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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Nicollet Schools briefly locked down after shotgun cartridge found

NICOLLET, Minn.  --  There was a brief lockdown Tuesday morning at Nicollet Public Schools.  Superintendent Jack Eustice says the emergency plan was activated after students found a shotgun cartridge in a boys' locker room. 

Authorities determined there was no threat to students and staff, and the lockdown was lifted in less than 30 minutes.  Parents were notified.  Eustice says despite the brief scare, it's always best that if you see something, say something.


Two adults and three juveniles are charged in Washington County in connection with the drug overdose death of a 17-year-old Woodbury girl  Alexander Clausen and Cole Matenaer, both 19, are charged --  along with Sydney Johnson, Alistair Berg and Brian Norlander, all 17.  Police say a synthetic drug identified as 25i-NBOMe, a schedule-one controlled substance, was distributed and passed around the five suspects before the victim ingested it in January 2014.  The girl was rushed to Regions Hospital where she was pronounced dead.    


After a long cold winter and a wet spring there was finally big progress for Minnesota soybean planting this past week.  USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey says many producers spent the long holiday weekend not relaxing, but getting their bean seeds in the ground.  While only 16 percent of the crop had been planted in Minnesota before the Memorial Day weekend, Rippey says farmers in the state were able to get that number up significantly to 49 percent overall.  Eighty-one percent of Minnesota's expected corn acreage has been planted. That's a jump of 28 percent over last week, but 11 points behind the five-year average.


Minnesota is cementing its role as a leader in the biodiesel industry by becoming the first state to move to a 10 percent biodiesel blend (B10) in its diesel fuel supply.  Beginning July 1, diesel fuel sold in Minnesota will contain a B10 blend during the summer months. President of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Vesta farmer George Goblish says the move shows that "common sense is still alive and well" and that state lawmakers voted for what was good for Minnesota.  The bill passed in 2008 and was originally to be implemented in 2013, but the start was pushed back by a year so adequate blending infrastructure could be put in place.  Legislation brought forward during the recent Minnesota legislative session attempted to derail the bill but was unsuccessful. B10 will be available at the pump from April through September. Supplies will revert to a B5 blend the rest of the year.


The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the U.S. House last week includes a Minnesota lawmaker's provision that more closely monitors money the U.S. is spending in Afghanistan.  Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan (DFL-Duluth) says since 2002, the U.S. government has spent more than 100 billion dollars on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Special Inspector General cannot account for about $60 billion of it.  Nolan's amendment prohibits construction of any projects in Afghanistan over $500,000 unless the U.S. government con conduct proper audits, inspection, and oversight.  Nolan adds the area of Afghanistan in which U.S. personnel can travel and operate safely has dwindled from 68 percent in 2009 to just 21 percent today.  He says many of the $79 billion in new projects would be in regions where monitoring is impossible -- so billions of dollars should be saved because of his amendment.


A lake in northeastern Minnesota has been designated as infested by the Department of Natural Resources.  Zebra mussels were discovered on an aluminum can in Crooked Lake by biologists from the Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa as they were conducting fisheries assessments.  Additional searches are scheduled for connected downstream waters to determine the scope of the infestation.  Signs will be posted at the lake's public accesses to alert recreationists of the infestation. 


The Minnesota State Fair is adding two more nights of entertaiment to the 2014 Grandstand Concert Series.  The "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin is scheduled to perform Friday August 22nd.  The 72-year-old made her first record at age 14 and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Aretha's last show in Minnesota was October 2011 at Mystic Lake.  The State Fair is also bringing back MN Music-On-A-Stick on August 30th featuring Brother Ali, Doomtree and former Husker Du frontman Bob Mould.  Tickets for both shows go on sale Saturday May 31st.(