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Minnesota news in brief at 7:58 p.m. CST

Sunday, January 19, 2014

- Associated Press - Sunday, January 19, 2014
In race to take on Franken, 2 different paths

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Ten Republican activists munched on burgers and sipped beer and soda at a St. Paul bar as Julianne Ortman spent more than an hour on a freezing night trying to convince them she's their best hope in the upcoming Senate race.

"Al Franken is the yes man for the overreaching liberal agenda of President Obama," Ortman told the group, most of whom she also buttonholed one-on-one to make her point. The state senator from suburban Carver County is one of six Republicans seeking to run against Franken, the Democratic incumbent, in November.

At dozens of similar gatherings in recent months, Ortman has sought momentum one conversation at a time against fellow Republican Mike McFadden. While Ortman has been going the retail route, McFadden, a businessman from the St. Paul suburb of Sunfish Lake, has so far trained his attention on the fundraising race in his bid to challenge Franken, whose own campaign has been quickly racking up large amounts of cash from contributors.

The Republican field is crowded, but it may turn into a race between Ortman and McFadden that stretches all the way to the August primary.

The two are taking very different routes to the prize. Since joining the race in early August, Ortman has appeared at more than 50 events similar to the Senate District 65/House District 66B gathering at Shamrocks: small gatherings of GOP activists at meet-and-greets, banquets, parades and forums. McFadden, who's been in the race two months longer, has appeared at just over 20 such events. Both campaigns furnished lists of appearances to The Associated Press.

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3 wounded in shootings at liquor store in W Wis.

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) - Police are investigating a shooting that left three people wounded outside a liquor store in western Wisconsin.

Police Chief Marty Jensen says it happened before 9:30 a.m. Sunday in a parking lot at Spirit Seller Liquors in downtown Hudson. He says the victims and suspects were in cars with Minnesota license plates, and may have driven across the border to Hudson to buy alcohol because Minnesota liquor stores are closed Sundays.

Two men and one woman were taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. Their conditions were not available. Two male suspects were arrested at a hotel in Bloomington, Minn.

Liquor store owner John Kromer says it's the first incident he's had in 36 years there. He says the parking lot isn't a place where people usually linger.

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Activists drop suit over park near Vikings stadium

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Three activists have dropped a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis over its plans for a park linked to a $400 million development project near the new Vikings stadium.

Stephanie Woodruff, Paul Ostrow and Dan Cohen had challenged the City Council's authority to buy, own and operate parkland in the city, saying that only the city's separate Park and Recreation Board had that authority. But they said Saturday that they were withdrawing their lawsuit.

Ostrow told the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1eWT3HThttp://strib.mn/1eWT3HT ) a Hennepin County judge's ruling Friday requiring them to post a $10 million surety bond to keep the lawsuit moving proved insurmountable. The city had said the lawsuit threatened the entire project and asked the judge to require the bond to cover any losses if the lawsuit failed.

The nearly two-square-block park on land now owned by the Star Tribune is the centerpiece of the project proposed by Ryan Cos. that includes two office towers for Wells Fargo, up to 400 apartments, retail shops, restaurants and a parking ramp. The land deal is set to close Friday.

Ostrow, a former Minneapolis City Council president who is also an Anoka County prosecutor, said the plaintiffs' concerns about financing issues raised by the lawsuit have not faded. They are asking that the City Council, when it meets Thursday, to consider changes in the development deal and plans to issue up to $65 million in bonds for the park, which is part of the Downtown East development. They contend the city is paying too much for the Star Tribune land.

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Maple Grove man dies in snowmobile crash

BURTRUM, Minn. (AP) - Authorities say a Maple Grove man has died in a snowmobile crash near Burtrum in Todd County of central Minnesota.

The Todd County Sheriff's Office says 22-year-old Jared Wallenfelsz was reported missing late Saturday morning. He was last seen leaving his family's cabin on Long Lake by snowmobile around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Deputies found Wallenfelsz with his snowmobile around 12:45 p.m. Saturday on a wooded lot on the northwest side of Long Lake.

A news release from the sheriff's office says alcohol, poor visibility due to weather and speed are believed to have been factors in the crash, which remains under investigation.

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