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NHL lockout devastating fans and local businesses

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With the fans disappointed and lack of the traditional hockey season revenue flow, local business are barely holding on, news sources report.

Local businesses near the Xcel Energy Center are struggling into a stalemate with no end in sight. It has been an 83 day struggle thus far and many bars and restaurants say there has been a significant drop in business, taking away 40 to 50 percent of their usual annual revenues. The lack of Wild home games are taking a turn for the worst for bars, restaurants, workers and vendors, CBS Minnesota reports.

A roundtable discussion was held Friday, talking about aiding small businesses struck by the lockout. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering microloans as well as free marketing and business advice, to help the small business hold on until the problem is resolved, The StarTribune reports.

"There are hundreds of thousands of people that are affected by this," Pub owner Tom Reid said. "Not just the business owners around the rink, but all through the different industries." On a game night, a staff of 35 is needed to keep the crowds happy, but lately crews top out at 5 or 6 workers, Reid said. "These next couple of days are extremely critical," NHL writer Michael Russo said. "They've got to gain traction here and if they don't, the season could very well be in jeopardy," Kare 11 reports.

Some businesses will survive the lockout if the entire season is lost, but it is known that there are a few small businesses that won't survive the lockout, Mayor Chris Coleman said, CBS Minnesota reports.

Tis the season for Ice Fishing

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Most people dread the cold, but one community can't wait for ice to gloss over the lakes, news sources report.

Ice fishing enthusiasts can't wait to make the first outing on the lakes. "Ice fishing is my life," enthusiast Dave Genez said. "I'm truly excited to get out there." And the best place to get the gear needed for the ice fishing season? The annual St. Paul Ice Fishing and Winter Sportsman Show has any thing from the latest toys, to the warmest gear, and is the one-stop shop for ice fishermen, CBS Minnesota reports.

About 19,000 anglers are expected to attend the event along with about 190 vendors, director of operations Laurie Hallowell said. "We have everything from small tackle or lures to $85,000 fish houses," Hallowell said. However, the St. Paul show is no longer the only one in town, this year the National Sports Center in Blaine held its first Hard Water Ice Fishing Show on Nov. 16-18. About 5,100 people attended, communications officer for the center Barclay Kruse said. "We are delighted," Kruse said. "We're absolutely going to do it again next year. In fact, we are going to expand our space," StarTribune outdoors reports.

Despite the small market Blaine officials think that success for both shows is possible, Kruse said, StarTribune outdoors reports.

You can't appreciate the new ice fishing equipment until you compare it to the old, ice fisherman Genz said. Moving away from the back-breaking labor of manually drilling holes to the electric augers that do the tough stuff today. Depth finders and cameras are popular too. "It's like playing a video game, except you have live players on the other end," Genz said. The equipment changes are welcomed to the long standing Minnesota tradition, and its a tradition that keeps on thriving, CBS Minnesota reports.

Two teens killed in break-in

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A homeowner shot two unarmed teenagers Thanksgiving Day, news sources report.

Two unarmed teenagers broke into a Minnesota home on Thanksgiving Day and were shot by homeowner Byron David Smith, 64, said he feared the teens were armed and acknowledged firing "more shots than I needed to" and for one teen appeared to take pride in "a good clean finishing shot," The Seattle Times reports.

Homeowners have the right to protect themselves and their property under Minnesota law however once the threat has been neutralized homeowners are not given the right to execute an intruder. "The fact of the matter is, if people have all of the facts, they would not be quite so divided in their opinions," Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said. "It's not as controversial or as unclear an issue as people might think at first blush," InForum reports.

The first teen Smith shot was 17-year-old Nicholas Brady who fell down the stairs then looked up at Smith. Smith, a former security officer for the U.S. State Department, shot Brady in the face. "I wanted him dead," Smith said. He proceeded to place Brady on a tarp and drag him to the basement workshop before waiting for the second teen Haile Kifer, 18, a diver and gymnast for Little Falls High School. Smith shot Kifer who fell down the stairs, then Smith's Mini- 14 rifle jammed. Kifer laughed a short laugh in pain making Smith mad. "If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again," Smith said. He then shot Kifer in the chest several times with his .22-caliber revolver before dragging her to the basement workshop where she gasped for air. Smith placed his gun under Kifer's chin and fired it, U.S. News reports.

Smith claims to have acted in self-defense, however the authorities said that his actions exceeded reasonable self-defense. Smith is expected to be charged with second-degree murder on monday police said, CBS News reports.

Minnesota police officer killed in ambush

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Cold Spring, Minnesota police officer was killed in an ambush while trying to help what was believed to be a suicidal man Thursday, news sources report.

Officer Tom Decker, a six-year veteran and father of four, was checking on the status of a man's welfare when he was fatally shot. Decker was getting out of the squad car near a Cold Springs bar Thursday night. Investigators said that several guns were found and placed the suicidal man in custody Friday, Huffington Post Crime reports.

