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

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MINNESOTA HOUSE-FIETEK

Teacher Fietek launches Minn. House campaign

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A teacher who spoke out for gay students during a bullying debate in the state's largest school district says he's running for a state House seat.

Jefferson Fietek will challenge Rep. Mark Uglem, a Champlin Republican, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Fietek advocated for gay students in 2010 when the Anoka-Hennepin school district struggled with several student suicides and federal lawsuits from students who said they were bullied over real or perceived sexual orientation.

MINNESOTA SENATE-FUNDRAISING

Senate hopeful Ortman reports $375K in Q1

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Julianne Ortman says her campaign raised $375,000 during the first quarter.

Ortman, a state senator from Chanhassen, has raised a total of $610,000, well back of a top rival, Mike McFadden, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. The businessman and first-time candidate has raised $2.8 million, with $1.8 million cash on hand by the end of March.

Ortman's campaign did not release her cash on hand.

The two are among several Republicans hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Al Franken.

CASH RETURN SOUGHT

2 Minnesotans want Iowa City police to return cash

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Two Minnesota residents want the Iowa City Police Department to return their money.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen says Tiffani Barber and Kearnice Overton, of St. Paul, Minn., last week filed an application in Johnson County District Court. They said officers wrongfully seized $48,000 during a traffic stop March 16.

Civil forfeiture laws permit officers to seize money and property of people suspected of crimes.

Overton says in court documents that Barber gave him the money to buy property from Overton's cousin in Rock Island, Ill. Overton says the money was not connected to criminal activity. Overton was cited for driving without a valid license but says in court documents that he did have a valid license.

Iowa City Police Sgt. Vicki Lalla says she can't discuss the case specifics.

CORRECTIONS ASSAULT

Corrections officer accused of sexual assault

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (AP) - An officer at a juvenile correctional facility in northern Minnesota is charged with sexually assaulting a teenage resident.

A criminal complaint filed in Itasca County charges 23-year-old Devin Michael Wood with five felonies. Prosecutors say he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old resident of the North Homes Juvenile Correctional Facility in Grand Rapids.

WDIO-TV says Wood has a court appearance scheduled May 5.

OWL RESCUE-MINNESOTA

Injured snowy owl is ready for release into wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A rare snowy owl that was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital and sent to Minnesota for rehabilitation is scheduled to be released into the wild.

The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota plans to release the owl on Saturday along the northern Minnesota and Wisconsin border.

The injured owl was found in downtown Washington in late January and taken to the National Zoo before being transferred to a Washington, D.C., wildlife rehabilitation center. It was then sent to The Raptor Center, which has expertise in replacing damaged feathers.

Snowy owls are native to the Arctic. The Raptor Center clinic manager Lori Arent says the owl may stay in the area for a few days, but its migratory urge will encourage it to move north.

BEE SAFE

Some nurseries offer plants that are safe for bees

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) - As gardeners begin shopping for plants this spring, they may see some marked as safe for bees.

Some nurseries are offering plants that are free of an insecticide that experts have partly blamed for a die-off of bee populations in recent years.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports Bachman's is now growing plants at its Lakeville center that are free of the neonicotinoid insecticide. While the insecticide is probably not the only cause of bee deaths, Bachman's chief executive Dale Bachman calls it a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, a national trade group called AmericanHort is supporting more research on the issue.

University of Minnesota entomology professor Marla Spivak says she hopes the Minnesota Legislature will pass a bill requiring that plants be labeled so consumers know which insecticide is used.

MIRACLE MEDAL AUCTIONED

'Miracle on Ice' gold medal to be auctioned

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - One of the Olympic gold medals earned after the famed "Miracle on Ice" hockey game in 1980 will be auctioned beginning next week.

The Iron Ranger who helped Team USA beat the Soviets on the way to the gold, Mark Pavelich, is selling his medal through a Dallas auction house. Heritage Auctions will open bidding April 25.

Team USA, made up of amateur and collegiate players and led by coach Herb Brooks, defeated the heavily-favored Soviet Union in the Olympics at Lake Placid, New York. Pavelich, from Eveleth, was among many Minnesotans on the team and skated for the University of Minnesota Duluth.

The Star Tribune says one other gold medal from the team has been auctioned. Mark Wells sold his to a private buyer for $40,000. The buyer auctioned it in 2010 for about $310,000.

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

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