A child is shot dead in Oakdale; Red Wing's mayor is also a lobbyistby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update: A child is shot and killed in Oakdale, Minnesota's members of Congress stake out positions on immigration reform, Red Wing is concerned about its mayor's lobbying for sand mining, and Minnesota Catholics react to Pope Benedict's decision to resign.
CHILD SHOT AND KILLED IN SUBURBAN ST. PAUL: First, a 34-year-old man was in jail Tuesday after allegedly open fire randomly at cars passing through a busy intersection in Oakdale, killing a 9-year-old boy and injuring two other people. "Nothing ever happens in this little neighborhood here, so it's real disconcerting," one witness said. Tim Nelson and Elizabeth Dunbar have been updating the story all day.
IMMIGRATION STAND: President Obama gives the first State of the Union address of his second term tonight. While the White House says the speech will focus on jobs and the economy... the subject of overhauling the nation's immigration laws is almost certain to come up. It's an issue likely to dominate the Congressional agenda through the summer. Reporter Brett Neely spoke with members of Minnesota's delegation about the issue.
MORE JOBS, LESS TROOPS: Also on tap for the president in the State of the Union will be a call for more spending on infrastructure and manufacturing, while also announcing the withdrawal of 34,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan within a year.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST? The Red Wing City council is calling for an independent investigation into Mayor Dennis Egan's new position as executive director of a lobbying group for the silica sand industry. Residents and city leaders have raised questions about a possible conflict of interest. The city is one of several southeastern Minnesota communities where silica sand mining has become a contentious issue. Elizabeth Baier has more.
DO TAXES DRIVE AWAY JOBS? When Gov. Dayton unveiled his tax code overhaul a couple weeks ago, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt quipped, "This budget is for a better Wisconsin because that's where Minnesota's jobs will go." For businesses in Duluth, Wisconsin is just across the St. Louis River, and some Duluth business leaders are concerned the governor's plan to tax clothing and many professional services could hurt Duluth employers. But as Dan Kraker reports, there's little clarity about the affect of the taxes combined with some confusion about how they'd work.
DEBATING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: A rally in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage is planned for Valentine's Day, and a group opposing same-sex marriage will hold its own Capitol rally later in the session. Jake Loesch of Minnesota United for All Families, which supports legalizing same-sex marriage, and opponent Jason Adkins of Minnesota for Marriage debated the issue with Cathy Wurzer on Morning Edition.
MINNESOTANS REACT TO POP: People woke up Monday to news that no one has heard for six centuries: Pope Benedict XVI's surprise decision to step down for health reasons. The news prompted both disappointment and hope among the Catholic faithful in Minnesota. Many told Tim Nelson they're not ready yet to judge his eight years as pontiff.
EMPTY SCHOOLS: Hundreds of schools in the nation's largest cities are sitting empty as education officials struggle to sell these potentially valuable properties that are a drain on school district finances, according to a study released Monday. In the dozen cities the Pew Charitable Trusts reviewed, some 327 schools were sitting idle last year and for sale.
MEDICAID EXPANSION: The Minnesota House voted to expand Medicaid to more low income and disabled people. The Legislature is taking the action because the federal government is promising to cover the full cost of the new enrollees through 2016. Democrats say the proposal will save the state millions. The change brings more than 35,000 low-income Minnesota residents closer to being eligible for a subsidized health insurance program, known as Medical Assistance. Tom Scheck has more here.
COMPARATIVE HEALTH CARE SHOPPING? GOOD LUCK WITH THAT: Want to know how much a hip replacement will cost? Many hospitals won't be able to tell you, at least not right away -- if at all. And if you shop around and find centers that can quote a price, the amounts could vary astronomically, a study found. (In case you're wondering, routine hip replacement surgery on a healthy patient without insurance may cost as little as $11,000 -- or up to nearly $126,000.)
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.