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4-year-old Shoots and Kills 2-year-old Brother

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Minnesota Public Radio and WCCO report that a 2-year-old boy was shot and killed by his 4-year-old brother Wednesday in Minneapolis.

Police said the shooting happened in Minneapolis's Riverside neighborhood on the 1900 block of 7th Street South. They were called to the scene just before 1 p.m.

Both reports say the toddler was pronounced dead in the ambulance at the scene.

Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer says the the toddler was shot by his 4-year-old brother who was playing with a fire arm.

Palmer says the parents and their 1-year-old were also home at the time of the incident. They also have a 5-year-old, who was not home at the time. Their children are in protective custody for the time being

There have been no arrests, but the parents are being interviewed by investigators, according to both reports.

Police officer shot and killed in Cold Spring, Minn.

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The Pioneer Press and West Central Tribune report that a police officer was shot and killed in Cold Spring late Thursday.

Officer Tom Decker, a six-year veteran and father of four, had gone to check on a man's welfare when he was fatally shot after getting out of his squad car, West Central Tribune said.

Both newspapers report that Decker was shot by 34-year-old Ryan Michael Larson. Cold Spring officers had stopped at Larson's second-floor apartment in downtown Cold Spring less than two hours before the shooting, but he didn't come to the door.

Decker and his partner then returned to the apartment, when he was shot. Family members of Larson had called police to inform them that he might be suicidal.

Records show that Larson was convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct in Stearns County in 2009. As part of a plea deal, he served one day in jail and had a three-month sentence stayed. In addition, he agreed to undergo domestic abuse counseling. A no-contact order was issued. Court files indicated he violated his probation in 2010, according to the Pioneer Press.

According to stories by Kare11.com and Sun Thisweek, police have charged an Eagan couple with excessive punishment and neglect involving the care of their teenage son.

Gregory and Angela Danner are each charged with two gross misdemeanors, according to Kare 11.

According to the criminal complaint, Angela, 41, and her husband, Gregory, 44, removed the lights and bed from the 15-year-old boy's bedroom in the basement as punishment. They also blocked the window from the outside to prevent light from entering the room.

The boy also told authorities that the Danners often forced him to do between 1,500 and 2,000 pushups per day, wall-sits that last between 20 minutes and an hour, and also regularly made him run outside for several miles in frigid conditions, says Kare 11.

Prosecutors also allege that the Danners forced the boy to eat in his room, existing on a diet that consisted mainly of peanut butter sandwiches. They allegedly had a video camera in the room so they could monitor the teen's every move, allowed only to leave his room to use the bathroom.

These practices reportedly began when the boy was 12-years-old.


Minnesota Non-profits Bring in Over $14 Million

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According to stories filed by the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, Minnesota non-profit organizations raised over $14 million during Thursday's fourth annual "Give to the Max Day."

Last year, 47,000 donators contributed with the philanthropic website, which ultimately raised upwards of $13.4 million, according to the Pioneer Press. This year's proceeds exceeded that number.

There was so much traffic on the GiveMN.org website that many of the donators received error messages when they tried making their donations.

Among the biggest winners were Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, a suburban anti-poverty group which received more than $250,000 in 24 hours, and Cretin-Derham Hall of St. Paul, which saw more than $220,000 in donations, according to the Star Tribune.

The story said that for the first time, public schools were eligible to receive donations for this event.

The exact number of donations and the money raised won't be available until Friday. Last year, the event solidified Minnesota as the country's leader in day-long events like this, said the Star Tribune.

Rare November Tornadoes Touch Down in Burnsville

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A rare Nov. thunderstorm Saturday night caused two tornadoes touched down briefly in Burnsville, Minn., according to reports from WCCO.com and Patch.com.

Although the level of the tornadoes were low on the EF Fujita scale, the damage was quite considerable, said WCCO. Patch said that the wind speeds reached 80 mph.

According to WCCO, only one tornado has been recorded in November since 1950. These tornadoes left two miles of damage in their path.

As reported by Patch, as the storm cell tracked northeast, the tornado blew down numerous trees and power lines and bent a stop sign all the way to the ground, the weather service said.

The first tornado spun up northeast of the intersection of County Road 5 and McAndrews Road in Burnsville around 10:58 p.m., according to weather service officials.

Seven minutes later, another tornado struck near Skyline Drive east of Hwy. 13. This tornado had maximum speeds of 75 and headed northeast to the Lost Spur Golf Course just south of Interstate 494.

The damage from the storm left thousands without power, said Patch.

Democrats Take Control of Minn. Legislature

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According to reports from WCCO and the Houston Chronicle (via The Associated Press), Minnesota Democrats have taken control of the state's legislature for the first time since 1990.

After winning back the House and Senate on Tuesday, Democrats have complete control of Minnesota's legislature.

