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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Wanted ex-cult leader located in Washington state

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Pierce County Herald
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Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

ABERDEEN, Wash. -   Police say a cult leader charged with raping underage girls in Pine County has been spotted in Washington state. 

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A nationwide manhunt is under way for 52-year-old Victor Barnard, who's facing 59 felony counts of criminal sexual misconduct in Minnesota.  The Washington State Patrol says they've received information that Barnard has been spotted in Grays Harbor County.  Troopers say Barnard was seen leaving a McDonald's on Highway 101 in Raymond with a young woman in a dark blue Audi two-door with tinted windows and a spoiler.

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Minnesota lost 4,200 jobs in July, according to figures released today by the state Department of Economic Development.  The state's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.5 percent.  June figures were also revised downward by 3,600 jobs.  The biggest job losses in July were in education and health services, down 5,300.  Information services was down a thousand and construction lost 700.  While July's employment change appears disappointing, state officials say it's the smallest decline in jobs for any July since 1999.  The national jobless rate last month was 6.2 percent.

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The Pope County Sheriff's Office and state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating a fatal shooting in western Minnesota.  Deputies responded to a call late Wednesday night about a person who had been shot inside a home in Gilchrist Township near Benson.  A distraught woman was located outside and a dead man was in the house.  Both people lived there.  BCA agents and sheriff's deputies are interviewing the female and other possible witnesses.  Authorities do not believe there is any risk to the public.  The man's body is being taken to the Anoka County Medical Examiner for an autopsy. 

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A semi driver who blew past a stopped school bus on the right shoulder, nearly hitting a sixth-grader waiting to board, has been charged with two misdemeanors in Kandiyohi County.  Prosecutors say the bus had its lights flashing and stop arm extended when 48-year-old Allen Morris of Apple Valley went by the morning of May 30th, almost striking 13-year-old Alexis Schwartz.  Morris surrendered to authorities after the State Patrol posted a video of the incident, which happened on Highway 23 near Hawick.  The bus driver estimates the semi was going 45 to 50 miles an hour.  Morris has a court appearance September 10th.

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A Moorhead man has been sentenced to ten years in a North Dakota prison for his role in a south Fargo murder in March.  Twenty-year-old Alexander Clapper was sentenced after he changed his plea to guilty.  Clapper was one of five people arrested in what prosecutors called the drug-related murder of 26-year-old Rolandas House.  Clapper's father and sister were also sentenced after guilty pleas.  The man charged with the actual stabbing of House, 19 year-old Wade Garrett of Fargo, received a 24-year sentence.

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Farmers across the state and nation are gearing up for what experts say could be a record grain harvest --  and there's concern about getting corn and soybeans to market because of continued rail service problems.  National Grain and Feed Association President Randy Gordon says his group has been speaking with rail officials and many are working to add cars, double tracks and more crews.  But Gordon adds it's taking a long time to rebuild or invest in railroads so they can handle the surge of business.  Gordon says those products include everything from coal to Bakken crude oil, ag products, ethanol and propane.  He says it's important railroads catch up on needed rail cars before taking on any new business.

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Tomorrow is the deadline for homeowners and renters to apply for a 2013 property tax refund.  Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans encourages every eligible taxpayer to apply.  The average refund for a homeowner is $837 and $643 for renters.  Frans says thousands of tax payers miss out on their property tax refunds each year by failing to file a return.  To see if you are eligible for a property tax refund go to revenue.state.mn.us.

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A Duluth man is recovering after receiving an electrical shock while working on top of a building. The city's assistant fire chief says he had been helping with some construction work when a piece of steel flashing he was carrying came in contact with a live overhead wire.  He was hospitalized with burns to his hands.  About 90 minutes later smoke was seen coming from an upstairs apartment of that same building, and firefighters found that the electrical shock had continued through the metal roof flashing and set the apartment on fire. The fire was contained to a small section of the roof, and damages are initially estimated at $20,000. 

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A Minneapolis resident is still alive after crews rescued him from being buried in a construction mishap. Authorities say Jeff Zajac was digging around the foundation of his home on Shoreview Avenue yesterday when the heavy, wet dirt collapsed around him. Zajac was buried up to his neck. His father Steve called 911 and firefighters were able to dig him out. 

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A Minneapolis girl has suffered only minor injuries despite being attacked by an otter. Rory Kliewer was swimming in Bone Lake near Luck, Wisconsin Saturday when the otter attacked her.  The animal finally stopped, leaving the 12-year-old with mostly scratches and bruises on her face and midsection.  Kliewer had to be taken to the ER were she was administered rabies shots.

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A week ago today fire crews working to put out what seemed like a routine dumpster fire in Minneapolis discovered a body next to the burned trash bin, and now the victim has been identified.  The Hennepin County Medical Examiner says 31-year-old Rufino Clara-Rendon was murdered, but has not said how he was killed.  Minneapolis Police Department Homicide Investigators and the medical examiner's office continue to investigate.

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Defense attorneys want a judge to suppress certain evidence obtained by prosecutors in an assault investigation involving Cass County Administrator Keith Berndt.  Berndt is charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic assault in Moorhead.  Police have said the victim is a teenage boy and that the incident happened in early February.  In court documents, Berndt's attorney says the defense wants information excluded about an alleged incident last fall after a dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Court documents say the defense also wants to exclude details about an alleged incident on New Year's Eve, plus any incidents that may be viewed as "other bad acts."  Berndt has pleaded "not guilty." He's scheduled to appear in court later this month.

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Minnesota State Patrol says a driver was killed in a crash near Edina, on southbound Highway 100 near 77th.  Lieutenant Eric Roeske says the vehicle involved hit the guard rail twice, left the road and traveled up a hill before slamming into the concrete bridge.  The driver's name is expected to be released last this morning.

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Minneapolis Police arrested four men last night near East Cedar Beach.  The incident started when a man crashed into several cars parked along several nearby streets.  He was jailed for driving drunk.  The other three were arrested for disorderly conduct and having a BB gun in public.

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The 2014 Bicycling around Minnesota (BAM) event kicks off today(thurs) in southeastern Minnesota.  BAM is a four-day ride covering 60-75 miles/day with overnight stays in four host cities and is aimed at moderate to experienced riders.  MnDOT's Michele Pooler is asking motorists to exercise caution and patience.  The four day event kicks off in Preston, riders will travel 69 miles to Peterson.  Tomorrow they will bike from Peterson to LeRoy -- 73 miles.  The goals of the BAM ride are to promote the Share the Road program, fitness, tourism and bicycling as a transportation mode as well as to promote the Scenic Bikeways System of Minnesota. 

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