FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- City commissioners say they still support an ordinance that would regulate alcohol-free dance halls, and they hope to work out a compromise with club owners.
The commissioners took no action on a proposed ordinance Tuesday night, when they were greeted by more than 100 young adults opposed to it. The proposal would close alcohol-free dance clubs at 1 a.m. and allow police to patrol them unannounced.
"I really applaud them for saying their piece," Commissioner Rob Lynch said of the opponents. "But I still have a lot of concerns. And I still think we need an ordinance of some kind."
Mayor Bruce Furness said he hopes to reach a compromise.
"We want to see if there is any room for making changes to the proposed ordinance," Furness said. "Closing times are still a concern but, personally, I'm most interested in us having some sort of control over the place if it turns into a bad situation."
The commissioners and Police Chief Chris Magnus say the closing time of dance clubs is their biggest worry.
The owners of a new club, Liquid Motion, agree. The club was scheduled to open Thursday night.
Hunters kill bears
ELY, (AP) -- Two bears wearing radio collars, including one that gained national fame last winter when a video camera was placed in its den, have been shot and killed by hunters.
The bears were being researched by Lynn Rogers, who is based in this northern-Minnesota city. He had spent the last two years befriending a bear he named Whiteheart, which thousands of people watched hibernate last winter on the Discovery Channel's Web site.
Whiteheart was shot Aug. 23 and its relative, Spirit, was shot Aug. 26.
The black bears were fitted with bright white collars carrying radio transmitters. In Minnesota, it is legal to shoot radio-collared bears; hunters are required to turn in the collar and transmitter when they register the bear.
In most cases, it's not a major loss for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to have one of its study bears shot.
But the loss of Whiteheart has moved Rogers -- and even the hunter who shot the bear -- to call for a new rule making Rogers' collared bears off-limits.
"Usually, most hunters won't shoot when they see the collars. Most hunters know these bears are more valuable alive than dead," Rogers said.
But Randy VanBoxel of Cannon Falls said he had no idea Whiteheart was a celebrity bear.
Infant drowned in toilet
VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) -- A 9-month-old baby drowned in the bathroom toilet of his family's apartment, police said Wednesday.
His parents, Melvin Sargent and Rojean Strong, woke up Saturday and noticed the boy, Isaiah Sargent, was not in bed with them, the police department said in a statement.
The parents searched the apartment and the father found the infant "head first" in the toilet, it said.
An ambulance responded to a 911 call just after 1 p.m. Saturday, but found Isaiah had been dead for some time, the news release said.
No charges have been filed, and authorities were still awaiting autopsy results, Detective Tom Krause said.
Northwest announces new service to tropical destinations during winter
EAGAN (AP) -- Northwest Airlines on Wednesday announced new winter flights to destinations south of the border, including daily service between Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and the Twin Cities during the peak travel season.
The Eagan-based airline also added more direct flights from the Twin Cities to Grand Cayman, West Indies, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Additional direct service from Detroit to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Punta Cana was also added.
Except for the Twin Cities service to Puerto Vallarta, all of the flights are Saturday-only and are offered between December and April.
Gates Foundation invests $56 million in education
SEATTLE (AP) -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $56 million toward education, with grants designed to encourage smaller schools going to eight school districts, six school networks and two university-based support centers.
The grants, details of which are to be announced at a series of news conferences through Friday, include the foundation's first education awards outside Washington state.
"These grants reflect the foundation's commitment to investing in small, focused learning environments that help all students achieve," Tom Vander Ark, the foundation's executive director for education, said Wednesday.
The Minnesota grants are $4.4 million to EdVisions in Henderson and $8 million to the Center for School Change at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in Minneapolis.
Other grants outside Washington state went to organizations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.
Also Wednesday, Attorney General Janet Reno announced $1.12 million in grants to hire nine school resource police officers in the Minnesota cities of Benson, Big Lake, Blue Earth, Crookston, La Crescent, Princeton, Red Wing and Shakopee.
State withholding payments to company as leverage
ST. PAUL (AP) -- State education officials refuse to pay $453,481 in invoices from National Computer Systems until they make sure the testing company has satisfied all costs related to a grading mistake on thousands of math exams.
The Eden Prairie company has yet to bill the Department of Children, Families and Learning for another $488,000 of its $2.9 million contract, state officials told a Senate panel Wednesday.
The unpaid bills may not reflect the error's total cost, which the department is still adding up. But it is a hardball move designed to make NCS shoulder all expenses, including state employees' overtime and the development of a new test.
School districts are being told to pursue reimbursement for summer school and other costs on their own.
No one from NCS spoke at the hearing and a spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.
More than 47,000 students got incorrect scores on the required math test because NCS used the wrong answer key on six questions. About 8,000 students were told they failed when they actually passed, including 50 seniors who didn't get a diploma as a result. Twenty-one seniors may have dropped out because of the mistake, officials said.
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