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

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CONCUSSION LAWSUIT

NHL concussion lawsuits consolidated in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Three lawsuits filed by retired NHL players over concussion-related injuries have been consolidated and will be heard by a federal judge in Minnesota.

A special panel assigned the cases Tuesday to U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson of St. Paul.

The order says Minnesota provides a central location for parties and witnesses, including those from Canada. It consolidates lawsuits filed by over 200 former players in Minnesota, New York and Washington. It notes that Nelson is already presiding over one of the cases. The order says two similar cases pending in Minnesota and New York may be added later.

The lawsuits are similar to those on behalf of former NFL players, which resulted in an $870 million settlement. The NCAA agreed to a $70 million settlement in another concussion lawsuit.

NATURAL AREAS

DNR nixes expanded hunting in natural areas

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has decided against opening more of Minnesota's scientific and natural areas to hunting and trapping.

The agency announced Tuesday that it won't loosen hunting restrictions in 10 of the 159 areas, which are known as SNAs. The areas are protected because they contain rare native plants and undisturbed shorelines.

Steve Hirsch, director of the DNR's Ecological and Water Resources Division, says heavy public opposition prompted the decision.

However, the DNR plans to open the Lake Alexander Woods SNA in Morrison County to deer hunting without a special permit. The DNR also plans to allow dogs on leashes at Minnesota Point Pine Forest SNA in Duluth, consistent with a city ordinance.

The DNR will take public comments on those two proposals until Sept. 2.

PRISON-TAX FRAUD

2 men charged with tax fraud while in prison

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Two men are charged with conspiracy for allegedly filing fraudulent tax returns while they were incarcerated in Faribault.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 30-year-old Tony Robinson and 39-year-old Tanka Tetzlaff are each indicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and multiple counts of filing false claims.

The indictment says the conspiracy lasted from October 2009 through roughly September 2010. Robinson and Tetzlaff allegedly got other prisoners to provide their names and Social Security numbers so they and others could prepare false claims and get refunds. Prosecutors say over $400,000 in false claims were filed.

Three others have pleaded guilty in the scheme.

Robinson's attorney, Larry Leventhal, says his client pleaded not guilty. Tetzlaff's first court appearance is Wednesday. Court files don't list an attorney for him.

FATAL DEER-FEEDING FEUD

Woman accused in deer feeding shooting acquitted

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A woman accused of encouraging her husband to shoot their New Brighton neighbor in a dispute over feeding deer has been found not guilty of charges against her.

A Ramsey County judge cited inconsistent testimony from the victim's wife in reaching her decision to acquit Paula Zumberge on four charges, including aiding and abetting second-degree murder. The 50-year-old Zumberge had waived her right to a jury trial and left the decision in the hands of the judge who ruled Tuesday.

Zumberge's husband, Neal, faces trial on charges of killing Todd Stevens and wounding Jennifer Damerow-Cleven in May. Investigators say Neal Zumberge blamed his Lyme disease on Stevens' practice of feeding deer in their neighborhood.

Prosecutors alleged Paula Zumberge threatened her neighbor's life, and then urged her husband to open fire.

DEPUTY ARRESTED-DRUNKEN DRIVING

Wisconsin deputy arrested for drunken driving

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A Wisconsin sheriff's deputy has been arrested in Minnesota on suspicion of drunken driving.

The Milwaukee County sheriff's office identified her Tuesday as 41-year-old Capt. Catherine Trimboli.

Authorities say she was driving Sunday about 2:30 a.m. in Red Wing, Minnesota. A police officer stopped her because her tail lights were off.

The sheriff's office says Trimboli asked the officer to let her go as a "professional courtesy." She registered 0.14 percent on a breath test, almost twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. She was booked for first-offense drunken driving and released.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says she's been relieved of command and put on administrative duty. He says flashing her badge and asking for a pass aggravated an already bad situation.

Trimboli doesn't have a listed phone number.

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

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