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Cargill unexpectedly cuts 2,000 employees

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Cargill, the food and agricultural giant, cut 2,000 Minnesotan employees on December 1 without any warning.

Several people told Kare 11 that they were laid off in a widespread job cut earlier this week.

Employees said they were called in on the first of the month, let go without warning and were told to immediately leave the building. They also were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, preventing them from speaking publically on the matter, Kare 11 reported.

Cargill employs 138,000 people world-wide, though the headquarters are based in Minnesota.

Kare 11 reported that Mike Cargill refused to comment on the cuts and the company has not yet issued a statement regarding the lay-offs.

Concordia University volleyball team drives for five

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Concordia University's division II volleyball team is attempting to win their fifth consecutive national title.

According to KSTP the students are calling it the Drive for Five, as the St. Paul school will be the first division II team to ever do this.

The school even moved the University Christmas Choir concert up a few hours on Saturday so students can attend both events.

Shelly Schwalm, a student at the University, set up a projector in a lounge room for the students to meet on campus and watch the game together.

Schwalm said on KSTP, "There's an opportunity for them to come together in a place on campus and feel more a part of it, than just sitting in their dorm room and watching it by themselves."

St. Paul's 8-year-old boy genius

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Mani Chadaga is an 8-year-old math genius taking classes at the local junior-high magnet school.

The Pioneer Press article starts with a scene of second-grader Mani Chadaga in his junior high algebra class at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet School, trying to make himself inconspicuous.

Mani's parents say his math fascination began at age 2 with the creation of Number Creatures. Mani drew pages of numbers with faces and different personalities living in their galaxy called Hexer, according to the Pioneer Press.

Since then, he learned to add and subtract by age 4, count to 1,000 by kindergarten, and multiply by age 5. Weeks after starting first grade, Mani had advanced to fourth-grade math. That spring he took fifth-grade math, and that summer he excelled in a sixth-grade textbook, which is how Mani is now in a junior-high algebra class.

His parents, Vivek and Julia Chadaga, are just trying to find ways to keep him stimulated but also spend most of the school day with his peers.

According to the Pioneer Press, next year, Mani will start pre-calculus and as a sixth-grader, he could start a calculus course through the University of Minnesota's Talented Youth Mathematics Program, an honors-level college-credit alternative for middle and high school students.

Roseville man shot dead by police

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Wayne Malone was shot dead by police on Thursday after a 911 domestic disturbance call was placed from a woman who sounded like she was being strangled.

The Pioneer Press article starts off with a day-in-the-life description of Malone, 55, portraying him as a stand-up citizen that was a "helpful neighbor and a man who was protective of his family." He was a Navy veteran that lives with his wife and college-age daughter, shovels his sidewalks in the winter and patrols his building's perimeter for safety.

He also threatened to kill the residents of his building last summer.

According to Roseville police, Malone was brandishing a pistol in a threatening manner in the doorway of his apartment when they arrived at his complex on Larpenteur Avenue. Police fired up to eight shots and hit Malone twice the Pioneer Press reported.

Police then evacuated the three-story building's 40 residents for more than seven hours until the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension processed the scene.

According to Malone's brother, Charles, Malone's wife and daughter both said they didn't place the 911 call.

Arsonist hits Longfellow neighborhood

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Garages, cars and bags of leaves were ablaze Friday night after 17 fires were intentionally set within a 13-block radius in south Minneapolis.

The Star Tribune reported that out of the 17 fires, 10 started with leaf piles or in garbage bags, but three vehicles, two garages and a garbage dumpster were set on fire as well. A fire also started on a retaining wall along West River Parkway.

The string of arsons started 8:30 p.m. Friday and the last fire was set around 12:30 a.m. Saturday according to the Pioneer Press.

According to neighborhood residents, the arson spree follows a rise in petty crime in the area, including two burglaries on a single block since summer the Star Tribune reported.

The Pioneer Press reported that police officers questioned several people in the neighborhood, but did not arrest anyone in connection with the fires.

Gopher women lose to South Florida

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The University of Minnesota women's basketball team fell to 1-2 on the season with a 60-52 loss to South Florida on Sunday at the Women's Basketball Invitational TipOff Classic in Daytona Beach, Fla.

According to Gopher Sports, Kirara Buford, a senior at the University, led the team with 16 points against Florida and totaled 43 points over the course of the weekend.

