52 minutes | Jun 6, 2023
Ten things to know about Minnesota’s new marijuana law
Minnesota is now the 23rd state to make it legal for adults to use marijuana recreationally. That means a lot will change in the next few months and years. Soon it will be legal to grow and smoke marijuana. Cities and counties must allow licensed cannabis shops to open. People with certain marijuana convictions will have them effectively erased. MPR News with Angela Davis talks about this shift in attitude towards marijuana and what the new law means for people who use cannabis products and those who do not. Guests Sen. Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville is chief author of the bill legalizing cannabis in the Minnesota Senate. Beau Kilmer is the McCauley Chair in Drug Policy Innovation at RAND, a non-partisan think tank headquartered in Santa Monica, California where he’s also co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. He’s co-author of the policy primer book “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know.” Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
47 minutes | Jun 5, 2023
Minnesota entrepreneur Houston White on creativity, style and his collaboration with Target
Houston White is a fashion designer, a barbershop owner, a coffee shop owner, the creator of an apartment building and those are only a few of the hats he wears. Houston is an entrepreneur to the core — he’s constantly dreaming up new ideas and working on something exciting. He recently partnered with Target to sell his clothing line called Houston White X Target. MPR News host Angela Davis talks with Houston White about his story, his many projects and how he uses his creative work to create community. Guest: Houston White is a Minnesota entrepreneur and fashion designer. He is the founder of Houston White Goods, Houston White Men’s Room, The Get Down Coffee Company, Camdentown Flats and many other ventures. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.
47 minutes | May 31, 2023
Minnesota's former education leader aims to give kids a healthier planet
Minnesota’s Brenda Cassellius grew up in public housing in Minneapolis and she considers that her greatest asset. “I grew up in poverty but there was never a poverty of love,” she said, stressing that it’s possible to get out of poverty and chart your own path. “It instilled in me to give back.” Cassellius has given back to communities by spending decades working in education. She was the first African American woman in Minnesota history to serve as the commissioner of education, under Gov. Mark Dayton. She was later the superintendent of Boston Public Schools, including throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and was a leader in bringing a climate plan that makes schools in the district more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Now Cassellius is back in Minnesota and she recently started her position as the executive director of Fresh Energy, a nonprofit aimed at transitioning our state to clean energy. She also mentors women of color who are school district superintendents and leaders of large organizations. Also, hear from our listeners who called in to talk about their personal stories of growing up from humble beginnings and later overcoming a path of obstacles. Guests: Brenda Cassellius is the new executive director of Fresh Energy, a non-profit aimed at transitioning Minnesota to clean energy. She formerly worked for three decades in public education, including as Minnesota’s education commissioner and as superintendent for Boston Public Schools. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
47 minutes | May 31, 2023
Addressing rising alcohol use among women
Alcohol use and misuse among women is on the rise and it’s causing severe health problems for some women. Women who drink have a higher risk than men for certain health problems, including liver disease, heart disease and cancer. And research suggests that the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with more drinking among women but not among men. MPR News host Angela Davis talks with a researcher who studies sex differences in alcohol use, and a drug and alcohol counselor who specializes in women’s addiction. Guests: MacKenzie Peltier is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. She researches sex differences in alcohol use disorders. Jasmin Boelter is a licensed drug and alcohol counselor and the clinical director at Wellcome Manor Family Services in Garden City, Minn. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.
