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

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Jury reconvenes in Ventura defamation case

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Jurors are still deliberating in St. Paul on whether a late military sniper defamed former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura in his best-selling memoir.

Jurors received the case midday Tuesday, and they deliberated for about 4½ hours. They reconvened about 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Ventura says Chris Kyle invented a story in his memoir "American Sniper" about punching him in a California bar in 2006 after Ventura supposedly insulted SEALs.

Ventura's attorney asked the jury for millions of dollars in damages for what the former Navy SEAL and pro wrestler claims is a lie.

But an attorney for Kyle's estate says Ventura failed to prove that Kyle made up the story or that Ventura suffered financially because of the book.

Kyle was killed at a gun range last year.


Zellers inks tax pledge in Minnesota governor race

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Republican candidate Kurt Zellers has signed a group's pledge that rules out any new taxes and most fees as budget options if he becomes Minnesota governor.

The former House speaker says he wanted to make clear that he won't ask taxpayers to pony up more money. None of Zellers rivals in the Aug. 12 GOP primary have signed the Americans for Tax Reform document. The primary winner faces Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton this fall.

Zellers announced his decision Wednesday as he launched of a television ad driving the point home. In the ad, Zellers says he's the only candidate with "the guts to put it in writing."

He is trying to beat businessman Scott Honour, former Rep. Marty Seifert and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson for the GOP nod.


Kluwe lawyer: No lawsuit imminent

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is backing away from his threat to sue the team over alleged discrimination - for now.

Kluwe vowed last week to sue because he was unhappy with the team's resolution of his complaint against special teams coordinator Mike Priefer for alleged anti-gay slurs.

The Vikings suspended Priefer for three games and made a donation to gay advocacy groups that was less than Kluwe wanted. He also accused the team of cutting him over his activism in favor of gay marriage in Minnesota, a claim the team denied.

Kluwe attorney Clayton Halunen said he and Vikings attorney Joe Anthony had both agreed to recommend to their clients that they continue settlement discussions. A Vikings spokesman didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press.


Mankato readies for Vikings training camp

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - A town in southern Minnesota is preparing for an influx of Minnesota Vikings football players and fans on the eve of the team's three-week training camp.

The Free Press reports Mankato businesses are hiring additional employees in anticipation of a potential surge in clientele. One restaurant owner says he expects a 30 to 40 percent increase in business.

A record 69,000 fans attended last year's training camp.

The 49th annual Vikings training camp begins Thursday when players return to field at Minnesota State University. Festivities are set to kick off with a tailgate party featuring Vikings players and cheerleaders.


State hires top medical pot official

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A health official who managed Minnesota's efforts to reduce tobacco use and obesity will run the state's new medical marijuana program.

The Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday that Michelle Larson, a deputy director in the department's Office of Statewide Health Improvement, would direct the new program.

Larson will oversee the selection of two marijuana manufacturers and set up of a patient registry. Patients are expected to be able to begin getting medical marijuana in July 2015.

Larson was chosen among more than 150 applicants. She starts Aug. 13.

Minnesota legislators approved medical marijuana this year, making it the 23rd state plus the District of Columbia to do so.


Man asked to leave Southwest flight over tweet

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis man and his two children were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight in Denver after he tweeted about a boarding disagreement.

Duff Watson says he has priority boarding because of his "A-List" customer status. But a gate agent didn't allow his two children, ages 6 and 9, to board with him Sunday on a flight to Minneapolis.

WCCO-TV reports Watson says he tweeted that the gate agent was rude and that his family was asked to leave the plane after reaching their seats.

Watson says the agent felt threatened and that his family could not return to the plane until he deleted his tweet.

The family was eventually allowed to re-board. Southwest said in a statement that it is reviewing the matter.


DNR announces plans for 'conservative' deer season

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota wildlife managers have announced rules for a "conservative" deer season to rebuild the whitetail population across much of the state.

The Department of Natural Resources says only one deer can be harvested in 95 percent of the state, and the harvest of does will be further restricted.

Leslie McInenly (MAK'-in-en-lee), big game program leader for the DNR, says they're responding to concerns voiced by deer hunters about current deer population densities.

She says the conservative approach will protect more antlerless deer, reduce the statewide harvest and allow the population to rebound.

Only bucks can be shot in 14 of the state's 128 deer permit areas. Northeastern Minnesota hunters will feel the greatest impact from a bucks-only season.

Hunters can enter the lottery for antlerless permits beginning Aug. 1.


3 lawsuits challenge Enventis sale

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Three stockholder lawsuits are challenging the sale of the Mankato-based telecommunications company Enventis.

The lawsuits filed in Blue Earth County claim the sale to Consolidated Communications will leave stockholders with a "paltry" return for their investment. The court filings say Enventis directors and board members have made it difficult for other potential buyers to make a better offer than the $350 million in Consolidated Communications stock.

Enventis spokeswoman Jennifer Spaude tells The Free Press it's not uncommon for stockholder lawsuits to be filed when publicly traded companies go through mergers or acquisitions. Spaude says she cannot comment directly on the litigation.

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

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