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ST. PAUL - Note to Minnesotans: Get comfortable because the U.S. Senate election trial is going to take a while. There is no trial timeline, but a brief courtroom comment Wednesday by one of three judges hearing the election lawsuit confirmed that the case is far from over. Judge Denise Reilly of Hennepin County said the court will review and count absentee ballots that the judges decide were wrongly excluded from the Nov. 4 election and the recount.
Any who has ever dug into a fish dinner at Afton, Minnesota's Catfish Saloon, or licked an ice cream cone from the town's storied ice cream parlor will most certainly want to pick up a copy of "Death Row" ($17.99), by Hal Barnes, available in bookstores and through Lulu.com. And if you've never sampled the culinary delights of the beautiful little town pick one up anyway because it's a crackling good mystery, chockfull of international intrigue and contemporary concerns. Barnes, a Twin Cities business writer, lives in Afton and his infectious enthusiasm for the neighborhood shows.
A Grand Rapids woman says her son was among four Americans killed when two U.S. helicopters crashed in northern Iraq. Ruth Windorski of Grand Rapids says she learned Monday that her 36-year-old son, Philip Windorski Jr., was among those killed in the single deadliest incident for U.S. troops in four months. Philip Windorski grew up in Grand Rapids and was recently stationed out of Fort Drum, New York. His mother says Windorski was a couple of years away from retirement, but planned to re-up. She says he was on his third tour of Iraq.
ST. PAUL - Three judges are handling the U.S. Senate election trial, but county election workers are not done with their part in the prolonged race. The historic election trial started Monday with claims from Norm Coleman's lawyers that ballots were not treated equally around Minnesota and some were counted when they should not have been. The first day of the trial ended with the judges saying they were not confident in some of the Coleman campaign's evidence and would need counties to produce original documents.
ST. PAUL - A Woodbury woman played a minor role in an early U.S. Senate election trial controversy. Kristen Fuzer was the first witness in the trial, which started Monday. As Norm Coleman's campaign political director, Fuzer was called before the three-judge panel, campaign attorneys and a courtroom audience to answer questions about photocopies she helped make. The Coleman campaign wanted the copies of rejected absentee ballots to be part of the trial. Al Franken's campaign objected, citing problems with the paperwork.
ST. PAUL -- An estimated 5,000 uncounted ballots should be included in the U.S. Senate election tally to avoid problems seen in Florida's 2000 presidential recount, Norm Coleman's campaign said Monday. In opening statements at Minnesota's U.S. Senate election trial, an attorney for Coleman said counties applied different standards when they decided whether to reject absentee ballots in the election.
A 43-year-old Hastings man, Gerald M. Hauwiller, has been identified as the passenger who died in the Jan. 15 accident just north of the Highway 61 bridge in Hastings. Hauwiller was a passenger in the Ford pickup driven by Timothy J. Sherry, 45, also of Hastings. Sherry and the driver of a Dodge Ram pickup, Allen L. Burr, 38, also of Hastings, sustained minor injuries in the accident. According to State Patrol information, the Sherry vehicle was northbound on the roadway around 8:35 p.m., when the driver apparently lost control and slid sideways into southbound traffic.
A 29-year-old Redby woman has been missing since Saturday, her mother said Wednesday. Charlotte Clark said her daughter, Barbara Crystal (King) Ortiz, walked away from her home, half a mile west of Redby in the McBride area, to hitchhike to Bemidji Saturday on County Road 15. She was last seen near County Road 32 East. "She's a vulnerable adult," Clark said. "She's in serious need of medication and she needs to be hospitalized. ... She has mental health issues. At times she does not know who she is." Ortiz gave birth to a baby Dec. 28.
ST. PAUL - An electric transmission project in western Minnesota can go forward - with conditions aimed at protecting ratepayers and the environment -- state regulators decided Thursday. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve a large-scale power line project that would distribute electricity from the proposed Big Stone II coal-fired power plant in eastern South Dakota.
The state would get extra federal money by passing a bill protecting people who turn in companies defrauding the government under a new bill. Also, the watchdog himself would get a financial benefit, a percent of the recovered money. Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, said in this time of a budget deficit, every dollar that can be recovered should be sought. Attorney Brian Wojtalewicz of Appleton, who also has an Alexandria office, said there are about 200 federal cases nationwide dealing with the government being defrauded.