Among my favorite radio segments of the last 16 years I've been at Minnesota Public Radio is one a small group of talented individuals brought to listeners in the late '90s: The Streets of Bovey.
The police chief in the small town -- Terry Wilkey -- died in 1998. Said an MPR story at the time:
Every week or so, Wilkey would write a list of what he'd been up to; items like, "Found an unlocked door at a business. We locked it." Sometimes, Wilkey talked tough. In one column, he suggested a few nights in the Crowbar motel might straighten out a wrongdoer. Sometimes, details about Wilkey's life would appear. He wrote about the difficulty he had renting a tux for his daughter's wedding, because he was such a big man. He complained about what he paid for the wedding, listing the prices of flowers, food, and photographs. Each column began with a suggestion that know-it-alls should not read his words because they might overtax their minds. Each column ended with the advice, "Lock that door and get that license number."
Though it's been 10 years since The Streets of Bovey appeared in some fashion, I'm reminded of it today while reading a couple of police log entries in the morning paper.
Lock your door. Get that license number. And take your bags of cash with you.(1 Comments)
It's raining -- again -- in the Twin Cities and we're near ready to throw in the towel and declare the summer is going to be a lost cause. Too bad. Resorters, for example, had a chance to have a great year thanks to the high gas prices keeping people "close to home." But, perhaps, people will decide it's cheaper to watch the rain fall from the homestead than a couple of hundred miles away.
In Wisconsin, though, it's even worse. On Lake Delton, resorters have a real problem. Their lake is gone... and so are some of the houses on it. Would-be guests have been canceling their reservations because a lake without water is merely a quarry.
It's not just tourists who are being affected by the weather. On
America's largest sewer the Mississippi River, barge operators are preparing for delays because of flooding. Flooding... like what's happening in Iowa. (Really good pictures from Decorah here.)
Meanwhile, the inbox reveals a fascinating series of pictures today. The rain and thunderstorms that look so cruddy here on terra firma, look pretty nifty from above.
(H/T: Michael Wells)(5 Comments)
Leave it to the fine folks at MPR's Midmorning to keep me from concentrating on my driving on the way into work today. How could I, what with the first-hour show they had on the ethics of genetic testing?
At face value, perhaps, it's not a subject that seems predestined to suck me in, until I started thinking about a question Mary Lucia asks occasionally on the Current. If there were a test to reveal your chances for developing a fatal disease, would you take it? Well, would you?
Two callers struck me as particularly poignant. One said his wife, a medical student in Sioux Falls, had a family history of breast cancer but has been reluctant to have genetic testing because she didn't want her insurance company to find out and deny health coverage in the future.
That's unfortunate for a couple of reasons, according to Kerri Miller's guest. For one, she had never found a case in which an insurance company had denied coverage on the basis of genetic testing and, two, there's a law against that sort of thing now.
Another caller said she decided not to have the genetic testing done (she had a similar history in her family) because her insurance company would pay for it and because Medicare paid for her mother's testing and it was negative. Two points there, too, according to the guest. One, what if a gene was inherited from the father? Two, insurance companies will usually relent on an initial refusal to pay for genetic testing.
These reassurances aside, there are a number of reasons why genetic testing is greeted with suspicion; most of these surround privacy issues.
In 2001, for example, the PBS Newshour profiled the case of 35 railroad workers for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, who were subjected to genetic testing by BNSF without being told.
Still, the bottom line for many people on the issue is: "What would I do..... if?"
In cases of breast cancer, many healthy women have opted to have their breasts removed.
Where are the citizen journalists when we need them?
And nobody has pictures? There hasn't been a tornado in the U.S. in 10 years that somebody, somewhere, didn't get on video to sell to the local TV station. Someone spots a single-horned deer? Got it! A panda bear sneezes at the zoo, and it's on every TV station in America, with 1,000 nattering news anchors trying -- and failing -- to tack on a witty comment. As if there's something funnier than a panda bear sneezing.
But nobody's got the video of the flying cows? Maybe it's just as well. We'd have to listen to some TV news anchor intone, "the cow was really mooooving."1 Comments)
In these difficult economic times, the hottest ticket in town may well be the Section 8 voucher. It's a federal program which provides housing assistance to low-income renters and homeowners in the form of rental subsidies.
And it's almost impossible to get in the metro area. In fact, it can take 10-12 years, according to one report.
According to the HousingLink.org Web site, it's difficult even getting on a waiting list.
That will change -- but only for a little while -- in Minneapolis and Bloomington. Bloomington is accepting applications to get on the waiting list by phone only from 8:30 a.m. - 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24 and Wednesday, June 25, 2008.
Minneapolis is opening the waiting list starting at midnight on Thursday to late on Friday. (Find the Web site here) Paper applications are being taken at some of the branches of the Minneapolis Public Library.
For other regions of the metro, the situation remains bleak. Columbia Heights, Carver County, Dakota County, South St. Paul, Plymouth, Richfield, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Scott County and Washington County all have closed the Section 8 waiting lists.
Expect plenty of demand. When Plymouth opened its waiting list in February, more than 3,700 people showed up to try to get 300 spots on the list. When St. Paul opened its list last year for the first time in five years, 11,000 people tried for a voucher.
