Minnesota Now - August 4, 2022

A woman in front of a microphone
MPR News host Cathy Wurzer
MPR

Voters across the state will go to the polls next week to decide dozens of political races. What do you need to know? We've got some details.

And speaking of politics, this week we’ve been talking all seven candidates running for Hennepin County Attorney. One final candidate joins us today.

Have you managed to avoid getting COVID? Experts say masking, social distancing and vaccines are the key — but a lot of people have some other theories on how they've stayed healthy. We'll hear them.

We'll take a moment for some meditation... and get the latest sports news from Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. 

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Audio transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] 1, 2, 3, 4.

CATHY WURZER: It's high noon and it's Minnesota Now. I'm Cathy Wurzer. Voters across the state will go to the polls next week to decide dozens of political races. What do you need to know? We have some details. And speaking of politics, this week we've been talking to all seven candidates running for Hennepin County Attorney. One final candidate joins me today.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Have you managed to avoid getting COVID? Experts say masking, social distancing, and vaccinations are the key, but a lot of people have some other theories on how they've stayed healthy. We'll hear from them. We'll take a moment for some meditation and get the latest sports news from Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson. All of that and the Minnesota music minute.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

It's all right after the news.

LAKSHMI SINGH: Live from NPR News in Washington, I'm Lakshmi Singh. The Department of Justice has filed federal charges, including civil rights charges, against several former and current officers in Louisville, Kentucky involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor at her home in 2020. She was killed after officers burst into her home to carry out a search warrant. Attorney General Merrick Garland says three of the officers are accused of including misleading information on documents to obtain that warrant.

MERRICK GARLAND: As outlined in the charging documents, the officers who ultimately carried out the search at Ms. Taylor's department were not involved in the drafting of the warrant and were unaware of the false and misleading statements it contained.

LAKSHMI SINGH: One officer, Brett Hankison, was accused of shooting several rounds into Taylor's apartment. Earlier this year he was cleared of state charges of wanton endangerment involving Taylor's neighbors. Fresh off his fourth straight election victory, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is set to kick off a major gathering of conservatives in Dallas this afternoon. NPR's David Folkenflik reports the warm reception he'll receive is at odds with widespread criticism he has also inspired.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Orban is a favorite of conservatives for being a winner, but also for tough rhetoric that he puts into action. For example, building a wall and restrictive policies to keep out migrants. He has moved to stamp out dissent in the media and universities and targeted human rights groups. He's also been repeatedly accused of racism.

Just last week, a top aide resigned after Orban called for there to be no racial mixing in Hungary. No matter. The Conservative Political Action Conference staged a major event in Budapest in May, and Orban will give the opening address in Texas today. He joins announced speakers, including former President Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Fox News's Sean Hannity, and conspiracy peddler Jack Posobiec. David Folkenflik. NPR News, Dallas.

LAKSHMI SINGH: Japan's government says five Chinese missiles have landed in waters within its exclusive economic zone. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Seoul that China began large scale military exercises today in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan this week.

ANTHONY KUHN: Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told a press conference that this is the first time Chinese ballistic missiles have landed in Japan's EEZ, which stretches 200 nautical miles beyond its territorial waters. A sixth missile fell outside the EEZ, but less than 50 miles from Yonaguni, Japan's westernmost island, which lies within sight of Taiwan.

Japan's government launched a diplomatic protest with China over the missiles. In recent years, Japan has begun to strengthen defenses on its southwestern islands, which it worries could come under attack in the event of a conflict involving Taiwan. Anthony Kuhn. NPR News, Seoul.

LAKSHMI SINGH: The Dow Jones Industrial average is down 136 points to 32,675. It's NPR.

INTERVIEWER 1: Support for NPR comes from NPR stations. Other contributors include Fisher Investments. Fisher Investments is a fiduciary, which means they always put clients' interests first. Fisher Investments. Clearly different money management. Investing in securities involves the risk of loss.

