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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Report shows students being denied school lunch in Minnesota

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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Report shows students being denied school lunch in Minnesota
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

A new report from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid shows majority of public schools in the state deny hot lunch -- and in some cases any lunch at all -- to kids who can't pay. 

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Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius calls the report troubling and fired off a letter to district superintendents.  She says all of us cringe to see a little first-grader at the table without a lunch, and she knows principals and superintendents don't do it intentionally.  Cassellius says 43-percent of current first-graders in Minnesota receive free or reduced-price meals.  She's encouraging districts to find a way to guarantee a hot lunch for any student who needs one, regardless of their parents' ability or willingness to pay. 

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The Winona County Sheriff's Office says an autopsy is being done on the body of an infant who died at a Goodview home over the weekend.  Sheriff Dave Brand says the 14-month-old female was taken to Winona Health around 1 a.m.  Saturday.  Toxicology tests are also being conducted.  Brand said no foul play is suspected.

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Duluth set a new weather record today with its 23rd straight day of low temperatures below zero.  The previous record in Duluth was 22 days in a row of subzero temps in 1936 and 1963.  The Twin Cities reported at or below-zero low temperatures for 17 days in a row -- the eighth-longest streak on record.  In Saint Cloud, the mercury has dropped below zero for 18 consecutive days.  The National Weather Service is forecasting a statewide warmup the next few days.

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Two Saint Paul men have been charged with identity theft in a month-long crime spree that covered several central Minnesota communities into western Wisconsin.  Ramsey County Attorney John Choi says 25-year-old Run-Ger Vang and 26-year-old Chao Moua were arrested during a traffic stop, after investigators found tax documents, checkbooks, unopened packages and credit cards throughout the vehicle. Woodbury Police discovered that the two men had used some of the credit cards and cashed stolen checks. Investigators also found a notebook containing handwritten names, addresses, and social security numbers belonging to 11 different people. Moua admitted he tried to file an online tax return for one of the victims to capture the refund.  The U.S. Postal Service will be returning the stolen mail to the original addresses this week.

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New London is asking residents to turn on their water due to a high number of freezing service lines.  Residents and businesses in the west-central Minnesota community are being encouraged to start a water stream the size of a pencil to keep their lines open.  Officials say all utility billings will be adjusted based on average usage. 

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Waite Park police are still in the process of returning over a thousand pieces of stolen mail recovered during a routine traffic stop last month in central Minnesota.  Police Chief Dave Bentrud calls it a "major ordeal" to try to catalog the items and trace the paper trail that goes with forgery frauds like this -- and says they're trying to get stolen items back to people as quickly as they can.  Bentrud says they're still assessing the dollar loss.  which will determine criminal charges and who will prosecute the case.  Bentrud says then they'll also be able to release the names of the suspects. 

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Governor Dayton has proclaimed today "Bob McDonald Day" in the state of Minnesota.  McDonald has coached boys basketball for 59 seasons - the last 53 years at Chisholm High School.  He's the first coach in state history with more than one-thousand victories and has won three state championships.  McDonald will be presented with an official proclamation at tonight's game vs. rival Hibbing, a team coached by his youngest son, Joel.  Governor Dayton cannot attend due to hip surgery, so former player and IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich will honor McDonald. 

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