Minnesota Public Radio features by Rob Schmitz http://minnesota.publicradio.org/about/people/mpr_people_display.php?aut_id=64 en-us Copyright 2014 Minnesota Public Radio Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:35:41 -0500 Minnesota Public Radio features by Rob Schmitz http://minnesota.publicradio.org/standard/images/mpr003/logo_mpr.gif http://minnesota.publicradio.org/?refid=0 Living in post-war Liberia The conflict in Liberia has faded from the headlines, but the West African nation still faces many problems. Some people in Minnesota are trying to help. Nyeba Manston-Dunbar recently visited her hometown of Monrovia on an assessment mission for the Minneapolis-based American Refugee Committee. She is a registered nurse, studying adolescent nursing at the University of Minnesota. She was on the mission to talk to young people who were traumatized by the war. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/01/06_schmitzr_liberiadiary/?refid=0 Mon, 05 Jan 2004 17:00:00 -0600 New steamline project heats up environmental debate in Rochester A plan to add a steamline to a power plant in Rochester to heat a new Mayo Clinic building has drawn criticism from some who say Mayo should pay more attention to the community's environment. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/12/08_schmitzr_rpu/?refid=0 Sun, 07 Dec 2003 15:00:00 -0600 Racial profiling study sparks controversy in Rochester Some Rochester residents are disappointed by the Rochester Police Department's response to the results of a racial profiling study. Rochester's Police Chief says the study was based on inaccurate data. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/11/18_schmitzr_rochrace/?refid=0 Tue, 18 Nov 2003 00:30:00 -0600 Coming to a river near you: flying carp A few weeks after an Asian carp was caught on Lake Pepin, the Minnesota DNR is scrambling to come up with a way to repel the invasive species. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/11/12_schmitzr_carp/?refid=0 Wed, 12 Nov 2003 16:31:00 -0600 America's beef with Cuba A year after former Gov. Jesse Ventura's trade mission to Cuba, exports to the communist country have skyrocketed. However, heightened political tensions over Fidel Castro's decision to imprison more than 70 political dissidents may hurt business. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/10/20_schmitzr_cubatrade/?refid=0 Sun, 19 Oct 2003 15:00:00 -0500 The fight for Island 42 A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to remove a good portion of an island in the Mississippi River south of Wabasha has attracted criticism from scientists. They say the island is a crucial nesting site for seven threatened species of turtles. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/10/03_schmitzr_turtlerescue/?refid=0 Fri, 03 Oct 2003 15:45:00 -0500 An uncertain future In recent years, federal and state governments have passed laws to encourage more wind development. Despite the help, wind experts say developing the resource remains a tricky prospect. That's largely because the country's transmission grid is built for energy from more manageable and predictable resources like coal, hydropower, and natural gas. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/09/29_schmitzr_windtwo/?refid=0 Mon, 29 Sep 2003 00:01:00 -0500 WTO may intervene in dispute over genetically modified crops Minnesota farmers are paying close attention to a trade dispute spurred by European Union restrictions on genetically modified, or GM crops. The EU placed restrictions on GM crops in 1998, citing a need to protect consumers. They've banned certain varieties of GM corn and just this year, required labelling of GM food. U.S. trade officials say the restrictions are illegal protectionism. The U.S. wants the World Trade Organization to intervene. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/09/12_schmitzr_gmosoybeans/?refid=0 Fri, 12 Sep 2003 16:10:00 -0500 Pawlenty tours drought-stricken fields Gov. Tim Pawlenty and state Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson visited the Southeastern Minnesota town of Mazeppa on Tuesday to evaluate crop damage from this summer's drought. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/09/09_schmitzr_drought/?refid=0 Tue, 09 Sep 2003 15:57:00 -0500 Two million hours of prayer and counting An order of nuns in La Crosse marks its 125th year of continuous prayer this month. The sisters receive prayer requests by phone, mail, and via their Web site. Recently, business has picked up. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/08/29_schmitzr_prayer/?refid=0 Fri, 29 Aug 2003 05:00:00 -0500 Dry conditions worry state's farmers Most areas of the state have not received a heavy rain since the July 4th weekend. The hot and dry weather since then has led to a sharp decline in the state's crop conditions. Farmers are losing money each day it doesn't rain. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/08/19_schmitzr_realdry/?refid=0 Wed, 20 Aug 2003 06:00:00 -0500 Accusations of rebel ties divide Minnesota's Liberian community Liberians in Minnesota accuse members of their own community of fundraising for the LURD rebel group. The accused deny the charges, saying they stem from political differences among the Liberian community in Minnesota. