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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Activist arrested in officer assault case

MINNEAPOLIS -- An outspoken Minneapolis activist has been arrested after police say he got into an altercation with an officer.  Authorities say 55-year-old Al Flowers is accused of assaulting the officer at his home early Saturday, while a warrant was being issued for the arrest of a juvenile inside.  Both men involved suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  As recently as last week, Flowers spoke at a meeting about the rise in violence in North Minneapolis. 


An investigation is ongoing after a newborn was found dead and a teenager was left hospitalized in Southern Minnesota.  Authorities say they found the baby girl in a home in Butterfield. An injured 14-year-old girl was also discovered at the same home. She was transported to the hospital where her condition is not known.  The baby's cause of death has not been determined.  It is not yet known if the two victims were related. 


A court appearance is this morning (9am) for a man charged with shooting a teen girl multiple times in Beltrami County.  40-year-old Chad Pickering faces charges of attempted first-degree murder after authorities say he shot a 17-year-old girl three times with a 45-caliber semi-automatic pistol last Monday night as she stood on the deck of her home in Eckles Township.  The victim told authorities she talked to Pickering, a neighbor, about trespassing after he repeatedly rode his lawnmower through her yard carrying a pistol in a holder.  Authorities say Pickering gave inconsistent answers during questioning, eventually telling them the victim came to his front door and threatened him, and he later went over to the house and shot her.


Authorities are investigating after a woman was killed by a car driven by her husband.  Police say 57-year-old Diane Rawlings Meder was struck by her husband, 57-year-old David Christopher Meder, last Thursday night in Minnetonka Beach.  The victim was transported to North Memorial Medical Center where she later died from blunt force injuries. Her husband was taken into custody and faces a felony charge.  


Jurors return to St. Paul after a weekend break in former Governor Jesse Ventura's defamation trial.  After three-and-a-half days of deliberations, federal court jurors recessed for the weekend without reaching a verdict in Ventura's lawsuit against the estate of "American Sniper" author and former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.  Kyle--who was killed at a Texas gun range last year--had claimed that he punched out Ventura at a California bar in 2006 after the former governor made disparging remarks about Navy SEALs.  Ventura contends the account is a complete fabrication.  Jurors must decide if Ventura's reputation and income were hurt and, if so, the amount in damages he should receive. 


Starting August 1st, motorists who speed through a work zone and get caught will be fined $300.  The goal is increased worker safety and Kristin Kammueller with the Minnesota Department of Transportation says surveys have shown the signs that say "fines double in work zones" were not as effective and if you show motorists that it will cost them $300 if they're caught speeding in a work zone, that was more effective. Kammueller says the new law applies to work zones just about anywhere--including on county roads, city streets and on state highways.


State officials are in Baxter today (Mon 1:30-3pm) and in Eveleth Wednesday as part of a Greater Minnesota tour to let communities know about new grants to expand broadband Internet service that they can apply for.  Madeline Koch with the state Department of Employment and Economic Development says the 20-million-dollar, border-to-border program  will fund the build-out of infrastructure to promote the expansion of broadband service to unserved and under-served areas of the state.  Officials will be in the cities of Wyoming, Crookston and Owatonna in August.