All Things Considered
All Things Considered
January 30 - February 3, 2006
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Monday, Jan. 30, 2006
Study seeks new uses for potato waste
Minnesota's potato industry produces some 400,000 tons of potato waste each year. Scientists at Bemidji State University are looking for ways to turn that waste into something valuable and environmentally friendly.

Canadian miners emerge safe and sound
All of the 72 miners who were trapped a half-mile underground in a Saskatchewan potash mine have been rescued. The Esterhazy mine is owned by Plymouth, Minn.-based Mosaic Company, which makes agricultural fertilizer. Potash is a key source of potassium for fertilizer. The miners were trapped yesterday when a fire broke out, causing toxic smoke to fill the mine's tunnels. The miners made their way to sealed emergency rooms where the air was safe to breathe. They were brought to safety early this morning. Mosaic CEO Fritz Corrigan flew to Saskatchewan yesterday morning. We reached him today by cell phone outside the town of Esterhazy, where people are celebrating a successful rescue.

What'll it be, mac? Face cord or regular?
Last fall, many observers predicted a dire winter with rising energy prices and falling temperatures on the horizon. That prompted many to stock up on alternative sources of heat. So far, the warm winter temperatures have spared most Minnesotans the worst. Nonetheless, Commentator Hans Eisenbeis is enjoying the fruits of his preparation.

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006
Three keyboards, one concert
One night a year, three Twin Cities musicians come together to perform before a live audience. The three men come from different generations and musical backgrounds, but they have two things in common; they all play keyboard instruments and they all resist attempts to pigeonhole their music.

Farmers try to balance higher energy costs
Farmers are trying to find ways to turn a profit in the face of sharply higher fuel and fertilizer costs.

Higher rates for ARMs squeezing some homeowners
Higher interest rates mean higher monthly payments for homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages.

Follow the money
U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton said he isn't seeking reelection because he doesn't like raising all the money it takes to run a campaign. Apparently Rep. Mark Kennedy, who hopes to replace Dayton, has no such problems. According to financial statements released this week, Kennedy, a Republican, raised $1.5 million dollars in the last quarter of 2005. That's more than twice the money Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar raised in that same period, and six times more than Veterinarian Ford Bell. So where is all that money coming from this early in the race? According to former Republican U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, who raised money for two Senate campaigns of his own, it comes from political activists who've already made up their mind about who they want to win the race.

Republicans in congress lobby for position
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will pick some new party leaders later this week. The top prize is the position of majority leader, vacated by Rep. Tom Delay when he was indicted last year on campaign finance charges. Roy Blunt of Missouri stepped into Delay's shoes temporarily and hopes to win the closed-door vote on Thursday. But two other powerful Republicans, John Boehner of Ohio and John Shadegg of Arizona are encouraging colleagues to remove the old party leadership and vote for them instead.

"Break, Blow, Burn"
You may know Camille Paglia from her wide-ranging columns on culture and politics on, or from her breakthrough book: "Sexual Personae, a Treatise on Decadence in the History of Art." It's fair to say her thoughts are often provocative, causing controversy with feminists and cultural conservatives alike. In her most recent book, she goes back to basics, and turns to her academic roots: poetry. She rails against what she terms "post -modernist" theories of poetry. It's a collection of essays on 43 poems Paglia teaches in class: from lyrics to a song by Joni Mitchell, to classics like Shakespeare and Donne.

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006
Pawlenty's roads plan: Less than meets the eye?
Gov. Tim Pawlenty unveiled a road building plan that once again does not call for increasing the gasoline tax. The plan, instead, assumes state residents will approve a constitutional amendment this fall, that would dedicate all the money collected from vehicle sales taxes to transportation.

Warm winter signals climate change
So far it's been another one of those "winters that wasn't." The Earth has just lived through the warmest year on record. Is it proof of global warming? Experts say there's growing concern.

