Officer Decker is buried in Collegeville; Gov. Dayton grapples with the deficitby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update we report on Officer Tom Decker's burial in Collegeville attended by thousands of police officers, take measure of how lawmakers plan to deal with Minnesota's budget deficit, look at the state's economic prospects, and more.
COLD SPRING OFFICER BURIED: State officials estimate several thousand people attended a funeral service for slain Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker yesterday in Collegeville, after he was fatally shot last week when he was called to check on a man's welfare. Our Minnesota in Photos gallery captures the emotional day.
NO SPECIFICS: Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders say they plan to deal with the state's just-announced $1.1 billion deficit, but they're not offering any specifics yet on how they plan to do it. All the governor is willing to say right now is that, "We're going to make tough decisions. They're going to be unpopular decisions."
AVOIDING THE CLIFF: The threat of big federal tax increases and spending cuts as part of the "fiscal cliff" has meant great business for the airlines, as politicians and lobbyists make their way to Washington and plead special circumstances. They include Gov. Mark Dayton, who's worried about cuts that could impact health care, medical device innovation and education.
TEPID GROWTH AT BEST: There are two possible scenarios seen for economic growth by the state's top number crunchers. In the optimistic view, they estimate that employers in Minnesota will add about 50,000 jobs -- not many more than they'll likely add this year. In the pessimistic forecast that weak growth of 50,000 jobs would shrink to a flimsy 5,000. Looking further, between now and the end of 2014, the state would lose out on a total of 70,000 new jobs.
TRANSIT BOOST: Public transit advocates and business leaders say Minnesota's Twin Cities area is falling behind other regions that have made funding and building public transit a top priority. Those groups will push for more stable funding for transportation projects when lawmakers resume their work at the Capitol next month.
OKEE DOKEE THEN: The Okee Dokee Brothers' latest album, "Can You Canoe?" has been nominated for a Best Children's Album Grammy. The music springs from a canoe trip musicians and friends Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing took last year from Minneapolis to St. Louis on the Mississippi River. Also nominated: The locked out members of the Minnesota Orchestra, and work by Mumford & Sons.
MEANWHILE: What has to change for Minnesota's major orchestras to break the impasse in their labor disputes with management? Chicago-based arts consultant Drew McManus, who specializes in working with orchestras, joined MPR's Cathy Wurzer to discuss the issue.
ANTI-BULLYING: State Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, says he's "reasonably confident" Minnesota lawmakers will approve a new bullying prevention law for the state next year. He's sponsored similar measures for several years. One version of the legislation did pass in 2009, but was vetoed by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Dibble told MPR's The Daily Circuit on Thursday he's still crafting the legislation he'll introduce next year.
MAKING 'CONEXIONES': In a study from a few years ago on the growing Latino population in Minnesota cities, one small-town resident likened the situation between whites and Latinos to "parallel play." That's what child development experts call it when you put two toddlers together in a room of toys and they play well -- by themselves but not with each other. Has anything changed? That's what we're asking.
AIR POLLUTION: Several environmental and conservation groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over air pollution in Voyageurs National Park and Isle Royale. The suit filed in federal district court in St. Paul claims the pollution comes from Xcel Energy's power plant in Sherburne County. Sherco is the biggest plant in Xcel's fleet; it burns three trainloads of coal a day.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Author and environmental activist Bill McKibben, and former Shell Oil Company president John Hofmeister, discussed the extent and impact of carbon pollution and the science and politics of global warming at the Commonwealth Club. We'll have the audio from that event up this afternoon, so check back. BURN ONE DOWN: The crowds of happy people lighting joints under Seattle's Space Needle early Thursday morning with nary a police officer in sight bespoke the new reality: Marijuana is legal under Washington state law. Hundreds gathered at Seattle Center for a New Year's Eve-style countdown to 12 a.m., when the legalization measure passed by voters last month took effect.
HISTORY OF WEED: On the occasion of Thursday's "Legalization Day" in Washington, here's a look back at the cultural and legal status of the "evil weed" in American history. It starts with this: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp and puzzled over the best ways to process it for clothing and rope.
UNION BAR: A new restaurant with a rooftop patio opens in downtown Minneapolis just in time for below freezing temperatures. Who opens a rooftop in the middle of winter? Tom Horgen from the Star Tribune, who contributes to our "Appetites" feature with news about drinks and nightlife, tells us about it.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.