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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: State Patrol reporting difficult driving conditions in central Minnesota

ST. CLOUD, Minn. --  The Minnesota State Patrol is reporting difficult travel conditions in central Minnesota. 

Sgt. Jesse Grabow says the roads are snow and ice covered from Alexandria to St. Cloud and areas in between.  There have been several crashes reported, including one rollover that injured three people.  There are also several reports of spinouts and vehicles in the ditch.  For the latest road conditions go to


The State Patrol has identified two people killed in separate crashes Monday morning.  Troopers say 43-year-old Charlan Kaml of Kimball died after his car crossed the centerline on Highway 15 near Winthrop and collided head-on with a pickup.  The truck driver suffered non-life threatening injuries.  In the other crash, 78-year-old Harvey Chupp of Eden Valley was killed when he lost control of his pickup on Highway 55 and rolled in the south ditch.  The victims in both crashes were not wearing seatbelts.  Monday's freezing rain and sleet contributed to more than a hundred crashes across Minnesota.


State transportation officials are touting the benefits of the living snow fence program.  Seventeen Minnesota farmers left six to 12 rows of their corn standing this winter to protect roadways from drifting snow.  MnDOT's Dan Gullickson says a recent U of M study found that a quarter-mile long standing corn row contained 12-thousand tons of snow. MnDOT estimates the cost for plows to push back drifts along one road without standing corn rows is more than $3,700.  Gullickson says they reimburse farmers for participating in the program, and could have used many more this winter. 


A Lakeville college student is fighting for his life in a Twin Cities hospital after being pulled from a burning house in Grand Forks, North Dakota over the weekend.  Twenty-one-year-old UND student Matt Heisler was rescued when his roommate, 21-year-old Ryan Nelson, arrived home after work at 3:00 a.m. and noticed smoke.  Matt's Caringbridge page says Nelson first threw a brick through a bedroom window and tried to locate him but could not.  After going back in through the front door, Nelson eventually found Heisler and dragged him outside before starting CPR.  Nelson was treated for smoke inhalation and released.  Heisler was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center.  The fire was started by food left cooking on the stove. 


The Minnesota State Senate tax committee debated today Minnesota's Small Business Investment Tax Credit, commonly called the Angel Tax Credit.  It began in the summer of 2010, and was designed to encourage early stage investment in technology-based businesses in the state.  Republican Senator Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen points out the credit is equally available to companies in both the metro and outstate areas of Minnesota.  DFL State Senator John Marty of Roseville says the program benefits very few and takes tax dollars away from programs that would benefit many. Current legislation provides a 25-percent credit, up to $125,000 per person, per year to investors that put money into startup companies focused on high technology or new proprietary technology.  The bill would extend the credit and expand it to other qualified greater Minnesota businesses and minority or women-owned qualified small businesses.


A pit bull who saved the life of a young boy is the recipient of Brooklyn Park's "Good Canine Award." Mayor Jeffrey Lund honored the efforts of Tatortot at Monday night's meeting.  Last October, the dog woke up the parents of four-year-old Peyton Anderson when the boy's glucose levels dropped dangerously low and he was nearly unconscious.  Peyton's mother was awakened by Tatortot's whining and barking and was able to get her son to the emergency room right away. The proclamation read by Mayor Lund said "Tatortot is helping to give pit bulls a positive reputation, he has shown that anyone or any dog can be a hero by saving his best friend's life."