):10:30 p.m.former radio host garrison keillor is pushing back against new details of sexual harassment allegations against him.minnesota public radio said in a statement tuesday that keillor was accused by a woman who worked on his "a prairie home companion" show of dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents over several years. mpr said the allegations included requests by keillor for sexual contact and explicit sexual communications and touching.keillor said after mpr severed its relationship with him in november that he had merely touched a woman's bare back accidentally while trying to console her. mpr said it released new details tuesday in part because media organizations were preparing to publish their own stories about keillor's behavior.keillor didn't respond to a request for comment from the associated press. he told the star tribune that mpr listeners were angry over his dismissal because they "smelled a rat." he says they know him better than mpr management, "and they know i'm not abusive."he says the woman's complaint is "a highly selective and imaginative piece of work" drawn up by her attorney.___3:52 p.m.minnesota public radio is providing additional detail of allegations of sexual harassment against humorist garrison keillor.mpr says keillor was accused by one woman of d...





minneapolis man pleads guilty in uptown shooting that paralyzed victim

a minneapolis man pleaded guilty monday to shooting a man and leaving him paralyzed in an uptown bar fight late last spring.eddie arlondoe burch, 30, was charged with first-degree assault after shooting the 21-year-old victim in the back at bar louie in june.in exchange for admitting to the act, he could receive a maximum sentence of nine years and nine months in prison, according to the hennepin county attorney's office.according to the criminal complaint, a bar louie employee called police to report a fight on june 17.when authorities arrived, they found the victim lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the back.at least one of the shots fired struck his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed below the waist.burch fled the scene, but witnesses gave authorities a detailed description of the shooter and pointed police in the direction he ran. officers nearby saw burch, ordered him to stop, and caught him after he ran, the complaint said.burch remains jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail.his sentencing hearing is scheduled for march 16.trevor squire is a university of minnesota student on assignment for the star tribune.





during storm, waiting turned to panic for st. paul school parents

responding to a furious outcry from st. paul parents, the city's public schools superintendent and mayor apologized tuesday for the botched handling of monday's snowstorm that left hundreds of kids stranded at their schools — some as late as 11 p.m. — while parents were left in the dark."we deeply regret what happened last night," mayor melvin carter said as he stood alongside superintendent joe gothard at a news conference in the school district's headquarters.rather than close schools, gothard kept them open even as the snow piled up monday, leading to a chaotic and halting effort to get students home that lasted late into the night.the resulting social media uproar that carried over into tuesday made it clear that too many parents had been made to panic, checking a school district bus app that in many cases was useless, with some waiting hours for the last of the stranded — 300 kids from preschool through grade eight — to be bused home between 10 p.m. and midnight. one group of 11 kids from wellstone elementary on the north end had to get a ride home from police officers.in the highland park neighborhood, jodi meerovich was happy to see one daughter arrive home safely and just 10 minutes late. but then the wait began for her first-grader. after receiving a call from another capitol hill magnet school parent wondering where their children were, meerovich pulled up a facebook page to learn that the bus had been in an accident. it was minor, but she had no way of...





charges: federal inmate supervised minnesota meth trafficking from behind bars

a federal inmate has been supervising minnesota meth trafficking from behind bars, according to criminal charges filed tuesday against two men arrested during an undercover operation at a brooklyn park applebee’s this week.according to charges, a drug enforcement administration agent negotiated with the inmate, whose name has not yet been disclosed, to buy 20 pounds of meth for $120,000.agents arrested ricky william mariano and toribio ornelas vasquez on monday after the first agent met the two men for a purported deal in the restaurant’s parking lot, according to a criminal complaint filed tuesday charging the men with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. the charges described a tip from late last year that the inmate had been orchestrating meth trafficking in minnesota “and elsewhere.”according to the complaint, mariano told investigators that he knew the inmate from a previous prison stint and that the inmate asked him to take vasquez to pick up cash. vasquez later admitted to driving the methamphetamine from california to minnesota.also tuesday, federal prosecutors charged two more men in the latest of a series of arrests that began with the seizure of more than 150 pounds of methamphetamine being driven from phoenix to minnesota last week.the new charges provide the first details of the origin of an alleged conspiracy whose roots extend to the notorious sinaloa cartel in mexico. jonathan gonzalez and wilber quintero rodriguez brought to six the number of peo...





