From Wabasha to Warroad, from Sleepy Eye to Silver Bay, Dateline Minnesota scours the state to bring you breaking news from outside the Twin Cities.

Sandy and Halloween inspire tricks and disguises

Posted by: Updated: October 31, 2012 - 10:46 AM

Feisty the seal is back on the Internet, shown in pictures supposedly wandering loose on the streets of Manhattan in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

But it's a hurricane-related Halloween trick, one of dozens of fake Sandy photos flying around cyberspace, according to Wednesday's Duluth News-Tribune.

The real Feisty photo was taken in Duluth in June by Ellie Burcar, who came across the seal on Grand Avenue after floodwaters inundated the Lake Superior Zoo and unsealed Feisty from its enclosure. The photo went viral then and apparently was too good for Sandy watchers to resist when they shared photos this week.

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When Clay Riley learned the Mayo Clinic had scheduled his heart surgery for Oct. 31, he decided to have a little Halloween fun with it.

 The 48-year-old Lake Tahoe, Calif., resident went through pre-surgery preparations Tuesday dresssed as the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz," according to a story Wednesday in the Rochester Post Bulletin.

"It seemed like the right thing to do, since the Tin Man needed a heart," Riley told the newspaper. "My heart is there; It just needs to be mended."

Riley's sister, Renee Riley-Adams, added to the fun by dressing up as the robotic device Drs. Rakesh Suri and Harold Burkhart, shown here with them in Ken Klotzbach's photo, planned to use Wednesday in the mitral valve repair on Riley's heart.

Burkhart said Riley's sense of humor and positive attitude will doubtless aid his recovery, and Riley said he already felt bouyed by the reactions to his costume.

"It makes me feel good to see people smile," he said. "The laughter has really helped me. Laughter is good medicine."

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And here's an update from Dateline Minnesota's own Richard Meryhew on a story he's been following closely:

A Mankato football coach facing two felony counts of child pornography is back in court this afternoon with hopes that the charges against him will be dismissed.

Todd Hoffner, head coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato, was arrested and charged in August after three videos of his three children dancing naked and touching themselves were found on his campus-issued cell phone.

Hoffner’s attorney has consistently argued that the images were "private family moments" that were not graphic or sexual. He filed a motion in Blue Earth County District Court last week seeking dismissal of the charges because the images on the phone are “not child pornography."

“There is absolutely no evidence Todd Hoffner intended the videos to be or knew or had reason to know the videos would be alleged a sexual performance or pornographic work,” the attorney’s motion said.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today in Blue Earth County District Court.

Hoffner, 46, has been on paid administrative leave from the school pending the outcome of a university investigation. His football team, meanwhile, is  undefeated and nationally ranked.

 

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