With a Democratic majority in both houses, Gov. Mark Dayton now has an opening to raise income taxes on Minnesota's wealthy class, says the Houston Chronicle.

Democrats won seats in Minnesota suburbs like Eagan and Edina as well as regional centers like Owatonna and Willmar, just two years after Republicans swept both houses. The Republican majority and Gov. Dayton butted heads over taxes, ultimately leading to a government shutdown.

According to WCCO, Republicans blame the losses on what they called well-funded, fear-driven, dirty campaigns ran by the Democrats. The report said that voters seemed to blame the GOP on the shutdown as well as the conservative-based amendment questions on this year's ballot about voter ID and gay marriage.

Voters rejected both amendments Tuesday.

Both reports stressed the fact that the Minnesota GOP's failure to work alongside Gov. Dayton to get any work done. Top Senate Democrat Tom Baak of Cook told the AP that "(The GOP's) priorities did not reflect Minnesota."

50 Wolves Killed in First Managed Hunt

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According to reports from Kare11.com and Twincities.com, hunters killed at least fifty wolves during the opening weekend of Minnesota's first managed wolf hunt, the Department of Natural Resources said.

The regions wolves were taken off the endangered list this past January. According to the reports, Minnesota has set a quota for 400 wolves to be killed for the season.

Before Saturday's opener, the DNR predicted hunters would take about 70 wolves in the early season, just a 2 percent success rate for the 3,600 hunters who had early-season licenses, according to Twincities.com

There has been some controversy with the decision to hunt the wolves, says Kare11.com. Protesters were stationed in Duluth and on the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation near Cloquet over the weekend.

DNR officials say there will be enough wolves in the state to hunt them safely without affecting the overall population.

Two other groups are planning to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in hopes of restoring wolves to the endangered list, says the Twincities,com report.

Xcel Enery files for Minnesota rate increase

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According to reports from the Star Tribune and Dailyfinance.com, Xcel Energy asked Minnesota regulators for a 10.7 percent increase in electric rates on Friday.

According to both articles, the company is asking for an extra $285 million in revenue to pay for investments in nuclear power plants and a stronger grid.

The Star Tribune said that for the typical residential customer, the increase would mean roughly an extra 9$ on monthly bills.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission heard the request from Xcel. The increase in rates would allow continuation of nuclear power plants in Monticello and Prairie Island.

Both reports say that Xcel is trying to give back to its customers as well by proposing ways to help encourage efficient business growth and jobs to benefit all customers over the long term.

Xcel Energy serves 1.2 million Minnesota residents for their electricity.

The Minnesota commission is expected to hold public hearings in spring, and a decision is expected in fall, with final rates effective in the first quarter of 2014, says Daily Finance.

Mankato Football Coach Takes the Stand

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Minnesota State University, Mankato head football coach Todd Hoffner took the stand in a Mankato courtroom Wednesday from his August arrest for child pornography, as reported by The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

Hoffner was arrested for two felony counts of child pornography possession; according to both reports, Hoffner had three videos on his cell phone of his naked children "dancing and touching themselves."

On Wednesday, Hoffner spoke publicly for the first time since the arrest.

He is quoted as saying in both reports: "There is nothing inappropriate about anything." The Star Tribune reported that Hoffner's attorney, Jim Flemming, said that he has seen the videos and believes there is nothing sexual or graphic about them.

According to the Pioneer Press story, Flemming called three veteran law officers who have worked on the case to the stand Wednesday. While being questioned by prosecutor Mike Hansen, all three investigators said what they saw on the videos was "troubling" and "disturbing."

Hanson reportedly said in his closing statement Wednesday that "Adults should not make videos of children in lewd poses. Period."

District Judge Krista Jass said she would issue a decision on the case after the Nov. 14 written briefs filing deadline.


Rosemount woman shot in road rage incident

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As reported by Kare11.com and the Star Tribune, a woman was shot early Sunday morning in Eagan on Interstate 35E in an apparent incident of road rage.

The 26-year-old Rosemount woman was riding in a Volkswagen Jetta around 2:30 a.m. when she was shot in the back by a man driving in a "dark colored SUV" as described in the reports.

The SUV reportedly tailgated the Jetta as it entered the Interstate from Cliff Road. Both reports said that the driver of the Volkswagen gave the SUV driver "the finger," which prompted him to shoot at the car.

The woman shot was one of eight people riding in the Volkswagen, according to police spokeswoman Sgt. Danielle Anselment. The Star Tribune said she was sitting in the lap of the front passenger with her back facing the window when the shot was fired. Police are not releasing her name.

In the Tribune article, Anselment said that the driver of the Jetta, a 28-year-old West St. Paul man, was arrested and booked in jail on suspicion of third degree drunken driving.

Police are asking for the public's assistance in finding the shooter, the Star Tribune said.

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