MPR News with Angela Davis Conversations about life in Minnesota and how MN is changing.
MPR News with Angela Davis

MPR News with Angela Davis

From MPR News

Conversations about life in Minnesota and how MN is changing.

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Trailblazer Reatha Clark King on her journey from chemistry to philanthropy

As a child in Georgia, Reatha Clark King picked cotton for $6 a day to help her family make ends meet. Then, buoyed on the hopes and expectations of her family and church, she blazed a trail from a one-room schoolhouse in the segregated South to college. She pushed past gender and racial barriers as a Black woman to become a research chemist in the 1960s, contributing to NASA's moon landing. She went on to become a college dean, university president and a philanthropist and a vice president of a major corporation. Earlier this week, she was honored at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota with a reception and celebration of her recent biography, "Find a Trail or Blaze One." MPR News host Angela Davis talks with Minnesota trailblazer Reatha Clark King about her life. Guest: Reatha Clark King worked as a research chemist for the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. In the 1960s. She moved to Minnesota to become president of Metropolitan State University from 1977 to 1988. She was a vice president of General Mills Corporation and president and executive director of the General Mills Foundation until she retired in 2002. Her biography "Find a Trail or Blaze One" was published in 2021.

Trailblazer Reatha Clark King on her journey from chemistry to philanthropy

Why infidelity happens, and how to deal with it

One in three Americans has cheated on a partner, according to a YouGov survey from 2022. Cheating can be devastating on a personal level and tumultuous for the relationship. But many couples figure out a way to work through it. Many people are able to move on and move forward. MPR News host Angela Davis and her guests talked about infidelity: Why it happens and how to deal with it — whether you're the person who has been cheated on, or the person who has done the cheating. Guests: LaReesa Hooper is a therapist and founder of Therapeace Counseling in St. Paul. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Shanelle Wenell is a therapist with Therapeace Counseling in St. Paul. She is a licensed associate marriage and family therapist with additional expertise in equine therapy.

Can school resource officers make schools safer?

Minnesota communities have spent the last few years debating the role of police in schools. In 2020 after the murder of George Floyd, the Minneapolis school board voted to end its contract with police and removed school resource officers, or SROs, from Minneapolis Public Schools. Many other districts across the country also phased out SROs, including St. Paul. Then last year, the state Legislature passed a law that limited how officers could physically restrain students. Some law enforcement agencies raised concerns that the new restrictions left them open to lawsuits and pulled their SROs from schools just before the start of this school year. That brings us to the present moment. In March, updated legislation that clarified restraints and provided for more training and a uniform school resource officer policy was signed into law. As some law enforcement agencies prepare to return SROs to schools, basic questions remain: Do school resource officers make schools safer? Can a trusted police officer in a school building prevent violence and support students in crisis without leading to more students being suspended, expelled or arrested? At 9 a.m. on Tuesday, MPR News host Angela Davis explored the role of SROs with current and former school resource officers. Guests: Rudy Perez is president of the National Association of School Resource Officers. He relocated to Minnesota in 2023 to serve as assistant chief of police for the Golden Valley Police Department, where he oversees patrol services including school resource officers. He previously served 22 years in the Los Angeles School Police Department, as an SRO and later as a lieutenant overseeing school resource officers. He joined MPR News from St. Cloud where he's attending a Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association training. Charles Adams III was a police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for 20 years and a school resource officer until 2020 at North Community High School in Minneapolis. He still coaches the North Polars football team and was featured in the 2023 Showtime documentary "Boys in Blue" which followed the team during the 2021 season. He's now director of team security for the Minnesota Twins. Todd Mohr has been a school resource officer for the Mankato Department of Public Safety for nine years. He works mainly out of West High School in Mankato.

How the tight labor market is impacting ageism in the workplace

About 40 percent of workers over age 40 say they've experienced ageism at work, according to a recent AARP survey. That means sometimes getting passed up on opportunities for promotions. Or not getting hired at all. But unemployment is so low, many hiring managers are having a hard time finding workers. And that's good news for older workers facing bias and stigma in the hiring process. MPR News guest host Chris Farrell and his guests talked about what ageism looks like in 2024, and how to reframe our ideas about aging and older workers. Guests: Kate Schaefers, Ph.D., is director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Minnesota and volunteer state president for AARP-MN. Rajean Moone, Ph.D., is associate director of education for the Center for Healthy Aging and Innovation in the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, and a member of the Governor's Council on an Age-Friendly Minnesota.

Meet the Minnesota researchers working to prevent another mass shooting

New information is still surfacing surrounding Wednesday's armed standoff in Minnetonka that injured two Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies. Gun violence is an American epidemic, killing tens of thousands of people across the country each year in their homes, churches, schools and malls. There's a lot we don't know about what motivates a person to kill a stranger, or even someone they love. MPR News host Angela Davis talked to the researchers studying why gun violence happens, hoping to prevent it before it starts. They're based right here in Minnesota. Guests: James Densley, Ph.D., is a professor and department chair of criminal justice at Metro State University, and deputy director of the Violence Prevention Project Research Center at Hamline University. Jillian Peterson, Ph.D., is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University, director of their forensic psychology program and executive director of the Violence Prevention Research Center at Hamline University.

