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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Target customers want answers
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Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

The massive data breach at Target Stores that exposed debit and credit information for millions of shoppers is leading to even more dangers ahead. Dan Hendrickson, of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota says scammers are using this case as a backdrop when sending out virus-laden email messages. He says if you get an email relating to the Target breach, be very, very leery Hendrickson says are more likely to get a letter from your bank or credit card provider with the latest information. He says adds with the ever-growing number of identify theft crimes, staying aware of frauds and scams is something that folks should do year-round. The breach impacts Target customers who made credit or debit card purchases between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

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Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt released a church memo earlier this month containing the names of Catholic priests involved in sex abuse cases, but some are now alleging that it was an incomplete list. Ex-priest Harry Walsh was on the list under the heading priests with disputed claims or marginal behavior, despite accusations that he sexually abused two children. He has since left the priesthood and is teaching sex education in Wright County. Archbishop Nienstedt, who stepped down from public ministry earlier this week as he faces his own sex abuse allegations, said the memo was not meant to be an exhaustive list.

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The number of home-sale transactions declined across the state in November. Minnesota Association of Realtors C-E-O Chris Galler says pending sales were down more than ten percent and closed sales dropped nine percent. Galler says they anticipated the market would slow down a little bit at some point. But he says prices are still solid with good price increases across the state. Galler says the median sales price increased nearly ten percent to 170-thousand dollars. New listings fell by nine percent last month as home owners geared up for the holidays.

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End homelessness for families and youth by 2020...and by 2015 finish the job of ending homelessness for veterans -- those are goals of a new plan unveiled by state officials this week before Christmas. State Housing Finance Commissioner Mary Tingerthal says two million dollars is earmarked to help low-income families with school-aged children, so they don't have to move so often. Tingerthal says there's a lot of evidence that when families move frequently during the school year, kids seriously lag behind in the classroom. She says two million dollars in funding will provide rental assistance for up to two years for families participating in the program.

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A federal judge says it's too early to tell whether an appeal by a man sentenced to death for killing a Pequot Lakes co-ed ten years ago can be decided without a hearing. Lawyers for Alfonso Rodriguez appeared in a North Dakota federal courtroom to give a progress report. The government is disputing claims that Rodriguez is mentally impaired and that his trial lawyers did a poor job. They say Rodriguez's appeal has no basis and he should be executed. Dru's father, Allan Sjodin, says her family in Minnesota is committed to making sure justice is carried out. Attorneys have until March to file their next set of arguments.

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A Rochester man is expected to face charges after a Salvation Army volunteer told officers that he was threatened with a gun earlier this week. Police were called to the Kmart store by the bellringer, who told investigators that a man walked up to him and began asking for money, then said he had a gun and reached into a bag. That's when the victim ran inside the store and called 911. Officers found the suspect a short distance away, intoxicated, and took him to a detox center.

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A repeat drunk driver has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty in Morrison County Court. Motley Police received a call in September about someone "driving all over the road" before pulling into a gas station, and found 48-year-old Michael Morgan of St. Cloud slumped over the wheel with the motor running and a beer can between his legs. Morgan had a blood alcohol level of .19, more than twice the legal limit. Morgan has three prior DWI related convictions in the past 10 years and is facing a four-year sentence in Clay County for first degree DWI His sentences would be served back-to-back.

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A Ramsey County judge has given a Minnesota man the longest sex-trafficking sentence in state history. 27-year-old Antonio Washington-Davis will serve over 35 years in prison for his role in his family's sex trafficking ring. The ring is reported to have prostituted 10 women, often with mental challenges, out of a house in St. Paul. Ramsey County Attorney John Choi hopes the long sentence shows the victims that law enforcement stands with them.

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