Minnesota State Fair attendance, school bus crash, Lutsen Mountains expansion denied: This week's top stories

Minnesota State Fair breaks attendance record. Driver killed in a crash with a school bus. Lutsen Mountain expansion application denied. Here are the top stories from Aug. 26-Sept. 1.

1. Minnesota State Fair breaks attendance record on Friday

After a tepid opening, the Minnesota State Fair smashed an attendance record on Friday.

The fair reports a crowd of 164,741 showed up for the first Friday this year. That number surpassed the previous record set in 2019 by more than 7,500 (157,224).

The heat and humidity may have been contributing factors to the slower start.

2. Mustang driver killed in crash with school bus carrying Waseca volleyball teams

A Mustang driver was killed in a collision with a school bus carrying high school volleyball players in southern Minnesota. 

The crash happened around 8:45 p.m. on Aug. 26 along Interstate 90 in Foster Township, about 15 miles west of Albert Lea.

Seven girls on the bus, between the ages 14 and 16, were hurt in the collision but are expected to recover. The Minnesota State Patrol has not said what caused the crash. 

3. Lutsen Mountains expansion denied, halting new trails, lifts and lodge

A proposed expansion by Lutsen Mountains that would have increased skiing and hiking terrain, provided new lifts and services, and added parking spaces will not have its application permit approved.

A proposed expansion by Lutsen Mountains that would have increased skiing and hiking terrain, provided new lifts and services, and added parking spaces will not have its application permit approved.

The Superior National Forest is proposing a ‘No Action’ decision based on findings through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and Tribal consultation, according to an announcement. 

As a result, the addition of lifts, trails, or recreation facilities will not receive approval for construction on National Forest System (NFS) lands.

4. Protest blocks traffic outside Minnesota State Fair gates

A protest along Snelling Avenue at the Minnesota State Fair's main gates disrupted traffic Wednesday evening for a brief period. 

Around 7:45 p.m., protesters rolled up in vehicles and on motorcycles to Snelling at Midway Parkway. It's unclear exactly what the protest was for though those involved carried signs and at least one person had a Black Lives Matter flag.

5. Rare blue supermoon to appear this week: What to know

super blue moon

A general view of the super blue moon on August 30, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Stargazers will have an eventful week with the appearance of the rare blue supermoon. 

NASA says a Blue Moon refers not to its color but to any month with two full moons in the 29.5-day lunar cycle. A Blue Moon happens about once every three years, and the next time we'll have two full moons in a month happens in 2026.

6. 'Illegally parked' minivan with 3 kids inside towed from parking lot early Sunday

A minivan, parked illegally, was towed from a downtown Minneapolis parking lot early Sunday morning with three children inside.

An employee at the tow lot says the van had heavily tinted windows and was unaware there was anyone inside. The children were reunited with their mother. 

No arrests were made. 

7. Myon Burrell, man who was freed from life sentence, arrested for possession of gun

Myon Burrell, the man who was sentenced to life behind bars for the 2002 murder of a preteen girl in Minneapolis but later freed by a pardons board, is facing new charges for possession of a loaded gun.

Burrell, 37, was arrested on Tuesday in Robbinsdale after being spotted driving erratically and speeding. When he was stopped, officers said "there was an indication of active drug use in the vehicle." In his vehicle, police say they found marijuana and a gun.

While Burrell was freed on the murder conviction, his sentence was only commuted – he wasn't pardoned. As a result, Burrell is still not allowed to carry a weapon.

He was officially charged on Friday with fifth-degree drug possession and being an ineligible person in possession of a firearm. 

8. Space Tower closed for rest of Minnesota State Fair

Space Tower (FOX 9)

If you didn't take a ride to the Space Tower at the Minnesota State Fair this year, you won't get your chance.

The Space Tower will be out of service for the rest of the 2023 Minnesota State Fair due to a mechanical issue. A fair official says the ride needs "specialized electronic equipment" that won't arrive before the end of the fair. 

The ride, which stands over 300 feet tall, gives fairgoers a 360-degree look at the Twin Cities. It's been around since 1965. 

9. Iowa couple killed in I-35 crash south of Faribault

The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating a fatal crash on northbound I-35 near mile post 53, just south of Faribault.

An Iowa couple was killed Friday during a crash along Interstate 35, just south of Faribault, Minnesota.

The Minnesota State Patrol crash report stated a Volvo semi, a Chevy Silverado, and a Toyota Camry were all headed northbound around 1:30 p.m. when there was a collision involving all three vehicles. 

The victims, identified as 57-year-old Matthew Hansen and 56-year-old Cimberly Ellen Hansen, both of Urbandale, Iowa, died as a result of the crash. 

The state patrol did not say what led to the crash. 

10. Man killed by bull on farm in Otter Tail County

A man was killed by a bull on a farm in Otter Tail County Saturday evening, according to the sheriff's office. 

Details of what exactly happened are still being investigated, but the sheriff's office did say they received a call around 6:15 p.m. of a man being attacked by a bull on a farm in Parkers Prairie. 

The victim was later pronounced dead.