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Minnesota News Briefs: Shooter receives 28-year prison sentence

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Pierce County Herald
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MINNEAPOLIS - A day after President Obama promoted his anti-gun violence proposals in Minneapolis and mentioned the gang-related shooting death of a five-year-old Twin Cities boy, the 17-year-old convicted of killing Nizzel George was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

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Stephon Shannon pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder for the benefit of a gang after firing several shots into a Minneapolis home last summer. The kindergartner was not the intended target.

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The Officer Tom Decker Memorial Highway bill gets its first hearing this afternoon in the House Transportation Policy Committee(2:15 p.m.). Representative Jeff Howe of Rockville introduced the legislation

designating a portion of Highway 23 between Cold Spring and Richmond in Decker's honor. Officer Decker was ambushed outside a Cold Spring bar November 29th while responding to a call. His murder remains unsolved.

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Hearings began this morning in St. Paul to consider seven different gun control bills. Republican State Representative Tony Cornish of Good Thunder says he thinks most of the bills are too extreme to pass. He says gun owners and the NRA were shocked by the number of DFL bills introduced to tighten gun control in Minnesota.

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Governor Dayton and state Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson are in Washington D.C. today to try to get more money for the state-subsidized MinnesotaCare program. They'll meet with U.S. Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Jesson says state officials believe getting basic health care funding from the federal government is the best way to make sure Minnesotacare continues and improves across time. Dayton says the Obama administration told him and governors from other states that it's committed to *not* reduce funding for Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

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A Maplewood man will spend at least 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Thirty-five-year-old Derek Preston was caught with a loaded .32-caliber revolver during a traffic stop in Minneapolis in January of 2011. Preston has several felony convictions and is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition at anytime. He was prosecuted through Project Exile Minneapolis, a city-wide effort with the ATF to reduce gun violence. The Armed Career Criminal Act mandates a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum life sentence.

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The search continues for a handgun that was accidentally dropped off at either a Minnesota or Wisconsin Goodwill location. The 22-caliber Smith and Wesson was accidentally donated at either the Woodbury or Hudson, Wisconsin Goodwill. The owner told police he'd forgotten that he stashed the weapon in a stack of pants. Officials with the charity say they've searched through all the donated clothing and haven't come across it. Police say they won't likely charge the gun owner with a crime.

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The funeral for the father and son killed in a bizarre incident in the Austin area last week is being held today. Police found the beaten body of 86-year-old Dennis Seberson in his front yard early Friday morning. The suspect, Seberson's 46-year-old son Craig, was killed in a high-speed police chase through three counties shortly after. A shared service for both men takes place this afternoon.

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A Rochester man convicted of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl before stabbing her in the chest with a pair of scissors while he was high on meth will spend 7 years in prison. 31-year-old Dillon Caudill also pleaded guilty to a domestic assault charge for trying to strangle the girl's mother, his ex-girlfriend. Caudill led police on a 12-hour manhunt last October before being caught without incident. He suffered a self-inflicted stab wound that did not require hospitalization.

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The flu has finally started to ease its firm grip on Minnesota after one of the earliest outbreaks ever. Children and the elderly have been especially vulnerable to severe illness, but researcher Denise Holston says building a child's immunity system through a healthier diet could prevent a case of the flu. She says having a well-nourished body and immune system can benefit any age group. Holston says that boils down to eating a well-balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

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Chlamydia is the most-reported infectious disease in Minnesota, and the number of chlamydia cases in the state has doubled in the past decade, reaching a record high 17,000 in 2011. The state is working to reverse those numbers, and the Minnesota Department of Health's Marcie Babcock says the focus is on increased screenings, because patients often don't show symptoms. She says if chlamydia is not treated, the long-term health complications can be significant. People between 15 and 25 are most affected by chlamydia, and it's diagnosed more often in women than men.

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The St. Paul Police Department has launched an internal investigation after learning about a online photo showing a male officer dressed as a Muslim woman. A Washington, D.C.-based journalist alerted St. Paul Police via Twitter about the picture over the weekend. The officer's name has not been released but officials confirm he is still assigned to the K-9 unit.

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A new U-of-M survey finds just under half of Minnesotans plan to spend about the same on leisure travel this year as they did last year, while 19 percent plan to spend more. And Tourism Center director Ingrid Schneider says younger Minnesotans indicated they're more likely to spend more money than other groups. Researchers says the expected increase in leisure travel spending is good news for local economies in Minnesota.

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People at a showing of the movie "Skyfall" in Minneapolis Saturday smelled what they thought was smoke during the last few minutes of the film, and ran from the theater, and some speculate that the fearful flight man have been prompted by lingering concern brought on by recent mass shootings. The exact cause of the smoky smell hasn't been determined, but firefighters theorize that it may have been a smoke bomb prank.

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The driver of a semitrailer truck slammed into an overhead railroad crossing yesterday (Monday) morning in western Minnesota, knocking huge metal hoppers off the truck and onto a passing car. 61-year-old George Piasecki of Granite Falls was killed when his car was crushed. The semi driver, a Utah man, was not hurt. Minnesota State Patrol says the truck was more than a foot taller than the overpass.

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A Redwood Falls man is charged with murder and arson after an apartment fire that killed an elderly neighbor. 48-year-old Peter Warren is charged with second and third degree murder, second degree manslaughter, and 10 counts of arson in the January 24 fire at Lakeside Manor. 72-year-old Gene Gilland was found in his apartment by firefighter, but died at the hospital. Redwood County Attorney Steven Collins says investigators believe Warren started the fire in a closet in shared dining room, but they are unaware of the motive behind the crime.

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