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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Bail set at two million for Montgomery teen
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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

(Montgomery, MN) --  Investigators say a Montgomery teen admitted to shooting his father in the head with a rifle and bail is set at two million dollars. 

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According to the criminal complaint, 18-year-old Jonas Nelson first told investigators he was upstairs in his bedroom Monday night when he heard a noise that sounded like a bullet going through a window.  The youth said he found his father, 47-year-old Richard Nelson, downstairs dead and called 911.  But about four hours into his interrogation, Nelson changed his story and admitted to shooting his dad.  He faces 40 years in prison if convicted.

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Another Duluth woman has been hospitalized with severe frostbite after being found unconscious outdoors in sub-zero temperatures.  Erin Coons was discovered in an alley near St. Mary's Hospital and airlifted to a Twin Cities hospital.  The Duluth News Tribune says emergency responders estimate she had been in the cold for several hours and may lose parts of her feet.  Coons is the second woman in about a month found outside in Duluth suffering from severe frostbite.  19-year-old UMD sophomore Alyssa Lommel is still hospitalized after spending nearly nine hours outside in early December in temperatures as cold as 17 below zero.  On Tuesday 32-year-old Andrea Marker of Lakeville was found dead on her doorstep and investigators say she likely froze to death.

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At least two deaths have been blamed on frigid weather in Minnesota in recent weeks and more than 60 frostbite cases have been treated recently at hospitals in the Twin Cities.  Two young women from Duluth are dealing with the possibility of finger and toe amputations after spending hours outdoors in frigid weather.  Mayo Clinic emergency medicine specialist Dr. David Nestler says frostbite is 'exquisitely painful', and compares to serious burn injuries.  He says it's the opposite extreme with the same effect -- namely tissue that's non-functioning  UMD student Alyssa Lommel and Erin Coons, also of Duluth, are both hospitalized after spending several hours in sub-zero temperatures in recent weeks.  Investigators believe Andrea Marker of Lakeville froze to death on her own doorstep this week.

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St. Louis County authorities are investigating a house fire early this morning that sent three people to the hospital.  The residence in Clinton Township was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived and ended up being a total loss.  Three adults, one child and two dogs were inside the home.  All three adults suffered burns and were taken to a hospital in Virginia.  The kid and two canines escaped without injury.  The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.  The Red Cross is assisting.

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A number of prominent groups, including the Minnesota Family Council, Taxpayers League and Joint Religious Legislative Coalition are asking Governor Dayton to stop the State Lottery from offering on-line scratch-off games.  Jake Grassel with Citizens Against Gambling Expansion contends lottery officials are going beyond what the legislature authorized, and warns it will mean the instant ability to play and gamble in every coffee shop, household and library across the state.  Minnesota Lottery Director Ed Van Petten responds they've offered Gopher Five, Powerball, Northstar Cash and other tickets for purchase online since 2010 and this is "just an addition, another distribution channel.  There's no expansion whatsoever here," he says.  Van Petten adds they're currently testing software and scratch-off tickets should be available online in a few weeks. 

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A state Senate committee reviewed the latest draft of the annual report on State Capitol security this morning.  DFL Representative Michael Paymar of St. Paul asked if officials have explored the possibility that someone could bring an explosive device into the Capitol.  State Public Safety Department Assistant Commissioner Mark Dunaski assured the committee that they have, and added they look at all types of potential hazards.  Republican Senator Bill Ingebrigtson of Alexandria countered that Paymar is unhappy because permit carry of guns is allowed on the Capitol grounds.  Paymar admits continued concern with allowing firearms in the building.  The committee is required to present a security report by January 15 each year.

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The Rice County Sportsmens Club hosted a "deer density petition" signing party last night to draw attention to the deer population decline in central Minnesota.  Spokesman Brooks Johnson says short term they're trying to get the DNR to raise deer density goals in central Minnesota.  State Senator Dave Brown and Representative Ron Kershaw were at the event to listen to concerns and answer questions.  The DNR was not immediately available for comment. 

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