MINN ST-MANKATO-FIRED COACH
Minnesota State players to unite behind Hoffner
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota State football player says the team is now going to unite behind reinstated coach Todd Hoffner.
A day after refusing to practice with Hoffner, the players met with Hoffner, interim coach Aaron Keen and athletic director Kevin Buisman (BEYES'-muhn).
Senior tight end Darius Clare tells KEYC-TV, "We're going to move forward with Todd Hoffner as head coach."
The football program plans a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Hoffner returned to campus Wednesday for the first time since an 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 but were not in uniform. They read a statement saying they wanted Aaron Keen to remain as head coach.
Minnesota labor force surpasses 3 million
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota's labor force now tops 3 million.
The Department of Employment and Economic Development showcased the figure Thursday as they released jobs figures for March. Their report says 2,600 jobs were added last month. It left the unemployment rate unchanged from February at 4.8 percent.
Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben says Minnesota has 33,000 more jobs than its all-time employment peak.
Many job sectors the state tracks saw hires in March. Losses came in leisure and hospitality, transportation and utilities, and education and health services.
The state has recovered from the last recession faster than the nation at large. The U.S. unemployment rate for March was 6.7 percent.
Overall index up in rural Midwest banker survey
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The overall index for an economic survey of bankers in 10 Midwestern and Plains states has risen for a second consecutive month, suggesting more growth in the months ahead.
The Rural Mainstreet Index hit 53.2 in April, compared with 50.1 in March.
The survey indexes range from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. A score above 50 suggests growth in the months ahead.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the results indicate that areas highly dependent on agriculture and energy are experiencing slower growth than they were a year ago. But he says recent increases in commodity prices should boost the economy in the months ahead.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.
Anoka-Hennepin teachers approve contract
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Teachers in Minnesota's largest school district have overwhelmingly approved a new labor contract after ten months at the bargaining table.
Nearly 85 percent of union members voted for the contract that runs through June of next year. The Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota union represents the district's 2,800 teachers.
The Star Tribune reports the new contract includes raises and a $1,000 signing bonus. If approved by the school board April 28, the new contract will pay new teachers $39,000 and $83,000 for those with more than two decades of experience and advanced degrees.
Metrodome demolition reaches completion early
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Metrodome is no more.
Project leaders for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium says the demolition of the team's old home was formally completed Thursday. The final remnants were being trucked away a month ahead of schedule.
The building was razed to make way for a nearly $1 billion stadium scheduled to open in 2016. Some construction on that facility began as the Dome came down.
Demolition began after the puffy roof was deflated in January. Officials say it took about 4,900 truckloads to haul debris from the site and almost 16,000 man hours to finish the job.
About 80 percent of materials from the torn-down stadium will be recycled, including 80,000 tons of concrete.
EXCESSIVE FORCE LAWSUIT
Man alleges excessive force by Roseville police
ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) - A Minneapolis man is suing Roseville police saying officers used excessive force during his arrest even though he was complying with their orders.
Victor Hernandez-Rivera, of Minneapolis, wants at least $500,000 in damages and says he was slammed to the ground, handcuffed and shocked with a stun gun even though he wasn't resisting arrest.
Hernandez-Rivera was a passenger in a car that was stopped for speeding last May on Highway 36 in Roseville. The driver of the car fled on foot.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press says Hernandez-Rivera was later charged with obstruction and fleeing, charges that were later dismissed. Roseville police did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
BNSF outlines fertilizer shipment plan to feds
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - BNSF Railway Co. has told a federal oversight board that it will add 52 trains in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Montana over the next six weeks to boost fertilizer shipments.
The Surface Transportation Board this week ordered BNSF and Canadian Pacific Railway to report their plans by Friday to ensure delivery of fertilizer shipments for spring crop planting.
BNSF beat the deadline. Canadian Pacific had not filed a response by midday Thursday.
The federal board ordered the railroads to submit the plans in the wake of service disruptions. Increased crude oil and freight shipments have largely been blamed for causing the rail delays.
BNSF says in its response that it began expanding its fertilizer shipments this week and the railroad "already is seeing positive progress."
Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' getaways
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters are ushering in a new slogan that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign.
The revamped messaging unveiled Thursday 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, providing $11 million for marketing.
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.
The ads will run in 14 states and Canadian provinces. Six states are new to Minnesota TV outreach efforts. They are Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.
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