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MINNESOTA NEWS BRIEFS: Car and truck sales up in Minnesota

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news Ellsworth, 54011

Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

Cars and trucks are selling at a solid pace in the U.S. and across the state of Minnesota. The Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association reports a 13-percent increase in sales through April.

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Vice President Scott Lambert says the auto industry closely follows the housing market -- and contractors are now making truck purchases they've been putting off for the last few years. Lambert says truck sales alone are up about 11 percent this year and would be even higher if the Ford Ranger plant in Saint Paul was still in operation. He says pickups are in demand because the new models are lighter and more fuel-efficient.

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If you're planning on being in or around water with the kids this holiday weekend, here? a reminder: be an active watcher. Alan Korn, water safety advocate for the non-profit Abbey? Hope, says that does *not* mean occasionally looking up over the barbecue pit, pulling your eyes away from the summer book you're reading, or socializing pool-side. Korn says adults should stand by the pool and continuously watch children so they can react quickly if something happens. Korn says drownings are often preventable as long as active watching is taking place.

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It's a long weekend for many, and a good number of Minnesotans will be enjoying backyard cookouts or grilling. One tip from Kathy Bernard with the U-S-D-A to avoid food borne illness: Never use the same unwashed platters that held raw meats for cooked meats, and she says the same goes for cooking utensils. Bernard adds cooking meats to proper temperatures, using a meat thermometer, will cut down on the possibility of illness. Ground meats should be cooked to 160 degrees, poultry to 165, and pork or beef steaks or chops to 140 degrees.

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After the long, cool spring, mosquitoes in Minnesota are trying to make up for lost time. Mike McLean with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District says the wet weather of previous weeks has provided breeding grounds. It also means that mosquito eggs laid long ago, near what were receding bodies of water, have been dormant until now - and they're hatching. McLean says "we're literally maybe getting two or three years' worth of mosquitoes all kinda developing at once." There around 50 species of mosquitoes that call Minnesota home. 

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