Minnesota News Briefs: Investigation begins into murder of Alexandria womanMinnesota News
-- The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has named a person of interest following the death of an Alexandria woman.
ALEXANDRIA -- The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has named a person of interest following the death of an Alexandria woman.
Thursday night, the victim's landlord found his tenant, 38-year-old Sharon Love dead in her apartment from what appeared to be unnatural causes. It's believed an acquaintance of Love's -- 51-year-old David Everett of Osakis -- left in the victim's car, a 2004 silver Pontiac Grand Am last evening. Anyone with information on Everett's whereabouts is asked to contact the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
In northwestern Minnesota, it will probably be another week before a gas spill is completely cleaned up after a freight train struck a semi three weeks ago. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Dan Olson says it's more than just what's left in a ditch after a 30-thousand gallon spill at Plummer. He says they've also encountered some groundwater that's contaminated about eight feet down. Olson says they don't anticipate that's going to cause any problems to any wells. He says the nearest wells are about a half mile away and would be in a different aquifer. Olson says the gas spill ran nearly a quarter mile in length. Crews will be removing the contaminated soil over the next week. Highway-59 just south of Plummer remains closed.
An early start to the planting season was stifled by heavy rains this past week. Pat Sullivan, who farms in Renville County near Franklin, says the moisture is very welcome. He says every drop came nice and slow. He says for getting two inches of rain in the last week, you wouldn't know it from driving around the country side. Sullivan says it soaked right in. If the weather dries out next week, planters should be out in full force all across the state.
Top Republicans in the Minnesota House are blasting Democrats for not putting up enough votes to help them pass a $220-million bonding bill to renovate the State Capitol. House Speaker Kurt Zellers says to kill off repair of the historic State Capitol because they want a bigger bonding bill for other projects is "a new low for even the House Democrats," who say they support labor. But House Minority Leader Thissen says more buildings than the Capitol need attention and they must be committed "to a strategic investment statewide."
-R is working to adjust Minnesota's deer population in the state's various permit hunting areas. Some places have relatively few deer while others have dense populations where they get hit by cars and cause property damage. The DNR's Steve Merchant says they want to hear from the public on the department's revised deer population goals, especially in southwestern and north-central Minnesota. You can have a look and register your opinion online at the DNR's website. Just look for deer goals.
Managing stress is a choice -- according to Peter Tork, best-known for being one of "The Monkees." He says his former bandmate, Davy Jones, suffered from extreme stress in his later years. Jones died in late February at the age of 66. Tork, who is a cancer survior, urges people to take care of stress since "it is a choice." Last night, the music world also said goodbye to Levon Helm, who died after a long battle with cancer. The former leader of "The Band" was 71.
Today marks another birthday for Minnesota's oldest state park. Itasca Park was established back in 1891. The park is made up of 32-thousand acres and 300 lakes but is best known as home of the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
A check on pump prices shows a statewide average of $3.71 a gallon. Minnesota-Gas-Prices-dot-Com says that's about two-cents less than what we were paying last Friday. It's also about a dime less than last year at this time. National gas prices average about 15-cents higher. Currently, diesel fuel in Minnesota is running about 30- to 40-cents more than regular unleaded.
An estimated 200,000 Minnesota students could see their student loan interest rates double in the 2012-2012 school year unless Congress takes action. On July 1st, interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans will double from 3.4-percent to 6.8, costing Minnesota students thousands of dollars in increased payments. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-PLymouth) is co-sponsoring legislation that would prevent the rate hike and ensure college remains affordable. Klobuchar says higher education provides students with the skills needed to be competitive in today’s global economy and creates a gateway to well paying careers. She says rising costs for education is already putting a strain on families and burdening them with thousands of dollars in additional debt.
More positive news on the recovery of Minnesota's housing market. Chris Galler with the Association of Realtors says there were strong gains in median sales prices in March. He says they went up seven-point-one percent compared to a year ago -- the largest increase in several years. Galler says that's now two consecutive months for increases in the median price. Sellers received nearly 91-percent of their original asking price in March which is up by three-point-four percent. Galler says pending sales rose more than 11-percent last month and closed sales increased seven-and-a-half percent.
A Rogers woman is charged with murder and manslaughter in the overdose death of her 32-year-old boyfriend. The Hennepin County sheriff says Raina Lee Nelson admitted buying and stealing methadone and giving two doses to her boyfriend. Investigators say it happened last February. Emergency responders arrived at a Rogers residence and found the man not breathing. It was later determined he died of an overdose of methadone. The 32-year-old defendant is charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the second degree.
The Red River has peaked at Fargo-Moorhead -- not even making it to minor flood stage. As a result, it's a rather odd look in the valley this time of year -- green grass, open roads and no real flooding. Moorhead City Manager Mike Redlinger says it's the first "normal" spring they've had in three years. Redlinger says winter's warm finish meant crews could get out early for spring maintenance -- and has allowed his office to focus on "growing the city."
Despite recent rains, Minnesota remains on the dry side. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows parched conditions still over southern Minnesota and in the Arrowhead, with moderate drought over most of central Minnesota. One area that has also worsened is far northwestern Minnesota, along the Canadian border.