- Associated Press - Sunday, August 31, 2014
Minnesota holding onto $606M in unclaimed assets

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The state of Minnesota isn’t making much effort to return unclaimed money to more than 50,000 rightful owners, people who include a U.S. senator, state commissioner and rock star.

The state Department of Commerce is holding onto $606 million in unclaimed assets, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported (http://strib.mn/1zZ5vybhttp://strib.mn/1zZ5vyb ). The stash includes funds from dormant bank accounts and safe-deposit boxes, as well as untouched death benefits and stock shares.

Most of the money ends up in the state’s general fund, although officials are obligated to return it if the owners are found.

Some of the owners should be easy to find. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, state Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and even rock star Prince are among those owed money.

So why can’t the Department of Commerce find them? Mainly because it’s not trying.

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$2.2M wind turbine at Veterans Affairs site idle

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - A $2.2 million wind turbine at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility in St. Cloud has been broken for years, and similar issues have plagued VA facilities in two other states.

The wind turbine at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System hasn’t worked in two years, and workers have made a series of hydraulic and electrical repairs with no luck, the St. Cloud Times reported (http://on.sctimes.com/Z3KR4zhttp://on.sctimes.com/Z3KR4z ).

Barry Venable, a St. Cloud VA spokesman, wouldn’t say when - if ever - the turbine will generate power.

“I wouldn’t care to characterize things in terms of a timeline,” Venable said. “In terms of what we do here every day, we’re more focused on taking care of veterans. Not to say the turbine’s not receiving appropriate emphasis - it is- but it’s an object out there, of concern.”

The VA system is already reeling from months of bad publicity. There were reports that veterans may have died while waiting for care at VA medical centers, and audits found evidence of fraudulent scheduling practices.

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St. Paul police defend officers in stun-gun video

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The St. Paul police union is defending the three officers who used a stun gun on a man who was sitting in a downtown skyway.

The president of the St. Paul Police Federation says the officers acted “responsibly, respectfully and in accordance with the high professional standards we expect from our members.”

Chris Lollie says he was sitting in the skyway waiting to pick up his children when security guards called police and said he’d been sitting in a private area. The 28-year-old recorded the encounter, in which police used a stun gun on him despite his protests that he’d done nothing wrong.

Police Federation President Dave Titus said Saturday that Lollie refused “numerous lawful orders for an extended period of time.”

Lollie posted his cellphone video online last week.

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Woman struck, killed by St. Paul light-rail train

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - St. Paul police say a woman who was struck and killed by a light-rail train may have been listening to headphones.

Police tell WCCO-TV (http://cbsloc.al/1lqKpXXhttp://cbsloc.al/1lqKpXX ) the woman was heading toward the station in a crosswalk Sunday morning when she was struck by an eastbound train. Authorities say the station’s warning signals were working, and she may have been using headphones.

Police haven’t released her name but say she was in her 40s.

Metro Transit says the collision happened near the Westgate Station. Green Line service was halted, and replacement buses were being used to shuttle passengers between the Prospect Park and Raymond Avenue stops.

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