Eight small-plane passengers died in Owatonna. It’s unclear whether they couldn’t stop on the runway or tried to take off again. The Strib staff quotes one neighbor saying the plane was flying extremely low. The PiPress finds someone else who says the touchdown looked fine, but there may have been right-engine trouble; MPR’s Tim Nelson says it might’ve been an overpowered left engine. Weather was not a factor.
More crash: East Coast casino and construction execs were due to meet with an Owatonna glass company; Fox9 has the names. It’s the deadliest crash since Paul Wellstone’s in 2002. The plane, a Hawker 800, has a good safety record.
Coincidentally, a St. James-area county commissioner candidate crashed his small plane Wednesday … his second aircraft accident in a week. The Mankato Free Press says 51-year-old Joe Dahl wasn’t injured.
Man, Sonia Morphew Pitt has really gotta hate the Strib’s Tony Kennedy and Paul McEnroe. MnDOT’s AWOL disaster coordinator has been fired again, this time by the feds, after the newspaper exposed her re-hiring Thursday. Pitt’s new employer, the Transportation Safety Administration, says it had a two-week-old investigation going. Ramsey County prosecutors say Pitt may soon be charged for misdeeds here. The PiPress’s Jason Hoppin says Pitt was hired eight days after an arbitrator upheld her MnDOT firing.
The Olga Franco trial is in full swing, and testimony from emergency workers won’t help her case. They saw Franco in the driver’s seat, her foot pinned between the dashboard and the accelerator, the PiPress’s John Brewer reports. The Strib’s Pam Louwagie says DNA evidence was largely missing from the driver’s side airbag; most was on the passenger’s side. That DNA came from an unidentified male, according to previous reports; the defense claims he was Franco’s now-fugitive boyfriend.
Is today the anniversary of something? Lots of “how the bridge collapse changed us” coverage; MPR’s Laura Yuen offers a heartbreaking recovery story. Fox9 offers video from Children & Family Services on a 5-year-old boy’s recovery. The Strib’s Emily Kaiser reworks an AP piece saying bridge spending still must double; a chart (not online) shows Minnesota with one of the lower percentages of structurally deficient bridges.
More bridge: The Strib offers Jeff Wheeler’s beautiful poster-sized photo of the new bridge spanning the river, but I can’t find it online; find the paper! WCCO-TV will replay last year’s bridge coverage, in real time, on its website tonight, Jason DeRusha notes. Coverage opens with that night’s 6 p.m. news.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak bails on his police chief, Tim Dolan, saying he wouldn’t have given out medals to officers who survived gunshots in a wrong-address raid, the Strib’s Steve Brandt writes. (An 10:20 a.m. update: WCCO’s Caroline Lowe says that police originally raided into Vang Khang’s home looking for guns, not a gang member as the Strib has reported the last couple of days.)
Yikes: A national anti-cancer group gives Minneapolis Public Schools an “F” for serving too much processed crud, the Strib’s Patrice Relerford notes. If your kid only eats school lunch, relax a bit: It was 100-percent-processed breakfasts that alarmed the cancer-fighters. They reviewed one month of school menus in 28 urban districts. A Minneapolis official, who’s on a national nutrition committee, says the group is wrong. The group’s ad is here.
If you’re into the Valleyfair beating story, more details came out Thursday. A more serious assault charge was filed against a 22-year-old who punched a father in the face for defending his daughter, the Strib’s Jim Adams writes. Charges were bumped up because the dad might have long-term optic nerve damage and other intractable facial wounds.
Northwest airfares won’t drop even if oil goes below $100 a barrel, the Strib’s Liz Fedor writes. Recent losses are just too big, one expert says. Fedor finds Minneapolis-based route prices up a minimum of 20 percent over a year ago; one route to St. Louis was up 123 percent. Oil went back up yesterday, by the way. Meanwhile, the paper’s Emma Carew reports on Megabus, which offers a $45 bus ride from here to Chicago and isn’t adding fuel surcharges.
Mortgage fraudster Michael Parish and family members got sentences ranging from five to 13 years, the Strib’s Jim Walsh reports. They tortured New Prague, New Market and Lonsdale with 200 straw buyers and $20 million to $50 million of fraud.
RNC protest update: With 50,000 or more protesters arriving, some are inevitably going to sleep in parks, and Minneapolis officials are on the lookout, Minnesota Independent’s Chris Steller reports. Neighbors are worried; the Park Police promise “24-hour coverage” to prevent tent cities, and river patrols for under-bridge squatters. The city’s providing a flier on how to find legal campgrounds, but if some are here to lawbreak in the first place ….
The Duluth Budgeteer’s Matthew Perrine offers a relatively long interview with Priscilla Lord Farris, who’s challenging Al Franken for the DFL’s U.S. Senate nomination.
The price wasn’t right: The Taste of Minnesota won’t be sold to a DJ and an event planner after all. The Strib’s Chris Havens says the two men might start a rival fest. The PiPress’s Dave Orrick passes along current owners’ claims that the 2008 fest made money, but the 2007 event didn’t.
Nort spews: Well, that was exciting. Ron Gardenhire makes like Lou Piniella, Twins fans make like it’s Disco Demolition Night, Minnesota players make like the ’27 Yanks, and the White Sox are again just a fraction of a game in first after losing 10-6. Sore Loser here and Justin Morneau’s trash talk here. Elsewhere, sounds like Brett Favre will become a Viking, or take a $20 million bribe to stay retired. Boo on him if this was all about extorting cash.