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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Minnesota man killed along I-35 in Iowa

ST. CHARLES, Iowa --  A Minnesota man was killed Christmas night on Interstate 35 in southern Iowa after his vehicle became stranded. 

The Iowa State Patrol says 74-year-old Lawrence Anderson of Marine on St.Croix chased a dog onto the freeway and was struck by an SUV.  Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene.  Troopers did not fault the SUV driver. No one else was hurt. 

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Police in St. Cloud are investigating a Christmas Day armed robbery in the parking lot of a CVS Pharmacy.  Officers say a 32-year-old woman was approached by a man who displayed a handgun, demanded her purse and ran away.  The victim was not hurt and her purse was later recovered, but the items of value had already been removed.  The suspect is a 25- to 30-year-old white male, between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-9, with a thin build and a dark goatee. 

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The blogger who broke the story about Target's security breach now identifies someone who may be related to the crime.  Security blogger Brian Krebs says Andrew Hodirevski from the Ukraine appears to be the likely suspect.  He bases that on comments posted on Web sites used by hackers.  The New York Times says Krebs is not linking Hodirevski to the data breach itself -- but Krebs says the suspect is allegedly offering the scammed debit-and-credit card data to identity thieves for up to $100 a card.  Officials said hackers appeared to have access to data from all 1,800 U.S. Target stores.  Krebs first reported last week that somebody broke into computers connected to the boxes where Target customers swipe their cards.  Up to $40-million customers had their data compromised, but there's no way of knowing yet how many actual identity theft victims there could be.  The matter remains under investigation by the federal government as well as Minneapolis-based Target. 

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Minnesotans who want to comment on a proposed $44-million rate hike request from CenterPoint Energy only have until December 31 to do so. Centerpoint wants a nearly 90-percent increase in the basic monthly charge, regardless of usage.  The Minnesota Department of Commerce has recommended that be cut in half.  Amy McDonough with AARP of Minnesota says it will hit the elderly and others on fixed incomes especially hard.  She says consumers can weigh-in by email at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, and it's pretty easy to do.  A final decision on the rake hike request is expected in the spring.

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Congressman Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis) keeps pushing for a federal minimum wage hike despite long odds of its passage in the U.S. House.  The Minnesota DFLer says wages have been stagnant for four decades and people need better pay.  Ellison says workers making $7.25 an hour cannot afford to put food on the table while CEOs and Wall Street-types are getting exorbitant bonuses.  A new Washington Post-ABC Poll shows 66 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage.  Republicans warn it will choke off job growth and shrink the available pool of jobs for younger workers. 

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People across Minnesota are being urged to find time for a flu shot, as state health officials are reporting a rise in influenza activity across the state. Jennifer Heath with the Minnesota Department of Health says one of the strains going around is H1N1, which has mostly affected adults and school-age kids.  Heath says H1N1 is covered in this year's vaccine, which is recommended for everyone six months and older.

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A group of runners left Fort Snelling at midnight, running all night, and are expected to arrive today in Mankato.  It's part of the annual remembrance of the hanging of 38 Dakota men on December 26th, 1862 at the end of the U.S.-Dakota War.  Early this morning, 38 Dakota riders on horseback arrived in Mankato from South Dakota.  In 2012 the City of Mankato dedicated a new monument that bears the names of the 38 who were hanged.  Last year hundreds were on hand to greet the runners and riders on the 150th anniversary of the executions.

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