Tom Olsen / Forum News Service
DULUTH — A homeless man pleaded guilty Tuesday, Sept. 24, to starting the fire that destroyed a 118-year-old synagogue in downtown Duluth earlier this month. Matthew James Amiot, 36, admitted at a hastily scheduled plea hearing that he was attempting to stay warm when he lit a small fire that quickly spiraled out of control and spread to the historic home of the Adas Israel Congregation on the morning of Sept. 9.
DULUTH — It is said that every person dies twice, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary Randy Reeves told a crowd gathered near Duluth Saturday, Sept. 21. "We die the first death when breath leaves us for the very last time," Reeves said. "But we only truly die sometime in the future, when no one speaks our name and tells our story." Reeves and other officials were on hand to usher in a long-awaited project meant to ensure that the names and stories of Northland veterans are never forgotten.
PINE CITY, Minn. — A Willow River man allegedly admitted to police that he intentionally drove his vehicle into the Kettle River in eastern Minnesota, believing he could make it across safely, before the car began to sink with a passenger trapped inside. Preston Paul Prokasky, 43, also admitted to using methamphetamine prior to the Monday, Sept. 16, incident that killed 47-year-old Eugene Oestreich, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.
Shannon Miller was "completely vindicated" in her lawsuit against the University of Minnesota Duluth, but a federal jury's monetary award to the former women's hockey coach was "shockingly excessive," a judge said Friday, Sept. 6. U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz slashed $2.25 million from the $4.21 million verdict, but also granted Miller's request for nearly $2.5 million in attorneys' fees, expenses and interest.
DULUTH — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a ruling that would give a Duluth police officer his job back after he was fired for dragging a handcuffed man through the downtown skywalk system. The appeals court concluded that a district judge did not err in declining to overrule an arbitrator, who reinstated officer Adam Huot to his position more than a year after he was terminated. The department sought to fire Huot after he was seen on video pulling the man by the chain of his handcuffs and slamming his head against a door in the May 2017 incident, which he did not report
DULUTH — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday, Sept. 3, upheld the dismissal of a state lawsuit filed against the University of Minnesota Duluth by three former women's sports coaches. A district judge last October threw out the case from former women's hockey coach Shannon Miller, former women's basketball coach Annette Wiles and former softball coach and women's hockey operations director Jen Banford.
DULUTH — Mike Shannon's float plane carries the nickname "Once in a Blue Moon." It's an appropriate touch. After all, the 13-year process of building it in his garage is not one Shannon expects to repeat any time soon. "Blue moons are rare," he explained. "And it's rare for me to get a chance to build an airplane like this."
DULUTH — Two Duluth men were sentenced Monday, July 29, for the trafficking of a 15-year-old girl who was physically beaten, shocked with a Taser and forced to perform sexual acts over a period of nearly three weeks. Andre Mathis Jr., 33, held the girl inside his apartment for 20 days after she ran away from a residential treatment program in Duluth, according to court documents. After repeatedly assaulting the girl and selling her for sex, authorities said he sought to extort money from her family in exchange for her safe return.
DULUTH — A Duluth man with a violent criminal history is accused of seriously assaulting his wife just hours after he was released from prison. Daniel Kriesel, 45, had been incarcerated for much of the past decade after he was convicted of shooting another man in the East Hillside in 2008. He's now facing the potential of another long prison term after the Monday, July 15, incident that left the victim with injuries a prosecutor described as "brutal."
Wanting to get some sun and an even tan, Michelle Bennett removed her top as she visited the Park Point beach with some friends on June 26. It wasn't long, she said, before another woman approached her, asking her to cover up. The woman, who Bennett estimated to 60 or 70 feet away with her family, said her kids were uncomfortable. A half-hour later, a Duluth police officer was on scene, asking Bennett to put her top back on. "He told me it wasn't a nude beach," Bennett said. "I said no one here is nude."