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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Hunters bag 45 wolves after first few days of hunt

Minnesota hunters have taken 45 wolves in the first few days of the state's early wolf season. 

This year's total target for wolf hunting and trapping is 220 wolves.  Dan Stark with the DNR says 30 wolves were taken in the northwest zone, 15 in the northeast, and none in the east-central zone.  Stark says the take will likely slow down following last weekend's opener.  The early wolf season runs through November 24th while the late wolf season goes from November 30th to January 31st. 


Members of the Welfare Rights Committee will hold signs and banners outside U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar's Minneapolis office during the evening commute, asking the Minnesota lawmaker to stop proposed cuts to the SNAP program, commonly called food stamps.  The organization's Linden Gawboy says the economic recovery hasn't come to all Minnesotans.  The House has proposed cutting SNAP by $40 billion.  The Senate bill would trim substantially less -- four billion dollars -- but Gawboy says **any** cuts would balance the budget on the backs of poor and working class families.


A Cloquet man escaped injury after his pickup collided with a train Monday afternoon on Highway 210 in Carlton County.  Authorities say a truck driven by 74-year-old John Martin Junior began to slide due to icy conditions near the railroad crossing and hit the side of a Burlington Northern-Santa Fe train.  The Duluth man operating the train was not hurt.  Investigators say alcohol was not a factor and no citations were issued.        


A new report on "payday loans" in Minnesota is being delivered to lawmakers today, showing the number has more than doubled over the past five years to 370-thousand.  Payday lenders say they fill a need for those who don't qualify for conventional loans or have a cash emergency.  Brian Rusche with the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition says such instances may be okay, but research shows that 70 percent of payday loans go to repeat customers.  Rusche says those people end up paying an annual interest rate of well over 400 percent.  A meeting about payday lending is Thursday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis.  The church has five payday lenders within a half-mile and is considering plans for a community loan fund to help those in need.


Officials at Minnesota State University Moorhead say early retirement offers accepted by faculty and staff through last Friday's deadline will not be enough to avoid layoffs.  Twenty-one employees took the buyouts, short of the 35 that university administration sought to erase a looming eight-million-dollar budget deficit.  MSUM spokesman Dave Wahlberg says part-time and non-tenured faculty will have to be cut.  Wahlberg says even with that, the school's faculty-to-student ratio will still be among the lowest in the state college and university system.