Today on the MPR News Update, Minnesota's wolf hunt has moved into a trapping phase, state Republicans are warning taxpayers to hold onto their wallets, Norm Coleman assesses his political clout, and more.
TEEN AGE TRAPPER: In north-central Minnesota over the weekend, 16-year-old Koltin Wagner was among nearly 800 Minnesota trappers who are the first to legally trap wolves since the early 1970s. He set up about 10 snares and foot-hold traps over the weekend, which he's required to check every day. "Every time you go to check your traps it's like a little kid on Christmas morning," Wagner said.
THE TRAPPER'S MENTOR: Wagner learned a few tricks from his neighbor, 66-year-old Joe Edminster, who has an impressive collection traps, pelts, bait and other related hardware in his Grand Rapids home. Check out photos of Edminster's collection here. You can also see all our coverage of the wolf hunt by clicking here.
READ THEIR LIPS: A major overhaul of state tax policy could be in the works next year when the newly elected DFL Legislature arrives at the Capitol. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to launch the discussion in January. But his long-promised income tax increase on top earners could be a tough sell, even with Democrats now in control of the House and Senate.
NORM COLEMAN'S MONEY: The Norm Coleman-led American Action Network, along with an affiliated super PAC spent at least $24 million on House races all over the country in 2012. Most of that money went toward negative ads against Democrats, including Rick Nolan, who still ousted incumbent GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack. But Coleman has a sunny take on his organization's results.
BLACK FRIDAY: Best Buy, Target and other retailers in Minnesota reported that hundreds of shoppers were waiting in line for stores to open Thursday or early Friday. Target moved its store openings from midnight to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said he was pleased by the response as hundreds of people filled the aisles at Target's Bloomington store.
CYBER MONDAY: It's estimated that this year's Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row: According to research firm comScore, Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion, up 20 percent from last year on Cyber Monday, as retailers have ramped up their deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE STUDENTS GONE? The longtime tuition reciprocity agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin is stoking a cross-border rivalry as the two states compete for a declining number of top college prospects. The University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus is the biggest recipient of Wisconsin residents, That's tough competition for University of Wisconsin campuses in places like River Falls and Superior.
WHERE DID HOMECOMING GO? In 2011 SCSU officials dropped homecoming because it was difficult to schedule a game around the celebration, and the fall games were competing for fans with other events, like the state's deer hunting opener. They replaced homecoming with four weekend events spread throughout the year. Students get a chance to vote on whether to reinstate homecoming this week.
AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HOCKEY SEASON? The National Hockey League season was supposed to be in full swing by now. Instead, like the NFL in 2011 and the NBA last season, the NHL is mired in a labor dispute, with the owners locking out the players and -- so far -- wiping out more than two months of the season. In question-and-answer form, here's a look at where things stand.
DOUBLE-HOMICIDE CHARGES: A Minnesota man was charged Monday with second-degree murder in the Thanksgiving Day shooting deaths of two teenage cousins he said had broken into his home. Byron David Smith, 64, of Little Falls, told investigators he shot 17-year-old Nicholas Brady Schaeffel and 18-year-old Haile Kifer as they came downstairs into his basement workshop.
TREE TIME: On a lighter note, Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the Christmas tree-buying season, so we put together some tips for those in Minnesota who plan to get one this year.