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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Significant snowfall possible tomorrow night in southern Minnesota

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News Ellsworth,Wisconsin 54011 http://www.piercecountyherald.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/snowflake.jpg?itok=wQf98Sgo
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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Significant snowfall possible tomorrow night in southern Minnesota
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

Parts of Minnesota could see the first measurable snowfall of the season tomorrow night into Wednesday morning. 

National Weather Service Meteorologist Dan Effertz predicts a rain-snow mix Tuesday afternoon in southwestern Minnesota, spreading rapidly across southern Minnesota into western Wisconsin in the late afternoon and early evening.  Effertz says it will change over to wet snow overnight.  Four to six inches is expected, with higher amounts in some spots.  A winter storm watch will go into effect late Tuesday afternoon.

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As winter starts to kick in, a bipartisan group of 40 U.S. senators, including Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, are urging quick release of federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) funds for those in need.  Klobuchar says nearly 80-percent of the heating funds go to seniors, the disabled and households with kids under five years old.  She says Minnesota will receive over $100-million in 2013 -- and last year over 163,000 households received assistance.  Klobuchar says the funds are essential and no family should have to choose between buying groceries and heating their home--especially in Minnesota.

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A MnDOT worker is hospitalized with serious injuries but is expected to recover after a motorist hit him on I-94 in Minneapolis last night.  The State Patrol says the worker was cleaning debris on the freeway when he was hit.  Troopers say the driver of the car was arrested for driving without a license or insurance, giving false information to police, careless driving and having an open bottle of alcohol in his vehicle.

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Minnesota's newest critical habitat license plate is now available, the first new design since 2009.  It's very colorful and meant to emphasize grassland habitat and the pheasant.  The DNR's Lori Naumann says since 1995, sales of critical habitat plates have helped generate more than $34 million in revenue.  It's used to purchase critical habitat -- land in Minnesota that is primarily used for public hunting and other recreational purposes.  The plates require a minimum donation of at least 30 dollars each year plus the cost of the plate.  They are available at any licensed registrar or Department of Motor Vehicles office.

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Sick Minnesota pigs have helped researchers figure out where an illness fatal to piglets originated, but they aren't much closer to figuring out how it got to the U.S.  USDA epidemiologist Dr. Brian McClosky says the research team used virus strains from the ongoing outbreaks in Minnesota and Iowa to trace the likely origin of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) to China.  The first U-S case showed up in Iowa in May, and a recent count shows more than 900 cases in 17 states, including Minnesota.

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