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ST. PAUL TRENCH COLLAPSE

2 workers unaccounted for after St. Paul trench collapse

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Authorities are searching for two people who were working in a trench when it collapsed on them at a construction site in St. Paul. Firefighters painted a grim picture of the scene in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood, where the incident was reported about 2:45 pm Friday. St. Paul Deputy Fire Chief Roy Mokosso described the the work of rescuers as “a recovery operation.” Another worker who was in the area called 911 after attempting a brief rescue.

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AP-US-ELECTION-2022-MINNESOTA-GOVERNOR

Min. Republican threatens retaliation against medical board

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen has threatened to retaliate against the Minnesota board that oversees doctors as it investigates him for the fifth time. Jensen calls the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice a “juggernaut” that he’ll deal with if he’s elected governor. Jensen, a family practice physician from Chaska, is a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic who has promoted alternative treatments. He said in a video posted on Twitter Thursday night that he shouldn’t have to practice medicine or run for governor with the cloud of a board investigation hanging over him. The board comprises 16 people, all appointed by the governor.

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CLINIC SHOOTING MINNESOTA

Judge: Attack that led to life sentence ‘simply unthinkable’

BUFFALO, Minn. (AP) — A judge has handed down a mandatory life sentence to a man who stormed a medical clinic in Minnesota, fatally shot one person and wounded four others, saying the act was unfathomable. Gregory Ulrich opened fire Feb. 9, 2021, at the Allina Crossroads Clinic in Buffalo, a city of about 16,400 people, 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis. He was sentenced Friday. A jury earlier this month found Ulrich guilty of the 11 charges against him, including premeditated first-degree murder for killing Lindsay Overbay, a 37-year-old medical assistant. Four other clinic staffers survived but suffered serious injuries. Wright County District Judge Catherine McPherson said during sentencing that the attack was “simply unthinkable.”

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MINNESOTA LEGISLATION

Special session unlikely on Minnesota budget surplus

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — It appears chances are dead for a special legislative session that could have brought billions of dollars in tax cuts and new spending in Minnesota. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz told reporters late Thursday that talks with Republican leaders had “reached an impasse,” leaving about $7.2 billion of an original $9.25 billion surplus unspent. About a week before the end of the regular session last month, Walz and top legislators announced an agreement to use $4 billion to cut taxes, $4 billion to increase spending and to save another $4 billion. Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller blamed Democrats for the impasse, saying they wanted too much in spending.

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HOUSE FLIPPER WOMAN

Minneapolis-area house flipper pleads guilty to fraud

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A woman who ran a house-flipping business in the Minneapolis area has pleaded guilty to defrauding real estate investors out of more than $3 million. Suzanne Griffiths is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Authorities say they frequently made material misrepresentations about the status of real estate projects, failed to take promised action, falsified documents and misappropriated investments for their own use. The 46-year-old Griffiths allegedly recruited investors at seminars of a national real estate investment coaching program. Griffiths now resides in Arizona.

OILFIELD STOCK SCHEME

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Former Minnesota oil executive convicted of securities fraud

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former oil industry executive from Minnesota who co-founded a facility that loaded crude from the North Dakota oil patch onto rail cars has been convicted in a stock manipulation scheme. A federal jury earlier this week found Michael Reger guilty of securities fraud. The conviction caps a shareholder lawsuit that filed five years ago against Reger and the other co-owner of Wayzata-based Dakota Plains Holdings, Ryan Gilbertson. The suit alleges that Reger and Gilbertson intentionally manipulated the price of stock in its first 20 days of trading. Gilbertson was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to 12 years in prison. A federal judge earlier this month preliminarily approved a $14 million settlement between shareholders and other directors and executives of the now-defunct company.

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AP-US-BIRD-FLU

Bird flu outbreak waning but threat of virus lingers

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A bird flu outbreak in the US that led to the deaths of more than 40 million chickens and turkeys and contributed to a spike in egg and meat prices appears to be waning, but experts caution the virus hasn’ t disappeared and worry another surge could take hold this fall. The Department of Agriculture isn’t ready to say the outbreak is winding down, but some state agriculture and industry officials are optimistic the end is near as hot weather spreads across the country. The cost of the outbreak is still being tallied but the USDA has already approved $793 million in additional funding this year.

FOOD ASSISTANCE ELIGIBILITY

More MN households qualify for federal food assistance

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — More households in Minnesota are qualifying for a federal program that provides assistance with food. And, it comes at a time when inflation has caused grocery prices to rise. The Minnesota Legislature, during its last session, increased the income limit for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, from 165% of the federal poverty level to 200%. That means households of three making $3,600 a month or less are now able to receive the food benefits. Peter Woitock, a government relations specialist with Hunger Solutions, advocated for the change. Woitock says about 1,400 additional households in Minnesota will be eligible.

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