Dayton announces he is cancer-free, encourages screenings

ST. PAUL - Gov. Mark Dayton had a bit of good health news to share and he used the opportunity to encourage his fellow Minnesotans to look after themselves.

Dayton announced that he is currently cancer free during a news conference Monday, Dec. 4. As he made the announcement, he proclaimed this to be Cancer Screen Week and encouraged others to be screened for early signs of cancer.

"I'm a believer," Dayton said, as he described how a visit to his doctor led to an early diagnosis for prostate cancer. "I know from experience that early detection is absolutely crucial. It's the difference between life and death."

Dayton had surgery on his prostate in March at Mayo Clinic, about six weeks after the diagnosis. His prostate was removed and doctors were confident that the cancer had not spread outside his prostate.

Laura Wilson, a physician at Apple Valley Medical Center, said that up to one-third of cancer deaths could be prevented if an early detection is made.

Moorhead High grad advances to top 10 for Oscar consideration

LOS ANGELES - A young Moorhead, Minn., animator is one step closer to winning an Academy Award.

According to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Devon Manney's film "Cradle" has reached the top 10 for Best Animated Short Film now up for consideration at the 90th Annual Academy Awards.

Manney, a 2013 graduate of Moorhead High School, produced the film as a senior at the University of Southern California this spring. He was one of only 17 students - among 1,587 who entered - to win a Student Academy Award for the film which tells the story of a young veteran and his struggle to move forward after losing both arms in Iraq.

As a Student Academy Award winner, "Cradle" was automatically put up for consideration for Best Animated Short Film along with 62 other films. Manney said in September it was possible it could win but wasn't likely because it's being judged against films from big names and studios. Pixar Studios' "Piper" won the award last year.

"More than anything, it's just one more opportunity for people to look at it and see if it connects with them," he said.

Minnesota adds text-to-911 service statewide

ST. PAUL - Minnesotans can now text emergencies to 911 for help.

The Text-to-911 system network provides an alternative to calling during an emergency when it's unsafe to speak, or for those with hearing loss.

The state's Department of Public Safety unveiled details of the new service Tuesday, Dec. 5.

"Imagine having to hide from an intruder in your bedroom closet or witnessing a domestic violence situation. Text-to- 911 is a lifeline for people who would put themselves in harm's way if they called 911," said Jackie Mines, director for the DPS's Emergency Communication Networks. "Speaking with a dispatcher is still the fastest way to receive help, so call if you can, text if you can't."

Previously, deaf Minnesotans have gone without a direct way to communicate with 911 centers, and an estimated 20 percent of residents suffer some form of hearing loss, according to a DPS news release.

In emergencies in which calling isn't an option, people should enter 911 in the "to" field and text the exact address and type of emergency in the message before pressing send.

Users should use simple words and promptly answer questions and follow instructions, the DPS said. Further, uses should not include abbreviations, emojis, pictures or slang in messages.

The service, funded by 911 fees, is available statewide.

Duluth gift shop removes anti-immigrant T-shirt

DULUTH, Minn.-A Duluth lakeside gift shop I Love Duluth has stopped selling a T-shirt targeting immigrants after a photo of the shirt was widely shared online, prompting a backlash.

In all capital letters on a crudely drawn silhouette of the country, the shirt reads "F--- off we're full."

An employee said on Tuesday the shirt had been taken down in response to criticism.

The owner of the store, Simon Shaked, could not be reached Tuesday. In 2009 Shaked said: "We are here to stay in business, not to offend anybody." That was after the store was called out for selling shirts mocking Native Americans.

Two skaters rescued from island on northern Minn. lake

CHISHOLM, Minn. - Two juvenile skaters were safely rescued by emergency services personnel after being stranded Saturday evening on an island on Longyear Lake in Chisholm.

Chisholm Fire Department and the Chisholm Police Department (CPD) were dispatched to the scene at around 5 p.m. Saturday, when a passerby heard the two skaters calling for help, according to Fire Chief Bob Brown.

Firefighters suited up in Mustang water rescue gear and guided the two to safety.

Brown said the juveniles had been skating for several hours and became frightened when it turned dark outside. They had heard a "cracking noise" and fled to the island for safety, according to the CPD report.

The fire department does water rescue at least once per year, noted Brown while adding the department personnel had completed such a training in recent weeks.

When asked about the ice conditions on Longyear Lake on Monday, Brown said he felt the ice is still "questionable."

More than 400 crashes reported in Minn. during Monday storm

ST. PAUL-The Minnesota State Patrol reported more than 500 spinouts/vehicles-off-the-road and more than 400 crashes statewide during Monday's storm.

Three dozen of the crashes involved injuries, and one was fatal.

Alfred Orlando Urke, 87, of Murdock, Minn., was killed shortly before 1 p.m. Monday in Benson when a pickup truck collided with the SUV he was riding in. Road conditions at the time were wet, according to the State Patrol.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport saw 2.1 inches of snow arrive with the storm. Northern Minnesota saw larger amounts; as much as 11 inches was recorded near Lake of the Woods.

Along with looking like winter, it also felt like it Tuesday - the daytime high temperature across the region were in the teens and 20s, according to the National Weather Service.

The cold weather continues through Saturday, with highs in the teens and low to mid 20s.

Sunday is expected to see somewhat warmer temperatures, with highs expected in the 30s.