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More Minnesota News Briefs: Bemidji man arrested for assault

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BEMIDJI -- A 35-year-old Bemidji man was arrested after apparently assaulting two people near the Mississippi river trail bridge.

The victims told Bemidji police they were walking along the trail when a man stood on the bridge holding his arms out, blocking them from going by. The man allegedly told the victims they needed to pay "the street tax" and when they refused, one was hit in the face and the other was grabbed as they tried to run to get help. Aaron Jones of Cass Lake was tracked down soon after and arrested for robbery.

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Thousands of Minnesotans are receiving checks for about $1,500 dollars as part of a settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage service providers. The settlement also required banks make it easier for struggling borrowers to stay in their homes, but Marceline White of the Consumer Rights Coalition says they aren't always living up to their end of the bargain. White alleges banks are doing short sales and other transactions far more than principal reduction -- which modifies a mortgage to an affordable level to keep a family in their home. The settlement is the result of allegations that the banks engaged in robo-signing of documents and other lending abuses. Banks involved include Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, and Ally Bank/GMAC.

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Demolition of the former Ford assembly plant is underway in Saint Paul. Production at the plant came to an end in December of 2011, after 86 years of operation as the backbone of the capital city's economy, says Mayor Chris Coleman. Ford will now look for a developer to partner with the city, which Coleman calls an "incredible opportunity" to utilize 130 acres on the banks of the Mississippi River, close to both downtowns and attached to the great Highland neighborhood. Coleman says monthly updates on the demolition and future of the site can be found at stpaul.gov/Ford.

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