MINNESOTA SETS VOTE RECORD

Minnesota had a record-setting primary day. Secretary of State Steve Simon says the state received over 500-thousand absentee ballots for Tuesday’s primary, more than the total number of all votes in the 2016 primary. Simon also anticipates tens of thousands more absentee ballots being counted over the next few days.

WW-II VET WALKS FOR CHARITY

A 100-year-old war vet from southern Minnesota has reached his goal of walking 100 miles for charity. Mickey Nelson of Clarks Grove was raising money for the Salvation Army’s campaign to help those affected by COVID-19. The World War Two veteran was able to gather up 110-thousand-dollars in donations. Contributions are still being accepted at SalvationArmyNorth.org/mickey.

TAX BENEFITS FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES

The school year may look and feel a little different this fall, but parents can still claim valuable tax benefits by saving receipts on school supply purchases this year. Two tax benefits can help Minnesota families pay expenses related to their child’s education: the refundable K-12 Education Credit and the K-12 Education Subtraction. Last year, more than 36,000 families received the K-12 Education Credit and saved an average of $251. Nearly 192,000 families received the K-12 Education Subtraction. For details, visit www.revenue.state.mn.us

THIEF RIVER MAN HIT WITH CHILD PORN CHARGES

A Thief River Falls man is facing child pornography charges. Benjamin Roggenbuck was charged in federal court Monday with production, attempted production, distribution, and possession of child porn. Roggenbuck’s accused of using or attempting to use two children for child porn back in February. He’s also accused of knowingly possessing and distributing child porn.

HOSPITAL SUIT

As the COVID-19 pandemic was ramping up aggressively in Minnesota in May, Cliff Willmeng was fired from his job as an Emergency Department nurse at United Hospital in St. Paul, for wearing hospital-issued scrubs on duty while caring for COVID-19 patients, and then defying the hospital policy against nurses wearing uniforms that the hospital has to launder. Willmeng is suing the hospital to get his job back, saying his actions were compelled by personal safety, and the policy behind his May 8 firing was nonsensical.

3 RECOVERING FROM LIGHTNING STRIKE

Three people are recovering after lightning struck a park shelter in Lakeville. Authorities say about 40 people attending a birthday party were under a park shelter at Casperson Park on Saturday when lightning hit the structure. One person suffered a minor burn and two others suffered minor injuries from falling debris.

GUARD TO GITMO

About 150 members of the Minnesota National Guard are being deployed to Guantanamo Bay. The soldiers from the Stillwater-based Military Police Company departed yesterday for Fort Bliss in Texas. They will receive additional training there before being sent to Cuba to provide base security.

Grant To Pay For Light Rail

A more than 900 million dollar federal grant designed to help pay for constructing the Southwest Light Rail line has advanced to Congress. This is a major step in funding the two-billion-dollar project. The proposed 14-point-five-mile line connecting downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie is already under construction and is expected to start passenger service in 2023. If the financial grant is approved by Congress within the month, it would ensure that Southwest is completed with a mix of federal, state, and local funding. The project is expected to create 75 hundred jobs with a payroll of close to 350 million dollars.

Ponzi Victims Get $$ From Forfeited Funds

Investors who were victims of Tom Petters Ponzi scam will get more money from the more than 22 million dollars in forfeited funds. The U. S. Department of Justice made the announcement yesterday concerning the largest scheme in Minnesota history. Petters was indicted in 2008 on several counts including mail fraud and money laundering. He was found guilty on all counts in 2009 and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Petters’s scheme involved pretending to take investor’s money to buy retail inventory, but instead, he used the cash to pay off other investors and for a lavish lifestyle.

Coronavirus Surge

St. Louis County officials are noticing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. As of yesterday, there were 475 total virus infections in the county and more than half of them were confirmed last month. About three-fourths of the cases were from Duluth. Forty percent of St. Louis County residents testing positive for COVID-19 say they attended restaurants or bars during the period they were likely exposed to the virus. County health director Amy Westbrook hopes the state’s mask mandate will effectively address the spread of the virus. She calls the next few weeks critical as the county watches to see whether the number of daily new cases start dropping.