Inside the bonding bill
Gov. Pawlenty today signed the 2006 state bonding bill, providing $1 billion in funding for projects around the state. It includes money for commuter rail, prison expansions and research facilities at the University of Minnesota and other state universities. But there are dozens of other projects in the bill, including a poultry testing lab in Wilmar, a zoo in Little Falls, and a skating oval in Roseville. One item that caught our eye was $2.5 million the Koochiching County Clean Energy Facility.4:53 p.m.
Minnesota Republicans are beginning to gather at the Minneapolis Convention Center for their state convention. They'll endorse candidates for several statewide offices, name their pick for president in 2008, and debate issues such as immigration and gay marriage. Minnesota Public Radio Capitol bureau chief Laura McCallum and Midday's Gary Eichten join me now from the Minneapolis convention center for an update.5:18 p.m.
Dawn Upshaw sings a new song with the SPCO Soprano Dawn Upshaw is joining the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as the group's next artistic partner. The international classical-music celebrity says she's excited about this upcoming collaboration.5:22 p.m.
NorShor strip club plan raises hackles in Duluth Duluth's historic downtown theater is being turned into a strip club. After years of trying, the owner says he's finally found something that will pay the bills. But some of his downtown neighbors, including the mayor, are really upset.5:49 p.m.
Getting guns off the street
An anti-crime organization in Minneapolis wants to buy your guns. Gun violence is up 35 percent from this time last year in Minneapolis, according to the Minneapolis Police Department. A coalition of community groups is running a gun buy-back effort called "Project Cease Fire II." It's designed to get guns off the streets, and will take place tomorrow and Saturday at two Minneapolis locations. Shane Price is part of Project Cease Fire. He coordinates the African American Men Project and says a previous buy-back in February was very successful.5:54 p.m.
National Public Radio Stories
Gulf Towns Girding as Hurricane Season Opens
On the first day of the 2006 hurricane season, Melissa Block talks with several people to find out how they're preparing for potential storms: Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas; Mark Segel, a spokesman for Cingular Wireless; and Gulfport, Miss., resident Tom Achee who is still repairing damage to his house from Katrina.
Impoverished East Timor Enjoys a Calmer Day
East Timor got a slight respite from the violence that erupted just more than a week ago. With foreign troops bolstering domestic security efforts, the gangs that had been roaming the streets of the capital for days were largely absent. East Timor's president, Xanana Gusmao, toured the capital, urging people to return home.
A Falcon Lands on a Sea Otter -- in Space
A Japanese spacecraft has landed on an asteroid as it hurtles through space. From a distance, the Itokawa asteroid had been compared to a potato, with oblong, rounded ends. But upon closer inspection, Japanese scientists say Itokawa looks more like a sea otter.
Life Along the U.S.-Mexico Border
Robert Siegel visits the communities of Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuna in Coihuila, Mexico, to find out how the national debate on immigration plays at the border. The two towns straddle opposite sides of the Rio Grande -- and are linked by language, history and commerce.
Germany's World Cup Aims Frustrated by Racists
Germany is getting ready to welcome millions of visitors for the World Cup, which starts in a few weeks. The country is also trying to bolster its image as a multi-cultural, fun-loving kind of place -- but a series of racial hate crimes in recent months has put the spotlight on what many say is a growing racism problem that Germany has tried to ignore.
Letters: Memorial Day, 'Nasty Bits' and Teen Repellant
Robert Siegel and Melissa Block read from listeners' letters and emails. Among this week's topics: our Memorial Day stories about three soldiers from three wars as told by their family members; Michele Norris's interview with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain; and Melissa Block's interview with Howard and Isabel Stapleton about the 'Mosquito' Teen Repeller.
U.S., Allies Discuss Approach to Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
Foreign ministers from the United States, Russia, China and the European Union meet in Vienna to discuss an impasse over Iran's nuclear program after Tehran rejected a fresh U.S. demand that it stop enriching uranium. The foreign ministers are expected to complete work on a new package of punishments and rewards for Iran.
Iraq's Maliki Calls for Rules on Raiding Homes
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki calls for an Iraqi committee to meet with the U.S. military to establish ground rules for raids on Iraqi homes. He said Iraq "totally rejects" conduct such as the reported killing of 24 Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines last fall in Haditha.
New Hampshire Loses a Favorite Son in Iraq
When Doug DiCenzo was getting ready to graduate from high school in Plymouth, N.H., the class president and football star only applied to one school: West Point. His mother says DiCenzo always wanted to be a career soldier. After graduating from West Point, he rose quickly through the ranks.
New Commitments Urged on Global AIDS Fund
Since its founding four years ago, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has helped improve the health of millions in developing countries. But the Global Fund faces questions of whether it can thrive under constant pressure to prove to donors that it's working.