St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL - Minnesota’s unemployment rate held firm at 2.8 percent in October as the state’s labor market gained thousands of jobs, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “With an overall 2.8 percent unemployment, employers are working harder to attract and retain talent,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a statement. A total of 86,118 Minnesotans are unemployed, according to DEED.
ST. PAUL - A federal agency has given a key approval to the Southwest Light Rail Transit project, clearing the way for the start of construction on the 14.5-mile, $2 billion link between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. The Metropolitan Council said the Federal Transit Administration gave the approval on Wednesday. The action means the Met Council can move forward with awarding a construction contract for the project, the largest public infrastructure investment in state history.
ST. PAUL -- Jeff Johnson, the Republican candidate for governor, plans to leave politics after his term as a Hennepin County commissioner ends in 2020. Johnson, originally from Detroit Lakes, was defeated by Congressman Tim Walz in last week’s gubernatorial election. It was Johnson’s third failed bid for statewide office.
ST. PAUL -- A blaze in a St. Paul garage where multiple electric scooters were charging was not caused by the scooters, as a fire investigator initially thought possible. The investigation showed the fire in Highland Park started at an electrical outlet and was possibly ignited by a loose electrical connection, which could have been caused by wear and tear or improper installation, St. Paul Fire Capt. Joe Blank said this week. While the scooters didn’t cause the fire, they could have been a contributing factor, Blank said.
BELDEN, Minn. -- After five days, Pine County law enforcement officials suspended their search for a hunter who went missing, saying they’ve found no sign of him. David Peltier, 59, was reported missing Sunday by members of his deer hunting party in northern Minnesota, according to the Pine County sheriff’s office.
FARIBAULT, Minn. -- Two corrections officers at the Minnesota Correctional Facility — Faribault were hospitalized Sunday night, Nov. 4, after they were attacked by an inmate. The officers were treated and released after the 6 p.m. assault, said Sarah Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The inmate involved in the attack was placed in restrictive housing, and the prison is currently under lockdown, Fitzgerald said.
BURNSVILLE, Minn. — A Burnsville Lyft driver is accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman as he drove her and her friend home from a bar, authorities say. Ahmed Tawane Abdi, 39, faces one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to the criminal complaint filed against him Thursday in Ramsey County District Court. The charge stems from a ride Abdi gave a woman in her 20s on Aug. 5 of last year, authorities say.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Authorities are investigating the death of a University of St. Thomas student who fell from a 10th floor apartment in Minneapolis. Authorities were called to the Bridges apartments near the University of Minnesota just before 1 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 1. In St. Paul, St. Thomas identified the woman as first-year student Joia Simpson of Bayside, Calif. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that she was a visitor to the apartment during a Halloween party.
ST. PAUL -- A janitor at an elementary school in St. Paul who wrote lewd, anonymous notes to a 10-year-old was ordered to spend 60 days in custody. A Ramsey County District Court judge delivered Oscar Herrera’s sentence Tuesday, about a month and a half after the 23-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of felony-level stalking for his conduct. A second felony charge Herrera faced was dismissed.
ST. PAUL -- Hill-Murray senior Zach Zarembinski remained in intensive care on Wednesday, his family says, three days after he was rushed to a hospital during a playoff game. The lineman suffered suffered an injury during the Pioneers’ playoff loss to St. Paul Johnson on Saturday that resulted in a brain bleed. He underwent surgery and was placed in a medically induced coma.