- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Mills prepares for round 2 against Nolan for Congress seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A GOP challenger is preparing for a second crack at U.S. Rep Rick Nolan.

Businessman Stewart Mills lost Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District to Nolan last year by less than 2 percentage points. Their race was one of the most expensive contests in the country.

Mills said Wednesday he’s preparing to launch another challenge in 2016. He says he’ll formally enter the race in October.

The Fleet Farm scion will face a presidential election-year electorate that tends to skew toward Democrats. He’ll echo some of the same criticism he lodged against Nolan last year, like his support of gun control measures and President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Nolan is in his fifth term representing the northeastern Minnesota district. The Democrat announced this summer he’ll seek another term.

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Settlement reached in show dog neutering dispute

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota dog owner has reached a legal settlement with a breeder whom he accused of vengefully neutering his champion bichon frise without permission, the two sides said Wednesday.

John Wangsness sued Vickie Halstead, from whom he had originally bought the dog, Beau Lemon, for more than $50,000 in damages and ownership of eight vials of frozen semen that he said Halstead got from the dog before she neutered it. The dog was ranked second-best in its breed by the American Kennel Club for 2011 and 2012, which was the year it was retired from competition.

Both Halstead and an attorney for Wangsness, Larry Leventhal, said they couldn’t discuss the terms of the settlement due to a confidentiality agreement.

In his lawsuit, Wangsness said Halstead asked to use the dog for breeding in June 2013 but that she instead neutered it. Leventhal said she was angry that Wangsness had allowed another breeder to try to use the dog for breeding.

In an affidavit, Halstead claimed that her contract to breed Beau Lemon didn’t restrict her from neutering him, and that she did so because she was concerned about his health.

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State panel to kick off hearings on spending lottery money

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A state panel will begin meeting next week to determine how to spend $46.3 million in Minnesota Lottery proceeds and related funding, choosing winners and losers from among 97 environmental and conservation projects vying for the money.

The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, which is made up of 17 state senators, representatives and appointed members of the public, will meet for three days next week and three more the week after. It will recommend to the Legislature how to spend money from the state’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which comes from lottery proceeds and the fund’s investment income.

For every $1 that Minnesotans spend on lottery tickets, about 24 cents goes to the state. Of that 24 cents, about 7 cents goes toward the trust fund, or about $34 million last year, said Susan Thornton, the commission’s director. The fund has provided about $500 million for around 1,000 projects throughout the state since 1991.

Last week, the commission by consensus deemed 97 proposals out of 186 originally submitted to be worthy of further consideration. Most of the 97 proposals, which have requested a total of $70.4 million, fall into the broad categories of clean water, habitat, protecting pollinators, education, wildlife, renewable energy and invasive species.

Project leaders will start pitching their proposals to the commission on Tuesday. The presentations will wrap up Oct. 8. As usual, the Department of Natural Resources and the University of Minnesota are among the biggest requesters.

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Requests for Minnesota broadband aid exceed grants by 3 fold

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Almost three times as much money as state grant funding available is being sought by Minnesota communities seeking to expand broadband Internet infrastructure.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said Wednesday it had received more than $29 million in applications for grants, which will total roughly $10.6 million when awarded. Forty-four entities have applied for money.

Awards are expected to be announced in November. Successful communities must match their state allocation, which is capped at $5 million. Seventeen entities won grants in last year’s round when there was almost twice as much money to hand out.

The grants are intended to help build out broadband to areas without high-speed Internet or without wide access to it.

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