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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Stillwater Lift Bridge closing due to high water

ST. PAUL -- The Stillwater Lift Bridge is closing today over the St. Croix River due to high water levels.  The Minnesota Department of Transportation says the closure will be in place indefinitely.  Drivers are being routed along Interstate 94 or Highway 243 until the St. Croix River begins to recede.  The river is expected to crest on Thursday.

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U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar believes federal help will be coming to Minnesota to help with recovery from flooding.  She toured Mankato and Minneapolis on Sunday, and thinks the damage level will go past the threshold to trigger federal help.  It could take up to two weeks for that aid to come in once the state is eligible.

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The Minnesota State Patrol says two MnDOT employees are hospitalized after being hurt in a work zone crash on Interstate 35 at Cliff Road.  Dennis Scott and Ronald McDeid were putting out cones to mark closures caused by the recent flooding when their truck was hit about 4 p.m. Sunday.  McDeid suffered serious injuries according to police, while the driver that hit their truck was not hurt.

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State health officials are urging well owners to take precautions to protect from floodwater contamination.  Recent heavy rains and flash flooding could pose safety risks. The Minnesota Department of Health is advising well owners to store a clean supply of water before taking their wells out of service and if possible, have a professional install a watertight cap or cover on the well to temporarily replace the regular vented cap or seal.  Officials say if flood water reaches your well casing, you should assume the well is contaminated, and you'll need to clean, disinfect and test the well before it's safe for drinking. 

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Firefighters rescued a 14-year-old boy who tried to cross a rushing creek in Chaska Saturday (SAT) afternoon.  The boy and his friends were trying to cross a washed out road when the teen was swept away into the water.  He was able to hold on to a tree trunk as witnesses called for help.  He was not hurt.  

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The Rochester Fire Department rescued a man from the fast moving Zumbro River in downtown Rochester Saturday afternoon.  Battalion Chief Erik Propotnik says the man was riding an inflatable lounge chair down the river when he was apparently thrown into the water when he went over a low head dam. Firefighters on a rescue boat were able to grab the man and pull him to safety.  He was not hurt.

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Two Rochester teenagers escaped a dangerous encounter with the flood waters from this week's torrential rains Friday night.  A spokesman for the Olmsted County Sheriff's Department says they were driving through Oxbow Park near Byron when their car slid into the high water that was flowing over the roadway. The teens managed to get out of the vehicle shortly before it was swept away.  The park manager saw the incident take place.

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Two stranded hikers were lifted to safety late Saturday night after spending hours trapped on a rocky ledge above the St. Louis River in Carlton County.  Members of the Carlton Fire Department and the Cloquet Area Fire District used ropes to bring the 17-year-old boy and 25-year-old man out of a gorge downstream from the Minnesota Highway 210 bridge. Nobody was injured.

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Experts are reminding Minnesota parents to remain vigilant when their summer fun with the kids involves water. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there were at least 40 reported drownings in 2012, and whether it's a backyard pool, a river or a lake Dr. Sarah Denny of the Injury Prevention Project says close, active supervision is essential because drowning can happen quickly and silently at any age.  Denny says all children should have basic water safety skills so if they are in danger they know how to float and get to safety. She adds that formal swim lessons in children as young as age one have been shown to prevent drowning. 

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The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has temporarily removed a deacon and placed restrictions on a priest after the clergy review board reopened cases of alleged abuse.  Deacon Joseph Damiani of Annunciation Church in Minneapolis has been restricted as the board looks further into a previous allegation of the sexual abuse of his younger brothers, long before he was ordained.  Reverend Joseph Gallatin from the Church of St. Peter in Mendota will not be involved in any ministry that involves minors; he was acused of rubbing a snoring teenager's chest and abdomen on a mission trip in 1998.  The statement from the archdiocese says there is not enough evidence to charge either of the men with a crime but they will be closely monitored moving forward.  

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A New Brighton couple was killed Saturday when their SUV was struck from behind by a semi truck in Indiana.  The couple's 13-year-old granddaughter remains in the hospital.  The Star Tribune reports that Sylvia and John Shaw, both 66, were killed in the chain reaction crash in stop-and-go traffic on the Indiana interstate  The granddaughter was removed from the vehicle by emergency personnel and rushed to a nearby hospital. 

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