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  • MINNEAPOLIS-- Drought conditions are straining water supplies in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, leading Minnesota officials on Thursday to urge residents to cut back on their water use. "We're encouraging all nonessential uses to really be curtailed and stopped," Department of Natural Resources official Dave Leuthe said during a conference call with reporters. "

  • In a scene reminiscent of the Dust Bowl days, choking dust suspended on strong wind gusts shrouded Interstate 35, which links Dallas and Oklahoma City to Kansas City, Mo. Video from television station helicopters showed the four-lane highway virtually disappearing into billowing dust on the harsh landscape near Blackwell, plus dozens of vehicles scattered in the median and on the shoulders.

  • NEW YORK-- The fungus found in tainted steroid shots matches the one behind the national meningitis outbreak that has killed 20 people, federal health officials said Thursday.

  • MINNEAPOLIS-- Officials have told school lunch programs across the country to check to see whether they have any Smucker's Uncrustables sandwiches that might contain peanut butter made by a New Mexico company that is being recalled because of potential salmonella contamination.

  • MINNEAPOLIS-- In a story Oct. 17 about Select Comfort's Corp.' s earnings, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the company expects fourth-quarter sales to grow at least 20 percent, which would result in 2012 revenue of about $927.3 million. Select Comfort shares slip on plans for bigger spending.

  • CHANHASSEN, Minn.-- Life Time Fitness Inc. said Thursday that its third-quarter profit rose 19 percent as more people joined its gyms and spent more money at them. For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the Chanhassen, Minn.- based company earned $32.1 million, or 77 cents per share, up from $27 million, or 66 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

  • Michele Bachmann's tendency to cause a ruckus on Capitol Hill made her a tea party sensation. Allen West of Florida, Steve King of Iowa and Joe Walsh of Illinois are all embroiled in tough and expensive races that are drawing plenty of spending by friends and foes from around the country.

  • ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday appointed the director of the state Trade Office, who also worked on his 2010 campaign, as the new commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

  • ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Minnesota's unemployment rate remains a full two percentage points better than the national average. Figures for September show the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for Minnesota fell to 5.8 percent, a tick lower than September.

  • GRAND ISLAND, Neb.-- North Dakota- based Titan Machinery Inc. says it's buying three CaseIH agriculture equipment dealerships in Nebraska. Titan, of West Fargo, N.D., says it is acquiring Toner's Inc., which operates Toner's in Grand Island, Red Line Equipment in Broken Bow and Ord Equipment in Ord.

  • On Tuesday, the NHL made its strongest, and most public, pitch yet to save a full season. "I hope we can get going ASAP," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall told The Associated Press on Wednesday. " Fehr met with the union to formulate a response, and in a letter to players and agents said the management plan would cost his members more than $1.6 billion over six years.

  • NEW YORK-- Grocery store operator Supervalu lost money in its latest quarter, but the struggling company said it is in active discussions with several parties over a possible deal. Supervalu fired its CEO in July, replacing him with Chairman Wayne Sales to lead its turnaround effort.

  • BURLINGTON, N.C.-- Laboratory Corp. of America posted a 10 percent rise in third-quarter earnings compared with last year during the same period, when the clinical lab was weighed down by the cost of several acquisitions. For the third quarter, LabCorp earned $148 million, or $1.53 per share.

  • U.S. Bancorp's relative strength in a tough quarter for many banks earned it an upgrade early Thursday, setting the stage for a second day of gains for the Minneapolis- based bank. U.S. Bancorp, the eighth-biggest American bank by assets, said Wednesday that its net income rose 14 percent in the third quarter.

  • MINNEAPOLIS-- Polaris Industries' net income surged 40 percent in the third quarter on higher prices, reduced product costs and strong sales of a variety of its vehicles. Polaris Industries Inc. earned $94.3 million, or $1.33 per share, compared with $67.6 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.

  • MINNEAPOLIS-- 3 M Co. makes an array of stuff that, taken together, can be a good indicator of where the economy is today, and where it's headed. That's what investors will be looking for when 3 M reports third-quarter results on Tuesday. WHAT TO WATCH FOR: 3 M makes Post-it notes.

  • MINNEAPOLIS-- Select Comfort Corp.' s shares dropped in after-hours trading Wednesday after the mattress company issued a disappointing full-year revenue forecast. Select Comfort said that its third-quarter profit increased by 52 percent on stronger sales. Select Comfort made $26.2 million, or 46 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 29.

  • MINNEAPOLIS-- Investment bank Piper Jaffray Cos. said Wednesday that it turned a profit in the third quarter on stronger results from both its capital markets and asset management businesses. Piper Jaffray said revenue for its capital markets business climbed 42 percent on increased equity financing and fixed-income financing revenue.

  • Home theaters and wine cellars have trickled down to the masses. What follows are truly exceptional features that you won’t see in just any mansion!

  • ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Medical device maker St. Jude Medical Inc. reported third-quarter earnings Wednesday that beat expectations, though company shares slumped as the executives warned that the company could receive a regulatory warning over a California manufacturing plant.