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Curious Minnesota
March 20
About 500 volunteers at Target Field packed lifesaving meals for children around the world. They will work furiously for about two hours before anothe

Why does Minnesota have one of highest rates of volunteering in the country?

Minnesotans penchant for helping others goes beyond "Minnesota Nice."
EPISODE 8
March 19
Lab technologists placed specimens onto the specimen distribution system at the Mayo Clinic's Superior Drive facility in Rochester.

What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic

As the novel coronavirus spreads across the world, we've asked readers what they most want to know about the pandemic. Host Eric Roper talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Jeremy Olson and Glenn Howatt to answer your most pressing questions. Read more here: www.startribune.com/virus
Coronavirus
March 18

Pandemic prep: Here's what you need to know

As the novel coronavirus spreads across the world, we asked readers what they want to know about the pandemic. Host Eric Roper talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Jeremy Olson and Glenn Howatt to answer your most pressing questions.
Curious Minnesota
March 14
KENSINGTON RUNESTONE - (1929 - 1948) ACME

What's the truth behind Minnesota's Kensington Runestone?

Af­ter Swed­ish im­mi­grant Olof Öhman said he un­earthed the rock on his farm in Kensington in 1898, it immediately became a subject of fascination.
EPISODE 7
March 10
The northern lights that were predicted for this weekend put on a fairly good show Friday evening shown here, about 25 miles due north of Duluth at ab

How to see the northern lights

The elusive aurora borealis has an attraction that's indisputable. Host Eric Roper talks with reporter Kelly Smith and photographer Brian Peterson about where and when to find the northern lights — and how to capture them when you do. Read the story: http://strib.mn/2Neo9Dd. Check out Astro Bob's blog: http://bit.ly/astrobob
Curious Minnesota
March 6
FILE -- A Tesla Model 3 assembly line at Tesla's factory in Fremont, Calif., on June 28, 2018. The electric-car manufacturerÕs shares were trading ab

Why do electric-vehicle owners pay a surcharge in Minnesota?

Because EV owners aren't gas guzzlers, they don't pay state and federal gas taxes that help maintain roads and bridges. Yet they still use the state's crumbling road system.
Curious Minnesota
February 29
Richard Tsong-Taatarii/rtsong-taatarii@startribune.com Minneapolis, MN;4/6/11;left to right ] At Target Field, a crew checks the lights on the Minnie

Why can't Minneapolis and St. Paul play nice?

It turns out Minneapolis and St. Paul's neighborly competition goes back more than a century.
Curious Minnesota
February 25
Julie Seydel took care of the children at her home daycare, Friday, September 20, 2019 in Andover, MN.. Seydel, who has worked as a daycare provider f

Are Minnesota's day-care costs really the highest in the nation?

Policy experts agree that child care is expensive here. But averages can be misleading, they say, and Minnesota may not be the outlier so often portrayed.
EPISODE 6
February 25
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 settlers make it through the cold, dark winters?

Most modern-day Minnesotans take pride in their ability to cope with, or even embrace, the cold weather. But what did surviving extreme temperatures look like for the state's first settlers? Host Eric Roper talks with reporter Mara Klecker about creative ways settlers coped. Read the story: http://strib.mn/39soP0v. Minnesota Historical Society with Anna Ahonen: http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimage.php?irn=10388879&catirn=11459703
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
Curious Minnesota icon

Ask a question now: What are you curious about, Minnesota?

Help us answer questions that matter to you.
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.