Morning Edition
Morning Edition
June 7 - 11, 2004
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Monday, June 7, 2004
Minnesotans remember Ronald Reagan
Minnesota's political leaders are remembering former president Ronald Reagan. Both Reagan's supporters and opponents say his influence on the country and the Republican party will live on. Minnesota Public Radio's Marisa Helms reports.

Grand Excursion: Early days of Winona
In advance of the Grand Excursion of 2004, we broadcast a special program from Winona, Minnesota in the far southeastern corner of the state. We were in Levee Park looking out on the Mississippi River. One hundred and fifty years ago, you could have watched a flotilla of five steamboats pass by on their way to St. Paul. Those boats carried the passengers of the Grand Excursion of 1854. As far as we can tell the Grand Excursion did not stop here in Winona, a community that had been founded only three years before. The excursionists, a group of eastern luminaries, journalists, and potential investors, who passed this spot in steamboats began their trip two days earlier on a train in Chicago. Experts believe the river portion of the journey was not the main event of the excursion which was sponsored by the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad. Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Mark Peterson, Executive Director of the Winona County Historical Society about the early days of Winona. Click here to listen to the first part of a three part program on the Grand Excursion.

The Grand Excursion of 1854
When the excursionists reached St. Anthony Falls and got their first look, most were disappointed, because they were expecting to see something as spectacular as Niagara Falls. Joining me now is David Wiggins, a historian with the National Parks Service. The excursionists, that passed this spot in steamboats on June 7, 1854, began their trip two days earlier on a train in Chicago. Steve Keillor, the author of a newly published history of the Grand Excursion, says the river portion of the journey was not the main event of the excursion which was sponsored by the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad.

Grand Excursion: History of the Mississippi
Good morning, I'm Cathy Wurzer with Minnesota Public Radio and today we are broadcasting from Levee Park on the Mississippi river front in Winona, Minnesota. We are here today on the 150th anniversary of the Grand Excursion of 1854, an event which showcased the beauty and potential of the Upper Midwest to group of prominent visitors from the east coast. Those visitors traveled up the Mississippi River from Rock Island to St. Paul in a flotilla of steamboats. Many came on the trip because it was a chance to see the Upper Mississippi for the first time. The river has played a huge role in shaping the history of this region. Rejoining me to discuss the river and its history is David Wiggins, a historian with the National Parks Service and Cal Fremling, who is a retired biology professor from Winona State University. He is also the author of a soon to be published history of the Upper Mississippi River.

Grand Excursion: Army Corps and extending locks and dams
This evening, a near capacity crowd is expected at the Holiday Inn ballroom in Davenport, Iowa. Attendees will be among the first to comment on the Army Corps of Engineers blueprint for the future of the Upper Mississippi River. The plan outlines proposed improvements for the locks and dams, and for the environment. Later this week, the agency will hold similar meetings in LaCrosse and Bloomington. It's been twelve long years in the making, but now it appears the Army Corps Navigation Study is on the verge of completion. Mainstreet Radio's Erin Galbally reports.

Grand Excursion: Managing the Mississippi
Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer spoke with two men who are stewards of the river in different ways. Dan Krumholz is in charge of channel maintenance for the St. Paul District of the Army Corps of Engineers. His determines where silt and sand will be dredged from the river bottom and makes sure the channel is deep enough and clear for commercial and recreational navigation. She is also joined by Don Hultman, the manager of the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, a 261-mile-long area on either side of the river. Don's office is in charge of protecting the wildlife in the Upper Mississippi flood plain.

Grand Excursion: Kids sing about the Mississippi
Today is the 150th anniversary of the day the steamboats of the Grand Excursion of 1854 passed this spot on their way to St. Paul. Those five steamboats actually got to St. Paul a day earlier than expected and caught the city leaders off guard, ruining their plans for a big welcoming ceremony. Well, the city leaders should be ready when nine steamboats of the 2004 Grand Excursion flotilla arrive in St. Paul on July 3rd. Planning for this moment has been in the works for ten years, and the flotilla is just one of over 150 Grand Excursion events. There's a musical at the Great American History Theater, there's an exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and even the worlds largest balloon arch will stretch across the Mississippi River. The 2004 Grand Excursion will be nearly impossible to avoid. One of the main goals of this event is to reconnect with the Mississippi River. As part of that effort, Mississippi River educational materials were donated to hundreds of schools in region. In addition to exploring the river, the teachers and students at St. Paul's Cleveland Quality Middle School even came up with a song about the Upper Mississippi.

