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MINNESOTA NEWS BRIEFS: Teen dies in swimming accident near Canadian border

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

DULUTH - A 14-year-old boy is dead after a swimming accident on Rainy Lake in Voyageur's National Park, in St. Louis County near the Canadian border.

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Sheriff's Deputies say the teen was among a group of people touring the lake by houseboat. The boy died at a Duluth hospital shortly after arriving. Neither his name nor the exact circumstances surrounding the accident that led to the death have been released.

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Five deaths over the weekend have pushed Minnesota's traffic fatalities over the 200 mark this year, nearly a month earlier than in 2012. State Patrol Lieutenant Colonel Matt Langer say it's alarming and frustrating to those that dedicate their lives to traffic safety. He says "we just have far too many people dying on our roadways." Langer says crashes are preventable and motorists need to pay attention, drive at safe speeds, drive sober and buckle up.

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Another motorcyclist has been killed, bringing the 2013 total so far to 39. Only 24 bikers had been killed at this time last year. Minnesota State Patrol says 73-year-old Sherwin Johnson of Lindstrom was killed yesterday (Mon) when a driver tried to make an illegal U-turn in Chisago County. Troopers say Johnson was hit by a vehicle driven by 25-year-old Alissa Nollan of Columbia Heights She was not hurt. A passenger suffered minor injuries. 

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Minneapolis homicide detectives are investigating the shooting death of a man they say was not random. Sergeant William Palmer says the man was found injured after shots were fired from a passing car. he died a short time after being admitted to the hospital. The identity of the victim and his exact cause of death will be released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner? Office.

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Closing arguments are this morning in the trial of a Minnesota man charged with a double-murder at a photo shop in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Forty-year-old Jeffrey Lepsch of Dakota, Minnesota is accused of killing camera store owner Paul Petras and his son A.J. last September, and stealing almost 20-thousand dollars in camera equipment. Prosecutors said Lepsch needed the money to help pay back an old debt. One of the state? final witnesses was a Whitehall woman who testified she bought one of the stolen cameras and turned it in to police after seeing the person she bought it from, Lepsch, on the news. But the defendant? wife Angie said he was not capable of killing anybody, and Lepsch? mother Sharon said her son never showed any violent behavior. The defendant himself refused to testify.

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Same-sex marriage advocates have launched a new website with information about wedding services and vendors available in the state. Gay marriage becomes legal this Thursday in Minnesota Eric Jensen with Project 515 says weddingequalitymn.com is a one-stop site for couples and providers. Jensen says the site has listings from more than 230 businesses and organizations so far. Around five-thousand same-sex couples in Minnesota are expected to marry over the next two years.   

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A report from the Green Bay  Police Department shows that the two Minneapolis Police officers who have been placed on administrative leave insulted Green Bay officers, called their own police chief a lesbian looking to fire people, and used racial slurs while describing a scuffle with a group of nine black men. The 40-page police report is riddled with expletives. After the initial altercation and a warning from police that they were creating a disturbance and faced possible arrest, the officers returned to their hotel room, but later showed back up at the police station; they were told by a shift commander that they again faced arrest for disorderly conduct. The men were not arrested or charged with any crimes. They are on paid leave while an internal affairs investigation is conducted.

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A nine-year-old Oakdale girl has been released from the hospital after she was accidentally shot with a .22 caliber rifle by her five-year-old brother. Police responded to a call at around 6:30 Friday night and found the girl with a gunshot wound to her chest. According to authorities, the girl was alert and talking with responding officers when they arrived. At this point it's unclear how the boy was able to access the loaded gun. The case has been sent to prosecutors, who will determine if charges will be filed.

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For the third time this summer, a Maple Grove church was vandalized with anti-gay messages. On Sunday eggs were thrown at the front door of Pilgrims United Church of Christ, and messages referencing homosexuality were scrawled on the outside of the building. Similar incidents took place June 2 and 30, but this time police have more information to go on; after the earlier acts of vandalism they installed surveillance cameras, and they caught pictures of a man in a wheelchair egging the church. The Maple Grove Police Department says they are investigating it as a hate crime.

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The community of Hawley continues to mourn a 15-year-old girl, who was killed in a house fire on Sunday. Friends and family have been bringing flowers and writing messages at a memorial in front of Rylie Efterfield's home. They say she was beautiful inside and out. Rylie would have been a sophomore at Hawley High School. Counselors have been made available at the school to help students work through their grief. The Clay County Sheriff's Office says the fire was caused by materials surrounding an improperly installed electrical outlet.

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 A hotel fire in Rochester had an unusual cause; the Rochester Fire Departments says two Chinese lanterns set the roof on fire at American Best Value Inn Sunday night. Firefighters found two Chinese lanterns laying on the roof, and a portion of it was smoldering. Crews had to tear open part of the roof to put out the fire. Chinese lanterns are constructed of paper wrapped around a light wire frame, and a candle or fuel cell inside heats the air and causes the lantern to rise like a hot air balloon. They are illegal in Minnesota. 

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