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Curious Minnesota
January 10
Jennifer Schroeder, a St. Paul woman who rebounded from her own addiction to become a licensed drug and alcohol counselor seen at her home Friday, Feb

Why are felons stripped of voting rights, and what other rights do they lose?

Minnesota passed disenfranchisement of felons with statehood in 1858, but the practice didn't become commonplace nationally until after the Civil War — when newly emancipated African-Americans gained the right to vote.
Curious Minnesota
January 7
Andrew Peterson in 1885, standing by the log cabin he first lived in on his farm in Waconia. In the background stands the later farmhouse that still e

How did Minnesota's early settlers make it through the dark, cold winters?

Early Minnesotans had to get creative to stay warm in frigid temperatures.
Curious Minnesota
December 27, 2019
For Northern Lights Project

Zipper merge vs. northern lights: Your top questions this year answered

Minnesotans had a lot of questions about one another – particularly about why everyone seems to hate Edina and zipper merging.
Curious Minnesota
December 20, 2019
A seagull is mirrored in a thin layer of ice at lake Maschsee in Hannover, Germany, Monday Jan. 25, 2016. (Julian Stratenschulte/dpa via AP)

Why do inland cities like St. Paul have so many seagulls?

In the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul — more than a thousand miles from any sea, more than a hundred miles from a Great Lake and a few miles from the Mississippi River — seagulls gather in large numbers.
Curious Minnesota
December 16, 2019

Podcast: What exactly is 'Minnesota Nice' anyway?

Tracing the roots of "Minnesota Nice" is difficult, partly because people don't agree on what the term means.
Curious Minnesota
December 13, 2019
Los Angeles traffic on the 105 freeway near the 405 interchange in Southern Calif. California and other states are suing the Trump Administration over

Why doesn't Minnesota require vehicle emissions tests any more?

In the 1990s, drivers had to pay to have vehicles tested for carbon monoxide and other pollutants before renewing license tabs. A reader wants to know why the program ended.
Curious Minnesota
December 6, 2019
Michelle Kennedy grabbed a pack of cigarettes behind the counter for a customer at Vernon BP gas station in Edina.

Minnesota takes in millions each year from tobacco, but where does the money go?

All rolled up, taxes on every tobacco product in the state since 1957 total $11.75 billion. A reader wants to know what happens to the money.
Curious Minnesota
November 27, 2019
President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Paul Kvistad presented a 16-pound turkey hen in the Governor's Reception Room, Wednesday, Novemb

Why doesn't Minnesota's governor pardon the ceremonial turkey?

Iowa pardons a turkey. So does North Dakota. And President Trump pardoned two, named Bread and Butter. But Minnesota's ceremonial turkey is destined for a needy family's table.
Curious Minnesota
November 22, 2019
The Lindstrom water tower is shaped as a coffee pot in the Chisago Lakes Area, Minn., on Friday June 19, 2015. The Chisago Lakes Area is made up of Ch

Why are there so many water towers in Minnesota — and what do they do?

Some cities — usually large ones — don't use water towers, but they are an unmistakable part of the Minnesota landscape. What do they do and why do we have so many of them?
Curious Minnesota
November 15, 2019
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warmed up on the field prior to Thursday night's game. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribun

Who are all those people hanging out on sidelines during Vikings games?

Accounting for the full perimeter of the field during a Vikings' home game, there are roughly 300 people with their feet on the turf. But who are they all?
Curious Minnesota
November 8, 2019
The Wild's Marcus Foligno threw a punch at New York Rangers' Brendan Lemieux during a game last March in St. Paul.

Why isn't it a crime to punch someone if you're playing pro hockey?

Players have been charged for NHL fights, including one notorious Minnesota incident in 1975, but those cases are the exception. Why aren't hockey fights considered assault?
Curious Minnesota
November 2, 2019
The Stone Arch bridge, Minneapolis, MN ] twallace@startribune.com this is a test_2013 • someplace in time we will fix this problem_tom wallace/s

Why does the Stone Arch Bridge cross the Mississippi at such an odd angle?

Older than most historic buildings still standing in the Twin Cities, the 136-year-old bridge has long been Minneapolis' de facto welcome mat. But why was it built the way it was, with such a long angle?
Curious Minnesota
October 25, 2019
The Minnesota Golden Gophers mascot, Goldy, dances for the fans during a break in the first half of a quarter-final game in the 2018 NCAA Big Ten Wome

How did Minnesota become the Gopher State?