CATHY WURZER: Around Minnesota right now, skies are sunny. It's pretty pleasant. High is today upper 70's to the upper 80's. At noon in Moorhead it's sunny and 72. It's 74 in Minneapolis. And outside Ben's Bait & Tackle in Grand Rapids, it's sunny and 68. I'm Cathy Wurzer with Minnesota news headlines. State agriculture officials are asking people to be on the lookout for a new invasive moth species that's been discovered in Minnesota. Tim Nelson has more.

TIM NELSON: The purple carrot seed moth is native to Western Europe, China, and Russia, but turned up in North America 14 years ago. The moth feeds on plants in the carrot family, including dill, fennel, and coriander. A gardener spotted the insects on dill plants recently in Stillwater, and another report was confirmed in Montgomery. The moths and their larvae typically don't feed on roots or stalks, and ag experts say the impact on the insect's arrival should not be significant on carrots, parsnip, and celery.

Purple carrot seed moths are small, dull, and purple colored. Caterpillars are dark and can be green or reddish with many white spots on their bodies. The caterpillars feed on the flowers and can make herbs like dill unusable. Ag officials are asking anyone who sees the moths or caterpillars to make a report on the plants and insect section of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website. I'm Tim Nelson.

CATHY WURZER: Saying that it was a historic day in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis City Council voted today to approve the first commissioner of community safety in the city. Cedric Alexander, who has spent decades in law enforcement, was approved on an 8 to 3 vote with two council members abstaining. Alexander will lead the city's new community safety office, which will oversee the city's police, fire, 911, emergency management, and violence prevention programs.

Also today, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey waded into the DFL primary race in the fifth congressional district and threw his endorsement to former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels, who's trying to unseat incumbent, DFL Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Also endorsing Samuels today are the mayors of Saint Louis Park, Golden Valley, Edina, and New Hope. For the next few minutes, we'll continue the conversation on Minnesota politics ahead of next week's primary.

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And the primary is Tuesday of next week. A primary, as many of you know, is a contest that narrows the field of candidates who will advance to the November general election. There are a lot of races to watch. All this week we've been talking with the candidates running for Hennepin County Attorney. There are some interesting legislative primary races too, and some congressional contests. That is where we will focus. Our reporter, Marc Zdechlik, has been watching the Congressional primary races, and he joins me now for a preview. Hey, Mark.

MARK ZDECHLIK: Hey, Cathy.

CATHY WURZER: Let's start in Southern Minnesota. First district Congressman Jim Hagedorn died earlier this year. Next Tuesday, voters there will choose someone to replace him. Is that right?

MARK ZDECHLIK: Yeah. But Cathy, only for a few months. Hagedorn's February death triggered the special election in the first district. There was a primary for that election in May. Republican Brad Finstad narrowly won on the GOP side. Democrat and first time candidate Jeff Edinger won on the Democratic side. So the contest is between them. Finstad has been trying to link Edinger, who was once a CEO of Hormel Foods, to national Democrats, including President Biden.

He's been talking a lot about inflation and what he says is reckless government spending. For his part, Edinger has been emphasizing the need for more cooperation in Washington. He's been underscoring his history of supporting Republicans and Democrats in past elections. He, Cathy, has also been talking about protecting the future of the nation's democracy following the January 6 insurrection and all the continuing denials about the 2020 election results.

CATHY WURZER: So help me out here. It's a little confusing. There's also a primary for the first district seat on Tuesday, right?

MARK ZDECHLIK: There is, and this is where it gets interesting on the Republican side. And it is confusing, Cathy. I know that people in southern Minnesota next week are likely going to be scratching their heads when they go to vote. State representative Jeremy Munson, who came close to winning the special election primary, is hoping to knock out Finstad in the primary voting for the general election so he can be the Republican in November's general election.

Munson has been criticizing Democrats, but also Republicans, for overspending taxpayer dollars. He says Finstad has a history of being part of that problem. Finstad has been saying Munson is heavy on criticism, but light on solutions. On the Democratic side for that November primary, Edinger has no-- he has some opponents, but he's considered a front runner by far. So voters next week in the first district get two bites at the apple on one ballot.

CATHY WURZER: So really, someone could win the special election Tuesday and then not be on the ballot in November, which is a little tangled.

