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Minnesota roundup: Racist graffiti reported at University of St. Thomas, Maple Grove school; State crackdown uncovers illegal sports betting pool; plus 1 more state news story

ST. PAUL—The University of St. Thomas is investigating after a racist slur was found scrawled on a sidewalk of the St. Paul campus.

Saying in a Thursday statement that they were "deeply saddened" and "this is not who we are and cannot be tolerated," the St. Thomas administration condemned the graffiti, which was a slur against blacks and was reported Wednesday night.

"We are actively investigating this incident and will take firm action based on our findings," President Julie Sullivan and Provost Richard Plumb said in the statement. "In addition, several offices on campus and student groups are in the process of organizing forums for discussion and support and will provide announcements of these opportunities."

The incident at the private Catholic university follows the discovery Wednesday of racist graffiti in a restroom at Maple Grove Senior High School.

The graffiti on the door of a toilet stall and a toilet paper dispenser included anti-black epithets and referenced white power and President-elect Donald Trump.

In a letter to the school community, Principal Bart Becker said the incident was under investigation and that "we will take swift and appropriate action based on the investigation findings.

Deer harvest falls in Minnesota on opening weekend, but not in the northeast

ST. PAUL—Minnesota firearms hunters registered 68,958 deer during the first two days of firearms deer season—with northeastern Minnesota recording the biggest increase in harvesting, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Preliminary numbers from opening weekend show that the number of deer registered fell 3 percent from 2015. Of the deer harvested, 67 percent were bucks, compared to 68 percent last year in the first weekend.

In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 16 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was down 7 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 28 percent.

"Since these are preliminary numbers, it's too soon to say if the unusual weather had any impact on harvest elsewhere in the state, but as conditions change and hunting continues, we'll get a better sense of how the season is progressing, "said DNR big game program leader Adam Murkowski

Based upon the number of antlerless permits available and the number of permit areas that allow multiple deer to be taken, the DNR is projecting the 2016 total deer harvest to be between 165,000 and 185,000 deer. The 2015 total harvest was a little more than 159,000.

In much of Minnesota, the deer season continues through Sunday, Nov. 13

State crackdown uncovers illegal sports betting pool

ST. PAUL — A regulatory crackdown across Minnesota uncovered an illegal sports betting pool in Austin and two other alcohol-related fines in Marshall.

The state's Department of Public Safety said that its Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division and the Gambling Control Board conducted three months of compliance checks at 110 businesses in 12 cities, according to a news release Thursday, Nov. 10.

Random checks were conducted at establishments in Austin, Brainerd, Duluth, Fergus Falls, Hibbing, Mankato, Marshall, Moorhead, St. Cloud, Virginia, Willmar and Winona, the DPS said.

"The majority of violations were minor with the establishment receiving onsite education or a warning," the release said. No major violations were discovered in 97 percent of the places checked.

The VFW in Austin was fined for illegal gambling because an employee was conducting a football pool, taking bets on NFL games and keeping a portion of the total bets placed, the release said.

Fines also were levied against Marshall establishments for purchasing alcohol at a retail store for resale at the bar and unregistered brand labels.