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MINNESOTA NEWS BRIEFS: Orono police officers exposed to hazardous chemicals

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ORONO, Minn.  -- Four Orono police officers were hospitalized after being exposed to hazardous chemicals last night.

 The officers were responding to a call of an unresponsive man inside a locked vehicle. When they arrived, the man became combative and refused to get out of the car. Officers smelled a strong chemical odor coming from the vehicle. Once they were able to get the man out of the car, they began feeling lightheaded and experienced a burning sensation in their eyes and throats. The officers were treated and released. As of this morning, the suspect was still in the hospital due to chemical exposure. The incident remains under investigation.

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Charges are expected to be filed today against a 43-year-old Hokah woman accused of having repeated sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy. Winona County Sheriff's deputies arrested the woman over the weekend. Officials say she admitted to having multiple encounters with the boy over the past two months. 

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Livestock producers in Minnesota and around the country are rethinking feedlot practices after the drug firm Merck Animal Health recently pulled a popular growth-accelerating drug from the market. Zilmax was credited with helping cattle pack on up to 30 pounds of lean muscle in the weeks before slaughter, but it may also be associated with lame animals. Famed animal scientist Doctor Temple Grandin has worked for decades to make life better for animals raised for food and says "now we're getting some cattle that are stiff and sore." There's no indication how long Zilmax will be off the market. Another similar product is still available.

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Fast-food workers in the Twin Cities and nationwide have been pushing for a raise and some in Congress are also pressing to increase the federal minimum wage. But what would the actual economic impact be of a boost for the lowest-paid workers? Critics argue it would mostly help teenagers, but economists say that's a myth. David Cooper of the Economic Policy Institute says it would mostly benefit the working poor, including a large portion of single mothers. Opponents warn a minimum wage increase will mean fewer available jobs for those entering the work force.

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The first day of school felt like fall early this morning in northeastern Minnesota. The mercury dropped to 33 degrees in Embarrass; 34 at Cotton, Hibbing and Crane Lake; 35 in Big Fork; and 36 at Silver Bay, Cook and Orr. Several communities bottomed out at 37 degrees including Ely, Hinckley, Eveleth and Grand Marais. High temperatures statewide are expected to reach the mid 70s to mid 80s this afternoon.  

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Sean Scallon
Sean Scallon has been a reporter and Sports Editor at the Pierce County Herald newspaper in Ellsworth since 1998. He holds a bachelors degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's also worked at newspapers in Glenwood City, Wisconsin; Marion, Illinois and Shawano, Wisconsin. Sean also works as a sports reporter for other newspapers and websites in RiverTown Multimedia from River Falls to Hudson to New Richmond and Red Wing.
(715) 273-4334
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