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Short length of weekend frost raises hopes area crops not badly damaged

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Neil Widner, newly elected chairman of American Crystal Sugar Co., was up early Sunday to patrol his sugar beet fields near Stephen, Minn., after two nights in a row of temperatures falling below freezing.

"I drove around, and the thermometer in my pickup this morning about 6:20 was at 29," Widner said Sunday. "For some reason, we had more frost the night before. We marked a few the day before so we could go back and check (Sunday). We were out and looked and we did OK."

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