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WALKER - The counselor who forced a camper to engage in sexual activities with him June 25 at Camp Olson near Longville was sentenced Feb. 23 in Cass County District Court to 25 years supervised probation. Spencer Olin Krum, 20, of Eugene, Ore., had pleaded guilty Dec. 29 one count of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct while in a position of authority over a victim age 13 to 15. Judge John P. Smith convicted Krum at the Feb. 23 sentencing hearing, ordered him to pay $207 costs and $700 restitution and gave him credit for 120 days already served.
ST. PAUL - Some University of Minnesota Duluth hockey fans may be able to purchase alcoholic beverages next season, thanks to a bill introduced in the Minnesota Legislature. It has yet to be heard by a committee in either house. Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth, would add the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center to a short list of institutions that can sell alcohol at events. Others include Biwabik's Giants Ridge Recreation Area and the new TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
A Stillwater man will serve two years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to prevent a federal judge from doing her job. John Howard Pelton, 67, was one of three Twin Cities men convicted in October of one count of conspiracy to impede an officer and one count of obstruction of justice in U.S. District Court. In addition to his prison term, Pelton was sentenced Monday to 24 three years of supervised release. Another of the convicted, Frederick Ogan Bond, 63, of Champlin received the same sentence.
ST. PAUL - Judges in the Senate election trial want county officials' help. The court on Thursday ordered 63 counties and some cities to examine roughly 1,500 uncounted absentee ballot envelopes to determine whether voters mistakenly placed voter registration cards in the envelope. The order was a first step toward possibly adding a large group votes in the Senate election tally, but the court's order did not say any of the ballots would be counted as part of the trial. Norm Coleman is challenging Al Franken's 225-vote recount victory in the trial, which is wrapping up its fifth week.
ST. PAUL - The absentee application was signed "B Weitenbach" and the ballot envelope was signed "William Alan Weitenbach." With that difference - one a full name, the other shorthand for Bill Weitenbach - the Elk River man's vote was excluded from Minnesota's November election. "I suspect that it was because of the signature," Weitenbach concluded during testimony in the U.S. Senate election trial. A voter's signature - and whether it matches on multiple documents - is a significant issue in the trial, with potentially hundreds of previously uncounted ballots at stake.
ST. PAUL -- Al Franken says he is getting in the know, but Norm Coleman says he already knows. Each U.S. Senate candidate says he is poised to be senator, but Franken and Coleman are preparing differently as they await an outcome in their Senate election, now three months overdue. Their attorneys are engaged in a St. Paul trial to determine what disputed ballots should be counted.
Republicans want to require a photo identification card to be shown before a Minnesotan can vote. "The Voter Integrity Act of 2009 will simply serve as one more safeguard to ensuring that every Minnesotans' vote is counted fairly," said Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano. "Countless challenges and even the threat of litigation has irrevocably changed the way we as Americans conduct elections.
Two Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party lawmakers have introduced a bill to ensure that all children have health insurance. Democrats say they fear today's budget plan by Gov. Tim Pawlenty will chop funding for such programs. "We know that the majority of uninsured children in our state already qualify for public programs," commented Sen. Linda Berglin of Minneapolis. "This bill is designed to remove the barriers that are getting in the way of coverage." The proposal expands the availability of MinnesotaCare for children. MNCare is an insurance program for poor Minnesotans.
ST. PAUL - Attorneys for Norm Coleman and Al Franken each claim one man's testimony boosted their case, but he said the court, not a campaign, was the intended beneficiary. The man in the middle was Jim Gelbmann, the deputy secretary of state who was involved in the Senate recount and was the first major witness in the Senate election trial. Norm Coleman's campaign called Gelbmann, a Woodbury resident, to testify as it tries to convince a three-judge panel to overturn election results showing Al Franken won by 225 votes.
Wadena Lanes owner Shirley Almer was one of two Minnesotans whose deaths are being linked with a salmonella outbreak affecting 43 states, according to her daughter, Ginger Lorentz of Brainerd, Minn. Almer died Dec. 21 at age 72 in Brainerd. Almer was staying at Bethany Good Samaritan Village in Brainerd, when she became ill and had to be taken to the hospital emergency room where she died, Ginger said. The death was unexpected. "We planned to take her home Monday, she passed away on Sunday," Ginger said. The family is still learning more and more about the situation, she said.