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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Todd Hoffner returning to Minnesota State-Mankato

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Pierce County Herald
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota State University-Mankato is apologizing to fired football coach Todd Hoffner and bringing him back to the job today.  An arbitrator ruled last week that he was fired unfairly over allegations of having pornographic photos of his kids on his university-issued cell phone.  Hoffner said Tuesday in Minneapolis that it was not an easy decision to come back to MSU-Mankato after being hired in January as the head football coach at Minot State University in North Dakota.  He adds that he plans to use the firing and rehiring as a lesson for his players about fighting through adversity. 

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A potent spring storm is moving across the state that could dump significant snow in parts of central and northeastern Minnesota.  National Weather Service Meterologist Todd Krause(KRAU'-zee)says snowfall totals will increase as the system moves east.  He expects maybe four inches in west central Minnesota but by the time it gets to the Pine City and Hinckley areas there could be six to ten inches of snow.  There might even be a foot in some locations.  Krause says a couple inches are expected in the Twin Cities and northwestern Minnesota while the southeast will see a rain-snow mix.  Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories are posted through Thursday morning.

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The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has identified the suspect in Tuesday's shooting of a Norman County sheriff's deputy. The B-C-A says 19-year-old Steven Henderson of Fertile is being held in the Northwest Regional Corrections Center in Crookston.  Henderson was arrested without incident at a vacant farmstead following a manhunt involving more than 70 officers.  Steven Henderson is accused of shooting the deputy in the back as he was in the process of taking Henderson's 18-year-old brother William into custody on an outstanding warrant.  The deputy was shot in his bullet-resistant vest and treated and released from a Fargo hospital.  The incident is still under investigation.  

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Police in Duluth are investigating the discovery of a body Tuesday afternoon in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  Officers say a passerby noticed the decomposed body along a fence and brush line.  Investigators are working to identify the remains.  The St.Louis County Medical Examiner's Office will determine the cause and manner of death.  No other information is available.  

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A 33-year-old Burnsville man is facing criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly assaulting a teenager during a photo session.  Eric Rutherford told WCCO-TV after being charged yesterday that he never drugged or touched the girl, despite her allegations.  A criminal complaint indicates the two met in February, and Rutherford picked the teenager up at her home in Minneapolis and took her to Burnsville.  The victim alleges he entered a room while she was changing clothes, put his hand in her underwear, and touched her several times.

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Three people are facing charges for a series of violent robberies in Minneapolis and Edina that started a month ago.  Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the charges yesterday against 16-year-old Antonio Timberlake, 18-year-old Navarr Ross and a 13-year-old suspect.  Timberlake and the juvenile suspect are accused of causing life-threatening injuries to at least two victims.  Several of the items stolen were found in a search of Timberlake's home.

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The State Patrol is investigating a fatal crash on Interstate-94 in Barnesville involving two semi's.  One driver was killed in the crash just before four this morning.  Sergeant Jesse Grabow says roads are slick due to snow and temps below freezing.  Trooper are handling several other crashes along I-94, including a jack-knifed semi near Rothsay that's blocking the eastbound lanes.  There's also another semi and car that have slid off the road near Fergus Falls.  

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The Mahnomen County Sheriff's Office is investigating a school bomb threat.  The threat was on a note at the Waubun campus of the Waubun/Ogema/White Earth School District.  The sheriff's office was called around 1:40 Tuesday afternoon.  School officials used their evacuation plan and a detailed search of the school was conducted by law enforcement.  No suspicious device or items were found. The

"all clear"was given at 2:38 p-m and students and staff were allowed back into the building.  Anyone with more information on the this is asked to the Mahnomen Sheriff's Office.  

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A Chaska daycare provider was arrested after police were called to her home business and found she had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes.  Officers say that although she told them she hadn't had anything to drink since the previous night, she was swaying while trying to stand still and showed other signs of being "highly intoxicated" while watching four small children.  A breath test put her blood alcohol level at .224.  The children were safe and were picked up by their parents.

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The Twin Cities largest transportation provider is investigating an employee who is accused of illegally accessing the private information of Minnesotans.  Metro Transit officials say the dispatcher may have looked up names and photos on driver's license data on a website operated by the Department of Public Safety more than 7,000 times.  In a written statement to KSTP-TV, Metro Transit officials say they take "accusations of unauthorized data very seriously" and are aware that an employee has been accused of accessing data from the DPS website.  It is not clear if the employee has been suspended, fired, or disciplined.

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Republican Senator David Hann and Republican Representative Kurt Daudt say Democrats need to focus on fixing MNsure as projected revenue for the program is decreasing.  During a stop in Moorhead, they also talked about how they think the minimum wage increase will harm Minnesota.  The pair says having a better tax climate would encourage businesses to come to Minnesota and create the job opportunities that Minnesota families want and need.  The two also criticized a proposed 90-million taxpayer-funded Senate office building.

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 Dozens of University of Minnesota professors are objecting to the speech tomorrow by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as part of the Humphrey School lecture series.  Nearly 200 have joined with students who have raised objections to inviting Rice to speak due to her role in the decisions by the Bush administration to go to war in Iraq and over how prisoners were treated.  In a letter to the university, the professors said while they support the right of the former Cabinet official to speak about foreign policy and her experiences, the civil rights lecture series is the wrong forum.

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An Allegiant Air Duluth-bound flight returned to Las Vegas shortly after takeoff after a swarm of bees clouded the windshield and were sucked into the engines.  Passengers told WDIO-TV that the cabin of the plane smelled like it was on fire, and shortly after takeoff the pilot informed passengers that they were turning around because of a bird strike.  It turned out not to be a bird but thousands of bees.  The plane landed safely back in Las Vegas, where the more than 160 passengers were put on a new plane and got to Duluth about two hours later than scheduled.

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Most Americans are unhappy with their jobs.  Nearly two-thirds of the workers taking part in a Rasmussen College poll say they've thought about resigning.  Among these respondents, pay is the issue for 51-percent.  Just under a third believe there are no opportunities for them to advance, while 26-percent are "unfulfilled."  Nearly a quarter describe their job as "too stressful." 

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Farmers across the state are ready to get into the fields but Mother Nature isn't cooperating.  University of Minnesota Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley says below normal temperatures this winter and a deep frost are to blame for the delay.  He says we are looking at field work this month but probably not opportunities until the last week of April. Seely says some areas of the state got more than 6 feet of frost this winter.  

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After a strong puch by Minnesota U-S Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, cellphone manufacturers and wireless providers will put a "kill switch" into their products beginning next year.  The wireless industry trade group CTIA announced yesterday that Apple, Samsung, Verizon, AT&T and other industry leaders had agreed to begin putting the anti-theft system into their phones in 2015.  The kill switch would allow providers to send a signal to a stolen phone that would make it inoperable.  The idea has also been supported by many Minnesota law enforcement officials in hopes of cutting the rate of smartphone thefts and related crimes.

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