MARK ZDECHLIK: It is. And even as a reporter who's been doing this for a long time, it has taken me a while to get my hands around that. That's exactly right. Secretary of State Steve Simon, Cathy, told me yesterday afternoon that election workers in southern Minnesota have done some special training to field questions from confused voters about how it's all going to play out.

CATHY WURZER: Yeah. So earlier, I made that-- you probably heard me, Mark, mentioned that Jacob Frey was throwing his support to Don Samuels in the fifth congressional district primary. That's in Minneapolis, or it includes Minneapolis. That's where DFL Ilhan Omar is seeking a third term this year. Let's talk a little about the Omar-Samuels race.

MARK ZDECHLIK: Sure. Democrat Don Samuels says he should be on the November 5th ballot, not Representative Omar. Samuels is well-known in Minneapolis. He was on the city council there and a member of the school board, and has been very critical of Omar's defund the police comments. He also says Omar should be focusing more on bread and butter issues facing her Minneapolis area constituents rather than all the high profile national issues that she's been associated with.

CATHY WURZER: Ilhan Omar has survived a couple of other primaries before.

MARK ZDECHLIK: She has, and her polling suggests she's in a strong position to win against next week and go on to November, but we'll see. Samuels has mounted a very aggressive campaign and Representative Omar is certainly taking him seriously.

CATHY WURZER: Let's see here. East metro. Let's talk about a longtime member of Congress also facing a primary challenge from another DFLer, so let's run that one down.

MARK ZDECHLIK: Yeah, Cathy. Democratic activist Amane Badhasso, who is an Ethiopian, rather, refugee, says McCollum is entrenched in a Democratic Party that's failed to deliver on big changes many on that side have been calling for, from election reform to environmental and health care legislation. McCollum says her seniority in Congress is a big benefit to Minnesota. She also points that the Republican control of the US Senate as the reason so many Democratic initiatives in the house are stalling out. McCollum, just like representative Omar, has been working harder than ever to make her case to fourth district Democrats amid her challenge.

CATHY WURZER: Yeah. Betty McCollum has been around since, I think, what? 2001, so she's been there for quite some time. Let's talk about-- of course, there's a lot of local races too. Any idea of how many voters might turn out in the primary?

MARK ZDECHLIK: Well, we know, Cathy, that primary turnout is typically low, even in Minnesota, and we lead the nation in general election turnout. That's especially the case in years like this one because there's no presidential contest on the ballot, and the presidential races fire up many more voters than some of the other races. So most eligible voters in Minnesota are not expected to weigh in on the various primary contests.

But it'll be interesting to see where there is interest, especially with those two elections in southern Minnesota's first district, the special election and the primary election for the general election. People are going to be watching to see what side is-- which side is more fired up, and that's something that people will be watching for from all over the country, at least people who follow politics, in the hope that might give some indication of what the midterm elections in November might look like.

Also Cathy, another note on primary day next week for Minnesotans is an inner Republican Party battle for one of the state offices, which every eligible Minnesotan has an opportunity to vote on. Republicans endorse Jim Schultz for their attorney general candidate. Schultz is facing a primary challenge from Doug Wardlow. And some people might remember that Wardlow, who is pretty well known in Republican politics, was the GOP nominee for attorney general four years ago. So Cathy, those are just some of the more high profile races we're going to be watching next week.

CATHY WURZER: Oh, boy. It's going to be busy. Mark Zdechlik, thanks so much.

MARK ZDECHLIK: Absolutely. Have a great day.

CATHY WURZER: You too. Mark has been reporting on the primary races happening statewide in Minnesota. He'll, of course, be busy next Tuesday. To learn more about the races and the candidates, you can go to our website, mprnews.org.

[MUSIC - HIPPO CAMPUS, "LITTLE GRACE"]

Well, it's time for the Minnesota Music Minute, and many of you local music fans might recognize this classic intro to Hippo Campus's 2015 song, "Little Grace." The group was formed in the Twin Cities when the members of the band went to school together at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Since graduating, the band has quickly grown in popularity, and is now loved by fans all across the country.

Jealousy is men. Someday you'll see it. Oh, oh, you know. Oh, you know. Oh, you know.

