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Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig claimed Thursday that his sex arrest at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was part of official Senate business, said Minn Post.

In order to avoid repaying the $217,000 in campaign funds Craig used to defend himself after his 2007 arrest, he said that the trip, which included the bathroom trip where he was arrested, were all part of his official duties, said KSTP.

Craig's attorney Andrew Herman wrote, "Not only was the trip itself constitutionally required, but Senate rules sanction reimbursement for any cost relating to a senator's use of a bathroom while on official travel," according to Politico.

In 2007, Craig was arrested by an undercover officer, who said that Craig indicated that he was seeking sex and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for the event, said MinnPost.

A Minneapolis woman was charged Tuesday with two counts of sex trafficking and promotion of prostitution after she was discovered to be harboring two teenage runaways, said KARE 11.

Meranda Warborg, 29, provided the two teenage girls with cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine and allowed them to be prostituted in her home through advertisements placed on Backpage.com, said the Star Tribune.

The girls, ages 15 and 17, told police that men who responded to the ads would pay them for sex. Warborg would then collect $100 a day from the girls as rent, said the Star Tribune.

According to police, Warborg has confirmed the testimonies of the girls and will appear in Hennepin County District Court on Tuesday, said KARE 11.

Backpages.com has faced scrutiny from law enforcement and city governments nationwide for lax regulations on the adult section of their website, where Warborg's ads were posted, said the Star Tribune.

Former Gophers diver wins silver medal

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A former diver at the University of Minnesota won the silver medal in the women's synchronized 3-meter diving event at the Olympics Sunday, said the Star Tribune.

Former Gopher Kelci Bryant and partner Abby Johnston placed second with 321.90 points behind China, who scored 346.20 points, said the Star Tribune.

The duo's silver medal marks the first time in Olympic history that an American duo has reached the podium in the women's synchronized 3-meter dive, said the .

Bryant and former partner Ariel Rittenhouse placed fourth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said the Minnesota Daily.

Lake Elmo swim pond closed due to parasite

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The swimming pond at Lake Elmo Reserve Park was closed temporarily Thursday after several swimmers reported illnesses, said the Pioneer Press.

The Cryptosporidium organism, which causes diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, is believed to be the cause of this outbreak, said parks director John Elholm to the Star Tribune.

In order to eradicate the parasite, the pond needs to be treated with chlorine, a process which will last until Friday afternoon, said the Star Tribune.

Although the exact cause and source of the outbreak are not known, all of the swimmers who reported symptoms swam at the Lake Elmo pond, said the Pioneer Press.

"Park visitor safety is our main concern," said Elholm to the Star Tribune.

Southwest light rail contract reconsidered

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The Metropolitan Council announced Friday that it is reconsidering its contract with the engineering firm linked to the Sabo Bridge breakdown to construct the Southwest Corridor light rail line, said MPR.

The firm, URS Corp., was the sole contractor enlisted last month by the council to build the light rail line which would connect Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis, said the Star Tribune.

URS Corp., however, was linked in a recent report to the failure of the Sabo bike and pedestrian bridge in Minneapolis, and the council has since broken up the contract to multiple firms, said the Star Tribune.

Mark Fuhrman, the Met Council's program director for light rail projects, said that the reconsideration shows "the benefit and the importance of having an independent set of eyes take a look at the technical design documents before construction so that all of those engineering details can be critically reviewed, and if necessary adjusted, before projects go to construction," said MPR.

The Met Council's transportation committee will release its decision Monday on whether it will it will hire one or multiple contractors for the light rail project, said MPR.

Minneapolis and St. Paul outpace suburbs in growth

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Minneapolis and St. Paul led the suburbs in population growth, said the Star Tribune.

A report released by the Metropolitan Council found that Minneapolis and St. Paul each gained thousands of new residents last year, which signals a change after years of population loss to the suburbs, said the Star Tribune.

Minneapolis led the Twin Cities metro area in terms of growth with more than five thousand new residents, said Metropolitan Council research manager Libby Starling to Minnesota Public Radio.

"We are seeing a return to growth in the core cities which we have not been seeing specifically for many years," Starling told MPR.

While members of the Metropolitan Council warned against making large decisions based on one year, the trend could direct public funds away from highways and toward public transportation in Minneapolis and St. Paul, said the Star Tribune.

According to the Star Tribune, the suburbs still outpace the two large cities in terms of long-term population growth.

The North Dakota man accused of killing his three daughters was formally charged with their murder Thursday, said The Associated Press.

The father, 34-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder Thursday by St. Croix County prosecutors. His bail was also set at $2 million by Circuit Judge Howard W. Cameron, said the Star Tribune.

The girls, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia were found in their beds with their throats slashed Tuesday at their River Falls, Wis. home after a visit with their father, said the Star Tribune.

Jessica Schaffhausen, mother of the slain girls and ex-wife to Aaron Schaffhausen, told police that he called her and said, "You can come home now because I killed the kids," according to the AP.

St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson called the case "by far, the worst case" he has seen in his 30 years of prosecuting. "It's impossible to keep emotions out of it," he said, according to the Star Tribune.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 24, said the Star Tribune.


A 29-year-old Cottage Grove woman set herself ablaze and died Saturday, just several weeks after being scorned on national television for unintentionally smothering her infant son, said the Pioneer Press.

Tori Medrano, charged with two counts of manslaughter for falling asleep on top of and asphyxiating her infant son while intoxicated, died at St. Paul's Regions Hospital after lighting herself on fire in her mother's backyard, said the Star Tribune.

In June, Medrano was featured on HLN's "Nancy Grace" and dubbed the "vodka mom" following the incident, said the Pioneer Press.

St. Paul Police Chief Michael Monahan said Medrano was "despondent and suicidal over personal issues," in reference to her pre-suicide mindset, said the Star Tribune.

According to the Pioneer Press, Medrano is not the first person to kill herself following an appearance on "Nancy Grace", as a Florida woman killed herself in 2006 after being featured on the show.

Best Buy to slash 2,400 jobs nationwide

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Best Buy announced Friday that it will cut 2,400 jobs in order to cut costs and reduce the size of the company, said the Star Tribune.

The cuts will include 1,800 in-store positions and 600 Geek Squad tech support jobs, which make up roughly 1.4 percent of Best Buy's total workforce, said Minnesota Public Radio.

Although the Richfield-based company is the largest consumer electronics vendor in the country with annual sales of over $50 million, it has been facing increasing competition from companies like Amazon and Target, said the Star Tribune.

Best Buy spokesman Bruce Hight said the company is "working to minimize the impact of the changes on employees, while building a foundation for a strong future," said MPR.

Best Buy aims to shift its Geek Squad tech support services to assisting small businesses and hopes to focus on its Connected Stores, which focus on customer service, said the Star Tribune.

Gov. Mark Dayton announced Friday that he is seeking a federal disaster declaration for the recent flooding in northeastern Minnesota, said the Pioneer Press.

The flooding, which impacted 13 counties and three tribal nations in northeastern, central, and southern Minnesota, caused more than $108.6 million in damage to public property alone, said Minnesota Public Radio.

Dayton said that local and state funds are working quickly now, but federal funding is needed as soon as possible to assist in cleanup and reconstruction of roads, said MPR.

Dayton expects that his request to President Obama will be approved with two weeks, said the Pioneer Press.

Duluth's chief administrative officer Dave Montgomery said that $108 million is a "conservative number," and the actual cost of the damage will be much higher, said MPR.

Dayton is working on organizing a bipartisan committee to organize and allocate state funds to assist the affected areas, said the Pioneer Press.

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