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Aug. 20 Live: Today's top Minnesota stories

All of the top stories in Minnesota in one place.

Greenwood Fire surpasses 4,700 acres with 'extreme fire behavior' likely Friday

Greenwood Fire

Fire crews protect home that is threatened by the Greenwood Fire. 

The Greenwood Fire, located in Lake County and the Superior National Forest, blossomed into a 4,734-acre wildfire as of Thursday night, and the blaze is zero percent contained.

"Day and night shift fire crews continued structure protection on the west side within the Highway 2 corridor, McDougal and Stony River areas. There are no reports of structures lost," the U.S. Forest Service said Friday morning.

"We are expecting critical fire weather today with high winds ahead of a thunderstorm," the forest service said. "Hot and dry conditions will contribute to the potential for very active or extreme fire behavior this afternoon."

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Basilica Block Party will require proof of COVID vaccination or negative test result

Basilica Block Party attendees will have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result from the prior 72 hours to get in.

Festival organizers announced the new COVID protocols Friday morning, saying the goal is "to provide a safe and fun event for everyone."

The annual block party, put on by Cities 97.1, is scheduled for Sept. 10-11 this year, and will return to the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

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Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, August 20

Friday's COVID-19 update from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) includes 1,708 new cases and 10 newly reported deaths, nine of the deaths occurring in August and one from June.

Through August 19, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota was 477 (up from 473 reported Thursday).

Of those hospitalized, 125 people were in intensive care and 352 were in general hospital care.

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Minnesota humanitarian dies while working disaster response after Haiti earthquake

A Minnesota native died unexpectedly while working with a U.S. disaster response team in Haiti following the island nation's devastating earthquake.

Tresja Denysenko, 48, is described by the USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team as a "tireless disaster response expert" with the agency's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance."

Her death was announced Aug. 19, though details of how she died were not released. A priest, however, in a Facebook post, said Denysenko "suffered a cerebral hemorrhage" Wednesday night. She was then airlifted to Miami where she was pronounced dead.

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Carnahan's $38K severance package sparks anger among some Republicans

While Jennifer Carnahan has resigned from her role as chairwoman of the Minnesota GOP following a week of controversies, the manner of her departure hasn't gone down well with some in the party.

The party's executive board met Thursday night to discuss Carnahan's future in the wake of the indictment of Anton Lazzaro, and the emergence of numerous sexual misconduct and harassment complaints within the party under Carnahan's leadership.

It became apparent over the course of the meeting that they were indeed discussing her departure from the party, with talk turning to a possible severance package.

While Carnahan had sought eight months' severance, the board took a vote on a three month severance package – worth in excess of $38,000 – that saw the board locked in a vote of 7-7.

But then, Carnahan herself cast the deciding vote to break the tie, effectively granting herself a $38,000 payout. Within minutes, she had issued a statement confirming her resignation from the party, blaming "mob mentality" for her ousting.

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Storms expected to fire in western MN and march east toward Twin Cities

Much-needed rain is poised to soak most of drought-stricken Minnesota on Friday, though the precipitation comes with a threat of severe weather, including potential for damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes.

"Thunderstorms will develop Friday afternoon across the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota, and push eastward into eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin by late Friday evening," says the National Weather Service (NWS). "Damaging winds will be the main threat, though a couple of tornadoes will also be possible. Large hail is a tertiary threat."

The simulated future radar from the HRRR computer model shows storms firing in southwest Minnesota between 2-4 p.m. before growing into a broken line of storms that moves east (at about 30 mph), possibly weakening around the time they reach the Twin Cities (around 8-10 p.m.).

12Z-20210820_HRRRNGP_prec_radar-0-19-10-100

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Blues Traveler band members injured when tour bus crashes in Minnesota

En route to Rochester for a performance Friday night, the tour bus carrying the Blues Traveler band was involved in a crash.

Blues Traveler frontman John Popper suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to Winona Health for care. But the band still plans to take the stage Friday night at Mayo Civic Center Park.

According to a crash report from the Minnesota State Patrol, the tour bus was traveling westbound on Interstate 90 when the driver lost control and bus went into the center median ditch. 

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Amanda Jo Vangrinsven: Murder charge filed against man she'd been with before her disappearance

A 37-year-old Isanti man, at the bar for hours with Amanda Jo Vangrinsven before she disappeared and was later found dead on his property, is now charged with murder.

Richard Melvin Peterson II - Isanti County Jail - Aug 17 2021

Richard Melvin Peterson II was charged Thursday in Isanti County with one count of second-degree murder. Authorities say surveillance footage, witness accounts, and cellphone location records all prove Peterson did not drop the 32-year-old Vangrinsven off at the Isanti VFW park after an evening of drinking, as he claimed.

Instead, on the night of Aug. 5, the two went back to his property — the same place she was later found buried in the ground, dead from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the charges.

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Next Up

Governor Tim Walz

Walz, judge in dispute over Feeding Our Future case

A Ramsey County judge disputed Walz's claims that the Minnesota Department of Education was ordered by the court to resume payments to Feeding Our Future.

ambulance

2 dead, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Hwy. 7 crash

Both drivers were not wearing their seatbelt, according to the State Patrol.

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15-year-old Richfield football game shooting suspect arrested

A 16-year-old accused of instigating the altercation is also in custody.

Police tape

3 arrested after homicide, burglary in Inver Grove Heights

Charges of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary are pending.

fire, firefighter

Woman dies after becoming trapped in Waseca house fire

Police tried to enter the home but heavy smoke prevented them from getting inside.

ambulance

1 dead, 2 with life-threatening injuries in Minnesota crash

The crash happened just after 7:30 p.m. Friday.

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School bus carrying students plunges into river southwest of Fargo

None of the kids suffered life-threatening injuries, though some were taken to area hospitals.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School cancels weekend events after shooting

Two men were shot outside the school's football stadium

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Sound of shots, mass panic at Richfield football game streamed live on YouTube

Gunfire caused panic at a varsity football game Friday night.

J. Gordon

K-9 search leads to $36K fentanyl seizure during traffic stop

A traffic stop was made after the vehicle was seen speeding through the area.

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