Minnesota News Briefs: Arsonist sets fire to veterinary hospital in North BranchMinnesota News
-- Authorities are offering a $2,500 reward in a case of arson in east-central Minnesota.
NORTH BRANCH, Minn. - Authorities are offering a $2,500 reward in a case of arson in east-central Minnesota.
Police in the city of North Branch say a fire at the local veterinary hospital was intentionally set early Sunday. As firefighters put the flames out, five dogs and a cat were rescued. None were hurt.
Jury selection gets under way today (Mon) for a central Minnesota woman accused of killing her ex-husband in Sauk Rapids last November. Thirty-nine-year-old Angelina O’Mara of Rice is charged with first- and second-degree murder for allegedly shooting James O’Mara in the head. Choosing the jury is expected to last most of the day with opening arguments likely to begin Tuesday. O'Mara is also charged with fatally shooting her boyfriend, Michael Pies of Blaine, the next day in Ashland, Wisconsin. O'Mara was arrested a few days later in South Dakota.
There are different opinions on whether the U.S. economy is poised to fully recover. Many analysts point to consumers spending more and saving less, while home prices continue to rise. But Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says the recovery so far is misleading. He says some of this has been boosted by the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing three". He says what that has done has given an artificial jump to the economy, meaning it will go away like your caffeine does when you drink your morning coffee and unfortunately that's what we're going to see. Most all economists do agree that the president-elect and Congress must deal with the fiscal cliff of rising taxes and deep spending cuts set to take effect early in 2013.
Prices at the pump haven't been this low since last January. Minnesota-Gas-Prices.com reports regular unleaded averaging $3.22 a gallon statewide -- 28-cents below the national average and nearly 20-cents less than what we were paying a year ago. A few spots in the metro are selling gas at just above three-dollars-a-gallon this morning.
Xcel Energy says it needs about $290-million more to provide better service to customers. The Minneapolis-based utility is proposing an increase of nine-dollars per month for a typical residential customer. Laura McCarten, Xcel's vice president of operations in Minnesota, says the increase will also go toward operations of Xcel's nuclear plants in the state and improving the electric grid -- which includes the poles and wires that deliver electricity to customers' homes and businesses. Xcel's request is currently being reviewed by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.