- Associated Press - Friday, June 20, 2014
Vikings stadium to get more escalators and TVs

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to pay for more escalators and more televisions in their under-construction stadium.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved Friday the $1.3 million increase in design fees, to increase totals from 27 to 33 escalators and 800 to 2,000 televisions. The purchase and installation costs were not included in the $1.3 million figure.

In April, the Vikings agreed to contribute an extra $1.2 million for a bigger video board on the stadium’s west end and other related upgrades. The team’s share of the $977.5 million project is $479.5 million, which will be fueled by the sale of seat licenses. The Vikings also previously agreed to $26.4 million in contingency funds, some of which could return to the team if construction costs are less than expected.

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Minimum wage, big checks spur Obama Minnesota trip

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - President Barack Obama’s latest trip to Minnesota is about drawing attention to the state’s about-to-increase minimum wage and drawing campaign checks to assist House Democrats in the fall.

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett told reporters Friday that Obama wants to highlight Minnesota’s decision to push its minimum wage from $6.15 per hour now to $9.50 per hour by 2016. Obama will be in the state Thursday. It isn’t clear whether a public event will be held.

Obama was last in Minnesota in February to give a speech on transportation.

Democratic Party officials previously announced that Obama would headline a late-June Minneapolis fundraiser at the home of his former U.S. ambassador to Morocco.

The fundraising event for the House Democratic Campaign Committee seeks contributions of up to $32,400 per couple.

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Light rail train kills pedestrian in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A pedestrian is dead after being struck by a METRO Blue Line train in south Minneapolis.

The Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1nphsqd) reports the accident happened shortly before 3 p.m. Friday along Hiawatha Avenue.

Replacement buses are carrying passengers between the Franklin Avenue and 46th Street stations for now.

No information about the person killed was immediately available. Authorities were on scene and investigating.

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Big Sioux River crests; Interstate 29 reopens

NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (AP) - A swollen river that threatened homes where Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota meet crested earlier and at a lower level than expected early Friday. Minnesota officials toured waterlogged areas of that state, saying the severity and breadth of flooding make a federal disaster request a near certainty.

The less-serious crest of the Big Sioux River prompted crews take down sandbags and other containers blocking a section of Interstate 29 that acted as a temporary levee to protect an at-risk South Dakota city.

The road, which Lt. Gov. Matt Michels said remained dry while closed, reopened Friday afternoon. But some buildings, farmland and roads remain flooded, Michels said.

“Do not drive on a road with water. It may not be there,” he said.

The National Weather Service had predicted earlier that the river would hit a record high around midday, but then said it crested at Sioux City, Iowa, around midnight a couple of feet below the previous record.

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