Morning Edition
Morning Edition
December 12 - 16, 2005
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Monday, Dec. 12, 2005
Eugene McCarthy, who galvanized a generation of war opponents, dies
Former Democratic Sen. Eugene McCarthy, one of Minnesota's and the country's most influential political figures of the last century, has died. He was 89. His son Michael says McCarthy died in his sleep at the Washington retirement home where he had lived for the past few years. McCarthy served two terms in the U.S. Senate, and before that five terms in the House of Representatives. His political zenith came in 1968. His opposition to the Vietnam War turned into a crusade to capture the Democratic presidential nomination. McCarthy didn't win. But his candidacy, and the 1968 campaign, left lasting imprints on American politics. Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Pugmire reports.

Fallen Marine laid to rest
Funeral services will be held today for a Minnesota Marine who died in Iraq earlier this month. Lance Corporal Scott Modeen was one 10 Marines -- two from Minnesota -- who were killed in an explosion during a promotion ceremony in Fallujah. Minnesota Public Radio's Toni Randolph reports.

High-tech gadgets help seniors live independently
Care-giving robots and other high-tech gadgets that help seniors live independently are on display in Washington today at the White House Conference on Aging. The conference, held every ten years, includes a special emphasis on technology as the U.S. prepares for a wave of Baby Boomer retirements. Aging experts predict the number of seniors will far exceed caregivers, making technological alternatives even more important. Some new products are already being tested in Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio's Lorna Benson reports on a device that tracks seniors who are home alone.

Vikings win six games in a row
In sports news, the Minnesota Vikings have now won six games in a row after beating the St. Louis Rams 27-13 yesterday at the Metrodome. The Minnesota Wild were beaten by the Buffalo Sabres last night 3-2. The Timberwolves will put their five-game winning streak on the line tonight. Joining us now with more on the local sports scene is Morning Edition sports commentator Steve Rudolph.

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

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005
NWA mechanics to vote on a deal to end strike
Northwest Airline's striking mechanics will finally get to vote on a deal that could end their strike which began back in August. The deal negotiated between union leaders and the company changes the status of the mechanics from being "on strike" to being "laid off." That does not necesarily mean they will return to work, but it does entitle striking mechanics to some severance pay and unemployment benefits. Union leaders have not allowed members to vote on Northwest's previous contract proposals. Minnesota Public Radio's Annie Baxter has more.

Private clubs watching smoking ban vote closely
Hennepin County Commissioners are expected to vote this afternoon on a proposal that would weaken the county's smoking ban. If it passes, about 270 establishments that serve food and liquor would be eligible for exemptions from the ban. The list includes private clubs like VFW and Legion posts. Members and staff at many such clubs say the ban has been bad for business. Minnesota Public Radio's Brandt Williams reports.

Property owners often pay for cleaning up meth homes
The St. Cloud Times reports that authorities have arrested four people after finding four pounds of the drug methamphetamine at an Amtrak station in Staples, Minnesota. Those arrested are expected to be arraigned in federal court on charges of conspiracy to distribute meth. Making meth has an impact too. It is often cooked up in homes, which puts investigators at risk of chemical poisoning. And the people who own the property must often pay for the cleanup. Minnesota Public Radio's Mark Steil reports.

Retail sales up slightly
The Commerce Department reports that retail sales edged up 0.3 percent in November, less than expected. Retailers are watching such numbers closely, hoping for a strong holiday shopping season. Dave Brennan is a retail expert at the University of St. Thomas. He spoke with MPR's Cathy Wurzer.

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2005
Federal flu pandemic plan worries local public health
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is making Minnesota the first stop in a nationwide tour to mobilize health officials to get ready for a possible pandemic of bird flu. If a massive outbreak occurs, Leavitt is telling state and local officials that they may be on their own. That worries some public health officials who say the federal government is shifting too many responsibilities to them. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck reports.

Officials discuss Minnesota's preparation for flu pandemic
Joining us now for more about today's pandemic flu summit are two officials who will participate, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

St. Paul homeowners blast property tax increases
Several dozen St. Paul homeowners blasted steep property tax increases at a public hearing last night. Property taxes are going up by double-digits in many communities across the state, and hearings like the one in St. Paul will fuel interest at the Capitol in property tax relief. Last night, city, county and school district officials listened to more than two hours of public testimony. They say they're trying to hold down government costs, and they blame some of the property tax increases on state decisions. Minnesota Public Radio's Laura McCallum reports.

St. Paul bar owners gearing up to fight total smoking ban
Over in St. Paul, some bar owners are concerned that the city may pass a total smoking ban in bars and restaurants, and they're preparing to fight it. A public hearing on the issue is expected to wrap up today. St. Paul is already covered by a ban by Ramsey County which allows exemptions for bars that sell more liquor than food. Jim Farrell is the executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, which opposes a tighter ban. He joins us now.

