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WASHINGTON -- Huddled in the Ronald Reagan Republican Center near Capitol Hill, GOP staffers pore over Al Franken's three decades of work as a satirist and liberal author, searching for politically lethal material. Meanwhile, just a few blocks south in a converted townhouse, Democratic strategists are trying to derail Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's re-election effort by depicting him as cozy with special interests.
Searchers found the body of Kenneth Paul LeCocq, 54, Monday afternoon. The rural Hill City resident's body was recovered in the north end of Maple Lake in nine feet of water, according to a news release from the Itasca County Sheriff's Office. An autopsy is scheduled for today (Tuesday). The department received a call around 2 p.m. Saturday of a possible drowning on the lake. Deputies found a canoe with fishing equipment floating upright on the lake. The victim's vehicle was at the lake's landing. Maple Lake is located approximately 15 miles south of Grand Rapids off Highway 169.
In early June, just before construction began on a segment of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail through Gooseberry Falls State Park, Park Manager Paul Sundberg and a co-worker noticed a pileated woodpecker nest in a birch tree. It was directly in the path of the new trail. Sundberg spoke to workers with Nels Nelson and Sons, who readily agreed to spare the tree until after the young woodpeckers learned to fly and left the nest.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Two halves of a new Interstate 35W freeway bridge stretch toward each other over the Mississippi River, separated by a gap of about 200 feet that shrinks with each day as workers toil around the clock. The old bridge collapsed last Aug. 1, killing 13 people and severing a critical link in the state's largest city.
A Woodbury man whose truck struck and killed a motorcyclist in Cottage Grove in September 2007 was sentenced last week to 42 months in prison in connection with the accident. The fatal crash occurred Sept. 6 when Theodore William Krinke, 39, was driving north on County Road 19 in Cottage Grove. According to police reports, Krinke was returning home after boating in Hastings when the 2001 Dodge pickup he was driving struck a motorcycle operated by Donald Jerome Cohoon, 59, Cottage Grove, from behind. Cohoon was stopped at a stop sign at Indian Boulevard.
DULUTH, Minn. -- A Caterpillar earth scraper fell off a flatbed trailer coming down U.S. Highway 53 and plunged more than 40 feet to the ground below Wednesday morning, clipping an elevated section of northbound Interstate 35 during its fall. Several people were injured in the accident, and the left lane of northbound I-35 will be closed indefinitely for repairs. "We are going to have to replace one of the beams for sure, so we'll have to cut some of the deck out and some of the railing out," said Duane Hill, a MnDOT assistant district engineer for maintenance.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty viewed damage Monday morning from tornadoes that touched down in northern Wadena and southern Hubbard counties Friday. Pawlenty commented on the lack of warning about the storm and how fortunate it was that no one was killed. "It reminds you of the force and power of Mother Nature," the governor said. "Even with all our technology, Mother Nature is a force we have to respect." From downed trees to Styrofoam insulation in lakes to debris strewn in farm fields, Pawlenty emphasized there is a lot of work to be done.
ST. PAUL - New test results show three out of four high school sophomores met reading requirements needed for graduation. The Minnesota Department of Education said that an average of 75 percent of 10th graders passed a reading test and that the tougher exam yielded improvements over last year. Results released Monday also show that while more students are passing the test, racial and economic achievement gaps remain. More than 65,000 students took the exam earlier this year.
Enbridge Energy has concluded its investigation into the Nov. 28, 2007, explosion that killed two Superior(Wis.)-based workers on one of its pipelines. Steve Arnovich, 35, and David Mussatti Jr., 27, both of Superior, Wis., were working at the site of the explosion near the northwestern Minnesota community of Clearbrook when they were killed. The federal office of pipeline safety, which is also investigating the explosion, has not released a final version of its own official report.
ST. PAUL - Most were known, some were expected and one came as a surprise. Those were lawmakers' reactions to colleagues' retirement announcements that came early Sunday, after the 2008 Legislature drew to a close. Twelve Minnesota House members formally announced they will not run for re-election this fall. Eight Republicans and four Democrats bid goodbye, and lawmakers expect more retirements yet this election year.