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/08/07_schmitzr_liberianfunds/?refid=0 Thu, 07 Aug 2003 15:00:00 -0500 Waiting for the smoke to clear: Liberians in Minnesota As peacekeeping troops wait to enter Liberia, there's another, less visible, group waiting in the wings in Minnesota. More than 20,000 Liberians live in exile in the Twin Cities. Many of these are young Liberians who are in school receiving training and developing skills to rebuild their homeland. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/07/31_schmitzr_liberians/?refid=0 Fri, 01 Aug 2003 05:00:00 -0500 Minnesota's Liberians debate whether to mourn or celebrate This weekend marked Liberia's Independence Day. Liberians in Minnesota celebrated by hosting a soccer match at Blaine's National Sports Center. However, some Liberians have criticized the timing of the event. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/07/28_schmitzr_liberiansoccer/?refid=0 Mon, 28 Jul 2003 12:00:00 -0500 Seeking a cure for the yips Golfers fear it, and experts say it can add five strokes to a player's game. We're talking about the yips. Rochester's Mayo Clinic is trying to find the cause, and held a special putting tournament Monday as part of the research. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/07/21_schmitzr_yips/?refid=0 Tue, 22 Jul 2003 09:58:00 -0500 The freedom to speak in Freeborn County The Minnesota Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Freeborn County for its rule that enables county board members to ban certain members of the public from speaking at county board meetings. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/07/17_schmitzr_freebornspeech/?refid=0 Thu, 17 Jul 2003 06:00:00 -0500 The Enthusiasts: A zest for fishing lures Lots of people have fishing lures. But Ken Bachman has hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of lures collected over the past 25 years. Minnesota Public Radio's Rob Schmitz talks with Ken Bachman in the basement of his Owatonna residence, home to nothing less than a fishing lure archive. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/07/09_schmitzr_enthusiasts/?refid=0 Wed, 09 Jul 2003 14:48:00 -0500 New law loosens environmental rules for feedlots A new law will make it easier to build feedlots in rural Minnesota. Critics say the law will lead to more groundwater contamination and less public input into the feelot permit process. Supporters say it saves the government and the agriculture industry time and money. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/06/24_schmitzr_feedlotrules/?refid=0 Tue, 24 Jun 2003 06:00:00 -0500 Counties defy concealed carry law Minnesota's concealed carry law has been in effect for a little over a week. In that time, private establishments across the state have put up signs banning guns on their premises. Now, Minnesota counties and cities are following suit. However, the law may not be on their side. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/06/06_schmitzr_countyguns/?refid=0 Fri, 06 Jun 2003 00:01:00 -0500 A crossroads of two prehistoric cultures La Crosse archaeologists say they've discovered evidence of the origin of the Oneota tribe. It was an ancient indigenous people and the ancestor of many Midwestern Native American tribes including the Ho-Chunk and the Dakota. The find has spurred an energetic debate in the archaeology community that has led to more questions than answers. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/06/04_schmitzr_laxarchaeology/?refid=0 Thu, 05 Jun 2003 12:00:00 -0500 Obesity and the brain For years, scientists have looked for the causes behind obesity, and they've found many possibilities. Here's a look at the brain's important role in the equation through the eyes of a Rochester man battling both obesity and depression. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/06/02_schmitzr_obesitypsych/?refid=0 Mon, 02 Jun 2003 12:00:00 -0500 Librarians concerned about Patriot Act The Patriot Act was designed make it easier to track down and stop potential terrorists. Some librarians say it threatens the privacy of people who visit the library. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/05/19_hemphills_patriotlibraries/?refid=0 Sun, 18 May 2003 12:00:00 -0500 Immigration reform group attracting adherents, critics A group that wants to reduce the number of immigrants coming to the U.S. has emerged in Owatonna, attracting the criticism of local immigration advocates. Critics point out the groups' cofounders are connected to organizations supporting the largely discredited eugenics movement. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/05/05_schmitzr_immigrationgroup/?refid=0 Thu, 08 May 2003 15:08:00 -0500 Amish learning to balance commerce and culture Last fall, the state forced a group of Amish families in southeastern Minnesota to stop selling their baked goods to tourists. The move was a blow to an increasing number of Amish businesses in the area. It was also a blow to the town of Harmony, which depends on the Amish for business. Now, both communities are joining efforts to fight back. