Jumping out of a perfectly good airplaneby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the Update, the lieutenant governor skydives, and we have photos. The marriage amendment causes friction in the black community. Norm Coleman has a new power base: money. And apple growers are facing a very tough harvest.
LOOK, UP IN THE SKY: Minnesota Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon jumped out of a perfectly good airplane Tuesday, and after she fell to Earth - next to the State Capitol, strapped next to a member of the U.S. Army Parachute Team -- she announced she'd happily do it again. MPR photographer Jeffrey Thompson watched the spectacle (from the ground) and pulled together a photo essay with some contributions from military photographers.
BOTH SIDES NOW: Minnesota Democrats and President Barack Obama's reelection campaign face a conundrum this election cycle. On the one hand, they are counting on heavy support and turnout in the black community. But on the other hand, as Tom Scheck reports, many members of that same community support the proposed state constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage -- an amendment the Democrats oppose.
PASSING THE PLATE: Also in marriage amendment news: Minnesota's Catholic bishops are mailing out an appeal to parishoners, asking them to financially help the church's support for the proposed constitutional amendment. The letter is expected to reach tens of thousands of Catholic homes across the state - not all of whom are happy about the way the church is soliciting and spending the money, Tim Nelson reports.
COLEMAN RISING: For many politicians, the kind of day that former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman had on June 30, 2009 -- the day he lost the recount vote to DFLer Al Franken -- would have marked the end of their political careers. But three years later, Coleman's political star is again on the rise, although this time minus the shiny lapel pin all members of Congress are entitled to wear. He's a money man, and he spoke with Brett Neely about his plans.
TOUGH HARVEST: We've heard a lot this year about how the drought has adversely affected the ag sector. Minnesota's apple growers are no exception to the tough times, but theirs started back in March with an unusually warm spring followed by hard frost in April that killed off a lot of blossoms. The result, Liz Baier reports, are orchards filled with fruitless trees and pickers finding damaged goods.
TREE STRESS: You might have noticed that Minnesota's fall leaves have been less spectacular than usual this year. That's because the extreme drought covering much of the state is also weakening trees in Minnesota's forests. Lee Frelich, the director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Forest Ecology, talked about the dull autumn with Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer.
WATERSHED STRESS: Minnesota is about half-way through assessing all its major watersheds, and on average finds 40 percent of waters are impaired -- which means they don't meet state standards for swimming, boating, or fishing. On Tuesday, another 511 lakes and river segments were added to its list of impaired waters and 13 water bodies were taken off the list, Stephanie Hemphill reports.
'REPEAL' LACKS SUPPORT: They may not like it, but they don't see it going away. About seven in 10 Americans think President Barack Obama's health care law will go fully into effect with some changes, ranging from minor to major alterations, according to a new AP poll. Just 12 percent say they expect the Affordable Care Act -- "Obamacare" to dismissive opponents -- to be repealed completely.
HEAVY BURDEN: Meanwhile, Elizabeth Stawicki says that a report from the non-partisan Robert Wood Johnson foundation finds 21 percent of Minnesotans are underinsured compared to the national average of 18 percent. The foundation defines under-insured as people spending more than 10 percent of their annual income on health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
ST. PAUL PROBED: Tim Nelson digs into a complicated political clash: The Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee has launched a probe into a pair of federal lawsuits in St. Paul after four House members accused the Obama administration's Department of Justice of obstructing justice in two discrimination cases -- with the city's help.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.