When Air Force One touched down in Rochester on Wednesday, one of the first people President Bush met was Dr. Greg Poland, the director of vaccine research at the Mayo Clinic. He had recently sent a memo to the White House about the current flu vaccine shortage in the U.S.
MPR's David Molpus talked to Poland on Thursday's All Things Considered.
As the nation looks ahead to choosing its next president on Nov. 2, an exhibit at the Minnesota History Center takes a look at presidents of the past. "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden," is a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution. It's in Minnesota through next May.
If you like the blues, and like it played the way people would have done so 100 years ago, Guy Davis is your man. The award-winning blues guitarist, banjo and harmonica player brings a powerful, raw energy, and a deep gravelly voice, to blues standards that have been played for years. Davis has two perofmrances scheduled in Minnesota this weekend.
Many churches rent meeting space to Alcoholics Anonymous. A few hold special worship services for those suffering from addictions, but rare, indeed, is the church that is devoted full-time to recovery. However, at Central Park United Methodist in St Paul, recovery from addiction is the one and only ministry.
Benjamin Gross of Eagan is an experienced Democratic Party activist, and a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Gross has attended several conventions -- his first, at age 14, was the historic 1964 showdown in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during which competing delegations from Mississippi were split over civil rights for blacks. Now 54, Gross says he's somewhat disappointed to see political conventions evolve from forums for party business to elaborate coronation ceremonies with predetermined outcomes. Gross spoke with MPR's David Molpus about his first day at the convention.
The city of Albert Lea, in far southern Minnesota, has struggled the past few years after the loss of its biggest employer. But city officials say things are looking up, and they're optimistic that Albert Lea will regain the hundreds of jobs it lost.
Immigrants make up about 10 to 12 percent of the population around Albert Lea in Freeborn County. Many of the most recent arrivals are from Africa -- Ethiopians, Sudanese, Nigerians. For generations, Mexicans got jobs here as migrant farmhands. Gradually, some began to stay, as jobs in meatpacking plants expanded in Albert Lea and nearby towns. Mexicans are the region's largest immigrant group. But some area residents still object to the numbers of immigrants living in the area.
One of the advantages of small towns like Albert Lea is that it's cheaper to live there. On the other hand, the pay is lower too. By one estimate, rural workers in Minnesota make 35 percent less than people in the metro area. Also, new jobs come along less frequently in rural communities. So, when a town of 18,000 suddenly loses 500 of its best paying jobs, it's a quite a jolt. That's what happened in Albert Lea three years ago. The fire that put the town's largest employer out of business is still fresh in peoples memories, especially those who worked at the Farmland meatpacking plant.
Mourning doves are fair game again in Minnesota. Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a bill this week reinstating a mourning dove hunting season, after 46 years without one. Most states already allow dove hunting. Hunters and cooks are looking forward to the change.
A new play at the Children's Theatre Co. portrays the tension and occasional conflict between Somali immigrants and African-Americans. "Snapshot Silhouette" examines this cultural clash through the eyes of two 12-year-old girls. To get a better sense of how the play resonates with the Somali community, MPR's David Molpus talked with four Somali teenagers after they attended a recent performance.
For years, people have wondered whether a decent mass transit system in the Twin Cities would get people out of their cars. In the wake of the bus drivers' strike, now they're wondering whether they'll get in someone else's car. As the strike continues, though, carpooling is catching on.
Minnesota is suffering from a severe shortage of psychiatrists, with just one psychiatrist for every 10,000 people. Since 30 percent of the population will need to see a psychiatrist at some point in their lives, that's an enormous gap between doctor and patient. This shortage of psychiatrists contributes to the an array of problems in the state's mental health system. We hear about the shortage from the perspective of the next generation of doctors preparing to enter this ailing mental health system.
Next month, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is to decide whether to support the State Corrections Department in its call for new funds to expand Minnesota's prisons. Corrections officials say the state's prisons are at 99 percent capacity, and won't be able to handle a rising inmate population. Deputy Corrections Commissioner Dennis Benson told <i>All Things Considered</i> host David Molpus, "our backs are against the wall, with only 85 vacant beds in the entire statewide system." Molpus recently visited the Stillwater state prison with Benson to see how officials are dealing with the crowded conditions.
Late December brings with it a flurry of lists summing up the year. We asked our regular medical analyst to take stock of the year's biggest medical stories. Dr. Jon Hallberg is the medical director of the Primary Care Center at the University of Minnesota. His chronological review of the year's top 10 takes us back to late last year with the effort to prevent a small pox outbreak.
At the turn of the last century, close to half of all Americans lived in rural areas. Over the last 100 years, though, the number of farmers has dropped so low that by 1993, the U.S. Census stopped counting the number of people living on farms. Lee Klancher is one Minnesotan who mourns the loss of the country's rural communities. His latest book, <i>Tractor in the Pasture</i>, showcases the remnants of a dying lifestyle.