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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: University president found dead of gunshot wound

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

STILLWATER - The president of a Twin Cities-area university was found dead in his home of an apparent gunshot wound Tuesday morning. 

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58-year-old Jeff Nelson had been the head of Northwestern Health Sciences University university for just six months.  University officials are not saying much about Nelson's death, but have pledged to, "be as transparent as possible," as they receive more information from investigators.  The Washington County sheriff's office has only said that investigators are not looking for any suspects.  Nelson was the 6th president and CEO of Northwestern Health Sciences University.  He was also a former Regent at the University of Minnesota.

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In conjunction with "College Knowledge Month," all 31 schools in the state college and university system will be waiving admission application fees for one week, starting Friday.  Vice chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs John O'Brien says they are committed to making sure every graduating high school senior has the opportunity to apply for college.  For more information, college applicants can contact the admissions office at the school where they are applying.

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Five-year breast cancer survivor Sergeant 1st Class Brenda Woods is the latest to be featured in the Minnesota National Guard's Pink Tank Project in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Woods works at the Rosemount-based Field Maintenance Shop as a production control supervisor, and says she was initially planning to get reconstructive surgery following a bilateral mastectomy -- but after a wait to be certain radiation treatments weren't necessary, she changed her mind because her breasts don't define the person she is.  The Minnesota Vikings selected Woods as their "Soldier of the Game" during the Oct. 13 matchup against the Carolina Panthers.  

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A Mayo Clinic doctor says parent perceptions about the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine are keeping vaccination rates low -- and most of those perceptions are wrong.  Dr. Robert Jacobson says one major barrier is the belief that the shot is unsafe, however, "Studies in millions and millions of children," show the vaccine is safe.  Jacobson says the greatest misconception is that kids just don't need the shot because they aren't at risk, but the reality is that 80 percent of all Americans will eventually be infected and many carry HPV for years and spread it to others, not knowing that they have it.  Jacobson says at least 12,000 unvaccinated women develop cervical cancer from HPV every year.

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Shakopee police are investigating a shooting, but details remain scarce this morning.  Officers say a man and a woman live in the home where the investigation is taking place, and the man is apparently a member of the Minnesota National Guard.  The shooting may have occurred during an attempted robbery.  More details are expected later today.

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Ex-Minnesota businessman Tom Petters will likely criticize his former attorneys during a two-day federal court hearing that begins today in Saint Paul (WED 9am start).  Petters is expected to claim that his defense team did not tell him of a 2008 plea agreement that called for a 30-year sentence.  His new lawyer, Steven Meshbesher, says had Petters known of the deal, he would have taken it. Petters' former attorneys are expected to testify against him.  Petters was sentenced to 50 years in prison after he was convicted in 2009 of orchestrating a $3.6 billion Ponzi scheme.

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The state housing market usually starts to slow down in the fall, but that was not case in September.  Chris Galler with the Minnesota Association of Realtors says it was a strong month and "a wonderful September on almost every level you would look at."  Galler says closed sales increased over 13 percent, new listings were up about the same amount, the median sales price rose over 10 percent, and sellers received 96.6 percent of their list price.  Galler says housing affordability fell last month as prices continued to climb.

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Information collected by black box "event data recorders" in new cars would remain private unless there's a court order, a vehicle recall or emergency medical response to a crash -- that's the goal of a bill introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) and North Dakota counterpart John Hoeven.  Klobuchar says 96 percent of new cars have the "black boxes" in them, and by the end of next year they'll be required.  She says that's why privacy protections should be in place to make clear that the people who own the cars, own the data.  Klobuchar and Hoeven rolled out their "Driver Privacy Act" Tuesday in Fargo.

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Xcel Energy's Sherco plant is back at full generating capacity, two years after a major turbine failure in Unit 3 -- but environmental groups say Xcel should phase-out the coal-fired plant.  Sierra Club's Jessica Tritsch says burning coal pollutes the air and water, and is the biggest source of carbon pollution that leads to climate disruption.  Tritsch says the state should transition off coal and invest in renewable energy and conservation measures.  VP Frank Prager responds Xcel provides more wind energy to its customers than any other utility in the nation.  Prager says Xcel is on-track to reduce its overall CO-2 emissions by double the president's goal.  

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A 19-year-old Minnesotan is moving forward on The Voice!  Holly Henry of Hopkins will remain on Blake Shelton's team after she competed in a battle round Tuesday night, performing Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn."  Her complete performance was not among those featured on last night's episode, and viewers saw only highlights.  St. Paul's Ashley DuBose won her battle round last week, so both Minnesotans will move onto the show's knockout round.

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