You cry out, Eliza. You scream and you moan. You're sick of this joyride. You want to find home. Adulthood has found you, scared and alone. Talk to me, talk to me, talk to me, talk. Art school girl with--

CATHY WURZER: It's 12:15 here on Minnesota Now from MPR News. As of about an hour ago, there have been 1.6 million cases of COVID in Minnesota. More than 12,000 Minnesotans have died from the disease, and yet, there are still folks out there-- maybe you're one-- who have never had COVID.

Now, we've all been told by the experts that masking, distancing, and vaccinations are key to avoiding the virus. And still, there are those who follow all the rules and get COVID, and those who don't follow any of the rules and don't get COVID. It's leading many of you to wonder if there's something else at play. Well, we asked listeners to weigh in on their theories on how they've been able to dodge COVID, and we've got several answers. Here's NPR listener Terese Melham.

TERESE MELHAM: I think I am super immune. I worked in a hospital and any time I've had symptoms over the past two years, I test. Even early in the pandemic I was able to test, leading me to believe that I didn't have it then either. This May, my partner got it, and because I'm a relatively healthy person, I continued to sleep in the same bed as him.

I continued to test negative despite consistent contact. It was at this point that I decided to try and research super immunity. There was nobody within a close distance that was looking into it, but I did attempt to contact someone at UMN.

CATHY WURZER: Is there such a thing as being super immune? Well, here to answer that question and others is Dr. Priya Sampathkumar. She's an infectious disease specialist with Mayo Clinic. Welcome, Doctor. Well, let's see. We thought we had the doctor with us. We hope that she's there somewhere. Terribly sorry about this. This has happened now every day this week with some technical problems that we seem to have in the system here.

If you are tuning in, we are attempting to talk to a Mayo Clinic specialist about those who have managed to avoid contracting COVID over the past two to three years and how they managed to do that. There is no shortage of theories as to why there are some people who have remained COVID free. Do we have the doctor? We don't have the doctor.

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: I am back.

CATHY WURZER: We do have the doctor. There you are. So nice to have you here, Dr. Sampathkumar. How are you doing?

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: Good.

CATHY WURZER: Excellent.

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: I'm sorry. I dropped off accidentally for a minute.

CATHY WURZER: Oh, you know, this is just how it happens. It's live radio. Say, I don't know if you had the opportunity before you dropped off to hear our listener who was talking about having super immunity. Is there any research into natural immunity, natural super-- so-called super immunity.

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: So some people are trying to look into it. It's still not clear if that is really a thing. So the caller, what I heard, was she's had lots of exposure to COVID, but hasn't had COVID, including exposure to her partner at home. She stayed in the same room with that person and didn't get COVID. So there are a few possibilities.

One is that she did get COVID. It was asymptomatic. She never manifested any symptoms. That could be one possibility. She did say she had tested multiple times and each time she tested she was negative, but it could be she had so little virus the test wasn't good enough to pick it up. The other possibility is that she truly never got COVID.

Now people often ask, are there ways other than the PCR test or the antigen test to know if you've had COVID in the past? And one thing you can do is get an antibody test to see if you've previously had COVID and developed antibodies as a result of that. There's a specific type of antibody that needs to be checked for. So the vaccination itself can give you what are called spike antibodies, and infection gives you, in addition to the spike antibodies, another one called the nucleocapsid.

So a blood test could be done. I do want to caution that the test isn't completely 100% predictive of past infection. So if you have those antibodies, then you can be very sure you've had infection in the past. But if you don't have antibodies, it doesn't always mean you haven't had an infection in the past. It could just mean your levels are so low it's not detectable.

CATHY WURZER: Interesting. All right. We're going to listen to another COVID dodger.

STEPH ASH: Hi. This is Steph Ash in St. Peter, Minnesota, and to the best of my knowledge, I have not yet contracted COVID. I don't really know why. Between us, my husband and I have three college aged kids who have come in and out of our home during the whole time. Plus we both work at colleges among young people, who aren't exactly known for COVID safe behaviors.

