Minn. roundup: Sex offender case rejected; Minnesota River 'strains under pressure'
Sex offender case rejected
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a Minnesota case challenging a state law that allows sex offenders to remain locked up indefinitely.
The court announced Monday, Oct. 2, that it will not take up the case. In not hearing it, the court allows an early 2017 ruling by a federal appeals court to stand.
The appeals decision overturned a lower court decision that found the sex offender program unconstitutional. The appeals ruling removed requirements for immediate changes.
The lawsuit against the sex offender treatment program has gone on for years. In it, participants in the program claim they are kept in a prison-like setting at state facilities in St. Peter and Moose Lake with no realistic chance to get out.
Until recently, no one had been let out of the program, but the Dayton administration has changed the philosophy and began looking at ways to move some offenders to less restrictive living conditions.
About 700 Minnesotans are in the program, most committed to it indefinitely after their prison sentences end.
Study: Minnesota River 'strains under pressure'
MANKATO, Minn.—The Minnesota River "strains under pressure from its geology, surrounding land use and changing climate," the state Pollution Control Agency reports after an extensive study.
The MPCA reported on Monday, Oct. 2, that the river faces water quality issues from sediment that clouds the water, phosphorus that contributes to algae growth and nitrogen and bacteria that pose health risks.
The river, which stretches from the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities south to near Mankato and then to the northwest to Big Stone Lake in extreme western Minnesota, has 13 major tributaries to make up one of the state's main watersheds.
Row crops are on about 70 percent of the 14,000 square miles in the basis, the MPCA reported.
"Runoff and artificial drainage are the main ways that pollutants reach rivers from farmland," the MPCA reported. "They also increase flows in the rivers, causing problems like streambank erosion, a major source of sediment."
The report shows that the Minnesota River is the largest contributor of Mississippi River sediment and nutrient pollution.
Rochester senator enters U.S. House race
ROCHESTER, Minn. — A Minnesota state senator says she is running for the U.S. House of Representatives seat that serves southern Minnesota.
However, Sen. Carla Nelson of Rochester would say little about her campaign on Monday, Oct. 2.
"While I have decided to run for Congress, today is not a day for campaigning," she said. "This is a solemn day for our nation, a time when we need to come together and pray for the victims of Las Vegas, their families and all who have been affected by this tragedy."
A Republican, she enters a race full of Democrats, but only one other in her party.
The GOP's Jim Hagedorn, making his third run for the office, said he has a wide head start after coming within 0.4 percent of being incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat, last year.
Walz is not seeking re-election, opting instead to run for governor.
"It takes an enormous amount of time and effort to personally connect with voters in a large 21-county district like Minnesota's First..." Hagedorn said. "Our campaign is strongly positioned to achieve victory in 2018" because it is unifying Republicans and has support of prominent members of the party.
Nelson was elected to the House in 2002 and the Senate in 2010.
Man dies in Douglas County rollover
KENSINGTON, Minn.—A 33-year-old Brandon man was killed Sunday evening, Oct. 1, in a rollover crash near Kensington.
Mitchell Brazel died in the crash about 8 p.m., the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
Brazel was driving east on Elk Lake Road when he came to a T intersection on County Road 25. Brazel did not make the turn and his 2003 GMC Yukon went off the embankment and hit a tree at the bottom of the ditch.
Brazel's body has been taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy.