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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Mankato couple sentenced to jail for starving their son

A North Mankato couple accused of starving their adopted child, will be going to jail. 45-year-old Mona Hauer was sentenced to 60 days and her husband, 45-year-old Russell Hauer, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 15 days home monitoring. Mona Hauer was taken into custody immediately after yesterday's(tues) hearing, but Russell Hauer will not begin his jail time until his wife has completed hers. She could be released in 40 days with good behavior. The couple's eight year-old boy was severely malnourished and weighed less than 35 pounds when his mother took him to a Mankato hospital last year because she thought he had vomited blood. Doctors say he was about the weight of an average 4-year-old. A judge did terminate the couple's parental rights earlier this year.


The state Commerce Department says CenterPoint Energy should get only half the 44-million-dollar natural gas rate increase it's requesting. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman says areas in CenterPoint's rate request are "excessive" and the smaller increase will allow the utility to provide safe and reliable service while making needed improvements to its distribution facilities. A CenterPoint spokeswoman says the company will evaluate the Commerce Department's and other parties' positions and respond by a late-December deadline. Public hearings are next week in Brainerd, Bloomington and Mankato, and the following week in Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis. CenterPoint provides natural gas service to over 800-thousand customers in central and southern Minnesota.


A proposal to ban concealed weapons from the State Capitol building suffered a major setback Tuesday when an advisory committee voted it down. It's always possible it could be resurrected when lawmakers return to Saint Paul in late February, but Saint Paul Democrat Michael Paymar says it would be "very difficult" to get something passed because the governor does not support banning guns in the Capitol. Paymar is in favor of it but says as chair of the House Public Safety Committee he's "not willing to go through an exercise in futility."


An official pardon from President Obama this afternoon (12:15 CST) at the White House for two Minnesota turkeys in what's become a holiday tradition. The National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate were hatched and raised near Badger. National Turkey Federation President John Burkel says after receiving their presidential pardon, the birds will stay at Mount Vernon through the holidays, then live out the rest of their lives at Morven Park, an historic turkey farm in Virginia. A turkey that visited Governor Dayton at the Capitol Monday for the official Thanksgiving kickoff is not so lucky. That bird is being processed and the meat will be donated to the Salvation Army.


After a sleepless night and long discussions with his wife Laura, Duluth Mayor Don Ness on Tuesday announced he would be turning down a proposed 25 percent pay raise the City Council had approved. At a news conference with his wife, Mayor Ness said the raise would have interfered with his credibility and the connection with his constituents. He did credit the councilors who took on the issue and said the salary increase should be for the position and not the person. The council also approved forming a salary review committee that would meet every two years to consider mayoral salary adjustments.


Macy's at the Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka was evacuated late yesterday(tues) morning (Tues) after a fire broke out in a construction area next to the store. Damage was minimal, the store did re-open and no injuries were reported. Officials say the fire spread behind walls and crews had a difficult time getting at it. The construction area is a major expansion of the store's women's department. The fire comes as the retailer gears up for tomorrow(Thursday) night's official kick-off of the holiday shopping season.


Today(wed) is one of the busiest travel days of the year at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. If you are heading to the East Coast for Thanksgiving, travel could be tricky as the region deals with inclement weather. Airport spokesman Pat Hogan says be sure to check with your airline before heading to the airport to make sure that your flight hasn't been impacted. He says even if the sun is shining here there could be weather elsewhere that could impact your flight. If your flight is on-time, Hogan recommends getting to the airport at least two hours before your flight.


Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is co-sponsoring legislation to crack down on sex trafficking. Klobuchar says the bill is modeled after Minnesota's "safe harbor" laws which help ensure minors sold for sex aren't prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims. Klobuchar says the Internet has been a prime spot where these young girls are being solicited. She says while the Internet is a great way to connect and do research it's also a spot where these perpetrators are going after these young girls. Klobuchar says dozens of young girls are advertised on-line every day for sex.


Students are calling for more police to patrol the campus at the University of Minnesota. Over three-thousand people have signed an online petition urging the move. University officials say they have increased patrols and the efforts are paying off despite a recent spike in crime. Patrols were stepped up two weeks ago after an armed man allegedly tried to steal a student's laptop in Anderson Hall.