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ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A man questioned several times in the slaying of a Cold Spring police officer fled from investigators and committed suicide this week, authorities said Friday. They called the man a "person of interest" but said their investigation into the killing of Officer Tom Decker remains active and open. Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Wade Setter identified the man who committed suicide this week as 32-year-old Eric Joseph Thomes of rural Cold Spring.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton is starting the process of filling an upcoming vacancy on the Minnesota Supreme Court that will be created when Justice Paul H. Anderson retires at the end of May. Dayton's office says Friday he has asked the state's Commission on Judicial Selection to consider applications and offer recommendations to Dayton, who will make the final decision. It will be Dayton's second appointment to the state's highest court after Justice Wilhelmina Wright, who joined it in October.
MARY CLARE WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed the most sweeping food safety rules in decades, requiring farmers and food companies to be more vigilant in the wake of deadly outbreaks in peanuts, cantaloupe and leafy greens.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Everyone could use a little help keeping those New Year's resolutions to slim down. But if it means the government limiting junk food, the response is an overwhelming, "No." Americans call obesity a national health crisis and blame too much screen time and cheap fast food for fueling it. But a new poll finds people are split on how much the government should do to help — and most draw the line at attempts to force healthier eating.
BERLIN (AP) — Elephants at the Berlin Zoo finally got a chance to tuck into their Christmas dinner: A feast of donated pine trees. The zoo treated its elephants and some of its other animals to the trees for lunch Friday. Before gobbling the greenery, elephants young and old played with the trees, whose strong smell attracts them. Elephant keeper Ragnar Kuehne said the unsold Christmas trees were donated by local vendors. He said "the animals love it. For them, the Christmas feast is starting now."
NEW YORK (AP) — Two undefeated teams, three Heisman Trophy finalists, five lead changes and 19 seconds left when the winning touchdown was scored. No other BCS title game has come close to matching that perfect formula for broad appeal. The 2006 tilt between Texas and Southern California was on in nearly 22 percent of American homes with televisions; the second-best number is under 18 percent. Now, seven years later, a matchup may finally challenge that Rose Bowl's TV ratings record.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will appear on the series finale of NBC's "30 Rock." Pelosi's office confirmed Friday the California congresswoman will appear but did not reveal any other details. The final episode of Tina Fey's comedy is scheduled to air Jan. 31, ending seven seasons for the Emmy Award-winning show. Other politicians who have appeared on the show include former Vice President Al Gore, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
SEATTLE (AP) — "Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey may be the real "McSteamy." The actor, who was dubbed "McDreamy" by fans of the hospital drama while his co-star affectionately has been called "McSteamy," won a bankruptcy auction to buy Tully's Coffee, a small coffee chain based in Seattle. Among those Dempsey beat out is Tully's much bigger Seattle neighbor, Starbucks Corp., which wanted to convert the cafes to its own brand.
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's official. A tally of the Electoral College vote affirms President Barack Obama's re-election. Vice President Joe Biden presided over a Joint Session of Congress Friday as four members of the House and Senate took turns announcing the votes that had been tallied in state capitals last month. Their count showed Obama capturing 332 electoral votes, far more than the 270 required to win the presidency, to 206 for Republican Mitt Romney.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — New Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau (Juh-NAY' Har-TOE') says reducing crime in north Minneapolis is one of her goals for 2013. Harteau and Mayor R.T. Rybak held a news conference Friday to outline public-safety priorities for this year. Harteau says that one of her new ideas for north Minneapolis includes having police officers get out of their squad cars and walk a beat when they have time. Rybak says the city is also going to continue its efforts to get guns off the streets.