Even if a low-income person should "win" a spot on the waiting list and, eventually, a voucher, the task of finding an apartment is daunting. According to the October 2007 study of Section 8 in the metro by HOME Line, a tenant advocacy group, wait time can range from one to seven years, and the unwillingness of landlords to rent to Section 8 tenants is growing.(10 Comments)
I try not to weigh into deep politics, much; I did enough of that when I started Polinaut. Also, when you mention a political issue, the first thing people want to do is figure out what label to slap on your before they dismiss what it is you're saying or asking.
But sometimes I need to make an exception.
And it comes because of a post on the GOP Convention blog today (Hold your fire, Republicans!), that profiles some of the interns working on the convention. It refers specifically to an article in the Dallas Morning News profiling the young woman.
Ms. Rondeau will intern in the media operations department, working with the professional staff to ensure smooth operations for the more than 15,000 print and broadcast journalists.
Ms. Rondeau is used to hard work: She's paying her way through college, something that makes her appreciate the Republican stance on issues such as tax cuts.
Why does that intrigue me so? Because it raises about 20 questions that I think people on both sides of the political spectrum should sit and talk about some time. Oh, and I'm generally intrigued when a young person can pay their own way through college; I have no idea how that can be done without significant help.
Consider these possible points of discussion:
This is a good springboard in the comments section for a discussion about when taxes are meaningful and when they're not. If you choose to participate, let's try to do it without the usual political boilerplate both sides usually use, and try to define if there is or is not a public good to be derived from taxes on behalf of those who are paying their own way through school?
There's more serious weather in the region tonight, so we're patrolling in search of tidbits.
9:39 a.m. -- Via Twitter, Twin Cities Red Cross reports three more disaster volunteers are heading for Iowa.
9:29 a.m. - Flooding in your area? How about taking a picture and sending it?
9:18 a.m. MPR listeners Mike Jorgenson and Kathy Draeger write:
We farm in Big Stone County Minnesota on the western edge of the state. We had flash floods here yesterday. 1/3 of our farm is still under water. Crops are lost.
SE Minnesota isn't the only place suffering from extreme rainfall events. Big Stone County saw the most flooding yesterday that this area has seen since the 1960s.
Our community is tuned in to MPR--Appleton station. Please keep our news in the news. pictures at Resettling Big Stone County .
Go ahead and click the link but as of 9:20 a.m., it appeared to be down. But as long as we're on the subject, there's a good profile of the two correspondents here.
8:59 a.m. -- Courtesy of MPR's Tom Weber, here's a link to the Sioux City Journal blog on the Boy Scout camp deaths. Solid information provided.
(Thurs) 8:12 a.m. -- Worthington Daily Globe has a few pictures of tornado damage at a farm near Fulda. The Rochester Post Bulletin has a single picture from Lanesboro flooding; kids in a youth mission group helping a family clean up a mess. Fillmore County has posted flood information here.
10:34 p.m. - Severe thunderstorm warnings dropped for western 'burbs. Looks like Twin Cities have been spared. Looks like the Wisconsin Dells are going to get hammered overnight, though.
10:33 p.m. - Looking back at the Old Farmer's Almanac prediction for Upper Midwest weather from last November to this October:
Summer temperatures will be near normal, on average, with much-below-normal rainfall.
It predicted rainfall here 2" below normal in June. Also it said June 7-17 would be "sunny and seasonable." How's that working out where you are?
10:29 p.m. - Rainfall so far today in St. Paul: .68" . Rainfall so far this month in Caledonia: 4.86". Average monthly rainfall for June in Caledonia: 1.38".
10:04 p.m. - WCCO viewer submitted an interesting "sideways" tornado picture near Sleep Eye. A very similar series of pictures, this time from Springfield, shows up on KARE Web site. The same person also submitted the images to KSTP. Clearly showing no favorites. Did I mention News Cut would love to get your weather photos? We're partial to pictures of bocce-ball sized hail.
9:59 p.m. - Twin Cities Red Cross Twitters (Tweets?) that they're standing by in case their services are needed. Three local volunteers were dispatched to the floods in Iowa today.
9:56 p.m. - Sound of thunder emanating from the cities hits the Woodbury bureau. Faithful dog gets "dryer sheeted." Again.
9:52 p.m. - Paul Douglas' blog says 1" hail in Carver County but no tornadic activity. Given all the hubbub when Douglas was fired at WCCO, does anyone else find it odd that nobody ever seems to comment on the blog and when someone does and asks a question, Paul never responds? Oh, and I still don't "get" what I'm looking at when I look at the graphics.
9:40 p.m. - What would it take to cause flash flooding in the Twin Cities? According to the National Weather Service, about 3 inches of rain over a 6-hour period ought to do it.
9:36 p.m. -- Storms are moving into the western 'burbs. A tornado watch is up, a severe thunderstorm warning is up, too. See the National Weather Service Twin Cities page. And we're going to get some heavy rain.
9:34 p.m. -- Fulda, Jefferson, Sleepy Eye have all reported tornado spottings this evening, but the most distressing news is coming out of western Iowa where a Boy Scout camp apparently was hit by a tornado. At last report, four are dead and 40 hurt.(2 Comments)