Today on the MPR News Update: Trying to make sense of the shooting in Oakdale, Minnesota reaction to the president's State of the Union address, ranked-choice voting will gets a workout in Minneapolis, and we tag along with some serious surfer dudes ... on Lake Superior ... in February.
OBAMA GOES BIG: President Barack Obama had a simple message for Republicans in Congress: Do it my way. Forget about shutting down the government to force spending cuts, he told the GOP in Tuesday night's State of the Union address. Don't think about defaulting on the debt and, while you're at it, close tax loopholes.
BACHMANN SEEKS SHARE: One of Obama's harshest critics in Minnesota's delegation, Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, said while the speech didn't break new ground, she hoped his call for renewing the nation's infrastructure would mean federal funds to help widen I-94 in her district.
OAKDALE SHOOTING VIGIL: Family, friends and neighbors of 9-year-old Devin Aryal gathered Tuesday night in Oakdale to remember the fourth-grader who loved playing soccer and dreamed of flying in space. "He was just a remarkable boy," his mother, Melissa Aryal, said at the memorial.
PHOTOS FROM THE SERVICE: Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Oakdlae was filled Tuesday night during a vigil for Devin Aryal, a fourth-grader who loved playing soccer and dreamed of flying in space, but was killed Monday evening by gunfire while riding in the family minivan. We have a photo gallery here.
TODAY'S QUESTION: In his State of the Union address last night President Obama called on Congress to vote on gun control proposals widely debated since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. The president's call to action comes as Oakdale, Minn., searches for answers in the shooting death of Devin Aryal. Today's Question: What specific steps should be taken to reduce gun violence?
SUPERIOR SURFING: In a rocky bay about 15 miles up the North Shore from Duluth, eight-foot waves curl gracefully before breaking and smashing against ice-coated boulders along Lake Superior. A thriving scene has emerged on the beach, where about 50 surfers are braving the frigid water for waves they swear can compare to some of the best surfing in Hawaii or California - while wearing thick neoprene wetsuits. See a photo gallery of their exploits here.
MAHALO MINNESOTA: The closest many people in the continental United States come to the Hawaiian Islands and their music is likely from poor interpretations offered by television shows or old movies. Minnesotans who want to hear a more authentic sampling of Hawaii's rich musical heritage can take heart in the work of the Lau Hawaiian Collective.
WOLF LAWSUIT: A lawsuit filed in federal court in the District of Columbia against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, said the decision to take wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan off the endangered species list threatens the animals' recovery throughout most of their historic range. At one time, the animals roamed nearly all of North America.
K-9 DOWN: St. Paul Police Officer Dave Longbehn's dog, Kody, was stabbed to death as members of the North Star Fugitive Task Force were looking for a suspect on a first-degree criminal sexual conduct warrant. Members of the task force had gone to a St. Paul home to arrest him Tuesday afternoon when they found him armed with a knife in the basement. Officers shot and killed the suspect.
WE HEART VALENTINE'S DAY: On this week of St. Valentine's Day, Dr. Jon Hallberg joined Tom Crann on All Things Considered to talk about the central role the heart plays in our health, and some recent heart headlines in the news. Hallberg is a physician in family medicine at the University of Minnesota and medical director of the Mill City Clinic.
RANKED CHOICE: So far, seven people have declared they are running for mayor in the most hotly contested race Minneapolis has seen in decades. Just as it did four years ago, Minneapolis will use ranked-choice voting to decide the winner. The November election is expected to draw far more voters and put the system to the test.
CLOSER TO THE PEOPLE: Hennepin County has a five-year, $40 million project to decentralize social services. County officials say the plan for six regional service hubs will make it easier for county residents to seek help with food, money, or health care. The first hub, in Brooklyn Center, has been open for four months.
BLY LAUDED: The Poetry Society of America has bestowed its highest honor, the Robert Frost Medal, to Robert Bly. The award is for "distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry." Bly, a native Minnesotan, will join a distinguished roster that includes such literary luminaries as Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks and Allen Ginsberg.