Minnesota Now Live, down to earth, unscripted interviews that aim to connect, inform and entertain. Real people share real stories with Cathy Wurzer. It's journalism that doesn't take itself too seriously and puts people first.
Minnesota Now

Minnesota Now

From MPR News

Live, down to earth, unscripted interviews that aim to connect, inform and entertain. Real people share real stories with Cathy Wurzer. It's journalism that doesn't take itself too seriously and puts people first.

Most Recent Episodes

How students and families have responded to St. Paul's school closure plan

The St. Paul School Board voted Wednesday night to close six schools in the district, with plans to eventually reopen four of them. Sarita Toledo, a student at one of three schools that was saved from closure, and Becky Dernbach, a reporter who's been covering the story for Sahan Journal, told host Cathy Wurzer how students and parents have responded to the district's plan.

How students and families have responded to St. Paul's school closure plan

MN sports roundup: Jerry Kill will return; Win-nesota?

Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson are back with another update on Minnesota sports for host Cathy Wurzer. This week: Jerry Kill is set to return to the Gopher football stadium after swearing never to set foot in it again, and Nelson displays a sign of delirium: optimism about Minnesota sports.

Reporter Catharine Richert with the latest on Minn.'s first case of omicron

Minnesota has its first reported case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Reporter Catherine Richert joined host Cathy Wurzer to share the latest details on the case from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Reporter Catharine Richert with the latest on Minn.'s first case of omicron

Cookbook author and cancer survivor finds soup is a balm

Courtesy of Caroline Wright Caroline Wright was so touched by offerings of soup when she was fighting a brain tumor that she's become a soup lady. It inspired her most recent cookbook, "Soup Club," which features all plant-based soups. As a young mother and budding cookbook author, Caroline Wright was told she had a brain tumor the size of a clementine and, thus, had a year left to live. Grief-stricken, Wright started to journal her worries and determination on Eagan, Minn.-based Caring Bridge. A community developed online, and after she casually wrote about craving homemade soup, jars of soup started appearing on her family's doorstep and continued showing up for months. Wright's cancer is wonderfully in remission right now, and she is living a full life – and proclaiming the message of soup. Her newest cookbook is "Soup Club," and she's in the Twin Cities this week promoting it — including a soup-making event at Cooks of Crocus Hill Wednesday night. She also had a recipe to share with listeners of Minnesota Now. Tomato and quinoa soup Courtesy of Caroline Wright Caroline Wright, author of the new cookbook "Soup Club," shared a recipe for tomato and quinoa soup on Minnesota Now. Makes about 12 bowlfuls (or 3 quarts) 1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges with root end intact 4 garlic cloves, peeled 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 1 teaspoon thyme leaves 1/4 cup olive oil, divided Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed if desired 3 tablespoons agave nectar, plus more to taste 1 teaspoon cider vinegar, plus more to taste Heat broiler with rack about 5 inches away from heat. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss onion, garlic, carrots and thyme with 2 tablespoons oil; season generously with salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Broil vegetables, tossing every 2 minutes, until golden brown in spots and tender when pierced (about 10 minutes). Transfer vegetables to a blender jar with 1 cup water; blend, cracking lid and covering with a towel to release steam, until smooth. In a large, heavy pot, heat remaining oil over medium heat until hot. Carefully stir in tomato paste (it will spatter); cook, stirring, until the oil and paste are brick red (about 3 minutes). Stir in vegetable purée, scraping bottom and sides of pot with wooden spoon to release any caramelized tomato. Stir in bay leaves, both diced and crushed tomatoes, quinoa, and 4 cups (1 quart) water. Simmer soup, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until thickened and quinoa is cooked (about 30 minutes). Stir in agave and vinegar. Season soup with additional salt, agave, and vinegar to taste. Recipe excerpted from "Soup Club" by Caroline Wright (Andrews McMeel 2021) with permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing. Use the audio player above to listen to their conversation. Subscribe to the Minnesota Now podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Deer are catching the COVID-19 virus. What does that mean for humans?

Last year, researchers at Penn State and the Iowa DNR tested hundreds of samples collected from white-tailed deer in Iowa for the coronavirus. They were shocked by what they found: One-third of the deer sampled had been infected. And, amazingly, from late November 2020 to early January 2021, a whopping 80 percent of the sampled deer tested positive — a rate of infection 50 times that of humans in Iowa in the same period. This study has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, but scientists are already concerned about its ramifications for the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeff Bender is a veterinarian and professor of public health at the University of Minnesota. He told host Cathy Wurzer that humans somehow transmitted the coronavirus to white-tailed deer, but how exactly that transmission happened is unknown. So far, there is no evidence of the coronavirus spilling from deer back to humans, Bender said. But in the long term, mutations in the coronavirus could develop as it transmits among deer, and spillover from deer to humans could occur, which concerns Bender. As for the health of the deer, there is no evidence yet that they have been sickened by the coronavirus, Bender said. Bender is currently testing wildlife samples from Minnesota for the coronavirus as part of his research. He said he hasn't found any positives yet, but he expects to find evidence of spillover from humans by the end of the study. For Bender, this development underscores the need for a robust surveillance system that can detect virus variants and catch spillover events to and from animals. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Subscribe to the Minnesota Now podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Deer are catching the COVID-19 virus. What does that mean for humans?

