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Latest Minnesota news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. CDT

SPRING FLOODING-MINNESOTA

Crews rescue Minnesota restaurant diners after flooding

(Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com)

WAITE PARK, Minn. (AP) — Crews in central Minnesota had to rescue dozens of people stranded inside a restaurant after flash flooding.

Waite Park Fire Chief Jim Aleshire says about 44 people were stuck inside Anton’s restaurant when the Sauk River rose Saturday night.

The Fire Department requested mutual aid from St. Joseph and St. Cloud. First responders used three boats and were able to get everyone safely out of the restaurant by about 9:30 p.m.

One of the business’s owners, Betzy Gaetz, was not in the restaurant, but tells the St. Cloud Times the flood happened so quickly people did not have time to move anything.

Gaetz says the flooding happened while customers were having dinner.

The property usually floods in the spring, but Gaetz says she has never seen anything like this.

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SPRING FLOODING-THE LATEST

The Latest: Rain later this week may push Missouri River up

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Rain storms expected later this week could lead to another crest along the Missouri River and its tributaries just as residents are cleaning up from this spring’s flooding.

National Weather Service hydrologist Kevin Low said that more than an inch of rain is expected to fall in Nebraska and Iowa later this week.

Low says the storms between Wednesday and Friday could create a 1-foot rise in the level of the Missouri River around Omaha and cities downstream starting next weekend.

But it’s not yet clear how much additional flooding that rise could create.

HOMELESS POPULATION-MINNESOTA

Study: Minnesota sees jump in homelessness since 2015

(Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A study says Minnesota’s homelessness increased by 10 per cent between 2015 and 2018, despite employment growing during the same period.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the St. Paul-based Wilder Foundation released its findings this month from a count of people experiencing homelessness in 2018. Researchers counted 10,233 homeless people in Minnesota on Oct. 25, a jump of nearly 1,000 people since the last study in 2015.

Minnesota’s unemployment was at a historic low of 4 per cent or less during the same period.

Researchers conducted the count at shelters and transitional housing programs. They also included people camped outside and those seeking services at hot-meal programs and other drop-in locations.

Researchers say the count likely missed many who weren’t staying in a shelter on the day of the tally, particularly young people and those living in rural areas.

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UNIVERSITY COMPUTER THEFT

Charges: UMN worker stole $134,000 in computers from school

(Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say a former University of Minnesota employee is accused of using school funds to purchase 78 computers over 14 months and sell them for personal profit.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Hennepin County District Court records show 34-year-old Michael James McDaniel is charged with four counts of felony theft by swindle involving computers worth $134,544.

McDaniel is accused of making the acquisitions from September 2017 to October 2018 while employed as an analyst and administrative adviser in the university’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research. He was fired in November.

University police say McDaniel pawned the computers or sold them via Craigslist. He accumulated over $125,000 in cash bank deposits in that time.

He separately admitted to stealing iPads from Target stores.

He’s due back in court April 8.

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SPRING FLOODING-DELANO

City crews break up ice jam that threatened city of Delano

(Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com)

DELANO, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say city crews in Delano managed to break up a huge ice jam that led the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning for the area west of the Twin Cities.

The Star Tribune reports that the ice jam formed at Bridge Avenue Friday night caused the Crow River to rise to major flood state and threaten the city of about 7.600 people.

Officials say city crews using an excavator succeeded in removing part of the ice and debris jam, and river levels were slowly decreasing after having begun lapping at the bottom of the bridge.

The Crow River is a tributary of the Mississippi that splits into two forks northwest of the metro area.

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POST OFFICE RELOCATED

New Prague post office relocated due to safety concerns

NEW PRAGUE, Minn. (AP) — U.S. Postal Service officials say the post office in New Prague is being temporarily relocated due to safety concerns with the building.

Officials say an environmental specialist has been called in to inspect recent remodeling at the facility. It’s not known how many repairs may be needed or how long it would take.

The mail service has been moved to the Belle Plaine Post Office. Belle Plaine is about 14 miles from New Prague.

Jorg Lewis, the New Prague postmaster, says the move is being made to protect the safety of customers and employees.

MINNESOTA LOBBYING

Canadian pipeline group spends most in Minnesota on lobbying

(Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A new report shows a Canadian oil pipeline company spent $11 million last year lobbying leaders in Minnesota, where the company is fighting to replace its aging Line 3 pipeline despite opposition from tribes and environmentalists.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board released data this week that show nearly all of Enbridge Energy Partners’ lobbying money was used advocating before the Public Utilities Commission.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports that it marks the second consecutive year the company has outspent all other lobbyists in the state.

The company gained the commission’s approval to replace the pipeline, which angered Native American tribes and climate change activists who say the project threatens fragile areas.

The pipeline currently runs from Alberta, Canada, across North Dakota and Minnesota to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin.

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BAY CONTAMINATION

Superior joins $18M cleanup of Howards Bay contamination

(Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org)

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) — The city of Superior has agreed to join a roughly $18.5 million project to remove contaminated sediments from Howards Bay to improve shipping and restore fish and wildlife habitat.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the Superior City Council approved agreements Tuesday to work with federal, state and private partners on the Howards Bay dredging project.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources official Joe Graham says the bay is contaminated with heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are cancer-causing compounds.

Superior’s environmental regulatory manager, Darienne McNamara, says the city will provide about $2.6 million through in-kind contribution to the project since it’s been cited as a source of the contamination.

McNamara says leaded gasoline used on roads in the past was washed into the bay through the city’s storm water system.

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The Associated Press