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Minnesota News Briefs

Duluth tops 100 inches of snow for the season

DULUTH - A half-foot of snow fell at Duluth International Airport on Thursday, raising the seasonal snowfall total past 104 inches for Duluth, and there’s more on the way.

Thursday’s at-times-blinding snowfall vaulted the winter of 2013-14 into 14th place, so far, on the list of snowiest winters on record in Duluth.

It’s the second straight winter over the century mark for snowfall. Last year saw 129.4 inches, the third-highest seasonal snowfall on record in Duluth, not far behind the 135.4 inches in 1995-96 that holds first place.

“We were getting reports of 3-inch-per-hour snowfall rates’’ at times Thursday afternoon, said Kevin Huyck, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Duluth.

More accumulating snow is likely Monday.

“I think we’ll probably climb a few more places up the (snowfall) list yet this year,” Huyck said.

Minnesota firms cut 100 jobs in February

ST. PAUL - Minnesota employers cut 100 jobs in February, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported Thursday, but the state still shows a better-than-average job growth.

In the past year, the state gained 44,714 jobs, for a 1.6 percent growth rate. That compares to 1.5 percent across the country.

In the meantime, Minnesota's unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, well below the country's 6.7 percent rate.

Severson runs for Minnesota secretary of state

ST. PAUL - Former state Rep. Dan Severson is making his second run for Minnesota secretary of state.

Severson, CEO of Minority Liberty Alliance, made the announcement Thursday in St. Paul. He will seek the Republican Party's endorsement at its May 30-31 state convention in Rochester.

Severson said he wants to make sure elections are fair, especially for minority voters.

He ran for secretary of state in 2010, losing to Democrat Mark Ritchie, and unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate two years later. He served in the House from 2003 to 2011.

Former state Sen. John Howe of Red Wing also is running for the GOP nod. Democratic Reps. Debra Hilstrom and Steve Simon also are candidates.

Sarah Palin endorses Ortman in U.S. Senate race against Franken

ST. PAUL - One-time vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has endorsed Minnesota state Sen. Julianne Ortman for U.S. Senate.

Ortman is running for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Al Franken.

"Al Franken's career has been a joke; we all know this," Palin said in a statement released by the Ortman campaign Thursday. "The biggest joke of all, though, is not funny at all because the American people are the punch line. This joke? The fact that Franken has voted 100 percent of the time with Barack Obama."

Palin said an Ortman-Franken campaign would be "a clown vs. a mama grizzly."

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