And we've had several first contact exposures and we've even put kids up in offsite locations to keep them away from us, but so far I have completely avoided it. My theory? I mask in most public shopping places. I minimize dining out, especially during the worst of COVID. I work in a flexible office space with flexible office hours, plus my college had incredible COVID tracing and testing available. I eat a lot of yogurt. A dog sleeps in my bed. I don't know. But fingers crossed that it continues.

CATHY WURZER: OK. Yogurt and sleeping with dogs. I think that might be a bit of a joke. But are you hearing this kind of thing, Doctor, from patients or the public? Just, again, a lot of exposure. To the best of her knowledge, she's not gotten COVID.

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: Yes. And what this person said makes perfect sense. She is being careful, although she has potential for a lot of exposure. She is masking in public places, she's avoiding outdoor dining when your mask comes off. So even though she's around a lot of young people, I think it is a reasonable assumption that she's actually never had COVID.

And I don't think there's any research on yogurt. I mean, being healthy in general will help you, but there are no specific multivitamin supplements or health food supplements that seem to make a difference in your risk of acquiring COVID. The sleeping with the dog, though, I think may be helping.

CATHY WURZER: What?

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: My husband will disagree. No, I'm just kidding.

CATHY WURZER: OK.

[LAUGHTER]

I was thinking, really? I hadn't heard that one before.

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: No.

CATHY WURZER: Oh. But so masking, in your estimation, has been one of the things that this woman has done that has been most helpful?

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: Yes. I think that there's been so much controversy around masking, but I think it's the single thing that definitely helps. And whether you use an N95 mask or a regular mask, I think all of them protect you to different degrees. And I think a mask that you wear consistently is the best thing for you.

CATHY WURZER: OK. Do we know how many people have had symptomatic cases of COVID, by the way?

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: In terms of how many-- of all the cases, how many are symptomatic?

CATHY WURZER: Yes. Do we know?

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: So it varies. Probably 80% of people have symptomatic COVID. Somewhere between 10% and 20% have asymptomatic COVID. And your subsequent episodes-- so there are many people in the US who have had COVID more than once, and it seems like the subsequent episodes generally tend to be milder and are more likely to be asymptomatic.

LAKSHMI SINGH: See, this is the beginning of August. Of course, school's around the corner and elementary, college. What are the predictions of a fall wave of COVID infections?

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: So the one thing that COVID has taught us is that almost all predictions don't come true, so I'm hesitant to make any predictions. But with the vaccination rate in the US, the availability of vaccines for young children, I'm hopeful that, as more and more vulnerable people get vaccinated, that the next wave of COVID will not be as severe. That there'll be fewer cases and they will continue to be milder cases.

But any time you get people together in enclosed spaces, the risk of COVID does go up. And we have some tools. We've learned a lot in the last two years. So keeping an eye on case counts and taking extra precautions when cases go up. Wearing masks when cases go up in your community, getting vaccinated, including booster doses of vaccine when indicated, and continuing to work on improving air quality in indoor spaces, I think, will be the way to keep us safe safer going forward.

CATHY WURZER: All right. Dr. Sampathkumar, it's been a pleasure. Thank you so very much.

PRIYA SAMPATHKUMAR: All right. Thank you.

CATHY WURZER: Dr. Priya Sampathkumar is an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic.

INTERVIEWER 2: Support comes from Visit Bemidji, where runners are encouraged to go one step further and take part in the annual Blue Ox Marathon. Multiple races to either watch or participate in. More information at visitbemidji.com

CATHY WURZER: Todd Melby is with us right now the look at news. Todd?

TODD MELBY: Hey. Thanks, Cathy. Here's the latest news. A judge in Russia has convicted American basketball star Brittney Griner of drug possession and smuggling, and sentencing to her to nine years in prison. The unusually quick verdict came in a politically charged case amid soaring tensions between Moscow and Washington over Ukraine, and could lead to a high stakes prisoner exchange.

The US Justice Department has charged four Louisville police officers involved in the deadly Breonna Taylor raid with civil rights violations. Federal charges against former officers Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison, and Kelly Goodlett, along with Louisville police Sergeant Kyle Meany, were announced by US attorney General Merrick Garland earlier today. Garland says that federal officials share, but cannot fully imagine the grief felt by Taylor's family.

