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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Visitation today, Funeral tomorrow for slain officer

WEST ST. PAUL -- Visitation for slain Police Officer Scott Patrick is this afternoon (2-8pm) at Saint Stephen's Lutheran Church in West Saint Paul and funeral services are tomorrow morning (Wed 11am) also at the church.  Thousands of officers from around the state and nation are expected to join family and friends to pay their last respects.  After Officer Patrick's funeral, two processions will make their way 7.8 miles through West Saint Paul and Mendota Heights to Acacia Park Cemetery.  The first procession will include hundreds of law enforcement and public safety personnel.  The second, about a half-hour later, will consist of Mendota Heights officers and staff, Officer Patrick's family and the Officer, who will arrive at the cemetery in a horse-drawn caisson.  Officials are encouraging the public to show their support along the procession route.


A Balaton man accused of robbing and shooting a man in Granite Falls last month made his first appearance in Yellow Medicine County District Court Monday.  21-year-old Devin Hexum is charged with 2nd Degree Attempted Murder and 1st Degree Assault and is being held on one-million dollars bail. Court records say Hexum and his 19-year-old brother Derek Hexum gave 30-year-old Daniel Scheff of Granite Falls a ride in their pickup on July 18th, and later robbed him and shot him several times, then left him for dead.  Scheff was discovered by a passerby at the side of Highway 23. He was flown to Hennepin County Medical Center and told investigators what happened.  Police located Hexum's pickup on July 22nd and arrested them after a high speed chase into Lyon County.  A settlement conference was scheduled for September 8th.


Automobile sales continue to be a bright spot in the retail sector as consumers replace their aged vehicles.  Dave Brennan, professor of marketing at St. Thomas University, says it looks like nationwide sales this year will be around 15 million, compared to a peak of nearly 18 million.  He says annual vehicle sales during the Great Recession at one point dropped to nine million.  Brennan says Minnesotans are spending their money on bigger ticket items like automobiles and homes.


A St. Cloud tire company has settled a wage discrimination lawsuit. The suit filed against Royal Tire claimed that human resources director Christine Fellman-Wolf was paid significantly less then her male predecessor and below the minimum salary set by the company.  Royal Tire agreed to pay just over 182-thousand dollars and meet certain conditions, including the evaluation of their pay structure. 


Travelers wanting to use Interstate 35W South in Minneapolis this weekend should find a new route.  The road will be shut down from Highway 55 to 46th Street starting Friday night.  It will reopen Monday morning at 5:00.  The highway is closed so crews can survey the road for a construction project due to start in 2017.  Detours will be posted.    


The state Agriculture Department is offering free waste pesticide collection sites this week in several northwest Minnesota communities: this morning (9-11am) in Georgetown, this afternoon (2-4pm) in Crookston, and later this week in Clearbrook, Blackduck, Pine River and Wadena.  Ag Department spokesman Allen Sommerfeld says when there's pesticide left over after a job, people often just set it aside -- and the objective is to get those chemicals out of buildings and homes, and properly dispose of them.  For information on times and locations, visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website and search on "waste pesticide collection."


The annual Stroll for Epilepsy is Thursday (5p- 6:30 pm) in communities throughout the state.  The strolls raise money and awareness, benefitting the roughly 60-thousand people with epilepsy in Minnesota and North Dakota.  Rhea Nelson Rock knows says she knows first-hand how important it is to have support, because her five-year-old son suffers from epilepsy.  She says Nolan has had two brain surgeries and has tried several different medication combintations to help control the seizures, with very limited success.  Thursday's Strolls will be in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud and Fargo/Moorhead.  For more information, you can visit the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota's website. 


If you were planning on camping at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, park officials say they have re-opened the dock area of Oak Island.  Late last month the park closed some campsites because of bear activity. The dock was also closed to overnight use and most day-use. Since then wildlife managers say it appears that natural foods have become more abundant and bears are resuming their normal behaviors. However, the park is reminding patrons to be vigilant in making sure that no food or items that smell of food are left unattended. 


Minneapolis Police are seeking help in finding the armed robber who got into a shootout with an employee of a convenience store.  Surveillance video caught the suspect entering the Handy Stop located on the 26-hundred block of Broadway Avenue West, during the morning of July 26th.  The armed man was attempting to climb onto the counter when the clerk began to fire his own gun.  A shootout began and continued until the suspect fled the scene. 


The leading rusher for the University of Minnesota Duluth's football team is in stable condition after being stabbed in a fight.  Police say Austin Sikorski got into the altercation early Saturday on West Superior Street in Duluth.  He was stabbed in the lower right part of his stomach.  It is not known what caused the fight.  No arrests have been made but authorities say they have a person of interest.  


The names of eight priests accused of sexually abusing children in the New Ulm Archdiocese have been made public.  Victim's attorney Jeff Anderson released the names of possibly abusive priests that came out during a recent deposition of Father Francis Garvey, who was once a top church official, and Anderson says he made those names public in the interest of public safety.  All eight priests are now dead but Anderson says there could be victims who have not come forward.  New Ulm is the only Minnesota archdiocese that has not released it's internal list of credibly abused priests; those lists were gathered nationwide in 2004.

Additional information:

The priests named by Father Garvey in the deposition include:

    Fr. David Roney     Fr. Francis Markey     Fr. Vincent Fitzgerald     Fr. William Marks     Fr. Michael Skoblik     Fr. John Gleason     Fr. Douglas Schleisman     Fr. John Murphy


Xcel Energy's residential natural gas customers would see a two-dollar monthly increase on their bills starting in January 2015, if state regulators approve the utility's request.  Xcel Regional V-P Laura McCarten says the increase will help pay for investments in their gas pipeline infrastructure to improve safety and reliability of service.  Xcel says it's the first request under a 2013 Minnesota law that authorizes a separate charge on customer bills to pay for important natural gas infrastructure improvements. 


State officials say Minnesota law enforcement ticketed nearly 17-thousand drivers for speeding during a July enforcement campaign, with 14 drivers cited for going over a hundred miles an hour and one clocked at one-hundred-25.  Officers say they heard excuses ranging from "I am rushing to the vet with my sick cat" to "I have to go to the bathroom and am trying to get to a gas station."  Officials note speeding is never safe and is a contributing factor in nearly one-quarter of fatal crashes in Minnesota.  Traffic Safety Office Director Donna Berger adds the pain of a speeding ticket doesn't compare to the physical and emotional pain from a crash.