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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Home of girl missing since 1989 being searched

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MAPLE GROVE  -- The home of a Maple Grove girl who disappeared in 1989 at the age of 13 is being searched by local police, sheriff's deputies and the FBI.  Amy Sue Pagnac has not been seen since August 5, 1989 at a gas station in Osseo.  The search warrant is sealed, and police are not commenting on whether or not the girl's parents are considered suspects.  Work to excavate the back yard began yesterday and could take up to a week.

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Now that the 2014 legislative session has wrapped up, politicians take their cases to the people to shore up support for fall's mid-term elections  Senate Majority Leader Tom Baak says Democrats did much for Minnesotans this session, including spending on k-12 education, raising the minimum wage and providing tax cuts for more than a million citizens. But Senate Minority Leader David Hann sees it differently says the "expirement of one-party Democrat rule" and overspending have not been good for the public.  Voters will ultimately get the last word on the matter this November. 

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 Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison appeared on ABC's "This Week" Sunday to address the gender wage gap in the U-S.  The conversation stemmed from the recent firing of Jill Abramson, the New York Times' first female executive editor.  There's been speculation that Abramson was fired after complaining about making much less than her male predecesor.  Ellison says even if the minimum wage was raised, women would benefit more--whether it's at the top of the scale or the bottom. Ellison added that in a two-income world, when women are underpaid because of their gender, it hurts the entire family. 

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The report last month from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says the Environmental Protection Agency needs to do a better job of releasing the Renewable Fuel Standard on time -- and should find the reasons for the delays to resolve them.  Senator Al Franken says issuing the R-F-S late contributes to agriculture and renewable fuel industry uncertainty, which can increase costs because they cannot plan and budget effectively.  The nonpartisan agency says the EPA has missed the statutory deadline of November 30 to issue annual blending levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard every year since 2009.  Franken continues to urge the E-P-A not to lower the renewable fuels mandate.  A final ruling is expected in June.

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 "A big victory" is what the head of the Minnesota Vapors Advocacy Group is calling the 2014 legislative session.  Matt Black says state lawmakers put some restrictions on e-cigarettes, but did not ban their use in all indoor public places.  Black says there are no studies showing vapors from e-cigs are harmful like second-hand smoke.  The new law bans their use in health care facilities, day care centers and government buildings. 

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Sales of new vehicles in Minnesota increased nearly 11 percent in 2013.  That beat the national growth rate of nine percent.  Scott Lambert of the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association says 60 percent of those new vehicles are trucks.  Lambert says car sales were up six-and-a-half percent last year in Minnesota.  The top five sellers were the Toyota Camry, Ford Focus, Ford Fusion, Chevy Cruze and Honda Accord.  

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 Youth sports coaches may soon have a better way to make sure athletes with head injuries stay off the field of play until they're healthy.  Mayo Clinic neurologist and study co-author Doctor Amaal (ah'-MAHL) Starling says younger athletes are at higher risk for concussion and it takes them longer to recover from the injury -- so detecting such an injury early is important.  Student athletes are tested on long it takes to read single-digit numbers displayed on cards -- and if it takes them longer to complete researchers say the athlete should be removed from play until they are evaluated by a doctor.  

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