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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Target stores crippled by checkout problems

MINNEAPOLIS -- A technical glitch at Target cash registers nationwide turned into a trending topic on Twitter and left the Minneapolis-based retailer apologizing and offering discounts.  Customers were waiting in long lines due to delays caused by problems processing Target Cards.  In some stores, managers and cashiers gave customers a five-percent discount, while others offered free drinks at Starbucks.  The company issued a statement just after 11 p.m. noting the problem has been fixed and apologizing to anyone affected.


Three men are injured and another man is in custody accused of stabbing them at a Mankato Bar Saturday night.  Officers received an assault call and arrived to find the suspect had fled.  He was later found and taken into custody.  The three victims suffered stab wounds. One was treated at the scene, the other two were taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening wounds.  The 26-year-old suspect remains in the Blue Earth County jail.  


Minneapolis-based Medtronic is getting bigger.  The medical device company is purchasing Covidien for 42-point-nine billion dollars in cash and stock.  The "Boston Globe" reports the buyout is one of the largest takeovers ever of a Massachusetts-based company.  While Covidien has its corporate headquarters in Massachusetts, it's incorporated in Ireland to take advantage of considerably lower corporate tax rates.


State officials are nearly finished contacting taxpayers affected by tax law changes the legislature approved in March.  Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans (FRANZ) says credits have been issued where possible and they've requested more information from some taxpayers.  Frans says those affected should hear from the Revenue Department by June 27th.  Frans says taxpayers should be aware that tax law changes could also affect information they enter on their Property Tax Refund form.


The average Minnesota customer will have to budget more for electricity if the latest proposed rate hike from Xcel Energy is approved. Consumer groups say the increase is too high and will hit hardest for those who can least afford it.  AARP Minnesota Director Will Phillips is urging customers to voice their opinion to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.  If Xcel Energy's latest rate hike request is approved, the average customer would pay roughly $123 more a year by 2016.


The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed new rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants brought swift reaction. Environmentalists applauded the move, while business interests said the new rules will bring about higher energy costs. Veteran sportsman and outdoorsman John Gale, manager of the National Wildlife Federation's Sportsmen's Outreach Campaign, says people like him are among the first to see the effects of climate change. Power plants are the source of 40 percent of carbon emissions in America, according to the EPA. 


Duluth is the best outdoors town in the country.  Voting in Outside magazine's annual "Best outdoors town"competition came to an end late last (Sun) night, and Duluth cruised to an easy victory over Provo, Utah.  Duluth will be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine - and the city also will be able to use the title to promote itself to prospective visitors, residents and businesses.  The city previously was featured in Outside's Best Towns list in 2007, and was on the magazine's list of Dream Towns in 2001. 


Minneapolis is *not* among the top ten cities in the U-S for L-G-B-T residents, according to a new survey by the global media organization Vocativ (VAH'-cuh-tiv).  The group's "Queer Index" ranks L-A the top city in the U-S for LGBTs, followed predictably by New York and San Francisco -- and, surprise, in the number-four spot is Des Moines, Iowa.  Minneapolis doesn't show up until number 20, although the City of Lakes did rank second in the nation for having a low number of anti-LGBT groups and number 13 for number of Pride events.  The index considers, among a number of other factors, size of cities' LGBT communities, number of "out" singles, gay-friendly businesses and even ease of casual hookups.