calif. priest pleads guilty to sexual misconduct with twin cities woman

a priest from california has pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with a twin cities woman for whom he was conducting mass in mendota heights.jacob andrew bertrand, 35, pleaded guilty monday to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. as part of the plea deal, the second count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct will be dismissed. his sentencing is scheduled for may 7.according to the criminal complaint, the two met in 2009 in rome while they were studying spirituality and he was a deacon. in june 2010, the woman and bertrand flew to san diego where he was ordained as a priest. the next month, in july, bertrand visited the woman in mendota heights, where she lived.at one point during his trip to minnesota, bertrand and the woman engaged in a private mass in the basement of her home, where they also had sexual contact.after the ceremony, bertrand told the woman that it was so "mystical" they should not talk about it to others.the woman told officials of the catholic church about the sexual contact in 2012 and 2014. in 2014, the report was forwarded to the san diego diocese for investigation.in november 2014, bertrand told his parishioners in a bulletin that he had undergone a psychological evaluation and was taking a leave of absence at a residential program. he is now on leave of absence from the roman catholic diocese of san diego.twitter: @karenanelzamora





club nomadic sues mystic lake over canceled super bowl shows

club nomadic entertainment group filed a federal lawsuit tuesday alleging that mystic lake casino abruptly shelved its glitzy pop-up concert venue without notice just three weeks before super bowl lii — after promoters had already sunk $2.4 million into the nightclub.a lawyer for club nomadic said it must now spend $1 million tearing down the 65,000-square-foot temporary structure built in the casino's parking lot for the event, meant to lure thousands of visitors to the prior lake complex a half-hour from u.s. bank stadium in downtown minneapolis.concerts by gwen stefani, florida georgia line, the chainsmokers and kygo were moved inside the casino after the shakopee mdewakanton sioux community's events company announced jan. 12 that the four-day event "would not be up to our standards of quality.""it was a surprise when they canceled," said josh schiller, a new york attorney representing club nomadic. "they took aim at the quality of the building, which was erected but the interior was yet to be finished. that's what the designers do at the end."construction began last fall and was substantially complete ahead of a star tribune tour on jan. 4. the venue's concrete floors, winterized metallic walls and vip balconies had taken shape as crews worked to finish the stage and interior decor.club nomadic promoters were racing toward a jan. 15 completion date when their contract was canceled a few days before the deadline, court records show. dakota february events, myst...





wayzata hs students win their way to national science bowl

a team of wayzata high school students will travel to the national science bowl finals in washington, d.c., this spring after taking first place at a regional competition in st. paul over the weekend.the top 16 high school and top 16 middle school teams at the national finals will win $1,000 for their schools' science departments, plus an additional prize for the top two high school teams.through march, middle school and high school teams will participate in 113 regional tournaments nationwide in hopes of advancing to the finals, which will take place april 26-30 this year. during science bowl competitions, students answer science-related questions and solve technical problems.geoffrey chen, matthew piljoo jeon, aniket bhalerao, tommy myers and aayush gupta make up wayzata high school's first-place team. the regional competition was saturday at macalester college.rilyn eischens is a university of minnesota student reporter on assignment for the star tribune.





annie young, longtime minneapolis park board member and a blunt advocate for conservation, dies

annie young, the straight-talking community organizer who served on the minneapolis park board for nearly 30 years, was stubbornly active into her last days.in early december, she attended a crowded, nighttime city council budget meeting in a wheelchair, connected to an oxygen tank as she listened from the back of the overflow room.young, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, died monday. she was 75. she was lauded by figures from across the political spectrum in minneapolis, and the minneapolis park board has lowered flags on park property to half-staff through the end of january.young developed a reputation for bluntness but also effectiveness in her 28 years in office. raised in colorado and california, young said she was outside the hotel smoking marijuana in 1968 when bobby kennedy, for whom she’d canvassed, won the california primary and was assassinated. she hitchhiked with her infant son across southwestern minnesota in the 1970s to attend gatherings of food co-op activists. she settled in minneapolis, and before she was first elected to the park board in 1989, skinny-dipped in brownie lake and swam across cedar lake — both violations of park board ordinances.once elected, she used her platform to promote conservation. she fought to reduce how much parkland is mowed, particularly on hillsides and shores. she championed water quality in lakes and promoted cleaning park buildings with environmentally friendly products. more recently she campaigned...





