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Minnesota News Roundup: High School cheerleader prostitutes teammate

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MINNETONKA, Minn. -- A Hopkins High School cheerleader has been arrested and accused of prostituting a teammate, a 16-year-old special education student. 18-year-old senior Montia Parker is charged with sex trafficking and promoting prostitution, after investigators say she set up a Backpage.com ad for her teammate, drove the girl to an apartment to have sex, and then took the $60 the girl made. Minetonka Police became involved, as well as the FBI, after the girl's mother found text messages between her and Parker on a cell phone. Parker was expelled from Hopkins High when the investigation began in March. If she's convicted Parker could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

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A Twin Cities attorney was the victim of Tuesday's shooting in Shoreview that killed two and injured two. Nancy Sullivan was moving out of the home she shared with her longterm, live-in boyfriend Tuesday morning when he apparently killed her. 57-year-old Sullivan and her 65-year-old boyfriend Johnny Simpson were both dead at the scene from gunshot wounds when sheriff's deputies arrived at their home. Two others were wounded: Katie Fay is in critical condition and Tony Brown's condition is unavailable. The wounded woman is reported to be Sullivan's daughter and the wounded man the daughter's boyfriend. Sullivan is the seventh Twin Cities-area woman allegedly killed this year at the hands of a boyfriend or husband. Police are not calling the deaths a murder-suicide, but sheriff spokesman Randy Gustafson says they are not looking for any suspects.

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The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports an 11-percent decline in fire deaths for 2012. While 56 people were killed in fires two years ago, Deputy State Fire Marshal Becky White says 2012 numbers are trending in the right direction again. Fifty people died in fires last year. The all-time low was 35 fire deaths in 2009. The all-time high of 134 fatalities was back in 1976. White says careless smoking was the leading cause of fatal fires last year.

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University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler (KAY'-ler) presents his 2014 budget plan to the Board of Regents today (Wed). The most prominent feature: a tuition freeze. University Associate V-P Julie Tonneson says it's the first freeze since 1970, and the current three-year period is the lowest percentage increase in tuition in 40 years. The legislature made part of the U-of-M's funding increase contingent on the Board of Regents freezing tuition.

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The Winona County Board has approved a permit for the first exclusively frac sand mine in that southeastern Minnesota county. Opponents accused the commissioners of rushing to make a decision. But Board Chair Wayne Valentine says the county's land-use ordinance allows the operation and notes the board specified three dozen conditions in the permit to address citizens' concerns. The frac sand issue generated much controversy during the just-ended legislative session, but lawmakers said "no" to a moratorium on new frac sand operations in Minnesota.

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A Chicago man has been accused of prostituting a 15-year-old in the St. Paul area, and beating her so badly when she refused to continue to have sex with strange men that she nearly died. 38-year-old Arteco Rhodes is accused of bringing the teen to the twin Cities from Chicago, having sex with her, and photographing the act; prosectors say they have those photos as evidence. Rhodes is also accused of placing an ad for the victim on backpage.com. She had sex with one man for $85, but Rhodes kept the money. After the girl refused to have sex with another man, Rhodes beat her for three hours with a baseball bat and his fists and threatened to kill her by either setting her on fire or throwing her in the river. He eventually let her go, but warned the girl not to say anything to anyone. She was treated at Regions Hospital.

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Minneapolis is one of the top cities in the nation when it comes to park space. The state's largest city received a perfect score in the Trust for Public Land's rating system, which rates park accessibility, park size, and spending per capita. Ninety-four-percent of Minneapolis residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park or trail.

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A three-year-old boy from Millville is in critical condition at a Rochester hospital with severe burns to more than half of his body. The Wabasha County Sheriff's Office says the boy and three siblings were playing with matches and lighter fluid on the front porch of their home Monday. Lighter fluid was sprayed into a tin lunchbox and ignited, and the burning fluid splashed onto the victim as one of the kids stomped on the box to put it out. The kids' mother suffered burns to her hand trying to extinguish the flames on the three-year-old boy. She was taken by ambulance to Saint Mary's Hospital.

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At least one person is dead after a rollover crash near Staples yesterday morning in north-central Minnesota. The State Patrol is on scene and it's still unclear how many vehicles were involved or how many people were killed. The investigation into what caused the crash is underway.

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A Duluth man is charged with second-degree assault after a shooting last Tuesday. Police say 26-year-old Dameon Henley got into an argument with 22-year-old Deandre Norwood and pressed a handgun to Norwood's stomach, but it didn't go off. Investigators say another man then came up to Norwood and shot him in the head. The suspects and Norwood reportedly know each other. Police are following up on leads and say they are making progress in the case. Norwood has been released from the hospital.

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Shifting cargo may have caused a plane crash in Afghanistan in April that killed a Pine Island man and six others. Pilot Jeremy Lipka was killed when the Boeing 747-400 went down soon after takeoff at Bagram Air Field near Kabul. The Afghan Ministry of Transport says there were no problems before take-off, and the preliminary report shows a weight shift during the flight may have caused the crash. It could be a year before the investigation is final.

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More than 20 percent of all deaths in Minnesota are attributable to heart disease. This is National CPR and AED Awareness Week, and with the arrival of summer and lots of people being out and active, Kim Harkins at the U of M says it's the perfect time to brush up on first-aid skills. Harkins says learning CPR or how to use an AED is simple, with everything from free videos online to local resources. While cardiac arrest is generally considered an issue for those who are older, Harkins says it can happen anywhere, anytime, and at any age.

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Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is pulling no punches in his new book, "DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government." Ventura speaks out on the U.S. government's use of drones, calls the federal response to the Occupy movement "overreach," and protests the Obama administration's push for stricter gun control laws. Ventura says government on all levels is treating American citizens "ike we are the slaves". He says many people are far too trusting of government, and evil people can get in charge. Ventura also blasts the amount of money spent on elections and questions whether U.S. lawmakers should receive pensions. He also doesn't deny that he may jump into the presidential race in 2016, but would have to qualify to be on the ballot in all 50 states.

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