Morning Edition
Morning Edition
October 18 - 22, 2004
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Monday, Oct. 18, 2004
Presidential candidates focus much attention on Wisconsin
There should be no doubt, looking at the candidates' travel schedules, that Minnesota and Wisconsin are battleground states. Minnesota will host visits this week by the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards. President Bush will be in Rochester, Minnesota this week. Mr. Bush is also coming back to Wisconsin on Wednesday, when he'll be in Eau Claire. Mr. Bush was in the Badger state this past Friday. So was John Kerry. Trying to keep up with the candidates is enough to exhaust any political reporter. One of the best in Wisconsin is Dee Hall. She's covering the presidential campaign for the Wisconsin State Journal.

Not all IKEA shoppers content
Some of the lustre has worn off one of Minnesota's major shopping destinations. When the Swedish furniture chain IKEA opened across the street from the Mall of America in July, the buzz about its sleek, low-cost furniture had preceded it to the Twin Cities. But the new IKEA has left some customers disgruntled and even angry -- suggesting the store has faced more than routine challenges in its first months. Minnesota Public Radio's Jeff Horwich reports.

Neighborhood friction is a sign of the times
Political yard signs are the primary way average citizens advertise their preference as voters. In this divisive election year, however, they've become markers on a battlefield. In some Minnesota neighborhoods, the signs alternate between Kerry/Edwards and Bush/Cheney from house to house, sometimes for an entire block. How does this battleground challenge neighborly ties? Minnesota Public Radio's Chris Roberts reports.

FRONTLINE documentary on presidential candidates will air on radio
Today at 11 a.m., Midday will broadcast The Choice 2004, a radio adaptation of the FRONTLINE television documentary about the presidential candidates. The program was adapted in collaboration with American RadioWorks. The Choice 2004 explores how the candidates early experiences and backgrounds helped shape the men they would become. FRONTLINE has been producing The Choice since 1988. Michael Sullivan is the Executive Producer of Special Projects for FRONTLINE. He says the program started as an effort to present voters with something they weren't getting elsewhere.

Monday Markets
Minnesota Public Radio's Chief Economics Correspondent Chris Farrell discusses the latest economic news.

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2004
Officials say they didn't overreact to school threat
Later this morning, Andrew Deutsch is expected to be sentenced in Ramsey County juvenile court. The 16-year-old pleaded guilty last week to making terroristic threats after a planner belonging to him was found to contain threats of violence against other students and staff at Harding High School in St. Paul. After a series of deadly school shootings in recent years, including one in Minnesota, school officials, police and prosecutors say they have been taking these threats more seriously -- because they can't afford not to. Minnesota Public Radio's Toni Randolph reports.

Rematch in District 52B
This week our "Campaign 2004" coverage looks at the state Legislature. All 134 House seats are on the ballot November 2. One of the legislative races that has being closely watched is district 52B in the Stillwater area. It is a rematch of last year's special election between DFLer Rebecca Otto and Republican Matt Dean. Otto won the seat last time, but some Republicans believe her victory was a fluke. Minnesota Public Radio's Laura McCallum reports.

Survey of guns and arrests in Hennepin Co.
A survey of men arrested in Hennepin County shows nearly half of them have owned a gun at some point in their lives. Nearly half have also been shot at. The survey was done by the Council on Crime and Justice, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit. Tom Johnson is the president of the group, and he spoke with Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer.

First flu case hits Minnesota
The Minnesota Health Department says a Minneapolis woman is the first person to get the flu in Minnesota this season. Health officials are watching this year's flu outbreak particularly closely because there's a shortage of the flu vaccine. British health authorities shut down one of the two manufacturers that provide the vaccine to the U.S. The move has forced health officials nationwide to prioritize the vaccine and urge the public to remain calm. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck reports.

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2004
Edwards campaigns on Iron Range
Both presidential campaigns are giving lots of attention to Minnesota this week. President George W. Bush will speak later today in Rochester. And Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards made a stop in Hibbing last night. This was the Kerry campaign's first big rally on the Iron Range. Minnesota Public Radio's Chris Julin has the story.

Bush and Kerry economic plans
Polls show the economy is a major concern for voters going into next month's presidential election. President Bush and Senator John Kerry have wildly different views about what's happening with the economy and what should be done to bolster growth. Some economists say both candidates share unworkable deficit reduction plans and that both are stretching the truth when they talk about being able to create more jobs over the next four years. Minnesota Public Radio's Mark Zdechlik reports.

A look at District 2A state House race
This week, our "Campaign 2004" coverage looks at the state Legislature. All 134 seats in the House of Representatives are up for re-election this fall. In Minnesota house district 2A, a first term representative faces a challenge from a popular mayor. Redistricting left an open seat two years ago and DFLer Kent Eken was elected. Ada Mayor Jim Ellefson is hoping to claim the house seat for the Republican majority. Mainstreet Radios Dan Gunderson reports.

MnSCU trustees to vote on budget
The Board of Trustees for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system will vote today on a proposed legislative budget request. The $260 million MnSCU request assumes a four percent tuition increase for each of the next two years. But students say they have had enough of tuition increases. They want the trustees to bump up the budget request by $63 million and eliminate the tuition increase. Minnesota Public Radio's Marisa Helms reports.

