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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Airline workers to protest low wages at MSP

MINNEAPOLIS --  A Minnesota lawmaker will join airport workers in a Friday protest of low wages and a lack of benefits offered by Delta Airlines and Delta sub-contractor Air Serv.  Representative Keith Ellison says the employees will share their struggles of surviving on the low wages and highlight why they are fighting for $15 an hour and union rights.  The airport workers are supported by 15 Now and SEIU Local 26.  Ellison says the protest will cap a week of action that has included strikes by fast food workers, Walmart associates, and retail janitors.  The rally will take place in Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport's Terminal One, across from ticketing (12:30 p.m.).

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A St. Paul man wrongfully convicted in a deadly crash in 2006 is now seeking money from the state.  Koua Fong Lee was sentenced to eight years in prison after he crashed his Toyota Camry into another vehicle, killing the driver and his son, while leaving the driver's niece paralyzed.  Lee claimed the car accelerated when he hit the brakes which caused the accident.  A massive Toyota recall helped lead to his release in 2010.  This week a Ramsey County District Judge signed an order that says Lee is eligible to receive a minimum of 50-thousand-dollars for every year he was in prison. 

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The Twins news conference yesterday (Wed) to officially welcome Torii Hunter back to the team has created a firestorm on social media, but not because of anything to do with baseball.  Hunter was answering questions from reporters when St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Mike Berardino asked him repeatedly about his stance against same-sex marriage.  Two years ago Hunter stated that he would be uncomfortable sharing a locker room with a gay player, and said that, Biblically, it wasn't right.  He said the question had no place in the press conference.  When Berardino continued to push, Hunter resorted to name calling.  The reporter released a statement, saying he wanted to give Hunter an opportunity to respond to his critics and the intention was not to make him feel uncomfortable.

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A new report from Triple-A shows a majority of drivers over age 75 favor greater scrutiny in the license renewal process for older drivers.  Triple-A Minnesota's Gail Weinholzer says they acknowledge their skills are going to diminish over time and at some point may impact their ability to drive.  She says they generally support in-person licensing and additional medical tests beyond age 75.  But Weinholzer adds there's a misconception that older drivers are a hazard on the roads.  She says senior citizens are less likely to drive impaired, less likely to talk on the phone while driving and more likely to wear their seatbelt. 

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A man and a child are dead and two teen hospitalized after what St. Louis County Sheriff's officials are calling a medical emergency in a fifth wheel camper trailer.  Rice Lake Township first responders found the bodies of a 39-year-old man and an 11-year-old girl when they arrived after a 9-1-1 call, and took a 14-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl to the hospital.  Firefighters say the carbon monoxide levels in the camper were high, and a generator was found nearby.  

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Family, friends and fellow students remembered Winona State University student Brooke Baures (BOWERS) at an on-campus vigil last night (Wed).  21-year-old Baures died in a workplace accident at the bar where she worked in Fountain City, Wisconsin.  Vigil organizer Jason Straub from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin says Baures was very well-known and loved by everyone, and everybody had some kind of connection to her.  Investigators say she became tangled in the machinery of a dumbwaiter used to transport food between floors of the bar.  Fountain City Police Officer Jason Mork says there's no indication it was anything other than an accident.  OSHA is investigating.  Baures, from Chetek, Wisconsin, was on the Winona State gymnastics team.

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A Minnesota man accused of trying to travel to Syria to join ISIS is back in jail, after a judge reversed an earlier order that released Abdullahi Yusuf into the custody of his parents.  The 18-year-old was stopped at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport six months ago as he was trying to board a plane bound for Turkey, and was arrested last week.  He is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.  The judge agreed to allow Yusuf to go home with his parents after his lawyer argued that the young man knew he was being investigated for six months but never tried to run off.  Federal prosecutors appealed the ruling, saying that Yusef had fooled his parents before and was likely to do so again.  Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis granted the prosecution's request to take him into custody, saying he couldn't put any bail conditions in place that would ensure Yusuf appears for future court dates.

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 Minnesota lawmakers find out this morning (915am) whether they'll have another budget surplus, or have to deal with a deficit when they get back to the Capitol in January.  Hamline University political analyst David Schultz says the rumor he's hearing is roughly a 900-million-dollar surplus -- which would frame Democrats' push for more transportation funding versus Republicans' talk about cutting business taxes.  Schultz says some Democrats are talking about possibly raising the gas tax, but Republicans might point to a potential billion-dollar surplus and argue there's no reason for a tax increase.  Schultz says even though Republicans control the Minnesota House and Democrats control the Senate and governor's office, chances of government shutdown would be less with a surplus than if the state had a budget deficit. 

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