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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Flooding threatens International Falls

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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Flooding threatens International Falls
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

INTERNATIONAL FALLS -  --  The American Red Cross is in International Falls helping with the flood fight. 

Rainy Lake and the Rainy Lake River continue to rapidly rise, threatening homes and businesses.  Spokesman Tony Guerra (GARE-uh) says the Red Cross is delivering sandbags and feeding people who are filling them, because they're on the line all day long.  A second sandbag filling site is opening today west of International Falls in Loman.

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Severe weather is possible this afternoon and evening, on the heels of a tough weather weekend across Minnesota.  Meteorologist Joe Calderone with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen says it could include showers and thunderstorms, hail, straight line winds, and tornadoes.  Calderone says they're particularly watching the I-90 corridor, but it's uncertain how far north severe weather could extend.  Flood warnings are in place for the south fork of the Crow River below Mayer, the Crow River at Rockford, the Redwood River near Redwood Falls, and the Sauk River at St. Cloud.  A flood watch is in effect for the Mississippi River at Wabasha, for Sabin and Dilworth on the Buffalo River and for Hendrum on the Wild Rice River. 

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In Luverne, roads are washed out and Interstate 90 was closed for a time yesterday at the Minnesota-South Dakota border.  It has since reopened, but there are still some single lane closures because of standing water.  Luverne was hit with over six inches of rain, causing Rock River to overflow within the city limits.  Parks and some streets are under water; trees are uprooted and streetlights toppled.  

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Xcel Energy says crews have restored power to 99 percent of nearly 110,000 customers in southern Minnesota who lost service over the weekend.  Xcel expects all service to be restored by midday today.  More than 500 linemen, tree crews and staff were involved in the restoration efforts after storms packing high winds and heavy rain tore through the area.  Xcel had to call in additional crews from other Upper Midwest service territories to help restore power.

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Governor Dayton says executives tell him the Medtronic-Covidien merger will not result in any job losses in Minnesota.  Fridley-based Medtronic announced that it will acquire Covidien for $43-billion in cash and stock to form a new entity called Medtronic plc.  The medical device maker plans to move its corporate headquarters to Dublin, Ireland and keep its operational headquarters in Minnesota.  Dayton says CEO Omar Ishrak told him Medtronic intends to create one-thousand new medical technology-related jobs in the state over the next five years.  The company currently employs eight-thousand Minnesotans.  

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The Saint Cloud area school district is assessing damage and making plans to move forward, after fire from a suspected lightning strike destroyed Roosevelt School over the weekend. Several fire departments battled the blaze, before ultimately deciding to tear the building down Sunday morning.  School Board Chair Jerry Von Korff says summer school was supposed to begin this week in that building, but that's not the only building that has the program, so they could move those students to another location.  Roosevelt was also the district's Welcome Center and the Early Childhood Center.  Von Korff says the board will wait for a report from the district administration to see where they go from here.

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Charges against a Twin Cities attorney accused of trying to set his girlfriend on fire last February have been dropped.  Sixty-one-year-old David Gherity was charged with one count of assault and two counts of arson after he was alleged to have poured hair spray and nail polish remover on his long-time girlfriend before setting her on fire in his Burnsville condominium.  Dakota County Attorney James Backtrom says the charges were dismissed after further investigation determined that Gherity has a substantiated alibi.  The victim suffered burns to her scalp, face, neck, legs and hand, and lost an ear in the assault.  The incident remains under investigation.

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A suspect is in custody after three men were assaulted by another man with a knife late Saturday night in downtown Mankato.  Two of the victims were taken to the hospital and are expected to recover.  A third was treated at the scene.  A manhunt involving four law enforcement agencies located and arrested the suspect, a 26-year-old man from Mankato.

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There's a new way to help hungry Minnesotans get access to healthier food choices.  Courtney Zaato  with Minnesota FoodShare says the goal of "GardenShare" is to build connections between gardeners and local food shelves so they can increase healthy offerings.  Zaato says in addition to individuals, places of worship, organizations and businesses are also getting involved in growing.  Those interested in taking part in the GardenShare program can find more information at the Minnesota FoodShare website.

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