Outside political interference, or help?by John Wanamaker, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update: Well-heeled outside political organizations are starting to pour money and other resources into Minnesota. The childeren of illegal immigrants are looking for ways to prove they qualify for a program allowing them to stay in the country. The state has embarked on an effort to increase safety for pedestrians. We have photos from that bizarely refereed NFL match last night between the Packers and Seahawks. And the feds are telling Minnesota to crack down on food stamp fraud.
Next weekend, residents of southern Minnesota may notice a black bus painted with the words "Obama's Failing Agenda Tour" out on the road. The bus is owned by Americans for Prosperity, a political pressure group founded by wealthy conservative donors Charles and David Koch.
Consumers offer thumbs-up
Meanwhile, there's encouraging economic news: U.S. consumer confidence jumped this month to the highest level since February, bolstered by a brighter hiring outlook. The indicator is watched closely because consumer spending drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity.
Confront the rage
And at the UN, President Barack Obama challenged the international community to confront the root causes of turmoil in the Middle East, saying the world faces "a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes we hold in common."
October is the most dangerous month for pedestrians. The days are shorter, the nights longer, and drivers have a harder time seeing pedestrians. With that in mind, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials will be out waving signs in busy intersections today to encourage drivers and pedestrians to watch out for each other.
Seeking legal status
Hundreds of young adults who arrived in the country as the children of illegal immigrants are seeking school transcripts in order to apply for a federal program that offers them a chance to legally work in the country, at least temporarily. As many as 5,000 immigrants in Minnesota could qualify for the program.
Flooded zoo cited
Remember the farm animals that died during the floods in Duluth? The USDA has cited the for inadequate shelter for farm animals at its West Duluth facility. The zoo has since satisfied the USDA's demand that the zoo provide adequate shelter at its farm animal exhibit.
Food stamp fraud
Outside the Dorothy Day shelter in downtown St. Paul, where homeless men wait for a midday meal, federal authorities believe a man bought those food stamps for half their value. The man then redeemed the food stamps for cash at stores that took a cut of the profit. It's an example of a pattern that the feds want Minnesota to curtail.
City Pages owner splits from Backpage
The City Pages newspaper in the Twin Cities is splitting away from the classified site Backpage.com, along with a dozen other alternative newsweeklies owned by Village Voice Media. Backpage has drawn fire for its adult ads, which critics say promote child sex trafficking.
Monday night is what Twin Cities theater professionals lovingly refer to as "theater prom." It's the night when everybody gets to dress up in their finest and celebrate the outstanding performances of the past year. We've got a review of the winners.
Sweet corn rescued from waste
Thousands of pounds of sweet corn that would otherwise have gone to waste landed on the plates of low-income families this fall. A group of hunger relief organizations, local corporations, and a large food processor teamed up to harvest and distribute the food as a pilot program led by Hunger-Free Minnesota.
No orchestra resolutions
There was a great deal of heat, and not much light, as contract wrangling continued Monday at the St. Paul Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. Management and musicians negotiators met all day with a federal mediator.
Another ethanol plant goes dark
An ethanol plant in southern Minnesota will temporarily shut down production because of high corn prices and surplus ethanol supplies. Denver-based BioFuel Energy says it will idle its plant in Fairmont. Last month the company reported a quarterly net loss of over $12 million. It's the second facility in the state to shut down.
Photos: Packers-Seahawks referee snafu
Just when the anger and complaints from a weekend of contempt toward replacement officials couldn't get any hotter, a disputed call trumps it all. "I've never seen anything like that in all my years in football," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said.
John Wanamaker is a newscaster for MPR News.