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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Xcel Energy to sue GE over turbine accident

ST. PAUL - Xcel Energy and insurers of its Sherco plant are suing General Electric over a 2011 turbine accident that wrecked one of the units in Becker. 

The suit alleges that GE knew about a defect in its turbine blades for years but never told Xcel about it.  The company claims that repair costs from the turbine failure have exceeded $200-million.  Xcel's electric customers were passed along $65-million in costs for replacement power during the 22-month repair. 


Just when you thought Google Glass couldn't get any creepier; a Minnesota lawmaker has voiced "deep concern" about a new app developed for the wearable computer that gives the user access to the personal information of strangers -- including their name and even their social networking and dating site profiles. U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) says the Name Tag app could put Minnesotans at risk of harassment, stalking, and other personal security concerns.  He says you could be walking down the street, look at someone, and this app will identify who they are and link in with their dating site - whatever they've said about that.  It really is a whole new area of privacy.  Franken is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, and has asked the company to limit the facial recognition feature to people who agree to it.  He has also requested that they delay the app launch until best practices for facial recognition technology are established - a process which is now underway in Washington.


Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura says he's living in Mexico and moving from place to place "so the drones can't find me." Ventura was promoting his show "Off The Grid" on CNBC's Closing Bell when he explained his reasons for leaving the United States.  Ventura described the U.S. as 'much like East Berlin' and says he's living completely off the grid.  Ventura also says he's creating jobs in Mexico by hiring locals, and in the U.S. by, "stopping them from running across the border now and taking our jobs."  Ventura says his Ora TV program is broadcast using solar power.


Actress Geena Davis is coming to the College of St. Benedict in central Minnesota later this month.  The Academy Award-winning actor will deliver the 2014 Renaissance Series lecture on February 25th and discuss "Gender Equality in the Media."  The event is free and open to everyone.  Davis won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "The Accidental Tourist" and was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for "Thelma and Louise." She is also a world-class athlete, and was one time ranked as high as 13th in the nation in archery.