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EPISODE 14
June 30
Racial covenants, which barred non-whites from buying homes in certain areas, and unfair lending practices helped create a persistent racial gap in Mi

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

By almost any measure of social and economic well-being — unemployment, poverty, home ownership — the black-white gap in Minnesota is larger than the black-white gap elsewhere in the country. What are the origins of the disparities? Host Eric Roper talks with Prof. Samuel Myers, director of the Roy Wilkins Center of Human Relations and Social Justice at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, who has been studying the issue for decades. Read more here: http://strib.mn/33DnXTU
Curious Minnesota
June 30

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

By almost any measure of social and economic well-being — unemployment, poverty, home ownership — the black-white gap in Minnesota is larger than the black-white gap elsewhere in the country. What are the origins of the disparities?
Curious Minnesota
June 27
8-year-old Josie Hochsprung of Alexandria climbs the Prairie Walls at Blue Mound State Park as part of the " I Can Climb" program that gives novices t

Where did the terms 'outstate' and 'Greater Minnesota' originate?

A reader wonders: Where are "instate" and "Lesser Minnesota" located?
Curious Minnesota
June 20
TOM WALLACE• twallace@startribune.com Assign#00003492A slug: sculpture06XX june19,20,21 Twenty year anniversary of the Walker Art Center’s, sculpt

Why do tiny cities like Lauderdale, Landfall and Falcon Heights exist?

Over the years, Minneapolis and St. Paul have had to make room for smaller cities that yearned for their own identities.
Curious Minnesota
June 12
BP 36 Lyn Refuel Station owner Lonnie McQuirter charged $1.69 a gallon for gas Friday morning. McQuiter's station is a rare example of below market pr

Why do gas prices vary so much around Minnesota?

A Curious Minnesota reader wanted to know why gas prices are so different across the state — sometimes by nearly $1 in the metro compared to other areas.
EPISODE 13
June 12
Most protesters were peaceful while a few started destroying police property. Peaceful protesters pleaded with those who resorted to violence to stop.

In wake of George Floyd's death, what does 'reforming' Minneapolis Police mean?

The death of George Floyd in police custody has cast an international spotlight on Minneapolis and spurred nationwide discussions about police reform. A majority of the City Council has pledged to "begin the process" of ending the Minneapolis Police Department, a topic that has been simmering for years here. Host Eric Roper talks with reporter Andy Mannix about past attempts and what "reforming" the department might look like.
Curious Minnesota
June 11

Listen: What does 'reforming' the Minneapolis Police Department mean?

The death of George Floyd in police custody has cast an international spotlight on Minneapolis and spurred nationwide discussions about police reform. Host Eric Roper talks with reporter Andy Mannix about past attempts and what "reform" might look like.
Curious Minnesota
June 5
The "World's Largest Animated Talking Bunyan” — 26 feet tall, seated — at Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd, Minn., Sept. 6, 2016. In this age of hyp

Which state has the best claim to Paul Bunyan?

The earliest reliable account a logging-camp tale was from — brace yourself, Minnesotans — Wisconsin. But Minnesota figures prominently in Paul Bunyan's journey after that.
Curious Minnesota
May 29
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC), a federally recognized Indian tribe, opened the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility (ORF) in the fall of

How do food scraps get recycled in Minnesota — and how good are we at it?

Residents can now recycle food scraps at the curb in more than 40 cities, either in an organics bin or special bags tossed in the trash.
Curious Minnesota
May 24
Patrons left Surly on Saturday, August 1, 2015. ] Aaron Lavinsky ¥ aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com Restaurant review: Surly Brewing's casual beer hall

How many Minn. breweries existed before the microbrewery boom?

The state's history of beermaking is filled with milestones, but now brewers face an uncertain future.
Curious Minnesota
May 20

Listen: Why do so many Fortune 500 companies call Minnesota home?

Minnesota has more than its fair share of big companies that got started here with next to nothing — in a Minneapolis garage (Medtronic), a Roseau metalworking job shop (Polaris) and a stereo components store in St. Paul (Best Buy).
EPISODE 12
May 20
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?

Minnesota has more than its fair share of big companies that got started here with next to nothing — in a Minneapolis garage (Medtronic), a Roseau metalworking job shop (Polaris) and a 1,200 square-foot stereo components store in St. Paul (Best Buy). Host Eric Roper talks with business columnist Lee Schafer about how the region came to have so many little companies that managed to mature into really big ones. Read more: www.strib.mn/2M8VxdP. Sixteen companies make latest Fortune 500 list: www.strib.mn/2WJRIkt
Curious Minnesota
May 15
February 14, 1958 Coya Knutson Bucked DFL brass August 22, 1956 September 13, 1960 September 14, 1960

Why was the career of Minnesota's first congresswoman cut short?

