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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: State Court of Appeals rejects Lake Crystal woman's appeal

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal by a Lake Crystal woman sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing her husband.

Thirty-six-year-old Jennifer Nibbe pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the August 2010 shooting death of James Nibbe. But she claimed in her appeal that she never acknowledged the evidence would be sufficient for a jury to find her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The appeals court rejected that attempt, but said Nibbe could try to argue a different reason why her plea is invalid. However, if she were allowed to withdraw her second-degree murder plea, Nibbe would face trial for first-degree murder.


A new survey of voters in the state shows U.S. Senator Al Franken with slightly more support than his potential Republican challengers. The KSTP/Survey USA poll gives Franken a 49-41 percent lead over both state Senator Julianne Ortman and St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg. Businessman Mike McFadden trails the DFL incumbent 50-40 percent eight months before the November election. The top GOP contenders have about a two percent advantage over Franken with independents while ten to 15 percent of respondents are undecided.


Problem gambling is a very real issue that affects several thousand Minnesotans. Cathie Perrault with the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance says March has been designated "National Problem Gambling Awareness Month." She says they want to get people to ask for help early and don't want them to wait until there is a major crisis, which oftens happens with gambling addictio. Perrault says if you know someone struggling with gambling addiction, call for help because there is help available in Minnesota. Perrault encourages people to call the 24 hour Minnesota Problem Gambling hotline at 800-333-HOPE. She says it's free and confidential.


Mayo Clinic had a strong performance in 2013, serving a record 63 million patients in some capacity last year. Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Bolton says the Rochester-based not-for-profit health care organization was also financially strong. He says revenues grew by six-and-a-half percent to 9.4 billion dollars while they constrained expense growth by 4.3 percent to 8.8 billion. That meant an income of 612-million dollars for Mayo Clinic, which Bolton says the organization reinvests in research, education programs and the clinical practice.


Minnesotans that use debit cards are being warned that it could become a lot less safe to pull cash out at automated teller machines. About 95-percent of ATM machines are about to become prime targets for hackers. They all run on Windows XP and Microsoft is scrapping tech support for the operating system next month, which means the company will no longer issue updates or patch security holes. Now, banks are scrambling to update their ATM machines with new operating systems before they become prime targets for cyber crooks.