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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: 80-year-old man survives grain bin entrapment

LEWISTON, Minn. -- An 80-year-old southeastern Minnesota man survived being trapped for several hours in a corn bin.  Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand says rescuers tied a rope around John Daley of Lewiston to keep him from sinking deeper into the bin, and he was conscious and talking.  The corn was pumped out of the bin to free Daley and he was taken to a Winona Hospital and is expected to recover.  Purdue University researchers say the fatality rate for those engulfed in grain as Daley was is at about 62 percent.


A Minnesota U-S Congresswoman has introduced a resolution calling on the government to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority.  Representative Michele Bachmann says U.S. law states unequivocally that the United States cannot give foreign assistance to a government influenced by Hamas - a designated foreign terrorist organization. Bachmann says Hama has American blood on its hands and is also a direct threat to Israel, our nation's closest ally in the Middle East, and it's, "foolish to compromise America's national security interests, and that of our allies, by appeasing and funding our enemies." Bachmann is calling on all aid to be suspended until and unless the Palestinian Authority dissolves its relationship with Hamas. 


Legislation is now before Congress to prevent the Customs and Immigration Service office in Bloomington from moving.  A 14-million dollar contract has been signed by the General Services Administration to move the office from its location near the Mall of America to a building eleven miles away.  Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken along with Congressman Keith Ellison argue the new location is inaccessible for many who need it because it's too far from public transportation.  


All of the recent rainfall has caused some areas of high water and road closures in the Blackduck and Shooks areas of Beltrami County.  Officials say water is nearly over the road on Highway 72 six miles north of Blackduck and on Hornet Road just north of Highway 71 in Hornet Township -- and drivers should be extremely careful in those areas.  Willow Creeks Road in Shooks Township is closed about 2 1/2 miles north of Highway 1 because of water washing over the road.


 Four suspects in a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking organization were arrested in Beltrami County earlier this week.  Over the past year Sheriff Phil Hodapp says investigators collected evidence of a sophisticated drug smuggling and distribution ring in the Bemidji area involving several other states and large quantities of meth sold in Northwest Minnesota. Narcotics agents conducted several search warrants and arrested 54-year-old Philip Gurzi of Puposky, 44-year-old Tamara Halverson of Puposky,46-year-old Shawn Jackson of Bemidji, and 56-year-old Raymond Nibbe Jr.  Hodapp says a large amount of cash, vehicles and other evidence was seized.


 The massive credit and debit card data breach at Target last year is impacting more than just the Minneapolis-based retailer's bottom line.  Across the state line, South Dakota Public Broadcasting is having problems with its monthly donations because of the number of cards that had to be canceled.  According to SDPB officials, they are losing up to 15-hundred dollars in pledged donations a month because their small staff is struggling to get the card information updated for donors with recurring monthly credit card payments.


Some Twin Cities public transportation users are in for a bumpy commute.  Officials with Metro Transit say Northstar trains will not operate today, after an early-morning freight train derailment between Ramsey and Elk River has prevented the passage of all rail traffic through that area.  Northstar will have to drive or find other means of travel today; a transit spokesman says limited replacement bus service will be available but those buses do not have the capacity of the trains.  Trips by bus will take significantly longer and will not run on a regular schedule. Metro Transit and BNSF personnel will be at station platforms to notify customers that train service has been suspended and to help commuters.  Updates about weekend Northstar service will be made this afternoon.


The latest drug abuse report shows heroin-related problems maintained a stronghold in the Twin Cities and across the state in 2013.  State drug expert Carol Falkowski says seizures of heroin by law enforcement increased 200 percent from 2012 to 2013.  Falkowski says a record-high 14 percent of admissions to metro area addiction treatment programs were for heroin last year.  Among those individuals, just over 40-percent were between the ages of 18 and 25.  She says another upward trend was the use of methamphetamine and deaths due to synthetic drugs.


An 83-year-old inmate recently questioned about the 1989 disappearance of Jacob Wetterling has died.  Delbert Huber was imprisoned for killing a Minnesota teacher in 2011, after a property dispute and was serving a 30 year sentence in the Faribault state prison.  Huber's son Timothy is also imprisoned on a second degree murder conviction in the shooting death of 43-year-old Timothy Larson of Albertville.  Officials will not confirm the cause of Delbert Huber's death but say foul play is not suspected.  Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner confirms that he was one of several of people investigators spoke with recently about the Wetterling abduction, as part of an investigation into similar cases that took place in Paynesville near the time of Jacob's disappearance.


The Minnesota Republican Party's candidate for state Supreme Court was arrested for suspected drunken driving last year and a trial is set for this fall, according to a report in the Star Tribune.  52-year-old Michelle MacDonald, who's an attorney, maintains she was not drinking the night she was pulled over in Rosemount.  Police say MacDonald refused a field sobriety test and did not take other tests that could have determined her blood alcohol level.  State G-O-P Chairman Keith Downey says he didn't know about MacDonald's arrest until a reporter contacted him.  Downey says MacDonald is innocent until proven guilty, but convention delegates did not get the full disclosure they should have.  Downey wouldn't say whether the party would ask MacDonald to withdraw from the race for Supreme Court.


 An administrative law judge says a proposed upgrade of the Alberta Clipper crude-oil pipeline across northern Minnesota is needed to assure steady supplies of petroleum.  The Star Tribune reports Administrative Law Judge Eric Lipman backed Enbridge Energy's 160-million-dollar plan over objections of climate activists who warn it will increase greenhouse gas emissions. Lipman's findings now go to the state Public Utilities Commission which has the final say in Minnesota.  The pipeline runs from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin.


 Two-hundred-60 of America's newest citizens will be welcomed during three citizenship and naturalization ceremonies in Minnesota.  This morning (Fri 10am), 135 immigrants will be sworn in as U-S citizens at an outdoor ceremony on St. Paul's Harriet Island.  Congresswoman Betty McCollum is scheduled to speak.  U-S Citizenship and Immigration Services will recognize 60 teenagers Saturday morning at Mall of America who were adopted by American parents or derived citizenship when their immigrant parents naturalized.  Also Saturday at M-O-A, 65 adults will take the Oath of Allegiance and be sworn in as new citizens.  All 260 are residents of Minnesota.


Crews are spraying about 12-hundred acres in West Duluth from the air this morning (5am-10am) with a naturally-occurring bacteria called B-t-k, to control the spread of invasive gypsy moths that have been working their way down the North Shore.  The state Ag Department's Kimberly Thielen Cremers says they're able to identify a relatively small area where gypsy moths are starting to get a foothold.  The aerial application is the first of the season and a follow-up will happen in 5 to 10 days.  Gypsy moths defoliate over 300 species of trees and have been moving westward for decades.