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2004
Bush rallies the base in Rochester airport stop
President Bush delivered a wide-ranging stump speech in Rochester yesterday, marking his eighth visit to the state this year. He focused on domestic issues like taxes and the economy. Minnesota Public Radio's Laura McCallum looked at the claims in the president's speech, and has this Fact Check.

Ad makes waves
A new ad attacking John Kerry is running on radio stations across northern Minnesota. It says if Kerry is elected president, people could lose their rights to go hunting and snowmobiling. The ad started running this week. The Kerry campaign is already saying the ads are inaccurate. Minnesota is a swing state, and the Iron Range could provide a big push for the swing. Mainstreet Radio's Stephanie Hemphill reports.

Kennedy and Wetterling step up ads in congressional race
Republican Mark Kennedy and the National Republican Congressional Committee are stepping up their criticism of DFLer Patty Wetterling. Both are running TV ads questioning Wetterling's credibility as a candidate and the special interest groups that support her. Wetterling says the ads are unfair and has countered with an ad of her own questioning the Republican tactics. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck reports.

A case study in party contrasts
Education and health care figure prominently in the state legislative race in District 16A in the Mille Lacs County area. Republican Sondra Erickson has held that House seat for nearly seven years. Democrat Gail Kulick Jackson, a lawyer, is the DFL candidate. The key issues of this race make it a good case study for some state and national political trends. Mainstreet Radio's Annie Baxter reports.

A farewell to Vioxx
This week the pharmaceutical giant Merck released details from the self-sponsored study that recently led them to withdraw their arthritis medication, Vioxx, from the market. The study confirmed previously raised concerns that patients taking Vioxx might be at a small but statistically significant increased risk for heart attack or stroke. While Merck executives mourn the loss of their high-profit arthritis pill, and personal injury lawyers are looking for plantiffs, commentator and physician Dr. Craig Bowron isn't sad to see Vioxx go.

Friday, Oct. 22, 2004
Pawlenty wants state to get $350 million from Indian casinos
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has settled on a specific amount of money he wants Minnesota's Indian casinos to send to the state: $350 million a year. The governor sent tribal leaders a letter asking for that amount in exchange for a guarantee of exclusive gambling rights in the state for a negotiated length of time. The letter also says he wants to meet with tribal leaders next week to discuss his proposal which would send large amounts of Indian casino money to the state for the first time. The head of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, John McCarthy, calls the $350 million figure "laughable." Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Gov. Pawlenty's Chief of Staff Dan McElroy.

Kerry holds rally outside Metrodome
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this morning. Last night, he spoke at a rally in Minneapolis in front of an estimated crowd of 30,000 people. A new St. Paul Pioneer Press poll out this morning shows Kerry and Bush in a dead heat in Minnesota, but Republicans say Kerry's stance on the war on terrorism is unpopular with voters. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck reports.

Checking Sen. Kerry's facts in his stump speech
Our coverage of Kerry's visit to the Twin Cities continues with analysis from Minnesota Public Radio's Michael Khoo who checked the Senator's rhetoric against the public record.

High youth voter turnout real possibility
This could be a good year for getting young voters in Minnesota to turn out to the polls. Partisan and non-partisan "Get out the Vote" groups have set up shop in Minnesota with peer groups targeting 18- to 24-year-olds. Their efforts appear to be paying off. Minnesota Public Radio's Marisa Helms reports.

"Rock the Vote" coming to Minnesota talking draft
One of the organizations that tries to mobilize the youth vote is "Rock the Vote" which is taking its bus tour to Duluth and the Twin Cities starting this weekend. "Rock the Vote" has partnered with MTV since the early 1990s in an effort to increase the political participation of young people. "Rock the Vote" is taking the issue of a military draft to young voters this year. That is despite denials that a draft will occur from both President George W. Bush and his Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry. Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Ms. Jehmu Greene, president of "Rock the Vote."

Long days on campaign trail in 22B
This week our Campaign 2004 coverage looks at the state Legislature where all 134 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election this fall. Minnesota Public Radio reporters will profile a number of key legislative races. One of the open seats in the House is District 22B in southwest Minnesota. Republican Elaine Harder is retiring after five terms. It is a conservative part of the state, heavy on agriculture. Both candidates say health care is the main concern for voters. Mainstreet Radio's Mark Steil reports.

Jeffrey Hatcher sees "Stage Beauty" on celluloid
Twin Cities playwright Jeffrey Hatcher is a prolific wordsmith. His work is regularly performed on stages around the country. Now he is up to something new -- a movie. "Stage Beauty" opens locally this weekend. It is set 350 years in the past, but Minnesota Public Radio's Euan Kerr reports, it deals with issues of gender and sexuality very much from the present.

Poll: Twin Citians happy living in metro area
We have some new poll numbers for you this morning, but they have nothing to do with President Bush or Senator John Kerry. Instead, these numbers tell us what Twin Citians think about living in the metro area. The results come from The Gallup Organization, which surveyed about 1,000 people in the seven-county metro area. Mark Reilly wrote about the story in this week's edition of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. He says many people are very satisfied with living in the Twin Cities, and when measured against other cities, the Twin Cities does well.

Climatologist Mark Seeley's weather comments
University of Minnesota Climatologist Mark Seeley tells us about the new seasonal climate outlook for the next three months. And, he reviews the tornado numbers for 2004. Minnesota had 57 tornados in 2004, the second most since powerful Doppler radar technology has been used beginning in the early 90s.

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