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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Senate passes Medical Marijuana bill

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ST. PAUL -- Would law enforcement go along with more than one medical marijuana dispensary in the state?  That's one of the big questions after the Minnesota Senate passed a bill last night (Tues) that would allow up to 55.  After that vote, House lawmakers quizzed a leading representative of the law enforcement community, Dennis Flaherty with the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, about how many dispensaries his members would accept.  Rochester Democrat Tina Liebling asked if five in different areas of the state would be a deal-killer.  Flaherty responded they're "quite content with one location" for security and overall regulatory reasons.  Pressed by Liebling to be more specific, Flaherty would only say,  "One is our preference."  Committee Chairman Michael Paymar asked Flaherty to keep an open mind, saying he suspects the issue will come up again.

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Thunderstorms moved through some parts of south-central Minnesota early this (Wed) morning.  Mike Griesinger of the National Weather Service in Chanhassen says hail was the main threat with this system.  Although it should be a quiet weather day otherwise, the threat will return for the southern two-thirds of the state as the sun goes down.  Griesinger expects thunderstorms to blossom across central into southern Minnesota and says they will have the threat mainly for large hail overnight.  Tomorrow (Thu) could be dicey; the forecast calls for weather that would be conducive to tornadoes.  The main threat is from the Brainerd Lakes area...toward Hinckley...down to around Fairmont and then to the east. 

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The Minnesota Department of Revenue continues to comb through thousands of state income tax returns that were filed before April 2nd to see if taxpayers qualify for the new middle class tax cuts.  These tax changes were approved by the legislature and implemented during the height of this year's tax season.  Commissioner Myron Frans says if you filed your taxes before April 2nd ---  by June 27th you should have received a refund check or a letter notifying you if you qualified for the new tax law changes.  If you have not received a check or letter by June 27th and think you do qualify -- you should contact the state Department of Revenue.  Frans says anyone who filed after April 2nd likely filed under the new tax law changes.  

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Charges are expected soon against 57-year-old Neal Zumberge for allegedly shooting and killing one neighbor and wounding another Monday night in New Brighton.  Police say Jennifer Damerow-Cleven had a restraining order in place against Zumberge, and an argument broke out just before the shooting over deer feeding.  She survived, but Todd Stevens was killed in the incident  Zumberge turned himself in to police Monday night.

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Crash statistics show that cyclists and motorists are nearly -- equally at fault in crashes between motor vehicles and bicycles.  Melissa Barnes is with the state Department of Transportation(Mn-DOT) and says 

from 2011 to 2013 18 cyclists died on Minnesota roads.  But from 2008 to 2010 we had 32 cyclists killed so that's down almost 50 percent from the previous three year period.  Minnesota was recently named number two in the U.S. for biker friendly states.

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Minnesota pets and their owners are at greater risk for parasites this time of year, and recent predictions from the CDC and from Companion Animal Parasite Council call for higher levels of parasitic diseases than normal this year.  Veterinarian Dr. Ruth MacPete says Lyme Disease is a real concern, but it's not the only one.  Ehrlichia, babesia, anaplasmosis, tularemia just to name a few so it's really important that people are protecting their pets from ticks and other parasites as well.  MacPete says pet owners should talk with their vet and make sure the family pets are protected against parasites that include not just heartworm, fleas and ticks, but also intestinal parasites such as whipworms, roundworms and tapeworms. 

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