Bush to visit 3M in Maplewood
President Bush delivered his State of the Union address last night, outlining proposals for keeping the United States competitive, promoting health care savings accounts and alternative fuels, and reiterating his call for staying the course in Iraq. He wasted no time in taking those themes on the road. Today he appeared in Nashville, Tenn., and tomorrow, he'll be in Maplewood, Minn., addressing a group at 3M Company headquarters. To look at why the President has chosen to stop in Minnesota, and what's at stake here politically, we call upon Dan Hoffrenning, who teaches political science at St. Olaf college in Northfield.

In St. Cloud, Mexican consul promotes trade
Some Minnesota business owners say the state is missing out on a huge opportunity for trade with Mexico. That's an idea echoed by the state's new representative from Mexico. Consul Nathan Wolf was in St. Cloud today, talking with business leaders about how Mexico and Minnesota can improve their trading relationship.

Warm weather a mixed blessing for wildlife
Some depend on snow and ice for protection, while others are enjoying easier access to food and water. Pam Perry watches critters for the Minnesota Department of Natural resources. She says a warm winter is a mixed blessing for Minnesota's animals.

Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006
Bush expands on competitiveness initative during Maplewood visit
President Bush, focused on America's ability to keep pace in a fast-changing world economy, urged Congress on Thursday to permanently renew a now-expired tax break for U.S. companies' research and development projects.

Opponents mark Bush visit with small protests
As the president spoke in Maplewood, about 100 people protested his policies nearby. The crowd included anti-war activists and supporters of same sex marriage.

Report says wetlands continue to disappear
Minnesota has lost thousands of acres of marshes, bogs and swamps in recent years, according to a new report. The losses come despite numerous federal and state laws designed to protect wetlands.

Blowin' in the wind
There's more wind in Minnesota than anyone realized. New wind maps compiled for the state commerce department show that more of the state is well-suited for wind turbines than researchers previously thought. The state is eager to promote wind energy as an alternative to traditional sources of electricity. Gov. Pawlenty says he wants to see 800 more megawatts of community-based wind energy by 2010 and the State Legislature recently passed a law to help communities develop wind farms. John Dunlop studies the upper midwest for the American Wind Energy Association, which supports increasing the use of wind power. He says good, strong winds are available along most of the state's western edge.

Lack of snow won't deter loppet
They're shoveling in Minneapolis. Organizers of the City of Lakes Loppet are determined not to let warm weather scuttle the annual cross-country ski event. They've asked volunteers to come shovel snow onto the course for the races that are scheduled for this weekend.

Friday, Feb. 3, 2006
Art on ice
Even with the warmer than usual temperatures in Minnesota this winter, it's not unusual to see shacks out on a frozen Minnesota lake. Medicine Lake in Plymouth contains a couple of dozen shacks, but they're not for ice fishing. The lake has become an art installation for the third winter of Art Shanties.

Northwest Airlines pilots to take strike vote
A bankruptcy judge wants the airline and its unions to reach a contract deal before soon. But the pilots union leaders said the rank and file will be voting on whether to authorize a strike.

MPCA researcher reports dramatic test results as she's forced out
Blood samples taken from Mississippi River fish near a 3M plant show high levels of a chemical related to the company's former Scotchgard operations. Those levels are believed to be the highest found anywhere in the world. The tests were conducted by an MPCA scientist who left the agency this week, after a long dispute with her bosses over her research.

Lili Taylor comes to town
Lili Taylor hasn't hit 40 yet, but she has made 40 movies. She's known as "the Queen of the Independents," having appeared in such indie classics as "Mystic Pizza," "Short Cuts," "I Shot Andy Warhol," "High Fidelity" and "Casa de los Babys." She also played Lisa in the cult show "Six Feet under." This weekend the Walker Art Center begins a two week retrospective of her work.

Wetterling announces campaign for Congress; Tinklenberg vows to stay in race
Patty Wetterling's announcement has upset the other Democrat in the race and has Republicans hopeful that the seat will stay in their hands.

The other sport
As millions of Americans are gearing up for the Super Bowl, many Arab Americans have their eyes on another mega sporting event -- the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament. It runs in Egypt until Feb. 10. Recently, the undefeated Egyptian club soccer team, El-Ahly , took on Saudi Arabia in the World Club Cup in Japan. Watching the game was in itself a challenge for commentator Ahmed Tharwat.

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