- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015
Report: U of M paid nearly $450K in sexual harassment cases

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The University of Minnesota has paid out nearly $450,000 in sexual harassment settlements over the past five years, according to a report published Saturday.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press requested records of all sexual harassment cases involving the university over the past five years after athletic director Norwood Teague resigned last month for sexually harassing two co-workers.

The newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/1FTOjO3http://bit.ly/1FTOjO3 ) that the largest of the five settlements reached over the five years was for $250,000, which the university paid to a student-athlete last December to resolve her complaint related to semi-nude modeling she did for a gymnastics coach.

The volunteer assistant coach, Jim Stephenson, left the team amid the allegations. His wife, head gymnastics coach Meg Stephenson, resigned in August 2014, after she was accused of retaliating against the gymnast by ignoring her at practices instead of giving her guidance.

The student-athlete’s case was the only payout related to Gopher athletics. Two additional sexual harassment cases against the university remain open, and four were dismissed during the period. The cases released to the Pioneer Press predate the accusations against Teague.

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Minnesota brothers finish 1-2-3 in wildlife art contest

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Three Minnesota brothers who have dominated the competitive world of wildlife stamp painting pulled off a trifecta Saturday, taking the top three spots in the prestigious Federal Duck Stamp art contest.

Joseph Hautman of Plymouth won with an acrylic painting of a pair of trumpeter swans in his fifth Federal Duck Stamp contest victory. His work will grace the 2016-17 stamp, which goes on sale across the nation in June. Stamp sales raise about $25 million a year from hunters and collectors to fund waterfowl habitat programs.

In second was Robert Hautman of Delano, with an acrylic painting of a pair of mallard ducks. James Hautman of Chaska took third with his own acrylic painting of a mallard pair.

The brothers have won a combined 11 Federal Duck Stamp contests, but this was first time they’ve won all three top spots in what’s considered the ultimate prize in wildlife art. Their talents were even noted in a subplot of the Oscar-winning 1996 movie “Fargo” - made by their childhood friends, Joel and Ethan Coen.

Robert Hautman has said the challenge of the Federal Duck Stamp contest is that it attracts so many good artists. “It’s not easy to win,” he said last December. “You’ve got to get lucky.”

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Minnesota’s Mary Jo Copeland to meet Pope Francis in DC

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minnesotan who has devoted her life to helping the poor and homeless will meet Pope Francis when he visits the United States.

Mary Jo Copeland, founder of Sharing and Caring Hands, will have a private meeting with the pontiff Thursday at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, accompanied by her husband and Bishop Andrew Cozzens.

Copeland says she feels blessed to be part of the papal visit and glad for his appreciation of her work with the poor. She believes her work with Sharing and Caring Hands and the Mary’s Place shelter are what prompted the pope to want to see her.

Copeland says she plans to thank Francis for his message of love and ask him to pray with her for God’s help in taking care of his people.

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Horse euthanized at Minnesota 4-H Horse Show amid virus fear

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (AP) - Veterinarians euthanized a horse from Clay County at the Minnesota 4-H Horse Show after it displayed symptoms consistent with a potentially deadly virus, officials said Saturday.

The horse began showing neurological distress Friday morning and was euthanized that evening, University of Minnesota Extension 4-H program spokeswoman Aimee Viniard-Weideman said.

Officials won’t know what caused the horse’s decline until test results come back next week, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported (http://bit.ly/1MyqzH1http://bit.ly/1MyqzH1 ). But one possibility is that the horse had EHV-1, a sometimes deadly virus that spreads easily among horses - particularly when they’re gathered in large numbers.

About 640 horses were registered for the show, which opened Thursday and runs through Monday at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

“Without a confirmed case, we’re just letting people know it’s a possibility,” Viniard-Weideman said. “What’s vital is that we keep participants informed, so they can decide what’s best for them and their horses.”

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