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St. Louis County to allow ATVs on roads in trial run at three locations

ALSO: SugarBee might be apple of the future; CentraCare Foundation exec dies in lake accident; Steele County’s ACT scores are OK; and more.

Coming to a St. Louis County road near you…

“The St. Louis County Board has passed an ordinance Tuesday afternoon to allow ATVs on county roads in three locations,” writes Dan Branovan at “This will act as a trial run to the county wide road riding ordinance,” the story says. “The County Board and the Public Works Department are encouraging the use of the vehicles on more roads and hope to eventually make the ordinance county wide.” Branovan adds that “Koochiching, Lake and Cook counties already have a similar ordinance in place, letting riders drive on the shoulder.”

It’s apple-picking time and Heather J. Carlson of the Rochester Post-Bulletin trekked to Apple Ridge Orchard in Mazeppa to see what’s new. Owners Vince and Ann Steffen say the quality of the crop is excellent this year and harvest dates are running close to normal. Zestar, Chestnut Crab, Wealthy and SweeTango apples are ready to be picked and Honeycrisp should be ready later this week. The Steffens are keeping an eye on a new apple — the B51, which has recently been named SugarBee, which will be ready for picking around Sept. 30. “It is as crunchy or crunchier than the Honeycrisp, and it has a definite sweetness to it,” Steffen said. “A lot of people say, ‘That’s the best apple I’ve ever eaten.'”

Todd Steinke, 47, of St. Cloud, died Saturday after he dove into shallow water at a cabin on Cable Lake around 7:37 p.m. and broke his neck, authorities said. The St. Cloud Daily Times reports that his wife, daughter and numerous family members were with him at the time of the accident. He became vice president of philanthropy and community health at CentraCare Foundation last month. He had previously been the foundation’s director of development.

Minnesota students did well in the ACT. Kim Hyatt of the Owatonna People’s Press wanted to know how Steele County kids performed. Statewide, the class of 2015 had an average composite score of 22.7 out of 36 possible points. The national average composite score was 21. In Blooming Prairie the average composite score of the 34 students tested was 21.8. Seniors at both Medford and Owatonna scored 21.2 on average.

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Northwest Austin is the hotspot for crime, according to data gathered by the Austin Police Department. Of the 105 burglaries reported since April 1, 33 have happened in the northwest part of town. Austinites report about 157 burglaries a year over the past five years. In 2014, Austin had about 159 burglaries. Burglars have become more brazen, police say. “We’re seeing more cases where burglars are entering homes where people are inside, asleep,” Capt. Dave McKichan told the Austin Daily Herald.

Nicolai Amende’s signature five pepper blend hot sauce brings “Minnesota Nice heat,” according to the 13-year-old entrepreneur from Mankato. “My hot sauce has a high pulp to grind ratio that gives it the bold flavor and the sweetness of the pepper,” he told Jessica Bies of the Mankato Free Press. “I also believe my hot sauce should have good flavor to begin with and not overwhelming heat.” The kid is also selling a garlic habanero sauce, a five pepper blend chipotle hot sauce and a five pepper blend chili lime sauce, all made from peppers grown in his garden. “It’s not easy work, I can tell you that,” he said.

A portion of the TransCanada pipeline in Kittson County went up in flames near the U.S.-Canada border in Kittson County around 9 p.m. Saturday night, the Bemidji Pioneer reports. TransCanada workers shut down the valve and allowed the gas to burn off, creating flames that could be seen from miles away. Two homes on the Canadian side of the border were evacuated while crews worked to initially locate the fire. They were allowed back in after the location was found. No injuries were reported and the cause is under investigation. TransCanada said the pipeline provides natural gas to communities in the area and there were no gas service interruptions.

Former Stearns County deputy Phil Meemken, 45, has been sentenced to two years in prison for violating his terms of release for a sex offense conviction, according to the Associated Press. Meemken was originally charged with 20 counts of proving alcohol to minors and then sexually assaulting them. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of providing alcohol to a minor. His probation violations included using marijuana and methamphetamine, possessing pornography, failing to complete sex offender treatment and failing to keep in contact with his probation agent, the AP reports.