The Cravaack-Nolan congressional race is drowning in outside moneyby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — In the MPR News Update today: What was behind the suicide of a former Shattuck-St. Mary's dorm director? Labor unions are calling for a boycott of American Crystal Sugar. And outside groups are poised to spend more than the candidates themselves in the 8th district congressional race.
MORE FROM SHATTUCK-ST. MARY'S: This story has taken another dark turn: A Shattuck-St. Mary's dorm director who killed himself in 2008 had carried on a two-year affair with a foreign student while he and his wife were having marital problems, according to public safety documents. A Faribault police report on the suicide indicates Leonard R. Jones met the student, a sophomore from Korea, in the fall of 2006. She was 15 when the relationship started.
SUGAR BOYCOTT: The labor dispute at American Crystal Sugar has dragged on since last August. Now, the AFL-CIO will kick off a nationwide boycott of the company on Monday in a bid to return 1,300 union workers to their jobs at five sugar beet processing plants.
AWASH IN CASH: As Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack and his Democratic challenger, former congressman Rick Nolan, face off in Minnesota's 8th District Congressional District race, special-interest groups are on track to outspend the politicians' own campaigns. The barrage of special interest money began flowing into the district shortly after Chip Cravaack took office in 2011.
WHO WON THAT DEBATE? Did you watch or listen to the debate last night between Vice President Joe Biden and his challenger, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan? (Bob Collins live-blogged the event. You can read the archive here.) In Today's Question, we ask: What did you think?
WITHERING JOBS: Since the U.S. recession officially ended in June 2009, fewer layoffs have meant fewer people seeking unemployment aid. On Thursday, for example, the government said first-time applications for benefits hit a 4-year low. Yet job growth remains sluggish. Why? Blame the slow pace of the U.S. economy, damage from Europe's economic crisis and fear that tax increases and spending cuts could trigger another U.S. recession next year.
SANDUSKY IMPACT: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky learned the other day that he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted on child sexual abuse charges. Yesterday, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler suggested changes in university policy in the wake of the Penn State scandal; the U has already put athletics personnel through new training emphasizing the need to report abuse or neglect of a child to law enforcement immediately.
'BIGGEST MISTAKE': Testifying in the trial of Mahamud Said Omar, who's accused of aiding the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab, Kamal Said Hassan, who went to Wayzata High School and Minneapolis Technical and Community College, said in federal court yesterday that signing up to fight for al-Shabab in his native Somalia was the biggest mistake of his life.
MORE MENINGITIS: Federal health officials have now tracked down 12,000 of the roughly 14,000 people who may have received contaminated steroid shots in the nation's growing meningitis outbreak, warning Thursday that patients will need to keep watch for symptoms of the deadly infection for months. Still, of the 170 people sickened in the outbreak, all but one have the rare fungal form of meningitis after receiving suspect steroid shots for back pain, the CDC said.
SHIELDING FROM PLUNDER: Cori Wegener joined the Army Reserves right after high school to help pay for college. Little did she know just how far her military experience would take her. The curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts will soon be setting up shop at the Smithsonian, where she's going to run a program aimed at preserving world heritage sites under threat from war and natural disasters.
NO PAY AND TALK: Musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra today rejected a proposal from management to continue performing as they negotiate, commonly known as 'play and talk,' under the terms of management's latest contract offer. The move comes after management said it cannot afford to keep paying its musicians under terms of the old contract while negotiations continue.
FADE TO BLACK: The Cottage View Drive-In theater in the Twin Cities suburb of Cottage Grove is closing after this weekend, and will soon be torn down to make way for a Wal-Mart. When that happens, there will only be one drive-in movie theater left in the Twin Cities. Morning Edition's Cathy Wurzer spoke with author Dave Kenney about the trend.
Matt Sepic is a newscaster and general assignment reporter for MPR News.