AROUND MINNESOTA: Man jailed after casino standoff ... Cougar seen in Cities suburb ... Anti-Islam poster not fined ... moreA man is in jail after an armed standoff at Grand Casino Hinckley. Pine County Sheriff Mark Mansavage said no shots were fired during the incident Friday.
By: Forum Communications/Associated Press, Grand Forks Herald
Man jailed after standoff at casino
HINCKLEY — A man is in jail after an armed standoff at Grand Casino Hinckley.
Pine County Sheriff Mark Mansavage said no shots were fired during the incident Friday.
The sheriff said officers were called after 4 a.m. by casino officials about damage caused by a semi driving carelessly through the casino’s RV campground.
The Duluth News Tribune reported a standoff ensued in the casino parking lot for several hours, with the man threatening officers with a rifle or shotgun.
He eventually was taken into custody.
Charges are expected Monday.
Cougar sighted in Cities suburb
ROSEVILLE — Several people said they spotted a cougar prowling in the Twin Cities suburb of Roseville, and experts believe the sighting may be linked to a Wisconsin cat.
A witness saw the animal early Thursday near railroad tracks. State wildlife officials said there’s never been a confirmed case of a cougar attacking a person in Minnesota.
Tammy Theis of the Wildcat Sanctuary said if a transient cougar is in the area, people should remain calm. Cougars are easily frightened and apt to run away.
Wildlife experts in Wisconsin said cougars are beginning to take up permanent habitat in the state after a century-long absence. Officials have confirmed four cougars in Wisconsin and five sets of tracks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Anti-Islam poster won’t be fined
ST. CLOUD — A Waite Park man won’t have to pay fines for hanging anti-Islamic posters on utility poles in St. Cloud.
An administrative hearing officer Friday dismissed two $100 citations against Sidney Elyea. He ruled that St. Cloud selectively prosecuted him for violating an ordinance against posting materials on utility poles.
The ruling by Russell Cherne said the city has never issued a citation in hundreds of previous violations of the ordinance, typically for lost pet or garage sale signs. The city has usually issued cease-and-desist orders instead, and Elyea will get one.
City Attorney Matt Staehling expressed disappointment but said there will be no appeal. Prosecutors declined earlier to press criminal charges.
Elyea’s lawyer, Ryan Garry, is championing the decision as a win for the First Amendment.
Man jailed in RNC protest incident
ST. PAUL — A Republican National Convention protester has pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor conspiracy charge and been sentenced to 91 days in jail.
Erik Oseland, 23, Nisswa, pleaded guilty Friday to third-degree conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property.
Under his plea agreement, the other charges against were dismissed. He’ll also pay a $100 fine.
Oseland was one of eight defendants known as the RNC 8 who were accused of plotting to disrupt the convention in 2008 in downtown St. Paul.
The others are still fighting felony charges and said they’re committed to going to trial.
Polar explorer has sights on Everest
GRAND MARAIS — A polar explorer is attempting to summit Mount Everest in late October to achieve a goal of reaching the South Pole, North Pole and top of Everest in one year’s time.
Eric Larsen said he believes he’ll be the first person to accomplish the feat in that time frame if he’s successful. Larsen has left for the Himalayas and expects to arrive at Everest Base Camp in mid-September.
Larsen said he’ll climb with five Sherpas and hopes to reach the summit in the third or fourth week of October.
In January, Larsen and his team successfully reached the South Pole. With a separate team, he reached the North Pole on April 22. Larsen said he thinks the Everest climb will be the most challenging of the three expeditions.
School curbs use of electronics
CLOQUET — Increased student use of electronic devices in Cloquet schools prompted staff and administration to put teeth into the school’s policy regarding their use throughout school property — including locker rooms and restrooms.
The School Board approved the policy this past week, just in time for the start of the new school year Sept. 7.
The policy mandates that cell phones and personal electronic devices be turned off and kept out of sight during instructional time. They are prohibited in classrooms during the school day as well as the Media Center, testing centers and during fine arts performances. Students will not be allowed to leave class to respond to messages received via such electronic devices.
Cell phones and other devices may be used “appropriately and respectfully” before and after classes in common areas such as near lockers and in the cafeteria or outside on the school grounds.
Minnesota park leads in contest
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Minnesota state park is more than half a million votes ahead of the Smokies in an online contest for favorite parks that nets the winner $100,000.
“Bear Head Lake may not be a household name, but it is a beautiful, special place and deserving of the votes it’s getting,” Amy Barrett, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ division of parks and trails, told The Knoxville News Sentinel.
She said officials in Minnesota have done nothing special to promote the park.
“We don’t know where all the votes are coming from. It is a surprise that a Minnesota state park is leading a national park. I wouldn’t predict that,” she said.
As of Friday afternoon, Bear Head Lake State Park had 1,425,604 votes. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park had 852,058.
Bear Head Lake is 4,523 acres near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It offers hiking, fishing and camping, and visitors can see bears, nesting eagles and the occasional moose, Barrett said.
Voting continues through Tuesday. The contest is sponsored by the National Park Foundation and Coca-Cola, and there is no limit to the amount of times someone can vote. The website is www.LivePositively.com.
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