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St. Cloud judge's birthday fete: free Valentine weddings

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Judge Richard Ahles has married 638 couples in his days on the bench, but he's never devoted a full day to the task.

Last month, he offered to preside at Valentine's Day weddings for free. The reason: he's also celebrating his 60th birthday.

"I thought it would be kind of special to give something to others," the Stearns County judge said.

Dozens of couples responded and Ahles scheduled 19 weddings at the Ceremonial Courtroom in the county courthouse. County Court Administrator Karl Thoennes planned to marry another 14 couples in an adjacent courtroom.

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