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FLOOD PREPARATIONS-MINNESOTA

Walz, Klobuchar get update on spring flood preparations

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota leaders have been warned to expect significant flooding across the state depending on how quickly the snow melts.

Gov. Tim Walz and Sen. Amy Klobuchar got a briefing Friday from state and federal emergency managers who are gearing up for a flood threat caused by some of the heaviest snow in years. The leaders heard that flood problems at the moment are relatively isolated, but chances are high for major flooding on the state's biggest rivers, including the Red, Minnesota, Mississippi and St. Croix.

Dan Luna of the National Weather Service told them the magnitude of the flooding will depend on how fast it warms up and how much it rains or snows. Fortunately, he says, there's no significant precipitation in the forecast for the next seven days.

WINTER WEATHER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Weather service confirms 4 tornadoes in Michigan

VERNON, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say four tornadoes touched down in mid-Michigan during a fast-moving storm that swept across the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist Danny Costello says two tornadoes struck Thursday in Shiawassee County. Homes were reported damaged, while power was knocked out to thousands of utility customers.

Two tornadoes also touched down in nearby Genesee County.

No injuries have been reported.

The first tornado touched down about near Corunna. The second touched down at to the southeast around Vernon, about 21 miles (34 kilometres) southwest of Flint. Officials say the second tornado also touched down in nearby Durand about

The tornadoes that hit Genesee County struck the Flushing area just after and just before near Genesee Township.

Lower Michigan also saw severe thunderstorm warnings, watches, flooding, high winds and hail as a late-winter storm system trekked across the Midwest.

CLIMATE-STUDENT PROTESTS-MINNESOTA

Minnesota high school students join global climate protests

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Around 1,000 Minnesota students skipped school to gather on the steps of the state capitol in St. Paul as part of global protests by young people demanding that governments take swift action to fight climate change.

On a sunny Friday, they chanted, "Stop denying the earth is dying" and called for passage of the Green New Deal, a sweeping environmental plan backed by progressives.

Farrah Bergstrom, a 16-year-old sophomore from Wayzata High School, told the crowd, "It is of utmost importance that our leaders be held accountable now."

Bergstrom says that's because climate change is not a distant issue for young people. She says the next generations are the ones that will be affected the most.

Similar "school strikes," inspired by a Swedish activist, were planned in Rochester and Duluth.

WOMAN KILLED-CHILD ABDUCTED

Milwaukee police need nationwide help in missing girl search

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee's police chief says authorities are asking for help "from the entire nation" to find a missing 2-year-old girl after a man was arrested on suspicion of killing her mother.

Chief Alfonso Morales says Dariaz Higgins has been providing police with information on the whereabouts of his daughter, Noelani Robinson, but it has "proven to be untrue."

Higgins is accused of fatally shooting Sierra Robinson and wounding one of her friends Monday. Police arrested him Wednesday and prosecutors have charged him with first-degree murder.

Prosecutors say Higgins, of Miami, came to Milwaukee to give Noelani to Robinson but it's unknown if Higgins actually brought her with him. Police say Robinson had been living in Las Vegas since February.

Police have said Noelani may be in Minnesota, but Morales emphasized she could be anywhere.

BARN ROOF COLLAPSES

Minnesota dairy farmers see unusual number of barn collapses

(Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org)

PINE ISLAND, Minn. (AP) — Dairy farmers across Minnesota are struggling to find shelter for hundreds of livestock after at least 45 barns collapsed under the weight of this winter's heavy snow.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that some farmers lost animals in the barn collapses, while others are scrambling to keep their livestock healthy.

The Minnesota Milk Producers Association says there are usually only one or two barn collapses in a typical winter. The association's executive director, Lucas Sjostrom, attributes the 45 barn collapses in part to the snow's excess volume and weight, aging barns and structural designs that are open to promote ventilation.

Minnesota lawmakers unanimously passed legislation Thursday to help farmers repair buildings damaged by the heavy snow. The bill expands a disaster recovery loan program to include damage related to winter weather.

___

TULANE STUDENT DEATH

Official: Missing $3 part may have led to student's death

(Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Mississippi transportation official says the absence of a $3 part may have let tires roll off of a tractor trailer, killing a Tulane University student from Minnesota.

Office of Enforcement director Willie Huff tells The New Orleans Advocate that a locking washer designed to secure truck wheels was missing from the trailer. Two wheels joined together rolled into a rest stop, killing Margaret Maurer of Forest Lake, Minnesota.

Huff says the conclusion blaming the missing metal ring is still preliminary.

Dana Transport Inc. of Avenel, New Jersey, owns the truck. Vice president Gene Patten says he can't comment. He did say, "There's always more to the story." Patten referred The Associated Press to an attorney who didn't immediately return a call for comment.

___

ELECTION 2020-AMY KLOBUCHAR

Minnesota's Klobuchar all-in on Iowa as 2020 field grows

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is going all-in on Iowa as she tries to become the Democratic 2020 presidential nominee.

Klobuchar returns to the leadoff caucus state this weekend for a flurry of stops. It's her third visit since launching her campaign just over a month ago.

Klobuchar is pitching herself as the next-door neighbour who understands issues facing middle America, scoffs at a snowstorm and "can see Iowa from my front porch."

It's a strategy that could make Klobuchar competitive in a state that prizes Midwestern familiarity and values.

But she'll have mounting competition for Iowa voters as she works to stand out among better-known Democrats with a lot more money. Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, who joined the race this week, is holding his first Iowa campaign events.

WINTER WEATHER-UPPER MIDWEST

Flooding closes roads, causes evacuations in upper Midwest

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Interstates in North Dakota and South Dakota were reopening Friday as residents were digging out from a late-winter storm. Still, authorities were urging residents to use caution while travelling on snow-covered roads.

State offices in South Dakota were also reopened, a day after they were shuttered due to the storm.

Flooding was an issue for travellers and residents in southern Minnesota and Wisconsin, as water covered many roadways. Floodwaters in southern Wisconsin began receding, but several roads were still impassable.

In the Green Bay area, flooding from the East River forced some residents to evacuate in areas where the water was several feet deep. Green Bay was among districts that closed school on Friday.

In Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, rescuers had to move residents to higher ground due to flooding from the Fond du Lac River. Dozens of people were displaced.

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World Economic Forum at Davos 2019 - Joseph Weinberg CEO PayCase, Chairman Shyft

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