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This Hour: Latest Minnesota news, sports, business and entertainment

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HOME-CARE WORKERS-UNIONS

Judge won't halt home-care workers' union vote

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A federal judge has denied a request to stop an election that could unionize thousands of individuals who provide in-home health care to the elderly and disabled.

U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said Wednesday he won't interfere in an ongoing election, based on fear of its potential outcome.

Nine state-subsidized home-care workers say a law that allows personal care attendants to unionize is unconstitutional because it violates their right of free political expression and association. They asked Davis to stop the election to determine if nearly 27,000 home-care providers will be represented by the Service Employees International Union.

Ballots will be tallied Tuesday.

Attorneys for the state and union argued the vote should proceed, saying providers won't be required to join the union, or pay dues if they don't join.

FOILED SCHOOL PLOT

Dismissal of charges in school plot case appealed

WASECA, Minn. (AP) - Prosecutors appealing the dismissal of the most serious charges leveled against a 17-year-old boy accused of plotting a school attack say the judge's decision has had a critical impact on the case.

The Free Press reports that in their appeal of the judge's decision to drop six of 12 charges, prosecutors say the counts that were dismissed were the only ones that could have presumably carried a prison sentence and affect whether or not the boy is moved to adult court.

Waseca County Judge Gerald Wolf in July dismissed four counts of attempted murder and two counts of attempted damage to property. Wolf said prosecutors didn't show sufficient evidence that the boy had made "a substantial step, beyond mere preparation," to commit murder or property damage.

The judge allowed six counts of possession of explosives to stand.

BODY IN TRUNK

Plea agreement in trunk body slaying

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) - A man accused of killing two women and hiding their bodies in cars found at Twin Cities area impound lots has pleaded guilty to one of the crimes.

Twenty-five-year-old Alberto Palmer entered the plea Wednesday in Anoka County the death of Brittany Clardy. The body of the 18-year-old St. Paul woman was found in a car in an impound lot in Columbia Heights in February of last year.

Palmer's agreement with prosecutors calls for a 40-year prison sentence that's contingent on a guilty plea in Hennepin County involving the death of the second woman - 24-year-old Klaressa Cook. Her body was found in May 2013 in a car that had been towed to an impound lot in Minneapolis

Authorities say Palmer also has several outstanding felony warrants for assault and kidnapping in Georgia.

OJIBWE SCHOOL-INTERIOR SECRETARY

Federal help promised for Leech Lake school

BENA, Minn. (AP) - U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says she will work to find funding to replace the dilapidated metal pole barn that serves as a high school on the Leech Lake Band reservation.

Jewell toured the converted garage Tuesday that has housed the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school for nearly four decades. The roof leaks, the ceiling are full of mold and rodents and bats live in the walls. The school is so poorly insulated that ice must be chipped away from the doors before students can enter.

The Star Tribune says replacing the school would cost $25 million - nearly half of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education's budget. But, Jewell says she will work to find funding from Congress and other agencies to address the deteriorating school.

The bureau operates 183 schools on 64 reservations in 23 states.

ACT EXAM-MINNESOTA

MN retains top spot in ACT college entrance exam

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota retains its top spot among states on the ACT college entrance exam.

High school seniors scored 22.9 out of a possible 36 on the ACT, ranking the state first among states in which at least half of graduates took the exam. It's the ninth straight year that Minnesota students topped the list.

State graduates also finished first in the percentage of students considered college-ready in each of the four subject areas tested - English, math, science and reading. This year, 39 percent of state graduates tested as proficient on the ACT exam.

This academic year, all Minnesota high school juniors will begin taking the ACT under new graduation requirements approved by the Legislature last year.

Wisconsin scored second on the ACT this year with 22.2 out of a possible 36.

EARNS-TARGET

Target cuts annual profit outlook

NEW YORK (AP) - Target has slashed its annual profit outlook as the retailer continues to reel from a massive data breach, a disappointing expansion in Canada and sluggish sales in the U.S.

The nation's third-largest retailer also said Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings dropped 61.7 percent.

The Minneapolis-based company says it earned $234 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Aug. 2, compared with earnings of $611 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 1.7 percent to $17.4 billion, slightly above the $17.38 billion estimate from FactSet.

Excluding expenses related to the breach, the company earned 78 cents per share, which was in line with Target's reduced estimate issued earlier in the month.

Analysts had expected 79 cents per share, according to FactSet.

TWIN METALS-FEASIBILITY

Study shows Twin Metals mine economically feasible

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The majority owner of the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota says a study shows the project would be economically competitive.

A feasibility study released by Duluth Metals Wednesday says the mine would have a strong operating margin. Duluth Metals CEO Kelly Osborne says the study validates the mine's potential with its mineral resource, a ready-built mining infrastructure and an experienced workforce.

The project has been a target of criticism by environmentalists who are concerned it will harm the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Both Twin Metals and a separate copper-nickel mining proposal for the area, PolyMet, have drawn scrutiny because the metals are bound up in sulfide compounds that can produce sulfuric acid and release other pollutants when exposed to air and rain.

DAYTON-ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

Dayton to take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton plans to chill out at the Minnesota State Fair by taking a bucket of ice water over his head.

Dayton spokesman Matt Swenson said Tuesday the governor accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge after being egged on by Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad. Dayton will do it on live radio during Thursday's opening day of the fair.

People who take the challenge douse themselves with freezing water to help raise awareness of Lou Gehrig's disease.

Countless athletes, celebrities, politicians and regular folks have taken the viral challenge. Those who do are entitled to extend the challenge to others. The ALS Association says it has raised nearly $23 million from the challenge so far.

Swenson says Dayton will also make a charitable contribution to ALS research.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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