Grand Excursion: Mayor Kelly on the Mississippi
Ex-President Millard Fillmore was on the original Grand Excursion of 1854 and for the past ten years a dinner named in his honor has been held in St. Paul help to build enthusiasm for the 2004 Grand Excursion. At this year's Fillmore dinner, St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly talked about his city's connection with the river. Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer spoke with the man in charge of putting together the Grand excursion, Patrick Seeb. He is also the President of the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation. Also joining Cathy Wurzer was Mark Vander Schaaf, who is credited with coming up for the idea for the Grand Excursion.

Grand Excursion: Winona celebrates in 2004
Over 50 communities along the Mississippi in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota will hold Grand Excursion events as the flotilla moves up the river later this month. A number of events are planned for right here in Winona. Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Tim Breza, Chairman of "Winona Celebrates Grand Excursion."

Grand Excursion: Calliope to celebrate in 2004
On the day the Grand Excursion steamboat flotilla goes by Winona, almost the entire town will know about it because a very loud instrument will announce the flotilla's arrival. It's called a calliopee and it is similar to a pipe organ, but uses steam instead of air. It blares out musical notes at sound levels close to a rock concert. The loudness is part of the instrument's design. It was used in the mid-to-late 1800's to announce the arrival of special visitors to town like steam boats and circuses. Joining us is Eric Heukeshoven, who teaches music at St. Mary's University here in Winona, and who is one of the few people left who knows how to play the instrument.

Minnesota Green Party trying to keep major-party status
Delegates at the Green Party of Minnesota leave their state convention in Bemidji divided about their choice for president. Party activists held their convention over the weekend, and will send 28 delegates to the national convention in Milwaukee later this month. Those delegates disagree about who their presidential candidate should be. For the last 8 years, it's been Ralph Nader, who's running for president this year as an independent. Party officials say that void could cost the Green Party its major-party status in Minnesota. Mainstreet Radio's Tom Robertson reports.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Senate Republicans upset over possible agenda
DFL Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson is expected to announce today whether the Senate will agree to a special session, under terms worked out with Republican House Speaker Steve Sviggum and Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The three sides have discussed an agenda that would include fixing a budget shortfall, and passing a bonding bill that borrows money for state construction projects. The agenda would be brought up in a specific order to prevent a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Senate Republicans are upset about not being included in the agenda setting process, and even though they are in the minority, they do have leverage. Some of their votes are needed to pass the bonding bill, which requires a three-fifths majority in each chamber. Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Senate Minority Leader Republican Dick Day.

Minneapolis smoking ban passes council committee
A Minneapolis City council committee has passed an ordinance that would ban smoking in work places, including bars and restaurants. The full council will vote on the ordinance later this month. The committee voted after nearly three hours of public testimony. Like a similar hearing in front of the St. Paul city council last month, arguments for and against the ban were based on health, economics and constitutional rights. Minnesota Public Radio's Brandt Williams reports.

Three Minneapolis superintendent finalists announced
The Minneapolis school board named three finalists for the job of superintendent. Candidates from Cleveland, Seattle and Providence, Rhode Island, will be in town later this week to participate in community meetings and interviews with the board. Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Pugmire reports.

Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Chances for special session diminish
Signs of a possible compromise at the Minnesota Capitol are quickly evaporating as Gov. Tim Pawlenty, House Republicans, and Senate Democrats returned to finger-pointing over the lack of accomplishment this year. The Legislature adjourned last month without resolving any of this year's major budget or policy questions. And the governor and House Republicans say yesterday's Senate DFL proposal to reconvene is nothing more than a repackaged version of earlier, rejected options. Democrats in turn blame GOP leaders for holding the state's business hostage to the single issue of same-sex marriage. Minnesota Public Radio's Michael Khoo has more.

Vizenor to lead White Earth
Convicted felon Darrell "Chip" Wadena has lost his race to become chairman of the White Earth Reservation for a second time. Wadena lost to Erma Vizenor in an election race that concluded yesterday. Wadena was chairman for almost 20 years, until being convicted in 1996 for bid-rigging and other crimes related to the tribe's casino gambling business. Joining us on the line is Minnesota Public Radio reporter Dan Gunderson.

Mudslides hit road near Mankato
Some parts of southern Minnesota are saturated with up to eight inches of rain from storms overnight. Flash flood warnings have been issued for Blue Earth and Nicollet counties. Mudslides have also hit a stretch of Hwy. 169 between Mankato and St. Peter. Officials have closed that stretch of the road because its covered with four to five inches of mud. Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Tim Boyer, communications supervisor at the State Patrol in Mankato.

Warehouse District businesses discussing violent incidents
Two violent incidents in the Warehouse District in downtown Minneapolis have drawn attention to the area this week. The Warehouse District is home to many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Last Friday, a man was wounded in a shooting near the club Daddy Rocks, and three Minnesota Vikings players were arrested for allegedly beating a man outside the Tabu Club and Lounge early Sunday. Dario Anselmo owns the Fine Line Music Cafe, and is current president of the Warehouse District Business Association. He joins us now.

