Minnesota News Briefs: Vigil held for slain Cold Spring officerMinnesota News
-- Last night's vigil for a fallen police officer brought out tears and laughter in the city of Cold Spring.
COLD SPRING, Minn. - Last night's vigil for a fallen police officer brought out tears and laughter in the city of Cold Spring.
Fellow officers, friends and family members shared stories about how Tom Decker touched their lives. Decker had been a member of the Cold Spring police department since 2006. He was shot and killed Thursday night while responding to a welfare check. Visitation is this afternoon at 4 p.m. and his funeral service is tomorrow at 11 a.m. Thirty-four year old Ryan Larson was arrested and murder charges could come today.
Volunteers with "Operation Minnesota Nice" gather tonight in Sauk Rapids to create and send care packages to service members overseas. The organization works with military representatives to identify soldiers who do not receive any mail or support from family and friends. Scott Sehnert says one of their volunteers works at a group home with kids who adopted a soldier. He says one of the most rewarding things is to see volunteers developing lasting relationships with their soldiers even after their service is complete.
Monday's balmy weather around the Twin Cities has only appeared on such a date a handful of times. The State Climatology Office says there have been just 20 December days in modern history where the mercury exceeded yesterday's high of 55-degrees. The record high was 62, set in 1962. The normal Twin Cities high this time of year is around 31-degrees. Folks in the lower-half of the state are still waking up to warmer-than-normal temperatures this morning but the December "heat" is tapering off. Forty-five-degrees is as high as it will get this afternoon in southern Minnesota while across the northern-third of the state, it's teens and low-20's later on.
November held some higher-than-normal temperatures for much of the state. But state climatologist Greg Spoden says one of the big stories weatherwise was the drought, which in most areas worsened during November. He says over 83-percent of the state is now rated in severe or extreme drought. Spoden says with low amounts of winter precipitation, combined with the ground freezing, there will likely be little change in the winter months.
Governor Dayton and Wisconsin counterpart Scott Walker are among the governors meeting with President Obama this morning (9:10am) about the so-called "fiscal cliff." Dayton Chief of Staff Tina Smith says the president invited the National Governors Association executive committee to the White House to tell him how it will affect their states. Smith says the message will be that a deficit-reduction package that passes spending cuts on to states, but expects them to maintain the same level of effort, doesn't really work. The state's latest budget forecast comes out tomorrow (WED), and Smith says uppermost in the governor's mind will be how federal uncertainty could affect Minnesota's fiscal planning.
Up to 500 jobs could be coming to the Twin Cities suburb of Shakopee. Reports say a division of St. Louis-based Emerson Electric has acquired a half-million square-foot facility and officials are looking for state and local government to open the plant next year. Emerson says the workforce would make products that serve the energy industry. The facility being considered was built by the former ADC Communications but never used.
A meeting is set this afternoon with the State Canvassing Board to clarify resutls from two tight state races this past November. Following a recount in Alexandria's House District 8B, Republican Mary Franson held a 12-vote lead over Democratic challenger Bob Cunniff. Meanwhile, in Northfield's Senate District-20, former DFL Senator Kevin Dahle led Republican challenger Michael Dudley by 78 votes. Four judges and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie make up the board.