- Associated Press - Saturday, May 3, 2014
1 found dead after Lakeland house fire

LAKELAND, Minn. (AP) - One person has been found dead after a house fire in Lakeland.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says authorities were called to the fire about 2 a.m. Saturday.

A deceased person was found inside after the fire was extinguished.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/Q1cG8ohttp://bit.ly/Q1cG8o ) the State Fire Marshal and the sheriff’s office are investigating the cause of the fire.

The identity of the victim is not being released pending notification of family.

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Minnesota man’s body found in RV cargo area

WINONA, Minn. (AP) - A group of men on their way to the Kentucky Derby for a bachelor party made a gruesome discovery after they pulled their rented RV over in southeastern Minnesota: a body inside the vehicle’s exterior cargo compartment.

Authorities confirmed Saturday that the body is that of an Anoka, Minnesota, man who has been missing since November. The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said the death of Kevin Casserly, 22, is being investigated, and no additional updates were being released on Saturday.

Officials say the men rented the recreational vehicle from someone in Anoka County on Thursday, and they headed south.

Jake Wanek, of Minneapolis, was a part of the bachelor party and said the men pulled over in Winona to pick up the last members of their group. While they were there, they began investigating a foul odor and found Casserly’s body lodged in a compartment of the RV that was accessible only from the outside.

Wanek told the Star Tribune that one of the men opened and closed a front compartment, which stirred up the odor. The men opened the compartment on the other side and saw the body, with bare feet and pants on.

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Longtime Minnesota congressman Oberstar dies at 79

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, who represented northeastern Minnesota for 36 years and brought millions of dollars to the state as chair of the powerful House Transportation Committee, died unexpectedly early Saturday. He was 79.

A statement released by his family said Oberstar died in his sleep. A cause of death was not provided. His former chief of staff, Bill Richard, said Oberstar died at his home in Potomac, Maryland.

Richard said Oberstar was not ill. Oberstar’s family said it was heartbroken.

“Jim was a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and brother,” the family statement said. “While we mourn the loss of a good man, we also celebrate his life and his service. We ask for your thoughts and prayers, and understanding, at this very difficult time.”

Oberstar, a Democrat, was elected to Congress in 1974 and served 18 terms - the state’s longest-serving member of Congress. Oberstar became chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in 2006.

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Minn. medical pot bill moves ahead despite rift

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A rift among Minnesota supporters of legalizing medical marijuana could make it harder to get legislation in front of Gov. Mark Dayton this year.

Committees in both the House and Senate were debating competing legislation Friday. A Senate panel stripped the option of smoking marijuana as medication from its bill on Friday morning. But the House version is even more limited in how the drug may be accessed. If used in leaf form, for example, it could be done only through medically supervised delivery by vaporizer.

All 21 states, and the District of Columbia, which have legalized medical marijuana, permit smoking the drug.

A House rules panel approved Hibbing Democrat Rep. Carly Melin’s bill Friday afternoon. The legislation next goes to the House Ways and Means Committee. State law enforcement officials have said they won’t oppose the measure.

“I’m here to support whatever they’re asking for to get more access to the plant,” said Paige Figi, 40, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, during her hearing testimony. Figi’s daughter Charlotte, 7, is the girl after whom the medical-marijuana strain “Charlotte’s Web” is named. Charlotte suffers from intractable form of epilepsy. Medical marijuana has significantly reduced her symptoms, Figi said.

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