Minnesota News Roundup: Search continues in South Carolina for missing Minnesota soldierMinnesota News
-- This is day four in the search for a Minnesota soldier missing near Columbia, South Carolina.
This is day four (THUR) in the search for a Minnesota soldier missing near Columbia, South Carolina. Sergeant Robert Larson from North Branch was last seen leaving his home Saturday night in his Jeep Wrangler. Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers says Larson hasn't used his cell phone, so they're searching from his house outwards in the direction of the last cell phone ping they could get. Larson's wife Pamela told authorities her husband liked to go four-wheeling when he was stressed. Larson is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Sheriff Summers says they'll be looking today in wooded areas they haven't covered yet.
There's a bright spot in the latest economic update for the state's still-shakey budget situation. The October report shows the state took in 145-million-dollars more in taxes than expected during the third quarter. Income, sales and corporate taxes were all higher than expected. Combined with an earlier surplus, state tax revenues are 444-million-dollars over forecast for the current two-year budget cycle -- however state law requires that money be used to pay back school districts for delayed state aid payments. There's also a potential black cloud on the horizon: Forecasters predict another recession if Congress can't agree on a budget that avoids tax increases and deep spending cuts.
Gas prices in Minnesota are a little lower than a week ago and much lower than back in September. The statewide average for regular unleaded is at 3-76 this morning -- also lower than the national average. Meanwhile, inflated gas prices continue to plague California drivers where the average cost per gallon remains around four-dollars and 50-cents.
The Massachusetts pharmacy that produced the steroid linked to a nationwide meningitis outbreak was not licensed to distribute the drug in Minnesota -- but officials are not saying whether New England Compounding Center violated its license. They add that data privacy laws prevent them from even saying whether they're investigating. Cody Wiberg, director of the state Board of Pharmacy, says the East Coast company under its state license is allowed to dispense prescriptions written out for individual patients, or in some cases can send the prescription to the office of the health care provider if it's to be used there. Eleven people nationwide are dead as a result of the fungal meningitis outbreak and more than 100 have been sickened throughout the U-S, including three women in Minnesota.
A faulty manufacturing part is blamed for the recall of some very popular cereal. Michigan-based Kellogg says it's pulled nearly three-million boxes of bite-sized Mini-Wheats, both frosted and unfrosted, because there could be tiny bits of flexible metal mesh in the product. Consumers can to go F-D-A-dot-Gov for more information on the recall.