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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: U issues crime alert after another abduction attempt

MINNEAPOLIS --  University of Minnesota police are investigating an attempted abduction on campus yesterday. 

A female student told officers two men tried to force her into a vehicle just after midnight on Wednesday morning as she walked near the intersection of University Avenue and Oak Street Southeast.  She tried to use pepper spray to defend herself, only to have one suspect push her to the ground and spray her with it.  The suspects drove off after she started to scream.  This comes after a student was sexually assaulted by a man claiming to be a police officer near the U of M campus early Sunday morning.  U of M campus police recently increased patrols due to a rise in crime this fall semester.


A 44-year-old Ramsey man is facing several criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly sexually assaulting young boys.  Police allege Chad Geyen has been molesting boys younger than 13 since the mid-1990's and met one victim while serving as a mentor with the Big Brother program.  That victim served as the ring bearer in Geyen's wedding and alleges he also saw the man assault his cousin.  The Anoka County Sheriff's Department is asking anyone who may have been a victim to contact detectives.


President Obama has signed into law (Wed) a bill sponsored by Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) to increase federal scrutiny of compounding pharmacies that custom-mix medications.  Last year 64 Americans died and hundreds were infected after a Massachusetts drug compounding facility distributed a steroid contaminated with a fungus that causes meningitis.  Several health care facilities in Minnesota gave the tainted drugs to patients.  Franken says with his bill now law, people in Minnesota and around the country will have greater peace of mind about the safety of their medicine.


A Woodbury man has been behind bars in the United Arab Emirates for a comedy video on YouTube for seven months and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) is now working for his release.  Shezanne Cassim  made the fake documentary with friends to make fun of the city of Satwa and the youth culture in Dubai over a year ago.  He and others were arrested in April for allegedly violating that nation's cyber crimes law and was deemed a threat to national security.  Senator Klobuchar met with the UAE ambassador this summer and has been pressuring the State Department to do something.


Weather records show it's common to have a high temperature below freezing on Thanksgiving in Minnesota, and that will likely be the case again today.  Assistant state climatologist Pete Boulay says last Thanksgiving was an interesting weather day:  It started out balmy across much of the state, but then in the afternoon a cold front came through, sleet fell and it changed over to snow.  Boulay says some places even had blowing and drifting snow that evening.  In 1998, the mercury reached 58 degrees on Thanksgiving Day and some golf courses were open in southern Minnesota.  


Black Friday looms.  It's the busiest shopping day of the year and the experts predict a robust shopping season.  Dan Hendrickson of the Minnesota Better Business Bureau says even though it can be a hectic day, it's good to take time and be sure you're getting the best deal.  He says the Better Business Bureau feels most retailers are doing their best to advertise ethically and honestly, but it's easy to be a little off and not know what competitors are doing all the time.  Hendrickson says it's a good strategy to do your research on prices online, so you know what to expect when you hit the stores Friday morning.


The cost of this year's Thanksgiving feast is down 44-cents from 2012's high.  The American Farm Bureau Federation says feeding ten people this year will cost an average of $49.04.  Last year, a turkey day dinner ran an average of $49.48 cents  A jump in turkey production is believed to be a driving factor in the lower price.  Items such as peas, rolls and pie shells are more affordable this year, while milk and pumpkin pie mix prices are slightly higher.  Sweet potatoes saw the largest increase of 21 cents per three-pounds.  Minnesota is the nation's largest domestic turkey producer.