9/30/14: Scammers target international students

A phone rings in the middle of the day. Minutes later, it buzzes alive again with a caller listed as the “University of Minnesota Police Department.” A menacing voice declares an outstanding arrest warrant.

Scammers use this calling strategy to try to trick students out of their money, and the fraudulent crime has noticeably surfaced at the school, according to a public safety update emailed to the University community Wednesday.

 

03/04/15: Feds complicate money transfers

In Tawakal Express on Cedar Avenue, Abdala Yusef used to sit at a desk behind a plastic partition and send money from Cedar-Riverside residents to people in Somalia. But all he’s done for the past two weeks is turn away prospective money-senders.

The number of banks that facilitated these transfers has been decreasing over the past 10 years. Last month, the last bank in the country to perform these transfers stopped, leaving Somalis without the $215 million they receive annually in remittances from U.S. senders, according to documents from the global aid group Oxfam America.

 

11/09/15: Prison escapee caught in St. Paul after 37 years

Over the noise from his television, Lex Luchka said he heard the static of police radios Thursday night. Then a knock came at the apartment next door. The neighbor he knew as Eleasor Morales Moreno was being arrested.

"We don't think you are who you say you are," Luchka said he heard police tell his neighbor.

Oscar Juarez's luck had run out.

Juarez, who used the alias Eleasor Morales Moreno, was convicted of murder 40 years ago, escaped jail 37 years ago, and was caught Thursday by St. Paul police and U.S. Marshals.

 

10/23/15: St. Paul firefighters booya to raise funds for fallen colleague's family

Rooms away from where his friend fell dead of a heart attack last summer, Kevin Creamer was boiling down oxtail Wednesday.

Creamer, a retired St. Paul firefighter, is one of the many firefighters who spent the past three days working -- both on- and off-duty -- to prepare a booya for their fallen comrade, Shane Clifton, who died of a heart attack while working out at Fire Station 14 in the Merriam Park neighborhood.

 

10/12/15: Crossing St. Paul's West Seventh Street can be a pedestrian nightmare

West Seventh Street in St. Paul is a road that changes lives -- and ends some.

The street -- which averages about 16,000 vehicles on a fall day, according to the Public Works Department -- is a long diagonal that plows through a grid of streets west of downtown St. Paul.

In the past six years, the street has claimed two lives. Kunlek Wangmo, 63, was killed Oct. 1 as she crossed at St. Clair Avenue. Alex Mardell, 20, was fatally run down blocks away in 2009.

 

12/14/15: Vadnais Heights teen learned to fly before he could drive

Downtown St. Paul's tallest buildings obscured the sunshine, and the GPS on the four-seat Cessna wasn't working.

"St. Paul tower, Cessna 87Niner, request to land," the pilot said into his headphones. "The GPS is being a little bit wonky right now, so I'm just not gonna use it," he said aloud.

The wind rattled the small plane, and the pilot, just-turned-18-year-old White Bear Lake High School senior Michael Wrona, veered left.

Over the past five years, there have been an average of 3,348 licensed pilots ages 16 to 19 a year in the U.S., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. As of Aug. 26 -- about nine months after he turned 17 -- Wrona was one of them. And it wasn't easy.

 

09/24/15: Minnesota State Fair Photo of deputy helping lost child garners praise, 'likes' on Facebook


For most people, the thought of taking a ride with a police officer probably involves handcuffs and the back seat of a squad car.

But on the last day of the Minnesota State Fair, one child got a ride on a Ramsey County Sheriff deputy's shoulders instead of the back-seat treatment.

The act was caught on camera and posted Friday by Law Enforcement Lifestyle on Facebook. The photo has since been shared 1,054 times as of Wednesday.

 

01/20/16: MPR steps in, will sponsor regional spelling bee

Scores of Minnesota youngsters could happily spell “relief” Wednesday, after Minnesota Public Radio stepped forward to sponsor the annual regional spelling bee.

MPR agreed to back the seven-county Metro Area Regional Spelling Bee only 10 days before a Jan. 31 deadline that would have left metro-area spellers without a direct route to the Scripps National Spelling Bee Contest in May.