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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Six-year old in Bemidji dies of exposure to cold

BEMIDJI, Minn.   --  Police in Bemidji are investigating the death of a six-year-old girl this morning. 

Officers and emergency medical personnel were called to the treat the child who had signs of being exposed to the frigid cold.  She was pronounced dead at the scene.  No other information is being released at this time.  An autopsy is pending. 


A Watkins child is dead after becoming wedged between her bed and a wall.  The Meeker County Sheriff's Department says Anca Altenberg found her four-year-old daughter Brianna wedged between her bed and the bedroom wall around 5:30 last night.  It was described as a loft-style bed about 45 inches off the ground with dresser drawers underneath the mattress.  The mother says Brianna had gone upstairs to play, and she found her unresponsive about 20 minutes later.  Emergency crews were unable to revive the child.  The case is under investigation by the Meeker County Sheriff's Office and Medical Examiner's Office.


In a sworn and videotaped deposition that has been available on-line for nearly a year, a Catholic priest named last week on the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis's list of abusive clergy admits that he started abusing young boys in the 1970's in the Twin Cities.  St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson asked Gerald Funcheon under oath in March of 2012 how many kids he'd sexually abused.  Funcheon admitted to molesting a dozen children in his year as a priest, even as Anderson reminded him that he had previously admitted to many more.  "Father Jerry" says he first recalls having sexual contact with a child  at St. Odilia's in Shoreview.  In Minnesota, he also worked in parishes and schools in Anoka, Onamia, and St. Cloud.  Funcheon has been assigned at many other churches across the U.S.


The Minnesota House Capitol Investment Committee discussed Governor Dayton's bonding proposal at length this morning.  Republican Representative Matt Dean is concerned about the transportation budget which is significantly lower than last year, and how that will impact the state's roads and highways.  Dean says they are in really difficult condition and are very important to economic development and vitality.  House fiscal analyst Koryn Zewers says with $2.8 billion in requests and only a billion to spend, choices had to be made.  The proposed budget spends $233 million on higher education, $232 million for economic development, and $151 million for natural resources, environment, and agriculture.


Opponents of Minnesota's wolf hunting and trapping season are rallying today at the State Capitol.  Organizers say hundreds of people from across the state will urge legislators to fully implement the Wolf Management Plan and suspend the wolf hunt until the DNR does its scientific due diligence.  Maureen Hackett of the group Howling For Wolves says "it is an elective and recreational activity, and not intended to control the wolf population."  Hunters have killed one-thousand-86 wolves in the state's first two seasons. 


Folks in the St. Cloud area woke up to record-low temperatures on this second to last day of February.  The National Weather Service says today's low of 20-below zero in St.Cloud tied the record for February 27th.  The original record was set in 1919 and was tied again in 1962.  It was even colder up north this morning with the mercury in the negative 20s and 30s in places like International Falls, Fosston, Ely, Hibbing and Staples.   


Two snowmobilers became stuck in the slush out on Black Duck Lake north of Orr Wednesday night in northeastern Minnesota.  41-year-old David Ramola and 48-year-old Glenn Law, both from Chisago City, were part of a group of five riding snowmobiles when they became stuck.  The three other riders were able to make it back to shore and call 9-1-1 for help.  By the time rescue crews arrived, Ramola and Law had freed themselves and made their way to an unoccupied cabin to seek shelter from the cold.