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MINNESOTA NEWS BRIEFS: Wolf attacks teen at campground

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BEMIDJI, Minn. - A 16-year-old boy sustained non-life-threatening injuries when he was apparently bitten by a wolf at a campground on Lake Winnibigoshish early Saturday morning and rabies tests are due back today (Tues) or Wednesday.

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The DNR says before this incident, a serious injury or fatal attack on a human by a wolf had never been documented in Minnesota. The agency's Tom Provost calls the wolf's behavior "incredibly abnormal" and says he does *not* suspect other wolves are involved. The boy sustained multiple puncture wounds and a cut on his head about 11 centimeters long which required multiple staples to close. Early Monday morning, a wolf matching the description of the animal in the attack was trapped and killed at the campground. 

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A Monticello man has died of injuries suffered in an ATV accident early Saturday in Wright County. Sheriff's deputies say 22-year-old Jacob Bills lost control at an intersection in Monticello Township and crashed. Bills was taken to a Monticello hospital and then transported to North Memorial Medical Center where he died Sunday. The crash remains under investigation.   

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The Minnesota State Patrol is looking for a car that fatally struck a passenger who fell off a motorcycle near Sauk Centre. Troopers say the man fell off the bike Saturday night near the entrance to Grey Stone Golf Course and was then hit by a vehicle on Highway 71. The driver did not stop. The victim is reportedly a 40-year-old from Annandale but his name has not been released. The State Patrol is asking for the public's help locating the suspect vehicle, which is believed to be a Buick Regal with damage to its front bumper area. Anyone with information about the fatal hit and run is asked to contact the State Patrol's Saint Cloud District Office. 

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Summer conditions continue to make an extreme impact on the area. An excessive heat warning continues for much of central and southern Minnesota today, as the heat index is expected to top 100 degrees this afternoon. The Twin Cities set a record high of 97 degrees on Monday, breaking the former record of 94 degrees, set on August 26th, 1948.  t's going to be another scorcher across much of Minnesota and officials are urging State Fairgoers to keep well hydrated. Fair spokeswoman Brienna Schuette says there are 40 locations on the fairgrounds where visitors can use a drinking fountain or refill a water bottle -- and that doesn't include all the places where people can get free water at vendor and exhibitor booths. Schuette adds coolers are welcome. There are also water-misters at both medical aid stations at the east and west end of the fairgrounds, and officials are deploying 10 additional water-misters in response to record-breaking heat. 

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There will be special recognition of Vietnam-era veterans during today's Minnesota State Fair Military Appreciation Day. State Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito says his generation deserves some of the support the public has given vets of Iraq and Afghanistan. More than a thousand Vietnam veterans will march from the flag-raising ceremony to Carousel Park (10:30-11am). Shellito says a State Fair parade won't heal all their wounds, but it will be a special tribute to Vietnam veterans. 

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 The last unofficial weekend of summer is just ahead, and it promises to be a hot one in Minnesota. Ed Delgado of the National Interagency Fire Center says scorching temps, of course, increase the risk of wildfires -- but he says no major lightning activity is forecasted for the next 10 days which could keep things status quo. Many people plan camping trips and bonfires this Labor Day weekend. Delgado says it's important to clear any campfire site down to bare soil, keep the fire small (three feet high by three feet in diameter), make sure there is a bucket of water and a shovel nearby. He says when putting a campfire out, drown it with water, stir, then drown again. 

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St. Louis County officials have made a new counteroffer to two county employee unions, hoping to avoid a strike planned for Friday. AFSCME and Municipal Employees Local 66 have been sent a proposal basically accepting what the union had proposed regarding accumulated sick leave. County employees can now bank up to 1,900 hours of sick leave and transfer it to a health savings account upon retirement, but in the previous contract offer the county wanted to limit that to 1,150 hours for new employees. Union members were against a two-tier system they say would pit union members against each other and break their union. They countered with a reduction for both new and existing employees to 1,500 hours of banked sick leave The county at first said no to that offer but changed course yesterday  with a strike date just days away.

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Residents of several Duluth group homes operated by Community Connection of Minnesota are scrambling to find a place to live, after the company went out of business due to CEO Sharon Mack's failing health. The seven residential foster homes house 23 people with traumatic brain injury and related conditions. St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Director Anne Busche says they are working with those clients to make sure they are housed safely.

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A bomb threat is under investigation in Minneapolis. Police say someone phoned and emailed the threat to a CVS Pharmacy near Franklin and Nicollet on Monday prompting an evacuation of the building and closure of the intersection. A search of the building turned up nothing dangerous and no arrests have been made. 

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A 29-year-old Shorewood woman is jailed in the death of her boyfriend. Jetaun Wheeler is accused of beating the 58-year-old to death with a closet pole and putting his body in the chest freezer in the couple's Shorewood home. Court documents show the freezer was purchased within days of the murder. Witnesses told investigators that the victim was preparing to leave the relationship because Wheeler had been violent with him and she was, "crazy." Police collected evidence in the home that includes a blood-soaked piece of carpeting and bloody clothing. Wheeler is in jail but police are searching for her 10, 8 and 7-year-old children. No Amber Alerts have been issued.

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A Minneapolis man has been charged with the second degree murder of a man in Brooklyn Center last week, and police say 25-year-old Michael McGowan's shooting death may have come during a fight. 26-year-old Antonio Daniels was arrested after a witness described an altercation that involved a group of men and women, which may have been a robbery attempt, and told police Daniels fired at least two shots. McGowan was found lying in a pool of blood in the back parking lot of a Super 8 motel.

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As expected, reading scores dropped across-the-board on the 2013 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments because it's the first time students were tested on tougher national standards. Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius says the reading results can't really be compared to last year's standardized testing but will set up a baseline for future years. Cassellius says high school math scores have rebounded from a bit of a dip last year. She says there may be yearly ups and downs, but overall the trend in mathematics is up since this test was first given in 2006. Teachers and districts will use the scores to identify areas that are deficient and adjust their curriculum to improve scores in the next round of testing. 

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There were fewer drunk driving deaths in 2012 than the year before, according to official numbers released today (MON) by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. There were 104 drunk driving deaths last year, down from 111 in 2011. But officials say that downward trend could be reversed this year because crash deaths are on the rise There have been 585 people killed in alcohol-related crashes on Minnesota roads over the past five years. The current statewide D-W-I enforcement "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign has yielded more than 750 drunk driving arrests through two weekends. The crackdown continues through Labor Day. 

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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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