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/04/30_schmitzr_prestonamish/?refid=0 Wed, 30 Apr 2003 12:00:00 -0500 Pawlenty's plan for biotechnology Governor Pawlenty says biotechnology will cause an economic revolution in the US. In order to get Minnesota involved, he's working with officials at the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic to join a partnership to lead the way in biotech development. All that's missing in Pawlenty's plan is state money. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/03/10_schmitzr_biotech/?refid=0 Mon, 31 Mar 2003 17:40:00 -0600 The economy of war It's a popular notion that war is good for the economy. But as U.S. troops mass on the border of Iraq, Minnesota experts doubt war will help the state's struggling economy. Over the last two years, Minnesota has lost 57,000 jobs. Three-quarters of those jobs have been in the manufacturing sector. Traditionally, manufacturers have benefited the most from military spending. However, state economists say a war in Iraq is unlikely to help them. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/03/17_schmitzr_economyofwar/?refid=0 Sun, 16 Mar 2003 15:00:00 -0600 Will war worsen the nurse shortage? In addition to losing nurses to the nation's ramp-up for war, state health care providers have to compete with the military's attractive signing bonuses and other benefits for nurses. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/03/10_schmitzr_nursingshortage/?refid=0 Mon, 10 Mar 2003 16:30:00 -0600 A big magnet to study a small world One of the world's largest magnets has arrived at Rochester's Mayo Clinic. Researchers will use the 8,000 lb. 2 million dollar beheamoth to study the proteins in cells. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/02/27_schmitzr_bigmagnet/?refid=0 Fri, 28 Feb 2003 06:00:00 -0600 Bush's plan for the Mississippi River President Bush's request to increase funding for the Army Corps of Engineers' Mississippi River environmental restoration program is encouraging to environmental groups. But some are wary of the Corps' intentions. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/03/10_schmitzr_riverbudget/?refid=0 Fri, 07 Feb 2003 17:30:00 -0600 Bush's Bioshield reignites research Project Bioshield is the name of President Bush's plan to invest $6 billion into biodefense research. Only one thing stands in the way: there aren't enough researchers trained in biodefense to meet the nation's needs. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/01/30_schmitzr_bioshield/?refid=0 Thu, 30 Jan 2003 15:00:00 -0600 Serving the guy who hates to shop Cabela's outdoor stores have made it big by targeting a consumer traditionally ignored by retailers: the man who hates to shop. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/01/29_schmitzr_cabelas/?refid=0 Tue, 28 Jan 2003 16:47:00 -0600 Eagle Center considers its future The National Eagle Center in Wabasha is one of the many organizations losing money under the Pawlenty Administration's budget-balancing proposal. Tuesday, the governor cut $500,000 allocated towards the center's $1.5 million expansion project. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/01/16_schmitzr_eaglecenter/?refid=0 Thu, 16 Jan 2003 05:00:00 -0600 Saudi-born man fighting to stay in America A Saudi-born Winona man is facing deportation because he checked the wrong box on a job application. His lawyer says he is falling victim to tighter INS regulation. The INS says it's just business as usual. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/01/15_schmitzr_deportation/?refid=0 Wed, 15 Jan 2003 06:00:00 -0600 Soccer as therapy Somalis in Rochester have found a new therapy for the trauma they suffered during their country's civil war - soccer. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200209/03_schmitzr_somaliteam-m/?refid=0 Tue, 03 Sep 2002 12:00:00 -0500 Funds to help immigrant farmers are cut The new farm bill cuts funding for the minority farm outreach program, which has helped some immigrants start farming operations in Minnesota. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200208/12_schmitzr_farmers1-m/?refid=0 Mon, 12 Aug 2002 12:00:00 -0500 Reaching out to immigrant farmers In Fairbault, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee is making a special effort to reach out to Minnesota's growing immigrant population. Gregg Bongard thinks he's discovered a new approach to farming that could change the face of agriculture in the U.S. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200208/12_schmitzr_farmers2-m/?refid=0 Mon, 12 Aug 2002 12:00:00 -0500 Cutting the death rate in half Researchers in Minnesota have completed a nationwide study which found a way to prevent thousands of deaths in elderly people. All it would take they say is increased use of a vaccine that many take for granted. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200208/08_schmitzr_flushots-m/?refid=0 Thu, 08 Aug 2002 12:00:00 -0500 The Paramount's rebirth Austin's Paramount Theatre has been through many changes in its 73 year-old life, from movie theater to disco bar. Then it almost fell to the wrecking ball. Now, a local arts group is on an ambitious fundraising campaign to return the theatre to its roots. