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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: State has transportation deficit over the next 20 years

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Getting from point A to point B more efficiently. That was the topic of a town hall meeting in St. Cloud Wednesday hosted by the State Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle. In that region, officials want a wider Interstate 94 between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, the Northstar Commuter Rail extended to St. Cloud, and more regular flights out of the St. Cloud Regional Airport. Zelle says there are more worthy projects all around the state and not enough money to go around. He says the state has a $12 billion funding gap during the next 20 years. Besides new projects, the state's infrastructure is aging, 50 percent of the state highway pavements are more than 50 years old, and 35 percent of the state bridges are over 50 years old. The solution, look for the State Legislature to talk a lot about raising more revenue for transportation projects during the 2014 session.

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The DNR will be auctioning off seized guns and other hunting gear Saturday at the Hiller Auction Barn in Zimmerman. Other items up for bid include trail cameras, an ATV, a jet ski and snowmobiles. Officials say bidders must pass a background check on site before taking possession of any firearms. Items on the auction will be available for inspection from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday before the auction which starts at 10:00. Proceeds will help fund the different fish and wildlife management programs.

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Minnesota Senator Al Franken sent a letter to Apple this week, asking for more information about the privacy of new fingerprint technology on the iPhone 5S. He says a fingerprint's really sensitive data because it's permanent. Franken says you can change your password but you can't change your fingerprint, and you leave it everywhere.

Franken says from all outward appearances Apple has made a good-faith effort to implement the technology responsibly, but he wants Minnesotans to have a better understanding about how the biometric technology is being safeguarded now and in the future.

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A five thousand dollar reward is being offered for information regarding a missing University of Minnesota student. 20-year-old Anarae Schunk was last seen early Sunday morning with her , the man police suspect of shooting another man to death in the parking lot of Nina's bar in Burnsville Saturday night. The suspect is currently in Dakota County jail awaiting formal charges. Authorities say Schunk is *not* a suspect in the shooting. Schunk was last seen in the suspect's vehicle which was located Wednesday but police aren't saying where or whether the vehicle provided any clues to Schunk's disappearance. Anyone with information is urged to call the Burnsville Police Department. 
 ______________________There's some friction arising between groups that support same-sex marriage in Minnesota as they get ready to defend this year's gains in the 2014 election. Pro-choice Minnesota NOW says it contributed "significant resources" to the battle for marriage equality. But now the lead group in that fight, Minnesotans United, will be contributing to about a dozen state lawmakers who supported same-sex marriage, but also have anti-choice voting records. Responding for Minnesotans United, Eric Jensen with Project 515 says they're sticking to one issue -- same-sex marriage -- because they need to get support from wherever they can. Jensen says the discussion is difficult and they must "cast a very wide net." Pro-choicers respond those who support both their cause and same-sex marriage should contribute to their group instead. ________________________ 

Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in the U.S and Saturday's deadly attack at a shopping mall in Kenya has many worried that al-Shabab is recruiting right here in Minnesota. Mohamed Farah, head of Twin Cities-based Ka Joog, says groups like al-Shabab are using Facebook and Twitter to attract young people -- but lack of financial resources is hindering the fight against it. Ka Joog's mission is to help Somali teens make the right choices and provide positive outlets for their feelings through the arts. Farah says majority of their funding comes from Minnesota-based foundations.

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