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Friday, February 28, 2014

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Police: Girl, 6, died of hypothermia

BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) - Bemidji police say a 6-year-old girl died of hypothermia from exposure to the frigid weather.

Police say the girl’s mother and a neighbor reported a medical emergency at an apartment building early Thursday. Law officers and emergency medical personnel found the girl inside the building’s front entrance.

Authorities say the girl had signs of being exposed to the frigid weather. She was dead at the scene.

The girl’s body was taken to the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office, which confirmed she died of hypothermia.

Authorities have not completed notifying relatives, so the girl’s name has not been released.

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State’s property taxes mostly static after refunds

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota property taxes owed this year are mostly static once refunds and credits are factored in, state officials said Friday, despite their earlier prediction that those taxes would drop considerably.

A Department of Revenue analysis shows a net $8 million drop in a property tax system that generates $8 billion a year. That means the reduction is a slim 0.1 percent.

Here’s where it gets complicated: Homeowners and businesses will pay a total of $125 million more in 2014 than they did in 2013. But $133 million in the new property tax refunds and credits will cancel out some increases for those who qualify.

Income-based refunds aren’t automatic. Last year, slightly more than half of homeowners got a property tax refund. The average refund for those 341,000 homeowners was $796, according to the department. About half of renters also qualified for refunds averaging $592.

“A refund is a refund. It is actual money,” Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans said in an interview. “The simple fact is property taxes statewide have gone down for the first time in over a decade. Those are the facts. There’s no cooking the books.”

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$1.2B surplus estimate to feed session appetites

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