It appears Minnesotans have been misled about their beloved gophers. We try to unravel the gopher mystery.
Curious Minnesota
October 19, 2019
KYNDELL HARKNESS • kharkness@startribune.com] Traffic moved through the roundabout on 66th Street near Hwy 77 in Richfield.

Are roundabouts really safer than traditional intersections?

With only about 5,000 roundabouts on the nation's roads — making them still somewhat uncommon — it's natural for drivers to initially be confused.
Curious Minnesota
October 11, 2019
IN THIS PHOTO: Minneapolis,MN., Tuesday, 6/5/2001. (far lower left) The old Washburn A mill, on the river in downtown Minneapolis, the proposed site o

Why do so many Fortune 500 companies call Minnesota home?

The country's 16th largest metro doesn't dominate the Fortune 500 list because of its size.
Curious Minnesota
October 4, 2019
Jack Weber drove his wheat combine on his field. The wheat doesn't bring much cash but it does improve the health of his soil.
] GLEN STUBBE ¥ glen.s

Is Minnesota part of the Midwest? Should it be?

Sure, it's roughly in the middle of the country, but some think of the Midwest as more than a location.
Curious Minnesota
September 27, 2019
Honeycrisp apples begin the process of being cleaned, sorted and boxed for shipment to high-end retailers at the Pepin Heights facility in Lake City,

Why are Honeycrisp apples still so expensive?

One of the University of Minnesota's most profitable inventions continues to be a best-seller despite its top-priced status.
Curious Minnesota
September 20, 2019
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson took to the mound during the first inning as the Twins took on the Tigers at Target Field, Wednesday, May

Playing favorites: What's the story behind the Twins' game jersey picks?

Pitchers generally pick the game jerseys worn for home games, but each one goes about the selection process differently.
Curious Minnesota
September 13, 2019
New University students cheered before the Convocation, the official welcome ceremony for incoming freshmen, at Mariucci Arena, Thursday, August 29, 2

Why is it so much harder for U students to graduate debt free compared to the '60s?

Fall college tuition bills are coming due, and if the number behind that dollar sign seems high, well, it is.
Curious Minnesota
September 6, 2019
Single family home construction is booming at the Kingston Fields development in Cottage Grove. ] Shari L. Gross ¥ shari.gross@startribune.com Over t

How did Minnesota become one of the most racially inequitable states?

By almost any measurement, Minnesota is plagued by racial disparities — in unemployment, in poverty, in homeownership. Readers want to know what's behind the inequities.
Duluth
September 3, 2019
FILE ART For Northern Lights Project -

What's the best place, time to see the northern lights in Minnesota?

Although the lights can be seen any time of year, spring and fall, especially September and March, are the best chances to see the northern lights in Minnesota.
Curious Minnesota
August 23, 2019
Lorraine Robitaille, right, handed Margarita Nunez a large stuffed dog as they hung prizes at their game stand in the Midway the day before opening da

Nearly $60M flowed into State Fair coffers last year. Where did it go?

We asked what State Fair facts you were curious about, and several readers have done the math and want to know what happens to all that dough.
Curious Minnesota
August 17, 2019
A Chinese ban on accepting American recyclables is having a ripple effect in Minnesota, where the price of recycled goods has imploded. The economics

How much of what we think we're recycling is actually getting recycled?

One reader wants to know what percent of Twin Cities sorted recyclables are actually recycled. Another wondered whether most of it is just sent to the dump. We get to the bottom of both questions.
Curious Minnesota
August 12, 2019
What makes a manhole cover go airborne during storms?

What makes a manhole cover go airborne during storms?

Urban "geysers" are rare. But they do happen. We get to the bottom of what makes manhole covers dance, levitate and, sometimes, explode off storm drains.
Curious Minnesota
August 12, 2019
Green Bay Packers' Clay Matthews wears a Cheesehead during media day for NFL football Super Bowl XLV Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP P

We call Wisconsinites cheeseheads. What do they call us?

There have been some mostly halfhearted attempts to label Minnesotans over the years, mostly in reference to its sports teams.