- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015
Report: More residents in poverty in Twin Cities suburbs

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A new report by the Metropolitan Council says more residents are living in poverty in metro-area suburbs than in the inner cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, putting a strain on communities that are now struggling to maintain housing, build transportation infrastructure and provide social services that poor residents need.

More than 385,000 people live in poverty in the suburbs and rural areas across the seven-county metro, compared with 259,000 in Minneapolis and St. Paul combined, Minnesota Public Radio News reported (https://bit.ly/1HEq2w4https://bit.ly/1HEq2w4 ). The report defines poverty as 185 percent of the federal poverty line, which is about $44,000 a year for a family of four.

Maplewood Mayor Nora Slawik said the increased poverty can be seen on her city’s north side, and that the community is trying to keep property values up by creating a pool of money that residents can access for home repairs.

“Our housing stock is getting older, and people are having trouble keeping up with payments, which cause some of the foreclosure issues,” Slawik said. “We also have some issues with rehabbing.”

She also supports more transportation infrastructure that poor residents rely on to get to work. One proposal includes a possible bus rapid transit line from downtown St. Paul to Woodbury and Lake Elmo.


Rock Island man convicted in death of Iowa woman

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois judge has found a Rock Island man guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his former girlfriend.

Timothy McVay was charged in the death of 29-year-old Carrie Olson, who was reported missing when she didn’t come to her job in Davenport, Iowa in December 2013.

In addition to first-degree murder, Judge F. Michael Meersman on Friday found the 40-year-old McVay guilty of concealment of a homicidal death. The Rock Island Argus reports (https://bit.ly/1THGPWB) Meersman did not set a sentencing date.

Prosecutors argued McVay killed Olson in his home between Dec. 28 and 29, 2013 and dumped her body near Hastings, Minnesota. Her remains were found four months later.

Defense attorneys contended prosecutors failed to prove McVay killed Olson or that the Iowa woman died in Illinois.


Dayton sees storm damage, says Brainerd’s open for business

BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) - After meeting with resort owners who were hit by recent severe thunderstorms, Gov. Mark Dayton declared the Brainerd lakes area “open for business” on Friday.

Dayton took a helicopter survey of the damage and heard the concerns of resort owners after Sunday’s storm and 70 mph winds forced some resorts to shut down, displacing hundreds of vacationers at the height of the summer tourism season.

Dayton praised cleanup efforts, saying they show “the Minnesota way of digging in and doing what you need to do.”

The Star Tribune reports some resorts will need a few more days to be completely up and running, but owners say they’re ready for visitors. The resorts that aren’t at full capacity are referring guests to other places with room.

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, who joined Dayton along with several lawmakers, also praised the cleanup efforts. Utility trucks, brush haulers and police vehicles crowded roads surrounding Gull Lake, while workers used chain saws and wood chippers to cut, chop and haul the trees that were felled by the storm.


State health officials warn of potential meningitis outbreak

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Health is urging men who have sex with men to get vaccinated for meningococcal meningitis.

The alert comes after the recent death of a Ramsey County man who became infected with the disease. Officials say the man who died was in his 40s and was HIV positive. He carried the same bacteria that killed one man in Chicago and made six others sick.

Officials in Minnesota say the disease has also been found in clusters of gay men in Los Angeles and New York.

Kris Ehresmann is the health department’s director of infectious disease epidemiology. She says the disease is rare but serious. About 10 to 15 percent of cases are fatal.

Symptoms include fever, vomiting, headache, stiff neck and extreme sleepiness.

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