Missing Lakeville teens found in western Minnesota

Gianna Rucki and Samantha Rucki

There’s a lot of weirdness around this story. Stribber Brandon Stahl reports: “Two Lakeville teenagers missing since April 2013 have been located at a horse farm in western Minnesota, after police executed a search warrant Wednesday afternoon, said Lakeville police Lt. Jason Polinski. The discovery follows a series of police searches that culminated in Wednesday’s visit by Lakeville police, U.S. marshals and Grant County sheriff’s deputies to the White Horse Ranch, about 160 miles west of the Twin Cities. Samantha Rucki, 17, and Gianna Rucki, 16, were there. … evidence obtained from a search of a woman’s home in St. Cloud led them to the the White Horse Ranch. The woman, Dede Evavold, is a supporter of the ‘Protective Parent’ movement that argues the family courts are broken and frequently award custody to abusive parents.”

KMSP-TV says, “Back in 2013, the family was the subject of Fox 9 investigation about ‘parent alienation.’ The girls said their father physically and emotionally abused them, but David Rucki accused their mother of turning the girls against him. At the time, the girls told Fox 9 they ran away because they didn’t want to be reunited with their father. They have been gone ever since — even their mother, Sandra Grazzini Rucki, denied knowing their whereabouts. Police didn’t believe the mother’s story and arrested her in Florida last month. She’s currently being held in the Dakota County jail on 3 counts of felony deprivation of parental rights.”

Barry Amundson’s Grand Forks Herald story says, “In May, Lakeville Police Chief Jeff Long wrote in a blog post in the city’s newsletter, ‘Having been a cop for 26 years, I have never seen anything like the obstruction, chaos and questionable decision-making I have seen in this case. It’s sad to me that two girls have lost their childhood. My guess is both Gianna and Samantha have no idea how much they are missed by their family and friends. They will never get this time back,’ he said. [Grant County Sheriff Dwight Walvatne] said the entire saga is ‘quite a story.’” No points for understatement.

The latest in the Jamar Clark killing has the police union saying that Clark went for one of the officer’s gun. Says MPR, “The head of the Minneapolis police union says Jamar Clark was not handcuffed during a confrontation with Minneapolis police and was shot after going for an officer’s gun. Clark was trying to disarm one of the officers during a physical altercation after squads responded to reports of a domestic assault, Lt. Bob Kroll said in an interview Wednesday with MPR News partner KARE 11. Kroll’s remarks stand in sharp contrast to what community members say happened during a Sunday morning confrontation in north Minneapolis.”

It’s time for the perennial “shortage of flu vaccine” stories. In the Strib Allie Shah says, “A nationwide shortage of FluMist, the nasal spray flu fighter popular among needle-phobic youngsters, has left many Minnesota hospitals and flu clinics in short supply during this, the busiest time of the flu shot season. So far, the Minnesota Department of Health has received just 42 percent of its pre-order of FluMist … .”

Also from Shah: “How’s this for a jolt: young adults who drink even just one energy drink a day may increase their risk of heart disease. Studies have linked energy drinks and heart issues before, but those warnings were aimed at people who drank large quantities or combined the drinks with alcohol or drugs. According to new research published in the Journal of American Medical Association, consuming a single 16-ounce drink spikes blood pressure and elevates the body’s stress hormone response.” And that’s why we only serve fresh, pure Keystone Light for Thanksgiving.

KMSP-TV’s Maury Glover offers a view of the types of people so many governors of a certain affiliation deem too dangerous to allow in. “[Bashar] Alakkad, his wife, and their 12-year-old son Tarek left their home in Damascus two months ago because of the rising violence caused by the war between the Assad regime and rebel groups like ISIS. They eventually landed in Virginia where Alakkad has relatives but they decided to come to Minnesota after a relief worker from Duluth they met in Turkey told them Minnesotans are the best people in the U.S. ‘First of all there are no checkpoints,’ Alakkad said. ‘There’s no bombing. And it’s a lot colder than Syria. It’s more enjoyable than Syria.’ Alakkad says President Obama’s plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country needs less talk and more action. He says governors who don’t want those refugees in their states because they could be terrorists are politically grandstanding.” You don’t say!

In somewhat the same vein, Kelly Engebretson for St. Thomas’s newsroom tells us, “The Institute of International Education’s Open Doors Report 2015 recently released its annual report on international enrollment and U.S. students who study abroad during college. Open Doors Report 2015 reports recent (2014-15) results for rankings of international students studying in the United States. With 14,438 international students studying in Minnesota in the 2014-15 academic year, Minnesota again ranked 19th in the nation for its total number of foreign students. This indicates a 4.9 percent increase over the previous academic year.”

It isn’t getting any better up on The Range. The AP says, “Magnetation, an iron ore producer, announced possible layoffs and a decline in production next year at a plant in Bovey, Minn., in the state’s Iron Range, troubling a region already ailing from a downturn in the steel industry. The company said the layoffs would affect up to 163 workers. A day earlier, another iron ore producer, Cliffs Natural Resources, said it would temporarily shut down a plant, Northshore Mining, in a move that could sideline up to 540 workers starting next month.”

Finally a solution to the LRT fights: Self-driving Teslas for everyone.  WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler goes for a ride with GOP legislator Pat Garafolo and says, “Republican State Rep. Pat Garofalo says Minnesota needs to get ready for what’s coming: a technology wave that will rapidly increase the number of self-driving cars on Minnesota roads. ‘It’s not a theory. It’s happening right now,’ Garofalo said, demonstrating semi-autonomous driving in a Tesla sedan on Highway 169 in Eden Prairie. More accurately, the Tesla drove itself. ‘The steering wheel is completely hands free. It’s completely safe. It’s aware of the vehicles around us’. What’s coming, Garofalo said, is a future when self-driving vehicles — many of them electric — will outnumber traditional cars and trucks. He says it’s a mistake for Minnesota to keep spending on old technology like light rail.” So grandma, never mind the Green Line. Hop in your Tesla, punch up “ludicrous mode” and get over to Gladys’.