Buford, who was named to the WBI all-tournament team, also finished with 15 rebounds and 10 assists during the weekend, according to the Pioneer Press.

Kionna Kellogg, a sophomore at the U, posted season-highs with 10 points and eight rebounds, playing the best game of her life. Junior Katie Loberg assisted the Gophers by matching Kellogg with eight rebounds, according to Gopher Sports.

The Pioneer Press reported that Minnesota made one field goal in the first eight minutes of the game, while a layup by Kellogg ignited a 15-11 run, and brought the Gophers within four points of South Florida by halftime.

Between 2008 and 2010 there were 932 vehicle occupants killed in crashes in Minnesota, and 409, or 44 percent of them, were not wearing a seat belt according to Hometown Source.

The Star Tribune highlighted 20 counties with the highest percentage of vehicle occupant fatalities that were not buckled up. Kanabec and Wadena counties topped the list at three fatalities each, all not buckled.

At the other end, Blue Earth County had two vehicle occupants out of 10 killed while unbelted, only 20 percent, according to the Star Tribune.

According to Hometown Source, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety had 260 reporting agencies cite more than 10,000 motorists for belt violations between October 14 and 27 in a state-wide campaign to promote wearing a seat belt.

In a similar campaign last year, over 13,000 vehicle occupants were cited for not wearing a seat belt in the two-week stretch, according to the Star Tribune.

Jeffrey Arthur Martin, of Farmington, was convicted Monday in Dakota County of felonies of criminal vehicular operation and injury as well as child endangerment and third-degree driving while intoxicated the Pioneer Press reported.

According to the Pioneer Press, last Christmas Eve, Martin, 39, killed Everett T. Letterly, 88, when he crashed into Letterly's Cadillac at a Lakeville intersection.

Letterly's wife of seven years, Susan Shaffer, 70, was also in the car, but survived the crash with a head injury, broken ribs and partial hearing loss the Pioneer Press reports.

The Star Tribune reported that Martin's three children, ages 10, 9 and 4, were in his Dodge Durango while he was operating the car with a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 according the authorities. Martin and his children were not hurt in the crash.

According to the Star Tribune, Martin will be sentenced Jan. 4, most likely with the presumptive four-year sentence for criminal vehicular operation, but currently remains free on bail.

Dr. David Utz, Mayo Clinic urologist, dies

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David C. Utz, a renowned urologist and surgeon who treated celebrities and heads of state, died Sunday at the age of 87 according to the Star Tribune.

The Rochester native received his medical degree from the School of Medicine at St. Louis University, an advanced degree in urology from the University of Minnesota and then sat as a member of the Board of Regents from 1973 to 1979 the Star Tribune reported.

According to the Post Bulletin, Dr. Utz was an internationally recognized urologic surgeon who not only established many surgical techniques, but also created the world's largest surgical prostate cancer database at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Utz not only had Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham and Supreme Court justices as patients, the Star Tribune reported, but he also managed to write 143 publications during his career.

After retiring from 31 years at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Utz and his wife, Virginia, moved to Scottsdale, Ariz, when they opened the Virginia Nehring Utz Clinical Skills Laboratory at the Mayo Scottsdale Hospital, the Post Bulletin reported.

Tom Keith, former MPR radio host, dies

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Tom Keith, former MPR co-host and creator of sound effects for "A Prairie Home Companion," died Sunday after collapsing from a heart attack at age 64 reports the Pioneer Press.

Keith's twin sister, Terry Green, told the Star Tribune that Keith spent his teenage years at Sibley High school playing a variety of sports and acting as the student council president. He then spent one year the University of Minnesota but took a hiatus, serving four years in the Marines. Keith later returned to the U and graduated in 1972.

The West St. Paul native then created Jim Ed Poole and co-hosted MPR's "The Morning Show" with Dale Connelly after Garrison Keillor left the show, the Pioneer Press reported.

Eventually, Keith started working directly with Keillor on "A Prairie Home Companion," creating an array of sound effects and voices for the show. Keith performed his last show on Oct. 22 according to the Star Tribune.

"He was such a master at what he did and was so generous with everyone he worked with," Tim Russell, a long-time friend and colleague on "Prairie Home," told the Pioneer Press. "The show was always fun. He was a constant joy."

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