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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Andersen Windows planning $18-Million-dollar expansion, create 100 jobs

BAY PORT, Minn.   --  Andersen Windows is planning an $18-million expansion of its manufacturing facility along the St. Croix River in Bayport. 

The project is expected to create 100 full-time jobs with average pay of 19 dollars an hour including benefits.  The state Department of Employment and Economic Development will award Andersen 625-thousand dollars from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund if the company meets its performance goals.  State officials say the program is helping the state compete for new jobs and businesses. 


The medical marijuana bill has its third Senate hearing this afternoon but the measure has stalled in the Minnesota House.  There's been no action since it cleared the Health and Human Services committee last month.  Rep. Shannon Savick of Wells says she'd support the legalization of marijuana for seriously ill Minnesotans.  She says "what I wouldn't want is legalizing all marijuana."  Savick says her son was addicted to marijuana after high school and it changed his personality.  Supporters say they have the votes in the Senate and House to pass the medical marijuana bill. 


The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee heard more about a Minnesota lawmaker's proposal that is meant to foster better collaboration between the criminal justice and mental health systems.  U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) says it would benefit the mentally ill by helping them get the treatment they so desperately need after they've committed a nonviolent crime.  He says we have a lot of people languishing in our prisons and in jails who are not violent but who have committed some crime because they are mentally ill.  The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act would give law enforcement, courts, and correctional facilities more resources to better deal with the mental health issues they encounter.  Hennepin County Judge Jay Quam testified about alternatives to jail that would give people with mental illness the help they need.


The American Lung Association is out with their annual State of the Air Report.  Three counties' scores for ozone pollution went down one grade from last year's report:  Anoka County was given a "C" grade and Carlton and Scott counties both earned "B" grades for weather-related ozone pollution.  Spokesman Bob Moffitt says a couple of Minnesota cities ranked very high: Duluth made the list for the 8th cleanest city in the country for long-term particulate pollution while Austin and Rochester were cited for not having any ozone alerts at all over the three-year period looked at.  Another bright note, six counties saw a one grade improvement in particulate pollution: Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, and Scott counties all earned a "B" grade.


Police in Minneapolis are investigating a suspicious death in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.  Officers responded to a report of a man down around 2:45 a.m and found the body of an adult male.  The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office will identify the victim and determine the nature and cause of death.  Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Minneapolis Police Department.