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/19/2015 - 07:07 am.

    Self-driving cars

    Yes, it’s a cool idea, and yes, progress on the concept appears to be moving fast. But one thing is missing from Rep. Garofalo’s rosy “A self-driving car in every garage!” view of the future – who’s got the money to buy all these cars?

    So – if he thinks it’s “a mistake for Minnesota to keep spending on old technology like light rail”, does he then intend to redirect that spending to subsidizing self-driving car purchases for those who cannot afford them?

    Self-driving cars may be cool. But they aren’t cheap. And they won’t be for quite some time (if ever).

    So – “old technology” or not, mass transit still fulfills a very real societal need, and what’s short-sighted is NOT continuing to spend the money to make sure we have a well-connected transit system so that everyone has the best chance of being able to get to where they need to go when they need to get there and at a cost that won’t put them in the poorhouse.

    • Submitted by Alex Seymour on 11/19/2015 - 09:01 am.

      Self-driving cars

      Pat, you are absolutely right that the future is not going to be everybody buying luxury cars. After all, if everybody bought a luxury cars would the cars be a luxury any more?

      No, the future is going to look like Cars-2-Go. You will rent your utilitarian self-driving car by the hour.

      No, self driving cars wont be here tomorrow – maybe in 20 years. However, what is the projected payback time and sunk capital costs for light rail verse other modes of rapid transit? Do we think we will see the next 2 legs of the light rail completed in the next 20 years?

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/19/2015 - 09:21 am.

      Why do you immediately think

      of government involvement?

      The same entrepreneurs who bought fleets of cars and started taxi businesses or signed up to be their own boss with the Uber car service recognize that some people prefer to be transported in a small, private vehicle instead of dealing with the hassles of mass transit and would probably buy fleets of these vehicles.

      My immediate thought is that older people who can no longer drive their own car would either buy one of these for their personal use or they would call for one to meet them at their front door to take them for groceries, the doctor’s office, or wherever older folks need to go, the way they do with taxis now.

      When you can envision a city scene where individual vehicles are moving people efficiently to their exact destination and not just close by via the train or bus, you begin to see how limiting and antiquated, frankly, a fixed rail system is for moving people from here to there.

    • Submitted by Mark Byrnes on 11/19/2015 - 09:34 am.

      I agree with Rep. Garofalo’s view of the future to the extent that that self-driving cars will displace most public transit. Along with this a decrease will be the decrease in size and space needed by self-driving cars. In this case the funding for the expansion of current highway infrastructure doesn’t make sense.

  2. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/19/2015 - 07:55 am.

    Missing teens

    Through out this event it seemed likely that failed GOP MN Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald knew the whereabouts of these kids as the lawyer for the mother. Now that they are found so close to home it seems even more plausible. Will there be consequences for her in this?

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/19/2015 - 08:40 am.


      Of course not – she’s a Republican!

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/19/2015 - 09:30 am.

      Drawing More Conclusions

      Dede Edavold was Michelle MacDonald’s campaign manager when she was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Supreme Court.

    • Submitted by Russ Hilbert on 11/20/2015 - 11:38 am.


      I would hope that the ranch owners would also face prosecution for harboring the missing children. Since they were reported missing they were required to notify authorities of their whereabouts. It’s terrible that a place like that that is supposed to help children did exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to do.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/19/2015 - 08:49 am.

    Calm Down

    I wish everyone would just shut up until real factual information comes out about what really happened in the Jamar Clark incident. This day and age there has to be some video that will make half of the so called facts false. The war of words right now is not helping anything except raising tensions.

  4. Submitted by Curtis Loschy on 11/19/2015 - 09:12 am.

    A Telsa in every garage

    In 2010 the GOP promised “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”. We got the Voter ID and Marriage amendment. In 2014 they promised outstate infrastructure; we got nothing. Looks like this election cycle it will be a Telsa in every garage. It should be interesting to see what the GOP actually produces this time around.

  5. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/19/2015 - 09:39 am.

    Reliable Source?

    Is this the same police union that provided the media with the information about the mayor flashing gang signals?

  6. Submitted by Richard Callahan on 11/19/2015 - 10:15 am.

    Autonomous Vehicles are the immediate future.

    With autonomous vehicles you don’t need to own them. You’ll order them as needed as you would a taxi today. With networked autonomous vehicles roads only need to be two lanes (one for movement and one for dropping people off), parking lots are unnecessary, and accidents reduced to zero.

    The billion dollars spent on the Green Line alone would pay for 40,000 vehicles at $25,000 each.

    For once I agree with Garofalo. Trains are 19th century technology and will quickly become archaic. Autonomous vehicles are the immediate future (~20 years) and it makes more sense to invest in them than expensive, fixed infrastructure.

  7. Submitted by L Janovsky on 11/19/2015 - 06:19 pm.

    Trains, pains, and automobiles

    I love the idea of a self-driving car, but it doesn’t make sense that it would replace mass-transit (a lot of people going to approximately the same place). So if I commute from a southwest suburb to Minneapolis, affordabiliy/efficiency wouldn’t be there like intra-city curb to curb, unless I own it myself– which I’d like to! Maybe self driving buses?

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