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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Private funeral for slain Orono doctor

ORONO, Minn. - The family of slain Doctor Stephen Larson of Orono says there will be a small, private ceremony to honor him. 

In a statement, the family says it is still trying to comprehend the sudden and tragic loss and, while many questions remain unanswered in the 74-year-old OB-GYN's death, they're moving forward in the process of saying goodbye.  Police say Larson was shot and killed in his home Friday by 30-year-old Ted Hoffstrom, who was then shot and killed by Orono Police outside the home. Hoffstrom's mother was once Larson's patient and Hoffstrom was apparently angry over the care she received.  Four Orono officers involved in the incident, including the police chief, are on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues. 


Minnesota's firearms deer harvest is down six percent from last year.  The DNR says hunters took just under 129,000 deer through the second weekend of the season.  Big game coordinator Leslie McInenly says windy conditions opening weekend and both wind and rain the second weekend contributed to the decrease.  The firearms season ended Sunday for all but the 100-Series permit areas in northeastern Minnesota.  A late firearms season runs November 24th through December 1st in the southeast corner of the state.  


A man from rural Grove City searching for his dogs now faces felony charges after an argument on a busy highway yesterday afternoon.  Meeker County Sheriff's officials say  57-year-old William Dugan blocked traffic, resulting in a minor crash when a man tried to get around his car.  When the 53-year-old Clara City man stepped out of his vehicle an argument began, and police say Dugan tried to hit the victim with a 2-by-4.  Dugan apparently got back into his vehicle and began ramming the man's car several times, pushing it into the ditch.  Dugan also tried to run over the victim and his wife but they were able to move out of the way safely.


A Rochester man has been convicted of aggravated robbery and assault charges for an attack on a woman in February. 60-year-old Leslie Treadwell was giving the victim a ride when he began choking her and threatened her with a knife before she managed to escape and call for help.  Treadwell will likely be returned to prison, where he previously served a sentence for the stabbing death of a man at his home in Rochester in 2001.  Sentencing for Treadwell's latest conviction has not yet been scheduled.


Bond has been set at $60,000 for two men from the Duluth-Superior area accused of hauling a large amount of illegal drugs through South Dakota.  A state trooper arrested 64-year-old Dennis Krivinchuk of Superior and 66-year-old Richard Ward of Duluth on Monday.  The South Dakota attorney general said the men had 60 pounds of marijuana and 150 grams of hashish in their vehicle.  They're charged with intending to distribute drugs, possessing over 10 pounds of marijuana, and having a controlled substance.


Olmsted County Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss the possible addition of e-cigarettes to the countywide smoke-free ordinance. While no action was taken at Tuesday's committee meeting, the county's Public Health Services staff will proceed with drafting a proposed amendment to the ordinance that would likely be the subject of a future public hearing. The City of Rochester has already banned the vapor producing devices in many areas of downtown Rochester.


The Greater Downtown Council of Duluth has announced three more businesses will be filling vacant store fronts in the downtown area for the holiday shopping season -- and they won't be paying rent  There are now a total of 11 retail shops that are taking advantage of the temporary rent-free space.  The program is aimed at filling empty spaces downtown while allowing the businesses to test the market and maybe stay on after the program ends.


Polk County authorities are investigating three business burglaries in Fosston in northwestern Minnesota.  The Dairy Queen, Cenex and Fosston Tri-Coop were all hit sometime between Sunday and Monday.  Cash and property were taken after someone forced their way in.  The sheriff's office says it's following up on leads.


Moorhead police are investigating the disappearance of more than five thousand dollars from the safe at a McDonald's on East Highway 10.  There was no evidence of forced entry or tampering with the safe, and Detective Brad Penas says the theft appears to be an inside job. Police interviewed several employees who had access to the safe and alarm codes.  A search warrant affidavit says a McDonald's manager who acted "strangely" was fired for not cooperating with police.  Charges have not been filed.