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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Reward increased in search for Hoffman

MINNEAPOLIS -   --  A ten-thousand-dollar reward is now offered as authorities continue searching for the man accused of killing Kelly Phillips at an Arden Hills gas station. 

A nationwide arrest warrant has been issued for 44-year-old Ty Hoffman, who is charged with second-degree intentional murder in Ramsey County.  Deputies say Hoffman shot Phillips and then ran him over before fleeing in Phillips' car on August 11th.  Investigators believe someone has been in contact with Hoffman and is aiding the suspect.  Anyone with information on Hoffman's whereabouts should contact Crimestoppers of Minnesota.  Donations for the reward fund can be made at  


Two people were killed in a head-on crash in Roseau County Tuesday afternoon.  The State Patrol says one vehicle was trying to pass another on the two-lane highway and hit an oncoming vehicle.  The crash caused both vehicles to start on fire.  The State Patrol said two people, both men, were pronounced dead at the scene. They have not been identified.  The crash happened between Roseau and Warroad. 


No one was injured when a crop-dusting plane crashed in Swift County Tuesday evening.  The plane's owner, 54-year-old Douglas Jackson of Benson, was spraying a bean field near Kerkhoven when he hit a guide wire for a power pole, causing the motor to shut off.  Jackson tried to land on the road, but ended up crash-landing in a corn field.  He was not injured.  The National Transportation Safety Board will be at the scene today to investigate.


The first survey of Minnesota voters since the primary election gives incumbents an early lead in the races for governor and U.S. Senate.  The Rasmussen Reports poll shows Governor Dayton with 49 percent support and Republican challenger Jeff Johnson at 41 percent.  In the U.S. Senate race,  Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) has a 50 to 42 percent advantage over GOP candidate Mike McFadden.  The survey of 750 likely voters in the state was conducted August 13th and 14th.  


For a ninth consecutive year, the state's 12th-graders posted the highest average composite score on the ACT college entrance exam among students in states where at least half of the graduates took the test.  Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius credits dedicated teachers across the state for the stellar results.  Cassellius notes the numbers didn't change that much over the years, even when there were "intense budget cuts" in school districts.  This year 39 percent of state graduates tested as proficient across-the-board on the ACT exam. That was identical to 2013, and five percent more than in second-ranked Wisconsin.


The Wausau Paper Mill site in Brainerd officially has a new owner and the new name of the facility will be the Brainerd Industrial Center.  Officials say there will be very little demolition at the site and it will only consist of a couple buildings for aesthetic reasons.  The building will eventually be leased out to tenants for light industrial and commercial uses.


As Minnesota's baby boomer generation moves toward retirement, predictions continue circulating that Social Security won't help them pay the bills when they stop working.  Mark Hinkle of the Social Security Administration says that's not true, but admits that Congress will have to make some changes to keep the program viable.  Hinkle says Social Security was never intended to be a person's sole source of income when they retire -- but rather part of a portfolio of retirement income.  He says for the average person, Social Security will replace about 40 percent of their pre-retirement earnings.  The SSA has introduced an online tool Minnesotans can use to determine their estimated benefits at retirement, so they know how much they'll need to invest in their retirement to spend their later years in comfort.  It can be found on the web at