Affordable housing without the bedbugs; no stalling light railby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update, a bedbug-infested apartment building in St. Paul debuts as affordable housing after a refurbishment, the state looks for a new way to pay for public education, Central Corridor light rail construction will continue, and we learn more about the two shooting deaths in Little Falls.
WESTMINSTER COURT NO MORE: A notoriously unsanitary and unsafe east side St. Paul apartment complex that the city forced into receivership has been renovated and is opening its doors again. Westminster Court, two 1960s apartment buildings that stand within view of the downtown St. Paul skyline is now known as Cornerstone Estates after being closed for a complete overhaul this summer.
LIGHT RAIL RULING: A federal judge has ruled that construction of the Central Corridor light-rail project must go on. The St. Paul NAACP and community members from the Rondo neighborhood asked Judge Donovan Frank to halt the project, contending that light-rail planners were dragging their feet in completing a study that would analyze business impacts during construction.
LITTLE FALLS DEATHS: Authorities in Little Falls say they've confirmed a connection between a home burglary and another break in that ended in the fatal shootings of teenagers Nicholas Brady and his cousin Haile Kifer. Police say the two were killed by homeowner Byron Smith after they broke into his house.
EDUCATION FUNDING REVAMP: A state task force is suggesting big changes in how the state pays for education as an attempt to create stable and fair funding for Minnesota schools. The effort, however, will face challenges as lawmakers wrestle with the state's budget deficit.
MELLOW ACADEMICS: Speaking of education, the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research at Humboldt State University in northern California plans to sponsor scholarly lectures and coordinate research among 11 faculty members from fields such as economics, geography, politics, psychology and sociology.
CONTAMINATED PELICANS: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says a second round of testing indicates migrating pelicans picked up BP oil spill contaminants in the Gulf of Mexico. Earlier testing found contaminants in pelican eggs.
BP'S PUNISHMENT: The news just keeps getting worse for BP, too. The company is being temporarily suspended from new contracts with the U.S. government. This after it agreed to plead guilty to charges involving the deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which exploded and sank in April 2010. It will also plead guilty to lying to Congress about how much oil was spewing from the blown-out Macondo well.
CANCER TREATMENTS: Researchers who reviewed three decades of mammogram data found that nearly a third of all women diagnosed with breast cancer had tumors that would not have caused any symptoms. So we asked Dr. John Hallberg on All Things Considered to talk about how not all cancers are created equal, and how doctors are working out new treatments.
LOW WATER: Its members have watched their docks turn into sidewalks in recent years, and now the White Bear Lake Restoration Association is suing the Minnesota DNR over lake levels, saying that nearby cities were allowed to pump too much water from the aquifer underlying the lake, and that the low water levels are ruining traditional activities on the lake, and putting natural systems at risk.
LOWER STILL: Water levels have fallen to near-record lows on Lakes Michigan and Huron, while Erie, Ontario and Superior are below their historical averages. The decline is causing heavy economic losses, and towns along the lakeshores are trying to save their harbors.
NEA GRANTS: The National Endowment for the Arts has announced its grants for 2013, and out of 832 awards totaling $23.3 million, Minnesota arts organizations claimed 28 grants for a total of $877,500. Minnesota ranked 8th in the amount of money it received from the NEA.
ORCHESTRA STRIFE: Locked-out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra today issued a no-confidence vote in Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson. Management says it needs large salary cuts for the players to keep the orchestra financially viable. Musicians say the cuts will severely damage the Orchestra. After attempts failed to agree on a new contract management locked out musicians October first and there have been no negotiations since.
HELPING THE HOMELESS: Nearly six years into a 10 year effort, advocates say they have made progress to end homelessness in Hennepin County. There are 40 percent fewer people sleeping on the streets since 2010 and many more apartments for low-income people, the leaders of Heading Home Hennepin told a Minneapolis City Council meeting Tuesday.
WHY ROMNEY LOST: Newsweek contributing editor David Frum thinks he knows why, and offered his opinions about America after the November elections during a conversation with All Things Considered host Tom Crann as part of our Broadcast Journalist Series. Check this link later today for an audio excerpt.
CONSOLATION PRIZE: Making good on a promise, President Barack Obama has extended a lunch invitation to Romney at the White House. No press will be allowed to watch the two men in their private meeting on Thursday.
YOU PAYS YOUR MONEY AND YOU TAKES YOUR CHANCE: The historic Powerball jackpot boosted to $500 million on Tuesday was all part of a plan lottery officials put in place early this year to build jackpots faster, drive sales and generate more money for states that run the game. Their plan appears to be working.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.