An attorney representing two parents who sued conspiracy theorist Alex Jones over his false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre says the US House Committee-- House January 6 committee has requested two years worth of records from Jones's phone. Attorney Mark Bankston said in a court today that the committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol has requested the digital records.

China says it has conducted precision missile strikes in the Taiwan Strait as part of military exercises by its Navy, Air Force, and other departments in six zones surrounding the island. Japan says it protested to China after five of the missiles landed inside its exclusive economic zone.

And autopsy results say that three family members killed during a shooting last month at an Eastern Iowa State Park were shot, stabbed, and/or strangled. The Iowa Department of Public Safety says in a news release today that 42-year-old Tyler Schmidt died from a gunshot wound and multiple sharp force injuries while his wife, 42-year-old Sarah Schmidt, died from multiple sharp force injuries. Officials say their six-year-old daughter died from a gunshot wound and strangulation.

CATHY WURZER: This is MPR News. Thank you, Todd. It's 12:27 right now. I know you're seeing a lot of candidate lawn signs popping up as we get closer to next Tuesday's primary. One of the races on the ballot is Hennepin County Attorney. For the first time in almost 25 years, there will be a new Hennepin County Attorney after Mike Freeman announced he's retiring.

The Hennepin County Attorney holds a key position in government. The County Attorney's office handles adult and juvenile crime, child protection, and other legal issues for the county. There are seven candidates running for the office, and as of today, we've talked to all of them. The last conversation is with Ryan Winkler, a practicing attorney and DFL House Majority Leader. He lives in Golden Valley. Representative Winkler, welcome to the program.

RYAN WINKLER: Hi, Cathy.

CATHY WURZER: You've said you're going to emphasize public safety while holding police accountable as Hennepin County Attorney. How will you make sure that happens?

RYAN WINKLER: Well, first of all, the level of violent crime that we are experiencing in Hennepin County, in Minneapolis, and the surrounding suburbs is completely unacceptable. We're almost getting calloused as we see person after person harmed. It could be homicides, shootings, carjacking. It's not acceptable the way it is. The public is demanding a difference. They want to be safe. We have a justice system that people want to believe in and trust. That has its challenges.

And the only way we are going to create more public safety and create the kind of police departments, the kind of justice system that everybody wants, is by building strong coalitions, by working closely with law enforcement, working with law enforcement leaders, working with community leaders, and building the kinds of strong networks, the kind of strong partnerships and relationships that is necessary for this all to function well.

CATHY WURZER: You were talking about holding police accountable, and I'm wondering, when it comes to getting just better officers. You announced this spring that you're going to create an expedited police training program for folks with strong moral character. What does that mean exactly?

RYAN WINKLER: There is a very strong tradition of hire for character, train for competence. That was pioneered in Ramsey County by Sheriff Matt Bostrom. We're starting to see that percolate up in other police departments across Minnesota. And the concept is you assess candidates for becoming police officers on the front-end based on their commitment to community service.

And if they show that they have the character and attributes of commitment to service and are interested in becoming officers, then you can train them to be competent and teach them the skills. But trying to teach the skills of being community minded, of having empathy, having cultural competency, those things are much harder to train. And so we start by hiring based on character. We were trying to create that pipeline because police chiefs are saying they're looking to hire more of those kind of police officers, but our current recruiting system is not producing enough of them.

CATHY WURZER: Of course, the County Attorney's not in charge of hiring police. How do you plan to get this program enacted as County Attorney?

RYAN WINKLER: Right. I was proposing that as a state legislator. I think as County Attorney, I would continue to urge the state legislature to pursue that kind of idea. We did make some progress on it this last session. It's also possible that we could create more of these kind of programs at the local level.

Last night I heard from Interim Chief Amelia Huffman in Minneapolis that they are trying to do exactly that right now in Minneapolis. And the new Community Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander, I talked with him a couple of weeks ago and he expressed interest in exactly the same thing.

CATHY WURZER: Speaking of the legislature, you worked on passing that recent cannabis legislation bill through the state house which included criminal expungement for nonviolent marijuana offenders. As Hennepin County Attorney, will you expunge other nonviolent crimes from people's records?

