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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Bird flu prompts Minnesota turkey ban in 40 countries

About 40 countries have banned poultry imports from Minnesota after last week's discovery of avian flu (H5N2) in a flock of 15,000 turkeys in Pope County. 

While officials say there is absolutely no food safety concern whatsoever, health officials and farmers are taking extra precautions. Minnesota is the largest turkey-producing state in the U.S. and exports about six million turkeys worldwide every year. 


The State Patrol continues to investigate a fatal three-vehicle crash in Anoka County. It happened at around 3:15 am Sunday morning on 694 and Highway 65 in Fridley when a wrong-way driver struck a car head-on, then struck an SUV. The wrong way driver 23-year-old Matthew Roessler of Brooklyn Park died at the scene. As many as seven people were involved in the crash. It's not clear if alcohol was a factor.


Mille Lacs Band Tribal Police are investigating the death of a St. Cloud man discovered last Monday inside a parked car in Onamia. Police Chief Jared Rosati says around 7:00 p.m., residents in the Bug Hill area called authorities after a man was discovered unconscious in a vehicle parked near a home. Rosati says responding officers found 39-year-old Jason Stoltz dead with a gunshot wound to the chest.  Police say there is no suspect yet in custody, and no evidence has yet been found to indicate this was a random or targeted homicide.  Mille Lacs Tribal Police urge anyone with information about this incident to contact the department.  


The FBI has found no indication of criminal activity related to the fire that damaged three UPS trucks in Brainerd back in January. Brainerd firefighters were called to the UPS Customer Center after an explosion and fire was called in to police. The FBI took over the investigation to determine whether the fire was intentional in nature.  Officials say the fire was not a criminal act but would not elaborate any further on a cause.  There were no injuries.


Police are still trying to determine what caused a food truck to explode in Lakeville Friday night. The Motley Crews Heavy Metal Grill truck was parked in a driveway when the explosion happened, sending debris flying up to 500 feet away. Officials say around 20 homes in the area were damaged.


An investigation is ongoing following a large fire at a Minneapolis lumberyard.  Fire crews were called late Saturday night to put out a fire that started at Shaw Stewart Lumber.  The flames ended up destroying a building on the property.  Fire officials say nobody was inside the building and it is believed that the property was locked up when the fire started. 


The gunman responsible for a deadly shooting in northeast Minneapolis early Saturday remains on the loose. Officers found Robert Urman, Sr. of Saint Paul just after midnight with several gunshot wounds.  He died at the hospital a short time later.  A possible suspect was seen running from the scene with a gun in his hand.


Governor Mark Dayton this week rolls out his supplemental budget -- what he wants to do with the additional $800 million the state is expecting to its budget surplus. It's expected the governor will designate additional money beyond his original budget proposal for freezing tuition at the U-of-M and state colleges and universities, plus full funding for universal pre-kindergarten.  He contends they're both important steps to ensure Minnesota's continued prosperity.  State Senate Republican Leader David Hann of Eden Prairie says after years and years of pre-K and all-day K for years, there hasn't been any evidence that he's seen that the achievement gap has gotten better. Republicans are pushing for changes to Minnesota's teacher tenure laws which they say will give more accountability.  


Governor Dayton wants to cut the number of standardized tests that K-12 students have to take by one-third in an effort to scale back "the overwhelming volume of high-stakes tests" in Minnesota schools. Republican Representative Sondra Erickson of Princeton says the governor's proposal doesn't add up because in 2013, the governor signed a bill that included twice as many tests as students were taking at that time. Erickson, a retired teacher and the House's Education Innovation Policy Chair, says the governor's latest proposal does a disservice to parents, students and teachers. The state's teachers union, however, has come out in favor of the decision.


Housing is a wise investment in light of Minnesota' budget surplus. That's the argument by Homes for All, an alliance of 150 state organizations fighting homelessness.  Leigh Rosenberg of Minnesota Housing Partnership says increasing funding by $39-million means increasing the effectiveness of other state funded entities such as education. The bill to increase the funding is scheduled to be heard in committee Thursday.


If you're driving, put your phone down. That's the message from the State Patrol. Lieutenant Tiffani Neilson says drivers need to make the decision they're not going to participate in that type of behavior and then they need to create a physical barrier, whether that's putting your phone in a brief case, glove box or center console and not letting yourself have access to it. Neilson says in Minnesota, distracted driving causes one in four crashes--and led to 68 fatalities in 2013. And, she says it's illegal for drivers to read or send text messages while behind the wheel. 


The MPCA is continuing with its 10-year cycle of testing the quality of Minnesota's 81 watersheds.  Recent results of poor water quality in the Missouri River Basin in southwest Minnesota raise concerns.  Solutions can be difficult according to the agency's Glenn Skuta, it's complicated becuase agricultural practices are basically exempt from our water laws.  Skuta says one effective idea is buffers along streams that keep cattle away.


Some Lakeville dog owners are seeking answers after what appeared to be tainted treats being found in their yards. Police received several reports recently from people living in the neighborhood along 205th Court West. One woman said she found hot dogs filled with screws, pins, and other dangerous items in her backyard. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lakeville Police Department.