47 minutes | May 30, 2023
J.D. Steele: Spreading joy and soul through song
J.D. Steele doesn’t just walk onto a stage. He bursts on with a mic, full of energy and ready to belt into song. Usually he gets his audience to sing along or at least clap and sway in their seat. Steele is the oldest sibling in the Minnesota gospel group The Steeles. And he’s been making music and spreading soul and joy for 40 years in Minnesota. Steele toured with “The Gospel at Colonus” with actor Morgan Freeman and when it landed on Broadway in 1988. He collaborated with Prince during the 90s. He’s produced, performed and recorded multiple Steeles albums and worked with artists like George Clinton, Mavis Staples, Kim Carnes, Fine Young Cannibals and The Sounds of Blackness. MPR News host Angela Davis talks with J.D. Steele about his life work making music his and current projects, directing community choirs and inspiring the next generation to sing with soul. Useful resources Want to sing with one of the community choirs directed by J.D. Steele? They are free to participate in, don’t require auditions and rehearse together once a week for 90 minutes during the fall, winter and spring. Click to find more information about: The Mill City Singers. The MacPhail Community Youth Choir. The Capri Glee! Adult Community Choir. Guest: J.D. Steele is a singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and choir director known for his work with Prince, as part of the J.D. Steele Singers in “The Gospel at Colonus,” in musical theatre and as a member of the Twin Cities-based vocal group The Steeles. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
49 minutes | May 25, 2023
George Floyd's family on the 3rd anniversary of his murder
“I get anxious every anniversary,” says George Floyd’s cousin, Paris Stevens. “How am I going to feel this year? But the community and support is just amazing.” All eyes were on Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, as the world erupted with calls for meaningful racial justice after George Floyd was murdered. 2020 Floyd protests: How did we get here? In Focus George Floyd's legacy and impact 2021 Continuing the conversation: How George Floyd changed us Special report Host Angela Davis explores how George Floyd changed us 2022 Coping with prolonged grief over George Floyd, mass shootings and the pandemic MPR News guest host Twila Dang speaks with two of Floyd’s family members and a community member. All of them were called to action after Floyd’s death and poured their efforts into starting the George Floyd Global Memorial (GFGM), a nonprofit organization that conserves stories of resistance to racial injustice and creates spaces for people to grieve and raise their voice for racial justice. “And today, after three years, we literally created something out of the basement,” says Angela Harrelson, George Floyd’s aunt and the organization’s co-founder. The organization is running its third annual Rise & Remember event series May 25-27 at locations around Minnesota. Events include a vigil, conference, gala and festival. Guests: Jeanelle Austin is the executive director and co-founder of the George Floyd Global Memorial, and founder of the Racial Agency Initiative. Angela Harrelson is the aunt of George Floyd and co-chair of the George Floyd Global Memorial. Last year she released her book, “Lift Your Voice: How My Nephew George Floyd’s Murder Changed The World.” She’s a mental health ICU nurse and served in the military. Paris Stevens is the cousin of George Floyd and co-chair of the George Floyd Global Memorial. She has worked in the mortgage industry for more than a decade. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
45 minutes | May 24, 2023
How to take action on youth mental health
How worried are you about the mental health of a young person in your life? Young people were already struggling with their mental health before the pandemic and now depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide have surged. In 2022, an all-time high number of Minnesota students reported mental health problems, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Girls are faring even worse. Nearly three out of five teenage girls felt persistent sadness in 2021, which is double the rate of boys, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There’s a growing need for trained mental health professionals but those are hard to come by, especially in rural Minnesota. We listen back to a conversation MPR News host Angela Davis had with two Minnesota professionals, one who runs youth organizations and another who runs a center that works to increase access to behavioral health services in greater Minnesota. They talk about how to recognize signs of mental health challenges and what to do and say to help that young person in your life. If you or a loved one is experiencing a crisis, call or text 988, Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or text MN to 741741. Talk to trained counselors who care, 24/7/365. If you or a loved one is at imminent risk, please contact 911 and ask for a Crisis Intervention Team officer. Guests: Verna Cornelia Price is CEO of The Power of People Consulting Group, a leadership and management consulting firm. She’s also co-founder of Girls Taking Action and Boys of Hope. Those organizations address increased violence and decreased academic engagement in girls and boys grades 6 to 12. Thad Shunkwiler is an associate professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato and the director of the Center for Rural Behavioral Health. His passion and expertise is in researching trends of mental health in rural areas.