Living with autism as an adult

Imagine being overwhelmed by the bright lights and bustle of a supermarket, to the point where it caused you pain and you couldn't go shopping. Imagine being so shaken up by a detour sign on your regular route to work that you had to pull over to fight against a panic attack. Or not recognizing when someone was sarcastic with you or flirting with you. These can be common experiences for people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with sensory sensitivities, social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. The number of adults who identify as autistic is growing, along with awareness. It now affects just over 2 percent of adults in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. MPR News host Angela Davis talks with guests about their experiences living as adults with autism.

Power Pair: The mother-daughter duo working to better Golden Valley and beyond

As parents, we teach our children how to move through the world. But as our children grow older, we learn from them, too. That relationship can grow into a real partnership and friendship — and a positive support system pushing each other to be better and do better. Our next Power Pair is a good example of that transition: Mother-daughter duo Rose McGee and Roslyn Harmon. It's part of our new series on the show about prominent Minnesotans you may know about individually, but who also have a close relationship. Guests: Rose McGee is President and Founder of the Sweet Potato Comfort Pie organization, which brings people together for hope, healing and dialogue around race. She's also a facilitator, author and recent Bush Fellow. Roslyn Harmon is the mayor of Golden Valley — the first Black person to hold that position. She is also an educator, counselor and ordained pastor.

Power Pair: The mother-daughter duo working to better Golden Valley and beyond

Tackling the burden of medical debt

Many people are just one medical emergency away from a financial crisis. A hundred million Americans live with medical debt, or about 41 percent of adults, according to a survey by Kaiser Family Foundation. To pay off medical bills, many people have taken on other debt, including credit cards, personal bank loans or loans from family and friends. Medical debt creates stress and prevents people from saving for housing, cars and retirement. It makes people less likely to seek the medical care they need and contributes to bankruptcy. About two percent of Minnesota households have medical debt in collections compared to a national average of 13 percent. But that rate is double in communities of color. Local governments, including St. Paul, are increasingly using public money to pay off residents' medical debt. And, earlier this year, the administration of Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison proposed changing how medical debt is handled. The legislation, called the Minnesota Debt Fairness Act, would ban medical providers from denying non-emergency care to patients with large overdue bills, lower the interest rate on medical debt to zero and keep medical debt from showing up on credit reports. And, it would stop the automatic transfer of medical debt to a patient's spouse. Listen to a rebroadcast of a conversation from 2022 as MPR News host Angela Davis talks about medical debt with financial and legal experts and the head of the national nonprofit that buys and forgives medical debt for pennies on the dollar. For more, watch a recent panel discussion about medical debt held in St. Paul and moderated by Marketplace host David Brancaccio. Guests: Allison Sesso is the president and CEO of RIP Medical Debt, a national nonprofit organization that uses donations to buy and forgive medical debt. Kim Miller is a certified financial counselor with LSS Financial Counseling, a service of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Laura Orr is a staff attorney at the Minnesota Elder Justice Center. She was previously a senior attorney in elder law at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services based in St. Paul. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Talking Sense: The roots of political polarization

On Feb. 27, a group of Minnesotans gathered in Woodbury to share how political division has affected their communities and personal lives. The group was a mix of conservatives, liberals and independents with a common purpose: to learn how to communicate without letting their political views conflict with important relationships. This in-person discussion was the first in a series from Talking Sense, MPR News' online and in-person platform to help Minnesotans have hard conversations, better. Bill Doherty, co-founder of Braver Angels, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that works to help people bridge political divides guided the conversation and asked the audience to share their thoughts on sources of polarization today. MPR News host Angela Davis takes us through the first in-person discussion and workshop from Talking Sense and Braver Angels. The next in-person Talking Sense event will be held on Wednesday, April 24 at the Chateau Theatre in Rochester. It will be open to students and members of the community. Guest: Bill Doherty is co-founder of Braver Angels, a nonprofit that seeks to restore trust, respect and goodwill in American politics. He's also a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

The loneliness epidemic: Why we're lonely and how we can build connections

Here's a striking piece of information: Social isolation is as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness is an epidemic in the United States. We're approaching one year since the U.S. Surgeon General released a groundbreaking report on loneliness and isolation. Two researchers joined MPR News host Angela Davis to help us understand why so many of us feel lonely, and why our mental health is so closely tied to serious physical health impacts. They'll also talk about practical strategies to help us feel better. Because lots of us feel this way — at least half of us have measurable levels of loneliness. Guests: Stephanie Hooker is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Family Medicine and Community Health. Roxanne Prichard is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of St. Thomas.

The loneliness epidemic: Why we're lonely and how we can build connections