ST. PAUL (AP) -- Former state Sen. Linda Runbeck will head the state's largest taxpayers advocacy group, officials from the organization announced Friday.
Runbeck, a Republican from Circle Pines, will take over as president of the conservative Taxpayers League of Minnesota. Former president Darrell McKigney is stepping down to lead the Small Business Survival Committee, a national small business advocacy organization.
Runbeck did not seek re-election to the Senate last year, when she ran for Congress against DFL state Rep. Betty McCollum. In January, she became executive vice president of the Taxpayers League.
Runbeck said she has no immediate plans to seek public office again.
Police arrest suspect in death of woman found in Minneapolis park
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Authorities on Friday were holding a man suspected in the death of a woman whose dismembered remains were found last week in Theodore Wirth Park.
Homicide detectives arrested the 42-year-old Minneapolis man around 6 p.m. Thursday in north Minneapolis, police said.
Police did not immediately disclose whether the suspect has a criminal record or how they linked him to the case. A news conference was scheduled for 11 a.m.
The remains of a woman, whose identity was still being withheld, were found May 31 by a woman walking a dog in the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. Her body wasn't dismembered where she was found, authorities said.
Man sentenced to year in jail for slashing son-in-law's throat
ANOKA (AP) -- An Idaho man who slashed his son-in-law's throat after an argument was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to undergo counseling and treatment for alcoholism.
Gary W. Farmer, 55, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in return for dismissal of an attempted-murder charge. During his sentencing Wednesday in Anoka County, he was also placed on probation for 15 years and ordered to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
Farmer, of Boise, attacked Mark Erlandson, 32, after Erlandson argued with his wife and after the two men bantered about whether the Marines or Air Force are better. Farmer served in the Air Force; Erlandson in the Marines.
Prosecutors asked for a longer sentence, but Judge Lynn Olson said she was impressed by Farmer's genuine remorse and that she had received many letters from Farmer's friends and acquaintances saying he had never been violent.
Olson said Farmer believed Erlandson was a threat to his daughter. According to court records, Farmer asked his daughter if she wanted him to "take him out?" The daughter thought he was joking and replied, "Yeah, that would be fine." Her father later grabbed Erlandson by the hair and cut his throat.
Erlandson, bleeding heavily, was flown to the hospital. He has recovered.
Federal officials say police data disappeared
MOORHEAD (AP) -- The U.S. Commission on Civil rights can't verify the conclusions in its stinging report on the number of minorities arrested in this western Minnesota city because it said it has lost a computer disk.
The commission reported that 38 percent of adults arrested in Moorhead in 1998 were Hispanics, even though Hispanics made up just 3 percent of the population.
Local police dispute the figures. Police Chief Grant Weyland said Hispanics made up just 4 percent of the adults arrested in 1998.
The commission's findings are in a 40-page report published in January by the Minnesota Advisory Council to the federal civil rights commission.
The report concluded minority residents in Moorhead are unfairly targeted by police and discriminated against in schools and by government employers.
But when police questioned the arrest statistics, the commission couldn't find the disk containing the data.
"If they can't verify their data they should fix their report," Weyland said.
Wayne Arnold, assistant police chief, said the commission somehow took the wrong information from a computer disk provided by the police department in 1999.
After the city formally invoked state and federal information laws to request data from the disk, the civil rights commission admitted that, in spite of a "diligent search," it could not find it.
The analyst who compiled the adult arrest statistics had left his job a year ago and could not confirm or deny the reliability of the figures, according to a letter to the city from the commission's regional director in Chicago, Constance M. Davis.
"I've felt all along the report did an injustice to minorities in our community," Weyland said. "It sends the message that minorities are committing almost half the crimes in the city. That isn't true and it never has been true."
City Manager Jim Antonen sent a letter May 30 asking the commission to correct the report posted on its Internet site and publicly admit the error. He has not received a response.
Girl pleads innocent in stabbing of foster parents
BEMIDJI (AP) -- A 17-year-old girl pleaded innocent Thursday in Beltrami County juvenile court to aiding and abetting the attempted murder of her foster parents.
County Attorney Tim Faver has asked to prosecute the girl as an adult, and a certification hearing is scheduled June 20.
The foster parents, Eugene and Carol Campbell, were stabbed May 28 after confronting the girl and her 14-year-old boyfriend on a county road in Ten Lake Township.
The 14-year-old is charged with two counts of second-degree attempted murder in the stabbings. He also is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his father, Darrel Headbird Sr., 41.
The day of the stabbings, Headbird was found shot to death at his home on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. The teen-agers were arrested later that night while hitchhiking in Itasca County.
Faver also is seeking adult certification for the 14-year-old. A court appearance for the boy was postponed Thursday, and a certification hearing has not been set. He remains in custody.
Eugene Campbell, 47, is recovering from being stabbed in the neck, but requires further surgery. Carol Campbell, 62, remains in the neuroscience intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth. She was stabbed twice in the upper back and is paralyzed from the chest down.
If the children are treated as juveniles by the court, they would be free when they turn 19. Faver said adult certification takes into account the child's criminal history and age. No one younger than 14 can be prosecuted as an adult, he said.
Schulz awarded Congressional Gold Medal
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress awarded its highest civilian honor to "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz on Thursday, saying the comic strip characters created by the late cartoonist "embodied human potential."
"We're humbled by this great honor in this most historic place," said Schulz's widow, Jeannie.
Schulz, who was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, died in February 2000 at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif. He had announced only months earlier that he had colon cancer. Schulz grew up in St. Paul, Minn.
"The characters he gave us have become a permanent part of pop culture," said Senate Republican leader Trent Lott of Mississippi. "Schulz's kids are us."
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said that when Schulz was an Army sergeant during World War II, he kept morale high by decorating the letters of his fellow soldiers with cartoons. "I know the images and leadership he provided us will never be forgotten," Thompson said.
The medal has an image of Schulz's face on one side. The other side features the entire Peanuts gang, including Charlie Brown and Lucy.
Schulz is the first cartoonist to receive the medal. Others honorees include George Washington, Bob Hope and Mother Teresa. Lawmakers in January presented the award to Pope John Paul II during a ceremony at the Vatican.
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