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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Search continues at childhood home of girl missing for 25 years

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MAPLE GROVE, Minn -- Amy Sue Pagnac's mother and police investigators say the missing girl could still be alive.

Susan Pagnac says there is no evidence that her daughter is dead, and Maple Grove Police Captain Keith Terlinden has asked that the girl, now in her late 30's, get in touch with investigators if she sees media coverage of the search. Amy Sue disappeared from her father's vehicle when he entered a convenience store in August of 1989. Terlinden tells KARE-11 TV that tips and leads sent investigators back to her childhood home, but investigators will not comment on what they are looking for or how long the search may take. Susan Pagnac and Amy Sue's adoptive father Marshall Midden are not currently considered suspects. 

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The investigation continues after a woman was assaulted during a home invasion over the weekend in Duluth. The incident happened just after midnight Sunday when the masked suspects forced their way into the home demanding money and jewelry. They then assaulted a woman in the home, badly bruising and lacerating her face. Officials believe this was a random act of violence. Anyone with more information is asked to contact Duluth police. 

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Minnesota's two U.S. Senators are skeptical at best concerning the proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) is chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, and says the merger has the potential to dramatically change the television market, and the committee will closely scrutinize the effect it would have on competition, innovation, and the prices, choices, and service offered to consumers. U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) says he's skeptical that AT&T's proposed deal to purchase DirecTV for almost $50 billion is in consumers' best interest, and telecom corporations are getting bigger and gaining more and more control over the distribution of information -- which hurts innovation, and squeezes consumers with higher bills. He wants to see hearings in Congress as well

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A Missouri man has died from injuries he suffered last week in a fight outside of a Perkins Restaurant in Hastings. Hastings police say 32-year-old Bradley Sanders died this week at a St. Paul hospital. Officers responding to a disturbance call at the restaurant  May 9th found him lying unresponsive in the parking lot Twenty-seven-year-old James Nathan Phenix, also from Missouri, was arrested at the scene. He was released from jail this week until the incident is investigated further. 

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Former Dilworth Fire Chief Kurt Kennedy has been given a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty in March to disorderly conduct The sentence was part of a plea agreement in which prosecutors dropped felony terroristic threat charges. Kennedy threatened to burn down the homes of the Dilworth fire chief and other members of the fire department Clay County prosecutor Lori Conroy says Kennedy must also continue counseling and pay a $500 fine.

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The probation agent who conducted a presentence investigation into the convictions of the owner of Last Place on Earth is recomending 20 to 40 years in federal prison. Jim Carlson was convicted of 51 drug, product labeling, and money laundering charges following an investigation into the illegal sale of synthetic drugs at the head shop. He will likely not be sentenced until July or later, and after the sentencing Carlson's lawyers are expected to appeal. They have been critical of several rulings made by the presiding judge and believe Carlson is entitled to a new trial. The judge has ordered that the store, about $3.5 million in cash, and other possessions belonging to Carlson be forfeited to the U.S. government after he is sentenced.

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The finalists for Princess Kay of the Milky Way were announced on Sunday. Of the 12 finalists - two are from Stearns County. That includes Sabrina Ley  of Belgrade and Leah Middendorf of Sauk Centre. They advance to the Princess Kay coronation held on the eve of the Minnesota State Fair in August. 

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Tickets go on sale at noon today for former President Bill Clinton's June 9th visit to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, when he'll accept a public leadership award from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Dean Eric Schwartz says the former president's visit is particularly appropriate in this 50th anniversary year of the Civil Rights Act, which Clinton has said a number of times influenced his political development. Schwartz says in addition Clinton has referred to Hubert Humphrey as a personal hero. Tickets for President Clinton's early evening visit on June 9th are available starting at noon today at northrop-dot-umn-dot-edu (northrop.umn.edu) or 612-624-2345.

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A new report is taking a look at how the nation is handling education in rural and small-town schools. Minnesota is among the highest scoring states doing very well. Minnesota ranked seventh among the top states in rural education. The report from the nonprofit Rural School and Community Trust was released yesterday. Massachusetts came first, and Mississippi is last. 