scholarships target minnesota state students in high-demand fields

students training for careers in four high-demand fields will be eligible for $2,500 scholarships next fall at minnesota state community and technical colleges.the new workforce development scholarships will be offered to 400 students in programs in advanced manufacturing, health care services, agriculture and information technology, according to an announcement tuesday by the minnesota state colleges and universities system.last year, the minnesota legislature approved $1 million in state funds to create the scholarship program. college officials say they're also working with business and industry to raise additional funds, including a $30,000 grant from the minnesota precision manufacturing association.the scholarships are designed for new students enrolling this fall in associate degree, diploma or certificate programs at one of minnesota state's 30 two-year colleges."we are grateful to the legislature for this investment and look forward to delivering an impressive return for the taxpayers of minnesota," said devinder malhotra, the interim chancellor, in a statement tuesday.officials say students should contact the individual schools for more information.maura lerner





calif. priest pleads guilty to sexual misconduct with twin cities woman

a priest from california has pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with a twin cities woman for whom he was conducting mass in mendota heights.jacob andrew bertrand, 35, pleaded guilty monday to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. as part of the plea deal, the second count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct will be dismissed. his sentencing is scheduled for may 7.according to the criminal complaint, the two met in 2009 in rome while they were studying spirituality and he was a deacon. in june 2010, the woman and bertrand flew to san diego where he was ordained as a priest. the next month, in july, bertrand visited the woman in mendota heights, where she lived.at one point during his trip to minnesota, bertrand and the woman engaged in a private mass in the basement of her home, where they also had sexual contact.after the ceremony, bertrand told the woman that it was so “mystical” they should not talk about it to others.the woman told officials of the catholic church about the sexual contact in 2012 and 2014. in 2014, the report was forwarded to the san diego diocese for investigation.in november 2014, bertrand told his parishioners in a bulletin that he had undergone a psychological evaluation and was taking a leave of absence at a residential program. he is now on leave of absence from the roman catholic diocese of san diego.twitter: @karenanelzamora





more than 12" of snow strands students, flights and commuters

the twin cities and southern minnesota refilled its snow deficit when the largest snowstorm in seven years dumped a foot of snow many locations.the 12.4 inches recorded at the minneapolis-st. paul international airport on monday brought the seasonal total to 25.3 inches, cutting the shortfall nearly in half. normally, 30.6 inches has accumulated by this time of year, the national weather service said.that had many residents spending tuesday digging out and waiting for plows to clear the way.fears of tough road conditions prompted minneapolis, st. paul and suburban school districts to call off classes. in edina, officials canceled school after assessing road conditions, staff availability and a shortage of substitute teachers according to an e-mail sent to families and students.the minnesota department of transportation continued to make headway in plowing the snow covered roads, especially in south central and southwest part of the state which had been under a travel advisory due to blizzard conditions monday. just before 8 a.m. tuesday, that advisory was lifted, but roads remain partly ice and snow covered and extreme caution was advised.“slower speeds are still the best option as we clean up today,” the agency said. raymond grumney graphic: snow depth analysis interstate 35 between owatonna and faribault reopened. the national guard, on standby monday to help and house travelers in need, opened the owatonna armory, but only one motorist spent the night,...





club nomadic sues mystic lake over canceled super bowl shows

club nomadic entertainment group filed a federal lawsuit tuesday alleging that mystic lake casino abruptly shelved its glitzy pop-up concert venue without notice just three weeks before super bowl lii — after promoters had already sunk $2.4 million into the nightclub.a lawyer for club nomadic says it must now spend $1 million tearing down the 65,000-square-foot temporary structure built in the casino’s parking lot for the event, meant to lure thousands of visitors to the prior lake complex a half-hour from u.s. bank stadium in downtown minneapolis.concerts by gwen stefani, florida georgia line, the chainsmokers and kygo were moved inside the casino after the shakopee mdewakanton sioux community’s events company announced jan. 12 that the four-day event “would not be up to our standards of quality.”“it was a surprise when they canceled,” said josh schiller, a new york attorney representing club nomadic. “they took aim at the quality of the building, which was erected but the interior was yet to be finished. that’s what the designers do at the end.”construction began last fall and was substantially complete ahead of a star tribune tour on jan. 4. the venue’s concrete floors, winterized metallic walls and vip balconies had taken shape as workers raced to finish the stage and interior decor.club nomadic promoters were racing toward a jan. 15 completion date when their contract was canceled a few days before the deadline, court records show. dakota february e...





