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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: New poll finds approval ratings for Franken, Dayton down

ST. CLOUD, Minn-   --  Some top Democrats in Minnesota have work to do if they want to get re-elected next year. 

In St. Cloud State University's annual fall statewide survey, 44 percent rated Governor Mark Dayton's job performance as excellent to pretty good, while 52 percent said his performance was fair or poor.  U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) had only a 39 percent favorable rating, while 51 percent gave him a negative approval.  U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) doesn't have an election to worry about for another four years but continues to get high ratings.  Fifty-seven percent view her favorably, while 34 percent gave her a negative rating.  Over 600 adults were randomly chosen to take part in this year's St. Cloud State survey and were interviewed between October 20th and 27th.  The overall margin of error is about 4.5 percent.


The busiest shopping day of the year is here.  With many major stores opening early and offering bargains for the holidays, it promises to be a hectic day at an already-busy time of year.  Dan Hendrickson with the Minnesota Better Business Bureau says it's an easy day to get the credit card going, and next thing you know the statement shows up and you realize you've gone overboard.  He suggests holiday shoppers try to keep a budget.  Many retail and marketing experts predict a robust year for shopping in 2013, with households expected to plunk down an average of $837 for holiday spending. 


Not all shoppers in Minnesota will be heading to the stores for Black Friday this year.  St. John's University economics Professor Louis Johnston says post-Thanksgiving sales go against what we know about how people do their holiday spending.  Johnston says people tend to plan over long periods of time and have a budget for how much they're going to spend over Christmas -- so he says all Black Friday really does is concentrate the spending they would otherwise do over five or six weeks into maybe a day or two or three.  Johnston says a late spike in November sales might make a company look good to its customers and shareholders.  He adds there are plenty of bargains for procrastinators in the days just before Christmas. 


Looking for a good way to burn off your Thanksgiving meal?  The DNR wants to remind you Minnesota State Parks are open year round.  The agency's Pat Arndt says even though there's not snow yet in most places, state parks are a good choice because they have a lot of family activities going on.  Arndt says there is state park or trail within 30 miles of almost every spot in the state.  For more information go to mn-dnr-dot-gov(


If you're planning to drink alcohol over the Thanksgiving weekend, think twice before getting behind the wheel.  Sergeant Jesse Grabow says a DWI is not only expensive but can result in the loss of your license and possible jail time.  Grabow says if you do see a drunk driver, recall as much information as you can and immediately call 911.  There's stepped-up enforcement on Minnesota roads this holiday weekend.


The sixth annual Walk to End Hunger raised more than $300,000 at the Mall of America on Thanksgiving.  Organizers say over four-thousand walkers helped raise funds for a dozen hunger-related charities in Minnesota.  U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar was among the participants.  The event has raise more than $1.5 million since 2008. 


The University of Minnesota Forestry Club's annual Holiday Tree Sale opens today (Fri12pm) at Les Bolstad (BOWL-sted) Golf Course.  They are selling spruce, Fraser fir, Scotch pines, white pines, Balsam firs, garland, wreaths and maple syrup.  This is the U of M Forestry Club's biggest fundraiser of the year and the money goes to scholarships and helps pay for club events.  It runs from Noon to 9pm weekdays, and 9am to 9pm on weekends until they are sold out. ______________________

Here are the winning numbers from the Minnesota State Lottery for Thursday November 28th, 2013.  The Daily Three: 4-2-0.  Northstar Cash: 6-8-14-20-29.