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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Entenza to run against Otto in State Auditor DFL primary

ST. PAUL - The unified ticket DFLers are touting coming out of their state convention in Duluth is fraying a bit.  Former Minnesota State House Speaker Matt Entenza has filed papers to challenge incumbent State Auditor Rebecca Otto in the August 12th primary. 

Party Chairman Ken Martin says Entenza's last-minute filing "is an insult to the hard-working DFLers he has to win over." He says the DFL takes the endorsement of its candidates seriously and will put the full weight of its resources behind Auditor Otto's candidacy.  Entenza lost the 2010 DFL primary for Minnesota governor to Mark Dayton, finishing third with just 18 percent of the vote.


U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) is among lawmakers getting a classified briefing today (Wed) on the controversial deal that freed five dangerous Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for POW Bowe Bergdahl.  Franken says in the past the U.S. has always tried to get its people back, and Bergdahl has been in captivity for a long time.  Less than 48 hours after President Obama announced Bergdahl would be coming home, Republicans lambasted him, saying he abused his power and negotiated with terrorists.  The outcry has only grown louder in the days since, on both sides of the aisle.


U.S. Senator  Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) was in a hearing today in Washington D.C. on a bill that would make stalking apps for smartphones illegal.  Franken says in St. Louis County, a domestic violence victim went to get help at a local shelter when her abuser texted -- asking why she was there.  Franken says she was terrified and went to the local courthouse to get a restraining order -- and received a text message there asking if she was at the courthouse to get a restraining order.  Franken says three-fourths of domestic violence advocates have reports from victims about stalking apps. 


A Fridley man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for transporting a minor to engage in prostitution.  Twenty-eight-year-old Napoleon Long Junior pleaded guilty last July.  Long admitted that he transported a 17-year-old girl from Minnesota to Colorado in October 2011 with the intent that she engage in prostitution.  Long also admitted that the girl engaged in at least one sexual act in Colorado and a pattern of sexual activity while working as a prostitute for him. 


Most Minnesotans remember hearing about the birds and the bees from their parents, but these days the Internet is causing that conversation to happen sooner. A new study from AVG Technologies shows parents believe the Internet exposes kids to adult themes - like sex, drugs, violence and porn - at an increasingly younger age, and that has influenced when parents decide to have their first adult-talk with their children.  AVG's Judith Bitterli says the majority of parents will sit down with their kids about five years sooner than in previous generations. She says seven out of ten parents plan to have "The Talk" by the time their children are only eleven years of age.  The research also shows that parents overwhelmingly feel they bear the responsibility - more so than schools, teachers, search engines, the government, etc. - for making the Internet safer for children.


Backers say new carbon-emission standards for power plants unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will do more than just clear the air.  Leaders from various sectors say the rules will create jobs, save Minnesotans money, and help preserve the Great Lakes way of life.  Brian Kozminski of Trout Unlimited is a lifelong fisherman who says he has seen the impact of carbon pollution on wildlife as many smaller streams have dried up or fish died off.  He stresses that the value of preserving the outdoor legacy of the Great Lakes States cannot be underestimated.  The rules direct states to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants 30 percent by 2030, using emissions from 2005 as a baseline.


Two-time Grammy Award winner Melissa Etheridge is headlining the second-annual Skyline Music Festival at Target Field.  The August 9th concert at the Twins outdoor ballpark also features O.A.R, The Rembrandts, Gear Daddies and the Honeydogs.  The stage will be set up near third base in an amphitheatre-style configuration, giving fans a close-up view of performers and the downtown Minneapolis skyline.  Tickets go on sale next Wednesday June 11th at 10a-m.  Prices range from $29 to $79.  The inaugural festival last year featured Soul Asylum, Big Head Todd, Matthew Sweet and Gear Daddies. 


Two DNR "trail ambassadors" are being praised by two Iowa women who got lost on the Paul Bunyan Trail near Walker on Memorial Day.  Sisters Donna Boos and Michelle Ertz of Dubuque say they made the rookie mistake of hiking without water or a cell phone.  They were lost for about five hours and were nearly eight miles from their cabin on Leech Lake when rescued by Bob Metzer and his niece Charlene.  The Metzers are volunteers trained to promote safe, environmentally responsible operation of off-highway vehicles (OHVs), but DNR conservation officer Paul Kuske says trail ambassadors are also a "second set of eyes" in an emergency situation.  Char Metzer says Boos and Ertz were dehydrated, full of wood ticks and very scared --  and very glad to see their rescuers. 


Nearly 90 Minnesota National Guard members from a Litchfield-based unit return home Tuesday from Afghanistan.  A welcome home ceremony for members of the 8-49th Mobility Augmentation Company was held at the Litchfield Civic Center.  Captain Matt Jukkala says the company conducted route clearance for Afghan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Forces - and detected or destroyed nine improvised explosive devices.  The 8-49th also performed 72 hours of continous operations at a voter polling site during the 2014 Afghan presidential elections.