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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: State officials weigh impact of government shutdown on Minnesotans

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Pierce County Herald
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State officials are readying for a possible Federal government shutdown on October 1st. Chuck Johnson with the state Department of Human Services says while some programs, like Medicaid, shouldn't be affected by a shutdown, it's unclear what might happen to others, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Johnsons says there is a requirement in Federal law that SNAP benficiaries receive 10 days notice if their benefits are going to be terminated. The Republican-led House voted early Sunday morning in favor of legislation that would delay President Obama's health care law by one year. The Senate is expected to reject the House's provisions today (MON). 

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Students at Most Holy Redeemer School in Montgomery will be wearing blue and taking part in a special Mass to remember Mary Urtuzuastegui (Er-tuh-ZWAS-teh'-gee). Mary was killed Friday night returning home from a football game when the S-U-V her step-dad was driving crossed the center line and hit an oncoming car. Mary's stepfather, 51-year-old Condon Hulgan, was also killed, as were two occupants of the other car -- 22-year-old Jeffrey Miller and 24-year-old Travis Reak. Twenty-four-year-old Mark Miller survived the crash. The Minnesota State Patrol is still investigating the exact cause. 

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St. Louis County Sheriff's investigators say a 37-year-old Cloquet man was killed in an ATV accident near the Ranger Off Road Trail. Police say Ryan Ewald was leading a large group of ATVs with his 30-year-old wife Amy as passenger when the couple tried to climb a steep hill and both fell off. Investigators believe the quad rolled and hit Ryan in the head. He died at the hospital. His wife was not hurt.

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The Minnesota Court of Appeals is expected to rule today (Mon) on a challenge to a state law that bans assisted suicide. Earlier this year a judge found the "advising" portion of the law was overbroad and unconstitutional, after four members of the national right-to-die group Final Exit Network were charged in the 2007 suicide of an Apple Valley woman. The charges were dismissed against the group's former president but most of charges still apply to the other defendants. Prosecutors appealed the determination that the law was unconstitutional and the court cases are on hold until the outcome of the appeal.

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The current extension of the Farm Bill expires at midnight tonight (Mon), but it's on the back burner as Congress deals with an even bigger issue. The possibility of a government shutdown dominated the debate in Washington last week and this past weekend. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma still expects Farm Bill conferees to be named this week in the House after the Senate renames their conferees. South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune says negotiating the nutrition portion of the Farm Bill will be the most contentious. Democrats say House Republicans have proposed excessive cuts to the SNAP program, commonly known as food stamps. Republicans respond they're trying to rein-in out-of-control federal spending.

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The brother of another Twin Cities area woman is organizing search efforts for his missing sister on Facebook, and confirms that police have told the family that University of Minnesota student Anarae Schunk is dead. Anarae Schunk has been missing since September 22 after investigators say she left Nina's Grill in Burnsville with her ex-boyfriend Shavelle Chavez-Nelson and his current girlfriend, Ashley Conrade. Chavez-Nelson has been charged with shooting and killing a man outside the bar shortly before 2 a.m. on the same day Schunk disappeared. Tyson Schunk has asked volunteers to search the area around Pickerel Lake and the nearby Mississippi River for his sister's body. He also thanked Steven Matula for his help in the search. Steven's sister, Mandy Matula, has been missing since May and the suspect in her disappearance, David Roe, committed suicide in the parking lot of the police station soon after she went missing.

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Tomorrow (Tues) is the website launch for the state's new health insurance exchange, MNsure. Republicans warn about security of personal data for those who buy policies through the new state-run exchange -- noting county personnel, insurance brokers and MNsure "navigators" have not all been trained on procedures yet. Ham Lake Senator Michelle Benson says it would be a mistake to pretend that everything is ok with the site. Democrats respond website security is state-of-the-art. Kerrick Senator Tony Lourey says although every MNsure feature might not be ready-to-go tomorrow (Tues), the process allows for up to six months before consumers make their health care selections.

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Jason Schulte
Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 
(715) 243-7767 x243
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