Primary redux: Almost the lowest turnout everby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
On the MPR News Update today, three Minnesota Lynx stars share their Olympic gold medals and thoughts, we look at the state's meager primary election turnout and Al Franken's money-raising prowess, throw some light the proliferation of video security cameras in Duluth, and interview a mysterious American pop singer from the 1970s who was really, really big in South Africa -- but not much of anywhere else.
Welcome the Olympians home
"If you look at the roster, 1 through 12, it's pretty ridiculous to think about the amount of talent that was on this Olympic team," Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore said of her fellow gold medal winners including Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus at the Target Center. "It was truly an honor to be a part of this team. It was so fun. Just good quality people. No one cared who got the credit. We were just out there trying to make sure we were the best team possible, and I think you guys could see that." Yes, we could. Welcome home.
Primary redux: Almost the lowest turnout ever
We know who won and lost in Tuesday's primary elections (more on that here), and now we more about the voters who cast those verdicts: An almost record low number of them went to the polls. Tom Scheck parsed the Minnesota Secretary of State's figures and found just 9 percent of the electorate cast a ballot. Only the 2004 primary had a lower percentage of eligible voters turnout for a primary, with 7.73 percent that year.
Sen. Al Franken's name will not be on the November ballot. But he's working for the re-election of many of his Democratic colleagues. Catharine Richert says supporters regularly give thousands of dollars to a special account that allows Franken to raise cash for his campaign and other candidates simultaneously. He's used the PAC to give nearly $385,000 to more than 40 candidates and parties across the nation from California to New York.
Dultuh's extra eyes
On any given sunny summer day, throngs of locals and tourists are out walking and biking along Duluth's Lake Superior shoreline; as they do, they fall under the eye of an increasing number of video surveillance cameras perched 20 feet-high lightposts -- part of a growing system around the city. Dan Kraker reports on the debate over these cameras, their cost and effectiveness, as part of our continuing series The Price of Safety. It's a look at how law enforcement is coping in an age of shrinking budgets in smaller cities and rural areas.
These Price of Safety stories aren't just about the challenges for cops on the beat. Tom Robertson introduced us to Fred Isham, a member of the Boise Forte Band of Ojibwe who grew up in the Cass Lake area, and who -- by his own admission -- has struggled with substance abuse and the law for years. Isham is taking part in a program called "wellness court," in which he's encouraged to use traditional ceremonies and other cultural activities as part of his recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.
Stanley Crooks recalls the Dakota War divisions
Here at MPR News we've been marking the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 by speaking with various people about the implications of the conflict. Stanley Crooks, chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux community, rarely grants interviews, but spoke with Cathy Wurzer of Morning Edition about the Mdewakanton people's divisions over the war and its aftermath. Listen to that here. Then hear from the Minnesota Historical Society's Anette Atkins, who offered her perspective on the experience of European settlers during the war.
The marriage amendment air war
The ad war over the same-sex marriage amendment began at noon today. Freedom to Marry, a national group working to defeat the amendment, has bought broadcast time for the spot in both the Twin Cities and Duluth. Sasha Aslanian got an early peek at the spot and says it features a Duluth couple, Yvonne and Fred Peterson, who have been married for 59 years. "The world is changing," when it comes to marriage, says Fred, a war veteran wearing a Marine Corps hat. "Gay and lesbian people want to get married for the same reason that I wanted to marry my wife. Why shouldn't other people be able to enjoy the happiness and the love that we've enjoyed through our lifetime?"
What about the frogs?
Farmers are plowing up millions of acres of grasslands and wetlands to put the land into crop production, and the changing ecosystem could have a big impact on wildlife populations. Dan Gunderson tagged along with Justin Fisher, a graduate student at North Dakota State University, to learn how the well being of leopard frogs could serve as an indication of environmental health. Lots of frogs are a sign of a healthy wetland ecosystem, Fisher says.
A new flu in town
"In all the years that I've been working with influenza, we've never been able to predict exactly what's going to happen for the flu season," Kris Ehresmann, the infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health, tells Rupa Shenoy. "We can't do that for this year either." Health officials do say that while they saw half the normal number of flu cases last year, the upcoming flu season may pack a punch because there are two new types in town.
Searching for Sugar Man
In the early 1970's, South Africans fell in love with the music of a U.S. artist called Rodriguez. But they knew nothing about him. And, as it turns out, he knew nothing about them either. Euan Kerr says that a new movie opening in Minnesota this week tells the bizarre story of what happened decades later when some fans went on a hunt for their idol. He spoke with Rodriguez and filmmaker Malik Bendjellou.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.