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Local/state briefs

Mosquito-borne virus found in Minnesota ruffed grouse

ST. PAUL (AP) — Minnesota wildlife officials said three ruffed grouse in Itasca County have tested positive for a mosquito-borne virus.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Monday it is the first time the virus called eastern equine encephalitis has been confirmed to cause illness in a Minnesota wild animal.

The hunters who harvested the grouse brought them to DNR staff in late October after noticing abnormal behavior in the birds. Tests confirmed two of the grouse and possibly a third were infected with the EEE virus.

All the birds tested negative for West Nile virus.

The EEE virus typically is found in the eastern U.S. and along the Gulf Coast, but has been found in Michigan and Wisconsin. The DNR will continue to monitor Minnesota’s grouse population for signs of the disease.

South Dakota’s governor defends ‘Meth. I’m on it’ campaign

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s new anti-meth campaign featuring people of different ages and races saying “Meth. I’m on it” is prompting online guffaws.

Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday launched the nearly half-million-dollar campaign to increase awareness of South Dakota’s methamphetamine epidemic. The campaign includes a new TV ad, billboards, posters and a website.

The campaign’s motto is superimposed over the state outline.

One Twitter user posted: “Surprising anti-meth campaign in South Dakota. With the theme ‘Meth. I’m on it,’ what could go wrong?”

Noem said South Dakota’s meth problem is “growing at an alarming rate.”

The Argus Leader reported a Minneapolis marketing agency created the campaign. South Dakota’s Department of Social Services paid the agency nearly $449,000 this fall, according to the state’s finances website.

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