Darkness, chaos and death follow a raging stormby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update, we have the latest on superstorm Sandy. Also, the Hennepin County Attorney's office has charged 10 people in a complex case of witness tampering. A new study shows how just how deeply homelessness hurts the academic performance of students in Minneapolis. And opponents of the marriage amendment stage a big rally and report their latest fundraising totals.
CRIPPLING STORM: The massive storm that started out as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast overnight has morphed into a huge and problematic system. It put more than 7.6 million homes and businesses in the dark and causing at least 20 deaths. Our live update page is still going strong, the Updraft blog is adding weather analysis, we have a full report from the AP along with a state-by-state assessment of the damage, a tracking map and a growing slideshow of storm photography.
'VOTE NO' REPORTS FUNDRAISING: Supporters of the marriage amendment have not released their most recent fundraising data, but Minnesotans United for All Families -- the largest group opposed to the amendment -- says it raised $2.75 million since its last report in late September. That brings its total fundraising to almost $10 million for the entire campaign. The news comes the day after the organization held a rally on the University of Minnesota campus that included Democratic senators Al Franken and Amy Klobouchar, as well as Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, and actress and Minnesota-native Rachel Leigh Cook.
'NON-VOTE' MEANS 'NO': Did you know that, since 1898, voter ratification of proposed amendments requires not just more "yes" votes than "no" votes, but a majority of "yes" votes from all ballots cast in the state; non-votes on a ballot measure effectively count as "no" votes. And, since 1954, non-votes have never amounted to more than 20.19 percent of the total. What could all this mean this year? Find out here.
PRESIDENTIAL POLL: The latest and last NPR Battleground Poll for 2012 shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holding the narrowest of leads in the national sample, but trailing President Obama in the dozen states that will actually decide the election.
BATTLEGROUND: Until this week, the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney had treated Minnesota as if Obama would win the state. But that may be changing. Former president Bill Clinton will campaign in Minnesota for the president on Tuesday and Republicans say Romney or vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan may also be considering a campaign visit.
PAULSEN vs BARNES: We're continuing our series of debates on The Daily Circuit between congressional candidates with Minnesota's 3rd District Tuesday. Republican incumbent Rep. Erik Paulsen is being challenged by Brian Barnes, a lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserve and a sales and marketing professional. Visit this page later today to hear audio from the debate.
SYMPATHY PLOY? An autism advocate accused Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack on Monday of revealing his son's autism to get sympathy as he faces questions about his Minnesota ties in a tight congressional race.
HOMELESS KIDS, LOWER TEST SCORES: Of the many academic risk factors that students face, homelessness may be one of the worst according to a study released today. Researchers looked at Minneapolis public school students over a six-year span and found that homelessness and high mobility had a greater effect on grades than other poverty-based measure. Even the most basic elements of school like homework and studying can be tough to sort out for homeless students, or those considered highly mobile because they move more than three times in a year.
MASSIVE ACADEMICS: A little or no cost to students, Stanford, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and other campuses are offering easy access to online classes -- and they're doing it on a gigantic scale, with massive open online courses in which tens of thousands of students commonly take a class at the same time. One University of Michigan finance course has drawn upwards of 130,000 people.
REVOKED: Authorities say the driver of a minivan that caused a fatal accident on Interstate 494 Monday morning was driving with a revoked license.
HARASSED: Hennepin County prosecutors allege that a convicted murderer ordered the beatings of witnesses so they would recant their trial testimony against him. They also say 24-year-old gang member Lamonte Rydell Martin and his alleged accomplices, including his own mother, tried to bribe the witnesses in exchange for their signed affidavits.
Matt Sepic is a newscaster and general assignment reporter for MPR News.