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Updated: Authorities launch cockfighting raids in western Wisconsin

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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Funeral held for two Stillwater sisters murdered in Wisconsin

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

STILLWATER  --  Funeral services were held today in Stillwater for two sisters shot to  death by a former sheriff's deputy last week in Wisconsin. 

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Thirty-nine-year-old Ashlee Steele and 38-year-old Kacee Tollesbol of Lake Elmo were allegedly murdered by Ashlee's husband, Andrew Steele of Fitchburg, Wisconsin.  Andrew is battling ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease and retired from the Dane County Sheriff's Office in June.  He was hospitalized with self-inflicted wounds and transferred to jail to make his initial court appearance today.

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Authorities in far northeastern Minnesota are warning residents about recent incidents involving wolves in the Grand Marais area.  Cook County Sheriff Leif Lunde says there have been several reports of wolves attacking dogs and approaching people.  The sheriff is asking pet owners not to let their dogs run loose and to use caution if they encounter a wild animal. 

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St. Cloud State University President Earl Potter says the school has a budget deficit between eight and ten million dollars.  Saint Cloud State has had declining enrollment for the last three years, while the number of faculty and staff has remained the same.  Potter says to address the shortfall, SCSU will implement a flexible hiring freeze.  It will apply to all positions except those that must absolutely be filled, or those fully funded by contracts and grants.  Potter says they anticipate the hiring freeze will last at least through this fiscal year and perhaps longer.  Saint Cloud State is anticipating a decrease in tuition revenue this fall with a projected decline in enrollment between four and five percent.

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Authorities have identified a motorcyclist killed in a crash Thursday morning near the Mall of America in Bloomington.  The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office says 67-year-old Ronald Rostberg of New Brighton died of blunt force injuries.  The State Patrol says Rostberg was on the Interstate 494 ramp to Highway 77 when his cycle bounced over the divider curb and crashed.  Rostberg was not wearing a helmet. 

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A 40-year-old man is back in a Bemidji courtroom this afternoon (Fri 330pm) on charges of attempted first-degree murder.  Prosecutors say Chad Pickering shot a 17-year-old girl three times in mid-July as she stood on the deck of her home in Eckles Township.  The victim told authorities she talked to Pickering, a neighbor, about trespassing after he repeatedly rode his lawnmower through her yard carrying a pistol in a holder.  Investigators say Pickering first denied shooting the teen, but later admitted to firing at her several times because he felt threatened after the confrontation over trespassing. 

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