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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Cass Lake man escapes injury from car-train crash

CASS LAKE - A Cass Lake man escaped with non-life threatening injuries after his semi was struck by a train Sunday afternoon in Cass County. 

The State Patrol says 43-year-old Thomas Gregerson pulled his rig onto the tracks and was broadsided by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train.  Gregerson was taken to Sanford Health in Bemidji for treatment.  The accident report shows he was not wearing a seatbelt and the gravel road was icy at the time of the collision.  


Authorities are investigating a death at Project Turnabout in Granite Falls.  Around five Sunday morning, Yellow Medicine County Sheriff's officials received a call requesting an ambulance for an unresponsive person at the addiction/recovery center.  The individual was pronounced dead on scene.  No name is being released pending family notification.  Officials say foul play is not suspected, however, the case is under investigation. 


Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis) says Democratic supporters must come out to the polls to let Republicans know they're upset about the GOP blocking unemployment insurance benefit extensions.  Ellison also told ABC's "This Week" he is confident Democrats will hold on to the U.S. Senate in November's midterm elections, because of the Republican votes against extending unemployment, as well as last year's sequester and government shutdown.


DFL Representative Kathy Brynaert of Mankato is the latest member of the Minnesota House to announce her retirement.  Sixty-nine-year-old Brynaert revealed Sunday afternoon that she will not seek a fifth term.  Brynaert was first elected in 1996 after serving on the Mankato School Board for more than a decade.  She points to her focus on education as among the achievements that she will remember most from her eight years in office.  A DFL endorsing convention for House District 19B is scheduled for May 17th in Mankato.  Blue Earth County Republicans have not yet picked a date for their nominating convention.   


A 19-year-old Worthington man has been acquitted in the alleged rape of a 16-year-old Cobden girl last September.  A Brown County jury found Taylor Anderson not guilty of felony criminal sexual conduct and assault.  Anderson reportedly met the girl on Facebook and the two later had sexual relations at an apartment in Springfield.  Anderson's public defender argued that he was falsely portrayed as a rapist and said that a rapist and his victim wouldn't send text messages with happy faces and hearts to each other after they met.


A trial date has been set for a Morris Area High School principal charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct.  Thirty-six-year-old Craig Peterson is accused of assaulting a female acquaintance at his home back in December.  His week long trial is set to begin August 11th.  Peterson has been on paid administrative leave from his position since December 23rd.


A Mille Lacs County sheriff's deputy is looking at more than 30-years-behind bars for sexually abusing kids.  Aaron Heuer originally pleaded not guilty to touching the kids but he changed his plea last week.  He admitted that he touched four young boys between the ages of eight and ten at a camp in Henning, Minnesota back in 2009.  He also told a judge he had the boys touch him in a sexual manner.  Heuer was serving as a fishing guide when the incidents occurred.


Schools across Minnesota and nationwide are under the microscope, after the U.S. Department of Education complied civil rights data from all of the nation's 97,000 public schools and painted a troubling portrait. The report reveals that discipline for young men and boys of color are disproportionately affected by suspensions and zero-tolerance policies. Suspended students are less likely to graduate on time and more likely to be suspended again; the report shows they are also more likely to repeat a grade, drop out, and become involved in the juvenile justice system.


COPD is an irreversible limitation of airflow into the lungs, usually caused by smoking, and a new Mayo Clinic study shows that it can impact more than just a patient's lungs.  The preventable illness is also associated with increased risk for mild cognitive impairment.  Dr. Michelle Mielke says they followed more than 1,400 patients in the Rochester area and the risk of cognitive impairment in COPD patients was increased by about 83 percent.  It affected attention, planning, and judgment more often than memory.  The greatest risk was among patients who had COPD for more than five years.