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BENSON.Minn. -- A Benson English teacher accused of pocketing nearly $800 from the school's 2014 and 2015 yearbook funds pleaded guilty Monday in Swift County District Court to a gross misdemeanor theft charge. Mary Alice Hoffman, 53, had originally been charged in January with felony embezzlement of public funds. As part of her plea agreement Monday, that charge was downgraded to gross misdemeanor theft. She must also make restitution and is banned from holding public funds. She would avoid jail time, but be on probation for two years.
MAPLE LAKE, Minn. -- A multimillion-dollar expansion is in the works for a die casting operation in Maple Lake. Pace Industries, based in Arkansas, will add 60,000 square feet at its Maple Lake facility, according to the state Department of Employment and Economic Development. Part of the $6.3 million expenditure will be funded by the department’s Job Creation Fund, which will contribute nearly $168,000. The expansion will create 20 new jobs, according to a press release.
DULUTH, Minn. -- An alleged victim of childhood sexual abuse from a priest has reached a settlement with the priest’s former diocese. Doe 19, who filed a lawsuit claiming Father James Vincent Fitzgerald had abused them in 1984 while working in the Diocese of Crookston, has accepted a settlement deal with the diocese and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, according to a press release.
The Alexandria Police Department (APD) is seeking the public's help in identifying a bank robbery suspect. The robbery was reported at US Bank, 701 Broadway, in Alexandria at about 10:50 a.m. Monday morning, according to Police Chief Rick Wyffels. No one was injured. The APD, FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are requesting the public’s help in identifying the person shown in the attached pictures.
Ralphie May has announced a new performance date here after his show was postponed last month because of a controversial clip of the comedian telling a joke about American Indians.
ST. PAUL -- What party ballot a voter picks in a presidential primary would be public under a bill advancing through the Minnesota Legislature. Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, on Monday tried to make the information private, but he lost the attempt on a 13-10 vote in the House Ways and Means Committee. Garofalo said the proposed primary, which would begin in 2020, would be a state-run election, and it is not proper to gather a list of voters for the political parties.
ST. PAUL -- Crimes based on bias would receive 25 percent longer prison terms under a bill Minnesota senators approved Monday 40-19. Sen. Ron Latz, D-St. Louis Park, said the bill came after an African immigrant was struck with a beer mug from someone who objected to her talking in her native language in a Twin Cities restaurant.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators unanimously approved increasing the statute of limitations for people charged with identify theft Monday, a week after representatives did the same. Minnesotans now must be charged with identify theft within three years of the crime. The legislation approved that was written by Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, extends the statute of limitations to five years when the crimes involve at least eight victims and more than $35,000.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota tax-related legislation that generally contains minor law change proposals also folds in a controversial measure to require most businesses to carry parental and family leave insurance for workers. It was announced Monday that the provision by Sen. Katie Sieben, D-Cottage Grove, would require the employees and employers each to pay a new tax to provide up to 12 weeks' benefits. House Republicans oppose the measure, which is a Senate Democratic priority.
Officials says alcohol was a factor in an ATV crash that killed 24-year-old Cook man and injured another man injured late Sunday near Britt in northeastern Minnesota. Jason Triska was found underneath the ATV, which overturned. He was pronounced dead at the scene, said the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office in a news release Monday. Donald Roderick, 23, of Cook, was ejected from the ATV and taken to the Essentia Health-Virginia Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, said the news release.