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Curious Minnesota
February 14
A male bison was born on April 30th at the Minnesota Zoo. The calf is part of a herd in an exhibit along the zoo’s Northern Trail and is also part o

When did wild bison disappear from Minnesota?

Once on the verge of extinction, the American bison is no longer an endangered species. Minnesotans can now visit the iconic animal in three locations around the state
Curious Minnesota
February 13
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EPISODE 5
February 11
The skyways in downtown Minneapolis, Minn., on Friday, May 8, 2015.

Where did the idea for Minneapolis' skyways come from?

Love them or hate them, the skyways have permanently changed the way pedestrians get around downtown Minneapolis. Host Eric Roper talks with reporter Emma Dill about how the idea of the elevated walkway system originated. Read the story: http://strib.mn/31KwS5d.
Curious Minnesota
February 10
Brave runner Keith Golke of Minneapolis resembles an icicle while jogging around Lake Calhoun Tuesday morning on the coldest day in Minnesota since 20

Does Minnesota really have the worst winters in the country?

The land of 10,000 (frozen) lakes has a nationwide reputation for brutal, relentless winters. But are they the worst in the United States?
Curious Minnesota
February 2
Judy Henderson, of Greenville, North Carolina, showed her Gophers spirit as she waited for Tuesday night's News Year's Eve parade to start. "This is s

What does Ski-U-Mah mean and how do you pronounce it?

It's part of the popular fight song for the University of Minnesota, but many students and alumni don't know a whole lot about the history of the phrase.
EPISODE 4
January 28
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?

The honeycrisp apple, one of the University of Minnesota's most profitable inventions, continues to be a best-seller despite its top-priced status. Host Eric Roper talks with retail reporter John Ewoldt about the thin-skinned, sweet-tart treat. Read the story: www.strib.mn/2Zd47LX. "20 things you didn't know about Minnesota's famous Honeycrisp apples," www.strib.mn/2vTMsuP.
Curious Minnesota
January 25
Minneapolis - U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone enthusiastically addresses the delegates to the state DFL convention from the floor of the Minneapolis Conve

Why is Minnesota's Democratic Party called the DFL?

"If you look at Minnesota's political history, a lot of people call us the 'Maverick State' just because we never were really Republican or Democrat," Brian Pease said.
Curious Minnesota
January 17
Raising the Midsommar pole at the American Swedish Institute

Is Minnesota actually more German than Scandinavian?

A reader wants to know: Why do Scandinavians get all the attention when there are more Minnesotans of German descent?
EPISODE 3
January 16
June 3, 1954 Great Northern Railway's first Empire Builder, which entered service in 1929, is shown on the Stone Arch Bridge crossing the Mississippi

Why does the Stone Arch Bridge cross the river 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? Host Eric Roper talks with Dave Wiggins about why the bridge crosses the Mississippi River at an odd angle. Read the story: www.strib.mn/2JAnqJN. Read about "Hill's Follly," www.gngoat.org/stone_arch_bridge.htm
EPISODE 2
January 16
Ubah Jama, widow of Hussein Samatar, took a selfie while standing on the walkway opened in her late husband's name. The late Hussein Samatar, the firs

How did the Twin Cities become a hub for Somali immigrants?

Minnesota has 52,333 people who report Somali ancestry — the largest concentration of Somalis in America. This week, we're answering a question from Erik Borg, who wondered about the roots of the Somali influx. Host Eric Roper talks with race and immigration reporter Maya Rao about how it unfolded. Read the story: www.strib.mn/30ztTvA. Listen to Abdisalam Adam's oral history: education.mnhs.org/immigration/narrators/somali/abdisalam-adam.
EPISODE 1
January 16
Star Tribune photo illustration/iStockphoto.com

Where does 'Minnesota Nice' come from, and what does it even mean?

Tracing the roots of "Minnesota Nice" is difficult, partly because people don't agree on what the term means. This week, we're answering a question from Sara Skinner, who has tried to explain it to immigrants at the "Life in Minnesota" class she teaches. Host Eric Roper talks with Rachel Hutton about the double-edged meaning of Minnesota Nice. Read the story: www.strib.mn/2QL9Bgp. How to speak like a true Minnesotan: www.strib.mn/2QAcpfE.
Curious Minnesota
January 16
Older than most historic buildings still standing in the Twin Cities, the 136-year-old Stone Arch Bridge bridge has long been Minneapolis' de facto we

Our new podcast will make you smarter in 15 minutes

Our new Curious Minnesota podcast answers your questions about "Minnesota Nice," the Stone Arch Bridge and beyond. Tell us what questions you want answered.
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.