The state's first U.S. congresswoman took office in 1955, holding the seat for four years before a scandal disrupted her career trajectory.
Curious Minnesota
May 8
These early Twins bobbleheads mistakenly called the team the Minneapolis Twins. Team owner Calvin Griffith —a legendary penny-pincher — had a secr

Why are Minnesota's pro teams named after the state, not a city?

While most pro teams are named after the cities they are based in, each of Minnesota's six teams uses the state name — the Twins, Vikings, Wild, Timberwolves, Lynx and United. Blame the Twin Cities.
EPISODE 11
May 6
Goldy Gopher at the new TCF Bank Stadium on the U of M campus.

How did Minnesota become the Gopher State?

It appears Minnesotans have been misled about their beloved gophers. Host Eric Roper talks with reporter M.L. Smith to unravel the mystery behind Minnesota's unofficial nickname. Read the story: www.strib.mn/2MK9Vcx. More on the R.O. Sweeny cartoon that started it all: www.bit.ly/umncartoon. In 1856, Minnesota Weekly Times reader suggests calling Minnesota the Gopher State: www.bit.ly/gopherstate
Curious Minnesota
May 1
Big Ole, a 50-year-old wood and fiberglass viking sculpture needs $24,500 in repairs. He has a family of birds nesting in his shoulder, his cape may c

Where does 'uff da' come from, and why do Minnesotans say it?

It's the most common of peculiar Minnesotan phrases. Some of us can't stop saying it. Many of us have no idea where it came from.
Coronavirus
April 29
Drivers make their way through the construction zone on Hwy. 169 near Hwy. 41 south of Shakopee where MnDOT and Scott County are constructing a new in

With far less traffic, why can't MnDOT make road projects go 24/7?

Traffic has dropped by 50 percent or more since the coronavirus shut down schools and many businesses, and that has many wondering why the state Department of Transportation isn't speeding up road construction.
EPISODE 10
April 24
Students sit in a circle and play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck in this file photo.

Listener lightning round: 3 answers on history, geography, traditions of Minnesota

From 19th century "glamping" on White Bear Lake to a mysterious missing street name in downtown Minneapolis, host Eric Roper tackles three questions from listeners in a special Curious Minnesota lightning round. Read more about why Minnesotans play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck instead of Duck, Duck, Goose: www.strib.mn/2QLaUfj
Curious Minnesota
April 17
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop at Mapps Coffee Shop in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis on Supe

Why is Minnesota more liberal than its neighboring states?

The answer is a mix of history, culture and shifting demographics.
Curious Minnesota
April 10
Waste water churns in aeration tanks. ] Mark Vancleave - mark.vancleave@startribune.com * The Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment plant in St. Paul whic

When you flush a toilet in the Twin Cities, where does everything go?

Most maps of the Twin Cities feature highways and bridges that connect our region. But few show another grid that is even more crucial to daily life.
EPISODE 9
April 8
1940 shot of Uptown street scene.

Why is Uptown south of downtown in Minneapolis?

"Uptown" is the common name today for the district around Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, but that is a relatively recent phenomenon. Host Eric Roper talks with authors Thatcher Imboden and Cedar Imboden Phillips about the roots of Uptown name. Read more here: www.strib.mn/2WNvVFQ
Curious Minnesota
April 8

Listen: Why is Uptown south of downtown in Minneapolis?

"Uptown" is the name for the district around Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, but that's a relatively recent phenomenon. Eric Roper gets to the bottom of the story behind the Uptown name.
Curious Minnesota
April 5
Former Nike missile site in Watertown, Minn. Closed since the 1970s, it's slated for an environmental cleanup.

Was Minnesota once home to nuclear missiles during the Cold War?

A reader wanted to know if it was true that the farmlands of Minnesota were once home to dozens of nuclear-tipped missiles.
Curious Minnesota
March 27
Brendan Peterson and Tyler Grondseth try their luck on a hot fishing hole on Lake Elora in Northern Minnesota. ] BRIAN PETERSON • brian.peterson

Your top questions about Minnesota lakes answered

If Minnesotans love one thing, it's their lakes. We did some research to answer your five most frequent questions about Minnesota's cherished bodies of water.
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."