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BEMIDJI – A 40-year-old Hill City woman has been sentenced for stalking a man with whom she’d had an affair. Rhonda Jean Hjelden was sentenced Dec. 10 by Beltrami County District Judge John Melbye for gross misdemeanor stalking. She was given a one-year jail sentence with 362 days stayed for one year. She was ordered to serve three days in jail, pay or work off a $500 fine, pay $160 in fees and serve one year of probation.
TURTLE LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Nine workers were sent to a hospital after chemical fumes prompted an evacuation of a western Wisconsin plant. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says his office was notified about 11:30 a.m. Thursday of the evacuation at the Sanmina plant in Turtle Lake. Fitzgerald says three chemicals were mixed together, producing fumes. He says 60 employees were evacuated, and nine were taken to a hospital with minor respiratory problems.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota has reported its first flu-related death of the season. A Minnesota Department of Health spokesman tells the Star Tribune ( http://bit.ly/ZVv7OF ) the victim was a man in his 60s who had underlying health problems. Meanwhile, state officials report a dramatic rise in the number of flu cases in schools and hospitals. The Health Department reports 47 schools reported flu outbreaks in the week ending Dec. 15. That's nearly four times the number of schools the week before.
MERIDA, Mexico (AP) — The celebration of the cosmic dawn began with a fumbling of the sacred fire meant to honor Friday's end of the Mayan long count calendar. Gabriel Lemus, the white-haired guardian of the flame, burned his finger on the kindling and later had to scoop up a burning log that was knocked out of the ceremonial brazier onto the wooden stage.
VIENNA (AP) — It was 1947 in post-war Vienna, and Hilde Zadek remembers taking a deep breath behind the curtain. A rookie on her first opera gig, she was about to sing the prestigious role of Aida for an audience full of particularly harsh critics — whistle-packing Nazis she says were determined to show "that Jew from Palestine" she was not welcome at one of the world's greatest opera houses. But their whistles stayed silent, as Zadek celebrated her first on-stage triumph.
WASHINGTON (AP) — "Breakfast at Tiffany's," ''Dirty Harry" and "A League of Their Own" will be preserved for their enduring significance in American culture by the Library of Congress, along with "A Christmas Story" and some pioneering sports movies.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A member of a Minnesota horse industry group has been charged with felony animal cruelty in the treatment of her horses. The Star Tribune reports that Carol Dobbelaire, 63, of Buffalo, was suspended by the Minnesota Horse Council, an umbrella group that represents different parts of Minnesota's equine industry. Her husband Rick was also charged. Court documents allege that some of the couple's 16 horses were so hungry they had begun eating away at the walls of their barn. Two were so emaciated they had to be killed.
NEW YORK (AP) — Police say a man dressed as a Super Mario Brother has been arrested for groping a woman in New York City's Times Square. An NYPD spokesman says 34-year-old Damon Torres of North Bergen, N.J., was charged with forcible touching on Wednesday. Police say Torres blocked a 58-year-old woman's path in front of 4 Times Square and grabbed her thigh before walking away. The woman notified police officers, who arrested Torres at the famous tourist attraction. Torres was also charged with marijuana possession.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — More funerals and a memorial service are scheduled to be held in Connecticut and New York for students and teachers killed by a gunman at an elementary school. Funerals are scheduled Thursday in Connecticut for 7-year-old Grace McDonnell and 6-year-olds Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, Catherine Violet Hubbard, Jesse Lewis and Allison Wyatt. A funeral will be held Thursday morning in Katonah, N.Y., for teacher Anne Marie Murphy. A memorial service has been scheduled for teacher Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When it comes to making coins, the Mint isn't getting its two cents worth. In some cases, it doesn't even get half of that. A penny costs more than two cents and a nickel costs more than 11 cents to make and distribute. The quandary is how to make coins more cheaply without sparing our change's quality and durability, or altering its size and appearance.