- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Dayton says he can’t impose frack sand moratorium

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton says he lacks authority to impose a two-year moratorium on silica sand mining in southeastern Minnesota.

Mining opponents delivered a moratorium petition to St. Paul Tuesday as part of an Earth Day rally at the Capitol.

The petitions also call for creation of tough state-level regulations to protect air and water quality from the mining of silica sand, which oil and gas drillers use for hydraulic fracturing.

But the Star Tribune reports Dayton’s spokesman issued a statement saying the governor “lacks the authority to unilaterally impose his own moratorium.”

The Land Stewardship Project launched the petition drive in January. The group contends Dayton has executive authority to enact a regional moratorium.


Police ID man killed outside Minnesota ballroom

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Mankato police have released the name of a Nebraska man shot to death outside an entertainment center over the weekend.

Police identify the victim was 22-year-old Poth Accouth of Bellevue, Neb. The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office says he died from a gunshot wound to the neck.

Accouth was shot during a disturbance outside the Kato Ballroom early Sunday following an event for a Sudanese student group from Minnesota State University. Police say Accouth was in Mankato to participate in a weekend basketball tournament held at the school.

Police have not been able to identify the shooter. Because of the large number of people on the scene, investigators are confident several people witnessed the shooting and are asking them to help identify the shooter.


FBI investigates suspected serial child molester

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The FBI asked for the public’s help Tuesday to identify at least 90 potential victims of a suspected child predator who worked at 10 American and other international schools abroad for more than four decades before committing suicide last month in Minnesota.

William James Vahey, 64, killed himself in Luverne on March 21, the FBI said. That was two days after agents in Houston filed for a warrant to search a computer thumb drive that belonged to Vahey, a U.S. citizen with residences in London and Hilton Head Island, S.C. An employee of the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, where Vahey had recently taught ninth-grade world history and geography, gave the drive to the U.S. Embassy there.

The storage device contained pornographic images of at least 90 boys, ages 12 to 14, who appeared to be drugged and unconscious, the FBI said. The agency’s spokeswoman in Houston, Special Agent Shauna Dunlap, told The Associated Press that investigators suspect all of the boys in the images were students of Vahey’s, going back to 2008, and that he had molested all of them.

“When confronted about the images by a school administrator, Vahey confessed that he was molested as a child and had preyed on boys his entire life, giving them sleeping pills prior to the molestation,” according to a statement posted prominently on the FBI’s website, www.fbi.gov , with links for potential victims.

The photos were catalogued with dates and locations that corresponded with overnight field trips that Vahey had taken with students since 2008, but he had led students on such trips for his entire career, the FBI said.


Stopping Minn. e-lotto tickets wouldn’t come cheap

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota lawmakers are in a lottery pickle: Let sales of virtual tickets continue over bipartisan objections or be forced to find millions of dollars to shut the venture down.

Legislation demanding that the Minnesota Lottery abandon a budding system of instant-play and draw game tickets sold over the Internet is steaming ahead at the Capitol. But legislators were told Tuesday that doing so could deprive accounts that pay for park upkeep, wildlife preservation and other environmental projects as well as leave a hole in the general treasury because of how lottery profits are split.

The potential $8 million cost attributable to lost sales within the next few years and vendor contracts that would be breached if the Legislature halts the games. Lottery officials are getting an earful over their recent launch of virtual scratch-off tickets, which angered lawmakers because they didn’t provide explicit direction to the agency.

“The lottery is way out of bounds here and we have to rein them in and tell them how it’s going to be,” Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, said Tuesday at the first of this week’s two House committee hearings.

Lottery director Ed Van Petten insists his agency had authority within existing laws to proceed, citing a legal opinion conducted for a vendor that he said he isn’t permitted to release. The new games are essential to keeping the lottery vibrant at a time when traditional brick-and-mortar sales are tapering, Van Petten said.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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