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Armyworm Invasion Includes Southeastern Minnesota

Southeast Minnesota Crops Threatened By Armyworms -

AVON, Minn. (AP) - Armyworms are being blamed for damaging a number of central Minnesota cornfields.

Glen Ritter says the corn in his 20-acre field near Avon in Stearns County should be shoulder-high by now. Instead, he says, the field is probably a total loss.

And Randy Smude says pests he thinks are armyworms ruined about 17 of the 150 acres he's planted near Pine Center in Crow Wing County.

Bruce Potter of the University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center has heard from observers there's a large arc of infestation of armyworms from southeast Minnesota, through east-central and central Minnesota into North Dakota.

Geir Friisoe of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture says it's unusual to see armyworms this far north, but they can be devastating when they show up in large numbers.

Minnesota's Prison Population Among Lowest

MGN Online -
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A new report shows Minnesota's prison population rate is among the nation's lowest.
The U.S. Department of Justice statistics released Thursday says Maine had the lowest rate of imprisonment at 145 per 100,000 residents. Minnesota is next with 184 per 100,000 residents.
The number of people in Minnesota prisons has remained relatively steady over the last several years and currently stands at about 9,450.
The number of inmates in state prisons across the country declined by more than 25,000 last year. There were nearly 1.6 million people in state prisons in 2012 - a decline of 1.7 percent.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Suspicious Behavior Lands Man In Jail

Suspicious Behavior Lands Man In Jail

An Austin man is in jail after a confrontation with police.

Officers were called to the Turtle Creek Estates on Wednesday night on a report that the 36 year old man was acting suspiciously.

Authorities say the man approached the officers in an aggressive manner, jumped on top of his vehicle and began making "strange poses".

Officers say the man ignored commands to step back and take his hands out of his pockets, then walked away from officers and tried to get into a nearby home.

Police officers and sheriff's deputies used Tazers to subdue the suspect.

He was taken to jail, pending charges that could include obstructing the legal process and fleeing an officer on foot.


Senior Lawmakers get Status Update on MN Budget

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Legislature's most senior members are getting a rundown on how the state's economy is performing.
Nine top House members and nine from the Senate were due to convene the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy on Thursday. They were set to go over recent economic patterns, get a budget update and see other fiscal data.
Minnesota's economy has been picking up and revenue has been flowing in faster than previously projected. But state government still owes schools hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred payments and has other backlogs from prior budgets to address.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

New Cigarette Tax Pushing Smokers to Quit

(ABC 6 News) -- Legislators were hoping a recent tax hike on cigarettes would encourage more people to quit, and less than a month later, it seems like that's exactly what's happening.

On July 1st a $1.60 tax increase went into effect on cigarettes, bringing the average price up to around $7.50 per pack.

And for more and more people, that's simply too much.

“The increase of the cigarette taxes, I just can't afford it no more,” said Melissa Trinidad, who smoked for roughly the past 18 years.

Trinidad said she quit two months ago primarily because she wants to be around for her children, but also because the money she spent on cigarettes was keeping her from taking family vacations and enjoying other things in life.

Assignment Education: Pacelli Reaches Fundraising Goal

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Four years ago, a campaign was launched that would determine a local school's future. Now that future is a little more secure.
Reporter Dan Conradt was there when it began and brings us details in tonight's assignment education.

Corn Crop Showing Significant Growth

Three weeks ago, much of the corn in southern Minnesota was barely knee high. Today, much of that same crop is shoulder-high, if not higher.

That’s what a couple of hot, humid weeks can do. But don't start calling it a bin buster quite yet.

“We feel better because it looks better," said agronomist Dan Blanchard at Central Valley, south of Austin.

But the real story isn’t what you DO see … it’s what you DON’T see.

"We can't see all those bare spots out there in the fields, and that's what it takes to make a bin-buster is a full stand, even stand," agronomist Dan Blanchard said.

Minnesota corn has grown … on average … more than two feet in the past two weeks.

But there’s a lot of southern Minnesota farmland sitting empty because of one of the wettest springs ever.