The gun used to kill officer Decker was not found, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office requested the public to lookout for a discarded weapon, suspected to be a 20-gauge shotgun, and for whoever finds it to leave it untouched and call 911, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

"It' a terrible, terrible thing in a community this size," Florence Benson, 72, of Rockville said. "Just about everybody knows everybody - especially police officers." Ryan Michael Larson of Cold Spring, 34, was held on suspicion of second-degree murder Friday, criminal charges are being considered, West Central Tribune reports.

Head-on crash kills three

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Three people died in a bus accident in Inver Grove Heights Friday, news sources report.

A car and a school bus collided head-on at Argenta Trail and 77th Street West, the cause of the crash is not yet known, police said. The victims were a woman and her two grandchildren, the victims' names have not been released but family members have already built a small memorial on the accident scene, CBS Minnesota reports.

The bus driver was alone on the bus and emerged uninjured. Both vehicles were on fire when officers arrived. The Inver Grove Heights Police Department and Minnesota State Patrol continue to investigate the incident, The Inver Grove Heights Patch reports.

Young Northern Minn. Boy bags 27-point buck

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A record buck got shot opener weekend by a 12-year-old boy from Motley, Minn. last Saturday, news sources report.

Not long after young Dylan Beach entered his tree stand, the buck of a life time walked into view about 100 yards from the stand. "I thought I heard something, but I wasn't sure if it was a squirrel or whatever," Beach said. "But then about 100 yards up, he came walking out." All it took was a single shot from Beach's rifle to drop the buck in its tracks, CBS Minnesota reports.

The buck weighed 229 pounds and it's antlers measured 241 inches, taking four men to load it into the back of the truck. It is within the top 10 biggest deer shot in Minnesota, ever, KSTP News reports.

Beach was hunting on family farm land about eight miles west of Sebeka, and the buck was well known in the area, Dylan's mom Jeannie Beach said. "I was half asleep when I called my sister and when I told her it was a 27-point buck she knew which deer it was. 'He got the monster, he got the monster,' she said." Dylan Beach still can't believe that he bagged the big buck, despite the handful of pictures of him and his trophy, The Brainerd Dispatch reports.

Grand Rapids residents killed in a rollover crash

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A Grand Rapids couple was killed in a rollover crash Saturday night in Itasca County, news sources report.

The vehicle ran off a wet road and rolled in the ditch on Minnesota 46 near Alvwood, northwest of Bemidji, around midnight Saturday, authorities say, Kare 11 reports.

The vehicle was a Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Joy Wilson, 54, with passenger and husband Donald Wilson, 56, who both died in the crash. Neither were wearing seat belts, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Polar bear returns to new Duluth zoo exhibit

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After the summer flooding of it's exhibit and surgery Duluth's polar bear returns, news sources report.

Major surgery was performed on Berlin at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center after she was found lethargic and unresponsive by Como zookeepers. The surgery removed a mass of dead tissue that had caused internal bleeding and a veterinarian said that it's highly unlikely Berlin would have survived with out the surgery, ABC 6 News reports.

The absence of Berlin at the Lake Superior Zoo underscored the affection the community holds for polar bears at the zoo, Peter Pruett, director of zoo operations said. Maicie Sykes, the zoo's lead animal keeper and Berlin's trainer is credited by Pruett for causing an advancement in developing a new polar bear exhibit, The Pioneer Press reports.

Arson is to blame for animal hospital fire

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Five dogs and a cat were rescued from a fire early Sunday morning after fire official were called to the North Branch Veterinary Hospital, news sources report.

North Branch police ask for the public's help after the state fire marshal confirmed the cause of the fire as arson. Fire official from North Branch, Rush City, Harris and Stacy fought to put out the fire, Kare 11 News reports.

Damage was extensive in the corner of the building close to the area where the overnight dogs were kept. All animals were removed unharmed. A trash can was found on fire across the street from the animal hospital, Sgt. Rick Sapp said. It is also suspected to be caused by arson, the Pioneer Press reports.

An award of up to $2,500 is offered by authorities in exchange for any information leading to an arrest of the arsonist. Anyone with information is urged to call North Branch police at (651) 674-8848 or the arson hotline at (800) 723-2020, Kare 11 reports.

Fire starts inside a Burnsville liquor store

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Red Lion Liquors in Burnsville caught fire last Sunday after vodka bottles started caught fire on the shelves, news sources report.

Vodka with its nickname firewater held true when vodka bottles on a shelf magnified sunlight and started the fire. Surveillance cameras caught the fire in action, slowly smoke emerged from the vodka display, which caused the paper sign to melt away, Fox 9 News reports.

Heat increased in intensity and caused the tops to pop off of the vodka bottles, spraying steaming liquor causing the fire to send 12-foot flames into the air. The ceiling fan fueled the flames. "It was just a freak thing," manager Dave Hautman said, Fox 9 News reports.

The interior of Red Lion Liquors was tarnished by smoke, but escaped with little permanent damage. It is closed for cleanup which is scheduled to be finished by Monday, Nov. 5, at the latest, the Burnsville Patch reports.

Occupying the current building for the past nine years, the Red Lion has been in Burnsville since 1978, prepared for burglaries but not the fire that had emerged. "It's the unexpected things that can kind of sucker punch you," Hautman said, Fox 9 News reports.


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