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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Winona police searching for serial flag burner

Police in southeastern Minnesota continue to investigate a rash of flag burnings, and have now released photos of the person they believe is responsible.  Winona Police Chief Paul Bostrack says at least 17 flags have been torched over the past three weeks -- and he's concerned both about public safety and disrespect shown to the flag.  Bostrack says many of the flags were mounted on homes and that, in some cases, the homeowners were present when the flags were set on fire.

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A woman was killed in a motorcycle crash on Highway 52 in Rochester on Saturday.  Police say it appears that the woman passed out and her out of control bike crashed under a highway overpass.  She was traveling with two others.  Her name has not yet been released.

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Police in southeastern Minnesota are looking for two men they say held up a liquor store and assaulted a customer over the weekend.  Investigators say the men held up two clerks, armed with a knife and a handgun,  and left with the cell phones belonging to the clerks and customers who were in Eastside Liquor in Albert Lea at the time of the hold up.  The 22-year-old assault victim was treated for minor injuries.  

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The investigation continues into a death in Becker County. Sheriff's deputies say a man was run over and killed in Ogema late Friday night. Investigators determined foul play may involved and called in the state Bureau of Criminal of Apprehension. The body has been sent to St. Paul for an autopsy and a formal identification.

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In just a few weeks thousands of Minnesota students will be heading back to school.  Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius encourages parents to be engaged in their child's education by making sure students are taking challenging classes and being supported in those classes.  While the majority of school districts go back in session after Labor Day, there are some kids already back in the classroom.

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Officials are getting word out on a new 20-million-dollar state grant program to expand broadband Internet service, during a series of stops around Greater Minnesota.  They're in Crookston tomorrow (Tues 2pm) and Owatonna on Friday.  Madeline Koch (COOK) with the state Department of Employment and Economic Development says the meetings are held in rural Minnesota communities because those are typically the areas most under-served. An informational meeting is planned later this month in Perham.

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Robin Williams' tragic death just weeks after a visit to Minnesota's Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center has brought the topics of addiction and depression to the forefront, and an expert says the two often go hand-in-hand.  Psychologist  Samuel Romirowsky  says the shame that people with mental illness feel often drives them to self-medicate.  He says it's referred to as a co-morbidity, which in plain English means a partnership of depression and addiction. By removing the stigma surrounding depression, Romirowsky says those with it are more likely to seek professional help, which can save lives.  He says people experiencing depression should be encouraged to see their primary physician, a mental health expert or check resources offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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Scattered showers and storms brought torrential rainfall to parts of Minnesota yesterday (Sun), while other areas saw just a few drops -- and more stormy weather could hit some areas today.  A dense fog advisory is in place for west central Minnesota, with visibility at a quarter-mile or less. Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen say thunderstorms are possible through tomorrow (Thu) morning across much of the state, and while they bring the threat of heavy rainfall no severe weather is expected.  Seven to eight inches of rain fell in portions of western and central Minnesota yesterday (Sun), and several highways in the Hastings and Cannon Falls areas were closed by flooding.  A funnel cloud was spotted near Windom, but the National Weather Service says it was weak and never touched down.  

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A Minnesota high school football player that collapsed at practice Saturday remains hospitalized and sedated, but St. Thomas Academy officials say he is showing signs of recovery.  Headmaster Matthew Mohs says the student collapsed as the football team was doing cool down stretches at the end of practice and had to be revived with C-P-R.  The Pioneer Press reports that the team� doctor is also an assistant coach and was able to quickly respond to the emergency  The player's name has not been released.

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 Police have arrested a suspect in the shooting death of a 53-year-old Minneapolis man.  Murder charges are pending against the 59-year-old man accused of shooting and killing Kenneth Madison in south Minneapolis Friday evening.  Madison later died as a result of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.  Police say the suspect was arrested Sunday morning while attempting to flee the state. 

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 The former suburban Milwaukee police officer accused of hiding the bodies of a Minnesota woman and another from Oregon in suitcases is due in court today in Kenosha County on a homicide charge.  Steven Zelich is accused of killing 19-year-old Jenny Gamez of Oregon in 2012 while they were having sex.  He is also expected to be charged in Minnesota for the death of 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Farmington under similar circumstances.  Zelich has pled not guilty to a pair of charges of hiding a corpse in Walworth County, where the bodies were found earlier this year.

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The Minnesota National Guard honors the state's first African American Brigadier General today (MON).  Air Colonel David Hamlar Junior will be promoted during a pinning ceremony in St. Paul (3pm). Hamlar served six years in the Ohio National Guard before joining the guard in Minnesota in 1995.  He's also served in support of Operation Desert Shield and Storm and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and other humanitarian efforts around the world.  Brigadier General Hamlar will serve as the Assistant Adjutant General-Air, Minnesota National Guard.  

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 With the State Fair starting this week plus county fairs and other events under way, state health officials urge parents to make sure kids wash their hands thoroughly after visiting the animals.  And Epidemiologist Carrie Klumb says keep food, drinks, bottles and pacifiers out of animal areas.  At least 13 people recently developed E. Coli infections from a petting zoo that stopped at several county fairs in Minnesota.  Seven people were hospitalized, two with serious complications.

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