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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Flags to fly at half staff in honor of Officer Scott Patrick

WEST ST. PAUL -- Flags are flying at half-staff today (Wed) on all buildings in Minnesota in honor and rememberance of Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick.  Forty-seven-year-old Patrick was shot and killed during a traffic stop last Wednesday in West St.Paul.  The state of Minnesota is recognizing Officer Patrick for his dedicated service to and sacrifice for his fellow citizens with its deepest gratitude, and all thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and entire community.  Patrick was a 19-year veteran of the Mendota Heights Police Department and leaves behind a wife and two teenage children. Up to five-thousand people are expected for today's funeral services.  


A former Minnesota State-Mankato football player who was badly beaten in May has reached two major milestones in his recovery at a Twin Cities rehabilitation center.  According to a post on Isaac Kolstad's Caring Bridge website he began talking and eating this week.  Kolstad continues to work with a speech therapist who is helping to make his speech more understandable.  Kolstad has dysphagia, much like that of a stroke victim.  A swallow study also conducted showed Kolstad's swallowing is intact but his chewing abilities are still behind.  Former University of Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson of Mankato is accused of kicking Kolstad after another suspect, Trevor Shelley of St. Peter, allegedly gave him a knock-out punch to the face. 


A man charged in the death of his cousin more than two years ago is expected to plead guilty to a reduced charge in Fergus Falls tomorrow.(thurs) The jury trial for Michael Kyle Burris has been canceled as lawyers work on a plea deal.  He's expected to plead guilty to helping his father move the body of Scott Burris in what's been described as a murder over a drug debt.  He'd be sentenced to just over six years in prison.  Burris' father, Michael Allen Burris, is awaiting trial for the murder of his nephew.


A Dilworth man has been sentenced for his part in the murder of a Fargo man last March.  47-year-old Arlen Clapper pleaded guilty in a deal worked out between the Cass County State's Attorneys Office and Clapper's lawyer.  The judge sentenced Clapper to 10 years in prison with one suspended Clapper's son and daughter were also charged in connection with the death of 26 year-old Rolandas House in the parking lot of a south Fargo grocery store.  Wade Garrett of Fargo pleaded guilty shortly after the killing to stabbing House to death.  He was given a 25-year prison sentence.  Police and prosecutors say House was killed in a dispute over drug money.


A former police officer in Wisconsin is facing a first degree homicide charge in the death of an Oregon teen whose body was found in a suitcase.  Steven Zelich's attorney, Jonathan Smith, says there's no certainty his client had an intent to kill.  Steven Zelich is facing charges for the death of 19-year-old Jenny Gamez of Oregon, but no charges have been filed for the death of 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Minnesota, who he is also suspected of killing.  Kenosha District Attorney Robert Zapf believes Steven Zelich meant to kill the two women.  The two women's bodies were found in suitcases in early-June.  According to police, he met both women on bondage websites and says they both died of erotic asphyxiation during sex.


Candidates for U-S House debate this afternoon (115pm) at Farmfest in Redwood Falls.  (Republican challenger Torrey Westrom faces off against incumbent Democrat Collin Peterson in the highly-publicized 7th District race on Minnesota's western border.  The candidates from the 1st Congressional District in southern Minnesota will also be at Farmfest, with incumbent Democrat Tim Walz debating two Republicans -- Aaron Miller, the party-endorsed candidate, and Jim Hagedorn, who's challenging him in next week's primary.  Candidates from the 6th District in central Minnesota will also debate at Farmfest: Republican-endorsed Tom Emmer and GOP rival Rhonda Sivarajah, plus Democrat Joe Perske and Independence candidate John Denney.  8th District Congressman Rick Nolan will also be at the Farmfest debate, but not Republican opponent Stewart Mills; likewise 2nd District Democratic candidate Mike Obermueller but not incumbent Republican John Kline.