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MINNNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Agreement reached on minimum wage increase

ST. PAUL - The chairman of the Minnesota DFL is pleased that the majority has reached an agreement to raise the state's minimum wage to $9.50 an hour.

Ken Martin says the legislation means 360,000 Minnesotans will receive a much-needed pay raise, and low-wage workers can begin the process of working their way out of poverty. The deal also indexes the minimum wage to the rate of inflation. 


A bill moving through the Minnesota legislature would help people exonerated of a crime regain any property seized by police during the investigation.  Republican Senator David Thompson of Lakeville has introduced legislation that would mean those not officially charged would not have to go to court to get their belongings back. The bill proposes that if charges are withdrawn and there was no admission of guilt of any kind, the property could be returned to them without that court process.


A northwest Minnesota man who has recently been convicted stealing a plane, a horse trailer, and then the horse to go with it is wanted again - and his mother has also filed a complaint with police.  19-year-old Geoffrey Biteman hasn't been in touch with his probation officer and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.  Last fall Biteman stole a Cessna stored at the small Roseau airport several times over many months, flying it to Wisconsin and North Dakota.  He was also convicted last year of the trailer and horse thefts.  Now Biteman's own mother says he stole a flat screen TV and almost $1,000 in cash from her He was sentenced to ten years of supervised probation for the earlier crimes but hasn't checked in for several weeks.


Members of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee and representatives of the 148th Air National Guard Fighter Group will be in Washington, D.C. next week to secure federal funding for a runway extension. While at the Capitol, the group will meet with U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) and Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) and Congressman Rick Nolan (DFL-Duluth), as well as FAA officials, to discuss plans for the Air Guard and Duluth International Airport infrastructure needs.  They say securing funding to lengthen the existing cross wind runway from 5700 to 8000 feet is essential for airport traffic and to support the mission of the 148th.


The Music in the Zoo Concert summer lineup for 2014 has been announced.  Among the acts performing at the Minnesota Zoo's Weesner Family Amphitheater in Apple Valley this year: the Monkees, the Indigo Girls, the Hold Steady, Lyle Lovett and Pat Benatar.  Tickets go on sale April 26th.  More shows will be announced next Monday. This is the 22nd season of music at the Minnesota Zoo.


The Minnesota State Fair announced today three grandstand performances for this year's fair. They are Tim McGraw,  who will perform in concert on Aug. 27 and Garrison Keillor, who will bring his Prairie Home Companion radio to show to the Fair on Aug. 29 after a two-year absence. McGraw has also performed at the Great Minnesota Get-Together before. The fair also announced DigiFest Minnesota, starring the vocal group Fifth Harmony and Cimorelli, will perform on Aug. 24 at the grandstand.