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Sheriff’s deputy killed by suspect at St. Cloud hospital

Plus: ‘American Sniper’ case goes back to court; Cliffs CEO says he’ll shut down Minnesota operations if Essar Steel taconite plant opens; arrest made in case of missing Lakeville girls; and more.

For the St. Cloud Times, Sam Louwagie writes, “Investigator Steven Martin Sandberg, 60, was monitoring a suspect being treated at the hospital for medical reasons when the suspect got out of his bed around 5:15 a.m. and initiated a struggle, took Sandberg’s gun, and shot him, according to the BCA. The suspect was identified as Danny Leroy Hammond, 50, of rural Aitkin, who also died Sunday morning. … Hammond was a suspect in a domestic incident that occurred early last week, according to Turner. BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said Hammond had not been arrested and was not in handcuffs.”

The killing has grabbed national attention. In the Chicago Tribune, the story notes, “A suspect in a domestic incident who was being treated at a Minnesota hospital grabbed a gun from a sheriff’s deputy and killed the officer early Sunday, prompting hospital security officers to subdue the suspect with a stun gun, authorities said. The suspect died after he was taken into custody, despite efforts by medical personnel to revive him.”

The big dogs are coming after The Body. Stribber Randy Furst says, “Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has long cast himself as a working-class brawler taking on the power and media elites. He’ll have a chance again Tuesday before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, meeting in St. Paul. Attorneys will debate whether a celebrity like Ventura is entitled to a $1.8 million award. … The New York Times, Washington Post, Hearst Corp., Newspaper Association of America and the National Association of Broadcasters are among those that declared in a brief that ‘they are concerned about what they view as the unjustified and potentially crippling awards in this case.’” They’re not going to argue that “American Sniper” was accurate, are they?

As in “close” and “go home”? The AP story on a taconite tiff says, “The chief executive of Cliffs Natural Resources says he’ll close one of his operations on Minnesota’s Iron Range if an Essar Steel taconite plant under construction in Nashwauk goes into production. Lourenco Goncalves tells the Mesabi Daily News that if the Essar Steel plant goes online, he’ll shut down a Cliffs plant in Minnesota the same day.”

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Talk about a guy with staying power. Steve Karnowski of the AP reports, “A former Minnesota head shop owner who flouted authorities as he openly sold synthetic drugs labeled ‘herbal incense,’ ‘spice’ and ‘bath salts’ is hoping to persuade a federal appeals court that he acted legally and that the law that sent him to prison is unconstitutional. James Carlson sold millions of dollars’ worth of the substances out of his shop, the Last Place on Earth in Duluth, and it took authorities years to shut him down. A jury convicted him on 51 counts in 2013. Last year, a judge sentenced him to 17½ years in prison and ordered him to forfeit $6.5 million. Carlson’s lawyer will try to persuade the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday that the law is unconstitutionally vague … .”

In Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, they’re beginning to workshop the rhetoric. Zach Kayser of the Grand Forks Herald writes, “With the race between incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and GOP challenger Stewart Mills officially on, both are trying out rhetoric that may carry them through the upcoming election. Candidates are dusting off issues that were mainstays in their prior matchup in 2014, like Obamacare and America’s foreign policy in the Middle East. However, they’re also adopting new ideas in order to capitalize on public outcry from recent controversies. For Mills, this involves channeling uproar sparked with recently released anti-abortion videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal tissue for research.” … and Benghazi, I hope.

The “Bat Lady” needs some help. Another AP story says, “As a fungal disease that has wiped out millions of bats in the United States moves closer to North Dakota and South Dakota, a college researcher from Fargo is asking residents and business owners if they have any uninvited guests. North Dakota State University biological sciences professor Erin Gillam, known to some as the ‘Bat Lady,’ is heading a research project that focuses on the spread of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that strikes bats when they are hibernating and that has wiped out bat colonies in some areas of the country. It was first discovered in upstate New York in 2006 and has spread west, reaching as far as eastern Minnesota.”

I doubt they’ll get a check tomorrow. Ed Treleven of the Wisconsin State Journal reports, “A federal jury in Madison awarded UW-Madison’s intellectual property arm more than $234 million Friday in its patent infringement lawsuit against computer and gadget maker Apple. The verdict on the award amount, reached after the jury deliberated for about three hours, was about $165 million less than the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation had sought … . The technology, first incorporated into Apple’s A7 processor and used now in the A8 and A8X processors, makes the processors work faster and more efficiently, and extend battery life by as much as two hours.”

Sobering stats to a piece by Christopher Magan of the PiPress. “Teachers at Apple Valley’s Greenleaf Elementary School started noticing some of their students acting strangely around the weekends. When Fridays arrived, the kids seemed nervous, and a few were saving extra crackers and other bits of food to take home. When they returned Monday morning, many devoured their breakfasts. … The number of Greenleaf students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals, a federal indicator of poverty, has jumped 380 percent in the past decade. In 2005, just 8 percent of the school’s students were considered low-income; last year, 36 percent — 331 students — qualified for subsidized meals.”

Sally Jo Sorensen, at her Bluestem Prairie blog, digs into Ted Cruz’ father, his visit to the state last week and his (and his son’s) benefactors. “While Ted Cruz’s father was in Minnesota last week touting his son’s independence from ‘corrupt’ ‘cartel’ ‘career’ politicians, in favor of ‘we the people,’ even a cursory look at the contributors of the various ‘Keep The Promise’ SuperPACs reveals that the committees’ cash comes from oil and gas interests, with a rich hedge fund manager and climate change denier thrown in. Not surprisingly for folks with both background and backers in the fossil fuel industry, both father and son are climate change deniers. In Lake Elmo last Monday, Rafael Cruz derided climate change after touting his son’s qualifications as a ‘servant to the people.’” 

Some vivid details in a Paul Walsh Strib story about a death in a texting-while-driving case. “A teen driver profanely rebuffed the pleas of a passenger to stop texting, and as screams of ‘red light! red light!’ echoed in the pickup truck, she struck a van in Sherburne County and killed the other driver and his 10-year-old daughter, according to prosecutors. Once authorities had exposed as a lie the initial explanation that her boyfriend had been driving, Carlee R. Bollig, 17, of Little Falls, Minn., was charged last week in District Court with two counts each of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation, texting and driving, and driving without a valid license.”

Also in the Strib, an arrest in a very odd case. Brandon Stahl writes, “A mother accused of being involved in the disappearance of her two Lakeville daughters was arrested early Sunday morning in Florida. The girls, who have been missing since 2013, still have not been found, police said. Authorities now hope to extradite Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, 50, who has been missing since August after she was charged with three felony counts of deprivation of parental rights. … Grazzini-Rucki’s attorney, Michelle MacDonald, said her client went willingly with U.S. marshals when they found her staying at a friend’s home in Kissimme, south of Orlando. MacDonald, who said in August that her client would surrender to police, said Sunday that her client will fight extradition, because she does not feel she would get a fair trial.” Yes. That Michelle MacDonald.

Too early to talk Black Friday? Didn’t think so. Arjit Singh at reports, “…  last year Android phones and tablets saw an abysmal number of deals across all stores and this year is going to be no different. As a matter of fact, last year’s BlackFriday sales saw Best Buy offering Android phones as low as $19.99. TV … While not many details are available as of now, analysts estimate that Samsung’s 50 inch TV is going to be subjected to heavy discounts. Experts say that we’re looking at a $497 price tag on Samsung’s high end television sets at Best Buy.”

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