MINNESOTA SOLDIER-ID THEFTS
Ex-soldier from Minn. accused of stealing IDs, classified info
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minnesota National Guard member and self-described commander of a militia group is accused of stealing classified information from his former military unit at Fort Bragg, N.C.
According to a federal affidavit obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, 25-year-old Keith Michael Novak stole names, Social Security numbers and clearance levels of roughly 400 members of the 82nd Airborne Division to make fake identities for his militia.
Documents also say Novak threatened violence if arrested.
Prosecutors say Novak served with the 82nd Airborne from 2009 to 2012.
Novak is in federal custody. His father's phone number is unlisted. The federal defender's office has been assigned the case, but an attorney has not been selected to represent him.
The guard and the Fort Bragg unit say they'll cooperate with the investigation.
Minn. Orchestra reports $1M deficit for fiscal '13
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Orchestra reports an operating deficit of $1.1 million for the fiscal year ended August 31st, even though no official concerts were performed because of a musicians lockout.
The Minnesota Orchestral Association announced the results Wednesday at its annual meeting, which was closed to the public. Earned revenue totaled just $14,000.
The Star Tribune reports the loss contrasts with a record-high $6 million deficit in 2012, when the orchestra was performing. The board had cited what it called structural deficits in seeking pay concessions from musicians.
Board chairman Jon Campbell says the results indicate that the orchestra's business model is askew.
In a statement, the musicians say they're concerned that the orchestra's leadership "managed to spend $13 million and run a $1 million deficit while producing no concerts."
Study: More Minn. children ready for kindergarten
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Education says more Minnesota children are ready for kindergarten than ever before.
The department released its annual study Wednesday showing nearly 73 percent of Minnesota children were ready to start kindergarten in fall 2012. That's up from 60 percent in 2010.
To be prepared for kindergarten, children need to know more than their ABCs and how to count to 10. The report also measures physical and emotional markers.
Minnesota Public Radio News says the report also cites a narrowing in the readiness gap between white students and students of color and between low-income students and their wealthier counterparts.
Early childhood advocates say the report seems to show Minnesota's investments in early childhood education are paying off. But they say even more should be done.
WINONA BUS CRASH
School bus involved in 4-vehicle crash in SE Minn.
WINONA, Minn. (AP) - The State Patrol says one child suffered minor injuries when a small school bus was involved in a four-vehicle crash in southeastern Minnesota.
The crash happened about 7 a.m. Wednesday on state Highway 43 south of Winona.
According to the patrol, a car was southbound when it sideswiped the northbound bus. That caused the bus to swerve into the southbound lane and collide with another car head-on. The first car continued on and struck a third car.
A 7-year-old boy, who was the only student on the bus, suffered minor cuts and scrapes. He was taken to Winona Health as a precaution.
The driver of the car that collided with the bus head-on suffered serious injuries.
The Winona Daily News reports the crash forced the closure of Highway 43.
Driver dies in crash with train in western Minn.
MORRIS, Minn. (AP) - One person is dead after colliding with a train in western Minnesota.
Authorities were called to the crash in Morris just after 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The lone occupant of the vehicle was dead on arrival at Stevens Community Medical Center.
The victim's name is being withheld until relatives are notified.
TCF to close a downtown Minneapolis branch
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - TCF Financial Corporation says it will close a downtown Minneapolis branch and 37 located in grocery stores in the Chicago area.
The closings will take place by the end of March.
The Wayzata-based bank company says the move comes after a recent review of its network of branches.
TCF will take a pretax charge of $7.6 million in its fiscal fourth quarter for costs related to closing the units and related job cuts.
The branch slated for closing in downtown Minneapolis is in a four-story building adjacent to TCF Tower, a 17-story building built in 1981. The company will continue to lease offices in both buildings for other operations.
The Star Tribune reports customers in downtown Minneapolis will still have access to another TCF branch in the IDS Center.
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