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November 27 - December 1, 2000

Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Another Week

Monday, November 27

President Clinton says he will review a clemency request for American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier. In 1977, Peltier was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. But Peltier says he's innocent and that the evidence against him was falsified. Gina Chiala is co-coordinator of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. Chiala says President Clinton's willingness to review the case bodes well for Peltier.

If you're a football fan, you're not alone. Minnesota is full of enthusiastic spectators of the game from the high school leagues on up. Ross Bernstein's new book Pigskin Pride: Celebrating a Century of Minnesota Football documents the state's love of the game from its roots here in the 1870s. I asked him how Minnesota stacks up against other football loving states.

Tuesday, November 28

Every story in Frederick Busch's new collection of short fiction Don't Tell Anyone is about secrets. There are different kinds: people hiding a troubled past, or a current problem, some denying reality, and others simply ignorant of what the rest of the world seems to know. Busch says he did not set out to write about secrets, it's just the way his fiction has developed in recent years. He told Minnesota Public Radio's Euan Kerr secrets are stories in themselves, but he doesn't really know from where his stories come.

The Minnesota Attorney General's office says Governor Jesse Ventura is bound by the state's code of ethics. Ventura has maintained that as an elected official, he was exempt from the rules applied to other state employees. But today's attorney general opinion does not address the crucial question of whether Ventura's recent contract with the XFL actually breaches any ethical codes. Minnesota Public Radio's Michael Khoo has more.

The election results may be certified, but the next president is still far from certain. Vice President Gore today brushed aside new polls showing most Americans believe he should concede and pushed ahead with his effort to include more ballots in the final count, while Governor Bush continued building his transition team. Both sides filed briefs with the Supreme Court in preparation for Friday's oral arguments. We asked Minnesota Congressmen on both sides of the aisle for their thoughts on this year's unusual election process. Republican Gil Gutknecht thinks Vice President Gore should concede and he says he's not alone.

Democratic Congressman Martin Sabo takes a different view.

Wednesday, November 29

Minnesota election officials have been rather smug, watching the disputes over dimpled chads and butterfly ballots in Florida. Minnesota's system of optical scan ballots is considered more reliable, and easier to accurately recount, than the punch-card ballots used in Florida. But the final legislative recount underway in Minnesota shows no system is perfect. Minnesota Public Radio's Laura McCallum reports.

Minnesotans can look forward to another tax rebate. The state has banked a $345 million surplus since last July, and by law that money, along with any additional surplus projected for fiscal year 2000, must go to a tax rebate. Earlier this year, the state gave back $645 million from the last fiscal year's surplus. That was only half of what the state had given back a year earlier. Tomorrow, state budget officials will release the state budget forecast that will project the surplus for the 2000-2001 and 2002-2003 fiscal years. Art Rolnick is vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. I asked him what the projected surplus says about the Minnesota economy.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale addressed a symposium on U.S.-Japan relations this morning. The event at Macalester College was one of a series of Mondale Lectures on Public Service, looking back at the former vice president's 50-year career.

Northwest Airlines and its mechanics union squared off in federal court in Minneapolis this afternoon. The airline was asking judge David Doty to find the Airline Mechanics Fraternal Association in contempt for violating his order last week not to engage in an illegal slowdown. Minnesota Public Radio's Mark Zdechlik has been at the courthouse following events and he joins us now.

Margaret Atwood's latest novel The Blind Assassin focuses on an octogenarian looking back on the events leading to the death of her younger sister. But the book, which recently won Britain's prestigious Booker prize, also contains a novel-within-the-novel and yet another science fiction tale within that. One of the Booker judges said the novel "demonstrates Atwood's immense emotional range, as well as her poet's eye for both telling detail and psychological truth." Atwood told Minnesota Public Radio's Stephanie Curtis that many of the moments in the novel came from the experiences of her mother and grandmother. LISTEN

An old Minnesota controversy has a breath of new life thanks to a semiretired chemist in Wisconsin. Barry Hanson has gathered a team of experts to study whether the Kensington Runestone might actually have been carved by wandering Vikings in 1362. Most experts agree the stone is a hoax, carved in 1898 by a Swedish farmer and stone mason. But Hanson says he began to doubt those claims when he first visited the museum ten years ago.

Minnesota's recent warm winters have left ski-enthusiasts pining for the days of predictably snowy trails. Well, if Ahvo Taipale has his way, good snow cover will never be far away. Taipale, who owns Finn-Seesu Ski Shop in St. Paul, wants to build the continent's first underground cross-country skiing facility. He doesn't have a site picked out for the so-called "ski-tunnel" but he estimates it will cost about $14 million to build. Taipale says he visited the world's first ski-tunnel in Finland and thought the Twin Cities could use one too.

Thursday, November 30

The nation's largest study of adolescent health finds that one in four teen-agers have used a weapon in the past and one in ten drink alcohol on a regular basis. Researchers at the University of Minnesota surveyed 10,000 students ranging in age from 12-17. The research suggests that teen-agers who engage in risky behavior have done poorly in school and have lots of unsupervised free time. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck reports.

A new statewide survey shows Governor Jesse Ventura is one of the most popular governors in Minnesota state history. The St. Cloud State University poll gives the Governor an overall positive rating of 63 percent. Minnesota Public Radio's Marisa Helms reports.

Minnesotans are likely to get another round of rebate checks next year. State officials today announced a projected revenue surplus of $3 billion over the next two and a half years. Finance officials are urging a cautious approach to spending the money, in case the economy slows, but the race to divy up the money has already begun. Minnesota Public Radio's Laura McCallum reports.

Senator-elect Mark Dayton says he might not be able to afford his campaign promise to reduce his congressional salary to $1 a year. Minnesota Public Radio's Lynette Nyman reports.

It's a big game for the Vikings tonight; they can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Detroit along with a Tampa Bay loss or tie this weekend. Minnesota has the best record in the NFC, Detroit is 8-4 and two games behind the Vikings. At halftime, the Viking's will honor their 40th anniversary team, which includes all-time greats like Fran Tarkenton, Alan Page and Chuck Foreman and current players Chris Carter, Robert Smith and John Randle. The game is nationally televised, but fans can also log on to the Internet to listen or watch the action. D.J. Boyer is a senior writer at . I asked him how the Internet is changing the way sports fans follow their favorite teams.

A new study says Twin Cities residents spend more on transportation than on any other necessity, including housing. The Surface Transportation Policy Project, a national smart-growth advocacy group based in Washington D.C., ranked the Twin Cities 6 of 28 metro areas in out of pocket expenses for transportation. The typical Twin cities household spent $8,600 a year on transportation. And 98 percent of that money went into owning and operating automobiles. The findings are based on data from the federal government's Consumer Expenditure Survey. Barbara McCann co-authored the study. She says the findings weren't very surprising.

Friday, December 1

The state's education chief says she's gathering input and fine tuning a proposal to to link the salaries of Minnesota public school teachers with student achievement. Christine Jax, commissioner of the Department of Children, Families and Learning, outlined her plan Friday for legislators and leaders of various education organizations during a teacher quality policy forum in Saint Paul. Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Pugmire Reports.

U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone returned from a fact-finding trip to Colombia a bit out of breath and tired, but in good shape. He briefed media after he got off a plane at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. He says he doesn't know whether the land mines found yesterday morning in Barrancabermeja, Colombia were intended for him or the U.S. Ambassador traveling with him:

Lobby groups representing nursing homes and other Long-term Care providers are asking the state to allocate $500 million to renovate and reform the state's long-term care system. The groups say the state is on the verge of a long-term care crisis. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck reports.

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