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Minnesota roundup: Pedestrian struck, killed in crosswalk; U's vice president for research to leave post; 3 more state news stories

ST. PAUL—A St. Paul man is dead after being struck in a crosswalk by a motorist Wednesday afternoon in the North End neighborhood, police say.

Police were dispatched about 2:30 p.m. to the corner of Arlington Avenue and Matilda Street, where 78-year-old Ker Par had been hit by a small pickup truck, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman. Par was transported to Regions Hospital, where he later died.

The driver is cooperating with police; neither drugs nor alcohol appear to have been factors in the crash, Ernster said.

The crash is under investigation, but it appears the motorist was traveling westbound on Arlington at a low speed when he struck Par, who was crossing Arlington from the north side of the street, Ernster said.

U's vice president for research to leave post

Brian Herman, University of Minnesota vice president for research, will leave that post and return to the faculty at the end of the year, President Eric Kaler said Wednesday in a letter to faculty.

Herman has held the job for four years. He's spent much of the last three leading an overhaul of the U's policies and practices for protecting human research subjects.

In his letter, Kaler cited that and Herman's implementation of the MnDRIVE research initiative, as well as promoting interdisciplinary research on campus.

"I am committed to continuing his legacy in these important activities. His contributions on my senior leadership team will also be missed," Kaler wrote.

Kaler said he will appoint an interim leader for the research office and begin a search for a successor as soon as possible.

Obama signs Minnesota disaster declaration

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama declared a weather disaster in Minnesota on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

His declaration means federal aid will be available to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding Sept. 21-24.

Federal funding is available to state, tribal and local governments and some private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding in Blue Earth, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Le Sueur, Rice, Steele and Waseca counties.

More counties may be added to the disaster list if the state supplies information indicating they reached the federal damage threshold.

DNR expands hours at information center

ST. PAUL—The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Information Center is moving to longer phone hours and days. Starting Wednesday, Nov. 2, outdoor enthusiasts can call for information in the evenings and Saturdays.

The DNR Information Center has been taking calls since 1982 and receives about 100,000 calls and 25,000 emails every year.

The move represents a more than 60 percent increase in availability over the usual weekday business hours of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

"We are very excited to offer this expanded service to the citizens of Minnesota and all our callers," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "We want to be available when people may be off work and perhaps even out hunting, fishing, camping or snowmobiling."

People can get answers to their natural resources questions by dialing 888-MINNDNR (888-646-6367) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

The change is the first phase of a three-year DNR project to tailor information services to customer needs.

Dayton to help kick off deer hunting season

ST. PAUL, MN — To help kick of the season and Minnesota's hunting heritage, Gov. Mark Dayton will host the host the 2016 Governor's Deer Hunting Opener in the Breezy Point/Pequot Lakes area on Thursday, November 3, 2016.

"Nearly 500,000 Minnesotans enjoy deer hunting in our state every year, beginning with this great event. I wish successful hunting and safe returns to everyone," Dayton said.

In the afternoon, Dayton will attend a Youth Outdoor Expo, designed to introduce the next generation to deer hunting at 2:30 p.m. at Breezy Point Resort. In the evening, Dayton will provide remarks at a community banquet starting at 6:30 p.m., also at the resort.