48 minutes | May 23, 2023
Lake Superior: Honoring and protecting Minnesota’s natural wonder
Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world in terms of surface area and it’s not immune to climate change — it’s also one of the fastest-warming lakes in the world. MPR News guest host Dan Kraker speaks with a scientist who studies Lake Superior about the allure and science of this deep, clear and cold lake and how it’s threatened by climate change. Plus, we hear from two artists — a photographer and a writer — about the lake’s significance and healing presence. Guests: Bob Sterner is a biology professor and director of the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota Duluth which studies Lake Superior and other big lakes around the world. He’s also president of the Northeastern Association of Marine and Great Lakes Laboratories. Halee Kirkwood is a writer, teaching artist and a bookseller at Birchbark Books & Native Arts in Minneapolis who will be retracing the Ojibwe migration around Lake Superior and writing about it through a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship. They grew up in Superior, Wis. and are a direct descendent of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Christian Dalbec is a photographer based in Two Harbors, Minn. known for his photographs of Lake Superior waves and other scenes, taken while wearing a wetsuit and photographing from within the lake. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
48 minutes | May 19, 2023
Feeling burned out? Here’s how a Minnesota doctor sang about it
Has going to work felt like an Olympic sport? If so, we regret to inform you that we can’t prescribe you anything. But, we can offer profound insight and comedic relief from Dr. Stuart Bloom. Bloom created and performs in the musical “How to Avoid Burnout in 73 Minutes,” which recently played a sold out run at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. He’s also an oncologist. Bloom has an insightful, personal and sometimes hilarious take on burnout that he shares with guest host Chris Farrell, who’s filling in for Angela Davis. Guest: Dr. Stuart Bloom is an oncologist and an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he sees patients and teaches. He spent his 20s as an actor and musical comedian in New York City and went to medical school in his 30s after his father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He wrote and performs in the musical How to Avoid Burnout in 73 Minutes, which recently played a sold-out run at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
48 minutes | May 18, 2023
Pimento Jamaican Kitchen’s secret sauce: Community spirit
There’s a little Jamaica right here in Minnesota and it’s called Pimento Jamaican Kitchen. Tomme Beevas started his restaurant 11 years ago with a $99 tent and a backyard grill. Now he’s an award-winning chef and entrepreneur who’s opening two new locations this summer — one at 354 Wabasha St. in St. Paul and a second Minneapolis location at the new Bde Maka Ska pavilion. Beevas has found a way to make his restaurants more than a place for food. Pimento Kitchen’s secret sauce is community spirit. MPR News guest host Nina Moini speaks with Beevas about how his grandmother inspired his cooking and the vision for his business. Guests: Tomme Beevas is an award-winning chef and entrepreneur. He’s the owner of Pimento Jamaican Kitchen and the founder of Pimento Relief Services, an organization that aims to support and uplift communities of color in the Twin Cities. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.
52 minutes | May 17, 2023
Call to Mind: Queer Youth Resilience & Mental Health
Every day, queer teens and young adults are challenged by the politicization of gender identity and sexual orientation and the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. And the mental health consequences are alarming. A staggering 45 percent of LGBTQ+ youth 13 through 24 report to have seriously considered suicide, and 14 percent have tried to hurt themselves, according to a 2022 report from The Trevor Project. Given that LGBTQ+ youth face continued fights around their identity, what are mental health concerns specific to queer youth? And what support is necessary for LGBTQ+ teens and young adults to take care of their well-being amid a national political climate that’s working against them? MPR News shares a special broadcast from Call to Mind, American Public Media’s initiative to foster conversations about mental health. The special “Queer Youth Resilience & Mental Health” is hosted by Kimberly Adams. Guests: Brian Coleman is a licensed clinical professional counselor at Jones College Prep High School in Chicago Public School District. Laura Holt is a licensed psychologist with Mental Health Services-Habif Health and Wellness Center at Washington University in St. Louis. Jordyn Pruitt is a student at Georgia College & State University. Danielle Ramo is a licensed psychologist and the Chief Clinical Officer at BeMe Health. She’s also an adjunct associate professor at the University of California San Francisco. Steven Rocha is the policy director at PRISM Florida, an organization that aims to expand access to LGBT-inclusive education and sexual health resources for youth in South Florida. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
47 minutes | May 16, 2023
World-class conductor now making beer for a cause
