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  1. #151
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    Editorial: Another approach for unlicensed drivers
    3/4/2008 8:15:38 AM
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    The fact that a 23-year-old Minnesota man has received 68 citations for driving without a valid license is a pretty good hint that there's a problem. Add in another 500 people who have 14 or more citations and one might accurately conclude that there's an epidemic of unlicensed driving going on statewide.

    It's not a new problem, but it's under increased scrutiny after an unlicensed driver with a previous citation for driving without a license allegedly ran a stop sign and struck a school bus in southwestern Minnesota, killing four children.

    The knee-jerk reaction is to say, "Make the penalties stiffer." The typical citation includes a $180 fine -- barely more than the average speeding ticket. Although jail time is possible, it's relatively infrequent.

    Would doubling or tripling the fines make offenders think twice before they got behind the wheel again?

    Olmsted County Sheriff Steve Borchardt doesn't think so.

    "Very often, these are folks who can't pay the fines anyway," he said. "It's a real conundrum. People get their license taken away, and they don't have a lot of money. They need to work, and they need to drive. While they're driving, they get pinched for all number of little things, and, every time, they lose their license for longer. You get a really vicious cycle that's tough to get out of."

    Borchardt said that some areas of Minnesota have opted for a less-punitive method of dealing with this problem, by trying to find a "short-form way" to get people back on the road legally as soon as possible. Usually there's some sort of educational component involved, so that offenders will be better drivers the next time they get behind the wheel.

    The jury still appears to be out on the effectiveness of this system, and such programs would do little to solve the problem of illegal immigrants who drive without a license or insurance. They're off the grid, are not trained in our traffic laws and have little to lose when they get behind the wheel.

    "It's a frustrating topic for everyone in the whole system," Borchardt said.

    Clearly a line can be drawn. Some states have experimented with progressive penalties, and if a five-time offender's vehicle were impounded for six months or even permanently confiscated, perhaps the message would get through.
    http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager ... 2&a=331409
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  2. #152
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    Immigration: A hot issue at the capitol

    The topic of immigration is sure to be a hot issue throughout the legislative session, especially after the school bus crash that killed four children in southwestern Minnesota two weeks ago.

    A debate over immigration enforcement came up during discussion of the tax bill. It’s an emotional issue that always seems to be percolating just beneath the surface at the Minnesota capitol and across the country.

    It was only a matter of time before the Cottonwood school bus crash that killed four students would be the target of legislation.

    "This is a particularly hot issue in the State of Minnesota right now," said House Minority Leader Marty Seifert.

    It’s not school bus safety legislation, but a question of what to do about illegal immigration.

    "It’s absolutely wrong in the state of Minnesota to allow cities to look the other way in terms of law enforcement when it comes to harboring illegal immigration," Seifert told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

    A woman, who investigators have confirmed is an illegal immigrant, is in jail, accused of causing the deadly bus crash.

    She has had problems with the police at least twice before but never had her immigration status thoroughly checked.

    Seifert proposed withholding local government aid to any city that doesn’t routinely check immigration status.

    "This is about the state of Minnesota second-guessing the wisdom of our law enforcement chiefs, interjecting themselves in the process of running a police department," said rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul.

    The bill appeared primarily aimed at Minneapolis and St. Paul where immigration status is usually only checked in cases in which serious crimes have occurred.

    "I'm just plain outraged at this political playing from people who have no problems with crime in their district, " said Rep. Joe Mullery, DFL-Minneapolis.

    "You want to talk about outrage? You come down to southwestern Minnesota and the community of Cottonwood right now Representative Mullery and I'll show you outrage," said Seifert.

    The amendment to the tax bill actually attracted a lot of DFL support from out-state Minnesota. However, it failed by one vote.

    http://kstp.com/article/stories/S366260.shtml?cat=89
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  3. #153

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    The bill appeared primarily aimed at Minneapolis and St. Paul where immigration status is usually only checked in cases in which serious crimes have occurred.

    "I'm just plain outraged at this political playing from people who have no problems with crime in their district, " said Rep. Joe Mullery, DFL-Minneapolis.

