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Metropolitan areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin have seen significant declines in the number of impaired driving offenses, but the rate of drunken driving in rural areas remains high. Minnesota's Dakota, Washington and Hennepin counties saw the steepest reductions in chronically impaired drivers between 2015 and 2016. Hennepin, Minnesota's largest county, experienced nearly a 100-person drop in DWI convictions for a fourth or higher DWI offense.
A rash of armed hotel robberies across the region has authorities asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects. Police have noted five hotel robberies in the past month between 11 p.m. and the early morning hours in Woodbury, Hastings, Red Wing, Inver Grove Heights and North Branch. Woodbury Public Safety described two men in their mid-20s or early-30s.
Two Maine artists are making a full-length trip down the Mississippi River this summer with the goal of documenting the changing flow of the river and its people. Morgan Rogers and Emily du Houx, both of Maine, recently completed their handbuilt shanty boat and set off on their journey Monday, July 11, in St. Paul with plans to reach New Orleans by early September. They named their boat Michi Zeebee, the Native American name for the Mississippi. But the hybrid shanty boat is more than a boat or artistic creation, "it's a vehicle for collecting stories," du Houx said.
With the deadliest stretch of vehicle crashes beginning in the summer months, officials are raising concerns about teenage drivers who will soon be sharing Minnesota and Wisconsin roads during the busiest travel time of the year. Dubbed the "100 Deadliest Days," the roughly three-month period between Memorial Day and Labor Day accounted for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities in Minnesota and Wisconsin last year. Officials in both states say teenage drivers — due to several factors — are at a heightened risk for being involved in a fatal crash.
Two Illinois men accused of transporting the largest load of untaxed tobacco in Minnesota history have pleaded guilty to felony smuggling charges. Mohammad Abdul Majid and Iman Ugurlu, both of Bridgeview, Ill., admitted Wednesday in Washington County District Court to bringing $78,000 in unmarked cigarettes over the Minnesota and Wisconsin border last summer. In accepting their guilty plea, District Judge Tad Jude sentenced Majid and Ugurlu to five years probation for one count of felony aiding in abetting in the sale of untaxed tobacco.
Two Illinois men accused of smuggling unmarked cigarettes over state lines face felony charges in Washington County. Mohammad Abdul Majid and Iman Ugurlu, both of Illinois, were charged last month with felony-level aiding and abetting in the sale of untaxed tobacco and another felony count of aggravated forgery for allegedly transporting more than $78,000 in cigarettes from Wisconsin to Minnesota. They were charged in Washington County District Court via warrant on Feb. 9. They are scheduled to make their first court appearance March 9.