- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Minnesota State players refuse to practice

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Football players at Minnesota State, Mankato, refused to practice for their former head coach on Wednesday, greeting his reinstatement by an arbitrator by demanding that the interim coach keep the top job.

Todd Hoffner returned to campus for the first time since the arbitrator ruled he was fired unfairly last year in the wake of a child porn investigation that ultimately cleared him.

Mavericks players came out for spring practice Wednesday afternoon but were not in uniform, The Free Press of Mankato reported. They read a statement saying they were unanimous in wanting Aaron Keen to remain as head coach.

“We’ve all become outstanding community members, students and athletes in the last year and a half since the removal of Todd Hoffner,” said the statement, which junior safety Sam Thompson read aloud. “Throughout this process, we have been silent. It is time our voice is heard.”

Thompson said the players “want answers, because this is our team,” according to the MSU Reporter, a student publication.


Son admits hosting party that led to teen’s death

MADISON, Minn. (AP) - A 19-year-old man has admitted that he and his father hosted an underage drinking party attended by a high school athlete from Dawson who was later found dead of hypothermia.

Erik Hastad pleaded guilty in La qui Parle (lak kwih PAR’-uhl) County Court to violating the county’s social host ordinance and contributing to the delinquency of a child.

Hastad’s father, Gary, was in court Wednesday for a hearing and has yet to enter a plea.

Gary Hastad’s attorney tells the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1pbontuhttps://strib.mn/1pbontu ) that if the older Hastad takes his case to trial, he may hear his son testify against him.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Anyasike (an-ah-SEE’-kay) was reported missing after fleeing from the party last month as authorities arrived. His body was found about a mile from the Madison area farm where the party was held.


Jury picked to hear Little Falls murder case

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) - Court officials say a jury has been picked to hear the case of a Little Falls homeowner who claims he was defending himself when he shot and killed two teens who entered his home.

Byron Smith is on trial on two counts of premeditated first-degree murder for the 2012 killings of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer.

After three days of jury selection, seven men and seven women have been picked to sit on the jury. Two of those 14 will be alternates.

Opening statements in the case are expected to begin on Monday.

Smith has claimed he is innocent and was fearful the teens had a weapon. Authorities say he shot them multiple times after they were no longer a threat.


MNsure names Deloitte lead vendor to overhaul site

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota’s online health insurance marketplace announced Deloitte Consulting on Wednesday as the lead manager to overhaul its troubled website and computer systems, citing the company’s record of success in other states.

MNsure’s contract with Deloitte is worth $4.95 million and will run through the end of the year once the federal government formally approves it. MNsure’s interim CEO, Scott Leitz, said federal officials understand the urgency so he hopes to get that go-ahead within a week or two.

Deloitte’s main task will be to provide a better experience for consumers when the next open enrollment period begins Nov. 15, as well as for the insurance plans, counties and others who also work with the system, Leitz said.

Deloitte officials told MNsure’s board they’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done to fulfil those goals after a 60-day assessment period, but said their team includes people who have helped set up successful exchanges in other states.

“We’ve got a very experienced team that we’re bringing on site and are really excited to get going,” Deloitte partner Steve Dahl said.

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