William Eddins is a Minnesotan who makes music … and beer. How does a world-class orchestra conductor end up co-owner of a brewery? It started during the COVID-19 pandemic when orchestras abruptly canceled live performances and Eddins found himself out of work with time on his hands. He and a friend turned their beer-making hobby into MetroNOME brewery in downtown St. Paul, with the goal of raising money to pay for music instruments and instruction for Twin Cities children and teens. The brewery’s music venue only seats 50 people, but Eddins is pulling in some big names. Jazz trumpet legend Wynton Marsalis played an impromptu gig at MetroNOME last fall. And, Eddins is preparing for a piano recital on June 3 when the taproom celebrates the first anniversary of its grand opening. MPR News guest host Euan Kerr talks with Eddins about his international music career, beer and the brewery’s mission. Guests: Bill Eddins is music director emeritus of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in Alberta, Canada and a frequent guest conductor of major orchestras throughout the world. He was an associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra in the '90s. He’s also co-owner of MetroNOME Brewery in downtown St. Paul. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
48 minutes | May 15, 2023
Almost all Minnesota workers may get paid time off for family and medical leave
Paid family and medical leave is poised to become law in Minnesota. Most working Americans have access to unpaid time off for the arrival of a child or to handle their own or a family member’s illness. But three in four American civilian workers have no access to paid family leave and one in five has no access to paid sick leave. Under a proposal working its way through the final legislative stages, paid leave would expand to nearly all working Minnesotans. MPR News guest host Chris Farrell talks about how the proposed state-run insurance program would work, how it would be funded and how it could affect small businesses. Guests: Dana Ferguson is a politics reporter with MPR News. John Reynolds is the Minnesota state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The organization represents small businesses in Minnesota. Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights) is chief sponsor of HF2, the House version of the paid family and medical leave bill. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
36 minutes | May 11, 2023
14 events and ideas to have summer fun in Minnesota
A lot of us have already started thinking about our summer vacation, or maybe you’ve even planned one out. But have you thought about the shorter bursts of fun you want to have this summer? MPR News host Angela Davis speaks with her guests about upcoming live music events, art festivals, craft fairs and other events across Minnesota this summer. Plus, she talks to a St. Paul mother whose family is once again deliberately setting aside their phones, laptops, tablets and TV screens to spend more time outside. They did it last year successfully. Tune in to find out how. Guests: Lauren Bennett McGinty is the executive director of Explore Minnesota. Anne Lottie is the mother of 7-year-old twins and a 9-year-old son in St. Paul. She and her family are doing a digital media-free spring and summer. Jade Tittle is a host of and the music director at The Current on MPR. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
23 minutes | May 10, 2023
Highlights from Wellness Wednesday: Looking at hearing loss, tackling addictions
Every Wednesday on MPR News with Angela Davis, you can listen to in depth conversations on wellness topics. This week, Angela shares highlights from two favorite Wellness Wednesday shows. Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from hearing loss but only about one-fifth use hearing aids, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In the first Wellness Wednesday segment, listen to how the FDA approving over-the-counter hearing aids could improve people’s access to the medical devices. In the second segment, an alcohol and addiction treatment specialist talks about his recovery and another expert talks about how our brains create addiction patterns. In 2021, 1,162 Minnesotans died of alcohol-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a record number that doesn’t include deaths from drunk driving. That’s also more than the number of homicides and suicides combined for that year. Guests: Peggy Nelson is a professor in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the University of Minnesota. She teaches audiology courses and has researched how to make hearing aids more effective in daily settings. Rachel Allgor is an audiologist with Audiology Concepts, a clinic in Edina. She also uses a hearing aid. Dr. Joseph Lee is the president and CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Peter Hayden is the founder of Turning Point, a north Minneapolis clinic that provides culturally specific substance use disorder treatment. He has a Ph.D. in co-occurring disorders. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
11 minutes | May 10, 2023
How an APM podcast became part of a national movement to reform reading instruction
One in three Minnesota fourth graders cannot read at a “basic” level for their grade, according to 2022 reading test results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The question is, why do so many children struggle? American Public Media senior producer Emily Hanford found answers in her podcast, “Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong.” The podcast was released last fall and quickly became a must-listen for people involved in the national movement to reform reading instruction. The podcast digs into a key belief about how children learn to read that has held sway in schools for more than a generation, even though it was proven wrong by cognitive scientists decades ago. And, it shows how common teaching methods used by schools across the country can actually make it harder for children to learn how to read. MPR News host Angela Davis talks with Emily Hanford about the reaction to her exposé and new bonus episodes. Related Can Minnesota schools do better at teaching kids to read? Guest: Emily Hanford is a senior producer and correspondent with American Public Media and producer “Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong.” Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