a million super bowl 'visitors' estimate counts many minnesotans

super bowl planners have touted that "more than a million visitors" will be in town for the big game in less than two weeks. but most of them aren't who you think.the actual horde expected to descend on the twin cities from outside the state is closer to 125,000, according to estimates from pennsylvania-based rockport analytics, which is working with the super bowl host committee. the "million" figure is meant to gauge attendees of super bowl-related events, many of whom will be minnesotans."that million figure really references a million people that are going to be in the twin cities spending resources, enjoying super bowl activities, and reflects the energy that we're going to see in the twin cities during the 10 days," said michael howard, a spokesman for the host committee.the game itself is merely one event among many during super bowl week. others include super bowl live, a free festival on nicollet mall, the super bowl experience at the minneapolis convention center, and radio row at mall of america. "i would say super bowl experience and super bowl live in downtown minneapolis are really the major hub ... of activity for the super bowl," howard said.for those counting, people attending two events would equate to two visits under the host committee's methodology.rockport, a market and economic research firm, has researched the economic impact of three of the last six super bowls. they estimate that 125,000 people will either travel from more than 50 miles aw...





two lawmakers from minneapolis call for swlrt vibrations study

two state lawmakers from minneapolis are calling for an independent study to determine how vibrations from the construction and operation of the proposed southwest light-rail line will affect the calhoun-isles condominium complex.the residential complex off the kenilworth corridor between cedar lake and lake of the isles is comprised largely of former grain elevators built of concrete during the city's milling heyday.an engineering firm hired by the calhoun isles condominium association determined that the structure is "extremely susceptible to vibration damage" caused by the lrt line. the trains will run near the complex in a shallow tunnel, whose footings are just 2 feet away from one of the condo towers and 9 inches away from its parking garage.but the metropolitan council, which is building the $1.9 billion line, said it has "properly addressed this issue" and will further discuss its strategies at a legislative hearing on wednesday.in a letter to the met council dated tuesday, sen. scott dibble and rep. frank hornstein, both dfl-minneapolis, said a study by an independent consultant would likely cost less than $100,000. they are urging the council to complete a study while the project is delayed by construction bidding issues and by the need to evaluate the environmental consequences of erecting a crash-protection wall between lrt and freight trains west of target field.dibble and hornstein say the timing is right for the study, because construction of the light-rai...





annie young, longtime minneapolis park board member and a blunt advocate for conservation, dies

annie young, the straight-talking community organizer who served on the minneapolis park board for nearly three decades, was stubbornly active into her last days.in early december, she attended a crowded, nighttime city council budget meeting in a wheelchair, connected to an oxygen tank as she listened from the back of the overflow room.young, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, died monday. she was 75. she was lauded by figures from across the political spectrum in minneapolis, and the minneapolis park board has dropped flags on park property to half-staff through the end of january.young developed a reputation for bluntness but also effectiveness in her 28 years in office. raised in colorado and california, young said she was outside the hotel smoking marijuana in 1968 when bobby kennedy, for whom she’d canvassed, won the california primary and was assassinated. she hitchhiked with her infant son across southwestern minnesota in the 1970s to attend gatherings of food co-op activists. she settled in minneapolis, and before she was first elected to the park board in 1989, skinny-dipped in brownie lake and swam across cedar lake — both violations of park board ordinances.once elected, she used her platform to promote conservation. she fought to reduce how much parkland is mowed, particularly on hillsides and shores. she championed water quality in lakes and promoted cleaning park buildings with environmentally friendly products. more recently she campa...





minneapolis man pleads guilty in uptown shooting that paralyzed victim

a minneapolis man pleaded guilty monday to shooting a man and leaving him paralyzed in an uptown bar fight last summer.eddie arlondoe burch, 30, faced first-degree assault charges after shooting the 21-year-old victim in the back at bar louie last june. in exchange for admitting to the act, he could receive a maximum sentence of nine years and nine months in prison, according to the hennepin county attorney’s office.according to the criminal complaint, a bar louie employee called police to report a fight at the bar at 1348 lagoon ave. on june 17. when authorities arrived, they found the victim lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the back.officers spoke with the victim at the scene. he said burch walked up to him and started talking, and then without warning grabbed the victim’s face and kissed him, according to the news release.the employee who reported the fight said he had seen the victim punching another man in the bar, who was later identified as burch. after the fight was stopped, police say that burch followed the victim out of the bar, saying, “he really doesn’t want to mess with me,” before pulling out a handgun.witnesses told police that burch shot the victim after the other man implored him to “put the gun down” and “fight like men,” authorities said. burch fired two shots, causing the victim to take two steps before falling to the ground. at least one the shots damaged the victim’s spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed below the waist for l...





