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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Search for gas station murder suspect moves to southwest metro

PRIOR LAKE, Minn.  --  The search for murder suspect Lyle "Ty" Hoffman has moved from Anoka County in the north metro to the southwest suburbs in Scott County. 

A possible sighting of Hoffman was reported in the Prior Lake area and several agencies are involved in the manhunt.  Hoffman is charged with second-degree murder in the August 11th shooting death of his ex-partner 48-year-old Kelly Phillips at an Arden Hills gas station.  Authorities were looking for Hoffman near the Anoka County Airport in Blaine the past few days.  He's suspected of robbing a TCF bank in that suburb on Sunday.  Hoffman is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached. 

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Governor Dayton was in Breckenridge last night to hear from dozens of people who don't want the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project to proceed.  Residents and city leaders say it's not that they don't want the project, but want more answers and that the Minnesota side be heard.  Three communities south of Fargo are within the diversion's proposed staging area, which could be flooded during major weather events.  Keith Kragrud told the governor backers want the project so they can develop 35,000 acres of land, while putting 35,000 acres of Minnesota land underwater.  Breckenridge Mayor Cliff Barth told the governor retention areas to hold back floodwaters would be an idea to consider.  Last week Dayton sent the flood authority a letter asking for the project to be halted, and he says he'll do what he can to ensure residents can live and work near the Red River without fear.    The diversion project has been authorized by Congress, but it hasn't received federal funding for construction.

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A non-smokers advocacy group is challenging a federal report that says only one percent of Minnesota stores were caught selling tobacco to minors.  Jeannie Weigum with the Association for Nonsmokers - Minnesota says the report doesn't reflect what's happening in the real world.  Weigum says retailer violation rates can jump to as high as 30 percent with little cigars and there needs to be a broader range of products checked when retailers are tested for compliance -- which is generally done in undercover "sting" operations utilizing teens.  Weigum notes young smokers can buy three little cigars for 88 cents, compared to seven or eight dollars for a pack of cigarettes.

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Five University of Minnesota-Duluth football players will miss Saturday's season opener after receiving one-game suspensions for taking part in an underage drinking party early Monday morning.  In addition to suspensions, some were docked scholarship money.  Two players were also stripped of their team captain positions.  Police estimated at least 75 people were at the party when officers arrived and 25 were UMD football players.  Head Coach Curt Weise did confirm the party was hosted by UMD football players.  UMD faces Concordia-St. Paul in Saturday's home opener. 

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A former state-owned psychiatric hospital in Fergus Falls could soon get new life as a development that includes apartments, restaurants and a hotel with a spa.  Historic Properties has been planning the more than $40-million restoration of Kirkbride for several months, and developer Ray Willey told the Fergus Falls City Council last  night that they have decided to go ahead with the project and will do it in two phases.  A vote on the proposal could come at the next Fergus Falls City Council meeting September 15th. 

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