Minnesota news in brief at 8:59 p.m. CDT, MN
Wis. soldier with Minn. ties killed in Afghanistan
SAUK CITY, Wis. — A Wisconsin soldier who grew up in Minnesota was killed while serving in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday.
Pvt. Adam Novak, 20, of Prairie du Sac, was killed Friday in the Dzardan district of Afghanistan, the Defense Department said. He had been serving in the 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division, based at Ft. Campbell, Ky.
The military said Novak was one of two soldiers killed when insurgents attacked their vehicle with a roadside bomb in Paktiya, Afghanistan. The other was Pfc. Chad D. Coleman, 20, of Moreland, Ga.
"All we know is he was in a heavily armored vehicle and he hit a road bomb," said Novak's stepfather, Rick Block. "They think it was electronically detonated, and they said that's all they know until it's investigated."
Novak was a 2008 graduate of Sauk Prairie High School, according to family friend Sandy Richards of Fergus Falls, Minn. Novak and his family had lived in Fergus Falls for about 11 years before he and his family moved back to Wisconsin in 2008, Richards said.
Marine from central Minn. killed in Afghanistan
PINE CITY, Minn. — A highly decorated Marine bomb disposal technician from Pine City in central Minnesota was killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand province of Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday.
Master Sgt. Daniel L. Fedder, 34, died Friday while assigned to the 1st Marine Logistics Group out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Marine Corps spokesman 1st Lt. Ken Kunze said it wasn't immediately clear if Fedder was attempting to defuse the bomb that killed him. An investigation is ongoing.
The 16-year corps veteran was on his third combat deployment. He was previously deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2006.
Fedder was the father of two young children who live with their mother in California. He was divorced and had recently remarried.
Elk River schools defend hazing claim response
MINNEAPOLIS — A school board decision to kick four Elk River High School football players off their team and suspend several others for multiple games over a hazing incident shows how serious board members consider the issue, a district spokesman said Monday.
The Elk River Area School Board met in a closed session Sunday night and voted to boot four players from the team, suspend three others for four games and two players for one game each. The district will provide mandatory hazing awareness training for the entire Elk River High School varsity football team. It will also counsel individual players.
"Anyone who thinks this is funny really should be looking at the consequences," Casey Mahon, a district spokesman, said Monday. After board Chairwoman Sue Farber announced its decision, two players told a television station the district overreacted.
Early last week, several football players where held down by their teammates and poked in the buttocks with the handle of a broom or mop, police said. It happened in the high school wrestling room. The players were clothed and wearing football pads.
The district learned about the hazing early last week when a parent complained. The district interviewed the 54 players on the team, suspended all organized team activities and called police. It hired an outside law firm to investigate further.
Former charter school head sentenced to 10 years
MINNEAPOLIS — The former director of a charter school that served poor inner-city American Indian children has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for swindling nearly $1.4 million from the school.
Hennepin County Judge Joe Klein gave Joel Pourier more than double the normal sentence Monday because of the impact of his crimes, which forced the Heart of the Earth Charter School of Minneapolis to shut down in 2008. He also ordered $1 million restitution.
The 40-year-old used the money to finance a flashy lifestyle, including a Hummer and a Cadillac SUV, while the school lacked funds for field trips, supplies, computers and textbooks.
Pourier apologized, saying his actions were wrong. He pleaded guilty last month.
Klein said Pourier he had stabbed his culture in the heart.