goodbye, vikings. hello, patriots and eagles. u.s. bank stadium transforms for super bowl

u.s. bank stadium’s end zones have gone blue, red, white and green for the new england patriots and the philadelphia eagles.national football league executives brought reporters onto the field tuesday for a tightly controlled sneak peek at the transformation of the 18-month-old building that will play host to the 52nd super bowl on feb. 4.eric finkelstein, senior director of events for the nfl, and ed mangan, the nfl’s field director for the super bowl, said everything’s on schedule despite losing two weeks of renovation time because the vikings played host to the divisional playoff game a week ago.“there’s a lot to be done, but it’s encouraging to see the field painted,” finkelstein said. “even with the weather, we feel pretty confident.”the western end zone, closest to the big glassy facade with the five pivoting doors, carries the new england team’s name. the eastern end is deep green, black and white for the philadelphia team. mangan said two vince lombardi trophies will also be embedded in the turf on either 25-yard line. only one team will leave the building with the real trophy.the most obtrusive element on the field tuesday was massive metal rigging at midfield that occupied the full width and at least a third of the length of the field.complete coverage: countdown to super bowl liithe rigging carries supplemental lighting for justin timberlake’s halftime show and will be hoisted toward the stadium’s ceiling. finkelstein didn’t know much else...





case dismissed: man charged with fridley teen's killing leaves jail

a 20-year-old man scheduled to go on trial monday for fatally shooting a teenager on a fridley street walked out of jail a free man after prosecutors dropped the murder charge.zakariya h. ahmed, of robbinsdale, had been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 17-year-old mohannad abdul hafiz abukhdeir on july 17 outside the teen’s home.ahmed was arrested that week and remained in jail for more than six months until the anoka county attorney’s office filed the dismissal “without prejudice,” meaning prosecutors retain the right to charge him again.“of course he was shocked” upon release, said defense attorney elliott nickell, who was at the jail with his client’s family and friends when ahmed was set free. “he has spent almost seven months in jail for something he didn’t do. ... we were all there and excited he was getting out.”nickell described ahmed as more than not guilty, but “i fully believe that [he] is innocent. ... he didn’t do this. [the prosecution] came to the right decision.”paul young, criminal division chief for the county attorney’s office, said tuesday that the dismissal “is not necessarily a situation where the original evidence is no longer sufficient to charge, but rather the evolution of ongoing investigation and the facts, or lack thereof, learned later.”neither side in this case on tuesday would be more specific about how the investigation evolved.young said the dead teen’s loved ones were briefed...





the original 'girl from the north country,' dylan's high school sweetheart, has died

hibbing native echo helstrom casey, bob dylan’s first serious girlfriend and widely viewed as the inspiration for his 1963 song “girl from the north country,” died last week in california. she was 75.born in duluth in 1942, casey grew up in a small house in the woods three miles southwest of hibbing, the youngest of three children of martha and matt helstrom, a mechanic and welder. she met and started dating dylan, then robert zimmerman, in 1957 and the pair attended the hibbing high school junior prom together before ultimately breaking up in 1958.in her yearbook, dylan wrote: “let me tell you that your beauty is second to none. love to the most beautiful girl in school.” in dylan’s 2004 memoir, “chronicles vol. 1,” he refers to echo as “[his] becky thatcher” — the small-town sweetheart in mark twain’s “tom sawyer” — and writes that “everybody said she looked like brigitte bardot, and she did.”apart from her movie star looks, what drew dylan to her was their shared love of music. the two teens spent their nights listening to the rhythm-and-blues coming through the radio from high-watt stations in chicago and little rock. at the helstrom house, dylan immersed himself in the family’s collection of country records by artists like jimmie rodgers. at one of his first public performances in the hibbing high school auditorium, dylan plunked away on the piano and sang, “i got a girl and her name is echo.”her relationship with and influence on ...





'a million' super bowl visitors estimate includes many minnesotans

super bowl planners have touted that “more than a million visitors” will be in town for the big game in less than two weeks. but most of them aren’t who you think.the actual horde expected to descend on the twin cities from outside the state is closer to 125,000, according to estimates from pennsylvania-based rockport analytics, which is working with the super bowl host committee. the “million” figure is meant to gauge attendees of super bowl-related events, many of whom will be minnesotans.“that million figure really references a million people that are going to be in the twin cities spending resources, enjoying super bowl activities, and reflects the energy that we’re going to see in the twin cities during the 10 days,” said michael howard, a spokesman for the host committee.the game itself is merely one event among many during super bowl week. others include super bowl live, a free festival on nicollet mall, the super bowl experience at the minneapolis convention center, and radio row at mall of america.“i would say super bowl experience and super bowl live in downtown are the major hub of activity for the super bowl,” howard said.for those counting, people attending two events would equate to two visits under the host committee’s methodology.rockport, a market and economic research firm, has researched the economic impact of three of the last six super bowls. they estimate that 125,000 people will either travel from more than 50 miles away, or stay o...