Construction worker gravely hurt in fall at White Bear Lake YMCA

A construction worker who fell from scaffolding Wednesday morning while working at the YMCA in White Bear Lake was taken to a St. Paul hospital in "very critical condition," a fire official said.

The worker, a man in his mid-40s, fell about 18 feet and landed on concrete about 8:45 a.m., said White Bear Lake fire Capt. Ron Hawkins. He had significant head injuries and was taken to Regions Hospital.

He was on the crew working on an expansion and renovation of the Northeast Family YMCA, 2100 Orchard Lane.

A state Occupational Safety and Health Division investigator went to the site after the fall, agency spokesman James Honerman said.

VINCE TUSS

Ex-employee at Waite Park School admits to groping underage girls

A 39-year-old man who worked as an interpreter for the Minneapolis School District has pleaded guilty to groping his girlfriend's daughters.

Vicente Schmitz-Viveros, of Minneapolis, worked as a bilingual program aide in classrooms at Waite Park Community School. He was arrested June 25, charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and suspended from the district. He pleaded guilty last week to both counts against him.

Schmitz-Viveros allegedly touched the 15-year-old daughter of his girlfriend in June, according to a court document. He also touched his girlfriend's 13-year-old daughter several times between September 2007 and June 2009, the document said. The girls told their mother, who called police. When initially confronted by his girlfriend, Schmitz-Viveros said he only hugged the girls.

Sentencing is set for May 5.

PAUL WALSH

Man pleads guilty to murder in St. Paul dice game dispute

Christopher G. Burke-Harris pleaded guilty Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court to felony murder in the Aug. 14 fatal shooting of Troy L. Crawford on St. Paul's East Side.

Burke-Harris, 21, will be sentenced April 29 by District Judge William Leary. He faces about 21 years in prison.

Crawford, 27, of St. Paul, was killed after a dice game dispute turned deadly. Witness accounts in the criminal complaint differ, but they generally describe a dispute over money. It's unclear whether Crawford took money from the game at a house near Case Avenue E. and Burr Street or whether he owed money to a woman at the house. His body was found in the middle of Burr Street.

PAT PHEIFER

Ex-post office worker charged with theft of money orders

A onetime post office employee in a south-central Minnesota town, indicted Wednesday on charges of stealing and cashing about 80 money orders totaling more than $41,000, admitted that she made "a very big mistake."

Linda Kay Johnson, 60, of Lewisville, is charged with fraudulently issuing money orders and false entries and reports of money.

Johnson worked as a substitute for the postmaster at the one-person post office in nearby La Salle, said U.S. Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki. She would fill in on the postmaster's days off and during vacations and serve the town's 85 or so citizens.

In an interview with the Star Tribune, Johnson admitted to the allegations, saying, "It was a very big mistake, and I am paying it back."

Johnson said the money was spent on family bills, many of them for medical expenses.

PAUL WALSH