Playing to the crowd

Most memorable stories of 2008


Over the course of a year, Minnesota Public Radio's reporters, producers and hosts talk to hundreds of people from all walks of life. Some make a bigger impression than others. Some stories involve a behind-the-scenes challenge. MPR journalists each selected a story or show that was the most memorable to them.

  • Coffee timeLiving history on a Minnesota farm
    Two brothers have watched nearly a century of state history from their northern Minnesota farm.April 29, 2008
  • Receiving the medalWWII Medal of Honor recipient laid to rest Saturday
    Funeral services are tomorrow in Duluth for the last living Medal of Honor recipient in Minnesota. Mike Colalillo earned the honor during World War II. The West Duluth resident died last week at the age of 86. Nearly four years ago, Colalillo spoke with MPR's Mark Steil about his experiences during World War II. Steil's original report aired in January 2008.January 6, 2012
  • Police Surround GroupThe View of a Protest
    A look back at a police-protester clash during the Republican National Convention on Sept. 1.September 5, 2008
  • Bicyle officerSt. Paul's bike cops (part 1)
    Police on bicycles have been a common sight during the Republican National Convention. St. Paul officers talk about their equipment.September 4, 2008
  • Marking the endStanding at the back of the line, but never losing hope
    As people piled into the Xcel Energy Center to catch a glimpse of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the line out the door kept getting longer. At one point, it stretched for more than a mile and a half. For people at the end of line, they never gave up hope.June 4, 2008
  • No home sweet homeMaking education a priority for homeless students in Minneapolis
    When a family's focus is on finding food and shelter, getting the kids to class isn't always a top priority.November 17, 2008
  • Big BogMinnesota mounts ambitious five-year bird count
    Minnesota is embarking on an ambitious project to count the birds that nest and raise their young here, to accurately chart their numbers.July 2, 2008
  • Spoon and CherryThe Minneapolis Sculpture Garden turns 20
    Twenty years ago this week, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden opened to the public. It's one of the largest urban sculpture gardens in the country. MPR's Cathy Wurzer recently took a walking tour of the garden with Olga Viso, head of the Walker Art Center.September 8, 2008
  • Bridge workersTouring the 35W bridge construction site
    About 600 workers are working 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week on both sides of the Mississippi River to get the I-35W bridge rebuilt in the shortest amount of time possible.May 21, 2008
  • Hans HagenSpecial Report: Minnesota Slowdown
    Gas is $4 per gallon, food prices are painfully higher, air fares are soaring and U.S. companies have cut more than 400,000 jobs this year. In January, Minnesota's state economist had seen enough to say the state was in recession. Minnesota Slowdown, an ongoing special report, explores the origins and impact of the economic malaise.July 16, 2008
  • Losing her homeFrom 35th Street to Wall Street: Anatomy of a foreclosure
    Tomorrow, a Minneapolis woman is scheduled to lose her home. Faith Burns has been told to be out of her house. The bank says she's fallen behind on her monthly mortgage payments and is foreclosing on her. We traced the path of Faith Burns' mortgage to Wall Street.May 5, 2008
  • In VietnamThe Vietnam Tapes: Letters from a Willmar soldier
    The Vietnam Tapes is a special program featuring audio letters from the Vietnam War. Dan Kleven of Willmar, Minn., spent 11 months in combat in Vietnam in 1970. He recorded cassette tapes in the field and sent them back to his family.July 1, 2008
  • Christening of a Northwest planeNorthwest Airlines -- a look back at its long history
    For 82 years, Northwest Airlines has been a Minnesota company, Minnesota's airline. With Delta's acquisition of Northwest, though, the airline will fade into history.October 30, 2008
  • Paul and Sue RosenauWaseca couple claims Powerball jackpot
    A Waseca couple has won a $180 million Powerball jackpot. After taxes as a lump sum it amounts to nearly $60 million.May 6, 2008
  • The CalasImmigrant brothers build their dream
    For two immigrant brothers, the Calas, the American Dream has come true.September 15, 2008
