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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Mankato area soaked after five inches of rain

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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Mankato area soaked after five inches of rain
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

MANKATO, Minn. --  The Mankato area in south-central Minnesota is soaked after receiving more than five inches of rain overnight. 

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There was water over several roads and mudslides and flooding led to closures on Highways 169 and 66.  The National Weather Service reported a 56-mile-per-hour wind gust at New Ulm Airport and a 40-by-60-foot pole building was leveled west of town.  Flood warnings are in effect for the Redwood and Minnesota Rivers along with numerous streams and tributaries.  More rain is possible later today.  

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Minnesotans in the southern part of the state are bracing for what could be round three of bad weather.  Meteorologist Chris Franks with the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen says more severe weather is likely on the way tonight in central and southern Minnesota, with the risk of more heavy rain, strong winds and hail.  Tornadoes are also possible, with the greatest threat in south-central Minnesota.  Franks expects the active weather pattern to the south to continue through Thursday.  A flood warning is in place for the southwest corner of the state, as well as International Falls, Mankato, and other isolated areas.  Rochester and surrounding counties to the southeast are under a flash flood watch.

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Charges against a Morris Area High School principal have been dropped.  36-year-old Craig Peterson was charged with two counts of first-degree and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after prosecutors alleged he had non-consensual sex with an acquaintance at his Morris home in December.  But the Stevens County Attorney filed a dismissal after new evidence was reviewed.  In a statement Peterson says he hopes his ordeal ultimately becomes what's called a "teachable moment."  Peterson adds he hopes dismissal of charges reaffirms trust in him as an educator and school principal.  Peterson had been on paid administrative leave since December 23rd.

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Scary times for golfers at Village Green Golf Course in Moorhead after a pickup being pursued by police drove onto the course.  Terry Kragero of Moorhead and his five-year-old son were on the links and heard sirens, saw squad cars on surrounding streets and a helicopter flying low.  Kragero says all of a sudden they saw a truck coming straight down the driving range and everyone started running, but thinks the driver saw all the people at the last minute and veered off.  Police stopped the pursuit because of danger to the public, but a short time later the pickup was spotted on I-94 and officers began chasing it again.  It ended in a parking lot at a Fargo mall, where the driver bailed out.  He was found hiding in a dumpster and arrested.  In addition to the warrants for his arrest, 33-year-old Kendall Feist of Bismarck is facing multiple charges.

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A 29-year-old man was arrested in northeastern Minnesota hours after authorities say he set his tenant on fire Tuesday at a home in the Twin Cities suburb of Andover.  The Star Tribune reports the victim is in critical condition at HCMC with burns over 80 percent of his body.  It happened after deputies visited the home earlier in the day and the two men agreed to separate for the evening.  A statewide crime alert was issued for the suspect, and St. Louis County authorities caught him on the road.  Police say the conflict was a dispute between a landlord and his tenant.

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The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee had a hearing to examine how companies are taking advantage of homegrown agriculture instead of petroleum to make new products  Curtis Miller of Minnetonka-based Cargill told lawmakers that while green products don't sell well based on their biofriendly attributes alone, if companies make quality items, consumers will buy them.  Cargill is one of the largest worldwide suppliers of products to the bioindustry, including ethanol blends, lubricating products, and compostable plastics.

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The U.S House of Representatives has approved a bill to name the VA community-based outpatient clinic in Mankato after late World War II hero Lyle Pearson.  U.S. Congressman Tim Walz and the entire Minnesota delegation co-sponsored the legislation.  First Lieutenant Pearson flew the equivalent of 50 combat missions over occupied territory until he was shot down in Italy in December 1944.  He spent six months as a prisoner of war and was awarded several medals including the Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.  He died January 11th, 2013.  Walz says through his lifelong dedication to service, both in and out of uniform, Pearson left a profound and everlasting impact on southern Minnesota and the country as a whole. 

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