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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Missing man's body found in Lake Superior

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DULUTH -- The St. Louis County Rescue Squad found a man’s body Thursday afternoon in Lake Superior.

Duluth police received a call at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday about a missing 31-year-old Duluth man. They located an unoccupied vehicle belonging to the missing man at Brighton Beach at 3:34 a.m. Thursday. Police called the rescue squad at 4 a.m. to search Lake Superior.

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“We located a man’s keys and wallet on a patch of ice,” said Tom Crossmon, captain of the rescue squad. “Shortly after, we discovered the body.”

The rescue squad found the body at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, submerged in 10 feet of water.

Police said they do not suspect foul play.

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A frostbitten woman found Sunday in a Duluth alley will face surgery to remove her toes, according to her CaringBridge Web page.

Erin Coons’ “left toes are dead (and) there’s no blood flowing to the tips of them. Her toes will be amputated,” wrote her sister, Erica Coons. “She will need skin grafting, but how much is still unknown because the healing process takes time.”

Duluth police said they were called at 9:38 a.m. Sunday to assist an ambulance crew and the Duluth Fire Department after a passerby noticed 30-year-old Erin Coons.

Emergency responders estimate that she had been in the cold for a few hours. She was conscious.

She was sent to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center and then transferred to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

The temperature at the time Coons was discovered was about 20 below zero.

Regions Hospital is where University of Minnesota Duluth sophomore Alyssa Lommel is being treated after she was found outside in early December. Lommel was moved from the intensive care unit there this week as more frostbite victims came in, including Coons.

Erica Coons wrote that her sister’s recovery time will be at least six weeks.

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Jon Linnell was sound asleep Tuesday morning when he heard what he says sounded like an earthquake.

His wife woke him up and told him there was a deer in their northwest Minnesota home.

Linnell found the doe leaping through his living room after crashing through the sliding glass door. After tearing the living room apart, the outdoorsman was eventually able to tackle the deer, grab her by the legs and drag her out of the house into 18-below temperatures.

In his words, it was “crazy.”

Linnell said, "So the first thing that came to mind was I had to stop this deer from thrashing and busting everything up. When I came down the steps I saw that it had turned, so I tried to tackle it, of course I was wrestling it, seemed like an eternity but it may have been 15 minutes from beginning to end.”
Linnell estimates the doe was about 3½ years old and about 135 pounds.

Linnell did get the deer out of the house and contacted the game warden. The deer was tracked and found to be OK.

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Fairview is restricting visitors at its hospitals in Hibbing, Princeton, Wyoming and the Twin Cities to reduce the spread of influenza. The move comes as the state Health Department says flu activity has become widespread in Minnesota. Fairview says it will consider exceptions for compassionate reasons, but is temporarily banning visitors younger than five, and screening others for flu-like symptoms or contact with those who have been sick. __________________

MnSure officials say enrollment is about 85 percent below the lowest of initial projections, but interim C-E-O Scott Leitz says they expect a spike before open enrollment ends March 31 -- the date when Minnesotans will face fines if they don't have insurance. The MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee received an update on the health insurance exchange yesterday (Thu), and MnSure leadership was grilled about the technical glitches and other problems that have plagued it. D-F-L Representative Joe Atkins is confident the recent leadership change will bring results, and says, "They've got concrete plans to get stuff fixed and figure out what those issues were and get them resolved." Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles launched a review into the agency this week, and has pledged a 'thorough forensic analysis" that will identify the root of the ongoing problems with the health insurance exchange, who made the decisions that led to them, and when.

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The Minnesota man jailed in the United Arab Emirates for a spoof video on youth culture in Dubai is back home. Shezanne Cassim arrived in Minnesota yesterday and joked at a press conference that having access to Burger King again is "like a big plus for me." He was jailed for nine months, but told reporters he was never abused while locked up in prison. Cassim is adamant that he broke no laws by making the video, adding he wasn't told what he was being charged with until five months after his arrest.

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A former Crown College women's basketball and cross country coach is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl. Investigators say Ryan Chmielewski met the girl on an online dating site, and her father called police in South Lake Minnetonka on December 22nd to report what he believed was a sexual relationship. Police say the couple held their trysts inside her home. He was arrested earlier this week after detectives posed as the girl and lured him to the teenager's home, and the college fired him after the arrest.

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Cash will always be king on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. That's the word from management after the Iowa State Fair announced a cash-free food ticket plan this week. Minnesota State Fair G-M Jerry Hammer says it's "horribly inconvenient" -- that nobody wants to stand in line and buy tickets and then get in line and exchange them for food someplace. Hammer says the Iowa proposal called for 50 ticket booths with two windows each, and that number would not cover it in Minnesota. The State Fair has more than 300 food stands. 

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