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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Rep. Peterson won't guess how long shutdown will last

WASHINGTON D.C. -  Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson says he has no idea how long this partial government shutdown will last. 

The Minnesota DFLer says one of the Republican members told him they think the solution is to lump everything together - the sequester, debt ceiling, one-year delay in Obamacare - and somehow Obama would agree to it because it would eliminate the sequester.  Peterson says it will cost money in the end because that's what happens when you shut down and then re-open.


The American Federation of Government Employees union is holding a rally today in Minneapolis to let Minnesotans know just how their lives and those of more than 18,000 government employees may be disrupted by the federal government shutdown.  Jayne Nygaard with the union's District 8 office in Bloomington says there are many problems people may encounter, like applying for a Federal Housing Administration mortgage, having to cancel a planned trip to a national park, and applying for a new Social Security card or benefits for the first time.  The "roving rally" will pass by the Veterans Affairs hospital, the Social Security office, and several other federal facilities.


Bad news for folks heading to Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota to view the fall colors.  Officials say the park closed today (Tues) because of the federal government shutdown and the employees have been furloughed.  The Voyageurs Park closure includes the roads, campgrounds, boat launches and other facilities.  The "essential" rangers still on duty are giving campers a 48-hour notice to leave the park.  The Superior National Forest offices and ranger stations are also closed, but visitors can access the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with a self-issued permit.   


A Grand Rapids man has pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in a July stabbing that seriously wounded the victim.  Prosecutors dropped attempted murder charges and two other felonies against 28-year-old Joshua Julien as part of a plea agreement  Julien is accused of stabbing 23-year-old Kyle Johnson multiple times with a large chrome knife at a Grand Rapids residence.  Johnson is still recovering from injuries to his abdomen, chest and hands.  Julien will likely receive a 103-month prison term at his sentence hearing next month (11/12/13).    


The St. Cloud Housing and Redevelopment Authority has implemented a no smoking policy through out all of their low-income subsidized rental buildings.  Executive Director Louise Reis (reece) says that means residents living in the units will no longer be allowed to smoke in their apartments.  They used to allow smoking inside apartments although it was banned in the common areas.  The St.Cloud HRA has 720 rental units in 16 buildings and also rents out 40 single-family homes  Designated smoking areas have been set-up outside of each building.  Reis says HUD recommended the HRA go totally smoke-free.