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Curious Minnesota
September 11
A great blue heron flew out of range of a pursuing coyote on Pickerel Lake in Lilydale in April 2018.

Why do Minnesota coyotes howl when trains go by?

Nope, it's not just a coincidence: Coyotes are compelled to let out a wail – and science explains why.
Curious Minnesota
September 4
The I-35W bridge was bathed in purple Thursday night in a memorial to Prince. ] JEFF WHEELER • jeff.wheeler@startribune.com Downtown Minneapolis bui

Who decides when the I-35W bridge is lit in color, and how is it done?

When the I-35W bridge was built to replace the structure that collapsed in 2007, it became one of the first segments of interstate highway in the country be illuminated with L.E.D. lighting
EPISODE 17
September 2
A North Memorial healthcare worker grabbed a fresh COVID-19 test kit as a patient drove up at the testing facility behind the North Memorial Health Sp

What's the latest we know about COVID-19's treatment, transmission?

COVID-19 has changed American life as we know it. What's the latest science and information about the transmission and treatment of the virus? Host Eric Roper talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Glenn Howatt and Jeremy Olson.
Curious Minnesota
August 28
The I-35W/I-94 interchange was free of it's usual rush hour traffic.

Why do some major Twin Cities highways not connect directly?

For motorists who want to navigate from southbound I-35W to eastbound I-94, it's a case of you can't get there from here. And that's just one example.
Curious Minnesota
August 21
St. Paul, MN thursday 6/28/2001 House member Rep. Betty Folliard appeared before cameras and microphones outside the house chamber to accuse some memb

Why hasn't Minnesota passed the Equal Rights Amendment?

The battle that has dragged on for decades is grabbing public attention again, with 2020 marking the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.
Curious Minnesota
August 14
A corndog fan posed with a meal that matched her shirt at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair.

Corn dog vs. Pronto Pup: Why are Minnesotans so loyal to only one?

As Minnesotans mourn the loss of this year's State Fair, now is a good time to dive into the history of this great debate.
Curious Minnesota
August 8
Young cannibis plants in a growing room Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, at Leafline Labs in Cottage Grove.

Why is recreational marijuana not legal in Minnesota?

Since 2012, 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use ­— that includes other Midwestern states like Michigan and Illinois. But not Minnesota.
EPISODE 16
August 7
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. Few show another grid that is even more crucial to daily life. It transports poop, not people. Host Eric Roper shares some of the most surprising facts about how the system works. Read more: http://strib.mn/39IeRqA. See photos of construction under the Mississippi River: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DaiSBuZVwAALzCY?format=jpg&name=large
Curious Minnesota
August 5

Listen: 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. Few show another grid that is even more crucial to daily life. It transports poop, not people.
Curious Minnesota
July 31
A flock of wild turkey roamed the streets Tuesday in Northeast Minneapolis. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com A flock of wild turk

Why do wild turkeys seem to thrive in the Twin Cities metro?

When it comes to urban living, it seems like wild turkeys are as common a neighbor as any these days.
Curious Minnesota
July 24
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) workers install new placards changing East and West Lake Calhoun Parkways to East and West Bde Maka Ska P

After Lake Calhoun, what about other Minn. place names with racist roots?

Numerous places are named in honor of Minnesota's first two governors, both of whom have complicated legacies.
Curious Minnesota
July 17
JEFF WHEELER ¥ jwheeler@startribune.com MINNEAPOLIS - 7/15/09 - State Archaeologist Scott Anfinson is an expert at identifying sacred Indian burial s

What's the story behind Pilot Knob Road, other odd street names?

Yankee Doodle and Johnny Cake Ridge are two more that raise eyebrows. Turns out each has a story to tell.
EPISODE 15
July 16
A Chinese ban on accepting American recyclables is having a ripple effect in Minnesota, where the price of recycled goods has imploded. The economics

Do the things we recycle all actually get recycled in Minnesota?

What happens to the bottles, cans and other items we toss in our curbside recycling bins? Host Eric Roper talks with Kate Davenport from Eureka Recycling about how much of what we put in those big blue bins gets recycled. Read more here: http://strib.mn/2Z3bmKd
Curious Minnesota
July 16

Listen: Do all the things we recycle actually get recycled in Minnesota?

What happens to the bottles, cans and other items we toss in our curbside recycling bins? Host Eric Roper talks with Kate Davenport from Eureka Recycling about how much of what we put in those big blue bins gets recycled.
Curious Minnesota
July 10
Ryan Youngdale stands in front of the beer fridge at Stinson Wine, Beer, and Spirits. ] COURTNEY PEDROZA ¥ courtney.pedroza@startribune.com July 2, 2

Why is Minnesota the last state with 3.2 beer?

Low-alcohol 3.2 beers specially made for grocery stores are a dying breed. But efforts to overturn the 3.2 restrictions have been opposed by liquor stores and interest groups.
Curious Minnesota
July 3
Every spring the Great Blue Herons return to their inner city rookery on two islands in the Mississippi River near Marshall Terrace Park. A sure sign

Is it true that Minneapolis has a park every six blocks?

When it comes to national rankings, the city regularly sits near the top for its park system, and this might be the reason why.
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.