Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


St. Olaf student charged after investigators find cache of firearms equipment, suspicious items

Plus: Stillwater could see serious flooding by Monday; Minnesota woman to go on 50 dates in 50 states; some I-394 ramps closed until late June; search for missing Winona woman paused; and more.

An aerial view of the St. Olaf campus featuring Holland Hall, Old Main, and Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.
An aerial view of the St. Olaf campus featuring Holland Hall, Old Main, and Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.
St. Olaf College

Bring Me the News staff report, “Concern from a campus custodian led investigators at St. Olaf College to discover a student’s cache of firearms equipment, knives, a tactical vest and other suspicious items, according to new criminal charges. Waylon S. Kurts, 20, of Montpelier, Vermont, was removed from campus last week and charged in Rice County District Court on Monday with conspiracy to commit assault, conspiracy to commit threats of violence and terroristic threats.”

At KSTP-TV Kilat Fitzgerald says, “The I-394 ramps to and from Washington Avenue in downtown Minneapolis closed Monday morning and won’t reopen until June 26. A news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) says part of North 3rd Avenue from North 5th Street up to the construction zone will temporarily become a two-way road so the C parking ramp can still be accessed. MnDOT says this is so crews can rebuild the ramps and redesign the intersection.”

MPR’s Tim Nelson reports, “Real estate can be full of surprises, but the Rondo Community Land Trust never expected this one: Their new headquarters at 1041 Selby Avenue had a deed covenant, specifically excluding people of color from owning or renting the property. That location is right in the city’s historic Black community, the neighborhood around what used to be Rondo Avenue, wiped out by the construction of Interstate 94 …  St. Paul is joining 20 other Minnesota cities in the Just Deeds Coalition. The coalition is a group of Minnesota cities trying to root out race restrictions — long ago invalidated by law — that still linger on deeds used to record land ownership and transfer.”

MPR’s Paul Huttner says, “Here comes flood season. Our rapid warmup is quickly melting snow across our region this week. Rivers are already rising quickly in many areas. … 10-foot rises. The latest hydrograph flood forecasts for area rivers show a 10-foot rise is likely on several area rivers. Let’s check a few select high-impact rivers. St. Croix at Stillwater. The latest flood forecast for the St. Croix at Stillwater projects a 10-foot rise by next Monday, April 17. That would produce moderate to major flooding.”

Article continues after advertisement

For CNBC Rohan Goswami reports, “The FBI recently warned consumers against using free public charging stations, saying crooks have managed to hijack public chargers that can infect devices with malware, or software that can give hackers access to your phone, tablet or computer. ‘Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers’, a tweet from the FBI’s Denver field office said. ‘Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead’.”

For the Energy News Network Frank Jossi writes, “Heat pumps, induction stoves and other electric devices are increasingly seen as key to a clean energy future. And most new homes have electric service robust enough to handle them. But older homes were not designed for big electrical loads, and millions will require updates before those new appliances can be safely plugged in. In states like Minnesota, where old homes with natural gas furnaces and water heaters are common, upgrading electric panels ‘is going to be huge’, said Eric Fowler, senior policy associate for buildings at Fresh Energy, a clean energy advocacy group that also publishes the Energy News Network. ‘As we move toward electrification, that bottleneck is going to be the electric panel.’.In Minneapolis alone, the Center for Energy and Environment estimates owners of one- to four-unit buildings could spend between $164 million and $213 million to improve electric service. Pecan Street, a national research organization, found at least 48 million homes nationally may need electric panel upgrades.”

In the Strib Trey Mewes reports, “Law enforcement are pausing an organized search to find 26-year-old Madeline Jane Kingsbury after hundreds of volunteers searched parts of Winona and Fillmore counties over the weekend. The Winona Police Department said more than 2,600 volunteers showed up to search on Friday and Saturday, covering ground faster than local and state authorities expected. … Winona Police Chief Tom Williams said Monday that police are working on the next steps in the investigation. Kingsbury, of Winona, has been missing since March 31, when she was last seen dropping her kids off at day care.”

Also in the Strib, this from Alex Chhith, “Olivia Stapleton always wanted to visit all 50 states. What she hadn’t planned on was going on a date in every one of them — and doing it in just six months. The Minnesota native will have over eight dates a month as she travels across America. They will range from adrenaline-inducing parasailing to a laid-back bike ride along the beach. Oh, and those dates will be in front of millions of viewers on social media as part of the ‘50 Dates 50 States’ series, which has nearly 600,000 TikTok followers.”

At Joe Nelson writes, “Four members of the 2022 Minnesota Gophers football team are projected by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler to be selected in the upcoming NFL Draft, while others are predicted to get a shot as undrafted free agents.  The projections are in Brugler’s ‘NFL Draft 2023 ‘The Beast’ Guide’, which features scouting reports on more than 400 players and rankings for nearly 1,900 players. It goes so deep that even players from Division-II schools like Southwest Minnesota State and Minnesota-Duluth have players in the guide.”