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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Blizzard could hit northern Minnesota tonight

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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Blizzard could hit northern Minnesota tonight
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

CHANHASSEN, Minn. -  The first major winter storm of the season has most of Minnesota under a Winter Storm Warning or a Winter Weather Advisory. 

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The National Weather Service in Chanhassen says the snow is expected to move in this afternoon, with the heaviest amounts expected from the Red River Valley and into west central and northwest Minnesota.  Near blizzard conditions with blowing and drifting snow are possible.  Once the snow comes to an end a cold front will move in, bringing single digit high temperatures by the weekend.

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Work will start next year on an expansion at the Mayo Clinic.  Hospital officials unveiled the plans yesterday to add five floors to the Mary Brigh East building and renovate the third floor of St. Mary's  Hospital.  More private rooms will be added, and they will include areas for family members to stay overnight.  The $75-million-dollar expansion is in addition to  the 22,000 square-foot Sports Medicine Center already under construction.

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The Minnesota State Patrol will be using the sensing and diagnostic module from a car that crashed into a pond in St. Louis Park to determine exactly what happened.  The SDM is similar to the  "black box" data recorders on airplanes.  Investigators believe Marion Guerrido may have overcorrected, causing the car to enter the water.  The crash killed one of her children and another child.  Three other kids who were in the car remain hospitalized but a post on the website Caring Bridge says they are improving.

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MnDOT is asking motorists to follow the posted detour for southbound I-35 in Duluth. The department of transportation's Pat Huston says drivers have been jumping off of the detour at Michigan and 21st Avenue West and that's led to traffic congestion because the intersection wasn't designed to handle the traffic. Huston also says with a significant winter storm approaching, the clogged intersection will slow down plows. He's asking drivers to follow the detour up 21st to I-35.

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Minneapolis is tied for tenth on a new list of the  most underrated cities for millennials, defined as the generation of those in  their 20s.  The website Business Insider looked at factors like proximity to amenities, cost of living, crime rates, weather, housing and the local labor  market in coming up with the "Shiftless Millennial City Index" rankings.  Minneapolis is tied with Anchorage, Alaska with above average marks in every component other than music venues.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania came in at the top.

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The Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis says on Thursday  it will release a list of priests "who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors in our archdiocese."  It comes after a Ramsey County judge on Monday ordered the archdiocese provide the priests' names, the parishes where they served, their current status and residence, and whether they are still alive.  The archdiocese says most of the men whose names will be released have been previously identified in media reports, and all have been permanently removed from ministry or are deceased.  They say the information is mostly related to incidents between the mid-1950s and 1980s.  The archdiocese says the disclosures "are not intended to be final" and are "part of a comprehensive and cohesive set of actions we have been taking this fall to address the issues associated with clergy sexual misconduct" 

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A bizarre multi-state kidnapping case has come to an end in Moorhead.  A over-the-road truck driver from Salt Lake City, 53-year-old Timothy Vafeades, is accused of using a 19-year-old female relative as a sex slave while he traveled across the country for seven months.  Prosecutor Brian Melton says Vafeades controlled every move his victim made, including making her go to the bathroom in a pot in the truck.  Melton says Vafeades' strange behavior included using an electric grinder to file his victim's teeth.  He was arrested at a truck scale in Moorhead when a state trooper discovered a Florida warrant for his arrest.

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Minnesota State Senator Warren Limmer is urging his fellow lawmakers to work together on reforming Minnesota's Sex Offender Treatment Program, after a court-appointed panel recommended significant changes.  Limmer, a Republican from Maple Grove, says because 2014 is an election year, the "temptation is just absolutely ripe to politicize the issue" -- but he says the public won't tolerate much of that.  Limmer warns if lawmakers don't make needed changes, the court will take the matter into their own hands -- and he says the last thing the state wants is for the courts to release sex offenders directly into the community.

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Red Wing is the first stop as a state Senate panel begins a three-day sweep through southeast Minnesota, hearing pitches from a number of communities that want bonding money for their public works projects.  Red Wing officials will give lawmakers a tour of their "River Renaissance Project," and committee Chairman Leroy Stumpf says he wants to learn more about it.  Stumpf says Red Wing is an up-and-coming community that a lot of people from the metro area will see as a very pleasant place to go.  The panel visits Winona this afternoon.  Tomorrow they're in Rushford, Lanesboro, Preston and Rochester.

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