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MINNEAPOLIS -- Tom Rukavina, a feisty Iron Range politician who made his mark in the Minnesota House and ended his political career last week as a St. Louis County commissioner, has died. Rukavina, 68, died Monday, Dec. 7, after a yearlong battle with leukemia. Rukavina died at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, where he was being treated to receive a bone marrow transplant.
CROOKSTON, Minn. — Minnesota officials have announced the names of two lucky residents who bought lottery tickets worth $1 million each. Deb Meyer, of Prior Lake, Minn., got her winning ticket from Superpumper in Crookston, though it was her husband who purchased the Minnesota Millionaire Raffle ticket for her on Nov. 2 while on a hunting trip in northwest Minnesota, according to a news release from the Minnesota Lottery.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has been elected chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. It's the second time the 74-year-old dean of the Minnesota congressional delegation has served as the leader of the agriculture panel, first serving from 2007 to 2011. Since 2011, he has been the ranking member of the committee and played a key role in passing the farm bill late last year, as well as in previous years.
WADENA, Minn. - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is investigating damage caused by battery acid after about 60 golf carts were destroyed in the Blueberry Pines golf clubhouse fire Wednesday, Jan. 2. “That all boiled right up through the sewer system and all the way down on County 16,” Building superintendent Jeff Yungbauer said. “They’re going to test it and see how bad it is.” The lodge was a complete loss. The fleet of carts were stored in the structure's basement, which housed the pro shop and restaurant.
MINNEAPOLIS — A Thief River Falls chiropractor accused of defrauding more than $1 million from insurance companies is expected to change his plea in federal court. Steven Richard Wiseth, 36, has reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota, according to a letter from his attorney. Wiseth, who is charged with six counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, is scheduled to appear Jan. 17 in U.S. District Court for a change of plea hearing. He was slated to go to trial Monday, but that has been canceled.
ST. PAUL — The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources issued its 2020 request for proposals for funding from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Approximately $53 million is available for projects that will provide multiple ecological and other public benefits. The LCCMR is requesting proposals in the following categories: Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information. Water Resources. Environmental Education. Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species.
FARGO — Fargo police have arrested a Clay County Jail inmate who escaped from a work detail in neighboring Moorhead, Minn., at about 2:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3. Officers began searching for Jonathan Randall Evitt, 29, of Moorhead who escaped custody on foot during the work detail, according to Fargo police. Someone called emergency dispatchers reporting a suspicious man wearing orange and running through downtown Fargo.
MENAHGA, Minn. — The fire that completely destroyed the Blueberry Pines Golf Course clubhouse was started by an enclosed fireplace in the basement, according to a press release from the Wadena County Sheriff's Department. Propane is the main heating source for the building, but the wood fireplace is supplemental. There were no indications of foul play and no injuries occurred in the fire.
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Scott Staska, a former high school principal in Barnesville who was a finalist for superintendent of Moorhead Area Public Schools, has pleaded guilty to indecent exposure charges in Stearns County District Court. On Friday, Dec. 28, Staska, 57, pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal to four misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure. Fifteen other counts are to be dismissed. Staska will be sentenced Jan. 31. Under the plea deal, he is to serve 80 hours of community service and possibly face fines of up to $300 per count.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The number of NFL head coaching vacancies expanded to eight on Monday morning, Dec. 31, according to multiple reports. Field Level Media reports Marvin Lewis, the second-longest tenured head coach after New England's Bill Belichick, will not return to lead the Cincinnati Bengals. The franchise's all-time winningest coach amassed a 131-122-3 record over 16 seasons, but was 0-7 in the playoffs.