RYAN WINKLER: So the County Attorney can play a role. Right now we have a state law that governs how expungements are completed. I think that the County Attorney can help by not opposing people's who apply for expungement, and potentially even supporting some of those applications if justice is served by it.

When we look at our cannabis laws overall, we know that they are a product of mass incarceration-- or that mass incarceration is one of the products. There are deep racial disparities in how our cannabis laws have been enforced. And so it isn't just enough to create a legal product, we also have to look at repairing the damage caused by our criminal justice approach to cannabis prohibition.

CATHY WURZER: Each candidate we've talked to this week has also focused on juvenile crime because, as you know, with the recent spasm of carjackings, those were some pretty young individuals who were involved. What do you do to help these young people stay out of the system? Once they're in the system, how do you reform them? What's your plan?

RYAN WINKLER: So we moved away from incarceration as a model for dealing with juveniles. I think we went a bit overboard in making that switch and not having an effective system in place to monitor their behavior and monitor their location to make sure that they're getting the right kind of follow through. So it's sort of what we did with mental health.

We closed our state institutions, but never created an adequate community based system to support them. And so we need to, I think, look at reopening the county homeschool or look at expanding the juvenile detention center, not as the whole answer, but as part of the answer. If anyone is harming somebody through violence, is committing a gun crime, they need to have accountability.

They need to be away from the community until they are able to function again like a constructive citizen and not harm people. But for young people, we have to include the possibility of rehabilitation, particularly as their brains develop. We need to make sure that there are pathways back out, and that requires a lot of constructive programming, a lot of intervention, not just incarceration.

CATHY WURZER: As you know, earlier in the year there were a number of police chiefs in the West Metro who were not happy with current County Attorney Mike Freeman, said he wasn't charging cases as they thought he should. Communication wasn't great. What about communication between the County Attorney's office and other entities? How will you improve that?

RYAN WINKLER: That has to be one of the top priorities for the next County Attorney. I've had one on one conversations with many of those same police chiefs, and consistently they say that they want to have not only input when charging policies are changed at the County Attorney's office, but they want to better understand the direction the County Attorney's office is trying to go. They want to be able to object or require-- or ask for clarification for charging decisions, and none of those channels of communication currently, really, are robust.

So I would do what I did at the state legislature. Be very intentional about opening up lines of communication, making sure they know who to call if they have concerns, making sure that we are regularly and deliberately meeting together, talking through issues, and building relationships. Because you cannot show up at a crisis moment and not have anybody's phone number or not have a level of trust. That, we have seen way too much of in recent years.

CATHY WURZER: Before you go, I'm wondering about police who have been involved in shootings, killings of civilians. How do you plan to deal with those individuals? There have been, of course, problems with the grand jury system. Will the buck stop with you? Will you make charging decisions? Will you send them on to the attorney general's office? What do you plan to do?

RYAN WINKLER: I think we need to have a very clear process for charging police officers, or considering charges against police officers, particularly for murder and manslaughter. No one County Attorney will have all the trust from every direction it takes to make those decisions individually. I don't think that-- referring some cases to other counties and not others. I think that all suggests just politics. What I want is a procedure.

So when the possibility of a charge happens, we have a process in place, a timeline in place that we have vetted ahead of time with the community so that we aren't in this moment, these high tension moments, and wondering what political decisions are being made. But rather have a process in place for referring decisions to a group of people, County Attorney recommended people from metro counties, who can make a recommendation on charging in one of those circumstances and then have that come back to the County Attorney for a final decision.

CATHY WURZER: All right. Representative, thank you so much.

RYAN WINKLER: Thank you, Cathy. Thanks for having these conversations

CATHY WURZER: Absolutely. It's been interesting to listen to all seven candidates. If you'd like to listen to each of the candidates and what they had to say, of course, we have the podcast posted at mprnews.org. That was Ryan Winkler, candidate for Hennepin County Attorney. Early voting, by the way, in this race, is happening right now. Primaries, I've mentioned, is August the 9th. You can sign up to vote when you get to your local polling station. You can find out how to register and where your local polling place is by visiting hennepin.us/residents/elections.