MN Supreme Court weighs voting rights for those on probation, supervised release

More than 50,000 Minnesotans — many of them Black, Indigenous and people of color — are kept from voting because of their criminal record. Two of the people who are fighting to regain their right to vote sat in the Minnesota Supreme Court chamber Tuesday as their case was heard. If they win, tens of thousands of Minnesotans who are "on paper," or on probation or supervised release, stand to get a chance to vote much sooner than they otherwise would. Jennifer Schroeder and Elizer Darris are the two members of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Secretary of State's office who appeared in the chamber, Bakst said. They're both formerly incarcerated: Darris is on supervised release until 2025, and Schroeder is on probation until 2053. The plaintiffs are being represented by the ACLU of Minnesota. They're arguing that people on probation and supervised release like Schroeder and Darris are contributing members of society by every measure, so there's no reason to keep them from voting. The state is arguing that the courts have no say here due to constitutional constraints, and that change needs to come through legislature. Bakst said one big question is whether the Supreme Court can find a constitutional violation in the case within its jurisdiction to remedy. One such potential violation: the fact that communities of color are especially affected by the current system. There has been a bipartisan effort in the MN legislature to change the law and grant voting rights to people on probation and supervised relief, but it hasn't been enough to get past a divided legislature. Brian Bakst is covering the story for MPR News. He joined host Cathy Wurzer to tell her more. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Subscribe to the Minnesota Now podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

MN Supreme Court weighs voting rights for those on probation, supervised release

How to deal with the uncertainty surrounding the omicron variant

The discovery of the new omicron variant was first reported to the WHO last week, so researchers haven't learned much about it yet — but, understandably, some people are worried. Science journalist Maggie Koerth joined host Cathy Wurzer to talk about how we can approach the uncertainty surrounding omicron as individuals and as a society.

Why is this North Shore eatery open in winter for the first time?

If you're a fan of Minnesota's beautiful North Shore, you probably have a favorite eatery along that scenic stretch of Lake Superior. But no matter how beloved a restaurant is, it isn't easy to stay afloat, especially amidst the choppy waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses around the country struggle to attract and keep employees, one popular spot on the North Shore is changing its business model to keep its staff satisfied and working. Barb LaVigne is co-owner of the Angry Trout Cafe in Grand Marais. As the bathroom of her restaurant was being winterized, she joined host Cathy Wurzer to talk about why she's extending the season, changing pay structures and more. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Subscribe to the Minnesota Now podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Dealing with disturbing subject matter during the Potter trial

The trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter has begun. Jury selection is underway at the Hennepin County courthouse. Potter has pleaded not guilty to two counts of manslaughter. She fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, in April. MPR News and other news organizations are livestreaming the Potter trial. Earlier this year, the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd was the first time cameras were allowed inside a Minnesota courtroom. More than 18 million people tuned into watch that verdict. Transparency plays an important role in our judicial system — but how does this unfiltered access affect us individually? And how can we prepare ourselves, in both our bodies and our minds, to digest what we are witnessing? Susan Beaulieu joined host Cathy Wurzer to share tips on how to stay in touch with our responses to disturbing subject matter. Beaulieu is a mind-body healing facilitator and extension educator at the University of Minnesota. Beaulieu explained that when we encounter a threat, the thinking part of the brain goes offline, and we can involuntarily snap into survival mode, with all of the attendant physical signs of stress. And in situations where we can't fight or flee, we can dissociate instead. In both cases, the immune system is depressed. You can't change your body without tuning in to it, Beaulieu said, so she encouraged listeners feeling disturbed or overwhelmed by coverage of traumatic events like Daunte Wright's killing to practice techniques like body scans. Beaulieu also recommended exercises like soft-belly breathing and expressive shaking-and-dancing meditation to manage the body's involuntary responses. And she said that getting outside is one of the simplest and most effective ways to find calm. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Subscribe to the Minnesota Now podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Infrastructure czar talks funding for MN as Biden visits Rosemount

President Joe Biden is in Minnesota today to promote his $1 trillion infrastructure law. He visited Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount and gave remarks. Mitch Landrieu, a former mayor of New Orleans, was tapped by Biden to oversee theimplementation of the infrastructure law. He told host Cathy Wurzer about the billions Minnesota can expect as part of the package. That includes $4.5 billion for highways, $800 million for public transportation, and hundreds of millions more for bridges, broadband internet, electric vehicle support and clean water. Considerations of climate and equity will be foundational to the way the money will be spent, Landrieu said. Landrieu told governors and mayors to be ready for an all-hands-on-deck undertaking, because they will build most of the projects funded by Biden's infrastructure package. The federal government is only slated to build 5 percent of the projects. The effects of some spending will be seen soon, but much of it will come in the long term. Landrieu said that the law is a 10-year proposition, adding, "It's easy to tear stuff down ... but it takes quite a while to build something." MPR News reporter Brian Bakst also stopped by to share political analysis of the infrastructure package and Biden's visit. He said that Republicans are attacking the large price tag of the law, while Democrats are focused on promoting the components of the package. Minnesota may have to put up matching money for some projects in the law, and Bakst expects lawmakers to argue over the precise locations of projects as they try to secure dollars for their jurisdictions. Bakst said it's no accident that Biden chose to visit Minnesota's second congressional district. Angie Craig, the representative from that district, is in a vulnerable position, and associating with the infrastructure law, which passed through Congress with bipartisan support and also has some popular support, may help her chances of reelection. Use the audio player above to listen to the full story. Subscribe to the Minnesota Now podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.