MPR News Update

Whooping cough record; accidental child shootings; Dakota war hanging

by Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio

Dec 26, 2012

Today on the MPR News Update, 2012 was a record year for cases of whooping cough in Minnesota, an MPR News analysis of state court data shows prosecuting parents for leaving guns around kids is rare, and native Americans honor the 38 Dakota men hanged in Mankato 150 years ago today in the nation's largest-ever mass execution.

WHOOPING COUGH RECORD: With more than 4,300 cases of pertussis in Minnesota, 2012 was a year for the record books. The state hasn't had this many cases of the respiratory infection since World War II. The problem seems to be related to a redesigned pertussis vaccine introduced in the 1990s.

ACCIDENTAL SHOOTINGS: As the case of an accidental shooting death of a 2-year-old boy rests in the hands of the Hennepin County Attorney, an MPR News analysis of state court data shows that prosecuting parents for leaving guns around kids is rare, but not unprecedented in Minnesota.

SELLING OUT: Lueken's grocery store in Bemidji becomes employee-owned this weekend after owner Joe Lueken decided to sell to his 400 workers through an employee stock ownership program rather than to another company.

DAKOTA WAR: 150 years ago today, 38 Dakota men were hanged in Mankato for crimes they allegedly committed during the US-Dakota War of 1862. Nearly 4,000 people crowded building stoops and spilled on to rooftops to witness the largest mass execution in U-S history. Today a new monument was unveiled in Mankato's Reconciliation Park. On MPR news presents today we're airing a roundtable discussion that Cathy Wurzer moderated for the Minnesota Historical Society.

BELLECOURT ARREST: Longtime American Indian activist Clyde Bellecourt said he will fight any possible charges after being arrested earlier this week at a protest at the IDS Center's Crystal Court in Minneapolis.

MACY'S CONTRACT: In less than a week, the downtown St. Paul Macy's store will be free to close without having to pay millions of dollars in penalties to the city. It's not yet clear what the future holds for the company in the capital city.

LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES: It started as a simple tribute to his mother, a teacher and bibliophile. Todd Bol put up a miniature version of a one-room schoolhouse on a post outside his home in this western Wisconsin city, filled it with books and invited his neighbors to borrow them. Three years later, the whimsical Little Free Library boxes are a global sensation.

BULLY LAWS: Advocates of stronger anti-bullying measures in Minnesota say they'll push again for a new bullying law during the upcoming legislative session. They have tried and failed several times in recent years to rewrite a law that is considered one of the weakest anti-bullying statutes in the nation.

OBAMA'S INAUGURATION: With second inaugurations tending to draw fewer spectators, finding a place to stay in Washington won't be nearly as difficult as in 2009. City officials are expecting 600,000 to 800,000 visitors for the Jan. 21 inauguration, far less than the 1.8 million people who flooded the National Mall four years ago to witness the inauguration of America's first black president.

WEAK RETAIL: U.S. holiday retail sales this year grew at the weakest pace since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession. In 2012, the shopping season was disrupted by bad weather and consumers' rising uncertainty about the economy.

MEMORABLE STORIES: Over the course of a year, MPR News talks to hundreds of people from all walks of life. Some make a bigger impression than others. Our journalists each chose a story that was the most memorable to them.

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