An e-mail circulating in Northern Minnesota and beyond reports a grim outlook on ice-out conditions in many border area lakes.
According to the email from Becca Manlove, an information officer with the Superior National Forest, pilots flying over areas "from Jackfish west and south to Birch and Vermilion Lakes" found that many lakes were still frozen right to the shoreline:
· Fall Lake had the most open water around the edges but was still 80% ice covered.
· Birch, Vermilion, Burntside, western Basswood including Pipestone and Jackfish Bays, S. Farm, and White Iron were frozen.
· There was a little open water near the bridge on the northern end of White Iron and a little open water on the southeast end.
Sawbill reportedly had 23 inches of ice on it Tuesday morning.
Manlove apologized for the report: "Sorry to spread such cold, hard news," she wrote.
Turns out, there'll be no pre-trial "gag" on the attorneys working the Byron Smith murder case.
That's the ruling out of Little Falls, where Morrison County District Judge Douglas Anderson has denied a request by Smith's attorney to restrict case lawyers from discussing the case with the media.
In rejecting the motion by Steven Meshbesher, Smith's attorney, Anderson ruled that he expects attorneys on both sides, "to adhere to the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct," particularly the rule that restricts attorneys "from making extrajudicial statements that the lawyer 'knows or reasonably should know...will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing a jury trial in a pending criminal matter.' "
Anderson wrote that adhering to the rule should "strike a balance between protecting the right to a fair trial and safeguarding the right of free expression."
In filing a motion last month asking for restrictions, Meshbesher argued that some public statements by prosecutor Pete Orput were inflammatory and could prejudice Smith's right to a fair trial.
Meshbesher's request followed a motion by Orput asking that defense attorneys be kept from releasing documents, audio recordings and other evidence before trial in order to ensure a fair trial.
Anderson ruled earlier last week that the case attorneys cannot publicly release case evidence before trial, unless ordered by the court.
Smith, 64, faces two counts of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Nick Brady, 17, and Brady's cousin, Haile Kifer, 18, after they broke into his Little Falls home on Thanksgiving Day. According to prosecutors and a criminal complaint, Smith shot them several times each in the basement of his home, then left their bodies in a basement workroom for a day before investigators were called to the home.
Smith's next court hearing is scheduled for May 6 in Morrison County.
Evidence showing Aaron Schaffhausen's anger in the months leading up to his three daughters' deaths should be allowed at his murder trial because it speaks to his mindset, prosecutors argued in court papers filed late Friday.
Schaffhausen is accused of killing his three daughters in the girls’ River Falls home in July. He entered an insanity plea in the case last month.
Professional snowboarder Dan Brisse, a native of Richmond, Minn., is pledging to donate $10,000 of potential prize money to slain Cold Spring police officer Thomas Decker’s family. Decker was shot Nov. 29, leaving behind a widow and four young children. Brisse and Decker both attended Rocori High School.
“Tom was a couple years older than me, but we met a few times here and there,” Brisse, 29, said from his home in Salt Lake City. “I think this is a good opportunity to do something cool and give back a little.”
Chasing his dreams, Brisse (pronounced Breezy) headed West a decade ago after graduating from Rocori. It took four years until he started getting paid. But the last two years, Brisse has won back-to-back $50,000 prizes and gold medals in the X Games’ “Real Snow” competition. The money goes to the boarder whose 60-second video of his best jumps wows the judges. Separate fan voting at www.xgames.com/realsnow is underway. Brisse will learn Monday if he’s one of two finalists. Fan voting from Jan. 22-27 will determine the winner. If it’s Brisse, he’ll kick $10,000 to the Decker fund.
Minnesota was officially shut off from the outside world Tuesday -- for lake and ocean shipping, anyway -- when the locks at Lake Superior's southeastern tip were closed for annual maintenance.
The 767-foot Cason J. Callaway (above), loaded with 25,000 tons of taconite pellets loaded at Two Harbors, Minn.,, passed through the Poe lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. just after sundown Tuesday. It was headed for Indiana Harbor at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, south of Chicago, to deliver the iron ore, and then to Sturgeon Bay, Wis., where it will spend the winter. .
The Soo Locks, as they are known, are scheduled to close every year on Jan. 15 for winter maintenance, regardless of weather conditions, unless shippers ask for an extension of the season. They're scheduled to re-open March 25.
During the 2012 navigation season, 4,086 cargo vessels passed through the Soo Locks carrying about 75 million tons of iron ore, coal, grain and other commodities. Another 3,278 tour boats, private boats and other recreational vessels used the locks this past year.