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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Target profits plunge after data breach

MINNEAPOLIS - The massive data breach at Target Corporation is having a negative impact on its bottom line.  The Minneapolis-based retailer's fourth-quarter profits were down 46 percent and sales fell more than five percent. 

Net earnings in the quarter that ended February 1st were $521-million dollars compared to $961-million in the same period last year.  Tens of millions of Target customers saw their credit and debit card information compromised during the holiday shopping season.  CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement "As we plan for the new fiscal year, we will continue to work tirelessly to win back the confidence of our guests."


A bill approved by the  state House Civil Law committee seeks to tighten up the release of booking photos taken when Minnesotans are arrested.  DFL Representative Kim Norton of Rochester says the issue was brought to her by a constituent who was originally charged with a DUI.  She says the charges were ultimately dropped, but he contacted the company that posted his mugshot on-line and was informed that for $500 they would take it off the website.  The bill would make it illegal for companies or individuals to charge the subject of a booking photo to remove it from the web.  It would also require sites to remove the photo when they are provided with proof that the arrestee was found not guilty or the charges were dropped.


A bill introduced in a Minnesota House committee would more strictly regulate the information contained in event data recorders in vehicles.  Republican Representative Brian Johnson of Cambridge says the so-called "black boxes" were intended to store just a short bit of information.  He says the info is used for reconstruction of accidents and there is no rule concerning whether the information in that is public or private.  And now, he says many are equipped with GPS, so conceivable a long history of information could be stored on them.  The bill specifies that the information on the recorder is the property of the vehicle's owner, and would prevent anyone from downloading the data without a warrant, unless there is a medical emergency that requires it.


The 89-year-old woman who was raped by a caregiver at a senior living home in Hermantown has settled out of court with Edgewood Vista.  The Duluth News-Tribune reports the woman's attorney declined to discuss the specifics, but said it was "satisfactory" to his client, the victim and her family.  They plan to continue seeking punitive damages against 30-year-old Andrew Merzwski, who is serving a 53-month prison term after confessing to the January 2013 rape.  A state investigation found that Edgewood Vista failed to report the incident in a timely manner, but determined Merzwski was responsible for the sexual assault. 


You know it's been a long winter when the Minnesota Zoo is offering the "worst winter ever" special.  Starting today(wed) through Friday, the zoo is offering individual guests a 10-dollar admission fee.  That's an eight dollar saving off the adult regular admission.  Officials say the zoo is the perfect place to escape the long Minnesota winter.  You can enjoy the lush Tropics Trail, native Minnesota wildlife, fish, sharks, exotic birds and marine life.  For more information go online to