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This Hour: Latest Minnesota news, sports, business and entertainment

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MINNESOTA SENATE-ENDORSEMENT

Ex-Independence Party leaders endorse McFadden

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (AP) - Two former leaders in Minnesota's Independence Party have endorsed Republican candidate Mike McFadden in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

Former Independence Party Chairman Jack Uldrich and former House candidate David Dillon both threw their support behind McFadden on Monday.

Uldrich says McFadden has the integrity to work with Republicans and Democrats to do what's right for Minnesota residents. And Dillon praises the Republican challenger as someone whose focus on fiscal issues will help get the economy going again.

Even though Uldrich and Dillon are Independents, they endorsed McFadden over Independent Party candidate Steve Carlson. Carlson, a self-proclaimed tea party member, won a surprise victory in the party's primary last month.

McFadden welcomed the endorsements, saying they demonstrated his ability to be a bipartisan problem solver.

MINNESOTA STUDENT-COMA

Minnesota student remains in coma after long fall

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A Minnesota State University student remains in a coma in Milwaukee, weeks after he fell from a parking ramp after a night of drinking.

A Mankato Free Press report (http://bit.ly/1B9buTv ) says heartbroken family and friends are still trying to piece together the circumstances of that night.

Giovanni Quiroz of North Mankato, Minnesota, was drinking in Milwaukee on Aug. 16. He became separated from friends and didn't have his phone to contact them.

His friends waited for 30 minutes and then went to a friend's place, figuring Quiroz would join them. Instead they learned he'd fallen off a parking ramp about two blocks away.

Friends say an unknown person has since been using Quiroz's phone to upload video and photos. His family says they just wish they could figure out what happened.

PARALYZED TRAPEZE ARTISTS

Paralyzed athletes overcome obstacles in St. Paul

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Several paralyzed athletes have been given the opportunity to leave their wheelchairs behind and take to the air at Twin Cities Trapeze Center.

KARE-TV reports (http://kare11.tv/Y4GTZb ) Tresa Honaker, Dwayne Scheuneman and Angelique Lele were able to feel the sensation of fight for the first time since their spinal cord injuries.

Elizabeth Skwiot owns an aerial Pilates company. She invited Honaker to try aerial work for the first time since she was injured in a January 2012 accident. Scheuneman and Lele also joined in on the experiment.

Skwiot and the owners of Twin Cities Trapeze Center helped the wheelchair-bound athletes swing on trapezes and spin from ropes suspended in the air. All three say they were amazed to experience the mobility they thought they had lost.

GAS STATION SHOOTING

Suspect in fatal shooting may have robbed bank

BLAINE, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota authorities say a man suspected of fatally shooting his ex-lover last month may have robbed a bank in Blaine over the weekend.

Police have been searching for Lyle "Ty" Hoffman since Aug. 11, when 48-year-old Kelly Phillips was shot to death in a gas station parking lot.

Officers say someone matching Hoffman's description robbed a TCF Bank branch in Blaine on Sunday about 2 p.m. The suspect made off with an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect and cash may have been stained by an exploding red dye packet.

Authorities scoured the area after the robbery but couldn't find the man.

Blaine police are being assisted in their search by deputies from Anoka and Ramsey counties, as well as by agents from the FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

HIT AND RUN-ARREST

Man severely injured in early-morning hit-and-run

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minneapolis police say a driver struck and severely injured a pedestrian, and then fled several blocks before he was stopped and arrested.

The collision happened Monday about 2:30 a.m. Police say 23-year-old Luis Angel Cruz-Guzman was crossing a street when he was struck.

Cruz-Guzman was hospitalized with serious injuries, including head wounds and possible broken bones.

Police spokesman John Elder says the 26-year-old driver left the scene. An off-duty officer who witnessed the collision followed the driver in a marked squad car and pulled him over.

The driver has been arrested. Elder says alcohol was likely a factor.

BIRTHDAY MONKEY

1 of world's oldest snow monkey to turn 31 at zoo

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Zoo is preparing a birthday party for Nikko, a 31-year-old snow monkey that's believed to be the oldest in North America.

Zoo officials will give him birthday presents, or "enrichment items," on Tuesday morning.

Nikko was born in September 1983 and has been at the Minnesota Zoo since 2001.

Zoo spokesman Tom Ness says Nikko has always been "laid back" and helps maintain peace within the troop. Ness speculates that Nikko's gentle personality has helped him survive almost twice as long as a typical male.

Nikko is believed to be the third-oldest snow monkey in the world. The oldest two are both 34 and live in the Czech Republic.

MIDTERM ELECTION-MINNESOTA

Key moments give fuel to Minnesota campaign themes

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Several upcoming events on the calendar could help energize campaigns for Minnesota governor and legislative offices. They'll drive the messages voters will hear from candidates and their allies over the next two months.

For Democrats, back-to-school week brings a chance to brag about statewide all-day kindergarten. No longer will parents be hit with fees or will school districts have to absorb costs of the extra classroom time. Over the next month, thousands of homeowners, renters and farmers will receive property tax refund checks from the state because of expanded eligibility and new money for those programs.

For Republicans, the anticipated release in early October of health insurance premium information will focus new attention on the problem-riddled MNsure. And a quarterly update on tax collections is due around the same time.

TRUCKING LAWSUIT

Trucking company says lawsuit should be dismissed

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A trucking company in the North Dakota oil patch says a lawsuit by a former employee over overtime pay is without merit.

Devon Seeling, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, has filed a federal complaint against Moorhead, Minnesota-based AM-PM Trucking LLC, which formerly maintained an office in Underwood, North Dakota. The suit is seeking class action status.

Seeling says the company paid drivers a percentage of the revenue generated by each truckload, rather than overtime pay as required by law. Seeling was employed with the company for one month.

The company denies that Seeling "regularly worked" and says his allegations that other drivers regularly work over 40 hours per week are false. The defendants say the suit should be dismissed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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