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Guilty plea in Closs case

Plus: Kim Lund wins right to cash out of family’s grocery business; state exports hit record $23 billion; state Senate leader says hearing on gun legislation possible this year; and more.

Jake Thomas Patterson
Barron County

Say John Reinan and Mary Lynn Smith for the Strib, “Jake Patterson bowed his head and took a deep breath as his attorney leaned in and laid a hand on his shoulder. Then he looked up at the judge sitting in front of him and, in a trembling voice, uttered the word all of Barron had long waited to hear. ‘Guilty,’ he said three times, pleading to the  shotgun murders of James and Denise Closs in their Barron home and the kidnapping of their 13-year-old daughter, Jayme, in the dark of an October morning last fall.”

For MPR, Brian Bakst says, “Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said Wednesday that a hearing on gun legislation is possible this year if bills to restrict firearms pass through the Democratic-led House as standalone measures. The prospect for a hearing and potential votes on background check and temporary gun revocation bills has heartened supporters of those measures.”

Says a Pioneer Press story: “Minnesota businesses exported a record $23 billion in goods in 2018, a 10 percent jump from the year before. The state’s export growth outpaced the nation’s as a whole, which grew at an 8 percent clip, according to the latest figures released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.”

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The Star Tribune’s Mike Hughlett reports, “Kim Lund’s $45 million court victory to cash out her fortune in Lunds Inc. will stand. The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday denied Lunds Inc.’s petition to overturn a lower court award to Kim, the oldest of four Lund siblings who own Lunds & Byerlys, a well-known Twin Cities supermarket chain. … She had been trying for several years to free up her 25 percent stake in the company, but amicable attempts had failed.”

WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy reports: “Minnesota’s top lawmakers are scrambling to help thousands of Liberians currently living in the state stay in the state. This Sunday, their deferred enforcement departure (DED) is set to expire. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking for an immediate vote to keep the DED deadline from expiring. …The crisis has been building since the announcement last year by Trump that he would not renew DED beyond March 31 of this year.”

Dave Orrick and Ryan Faircloth at the PiPress tell us, “Minnesota state Sen. Karin Housley has started a political action committee to raise money for conservative candidates for Congress. And possibly herself? Housley, a Washington County Republican who ran for the U.S. Senate last year and lost, hasn’t made up her mind whether she’ll run again next year, although she said many Republicans have encouraged her.”

Says KCCI-TV in Des Moines, “Iowa lawmakers are one step closer to making birth control available for women without a doctor’s prescription. The Iowa Senate on Wednesday passed Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ birth control bill by a wide bipartisan margin, but some GOP legislators — including Sioux City Sen. Jim Carlin — voted against the bill. Under the measure, pharmacists would have the power to dispense contraceptives.”

The AP says: A single ticket sold in Wisconsin matched all six numbers in the Wednesday night Powerball drawing to win the third-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history. Due to strong ticket sales, the jackpot climbed to an estimated $768.4 million at the time of the drawing with a cash option of $477 million. A Minnesota ticket that matched all five white balls won $2 million, because it included the Power Play option for an additional $1.”