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MINNESOTA NEWS BRIEFS: St. Paul man arrested for murder

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MINNESOTA NEWS BRIEFS: St. Paul man arrested for murder
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

ST. PAUL --  A 24-year-old St. Paul man has been charged with murder, after police say he strangled a woman who was found dead by her 7-year-old son. 

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The boy went to his grandmother's house and told her that his mom, 30-year-old Sherell Craighead, had been killed. Craighead's mother reported her murder to police, who say Sammy Henderson admitted he raped the woman and grabbed her neck during the assault.  He's being held at the Ramsey County jail.

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After an anonymous call, Olmsted County Sheriff's deputies found a herd of malnourished cows on a farm south of Rochester, including three skeletons, a dead cow, and a dead calf.  The owner of the beef cattle farm is now being investigated for neglect, after investigators determined that about half of the 70-cow herd were in poor condition.  The farmer claimed the cows were underweight because corn stock is in low supply this season and because of the hot and dry weather he says pasture condition is poor.  A veterinarian is examining the herd and will report back to the sheriff's department by tomorrow.

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Police in Chaska say that three relatives were accidentally shot by other family members in two separate incidents in the past week.  Officers responded to a home after a man accidentally shot his father-in-law in the foot with a handgun  Investigators say there was no alcohol involved, and the incident was caused by “negligent weapon handling.”  Just a few days later the father-in-law was apparently mishandling his handgun and shot himself in the hand while the family was playing Monopoly, and after passing through his hand the bullet hit his wife in the stomach.  Again, police say no alcohol was involved.  Chaska Police say the odd chain of events should serve as a reminder that guns are to be respected, not played with, and they should be kept unloaded and locked in the home.

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 A St. Bonifacius woman has pled guilty in the death of her toddler son, who showed signs of serious and ongoing abuse.  28-year-old Shacara Foster admitted to leaving her 18-month-old son Cottrell and her infant daughter in the care of her boyfriend, 22-year-old Kentae Todd of Coon Rapids, when the toddler's hand was burned.  Upon returning, investigators say Foster failed to check on the boy for hours, even though she was told he had been injured.  The autopsy found that Cottrell had a broken leg and broken arm, a fractured skull, fractured ribs, cigarette burns, brain hemorrhages, and other bruises, but the medical examiner ruled the cause of death was an untreated blood infection caused by the severe burn on his hand.  The medical examiner says photos of the body show a “desperately ill, battered and injured child.”  Todd was sentenced to 12 years in prison in July  Foster will be sentenced in October.

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A new report shows Minnesota's organic farmers had a profitable year in 2012, despite summer flooding and a long drought.  The state Department of Agriculture's Meg Moynihan says median net farm income was up by about $50,000 over the year before and it was actually the best we've seen in about the past four years. Moynihan says profits were up last year at both dairy operations and crop farms.  Minnesota has just over 700 certified organic farms.  That doesn't include very small operations or those making the transition from traditional farming. 

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Two fishing boats collided in Todd County. The Sheriff’s Department says the incident happened about 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday on Fairy Lake in Kandota Township.  Gary Reins of Sauk Centre was driving a boat that struck another boat driven by Stanley Patyk of Sauk Centre.  Reins and his three passengers were not hurt.  His boat had minimal damage.  Patyk was not hurt.  His boat had moderate damage.

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Job vacancies in Minnesota during the second quarter were at their highest level in 12 years, according to the latest employer survey by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.  Spokeswoman Oriane Casale  says the state is "basically back to where we were before the Great Recession hit."  Of about 75,000 job openings reported, 58 percent were in the metro and the rest in Greater Minnesota.  Jobs in health care and social assistance accounted for about 20 percent of the vacancies; retail 13 percent; and hospitality services about 11 percent of job vacancies.

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Archbishop John Nienstedt is calling for federal reform that provides a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Minnesota told a group at the Saint Thomas Law School that current U.S. immigration policy is "inconsistent, ineffective and fails to promote the common good."  Nienstedt said every immigrant is a person and possesses "fundamental inalienable rights that must be respected."  It's the archbishop's first major foray into politics since last year's failed campaign to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

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A suburban Twin Cities teacher has been fired for what officials term "inappropriate communication" with students.  Benilde-St. Margaret School President Dr. Bob Tift sent a letter home to parents, explaining that Jon Hickman interacted with students outside of teaching.  The engineering teacher is also a photographer, and Tift says the photos he took, whether, "Senior photographs or artistic modeling photographs are not connected with or endorsed by BSM" Photos posted on Hickman's Facebook page show young men and women wearing Benilde clothing, and there are also shots of young women in bikinis.

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A convicted Minnesota sex offender has been arrested after posting his engagement to a 14-year-old girl on Facebook.  West Fargo Police began investigating 20-year-old Tyler Graening after he failed to register as a sex offender in North Dakota, and court documents outline several posts about his relationship with the teenager.  The girl told police that the two were involved in a relationship and at one time she thought she was pregnant.  Graening is charged with counts that include failure to register as a sex offender and corruption of a minor.  He is jailed in Clay County, awaiting extradtion to North Dakota.

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A Michigan man has pleaded guilty in federal court to robbing a Stillwater bank, shutting down shopping and other activities at the popular tourist destination for the better part of a Saturday in early June.  66-year-old David Tyler admitted he entered a U.S. Bank wearing a fake beard and glasses, placed a briefcase on a desk and showed a banker what appeared to be a homemade bomb inside.  While the banker put the money into Tyler's backpack, he pushed a button on his cell phone and said the bomb would go off in ten minutes.  Tyler was arrested a short distance from the bank when officers saw him throwing the backpack into a pickup truck.  He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

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Hunters who want to enter the upcoming license lottery for Minnesota's next wolf season must apply by midnight tonight (Thurs).  Licenses that aren't sold to lottery winners would be available to others, but the DNR Steve Merchant says that's unlikely to happen.  He says last year 24-thousand people applied for six-thousand licenses, and this year the wolf season is down to 3,300 licenses.  Merchant says he would be "extremely surprised if we had fewer applicants than that."  Applications for the wolf-hunt lottery can be made in person at any DNR licensing agent or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.  (...or by phone at 888-665-4236)

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Secretary of State John Kerry will have some convincing to do when he meets privately with Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan next week on the crisis in Syria.  The 8th District Democrat-Farm Laborer opposes military intervention of any kind, warning the same thing could happen as in Vietnam.  The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday passed a resolution for military action in Syria that sets a 60-day deadline with a 30-day extension for missile strikes to be launched.

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 A high-level federal official is in Duluth this morning (945am) to announce new investments in the port of Duluth-Superior.  Congressman Rick Nolan says it's a $10-million grant to improve docks and other facilities.  Nolan says he also has a measure moving through Congress that would prohibit harbor maintenance fees collected on ships from being used for other purposes.  Nolan says dredging is needed because declining clearances are limiting ships' loads.

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