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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Winona leaders hope to rebuild

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

The city of Winona will apply for a community block grant to help rebuild after a historic fire in downtown Winona. Last Friday, an early morning fire destroyed three buildings that housed several businesses, apartments and a mosque. Winona Development Director Lucy McMartin says a letter has been sent to businesses asking for information on any damage that may not be covered by insurance or other means. She thinks the city may qualify for around 600-thousand dollars in grants to help rebuild. Meanwhile investigators believe the cause of the fire may have been electrical in nature. 

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 A federal health report shows at least two million Americans fall ill from antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year and that at least 23-thousand die from those infections. State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield says the data shows that up to 50-percent of all the antibiotics prescribed are not needed or are not prescribed appropriately. She says there are not many new antibiotics coming down the pipeline and it takes about ten years from laboratory bench to get new drugs in the pharmacy. Lynfield says the rising number of resistant infections occurring now without adequate tools to fight them is a concern. She says some of the bacteria being tested in the lab are resistant to every known antibiotic on the market.

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Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association are conducting an information picket today (Tues) outside the Mayo Health System-Mankato. The nurses are concerned that low staffing levels may be putting patients at risk. R-N Chad Weiler says they want to inform the public as contract negotiations continues. Negotiation sessions are scheduled for tomorrow (Wed) and September 24th; their current contract ends September 30th. More than 470 registered nurses work for Mayo Health System-Mankato.

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The U-S reaches a milestone today--but not a pleasant one. Today is the one-thousandth consecutive day of national gas prices averaging above three dollars per gallon. In Minnesota the streak has only lasted 243 days, thanks to an eleven-day dip under three dollars in January. Triple-A Minnesota's Gail Weinholzer says the days of paying less than three dollars a gallon for gas are likely in the rear view mirror for the next thousand days--and possibly from now on. 

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The man believed to have been behind yesterday's (Mon) massacre at the Washington Navy Yard had a criminal past, and the Navy also says 34-year-old Aaron Alexis was discharged in 2011 because of misconduct. Alexis is believed to have killed at least a dozen people before he was killed. A vigil was held at Freedom Plaza to remember the victims, including Kathy Gaarde, who has family in Minnesota. Democratic Minnesota Senator Roger Reinert from Duluth serves in the Navy Reserves and was nearby when the shooting occurred. He says the incident was not just an attack on America, but on the Navy in particular. 

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A 9-month old St. Paul baby will likely never fully recover from injuries suffered last week, and now his father has been charged with malicious punishment of a child. The criminal complaint states that an ambulance was called to treat a baby having a seizure, and when the boy was admitted to the hospital doctors discovered brain swelling and blood outside the brain, as well as two lacerations to his liver. The doctor calls the boy's injuries life-threatening and permanently life-altering. The baby's mother admitted that the father, 31-year-old Warren Wheeler, had shaken the baby when he was crying and had, at times, hit the 9-month-old when he was mad. After his arrest court documents show that Wheeler admitted that he shook the baby, and punched him in the chest to get him to breath again because the boy had stopped breathing and had made wheezing noises. Wheeler claims he, "Didn't try to hurt him or anything." 

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 A Vadnais Heights woman has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide after a hit-and-run accident that killed a 92-year-old motorcyclist in St. Paul last week. Police say 26-year-old Autumn Mason collided with Roy Kromschroeder's bike at a four-way stop, and he died later that day. Mason left the scene after the crash, but the license plate from her S-U-V was found on top of the motorcycle. St. Paul police say there is no indication that Mason had been drinking.

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Two men will spend more than 21 years in prison for the sex trafficking of two teenagers last year. 20-year-old Timothy Cross of St. Paul received 21 years in prison on sex-trafficking charges, and 24-year-old Fonati Diggs of Northfield was sentenced to 23 years. Prosecutors say Diggs lured an 18-year-old ex-girlfriend and her 16-year-old friend from Duluth to St. Paul, and both women were raped by the defendants and their friends and trafficked on the streets. In a separate case, a 33-year-old Duluth man was convicted by a federal jury of using backpage.com to prostitute a minor. Markeace Canty was accused of offering a girl under the age of 17 for erotic encounters. 23-year-old Tabbatha Olson of Duluth was convicted as Canty's accomplice. They were caught after a sting in the northwest Indiana city of Valparaiso. 

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 A Twin Cities television news anchor is the latest to file a lawsuit concerning the improper access of driver's license information. A lawyer for KSTP-TV midday anchor and reporter Jessica Miles says her data was illegally accessed nearly 1,400 times. Her husband, Cory Kampschroer, is a digital news manager at KSTP and his information was looked up 92 times. He is also suing. The lawyer for the couple says Minnesota Department of Public Safety determined that officers and employees from about 180 different departments and agencies had viewed the private data.

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After an investigation prompted by a anonymous call, Olmsted County Sheriff's deputies found a herd of malnourished cows on a farm south of Rochester, including three skeletons, a dead cow, and a dead calf, and now the owner of the farm is expected to face misdemeanor animal neglect charges. Investigators with the Humane Society and a local veterinarian say that about half of the 70-cow herd were in poor condition, and some had worms and lice. On a scale of one to five, with five being healthiest, the veterinarian says the animals didn't even rank a one. A mandatory plan is now in place for the owner to get the cattle back in proper health, and if he doesn't the man could face more serious charges and the animals could be taken away.

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