MPR News Update

Crashed Ice, climate change, data privacy and butter. That about covers it

by Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio

Jan 24, 2013

The borderline-crazy skaters of Crashed Ice are back in town. Lawmakers are looking into plugging data privacy breaches. Police want tougher laws preventing the mentally ill from arming themselves. And we look at butter. Fresh, creamy butter.

CRASHED ICE: A curvy, elevated, icy track now winds its way down the bluff from the Cathedral in St. Paul, awaiting the start of the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships, and 180 skaters jockeying for slots leading into the finals on Saturday. We have a nifty time-lapse video of the track being built here. And there are photos of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman testing the track out there.

BRODKORB UPDATE: The Minnesota State Patrol says former state Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb was seriously injured in a one car crash in Mendota Heights last night.

PRIVACY BREACH: The attorney who represented a former police officer in a data privacy lawsuit is praising a bill that would impose stiff penalties for improperly accessing the personal information of Minnesota drivers.

MENTAL HEALTH AND GUN LIMITS: A group of sheriffs and prosecuting attorneys is calling for changes to the state's mental health and criminal justice systems in the hope that such steps would help reduce gun violence.

DRUGS AND MURDER: Murder prosecutions of people who provide controlled substances found to have caused another person's death hit a 10-year high last year.

THE WASHBURN INCIDENT: Hundreds gathered last night at Washburn High School in Minneapolis to talk about how to move forward from what many perceived to be a racial incident when four students wrapped string around the neck of a dark skinned doll and hung it in a stairwell.

TRANSIT TAX: Twin Cities area officials are reviewing Gov. Dayton's proposal for a new quarter-cent sales tax for the seven-county metro area. The money would go toward transit, under the governor's budget proposal. It would mean a new transit tax for two southern metro counties that have already opted out of another transit-dedicated sales tax.

LGA: It's hard to find losers under Gov. Mark Dayton's revamped formula for providing state aid to Minnesota cities. That stands to reason since the proposal he laid out Tuesday adds $80 million a year to Local Government Aid, a longstanding program that supplements the budgets of the vast majority of cities. But some gain a lot more than others in the long run.

Remember that crazy water main break in downtown Minneapolisa few weeks ago that turned the edge of the Warehouse District into an ice rink for a little while? The city of Minneapolis says the break cost $325,000 to repair.

WINDOW INTO THE WHITE HOUSE: We now have a pretty clear idea about what President Obama hopes to accomplish during his second term, including efforts to deal with climate change and marriage equality. Former White House aide Bill Burton is in Minnesota today and Cathy Wurzer talked with him during Morning Edition about Obama's second term.

NASA ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Speaking of climate change: For the few people who still need proof the planet is warming, NASA has issued a strongly worded release announcing 2012 was the ninth-warmest year on record on terra firma.

BUT IT'S COLD? In the Climate Cast we talked about how this is not your grandparents' winter anymore. Our children are experiencing very different Minnesota winters compared to 30 or 40 years ago. Winters have warmed about 2 to 4 degrees in that time.

BEAR LIMIT: The DNR has cut the number of bears controversial researcher Lynn Rogers can collar near his research station outside of Ely.

3M PROFITS: Post-it notes and other office products helped lift 3M's fourth-quarter profit, despite a slowdown in other parts of its business. The Maplewood-based company earned $991 million, or $1.41 per share, up 3.9 percent from a year earlier.

JOBLESS AID CLAIMS KEEP DROPPING: Also from the business beat: The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to the lowest level in five years, evidence that employers are cutting fewer jobs and may step up hiring.

KERRY TESTIFIES: In Washington, Sen. John Kerry, President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of state, went before the Senate Foreign Relations committee Thursday, the same committee on which he has served during his entire 28 years in the Senate.

WOMEN IN COMBAT: Also in Washington, The Pentagon's decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat presents a daunting challenge to top military leaders who now will have to decide which, if any, jobs they believe should be open only to men.

GOT BUTTER? Last but not least, we bring you butter. Fresh, creamy butter. Splendid Table host Lynne Rossetto Kasper stopped by All Things Considered to talk about this key member of the Minnesota food group pyramid.

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