Four Minnesota eighth-graders will be in Washington, D.C., this week to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Among the 288 competitors facing off Thursday and Friday are Catherine Cojocaru, of Rochester, Holy Spirit Catholic School; Nicholas Riordan, of Windom, Windom Area Middle School; He Li, of Eden Prairie, Central Middle School, and Nicholas Greatens, of Nisswa, Forestview Middle School.

The national competition will be held at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

ABC will provide live television coverage of the championship rounds Friday night. Preliminary championship rounds earlier Friday will be simulcast live on ESPN and will provide coverage of the quarterfinal rounds Thursday.


Funding approved for Andover crime lab

Ushering in "a whole new era in law enforcement," the Anoka County Board on Tuesday approved funding for a $27 million public safety facility in Andover that will house a regional forensic crime lab.

"This project is far greater than DNA and fingerprints," said Commissioner Dan Erhart of the lab, which will also be used by Sherburne and Wright counties.

The new building will allow the Anoka County Sheriff's Office to leave the county government center in Anoka, opening space for more courtrooms, said Commissioner Scott LeDoux. With the facility comes a new partnership between county public safety officials and Hamline University, which will provide instruction for students interested in forensic science, Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah said.

Even before the board approved $13.3 million in bonds for the facility, Sheriff Bruce Andersohn said he was nearly speechless.

"It's like a diamond," he said of the tri-county lab, which commissioners predicted will be a model for other regions of the state.

The building is expected to be completed within two years.


Eagan schools protest T-shirt's message

A naughty pun on a T-shirt has the junior class at Eagan High School in hot water.

School administrators have sent an e-mail to families objecting to the message on T-shirts ordered by juniors. It says: "Kiss Our Class Goodbye -- 09."

The administrators say the students who proposed the shirt were told before ordering that it was improper. "Therefore," the administration e-mail goes on to say, "if students wear these shirts to school, it will be seen as willful insubordination and be treated as such."

Last week at Mankato East High School, students were asked to leave their senior T-shirts at home because administrators objected. Two young entrepreneurs are selling the shirts that feature a mock class motto -- "0.08 -- We're over the limit" and images of drugs, a drinking game and a sex act. Seniors were told that wearing the shirts to school could bring suspension.