Minnesota dad watching "The Apprentice" with extra interest
When Donald Trump picks his next apprentice tomorrow night, one Minnesota dad will be watching carefully. That's because Jim Jarvis' daughter, Rebecca, is one of two finalists on the NBC reality show. "The Apprentice" is a contest in which people perform business tasks for billionaire Donald Trump. The winner gets a job in New York City. Jim Jarvis joins us now.

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005
State Supreme Court to decide candidate's eligibility
The state Supreme Court is poised to take up the issue of whether Sue Ek is a legal candidate for the Minnesota house. Ek is a Republican running in a special race to fill a house seat in central Minnesota. But critics say she doesn't live there. Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Post reports.

Sending sons home to Somalia for safety
Drug dealing amongst Somali teens in Rochester has increased steadily over the past five years according to police and community leaders. Some community members are offering a surprising solution. The mothers of these teenagers want to send the dealers back to Somalia. Minnesota Public Radio's Sea Stachura reports.

World of playwrights lost two giants in 2005
As the year draws to an end, the media tend to look back at some of the major news stories of the year. 2005 was a sad one for many theater fans. Two major playwrights died, Arthur Miller in February and August Wilson in October. Both men had connections to Minnesota. As we near the end of the year, we've called on Minnesota Public Radio arts commentator and St. Paul Pioneer Press theater critic Dominic Papatola to look back at the careers of these two men.

Minnesota man provides the soundtrack for Wild games
The Minnesota Wild play the Boston Bruins tonight at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St.Paul. Way up at the top of the stands will be Steve Rudolph. You've heard Steve here on the air the past few weeks, giving his insights into Minnesota sports. Steve also provides what he calls the "soundtrack" to the Wild games, the short little blurbs of music between plays. We caught up with him at a recent game for a brief and busy visit. He says he plays music for a number of teams and got his start, years ago, with the Gopher baseball team.

Friday, Dec. 16, 2005
The Soundtrack of Our Lives
We're finishing off the show this week with music by a Swedish band called "The Soundtrack of Our Lives." Their song entitled "Bigtime" is featured in what the New York Times described this week as "one of the best music videos of the year." It's actually a video blog entry posted by Chuck Olsen, who's based here in the Twin Cities.
Suggested Link:
  • Click here to see what the New York Times calls one of the best music videos of the year.

    Four Vikings charged in boat party scand
    Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper and three other Vikings face a January 5, 2006 court date on misdemeanor charges stemming from a raucous boat party on Lake Minnetonka. Culpepper, Fred Smoot, Bryant McKinnie, and Moe Williams were each charged with indecent conduct, disorderly conduct, and lewd or lascivious conduct at the party which took place in October. Team officials say they take the charges very seriously and will consider disciplinary action after the legal process runs its course. Minnesota Public Radio's Brandt Williams reports.

    Pawlenty picks Russell Anderson to head Minnesota Supreme Court
    Some Minnesota conservatives are expressing disappointment with Gov. Tim Pawlenty's latest judicial appointments. The governor named judge Russell Anderson as the next Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court yesterday, to replace Kathleen Blatz who is retiring. Anderson was an associate justice on the state's high court, and Pawlenty named Hennepin County District Court Judge Lorie Gildea to replace Anderson. David Strom, president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, says the governor has missed an opportunity to appoint strong, principled conservatives. Pawlenty said his appointees are extraordinary jurists with common sense. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck reports.

    Duluth mayor apologizes for drunk-driving arrest
    Duluth Mayor Herb Bergson says he will never drink alcohol again. Bergson made the statement at a press conference yesterday, when answering questions about his arrest for drunk driving last week. Bergson crashed his car into a bridge railing near Spooner, Wisconsin. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. Bergson told reporters that despite the incident, he intends to stay in office. Minnesota Public Radio's Bob Keller reports.

    New book looks at women's participation in Minnesota sports
    Women's participation in sports exploded in the second half of the 20th Century, including in Minnesota. A new book features the stories of some Minnesota women who were part of that explosion, as athletes, coaches, administrators, and researchers. These women share their passions, their struggles, and their successes. The book is called "Stories by Minnesota Women in Sports: Leveling the Playing Field" and is edited, in part, by Kathleen Ridder.

    Weather with Mark Seeley
    University of Minnesota Climatologist Mark Seeley delivers his his weekly weather comments. This week, he discusses the new seasonal climate outlook that says we will have equal chances for above or below normal temperatures. He also reviews the weather in the past week that included a lot of snow.

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