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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Recent assault cases could be linked

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news Ellsworth, 54011

Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

ANOKA, Minn. - Sheriff's officials in Anoka County are adding a twist to a kidnapping and sexual assault case over the weekend. 

Authorities say a man was posing as a police officer when he allegedly kidnapped a Minneapolis woman and sexually assaulted her on Saturday in Fridley.  Authorities say the man then committed the same crime hours later with a woman near the University of Minnesota.  The suspect apparently drove a small, dark-colored SUV that was configured with a squad-like computer dashboard, fooling the women.  The suspect is described as a black male between the ages of 23 and 27 years old with a medium build.  He had short hair and a neatly trimmed chin-strap style beard.  The man was wearing a dark colored jacket with a badge on it, dark pants, and a security or police style duty belt.

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Twenty-seven years -- double the state's guideline --  is the sentence for Jeffery Trevino after a jury convicted him of unintentional second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kyra Steger.  Ramsey County Attorney John Choi says without question, justice has been done in the courts -- but Choi says it doesn't bring Kyra Steger back for her family and those who loved her.  Choi says he hopes the community continues to keep the Steger family in their thoughts and prayers.  Trevino's lawyer asked the judge for a ten-and-a-half-year sentence because his client had a previously clean record and served in the military.

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There's an on-campus prayer service this morning for two University of Saint Thomas students critically injured in a hit-and-run early Sunday morning.  Authorities say Nicholas Bergeland of Wayzata and Rebekka Peterson of Farmington, both 22, had just gotten out of a cab and were crossing a Saint Paul street mid-block when they were hit.  Investigators continue looking for the driver.  Sunday evening they located the suspect vehicle, a 2013 gray Mazda3, about a mile from the crash scene.  At last check both victims were in critical condition.

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Three children continue to recover following last Thursday's crash in a St. Louis Park pond.  The accident took the lives of two of their siblings.  Family friend and attorney Rick Petry says the tragedy is taking an emotional and financial toll on everyone involved.  Petry expects medical bills will be several hundred thousand dollars.  A fund has been set up to help cover medical and funeral expenses.  Contributions can be made to the Coleman-Guerrido Rennie Children's Fund at giveforward.com. Authorities are not close to saying what caused last week's crash.  State Patrol officials say it could be several weeks to determine.

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Thousands of Minnesotans will be traveling 50 miles or more over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Gail Weinholzer with Triple-A Minnesota says travel projections are down about one-and-a-half percent from last year.  Weinholzer says the good news is we're seeing some of the lowest turkey-day gas prices since 2010.  The average price for a gallon of unleaded today in Minnesota is $3.12.  The national average $3.26.

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Tomorrow is the busiest travel day at Minneapolis-St. Paul International over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Airport spokesman Pat Hogan recommends getting to the airport at least two hours before your flight.  If you are traveling to the East Coast over the next few days be sure to check with your airline ahead of time.  Forecasters are predicting several inches of snow in that region which could cause major delays.  

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A judge has ordered a Willmar teenager to undergo a mental examination in conjunction with his murder trial.  19-year-old Brok Junkermeier is charged with first degree murder in the July 29th strangulation and stabbing of 79-year-old Lila Warwick in her Willmar home.  Junkermeier will undergo the exam at the State Security Hospital in St. Peter and a report will be forwarded to the judge within 60 days.  Junkermeier is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on two million dollars bail.  Also charged in the case is Warwick's grandson, 17-year-old Robert Warwick, and 16-year-old Devon Jenkins.      

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The Minnesota Corn Growers Association is speaking out against an EPA proposal to cut the amount of ethanol in the nation's gasoline supply next year.  Corn Growers President Ryan Buck of Goodhue believes big oil companies are fueling opposition to ethanol and biofuels.  He says "take ten percent of profit away from somebody and they're gonna come back at you with full force."  Buck is encouraging Minnesota farmers and ethanol supporters to voice their opinions to the EPA when the 60-day comment period begins.

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Former NFL supervisor of officials Jerry Seeman is being remembered for modernizing football officiating after his death in Blaine over the weekend.  The 77-year-old Seeman died Sunday at his home after a long battle with cancer.  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Seeman, quote, "made the NFL proud."

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