- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014
Minnesota State team to return under Hoffner

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota State football players ended their boycott of spring practice and said Thursday they will play for coach Todd Hoffner, who was reinstated after being exonerated of having child pornography on his cellphone.

The players had refused to practice Wednesday as a show of support for interim coach Aaron Keen, who took over after Hoffner was arrested in 2012 because images of his naked children were found on a university-issued cellphone. A judge later said he had been wrongly accused and the images were an innocent video of his children playing after a bath.

“As a team, we are ready to get back to playing football,” junior defensive back Sam Thompson and sophomore wide receiver Kyle Riggott said in a statement after the players and coaching staff held a nearly two-hour closed-door meeting Thursday.

The players had said on Wednesday they felt shut out of the process of Hoffner returning.

“We received the answers we were looking for, feel fit to practice and welcome Coach Hoffner as we head toward the end of spring drills,” the players said after the team meeting. They will return to practice Friday.


More than 65 arrested in Minnesota heroin sweep

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - More than 65 people suspected of selling heroin have been arrested and about 2.5 kilograms of the drug are off the streets as part of a coordinated crackdown to rid Minnesota of the substance that has caused an alarming increase in deaths in recent years, authorities said Thursday.

U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andy Luger said the arrests “struck at the heart” of international drug cartels that have been doing business in the state and will have a significant impact on the heroin trade in Minnesota, making communities safer. He said more arrests are expected.

“Make no mistake about it. Heroin is deadly, and we will not tolerate it in Minnesota,” Luger said as he announced the arrests.

Jack Riley, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Midwest office, added: “We’ve punched organized crime right in the face.”

Earlier this year, preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health showed there were 290 heroin-related deaths in the state in the last 15 years. Ninety-eight people died last year alone.


Man charged in Minnesota deputy shooting

ADA, Minn. (AP) - Bond is set at $1.5 million for a 19-year-old man accused of shooting a sheriff’s deputy in northwestern Minnesota.

Steven Henderson, formerly of Fertile, is charged with attempted murder. KFGO-AM (https://bit.ly/1gEtmJY) reports Henderson made his first court appearance Thursday.

Court documents say Henderson fired as many as 10 rounds from a .45-caliber pistol as Norman County Deputy Nathan Warner arrested Henderson’s 18-year-old brother on a warrant during a traffic stop Tuesday near Perley.

William Henderson told investigators he was in the squad car’s back seat when he heard shots and saw the deputy go down.

Warner was hit twice but was wearing a bullet-resistant vest and managed to return about the same number of shots. Steven Henderson fled in the pickup but was later arrested. He remains in jail.


Tourism push plays up ‘Only in Minnesota’ getaways

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Say goodbye to “More to Explore.” Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on “Only in Minnesota” experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign.

The revamped message kicks off a major push to get vacationers to spend their time and dollars in Minnesota. Lawmakers significantly boosted the state’s tourism promotion budget. New television ads make up $3.7 million of the effort and run through June. They’re paired with billboards and a heavy emphasis on social media geared at a younger audience.

Four fast-paced TV ads play up characteristically Minnesota getaways. There are ample nods to outdoorsy destinations and fine dining. Images of art museums, cityscapes and recognizable landmarks such as the Spam Museum and Red Wing’s oversized boot are included. “It’s modern. It’s classic. It’s totally you. And it’s only in Minnesota,” the narrator in one ad says.

Gov. Mark Dayton, who ran the state’s economic development department in the 1970s when it first embarked on tourism promotion, endorsed the new theme during a news conference showing off the main television spot.

“We do have such extraordinary features here, opportunities here, vacations here and you can find them only in Minnesota,” Dayton said.

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