  • Slingshot ride at the Minnesota State FairA first-timer's trip to the Fair
    The Minnesota State Fair can be overwhelming, even for long-time fans. But what about the first-time fair-goer?August 22, 2008
  • Up up and awayThe flying photographer
    Some people go to drastic lengths to take a great picture. For photographer Maxwell Mackenzie it meant learning to fly -- with his feet.August 20, 2008
  • StegosaurusWalking with dinosaurs
    A new touring show featuring life-size dinosaur models is on display this week in St. Paul. MPR's Tom Crann attends the Walking With Dinosaurs show, and does some fact-checking with a real-life paleontologist.June 13, 2008
  • Elizabeth WickorenThe pork wars on YouTube
    What kind of pork will you eat? That's the question marketing groups are wrestling over on YouTube.June 27, 2008
  • Kristin DillonSelf portraits in the Facebook age
    With digital cameras now almost as common as cell phones, in part because they are built into cellphones, people are taking lots of pictures. And they're taking pictures of themselves.April 9, 2008
  • Worried about her family in ChinaStudents embrace teacher whose family lost everything in earthquake
    The impact of the massive earthquake in China is being felt at a Chinese immersion elementary school in St. Paul.May 23, 2008
  • Ramsey County Public Defender Corey ShermanPublic defenders moonlight to pay off school debt
    Many public defenders work side jobs because their salaries aren't high enough to pay off law school debt.November 9, 2008
  • Garlic mustardTasty invasives
    The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary in Minneapolis is asking for public help to get rid of an invasive plant.May 5, 2008
  • Covering in publicA fortuitous meeting and Minnesota doctors offer an Ethiopian woman a chance at a new life
    A young Ethiopian woman is recovering from surgery to remove a large, disfiguring tumor from her head at a St. Paul hospital. It cam about because of a chance meeting of two doctors in a Twin Cities synagogue.May 11, 2008
  • Without bridge, Winona commuter trades car for canoe
    With the closure of the Highway 43 bridge, Jeremy Smith's commute has grown from 20 minutes to one hour and 15 minutes. On Thursday, he plans to make the trip from his Wisconsin home to his Winona workplace by canoe.June 4, 2008
  • Nidal Kram is a Gates scholarOne graduate's journey from Sudan to Gates scholarship
    A Sudanese refugee graduating from Fridley High School says she hopes to use her education to help save some of those she left behind.June 5, 2008
  • Bachmann and Pham practiceSpeaking without an accent
    After studying the language for years, non-native English speakers often have another hurdle to overcome -- an accent. Many take advanced language classes to try to eliminate, or at least minimize, their accent. Often they're professionals who see an accent as a weakness in a competitive workforce.October 28, 2008
  • Fun timeImmersion program provides new hope for preserving Ojibwe language
    The number of people fluent in the Ojibwe language is fading fast. An elementary school program on the Leech Lake reservation is taking a more aggressive approach to saving the language.April 11, 2008
  • Gregg TempleFamily's holiday tradition preserved in song
    Every family that celebrates Christmas has its own traditions -- sending out cards, wrapping gifts, making cookies, singing carols. For a dozen years ending in 1999, the Temple family, from Mendota Heights, would actually record its own album of Christmas music every year.December 24, 2008
  • Wounded incomingDuluth doctor remembers his service in a MASH
    A Duluth doctor recalls serving in an Army MASH unit in the Korean War. His experience was similar to the popular M*A*S*H television show of the 1970s.May 26, 2008
  • Bad daySidewalks are for poets
    St. Paul maintenance crews are stamping residents' poems on city sidewalks.October 1, 2008
  • Sarah Palin, vice-presidential nominee,Republicans nominate McCain for president while Minnesota delegates cheer Palin's performance
    John McCain is scheduled to accept the nomination in a speech tonight, following a rousing recital by his No. 2, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Minnesota delegates say they couldn't have been happier with their relatively unknown vice presidential candidate's performance last night.September 4, 2008

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