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More Minnesota News Briefs: Search underway for Newport robbery suspects

NEWPORT, Minn. - Authorities in Washington County are looking for two suspects who robbed a Newport man at knifepoint early this morning.

Police say the victim had been talking with another man on the computer and went to meet him for sex. But two males got into the car, threatened him with a knife and fled on foot with the victim's cash. Officers set up a perimeter and used a K-9 in an unsuccessful attempt to locate the suspects. No injuries were reported. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Newport Police Department.


More rain and storms are in the forecast for southeast Minnesota today after a three-minute burst of high winds late yesterday afternoon tore up the communities of Fountain, Chatfield, Saint Charles, and Cherry Grove. The roof of a furniture warehouse in Fountain was peeled back and trees were uprooted. Buildings in Chatfield and Cherry Grove suffered similar damage. In Saint Charles, trees were downed and in some cases split in half. The National Weather Service says the wind hit fast and furious with gusts up to 60 miles an hour.


Officials are beginning to worry that there could be transportation problems on the Mississippi River and other Midwest waterways in the next few days, as water levels continue to climb. Meteorologist Brad Rippey says rain that's already fallen this week, plus more that's expected, may cause lock and dam issues along the mainstem Mississippi and other rivers that flow into it. Two to six inches of precipitation is forecast in some areas over the next few days.


A Madison Lake man faces multiple felonies for allegedly slapping a three-year-old girl so hard that she suffered a ruptured eardrum. Twenty-eight-year-old Joseph Kipke is charged with assault and malicious punishment of a child. He was watching the girl while her mother was at work Saturday, and reportedly hit her after she used markers to write on the carpet and walls. The child's mother saw a red hand print on her daughter's face and sent a photo and reported the incident to the Madison Lake Police Department. Kipke? next court appearance is June 6th.


Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-St. Paul) is urging Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change what she calls his team's racist name. The Minnesota Democrat says Native American leaders and tribal organizations for decades have advocated for an end to the use of this "derogatory and demeaning brand." Snyder stirred up the controversy recently by saying he would never change his team's name. In letters to Snyder, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Fed EX CEO Frederick Smith, McCollum calls on the executives to end their profiteering from the team name. She co-chairs the Congressional Native American Caucus.


One of Minnesota-based Hormel Foods' biggest competitors is facing a backlash of negative reaction, after Smithfield Foods announced it's being sold to a company in China. Smithfield's chief executive says he isn't surprised, but adds "this is not selling out to the Chinese" and it's a result of the company being part of a global organization. CEO Larry Pope says with U.S. pork consumption stagnant in recent years, Smithfield and other companies have seen huge sales increases in Asian countries. Pope also says the sale won't have much impact on employees.