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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP:Bail set at $3 million for Granite Falls murder suspect

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. - Bail has been set at three-million dollars for the man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend in Granite Falls on Labor Day. 

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Twenty-eight-year-old Andrew Dikken made his first court appearance today (Thurs) on second-degree murder charges in the shootings of 26-year-old Kara Monson and 28-year-old Christopher Panitzke.  The judge said Dikken was a flight risk as he set bail at three-million with no conditions.  Several family members of Monson and Panitzke were in the courtroom.  Dikken's next hearing is October 3rd.

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Minnesota employers added 12,200 jobs in August lowering the unemployment rate a tenth-of-a-point to 51 percent.  State job analyst Steve Hine says Minnesota has now recovered all jobs that were lost in the recession starting in the spring of 2008  He says after 19 months of rapid decline and then 47 months of modest growth, we are now 51-hundred jobs above the previous peak.  Trade, transportation and utilities led all sectors last month with six-thousand jobs gained, followed by education and health care, up over five-thousand.  Manufacturing lost 3,400 jobs, followed by professional and business services which was down 1,100. 

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The U.S. House is expected to debate legislation this afternoon that would cut about $40 billion over the next 10 years from SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps. If the bill passes, the Minnesota Budget Project says at least 41,000 Minnesotans will be affected.  Two-thirds of Minnesota families with children receiving SNAP report income from work, and Summer Gathercole of Share Our Strength says most are accepting the help as a last resort. The funding reduction in SNAP being discussed in Washington would also cause thousands of Minnesota children to lose access to free school meals.

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The driver of an ATV who was struck by a vehicle on Highway 169 in Hibbing Monday has died.  According to the State Patrol, 59-year-old Joseph Suzick of Hibbing was crossing the highway when he was struck by an SUV.  Suzick was airlifted to a Duluth hopital where he died just after four yesterday afternoon. 

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St. Cloud Regional Airport has received a $1.3 million federal grant to make runway improvements. The money will be used to reconstruct the crosswind runway and to begin design of an extension of the main runway.  The crosswind runway requires major structural work and when done it will allow aircraft to take off and land safely during crosswind conditions.  The extension to the main runway will allow larger aircraft to use the airport.  The airport received the funding through the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program.

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