    "You want to talk about outrage? You come down to southwestern Minnesota and the community of Cottonwood right now Representative Mullery and I'll show you outrage," said Seifert.

    The amendment to the tax bill actually attracted a lot of DFL support from out-state Minnesota. However, it failed by one


    What a SAD day folks!

    It shows the sad state of MN as they continue to aid and abet. Mr. Mulllery obviously has his head up his rear-end. There are a number of major chain restaurants in the Twin Cities area as well as private ones that cater to the hiring of illegal aliens.
    From the Border Movie:

    I will not sell my country out ~ I WILL NOT!
    I'd like to see that pride back in AMERICA!!!

  4. #154
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    To the editor: Don’t wait for tragedy to bring God into schools
    The Farmington Independent
    Published Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Don’t wait for tragedy to bring God into schools

    To the editor,

    As heartbreaking tragedies hit various schools and their communities I have noticed that God, prayer and spiritual discussions are welcomed into the schools with open arms. Up to that point of crisis, God, prayer and spiritual discussions seem to be pushed away.

    The bus accident in Cottonwood, Minn. brought this pattern to my attention again. Wouldn’t it be better to have an on going relationship with God and include God in our schools at all times rather than only in times of crisis? God has wisdom and insightful principles that would be of help to us at all times of life, not just the tragic times.

    Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Psalm 32:6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.

    I hope it will not take tragedies to get Farmington schools and government to open up to God and invite Him into their thought processes and discussions.

    Marlo Pranke,

    Farmington

    http://www.farmingtonindependent.com/ar ... on=Opinion
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  5. #155
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    03/26/2008
    911 Transcripts In Cottonwood Crash Released

    Courtesy: Marshall Independent




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    It's ironic that on the day of a bus crash near Madison, Lyon County, Minnesota officials released the transcripts of the 911 calls reporting the deadly Cottonwood school bus crash.

    Here's a look at what was first reported to dispatchers last month. An unidentified woman driving behind the bus was the first to call 911 to report the crash.

    She told a 911 dispatcher: "A van ran into the bus and the bus tipped over."

    Illegal immigrant Olga Franco is accused of running a stop sign and slamming into the Lakeview bus on Highway 23.

    The dispatcher asks the woman who was following the bus whether anyone was crawling out of it.

    She replied, "No, nobody's crawling out of the bus. Oh, now I see one," she said.

    Another man who witnessed the accident also called 911 to report it.

    The rest of the transcript reads like an OnStar commercial. James Hancock of Marshall had OnStar in his pickup, which the bus landed on top of. The OnStar operator told the 911 dispatcher:

    "I think there's injuries cuz all I could hear was screaming in the vehicle."

    The OnStar operator put Hancock on the line who says, " I, I'm hurt. I'm hurtin' all over."

    Hancock reports that rescuers have arrived.

    The 911 operator goes on to tell him,
    "I have paged ambulances. I have paged fire departments and thank you very much for staying on the line with me, OK?"

    Hancock was treated and released from Avera McKennan hospital in Sioux Falls. The crash killed four Lakeview students.

    http://www.keloland.com/News/NewsDetail ... Id=0,67790
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  6. #156
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    http://www.wctrib.com/articles/index.cf ... on=Opinion

    Letter: Handcuffed by sanctuary law
    Rick Chambers, Willmar, West Central Tribune
    Published Monday, March 24, 2008
    The recent tragic bus accident in Cottonwood should have served as a wakeup call to our legislators that action needs to be taken regarding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants in Minnesota. Reports after the accident indicated the woman who caused the crash was here illegally and had been stopped previously for driving without a license. Why she was not identified, detained and deported then we’ll never know.

    This situation should have spotlighted so-called sanctuary clauses and ordinances which are an attempt to prevent local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with the federal government in the identification of illegal immigrants. Despite the fact that sanctuary laws violate the Immigration and Reform Act of 1996, the liberals of this state, especially in Minneapolis and St. Paul, think they can thumb their noses at the federal regulations.

