He may never see a trial. 20 year old Taariq Muhammad Vanegas of Seattle, was charged with 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct in a case stemming from a hazing incident that involved allegations of rape of a female Carleton College student in April of 2017. Rice County Attorney John Fossum said the trial was rescheduled yet again, adding, “everyone involved, everyone who was a witness, has graduated and moved away, hard to get a hold of. We’ve had now three trial settings”. The victim has moved out of the country. Fossum
said, “this is a case where we’re probably going to have to let this one go before we can try it because if the victim isn’t here, doesn’t want to participate, there isn’t much we’re going to be able to do”. Fossum said she had been very cooperative up until this 3rd reset of the trial and moving out of the country. The charges will likely be dismissed in the next few days with no resolution. Fossum reminded, “if the person is not capable of consent, there isn’t consent. And that’s the real issue here”. This case brings up the issue of a crowded court calendar and what happens to the victims as the cases are drawn out.
Chief Mincke retiring, wage study for Dundas
All four senior positions within the City of Dundas are eligible to retire. Dundas Police Chief Gordon Mincke is first on the list. City Administrator John McCarthy said, “Gordy is encouraging promoting internally”. Chief Mincke was an internal hire. He started in Dundas in 1995 becoming Chief in 2006. McCarthy said the HR Committee will meet next Thursday in anticipation of making a recommendation to the Council. They’d like to get someone in place as soon as possible as Chief Mincke’s last day is October 5th. Staff is working on a Transition Plan for all of the positions but it could be a couple of years for some of them. Additionally, as Dundas goes over their 2019 budget before they set their preliminary levy, employee pay is a big part of it. McCarthy said, “I think we’re going to have to start planning for wage adjustments possibly based on the outcome of the compensation study”. McCarthy said they’re looking at 8.2% increase to the levy which means a, “$7 increase per year on a home valued at $175,000”. That’s if your home value stays the same. Dundas’s annual operating budget is $1.1 million. That doesn’t include the Enterprise Funds which is just about doubled.
Healthier, happier – Arts and the Blue Zones
As Blue Zones series author, Dan Buettner, comes to Northfield to discuss living longer, healthier lives, one of the tenets of living healthier is happiness. And a part of that formula is pleasure, which can include the arts. Northfield’s Council has created an “Art in Public” policy. Part of that vision includes dollars toward art, as noted yesterday with the Division Street project including an ‘artistic informational kiosk” at the corner of 6th. But how is that paid for? Arts & Culture Commission Chair Alyssa Herzog Melby said, “it’s not a tax at all, it’s a part of the budget for that particular capital project”. It is 1% of the eligible projects budget. She said they’ll work on grants as well. As mentioned yesterday, a State of the Arts event will be held next Wednesday at Imminent Brewing. Information is on our “Upcoming Events” calendar at kymnradio.net. As for Dan Buettner’s talk, that’s September 24th at the Northfield Middle School. To register for the free event go to northfieldshares.org. I will be interviewing Dan on his latest book Blue Zones of Happiness on September 4th at 11am for ‘15 with the Author’.