The past year wasn't a good one for KARE-11. During sweeps month in November, the consistently top-rated station was beat out by WCCO. And in December, the channel saw the departure of anchor Frank Vascellaro and longtime meteorologist Ken Barlow and his finger-encasing black leather gloves. While Barlow left for a better-paying gig in Boston, Vascellaro reportedly left after failed contract negotiations left him taking home a good bit less than co-anchor Julie Nelson. Despite its many wrongheaded efforts over the past two years, KARE will never rebuild the family it had when Paul Magers was the tanned and proud papa. Instead, the news channel needs to recognize it doesn't need a man to build its brand. KARE's Nelson might be the smartest and most credible news anchor the Twin Cities has seen in years. More than just a personable and pretty talking head, Nelson allows reporters to tell a story rather than taking over the spotlight by brandishing an abrasive personality and a witch's broom. In fact, Nelson brings a rarely seen freshness and humility to journalism: It's not about her, but the story. Unfortunately, she has to share the news desk with newcomer Mike Pomeranz, who hasn't quite learned that Minnesotans don't generally take a shine to claymation characters with smiles that could blind a bald eagle.