08/11/10: This week’s Minnesota news from other media

“Lake Vermilion’s loon population appears to have dipped noticeably this year, but it remains unclear whether the decline represents normal variation, or is part of a troubling trend,” writes Marshall Helmberger in the Ely/Tower/Orr Timberjay. According to the article, “This year, counters found 221 loons. While that still represents the highest total in the state, it was down 60 birds over last year’s total count of 281 loons. This year’s count included 198 adults and 23 chicks, which put the chick count down just six from last year.”

Out of a tragedy that received national attention, four area men have formed a bond that is helping to keep them steady at a time in their lives when there seems to be more questions than answers,” writes Justine Wettschreck in the Worthington Daily Globe. She tells the story of Bob Miller, Cameron Johnson and John Armstrong of Worthington and Dave Stenzel of Heron Lake, “four of 17 people caught on the side of a mountain at Grand Teton National Park several weeks ago when an electrical storm came out of nowhere, eventually claiming the life of 21-year-old Brandon Oldenkamp of Sanborn, Iowa.”

“A Carlton County woman is charged with three felony counts of theft by swindle for allegedly submitting false claims for reimbursement while serving as Atkinson Township Board supervisor,” Mark Stodghill in the Duluth News Tribune. “Traci Ann Juntunen, 40, of Mahtowa has been summoned to appear in court Monday to be arraigned on the charges. She’s accused of submitting false claims of $300 for an Energy Efficiency Small Grants Program, $250 for blueprints for a new township building and $50 for driving to a meeting with an architect.”

City officials in Lewiston, Minn., are restarting their search for a new police chief after the top candidate failed a background check, reports Patrick B. Anderson in the Winona Daily News. The article says, “The City Council had offered law enforcement veteran Michael Cherney the job contingent on the results of the probe and a psychological evaluation. But the council rescinded the offer last week.”

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