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MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — Winter boots were left at home in favor of cowboy boots a recent Sunday afternoon on Concordia College's campus. Singers from various regional schools gathered in the Hvidsten Hall of Music to audition for this summer's annual production of the Medora Musical, in Medora, N.D. A musical has been held every summer in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre for the past 49 years, about three decades before those trying out were born. Still, the show's reputation is strong with the young performers.
CHICAGO (AP) — Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was back at his longtime home on Wednesday following his pre-dawn release from a federal prison after serving more than five years for corruption. He first reported to a halfway house in Chicago, but, in a surprise, was allowed to go to his spacious home in Kankakee to continue serving his sentence, his attorney Jim Thompson said. Speaking from Ryan's living room, Thompson said Ryan was beaming and surrounded by his smiling grandchildren
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge in Minnesota has sentenced a Colorado man to more than four years in prison for scamming investors out of $7 million. Thirty-seven-year-old Evan Flaxman, of Silverthorne, Colo., was given 4 years and 4 months in prison on mail fraud Tuesday. In a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Flaxman admitted misrepresenting his financial expertise and resources in convincing his victims to make investments from December 2009 to March 2012.
NEW YORK (AP) — Barbra Streisand will perform at the Oscars next month, the first time she's performed during an Academy Awards broadcast in 36 years. Streisand won the Academy Award for best original song for "Evergreen" in 1977. She also sang the theme from "A Star Is Born" that night. She won the Oscar for best actress for 1968's "Funny Girl."
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Fewer Minnesotans died as the result of domestic violence in 2012. An annual report from the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women says 18 people were killed in domestic violence situations last year, the lowest number since 1991.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank from October through December for the first time since 2009, hurt by the biggest cut in defense spending in 40 years, fewer exports and sluggish growth in company stockpiles. The drop occurred despite stronger consumer spending and business investment. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the economy contracted at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter. That was a sharp slowdown from the 3.1 percent growth rate in the July-September quarter.
TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) — The massive blimp-like aircraft flies but just barely, hovering only a dozen feet off a military hangar floor during flight testing south of Los Angeles. Still, the fact that the hulking Aeroscraft could fly for just a few minutes represents a step forward in aviation, according to the engineers who developed it. The Department of Defense and NASA have invested $35 million in the prototype because of its potential to one day carry more cargo than any other aircraft to disaster zones and forward military bases.
SEATTLE (AP) — Wanted: A green thumb with extensive knowledge of the black, or at least gray, market. As Washington state tries to figure out how to regulate its newly legal marijuana, officials are hiring an adviser on all things weed: how it's best grown, dried, tested, labeled, packaged and cooked into brownies.
LA CRESCENT, Minn. (AP) — A special education teacher at a La Crescent school is charged with molesting children after he was confronted by his students. Thirty-seven-year-old Jason David Barker is charged in Houston County District Court with second-degree criminal sexual conduct and fifth-degree sexual conduct with children younger than 13.
NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Timberlake will be rocking that suit and tie at the Grammy Awards. The Recording Academy announced Wednesday that Timberlake will perform at the Feb. 10 awards show in Los Angeles. The 32-year-old pop star returned to music earlier this month when he released the single, "Suit & Tie," which features Jay-Z. The song is a Top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.