Cheryl Strayed's novel "Torch" deals with loss and grief
Author Cheryl Strayed says "no matter how far I wander, I often travel back to Minnesota when I sit down to write." Strayed spent most of her childhood in Minnesota and now lives in Portland, Ore. Her latest novel "Torch" is set in the fictional small town of Midden, Minn. The book centers on Teresa Rae Wood, who is famous for hosting a local radio program called "Modern Pioneers." At the age of 38, Teresa is diagnosed with cancer and dies within months. The novel follows her family as they deal with loss and grief.4:50 p.m.
Budget forecast shows state surplus More than half of the surplus is set aside for Minnesota schools. And if a pending court ruling goes against the state, the surplus could evaporate and become a shortfall.5:19 p.m.
Minnesota seniors slow to embrace Medicare Part D The new federal prescription drug benefit for seniors doesn't appear to be catching on very quickly in Minnesota. According to a ranking by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Minnesota ranks 45th among the states in participation in the new drug benefit program, known as Medicare Part D. Over 700,000 Minnesotans are eligible for the benefit, because they are disabled or over age 65. But only 45 percent of those eligible have enrolled so far. The deadline for enrolling in the first year of the program is May 15. According to the study, if seniors continue to shy away from the program, those who are enrolled will face higher premiums.5:23 p.m.
Jury begins deliberations in Sackett murder case
A Ramsey County jury is deliberating the fate of the man accused of killing a St. Paul police officer nearly 36 years ago. Attorneys gave their closing arguments today in the case against Ronald Reed. Prosecutors described Reed as man who hated police and has no conscience. The defense said the case against Reed has no credibility.5:44 p.m.
U of M med school still recovering 10 years after ALG scandal Ten years ago this month, renowned University of Minnesota transplant surgeon Dr. John Najarian walked free of a barrage of federal charges which had cast a cloud over the U of M medical school. Now, the medical school continues to make slow and steady progress towards restoring its reputation.5:47 p.m.
National Public Radio Stories
Saddam Trial Resumes; Iraqis Distracted by Unrest
Saddam Hussein is back in court, but Iraqis are increasingly disinterested in the proceedings. Most are focused on escalating sectarian violence and growing fears that the country is on the brink of civil war.
Study: 35 Percent of Iraq Vets Seek Mental Care
A new study shows that 35 percent of troops returning from Iraq are seeking help for mental-health issues. Most of the problems are easily treatable, but more than one in 10 soldiers are diagnosed with a serious mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression.
New Palestinian Leadership Tests U.S. Diplomacy
Now that the militant Hamas movement is set to take over the Palestinian government, the debate intensifies about whether to give financial aid. International donors are trying to head off a financial crisis in the Palestinian authority but the Bush administration wants a united front against Hamas.
Parade of St. Anne Doesn't Disappoint
Robert Siegel and commentator Andrei Codrescu offer their own play-by-play of the Court of St. Anne Mardi Gras parade, which is the only parade to take place in the French Quarter.
Demolition Looms for Ninth Ward of New Orleans
Not far from the festivities in New Orleans, the Ninth Ward sits nearly silent. One of the hardest-hit neighborhoods, it was severely flooded after Hurricane Katrina. But just as homeowners are trickling back to reclaim their neighborhood, bulldozers are on the way to begin demolition.
Pastor Takes Faith on the Road for Scattered Flock
Pastor Fred Luter of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church tended to a congregation of 7,000 until Hurricane Katrina ravaged his church and scattered his flock. Luter is eager to get back to worshipping "on the avenue," but for now, he travels to Houston and Baton Rouge, La., to give his sermons.
Anna Nicole Smith Has Her Day in Supreme Court
The Supreme Court justices seem sympathetic to actress Anna Nicole Smith as they hear arguments in her case to claim part of her late billionaire husband's estate. The question is whether federal courts have a role in probate issues, which traditionally are in the control of the states.
Dungeons & Dragons Makes Online Debut
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach is released Tuesday, reportedly incorporating many of the things that made Dungeons & Dragons attractive in the decades before computer games.
Festivities Mask Sadness in New Orleans
Tuesday marks 150th anniversary of Mardi Gras parading in New Orleans -- and the six-month anniversary, almost to the day, of Hurricane Katrina. Robert Siegel and Michelle Norris report on the unusual mingling of boisterous festivities and lingering sadness in the city.