    During the past month the House of Representatives had two opportunities to rectify this situation. The first came when Rep. Marty Seifert moved to amend HF 3201. Seifert, who represents the Cottonwood area, proposed an amendment to withhold state aid to cities that have sanctuary ordinances. The amendment was defeated 66 to 67. All 67 nays where Democrats, including Rep. Al Juhnke. On March 13, a second effort was made by bringing HF 3010 to the floor for a vote. HF 3010 deals with making sanctuary ordinances in the state of Minnesota illegal. Again, the DFL, including Juhnke, tabled the bill, preventing discussion or vote.

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    The intention of the DFL-controlled house is to let this bill die in committee. It looks like the DFL will play “duck and cover
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  7. #157
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    Mar 30, 2008 12:24 pm US/Cen

    Bus Crash Suspect Wanted Better Life For Family

    MARSHALL, Minn. (AP) ― Two years before the fatal school crash she's charged with causing, Olga Franco made a decision: She would leave her native Guatemala for the United States, seeking a better life for her family.

    "Those of us who have never gone, we sometimes think life is easier there in the U.S.," Franco's father, Miguel Angel Franco-Ortiz, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "But those that go say it's hard."

    For a story in Sunday's edition, the newspaper interviewed Franco's parents in Guatemala, as well as an aunt in Marshall and her attorney. Franco herself has not spoken with the media.

    Franco, 24, is charged in Lyon Count District Court with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the Feb. 19 crash near Cottonwood, in which four students aged 9 to 13 were killed and 15 other people were injured. She is also facing federal identity theft charges. Her next court appearance is April 21.

    Relatives recalled that everyone in Franco's hillside village in Guatemala cried the day she left. She promised her parents she would return home within three years with money for the family, who lived in a home made up of two bedrooms and a kitchen. Franco shared the space with her parents and an invalid uncle.

    At 20, Franco -- barely a year of schooling under her belt -- moved three hours south of her village to Guatemala City, where she cleaned houses. But she told her parents she felt unsafe in the city of 1.2 million people, and she moved back home after three months.

    Soon she decided that she would have to move further. She arranged for smugglers to get her first to Mexico and then across the border to the United States. Friends took up a collection to supply her with traveling money.

    Franco was able to send her parents a little money -- not much, but her father said it made a difference.

    "It's the only way to make a few pennies here, to sell corn," he said, on a short tour through his property. He said he earns about $5 a day from the 15 small plots that he rents, mostly for corn and beans.

    A year and a half ago, he said, he was able to buy a corn grinder for about $900 with money his daughter sent.

    A 36-year guerilla war in Guatemala ended in 1996, but more than half the country still lives in poverty.

    In the United States, Franco had several brushes with the law prior to the bus crash -- a stop sign violation, and driving without a license. In that case, the officer gave her a ride home and the court ordered her to pay a $182 fine.

    She also met and moved in with a boyfriend, and both found jobs at a cabinetry factory where they worked the night shift. It was on her way to that job that Franco is accused of missing a stop sign while driving her boyfriend's minivan, sailing over a set of railroad tracks and hurtling into the back of the school bus.

    Killed in the accident were brothers Hunter Javens, 9, and Jesse Javens, 13, of Cottonwood; Emilee Olson, 9, of Cottonwood; and Reed Stevens, 12, of Marshall.

    Franco had lived with her aunt, Petrona Franco, for a time in Marshall. But Petrona Franco said she had not seen her niece for several months before the accident. She told the Pioneer Press she barely recognized the gaunt, unsmiling woman from the booking photo.

    "I saw her grow up without malice in her heart," Petrona Franco said. "She's a good girl."

    Franco's parents have spoken with their daughter once since the arrest, just afterward when she was still in the hospital. Franco-Ortiz said the conversation was brief, and his daughter kept apologizing.

    "She thought maybe she was going to die," Franco-Ortiz said. "She asked us to forgive her."

    http://wcco.com/local/cottonwood.olga.f ... 87906.html
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  8. #158
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    Unreal...

    The media spin on that story was a joke. Sure, I'd like a "better life", but I don't disregard laws of nations to obtain it... Furthermore I do not kill people in a selfish pursuit of said "better life".

    Accident or not, her selfish goal of a "better life" left Americans DEAD.

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