Local/state briefs

Secretary of State Simon expects to appeal voter data ruling

ST. PAUL (AP) — Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon said he expects to ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review a ruling that voter data sought by a conservative election watchdog group is public.

A Ramsey County judge sided with the Minnesota Voters Alliance last July, and the Court of Appeals upheld that decision Monday.

The group sued to obtain data on millions of voters that Simon’s office contends should be kept private. The data pertain to a voter’s status including whether they’ve been challenged, the reason for that challenge and their voting history.

The courts said the data is public under Minnesota’s open records law. Much of the other data in the Statewide Voter Registration System is already public.

The alliance said it wants to see if the data shows voter fraud.

Flooding turns small community into an isolated island

OSLO (AP) — Spring flooding has turned a northwestern Minnesota community into an island of isolation.

The rising Red River has flooded the two highways leading into and out of Oslo in Marshall County near the North Dakota border.

Roughly half of the town left before the roads flooded, including those with jobs outside the city and those with school-aged children, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. It’s unclear how long it’ll take the floodwaters to recede.

The city’s 330 residents have grown accustomed to the isolation. It marks the fifth time in a decade that flooding has enveloped the community.

Kitty Stromberg, owner of Kitty’s Cafe, has stocked up to feed the remaining Oslo residents as well as Minnesota National Guard members who have been dispatched to patrol the city’s ring levee.

The levee was recently built up several additional feet to manage a 42-foot flood crest. The Red River crested just less than 38 feet over the weekend.

Stromberg said the flooding and isolation are just parts of living in Oslo.

“I don’t love the island thing,” she said. “But we have to deal with it.”

Stromberg said if the flooding persists, food and supplies arrive by boat.

Cory Jamieson, owner of Jamieson’s Bar and the local fire chief, was recently unloading a trailer of 100 cases of Bud Light, another staple of flood season. The recipients were firefighters who had just saved a man after his car was swept into a ditch when he attempted to drive across a flooded road north of town.

“When you’re flooded, there’s not much to do, but come up to the bar and tell flood stories,” Jamieson said.

Complaint: Man went to Mall of America intending to kill

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The man charged with throwing a 5-year-old boy off a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America told police he was angry at being rejected by women at the Minnesota mall and was “looking for someone to kill” when he went there last week, according to a criminal complaint Monday.

Emmanuel Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in Friday’s attack. The child plunged almost 40 feet and is fighting for his life in a Minneapolis hospital with head trauma and multiple broken bones.

Aranda has two past convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, including one in which he threw a glass of water and glass of tea at a woman who refused to buy him something. Aranda at one point was banned from the mall.

Court records show that Aranda had been ordered to undergo psychological evaluation or treatment after the earlier mall assaults.

The boy’s mother told police that Aranda came up very close to her group as they stood outside the Rainforest Cafe restaurant. She said she asked him if they were in his way and should move, and he picked up the child without warning and threw him off the balcony, according to the complaint.

Police caught Aranda on a light rail train at the mall waiting for it to leave. They said he admitted throwing the child from the balcony and said he had come to the mall a day earlier seeking to kill someone but it did not “work out.” Aranda originally said he planned to kill an adult before choosing the child instead, the complaint said.

“Defendant indicated he had been coming to the Mall for several years and had made efforts to talk to women in the Mall, but had been rejected, and the rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive,” the complaint said.

Aranda was born in Chicago, where Cook County court documents showed a 2014 arrest for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at a Golden Nugget restaurant in the city. A case summary said Aranda beat a restaurant employee with a telephone when she threatened to call police about his bill, and pulled a knife on a bystander who intervened. He ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation.

The family of the Minnesota child has asked for privacy. A GoFundMe page set up for the child, named Landen, had attracted nearly $600,000 in donations as of Monday.

The page’s creator, Noah Hanneman, posted Sunday that Landen had a “peaceful sleep and is still fighting his courageous battle.”

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