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200207/17_schmitzr_paramount-m/?refid=0 Wed, 17 Jul 2002 12:00:00 -0500 Mayo develops new test for bioterrorism agents Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a quick and safe method for local labs to test for bioterrorism viruses. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200207/09_schmitzr_terrorismtest-m/?refid=0 Tue, 09 Jul 2002 12:00:00 -0500 Low and moderate income homeowners targeted by predatory lenders Predatory lending is the practice of tricking homeowners into mortgages they cannot afford and adding hidden fees to a loan. The problem has led many state governments across the country to make legislation to curb the practice. Minnesota is not among these states. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200206/12_schmitzr_predators/?refid=0 Wed, 12 Jun 2002 12:00:00 -0500 Tough times for Albert Lea As the new year begins, residents of Albert Lea are doing their best to put 2001 behind them. The year has been a tough one for this southern Minnesota community. In July, the Farmland Foods plant, the city's third largest employer, burned down. The disaster left almost 500 residents unemployed. Then, in November, city residents voted down a proposed school levy referendum, forcing its school district to make more than $1 million worth of cuts. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200201/11_schmitzr_albertlea-m/?refid=0 Fri, 11 Jan 2002 12:00:00 -0600 Sheikh's presence in Rochester worries some As the military campaign against Al-Qaeda tightens, so does a campaign launched by Minnesota 1st District Rep. Gil Gutknecht. Gutknecht wants Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman transferred out of Rochester's Federal Medical Center to a secret location. Rahman, 63, is serving a life sentence for conspiracy in the World Trade Center bombing of 1993. Gutknecht says the sheikh's presence poses a threat to Rochester. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200112/14_schmitzr_sheikh-m/?refid=0 Fri, 14 Dec 2001 12:00:00 -0600 Residents fight Rochester's expansion plans Recent lawsuits against the city of Rochester raise the question whether the city has too much power annexing land outside its borders. The number of these lawsuits has risen in the past year. All of the legal action comes from townships along Rochester's border. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200111/12_schmitzr_annexation-m/?refid=0 Mon, 12 Nov 2001 12:00:00 -0600 Mayo develops quicker anthrax test Researchers at Rochester's Mayo Clinic have developed a new DNA test that identifies anthrax samples in less than an hour. Up to now, it took labs several days to identify the presence of anthrax. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200111/05_schmitzr_mayotest-m/?refid=0 Mon, 05 Nov 2001 12:00:00 -0600 Saving turtles to save the Mississippi River Fifteen miles south of Wabasha lies the Weaver Bottoms, a 4,000-acre wetland fed by the Mississippi River. The region was home to the Midwest's most diverse array of vegetation and animal habitat. It has since lost that title. But one man studies one species in a fight to keep the Weaver Bottoms, and the the river, alive. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200110/25_schmitzr_turtles-m/?refid=0 Thu, 25 Oct 2001 12:00:00 -0500 Striking health care workers in difficult spot As the state workers strike enters its second week, developmentally disabled patients in state-run treatment homes have National Guard troops as replacements for their normal care providers. Many striking employees of these homes feel they've been placed in a difficult position. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200110/08_newsroom_strikeday8/?refid=0 Mon, 08 Oct 2001 12:00:00 -0500 Charter status keeps small school alive Last spring, the Winona Area Public School District threatened to shut down Ridgeway Elementary, the smallest and most remote school in the district, because of low enrollment. In response, the community of Ridgeway and local educators worked together to revive the school by applying for--and then receiving--charter status. Mainstreet Reporter Rob Schmitz reports on how making the transition to charter kept a small school alive. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200110/05_schmitzr_ridgeway-m/?refid=0 Fri, 05 Oct 2001 12:00:00 -0500 The Ten Commandments: Religious or historical symbol? In 1986, the city of La Crosse, Wis. was involved in a lawsuit that threatened the removal of a Ten Commandments monument in a public park. The city prevailed and the monument remained, but 15 years later the controversy has returned, spurred by similar cases across the nation. Currently there are nine legal cases challenging Ten Commandments monuments across the country. What some see as a legal violation, others view as a symbol of our nation's roots. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200109/10_schmitzr_laxten-m/?refid=0 Mon, 10 Sep 2001 12:00:00 -0500