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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Same-sex marriage to become legal in Minnesota Thursday

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news Ellsworth, 54011

Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

Minneapolis Mayor R-T Rybak will marry 42 couples at midnight when same-sex marriage becomes legal in Minnesota. Rybak says many gay Minnesotans move from small towns to the big city where they feel more comfortable, and he hopes the new statewide law can help change that perception. Rybak says his former chief of staff moved from Greater Minnesota because he felt a little more comfortable in Minneapolis. He adds that he's "pretty darn happy" that same-sex couples can now legally marry. 

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The American Lung Association supports a government panel's recommendation -- encouraging heavy smokers age 55 and over to have an annual C-T scan, to check for lung cancer. Minnesota A-L-A spokesman Bob Moffitt says more than two-thousand Minnesotans died of lung cancer in 2009 and lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in Minnesota and elsewhere in the country. More than three times the other cancer deaths combined. Lung cancer is often deadly because it doesn't usually start causing symptoms until advanced stages. The recommendation would also mean many health insurance companies would have to start covering the cost of the test. 

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Two major drug busts this week in southeastern Minnesota, one at a home in St. Charles and another in a car traveling I-35 near Albert Lea. Members of the Southeast Minnesota Narcotics and Gang Task Force say they found nearly $200,000 worth of synthetic drugs and several guns during a raid at a home in St. Charles Monday. Chad Loehr was arrested, his business in Dover was also raided, and investigators say they found more drugs and guns there. He is charged with felony possession of controlled substances in Winona County, and charges are also expected out of Olmsted County. 

And a Texas man is charged with First Degree drug possession after he was pulled over on I-35 in Freeborn County because his window tint was too dark. Minnesota State Troopers searched the car because it wasn't his and had only recently been insured and found 21 packages of meth stashed in hidden compartments in the vehicle's body. Thirty-five-year-old Francisco Molina from Tyler, Texas could be sentenced to 30 years in prison if he's convicted. 

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Authorities in Prior Lake are on the lookout for a puppy thief. Police say a man stole four Siberian Husky puppies from Thunder Owl Kennels earlier this week. The theft was captured on camera and police are asking for the public? help in identifying the suspect. 

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A Minnesota man charged with a double-murder at a photo shop in La Crosse, Wisconsin has been found guilty. A jury found there was enough evidence to convict 40-year-old Jeffrey Lepsch of Dakota, Minnesota of killing camera store owner Paul Petras and his son A-J last September, and stealing almost 20-thousand dollars in camera equipment. Prosecutors argued that Lepsch needed the money to help pay back an old debt. On the stand, the defendant? wife Angie said he was not capable of killing anybody, and Lepsch? mother Sharon said her son never showed any violent behavior. Lepsch refused to testify. He is facing a life sentence. 

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Mayor R-T Rybak says he's "appalled and disgusted" by the behavior of two Minneapolis police officers shown in a video from the Green Bay Police Department. M-P-D Chief Janee Harteau expresses similiar sentiments and is apologizing to the community of Green Bay and its police department. The Minneapolis officers, who are on administrative leave, insulted their Green Bay counterparts, called their own chief a lesbian looking to fire people, and used racial slurs while describing a scuffle with a group of black men. After an initial altercation and a warning from police that they were creating a disturbance and faced possible arrest, the officers returned to their hotel room, but later returned to the police station and were again told they faced arrest. They were not taken into custody. The Minneapolis Police Department has launched an internal investigation. 

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Democrats say the state budget they passed in May gets the credit for Moody's upgrading Minnesota's financial status from "negative" to "stable" -- which could mean a better bond rating if the state stays on course. D-F-L Senator Jeff Hayden points to no more government shutdowns or late night special sessions, and says bondholders can depend on the state to pay its bills. Republicans respond Democrats passed the largest tax hikes in state history, plus massive spending increases. Senate Minority Leader David Hann calls D-F-Lers' plan "the vision that we saw enacted in the City of Detroit." 

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