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Minnesota News Roundup: Wellstone Memorial Date set in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A date is now set for a memorial to honor former U-S Senator Paul Wellstone and others who died in a plane crash ten years ago. On Wednesday, November 28th in Washington, D-C, Wellstone Action and senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken will host the event remembering the victims. Wellstone, his wife and daughter, plus five others were killed October 25th, 2002, when their plane crashed near the airport in Eveleth.


Authorities have released the name of the driver killed when his van smashed head-on into a loaded cement truck. Twenty-year-old Aaron Jaunich of Delano died in the collision which caused both vehicles to erupt in flames on Highway-12 west of the Twin Cities. The other driver is expected to recover.


A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that the price of tobacco is the largest factor in reducing the number of smokers in the state. Doctor Raymond Doyle of ClearWay Minnesota says the research revealed that cigarette tax increases helped lower the smoking rate. He says a combination of smoke-free air laws, youth policies, cessation programs and tax hikes decreased Minnesota's smoking rate 29 percent from 1993 to 2011. About 16 percent of adults in the state are smokers.


There's a lot happening in Winona today as Mark Dayton is set to speak at the annual Governor's Deer Hunting Opener. Other officials including D-N-R Commissioner Tom Landwehr will be there for the events which start late this morning. Also in Winona this morning, opponents of the marriage amendment launch their statewide "vote no" tour.


Deer hunters, Superstorm Sandy volunteers, business travelers, and anyone who can't vote on Tuesday can vote absentee in-person ahead of time. The Secretary of State's office reminds Minnesotans that election offices are open today (FRI) and Monday -- plus on Saturday from ten to three. For those who aren't registered to vote, remember to bring a drivers' license, state issued I-D, or passport.


Nothing like getting the word two months late: Minnesota-based St. Jude Medical has revealed that it cut 500 jobs back in August. The heart device maker says 100 of those positions were in Minnesota. St. Jude had already made other cuts during summer in an effort to shave costs in the face of slower sales and recalls. Adding to the wait, more details on those cuts and costs won't be released until January.