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Photos: North Shore ablaze in color

Moose Mountain 

The last week of September saw the hills over Lake Superior near Tofte and Lutsen explode into color. What was green just a week before became a sea of red, yellow and orange. Like a magnet, the colors attracted thousands of visitors from all over to the countless trails.

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Photos: Getting homeless runners on their feet

Pre-run gathering 

Members of the running club called Mile in My Shoes aim to reach residents at Higher Ground, a Minneapolis homeless shelter. In early morning runs, they're trying to get homeless men on their feet and literally on the road to a better life.

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See Iceland's volcanic eruption for the ages

An aerial picture taken in mid-Septembers shows a plane flying over the Bardarbunga volcano spewing lava and smoke in southeast Iceland. 

For more than a month, the county's Bardarbunga volcano has been rocked by hundreds of daily tremors. The activity shows no signs of abating.

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Prost! Beer, good cheer flow at Munich's famous Oktoberfest

Participants of the Parade of Costumes and Riflemen (Trachten- und Schuetzenzug) enjoy drinking beer at Schuetzen beer tent. 

The 181st Oktoberfest opened its doors on Sept. 20 and will draw millions of visitors during the nearly three-week event.

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Photos: Picking your own makes apples seem a little sweeter

Apple tasting 

Although it's early in the fall apple season, apple growers are starting to harvest and invite guests to pick a variety of apples on their own. This week, the Aamodt's Apple Farm in Stillwater is open for visitors to pick Sweet Sixteen apples, and visitors took advantage of the good weather.

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Out with the old school, in with the new in Wells

Starting school at a brand new school 

Classes started Wednesday for United South Central Schools' students in the southern Minnesota town of Wells. The new academic year means the celebration of a new building as well as an opportunity to honor memories at the old.

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Celebrating the spud, in all its forms

Wrestling in mashed potatoes 

Since it began in 1938, Potato Days in Barnesville, Minn., is the annual celebration of the spud. The two-day event, held Aug. 22 and 23 this year, attracted thousands of people, and featured more than a dozen potato-centered competitions -- everything from mashed potato wrestling to a strongman contest.

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Biggest earthquake to hit California in 25 years leaves mess in its wake

Nina Quidit cleans up the Dollar Plus and Party Supplies Store in American Canyon, Calif., after an earthquake on Sunday. Quidit and her husband woke up in the early morning hours thanks to the store's alarm company. The couple immediately drove in to begin cleaning. The 6.0-magnitude quake caused six significant fires, including at four mobile homes, said Napa Division Fire Chief Darren Drake. 

A strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck the heart of California's wine country early Sunday morning, causing injuries, structural damage and power outages. The quake struck about six miles south of Napa and lasted 10 to 20 seconds depending on proximity to the epicenter, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was the largest to shake the San Francisco Bay Area since the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta quake struck in 1989.

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Water woes in California hit historic lows

Low water levels are visible at Lake Oroville on Tuesday in Oroville, Calif. The Lake is currently at 32 percent of its total 3,537,577 acre feet. 

As the severe drought in California continues for a third straight year, water levels in the state's lakes and reservoirs are reaching historic lows. A series of recent images from the air help put the water shortage in perspective.

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