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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Sixth child dies from flu in Minnesota

ST. PAUL -  The latest weekly report shows a sixth child has died from the flu this season in Minnesota. 

Over the last reporting week, 13 people were hospitalized, down 29 from the week before.  There were eight school outbreaks and only one in the state's nursing homes.  More than three-thousand people have been hospitalized so far this season, double the number of people last season.  The good news, it appears the worst of the flu-season is behind us.  Flu activity across the state has been categorized as local.

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A strain of avian influenza (H5N2) that's deadly to poultry has devastated a flock of 15,000 turkeys in Pope County just south of Alexandria.  Bethany Hahn with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health says the flock has been quarantined and the remaining birds are being killed.  She says there is absolutely no food safety concern whatsoever. And, Hahn says wild waterfowl are carriers of the virus and often don't get sick or die from it. The state's turkey farns are now under surveillance. This is the first finding of this strain in the Mississippi flyway. 

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Two people are dead following a head-on crash in Carlton County late Thursday night.  The drivers of both a pickup truck and SUV were killed in the crash on Highway 33 near Cloquet.  It appears that 49-year-old Mark Laine of Saginaw crossed the center line and collided head on with the SUV driven by 54-year-old Fay Dahlman of Alborn.  No word yet on what may have caused Laine to cross the center line, or if alcohol was involved.

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Former President Jimmy Carter was in Minnesota today.  He spoke to a group of students at Augsburg College before moderating a discussion on human rights at a Nobel Peace Prize forum in downtown Minneapolis. Carter, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, was introduced by his former Vice President, Walter Mondale. 

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After a five week battle, the votes are in and Grand Marais has been named the winner of the Budget Travel Magazine "Coolest Small Town Contest." Supporters of Grand Marais amassed 30 percent of the vote for the Cook County town on the northshore of Lake Superior. Second place went to Chincoteague, Virginia in the 10th annual contest.

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