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POLICE SHOOTING-OLIVIA

Olivia police officer cleared in fatal shooting from July

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — A police officer in the western Minnesota town of Olivia won’t face criminal charges over a fatal shooting in July. Minnesota Public Radio reports that Blue Earth County Attorney Patrick McDermott says Officer Aaron Clouse acted within the law when he killed Ricardo Torres Jr. July 4. According to an investigative summary, Clouse was putting up a surveillance camera in an alley when he radioed that shots had been fired. Clouse said he’d seen Torres carrying a gun and told him to drop it. Torres allegedly responded that Clouse should drop his, and pointed a shotgun at the officer, who then shot Torres.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MINNESOTA

Minnesota COVID-19 hospitalizations top 1,400 amid surge

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The number of Minnesota patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has surpassed 1,400 for the first time since last December, before vaccines became available. According to state health department statistics released Friday, Minnesota hospitals were caring for 1,414 patients with complications of the coronavirus, including 340 patients in intensive care. Only 2% of adult intensive care unit beds were free, and 56 hospitals reported that their adult ICU beds were at capacity. The influx of new patients comes as Minnesota reported another 5,162 new infections and 30 additional deaths. Minnesota continues to have one of the highest rates of infection in the nation.

TURKEY PRICES

Turkey producers benefiting from higher prices this year

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Agriculture experts say Minnesota farmers who grow about 45 million turkeys annually will benefit from higher prices this year. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says the price of turkeys has steadily increased as demand has risen following a year in which there were fewer family gatherings and restaurant traffic was down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Livestock marketing economist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service, Tim Petry, says the prices are the best producers have seen for a number of years. And, while turkey prices are up 17 cents a pound from last year, Petry said consumers are still likely to find bargains as many stores sell turkeys below cost and markup other items that go along with a Thanksgiving meal. 

FATAL FARGO SHOOTINGS

Minnesota man charged in killing of couple at Fargo factory

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A 35-year-old man has been charged with three counts of murder in the shooting deaths at a Fargo factory of a man and a woman who was eight months pregnant. Anthony Reese Jr., of Moorhead, Minnesota, is charged with killing 43-year-old Richard Pittman, 32-year-old April Carbone and her unborn child after an argument Wednesday at Composite America. He made his first court appearance Thursday, where a judge set his bond at $2 million and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 16. Authorities allege that Reese shot the couple after getting into an argument at the factory and being told by management to leave. Police say he later returned with a gun and opened fire. 

AP-US-INFRASTRUCTURE-BILL-TRIBES

Tribes welcome infusion of money in infrastructure bill

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The massive infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed this week includes billions of dollars to address long-standing issues with water and sanitation on tribal land. The Indian Health Service says it will consult with tribes on how best to use the $3.5 billion. The amount is enough to fulfill the more than 1,560 projects on the agency’s list of sanitation deficiencies. Tribes welcomed the infusion of money but say sustained investments are needed to make up for decades of neglect and underfunding. The bill also includes funding for broadband in Indian Country, tribal water rights settlements, roads and climate resilience. 

AP-US-BIDEN-HOME-HEATING-BILLS

White House offering more aid for winter heat, utility bills

The Biden administration is helping to distribute several billion dollars in aid for winter heating and utility bills. The money comes largely from the administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. It provides an additional $4.5 billion for the government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which typically has funding of $3 billion to $4 billion annually. Aid for renters can also cover utility costs. The White House is hosting a call Thursday for governors’ offices to help release the aid to vulnerable households. Speakers will include the Energy and Health and Human Services secretaries and the governors of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan and Minnesota.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MINNESOTA

Defense Department will help relieve 2 Minnesota hospitals

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz says the Department of Defense will send medical teams to two major Minnesota hospitals to relieve doctors and nurses who are swamped by a growing wave of COVID-19 patients. The teams, each comprising 22 people, will arrive at Hennepin County Medical Center and St. Cloud Hospital next week and begin treating patients immediately. Walz made the announcement from the Finnish capital of Helsinki. the latest stop on his European trade mission. Minnesota has become one of the country’s worst hotspots for new COVID-19 infections. Hospital beds are filling up with unvaccinated people, and staffers are being worn down by the surge. 

BANKERS SURVEY

Survey shows continued growth in rural economy in November

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new monthly survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests rising economic growth in the region, but confidence in the economy’s future continued to drop. The overall Rural Mainstreet economic index rose in November to 67.7 from October’s 66.1. Any score above 50 suggests growth. The survey’s confidence index, which reflects bank CEO expectations for the economy six months out, sank for the fifth straight month to 48.4 in November. That’s the lowest level since August of last year and down from October’s 51.8. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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