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Advocates for low-income Minnesotans are mapping out strategy for 2015 even as they celebrate accomplishments of the legislative session just ended. Colleen Moriarty with Hunger Solutions Minnesota says transportation continues to be a major issue -- whether it's to get low-income people to jobs, or bring food to people in mobile programs throughout the state. Moriarty says they want a permanent and more wide-reaching program to make produce from farmers markets available to those on food stamps.

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A new report shows the University of Minnesota is the third worst when it comes to high admin expenses. The Institute of Policy Studies reveals non academic administration spending doubled in 2012, while scholarships dropped. UM President Eric Kaler said the report is, quote, "flat out wrong." 

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Remington is closing its plant in St. Cloud. Officials say they are moving production of military rifles to other cities for better efficiency and quality control by consolidating all production to their plant in Alabama. The company will issue pink slips to 68 employees.

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It's national Safe Boating Week. Local officials are urging boaters to take precautions as they head onto the state's waters. George Stringham with the St. Paul's Army Corps of Engineers recommends check all boating equipment, including the motor and steering linkages -- and be sure you have life vests or other personal floatation devices on board. Stringham says when checking a life jacket, look at the label to make sure it's a good fit, look for damage and make sure the buckles fasten properly.

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A study just released puts Minneapolis in the top five cities for road rage in the U.S, with the number-one complaint cell phone use behind the wheel.  And a recent Expedia.com survey shows that same behavior also irritates drivers most across the U.S.  PR Manager Tarran Vaillancourt says no one's too surprised that the texter is the most depised person on the road -- but she says others also annoy drivers: the tailgater...someone reading or putting on makeup while driving...the crawler....and the lane-drifter.  Minnesotans' second-most-common complaint is tailgating.  And while distracted driving, traveling below the speed limit and weaving round out the top five complaints nationally, drivers in the Gopher State are more bothered by those that change lanes without signaling.  

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Nearly 400 law enforcement agencies in Minnesota are adding extra patrols the next two weeks as part of a "Click It or Ticket" campaign (5/19-6/1).  State traffic safety officials say 587 people died and more than 97-hundred were injured the last five years as a result of not being buckled up.  A record 94-point-eight percent of Minnesotans use their seat belts, but 41 percent of occupants killed between 2009 and 2013 were not buckled up.  Eight of those fatalities were children under eight who were not properly restrained in car seats. 

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Minnesota will become the 22nd state to allow medical marijuana, once the governor signs the bill allowing it, but Heather Azzi of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care says the measure is one of the most restrictive in the nation.  Azzi says there are "some pretty significant hurdles" for state-approved medical marijuana manufacturers to overcome before they can get started, and difficulty imposed on doctors that she says could be "a little burdensome."  Governor Dayton says he'll sign the bill, which allows doctors to provide marijuana in liquid and pill form to patients who are terminally ill or who have one of eight serious medical conditions outlined in the legislation.

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On the very same day that Minnesota state House and Senate lawmakers approved limited medical marijuana use for some patients with some conditions, the Securities Exchange Commission issued a warning for investors hoping to take advantage of shifting pot laws at the state level by investing their money in marijuana-related businesses.  The statement from the SEC says that fraudsters often exploit the latest growth industry -- in this case, marijuana -- to lure investors with the promise of high returns, which regulators warn are often false. 

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Kevin Terrell of Minneapolis is the Independence Party candidate for U.S. Senate after this weekend's state convention in Mankato.  He'll go up against Democratic incumbent Al Franken.  Hannah Nicollet of Roseville got the IP endorsement to challenge DFLer Mark Dayton for governor.  Republicans choose their candidates at the end of the month at their state convention in Rochester -- the same weekend that Democrats hold their state nominating convention in Duluth.

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A 54-year-old Howard Lake man is dead after a crash Sunday in south-central Minnesota.  The Wright County Sheriff's Office says Leon Fiecke was driving on County Road 6 in Victor Township when his vehicle went off the road in a curve and rolled.  Fiecke was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene  The accident remains under investigation. 

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Two Amish children were sent to the hospital after a horse-drawn buggy accident Sunday afternoon northwest of Long Prairie.  The Todd County Sheriff's Office says the horse was spooked by a passing motorist and the buggy went into the ditch and rolled.  There were seven occupants in the buggy and two juveniles were taken to Long Prairie Hospital.  There's no word on their conditions.      

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