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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: North Dakota County official charged with assault in Minnesota

MOORHEAD -- Domestic assault charges have been filed in Minnesota against a North Dakota county official. A Moorhead police report say an assault took place earlier this month at Cass County Administrator Ketih Berndt's south Moorhead home. The alleged victim is a teenage boy. Lt. Tory Jacobson says police were first contacted by a mandated reporter at a Moorhead school. Berndt is charged with two counts of fifth-degree domestic assault. He has not been arrested, or taken into custody. Berndt was Cass County engineer for 19 years before he became county administrator. A court appearance is scheduled for March 25th. Defense attorney Lisa Borgen says Berndt learned about the charges when he received a ticket in the mail. She says Berndt plans to plead "not guilty" because an assault never occurred.


There was not an empty seat in the auditorium at South Central College in North Mankato Wednesday as farmers met with U.S. lawmakers to discuss the new Farm Bill. One audience member asked how we can reduce the federal debt. Senator Amy Klobuchar said groups that refuse to compromise hurt the economy which makes the debt problem worse, not better. Even so, trillions of dollars in cuts have been made which moves us in the right direction. Klobuchar says we need to take a balanced approach, cutting spending, increasing revenues, and closing some loopholes such as the subsidies to the oil industry which is among the most profitable in the nation.


The Minnesota Restaurant Association is proposing a tipped employee tier for hospitality workers as lawmakers debate a minimum wage increase this session. It leaves the state's minimum wage at 7-25 for employees who make 12 dollars or more an hour with tips. Executive V-P Dan McElroy says they're also concerned about younger workers. He says there should be a lower wage for 16 and 17 year olds than for older workers, heavily supported by the facts. The unemployment rate for all Minnesotans is about four-and-a-half percent and for young workers is about 11 percent. McElroy claims a large minimum wage hike would impact the ability of young people to land that first job where they learn to work. They also oppose any increase in the state's minimum wage that is tied to inflation.


The winning Powerball Ticket worth 425 million dollars was not sold in Minnesota. Lottery officials say the winning ticket was sold at a convenience store about 10 miles north of San Jose, California. The winning numbers drawn Wednesday were: 1, 17, 35, 49, 54 and a Powerball of 34. The jackpot is estimated at $425.3 million, with a cash pay-out option of $242.2 million.


People in Fergus Falls will have an easier and cheaper way to travel to Fargo. Transit Alternative will add a route from Fergus Falls to Fargo beginning Monday, picking up people at 6:00 in the morning. Mn-DOT approved funding for the additional route, giving it a year to gain ridership. The transit system already has a bus that travels from Detroit Lakes to Fargo. The route is $5 one way or $10 round trip with stops in Rothsay, Barnsville and Sabin along the way.


Up to 100-thousand Minnesota State Grant recipients can expect a modest increase in their grant award next fall. New projections from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education include an additional 17-point-six million dollars in funding for the program. Thousands of low and moderate-income students are in line for a one-time bump of up to 200-dollars.


St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is urging the St. Paul Federation of Teachers and the school district to come to an agreement as soon as possible on a new contract. In a letter sent Wednesday to both Superintendent Valeria Silva and union President Mary Cathryn Ricker, Coleman noted there has been a long history of "peaceful labor relations" in the city. A 12-hour bargaining session is planned for today. Teachers will hold a strike authorization vote on Monday.


The details are scarce, but Minneapolis Police say a man was found shot to death this (Thu) morning in his home on North Hillside Avenue. Investigators do not believe the shooting was random, but have not yet made an arrest. The body has been sent to the medical examiner for autopsy.