Thursday, June 10, 2004
New policy on placing sex offenders in nursing homes
The Minnesota Department of Corrections has issued a new policy on how to place people who have served time in state prison in nursing homes. The policy is designed to prevent another situation like the one at Concordia Care Center in Minneapolis. The state Attorney General sued Concordia's owner because two sex offenders placed there allegedly sexually assaulted other residents. The new policy calls for those who have served time in state prison to be separated from nursing home residents. It also creates a multi-agency, blue-ribbon panel to develop better ways to handle sex offenders. Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer spoke with the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections Joan Fabian.

May buys Marshall Fields
The May Department Stores company is buying the 62-store Marshall Field's chain from Minneapolis-based Target Corporation. The $3.2 billion deal also includes all nine Mervyn's locations in the Twin Cities. May is based in St. Louis and operates the Lord and Taylor chain and Filene's, as well as other regional chains. Minnesota Public Radio's Bill Catlin reports.

Superintendent finalists state their cases
All three finalists for the job of superintendent of the Minneapolis school district say they have the experience needed to be an effective leader of a large, diverse school system. Each candidate made their case last night during individual public meetings. The scrutiny continues today with a series of formal school board interviews. Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Pugmire reports.

Non-lethal force sometimes turns lethal
In the last two weeks, two men have died after being restrained by police officers, one in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul. In both cases, the police used non-lethal methods to take them into custody. Investigations and autopsy results are pending. Studies show that generally, there is not just one factor that leads to the fatality in these situations. Some say police officers can avoid these kinds of deaths, through better training. But law enforcement officials say police custody deaths are rare and the use of this kind of force is sometimes the only way to handle a violent suspect. Minnesota Public Radio's Brandt Williams reports.

Friday, June 11, 2004
Sealed smoking rooms in bars gains momentum
The Minneapolis City Council may follow the St. Paul City Council's lead on a compromise approach to a proposed smoking ban. Votes on a proposed smoking ban are scheduled for next week in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. The St. Paul City Council changed its proposal from a full ban to a proposal that allows bars and restaurants to create a separate room for smokers. But bar and restaurant owners say they do not like the compromise and are still worried about the ban's impact on their economic future. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck reports.

Marshall Fields may change under May
For many shoppers in the upper Midwest, there's a certain comfort to the aisles of a Marshall Field's store. The chain was born in Chicago, and for Minnesota shoppers there is still a sense of the hundred-year Dayton's tradition. In the next few months, St. Louis-based May Department Stores will take over, buying the chain from Minneapolis-based Target Corporation. This change in ownership raises the question of just what they plan to do to the place. Minnesota Public Radio's Jeff Horwich reports.

Target now more nimble in fight against Walmart
Analysts will be watching the Target Corporation to see how it positions itself to take on industry giant Walmart. Earlier this week, Target announced the sale of its Marshall Fields department stores and nine Twin Cities Mervyn's sites. It will get more than $3 billion in cash from St. Louis-based May Department Stores in the deal. And the move could sharpen its competitive edge. Joining us now is Dave Brennan, marketing professor at the University of St. Thomas.

Republicans state convention to rev up faithful
This weekend in St. Paul about 3,000 Minnesota Republicans will meet for the party's state convention. The convention will honor the late President Ronald Reagan and get party activists fired up for the November election. Republicans want to build on their electoral victories in 2002, and they hope the state will vote for a Republican for president for the first time in more than three decades. Minnesota Public Radio's Laura McCallum reports.

Zeitgeist show opens
Zeitgeist, the St. Paul-based contemporary chamber ensemble, debuted a new work, ""Shape-Shifting: Shades of Transformation" last weekend. It is a collaboration with composer Scott Miller and poet Philippe Costaglioli. The premiere run continues this Friday and Saturday. Critic William Randall Beard says it's a once in a lifetime experience.

Caledonia honors man who walked around earth
Caledonia, Minnesota is celebrating its sesquicentennial this weekend. The town was founded by a man named Samuel McPhail in the summer of 1854. A number of events will mark the anniversary -- fireworks, a parade of vintage cars, and the unveiling of a sign recognizing the achievement of a Caledonia native. In June of 1970, David Kunst set out with his brother to walk around the world. Kunst completed the journey, walking over 14,000 miles across four continents, and earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. David Kunst joins us now.

Mark Seeley's weather commentary
University of Minnesota climatologist Mark Seeley tells us about a wild first week of June. The state has seen record high temperatures, and flash flooding with heavy rains.

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