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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Gov. Dayton has strong words for diversion project

ST. PAUL --  Strong words from Governor Mark Dayton regarding the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Project.

In a written statement, Dayton says "flood relief which would greatly benefit North Dakota, and would damage property in Minnesota, is unacceptable." The governor says if the Diversion Authority sincerely desires a cooperative relationship with the state of Minnesota, it needs to reform its current practices.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources(DNR) is attempting to join with the Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority to stop ring dike work in the Oxbow-Hickson area.  The DNR says an environmental impact statement is needed in order to be in compliance with state law.


The lawyer for a man suing the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Winona for not protecting children from sexually abusive priests will release the names of New Ulm priests accused of sexual misconduct.  A hearing concerning a requested change of venue took place this morning and attorney Jeff Anderson says his office will release a transcript of the deposition of Father Francis Garvey, a priest and former top official of the Diocese of New Ulm who has apparently identified Diocese of New Ulm priests accused of sexual misconduct.  Archbishop John Nienstedt has denied any knowledge of abusive priests during his tenure as Bishop of New Ulm.


The man accused of shooting a Mendota Heights police officer last week has quite a criminal past.  According to court records, Brian Fitch Sr. has been convicted of a number of crimes including burglary, assault and terroristic threats.  He is currently facing 12 different charges in Ramsey and Dakota counties in connection with the shooting death of Officer Scott Patrick.  Patrick was shot during a traffic stop last Wednesday in West St. Paul.  Fitch was arrested the same day following an extensive manhunt.


A three-vehicle crash Saturday in Monroe County has taken the life of one man and left three others injured.  The Sheriff's Department says 77-year-old Roger L. Beyer was heading west of Highway 21 near the town of Byron.  His vehicle crossed the center line hitting one SUV head one and causing another to enter a ditch.  Beyer was pronounced dead at the scene.  Three others involved in the crash were taken to the hospital including a ten-year-old child who was left in critical condition.  


Authorities are searching for the suspect who hit two bicyclists with his car Saturday and fled the scene.  Police say 37-year-old E. Xiong and 35-year-old Mai D. Yang were biking along Highway 36 in Oak Park Heights when the reported incident happened.  Both were taken to the hospital where Yang was in critical condition.    


A Minneapolis-based non-profit group is doing its part in the fight against the Ebola epidemic.  One Village Partners says they are taking measures to make sure the area where they have worked in Sierra Leone the past 12 years remains safe from the deadly disease.  Around seven-thousand people live in that region.    


The coast-to-coast challenge along Interstates 90 and 94 intended to reduce the number of fatalities on two of the most heavily traveled interstates made it through the first 64 hours without a death.  The goal of the 15-state challenge a death-free weekend on those interstates, and police have increased patrols on more than 5,600 miles of road from Massachusetts to Washington.  Minnesota State Patrol says that over the same August weekend in the past three years the highways have averaged 524 total crashes, 136 crashes with injuries, 56 crashes involving a large truck or bus, 10 alcohol-related crashes and three crashes with fatalities.  Police officials across the country have been posting on Twitter using the hashtag #9094Challenge as they encourage motorists to drive sober, avoid distraction, and wear their seat belts.


Paul McCartney is getting a little something back as he tours the U.S. on his "Out There" trek.  In honor of his performance last Saturday at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed August 2nd, 2014 "Sir Paul McCartney Day" throughout the state.  Nearly 44,000 fans snatched up tickets to the sold-out show, which featured the rock legend delivering nearly three hours of classic Beatles, Wings and solo hits.  The concert was McCartney's first in the Twin Cities since 2004.  The rock legend made his concert debut in Minneapolis nearly 50 years ago, performing at Met Stadium with The Beatles back in 1965.