The weather was here, the pope resigns and Minnesota represents at the Grammysby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update: We're still counting snowfall totals and school closures from a two-day winter storm, Pope Benedict surprises Minnesota Catholics with his resignation, and the Okee Dokee Brothers win a Grammy.
THE WEATHER IS HERE: A two-day storm dumped a load of snow across Minnesota over the weekend, closing portions of a major interstate and prompting snow emergencies in Minneapolis, St. Paul and some suburbs. The National Weather service reports 18 inches of snow fell in Audubon, about 230 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Tim Nelson has the story here, we have a gallery of photos here, and Paul Huttner's Updraft blog is tracking what's like to happen next.
BENEDICT BOWS OUT: Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he will resign Feb. 28, becoming the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. The 85-year-old pope dropped the bombshell in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, surprising even his closest collaborators even though he had made clear previously that he would step down if he became too old or infirm to carry on. Read the story here, and a full transcript of Benedict's remarks here.
We'll have a full range of Minnesota reactions soon. In the meantime, the Daily Circuit's Kerri Miller spoke with Don Briel, director of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, about the news.
OKEE DOKEE THEN: Hours before the 55th annual Grammy Awards were telecast, several albums with Minnesota ties picked up Grammys in a pre-show ceremony, most notably the Okee Dokee Brothers, who won in the Best Children's Album category for their 2012 album, "Can You Canoe?" The Current's Andrea Swensson says the Brothers, known off stage as Denver-born, Minneapolis-based friends and musicians Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing, have been increasingly popular here in the Twin Cities. Work by Concordia College professor, conductor, and composer Rene Clausen also won awards.
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: The effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota picks up this week when supporters gather for a Valentine's Day rally at the State Capitol. Gov. Mark Dayton gave their cause a boost last week in his State of the State address, but legislators have not yet introduced any marriage bills. Meanwhile, the Minnesota House will take its first votes of the session this week on bills ranging from tax conformity to state employee contracts. Morning Edition's Cathy Wurzer spoke with Capitol reporter Tim Pugmire about the developments.
CRISIS TRAINING: In 2012, 24 percent of the more than 15,000 Minnesota inmates sought therapy. The most common diagnosis was antisocial personality disorder. Now, crisis intervention training is helping prison workers who deal with mentally ill inmates. The Minnesota Department of Corrections is providing the voluntary training, recognizing that correctional officers have long been on the front lines in the response to mental illness. Rupa Shenoy reports.
BRIDGING DIFFERENCES: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak plans to dedicate a bridge to the former mayor he unseated more than a decade ago. Sharon Sayles Belton served two terms as mayor, starting in 1994, before Rybak beat her in 2001. He's going to dedicate the 3rd Avenue Bridge over Interstate 94 to Belton, Curtis Gilbert reports.
COMCAST: Comcast cable customers with both older TV sets and basic television service will need new equipment to continue to receive basic channels. Martin Moylan reports the cable company is switching to an all-digital network, beginning next month.
SCHOOL-BASED CLINICS: Around since the 1980s, school health clinics received a shot in the arm from the federal Affordable Care Act, which earmarked $200 million from 2010 to 2013 to build and equip more centers and expand services. Now, more are looking to expand their patient base to reap revenue that can subsidize the care often given for free to youngsters as well as fill a dire larger need for community health care access.
NATIVE COOKING: Julie Siple has a story about a new cooking program beginning this week that aims to improve the health of Native American families in the Twin Cities metro area. The cooking classes, which begin on Tuesday, will focus on making simple, healthy meals at home. They will incorporate locally grown ingredients and foods traditional to the Native American diet.
ST. PAUL STREETS FLOODED: Echoes of last month's street flooding in downtown Minneapolis: An underground water line ruptured early Saturday in downtown St. Paul, flooding several city blocks, causing a widespread drop in water pressure and prompting city officials to warn against drinking tap water.
HIGH SPEED RAIL: Hundreds of Midwest manufacturers stand to benefit from a web of high-speed passenger rail routes emerging from Chicago's rail hub, according to a report released by an environmental policy group that has fought to defend the use of billions in taxpayer money on such projects.
MEDICAL SCHOOL DEAN RESIGNS: Dr. Aaron Friedman has resigned his post as dean of the University of Minnesota's medical school. Alex Friedrich has more university president Eric Kaler's statement here, and Friedman's statement here.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.