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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Navy SEAL disputes claims by former Governor Ventura

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ST. PAUL -- A Navy SEAL is disputing claims made in former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura's defamation lawsuit against the estate of former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.  John Kelly testified yesterday that he was at the bar where Kyle said he punched Ventura in 2006.  He says he saw the former governor on the ground after making disparaging comments about SEALS.  Ventura's lawsuit claims the incident never happened.

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An expert is weighing in on a former Minnesota Vikings punter's plans to sue the team over alleged homophobic remarks made by a special teams coach during the 2012 season.  Chris Kluwe wants to force the Vikings to reveal the results of an investigation into claims Mike Priefer made anti-gay remarks.  Sports management professor Dr. Daniel Rosenberg thinks Kluwe wants to expose a homophobic culture that is prevalent in NFL locker rooms, and that the former player believes the best way to do so is to litigate the matter and bring it to the table publicly.  Priefer has denied Kluwe's claims that he once said, quote, "we should round up all the gays, send them to an island and nuke it until it glows."  Kluwe says the team has had months to release the results of the probe, but refuses to do so.  

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On the same day former Viking punter Chris Kluwe announced plans to sue the team if a report detailing the investigation into alleged discrimination based on his support of same-sex marriage is not released, Major League Baseball brought former player Billy Bean on board to serve as the league's first "Ambassador for Inclusion"  Bean, who came out publicly as gay after his playing days in 1999, will provide guidance and training to efforts to support those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.  Commissioner Bud Selig and Executive VP of Baseball Operations Joe Torre both signed the "Athlete Ally" pledge that empowers athletes to be role models and challenge homophobia and transphobia in sports.

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It looks like an apartment complex for the homeless is moving forward without approval from the Moorhead City Council.  The council voted against the proposed plan, but that's not stopping Churches United from building on their own land.  It's zoned for mixed use and if they get a six-million-dollar-grant from the state, they plan to proceed.  Those behind the plan say it's extremely difficult for homeless people to find decent, affordable housing and their complex will provide both, but more importantly, it'll keep the homeless off the streets.  

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The family of a woman found dead in Menahga believes she may have been killed.  Kelly Lund's sister posted a message on Facebook, claiming Lund was stolen from them.  Her body was discovered at a home on 3rd Street, just before 9:00 Saturday morning.  Police are still investigating and haven't released many details about how Lund may have died.  Autopsy results are pending.  

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Two people were rescued after a driver fell asleep at the wheel on I-94 near Otter Tail, plunging the car into the Otter Tail River yesterday at about midday.  Rescue crews were able to pull 83-year-old Victor Tschida and his 79-year-old wife Beatrice from their submerged vehicle. Both were treated for minor injuries.

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 Many Republican lawmakers are speaking out against a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago regarding Asian carp.  The appeals court upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a multi-state lawsuit to require the Army Corps of Engineers to separate the Mississippi watershed from Lake Michigan to keep out the carp.  Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin filed the lawsuit.  Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller has introduced legislation to require a "complete hydrologic separation" of the Chicago River system from Lake Michigan, but it has not advanced on Capitol Hill.

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"Trooper", an eight-year-old German Shepherd from Connecticut, could be making history.  The dog has brain cancer and veterinarians are allowing him to take part in an experimental treatment.  Tissues from a tumor will be sent to the University of Minnesota, where researchers will culture the sample for immune cells which could be used to treat the cancer without chemotherapy or radiation.  This has been done on about 100 dogs so far.

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"Moondance Jam" kicks off today.  The five day classic rock festival is being held near Walker, Minnesota.  Fifty different bands are slated to take the stage between today and Saturday, including Styx, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon and George Thorogood.  Sixty thousand people are expected to attend the jam.

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Officials at Target Field are investigating how protesters were able to hang a large banner over the video board in right field during last night's MLB All Star Game.  The banner read "Love water not oil." It was displayed for about ten minutes until staff were able to take it down.  

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Democrats say a non-partisan reports shows property taxes are going down in Minnesota for the first time in a decade -- while Republicans respond many people's property taxes continue to rise.  Preston Republican Representative Greg Davids criticizes Democrats at the state legislature for increasing the homeowner and renter property tax credits, which he says just gives cities and counties latitude to spend more money.  But House Democratic Majority Leader Erin Murphy calls the Homestead Credit and Renters Credit "appropriate tools" to make sure property taxes are manageable for families.  Murphy warns if Republicans regain control of the Minnesota House in this next election, Minnesotans' property taxes will go up again.

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The U-S Senate considers legislation today (Wed) that would undo a recent U-S Supreme Court ruling in the "Hobby Lobby" case, when the high court said some family-owned businesses don't have to cover contraceptives for women in their health plans.  Meanwhile Democratic activists are asking Republican U-S Senate candidate Mike McFadden where he stands on that issue.  A campaign spokesman says McFadden is glad the Supreme Court stood up for religious freedoms, but steps must now be taken to make sure all women have access to affordable birth control, possibly by making it available over-the-counter.

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Fort Snelling State Park is reopening this morning (8am Wed) after a three-week closure prompted by heavy rains and flooding in June.  The D-N-R says Snelling Lake beach has been groomed and the water tested, and picnic tables and play equipment that were under water have been disinfected and washed.  Officials say Picnic Island remains closed until downed trees and silt can be removed, and buildings cleaned and sanitized.  Pike Island will also stay closed because one end is still flooded and downed trees, silt and muck are blocking trails.  For updates go to the Minnesota D-N-R's website.

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Hundreds of Minnesota dentists and support staff will provide free dental care to those in need this Friday and Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato.  Mankato Dentist Dr. Jill Merrill says patients will be treated on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Merrill recommends patients come early, because if they reach their quota they'll unfortunately have to shut the doors for that day.  Adults and children will be treated and no I-D or pre-registration is necessary.  Doors open at 5:30 a.m. both days.  The goal is to serve a thousand patients each day.

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The Army Corps of Engineers is closing its regulatory office field site in Two Harbors tomorrow (Thurs) and moving staff to nearby Duluth.  They'll be operational in the new office next week.  The new regulatory office will be co-located with staff from the Corps of Engineers' Detroit district for improved efficiency and coordination.

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