38 minutes | May 9, 2023
Advocating for sexual assault survivors
One in six American women has been the victim of a rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, but most survivors of sexual violence never report the assault to law enforcement. Although the public conversations of the “Me too” movement raised awareness of sexual harassment and rape, advocates in Minnesota say communities still downplay the harm caused by sexual assault, law enforcement can be too slow to respond and victims aren’t given enough support. MPR News host Angela Davis talks about preventing sexual violence, improving services for survivors and why Black women and girls are especially vulnerable to sexual violence. The conversation includes an excerpt from an April 27 conversation with author and sexual assault survivor Roxane Gay. Guests: Artika Roller is the executive director of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a statewide network of organizations working to end sexual violence. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
35 minutes | May 8, 2023
Farming on the frontlines of the climate crisis
Minnesota farmers have identified climate resiliency as their most pressing issue right now, according to the Minnesota Farmers Union. That’s why the union is launching its first of a series of agriculture and climate conversations on Tuesday. MPR News host Angela Davis finds out how our state’s agriculture industry is adapting to extreme weather, such as droughts, floods and abundant snowfalls. Guests: Heidi Roop is the director of the University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership. She’s also an assistant professor of climate science and an extension specialist for climate science and adaptation at the U of M. She’s the author of the recently released book, “The Climate Action Handbook: A Visual Guide to 100 Climate Solutions for Everyone.” Ariel Kagan is the Climate and Working Lands Program Director with the Minnesota Farmers Union. She has worked across sectors to support farmers, climate resilience and policy development. Hannah Bernhardt and her family own Medicine Creek Farm, a 160-acre sustainable and regenerative grass-fed pork, beef and lamb farm in Finlayson, Minn. She’s also on the National Farmers Union’s Climate Change Policy Advisory Panel and she’s part of Minnesota’s Climate Land Leaders, an initiative among landowners that aims to address the climate crisis. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
37 minutes | May 4, 2023
Opportunities and hope behind bars
When people who are incarcerated have access to education and other resources, they’re more likely to be successful when they come home to their communities. More than 8,000 people are incarcerated in Minnesota correctional facilities and thousands more are in county jails and federal prisons in the state. Coming up at 9 a.m. on Thursday, MPR News host Angela Davis talks with the leaders and alumni of three programs that provide opportunity — and hope — to people behind bars. Guests: Jennifer Bowen is founder and artistic director of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, which teaches creative writing and offers one-on-one mentorships in all the adult correctional facilities in Minnesota. Antonio Williams is an alum of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and founder of Tone Up, an organization that helps formerly incarcerated people find a place back into their communities. Sgt. Adam Hernke is program director at the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center where he oversees the HOPE program, which stands for “Helping Others by Providing Education.” Brittany Kallman Arneson is the executive director of Voices of Hope, a nonprofit organization that brings choral music to prisons. Ashleigh Casey sang with the Voices of Hope Choir at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee and has continued singing with alumni of the choir after her release. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
48 minutes | May 3, 2023
The healing benefits of getting outdoors
Minnesota has a lot of grassroots groups getting into the grass and into the roots. MPR News host Angela Davis speaks with two Minnesotans who are helping others experience the joys of the outdoors and the health benefits. Spending time in nature can improve mood, emotional health, mental health, attention and memory. Getting outside doesn’t have to look like a week-long portaging trip, either. A simple walk, sitting in your yard or even just looking outside can potentially have health benefits. Guests: Asha Shoffner is the environmental and outdoor education coordinator for Saint Paul Parks and Recreation. She’s the founder of Fiwygin Outdoors, an acronym for fit in where you get in (pronounced “fusion.”) The group is for people who are underrepresented in outdoor spaces. She’s also the founder of BIPOC Outdoors Twin Cities, a Facebook group of around 2,000 people who host outdoor experiences and workshops for BIPOC people in Minnesota. Lynnea Atlas Ingebretson is the diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She’s on Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources Advisory Committee and Minnesota’s Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee. She spends her free time teaching cross-country skiing and snowboarding, and leading hikes year-round with the Loppet Foundation, Melanin In Motion and Girl Scouts. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.