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MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. (AP) — The four-legged member of the counseling team at the high school in suburban Chicago waits patiently, as a crush of students fills the hallways. Her tail wags with the first pat on the head, then another and another. "Puppy! Ohhh, puppy dog!" one teenager croons, as he affectionately tousles the ears of the 18-month-old golden retriever. Junie began her role as a "therapy dog" at Prospect High School less than four months ago.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will travel to Minneapolis Monday to pitch his proposals for reducing gun violence. It will be the president's first trip outside of Washington centered on the gun proposals, which include a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as universal background checks. Obama unveiled his plan in response to the horrific shooting of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the singing Andrews Sisters trio whose hits such as the rollicking "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" and the poignant "I Can Dream, Can't I?" captured the home-front spirit of World War II, died Wednesday. She was 94. Andrews died of natural causes at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge, said family spokesman Alan Eichler in a statement.
HONOLULU (AP) — Actor Jim Nabors says marrying his longtime male partner doesn't change anything about their relationship — he just wanted it to be formally acknowledged. "I just wanted it legal," the 82-year-old actor best known as Gomer Pyle in "The Andy Griffith Show" told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Nabors married 64-year-old Stan Cadwallader in Seattle on Jan. 15. Nabors says they have been partners for 38 years.
NEW YORK (AP) — Despite having a big year in music, Nicki Minaj didn't receive any Grammy nominations. Not a problem, she says. "I've gotten tons of awards and I believe when it's my time to get a Grammy, I'll get a Grammy," she said with a laugh. The 30-year-old had one of last year's biggest hits with the multiplatinum dance-pop anthem "Starships." Her sophomore album, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," has reached gold status and launched other hits on the rap and R&B charts.
BEIRUT (AP) — Israel conducted a rare airstrike on a military target inside Syria near the border with Lebanon, foreign officials and Syrian state TV said Wednesday, amid fears President Bashar Assad's regime could provide powerful weapons to the Islamic militant group Hezbollah.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The FBI says it is looking into allegations that two agents intimidated a Somali man. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations sent the FBI a letter last week, saying man said he felt pressured when he was approached in October and asked to become an informant. CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya says the agents reportedly threatened to delay the man's asylum request, defame him in the community, and visit his workplace. Days later, the man was fired.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Mayo Clinic, Minnesota's largest private employer, pressed state lawmakers Wednesday to commit more than $500 million toward an ambitious development project tied to the renowned medical center in Rochester.
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — Police SWAT teams and hostage negotiators were locked in a standoff Wednesday with a gunman authorities say intercepted a school bus, killed the driver, snatched a 6-year-old boy and retreated into a bunker at his home.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court says a man's online post calling a doctor "a real tool" is protected speech. The high court on Wednesday dismissed a case by Duluth neurologist David McKee, who took offense when a patient's son posted critical remarks about him on some rate-your-doctor websites. Those included a claim that a nurse called the doctor "a real tool."