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MINNESOTA NEWS BRIEFS: Two killed on I-35 motorcycle crash

WILLOW RIVER, Minn. - A man and woman from Ramsey are dead after a Fourth of July motorcycle crash on Interstate 35 in Pine County.

The Minnesota State Patrol says the northbound cycle lost control and crashed around noon Thursday near the Willow River exit. The 57-year-old male driver and 47-year-old female passenger were airlifted to Duluth hospitals where they died. Troopers say neither victim was wearing a helmet. Their names have not been released. 


Authorities in Dakota County are investigating an ATV accident that critically injured a man Thursday night in Vermillion Township. Sheriff Dave Bellows says 26-year-old Isaac Lucking was driving on a county road when he lost control of the machine and suffered a head injury. Lucking was airlifted to Regions Hospital in critical condition. He was not wearing a helmet. A second rider was following Lucking at the time of the crash.


A high speed Independence Day police chase in Itasca County ended only after shots were fired. Grand Rapids Police say the chase began near the Blackberry area, and during the suspect's more than 15-mile flight he tried to run both police and civilian cars off the road. As the chase wound through the city, a Grand Rapids police officer fired a gun at the vehicle, but nobody was hit. Minnesota State Patrol troopers helped end the chase about 10 miles south of Grand Rapids. The suspect was taken to jail and, as per standard procedure, the officer that fired the weapon is on paid administrative leave. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is handling the investigation.


Sand Island at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin has been closed to all visitors after an increase in bear activity. Early this week it was closed to overnight camping because of bears scavenging human food from campsites. Officials hoped the temporary halt of camping would reduce the amount of human food on the island and thereby reduce bear activity. Park employees say daytime visitors, though, left food properly stored in a cooler in their nearby boat, and a bear went on board repeatedly to get at it . Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Superintendent Bob Krumenaker says the bear is aggressive and isn't afraid to be near people, so they have closed the island to all visitors.


St. Paul city crews worked in the Mississippi River Friday morning, breaking up a logjam that consists of flood debris tangled up on the south side of Raspberry Island. The jam is blocking access for the Minnesota Boat Club and the St. Paul Yacht Club. St. Paul's communications director Joe Campbell says there are two main concerns -- that the large crowds expected in the area because of the long holiday weekend may find the dangerous collection of uprooted trees and other debris a place to explore and get hurt, and that a log could break free and damage either public or private property. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not stepped in to address the log jam because the main channel of the river isn't affected. The cost to remove it is estimated at about $20,000. 


Three Minneapolis locks on the Mississippi River have reopened to recreational traffic as of early this morning. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in St. Paul is encouraging boaters to use caution in the area because the currents remain high. The Upper and Lower St. Anthony Falls locks and dams, as well as the lock and dam next to Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis were closed to recreational traffic on June 24--due to flows exceeding 30-thousand cubic feet per second.


A Minneapolis suburb agreed to cancel a Fourth of July tradition because police believe the City of Richfield's annual Fourth of July Carnival at Veterans Park draws in gangs. Richfield Police Lt. Mike Flaherty says a number of gangs from north Minneapolis came to the carnival last year, that several guns were confiscated; he called the carnival "a hot spot for trouble. Many other Independence Day events in Richfield continued - there was a Fourth of July parade and fireworks at Veterans Park. 


A fireworks complaint turned into a violent confrontation last Thursday night in St. Louis County. Sheriff's investigators say the complaint was called in at about 8:30 p.m., and while deputies were on the way to the scene the man who called, 61-year-old David Phillips drove over to the home where they were being lit, pulled out a handgun, pointed it at 43-year-old Darrin Lumby's head, and threatened to kill him in front of several witnesses. Phillips was arrested, and several handguns were found in his home. He is charged with assault, making terroristic threats, and property damage.


Two people were injured by electrical shocks while working on a boat in Sherburne County's Eagle Lake. Family members say a man was standing in the water, attempting to charge the boat's battery, when he was shocked. A woman who ran over to help was also electrocuted. The man was apparently unconscious and was not breathing when emergency crews arrived. The woman was alert. Both were taken to the hospital. 


A better-than-expected report from the U.S. Labor Department shows the economy added 195,000 jobs in June. However, the national unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.6 percent as more people were looking for work last month. Minnesota's jobless rate has been at 5.3 percent for the past two months. Employers in the state added 8,400 jobs in May and more than a third of the gains were in leisure and hospitality as warmer weather finally arrived.