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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Winona high school student arrested for having weapon on school grounds

WINONA -  Another 15-year-old southeast Minnesota high school student is in trouble after being caught with a weapon on school grounds, and while he is facing charges officials say it was an accident. 

The 15-year-old Winona High School student was stopped and asked to empty his pockets and the search turned up a pocket knife, a lighter, and two cans of chewing tobacco.  Deputy Police Chief Tom Williams says the teen explained that he uses the knife at work and forgot it was in his pocket.  Williams says the student didn't show the knife to anyone and did not make any threats.  He is charged with possession of a dangerous weapon and ticketed for having tobacco on school grounds.  In a separate incident a few weeks ago, another Winona student was arrested for carrying a loaded gun on campus and has been accused of pointing it at two students.  He is in a juvenile facility, charged with several felony weapons crimes, making terroristic threats, and second-degree assault 


While the nation and world watch for an end to government shutdown and the impending debt ceiling, Governor Mark Dayton says Minnesota's growing economy could be damaged if the crisis isn't averted.  Dayton says the state has made good progress and, quote, "I just hope they don't screw it up."  But Republican State Representative Tony Cornish of Vernon Center says the shutdown has had "about as much effect on the general public right now as the Minnesota Orchestra not playing."  Today is day 15 of the federal government shutdown, with two days left until the country hits the debt ceiling.


A Pine River dog breeder charged with neglecting dozens of animals has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.  The Cass County Attorney's Office says 60-year-old Deborah Rowell pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of failure to provide dogs with adequate shade.  More than 130 dogs were seized from unsafe, filthy kennels on Rowell's property in July.  Rowell was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with all of the time suspended for one year if she complies with animal care laws and kennel inspections.  The Animal Humane Society has put most of the seized dogs up for adoption.  


Minnesotans with Medicare Part D or an Advantage Plan are being urged to take a fresh look at their coverage, as the yearly open enrollment is now underway. Seth Boffeli (boe-FELL'-ee) with AARP Minnesota says during the enrollment period, it's important all beneficiaries review their plans, see if their needs are met, and look into whether there might be something that costs a little less but covers just as much.  About 800,000 Minnesotans rely on Medicare for their health care.


The Wilder Foundation's annual conference on homelessness continues today in Willmar.  Spokesman Greg Owen says recent data show on any given night about 14-thousand people are homeless in Minnesota.  The latest single-night count was done last October 26th.  Owen says when comparing the 2012 study with 2009 there's actually some good news.  He says in the three years prior to 2009 there was a 25-percent jump in homelessness, but the 2012 survey found only a six-percent increase  Owen says one-third of the state's homeless are children, either living with their parents or minors on their own.