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February 18 - 22, 2002
Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Morning Edition Home

Monday, February 18

The contributions of African-Americans in the railroad industry will be the topic of a forum later today commemorating Black History Month. African-American labor helped build the railroads that were key to the development of the United States and the Upper Midwest. That work sparked the black labor movement. It also inspired many black inventors who's ideas helped the industry grow. Joining us on the line is Brian Clark, an electrical engineer with Minneapolis' light rail project, and one of the keynote speakers at today's forum.

No one knows for sure why dozens of Faribault and Waterville teenagers got into a brawl last May. But whatever the reason, those involved say the fight should not have cost 18-year-old Freddy Schultz his life. So when the teens appeared in court, district judge Tom McCarthy found the typical legal remedies of jail time and fines inadequate to do deal with the pain and anger that had split the neighboring southeastern Minnesota communities. As Minnesota Public Radio's Elizabeth Stawicki reports, the judge, along with the understanding of a grieving mother, found a way. FULL STORY

The U.S. Senate is taking up a long awaited national energy bill. Like a house version passed last year, the Senate is expected to support continued research and development into what's called "clean coal technology." Two Northeast Minnesota power plant proposals are based on the new technology. But some environmental groups say there's no such thing as clean coal - especially at the edge of the Great Lakes. Mainstreet Radio's Bob Kelleher reports from Duluth.

The Minnesota Twins open spring training later today, as pitchers and catchers report for work in Fort Myers, Fla. The team survived Major League Baseball's off-season talk of contraction this year, thanks in part to a decision by the Minnesota courts that requires the team to honor its lease at the Metrodome. Still, it's a strange year for the Twins, who could be playing their last season. Baseball commissioner Bug Selig has signaled his intentions to continue with contraction plans next year. Joining us on the line is LaVelle Neal who's in Florida, and covers the Twins for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Tuesday, February 19

A new book chronicles the life of Minnesota's first African-American attorney. Fredrick L. McGee: A Life on the Color Line follows McGee from his birth into slavery in 1861 through his career as a ciminal attorney in St. Paul. McGee practiced in Minnesota for over twenty years. He was respected by both the white and black communities, and was well-known for his work in civil rights. His story was written by local author Paul Nelson. Nelson says McGee came to Minnesota at the prompting of John Quincy Adams, the publisher of a black weekly in St. Paul.

Hours after a Minnesota House committee rejected legislation to build a football stadium for Vikings and Gophers, another panel approved two bills Monday to build a new home for the Twins. Both bills would help build a major league ballpark in St. Paul, but they include different approaches to financing the projects. Lawmakers also want to give St. Paul voters the ultimate approval. Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Pugmire reports. FULL STORY

Friday is the first committee deadline at the Minnesota Legislature. That means most bills will have to clear policy committees in at least one house by the end of the week to stay alive. Joining us with a look at what's happening at the capitol this week is Minnesota Public Radio's Capitol Bureau Chief, Laura McCallum.

State and school leaders from all over the Upper Midwest are visiting a small farm town in southeastern Minnesota. They're coming to tour what could be the school of the future -- the dome school. Mainstreet Radio's Laurel Druley tagged along on a recent tour. FULL STORY

The Minnesota State Bar Association has asked the state Supreme Court to allow attorneys to partner with other professions such as accountants. Multi-disciplinary practices or MDP's as they're called, have been controversial. Critics have argued such partnerships would compromise the independence of the legal profession because they'd intermingle different codes of ethics. The request takes on even greater significance given the concern over Arthur Andersen's roles as both accountant and consultant at Enron. Minnesota Public Radio's Elizabeth Stawicki reports. FULL STORY

It's a busy week for Minnesota's athletes at the Olympic Games. The women's curling team, with two Minnesotans, defeated Norway yesterday, clinching a spot in the medal round which begins tomorrow. Slalom skiers Kristina Koznick and Tasha Nelson will also compete tomorrow. Meanwhile, much of the nation will be watching when women figure skaters begin their short programs tonight. Joining us now from Salt Lake City is MPR Sports Commentator Jay Weiner.

MPR's Chris Farrell with this week's economic news.

Wednesday, February 20

Minneapolis school district officials say more than 200 teachers and 70 other employees will likely lose their jobs as part of proposed budget cuts. Superintendent Carol Johnson presented the school board Tuesday with her plan for solving a $30 million deficit. Her recommendations also freeze district salaries, reduce student bus service, and could set the stage for an additional levy referendum. Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Pugmire reports.

Last fall a survey of North Dakota grain elevator managers confirmed what many of them already knew. Elevator managers complained of poor service from railroads, and in particular the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Now there is a new fight brewing as railroads say they will only pick up loads of 110 cars or more. Mainstreet Radios Bob Reha reports.

Thursday, February 21

Amtrak has threatened to discontinue all long- distance train service in October if Congress doesn't give it $1.2 billion in the next budget year. Among the long-distance trains being targeted is the "Empire Builder," which runs between Chicago and Seattle. The people of Rugby, North Dakota have been fighting to keep the train for the past 15 years. It's the community's only long-haul passenger service. Mainstreet Radios Bob Reha reports. FULL STORY

Lawmakers in the House and Senate are expected to pass a budget-balancing bill later Thursday aimed at fixing the state's projected $2 billion deficit. Negotiators from the two bodies approved a deal last night that patches the budget hole for the next year and a half -- but Governor Jesse Ventura still has concerns about the package. Minnesota Public Radio's Michael Khoo has more.

Friday, February 22

The warm winter brought the ice fishing season to an end a little early this year. Anglers spent this week dragging the last of their ice shacks off of lakes around the state. The shacks may disappear for another year, but a controversy surrounding them will not. A court decision in the middle of the season declared that ice shacks were a private space, protected by the U.S. Constitution from unwarranted searches. As Mainstreet Radio's Jeff Horwich reports, this has put the Department of Natural Resources in a tough position. FULL STORY

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will play all nine of Beethoven's Symphonies during its 2002-2003 season. The season, announced by the Orchestra Thursday also includes four world premieres, and a new seating arrangement at the Ordway. SPCO Music Director Andreas Delfs told Minnesota Public Radio's Euan Kerr he decided to do what he is calling the "Beethoven project" after conducting Beethoven's Fourth Symphony with the orchestra this year.

Legislative plans to present Governor Jesse Ventura with a budget-balancing plan as quickly as possible may have hit a snag. Lawmakers and officials from the state revisor's office tried -- in vain -- Thursday night to officially present the plan to the governor. But Ventura was nowhere to be found. The delay prevent lawmakers from overturning a possible veto before next week's budget forecast -- a move that could strengthen the governor's hand in budget negotiations. Minnesota Public Radio's Michael Khoo has more. FULL STORY


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