Bengal fieldhouse virtually exploded with cheers and applause Sept. 15 when Brock Shepard – with a little help from his friends – busted open a box and watched a star-shaped blue balloon escape the cardboard confines. That balloon signaled that classmates had selected Shepard as 2014 Blaine High School Homecoming King.

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A man had his felony burglary conviction for an incident in Coon Rapids dismissed by Anoka County District Court Aug. 29 after the jury verdict was reversed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals earlier in the month and remanded for a new trial.

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In January 2013, North Dakota authorities investigating a complaint of underfed horses found 96 dead horses and mules and seized another 157 that were starving. Vegetation in their pasture had been eaten down to the dirt and the horses were so hungry they had chewed on tree bark and fence posts, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

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Money was not mentioned by any of the more than 30 educators who responded to a question I asked about the first month of school. Each of them described the most important things that families can do in September. Everything they suggested is free: helping youngsters set goals, establishing routines, learning something yourself, talking positively about schools and building or continuing a strong relationship with educators.

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