Felony charge, $150K bail for Amy Senser in hit-and-run


Amy Senser was charged today with criminal vehicular operation in the hit-and-run death of Anousone Phanthavong, a felony, the Star Tribune reports. She turned herself in to the State Patrol. The Pioneer Press reports bail is $150,000. The relevant state statute indicates Senser could face not more than 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine.

Even with 22,000 state workers returning from the shutdown, Minnesota’s unemployment rate held steady at 7.2 percent in August, the Strib’s Jennifer Bjorhus says. The report actually shows 5,800 new private-sector jobs last month, and initial unemployment claims dropped to the lowest in three years. But statistical “smoothing” kept the jobless rate steady, according to the state. Among metro areas, Mankato (3.7 percent) and Rochester (2.7 percent) have gained the most workers this year in percentage terms, followed by Duluth (2.3 percent), the Twin Cities (1.5 percent) and St. Cloud (0 percent).

The BWCA Fire has slowed to a crawl, the Strib’s Bill McAuliffe writes. The 150-square-mile blaze should only move a quarter-mile south and east today, but conditions will get warmer and drier until Saturday. MPR News, which has had great coverage, offers this FAQ and a forest ecologist’s explainer here.

Test score follow-up: I’m fairly sure the Strib has run a chart of schools with the highest student poverty rates that produce the best Minnesota standardized test scores, but I don’t recall a similar chart of those with low poverty rates and low scores. Prepare for embarrassment, Farmington, Belle Plaine, New Prague, Elk River and Brooklyn Center schools. By the way, the since-shuttered TiZA school, closed after controversy over being Muslim rather than non-sectarian, again scored near the top for high-poverty schools.

Remember State Rep. Ernie Leidiger, the Mayer Republican who invited Bradlee Dean to give the Capitol invocation only to backpedal after Dean’s anti-Obama screed? Guess who showed up on Dean’s radio show Sept. 3 to recant that criticism? GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers vowed a Dean-like “prayer” would never happen again, but Leidiger — who once distanced himself from Dean, who once said Muslims calling for execution of homosexuals “seem to be more moral than even the American Christians” — now says there’s nothing “radical” about Dean or his ministry.

Rick Perry justice: A couple of local lawyers who worked on a Texas death penalty appeal say the Lone Star governor and GOP presidential candidate should not sleep so well at night based on their experience. Tom Johnson and Greg Mertz say their defendant got horrid initial counsel, was victimized by inconsistent police deal-making and after 11 years of appeals, gave up and was executed. (Disclaimer: The attorneys work at my wife’s firm.)

Not precisely local, but a Jacksonville, Fla., radio station has dropped Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion,” citing the $26,822 cost for 6,300 weekly listeners. In the comments, a “PHC” listener stated they were smarter than the average member of the public. Discussion ensued. Florida Gov. Rick Scott cut off all funding to public radio in this year’s budget. Meanwhile, MPR’s national arm got a $4.1 million grant to expand citizen sourcing.

West St. Paul: It’s not for renters any more. Well, as many renters anyway. According to the PiPress’ Nick Ferraro, the city will cap rental licenses at no more than 10 percent of single-family residences per block as of Jan. 1. Aside from landlords, many homeowners who can’t sell are forced to rent if they want to move. The city of 20,000 currently has 113 single-family home rentals. Realtors and landlords aren’t happy.

Nort spews: A Portland, Ore., columnist claims the Timberwolves’ deal with new head coach Rick Adelman is for three years, $15 million, plus a mutual team/coach fourth-year option. Gopher football coach Jerry Kill will “be at TCF Bank Stadium for Saturday’s game,” the PiPress reports, but it’s unclear what he will be able to do. NFL veterans, led by ex-Vike Carl Eller, have sued current players “for interfering intentionally with the prospective economic advantage of the putative class described herein and for breaches of fiduciary duties assumed by the NFLPA with respect to NFL retirees.” Basically, the old guys say the new guys can’t cut a deal with the NFL that affects them.

Glean creator David Brauer returns to fill in for vacationing Brian Lambert.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/15/2011 - 03:39 pm.

    “a “PHC” listener stated they were smarter than the average member of the public.”

    Garrison’s kind of people.

  2. Submitted by Brian Hutchins on 09/15/2011 - 04:55 pm.

    MPR should publish cost-per-listener data on all their shows. It is valuable information for potential donors during the endless pledge weeks. That PHC is grossly over-priced comes as no surprise.

  3. Submitted by Bob Frost on 10/16/2011 - 09:12 pm.

    My sense is that Amy Senser is lying. My further sense is that she’ll get off with a slap on the wrist. I feel for her. I know what it is to lose one’s soul in a gassy cloud of booze and boredom. That said, I feel a whole lot more for the victim for her choices.

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