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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republicans and Democrats in state capitals across the country are talking ambitiously about what they'll do next year with the unchecked power they amassed in the fall elections. In more states than not, one party now has full control of government. But you won't hear much brash talk in Des Moines. Here, party leaders are warning supporters about what they shouldn't look forward to next year and speaking mildly about compromises.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Owners of an old-school soda shop in St. Paul, Minn., are being warned to kick the habit and stop stocking novelty candy cigarettes. City inspectors threatened a misdemeanor citation and $500 fine if Lynden's soda fountain is caught selling the fake smokes again. The Star Tribune reported Wednesday that the offering violated an ordinance barring the sale of candy smokes and cartoon character lighters.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A dispute over access to records kept by a private contractor doing public work is headed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The high court intends to review a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision that ruled a small-town newspaper could get access to contractor data related to a major school construction project. The case has broader implications for how records held by private companies are treated when the work is done at public expense.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — As Hennepin County authorities consider whether to bring charges against a Minneapolis father whose 4-year-old son accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old brother, a Minnesota Public Radio News analysis shows such prosecutions are rare but not unprecedented. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman tells MPR that such decisions are among the toughest prosecutors face. He says the parents are usually experiencing terrible anguish.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Three people are accused of killing a man in Minneapolis by jumping on and beating him. The Star Tribune reports police say that witnesses reported seeing three males taking turns jumping from a retaining wall onto Kerry Duane Scott's chest and abdomen "like a trampoline" on Nov. 17. Officers found Scott bleeding from the head and paramedics pronounced him dead. Minneapolis police said Monday that 33-year-old Tony Baker, of Brooklyn Center, has been arrested and charged in Hennepin County District Court with second-degree murder.
WABASHA, Minn. (AP) — Wabasha's planning commission has unanimously approved a permit for a permanent facility to process Wisconsin sand. A Rochester Post-Bulletin report says the Superior Sand System plant will be used to store silica sand and load it onto rail cars. Some citizens urged the city council to require an environmental assessment. But the members decided the conditional-use permit was enough. Also, the plant is on railroad land, where federal regulations override local ones. The only power the city has is to regulate trucks.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Needed: A few good helicopters and pilots for Minnesota fire control. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is hunting for helicopter services for its fire control bases in Cloquet, Princeton and Roseau. The agency hopes to hear from potential vendors by early January.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The whooping cough hit Minnesota residents hard this year — with the biggest number of cases since World War II. More than 4,300 Minnesota residents had confirmed, probable or suspected cases of the respiratory infection called pertussis this year, according to Minnesota Public Radio News ( http://bit.ly/RhXFy9 ). There were 661 in 2011. The numbers reflect a national increase in cases.
HONOLULU (AP) — With a yearend deadline looming before the economy goes over the so-called fiscal cliff, President Barack Obama is cutting short his traditional Christmas holiday in Hawaii, planning to leave for Washington on Wednesday evening. Obama was expected to arrive in Washington early Thursday, the White House said late Tuesday. First lady Michelle Obama and the couple's two daughters are scheduled to remain in Hawaii until Jan. 6.
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — An enormous storm system that dumped snow and sleet on the nation's midsection and unleashed damaging tornadoes around the Deep South began punching its way toward the Northeast on Wednesday, slowing holiday travel. Post-Christmas travelers braced for flight delays and a raft of weather warnings for drivers, a day after rare winter twisters damaged buildings in Louisiana and Alabama.