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INTERVIEWER 3: Support for MPR News comes from Planned Parenthood, North Central States. Planned Parenthood stands behind personal medical decisions and will never back down in the fight for reproductive rights. ppnsc.org.

CATHY WURZER: How about something completely different right now? Let's talk about your body. If you listen to what's happening in your body, what can it tell you about your mental and spiritual well-being? That's what Emily Hall tries to answer with her clients. Now, we received an email from a listener recently.

She said that like many others, she's been facing pandemic blues. Overwhelmed, sad, and grieving the loss of normal life and the changes brought on over the past two to three years. On top of all this, she's mother to three young kids, she started a new job, and she's been adjusting to a recently blended family. Now, I'm sure any one of these struggles might sound familiar to you. That is where Emily Hall came in for our listener.

Emily's 10 minute meditations on listening to your body really helped this listener feel more like herself. Emily Hall is a registered nurse as well as an energetic body worker with a background in multiple healing modalities. Emily Hall, who's based in the Twin Cities, is here to talk about exactly how we can listen to our bodies to better cope with the stress of life these days. Emily, it's really a pleasure. Thanks. Welcome to the program.

EMILY HALL: Thank you, Cathy. I am absolutely thrilled to be here.

CATHY WURZER: Can you explain what the heck listening to your body is all about?

EMILY HALL: Yes, I certainly can. Listening to your body is simply tuning in and becoming aware of how your body is speaking to you holistically. And holistically, of course, means physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically, or spiritually. For example, physically your body speaks to you by letting you know what foods are right for you and your digestion in that process, or through movement and what is right for the frame that you live in.

Mentally, emotionally our body speaks to us in the relationships that help us thrive or those self-care activities that are right for you. And then energetically, our body really speaks to us in the truth that we are each these beautiful, unique individuals out there. And as we tune in and go inward, we can discover ways to bring who we are on the inside out into that world around us.

CATHY WURZER: Who we are in the inside and bringing it out into the world. Sometimes-- many times, on the inside, you're just roiling with emotions. You know? Let's talk about that. I know that you're a believer that we should not mute our emotions. We should acknowledge and then feel and work with them. Is that right?

EMILY HALL: Yes. It's true. I believe that every single emotion that we have rises for a reason within us. So if you are feeling sad, there's a reason you're feeling sad. If happiness is rising within and encouraging you to laugh or smile, there's a reason for that happiness. And so while some of our emotions are very comfortable to be present in, others are not. They're no less important.

And so when I speak about this or work with an individual, it really is to support an understanding that all of our emotions rise for a reason. We should absolutely seek out support systems to understand how to support them and ask what's asking us to pay attention, and to know that every emotion is important. We should not mute it or ignore it because these are an important part of listening to your holistic body. These are little clues into how your holistic self is helping you be that best version of who you are.

CATHY WURZER: I hope this makes sense when I ask this question, but can you-- if you can't name the emotion right now, if you're feeling something in your body-- I'm just going to say heart palpitations or something in your body-- is that emotion that you're experiencing or something else?

EMILY HALL: It's a little bit of both. And I love that question because that really is that physical. So you're experiencing that physical symptom of heart palpitations, and if we just tune in briefly and become aware, we most often can identify, is this because I'm nervous about something? Is this because my body feels off and maybe I should seek some physical support through a doctor or physician? And so when your body gives you those physical clues, it is linked to a more holistic answer. Does that help?

CATHY WURZER: Yes. Yes. Thank you for that. Let's talk about balance while we still have an opportunity to talk here because there's so much to ask you about. How do you see life balance in this day and age? Because it's really hard to find.

EMILY HALL: I think this is one of my favorite questions, Cathy. Oftentimes with balance, people mistakenly believe that balance comes through action. So if I have a certain amount of exercise a week, if I am certain to get this many hours of sleep, if I do this self-care or that, I will experience balance in my life. And it's true that while exercise and sleep are important, balance really comes from tuning in to what's right for you.

Because if we're trying to incorporate all of these various activities in our life to create balance, most often what happens is an even greater state of overwhelm. So when I look at balance, I want you to focus on the fact that it's really about awareness where you can take a few moments to sink in and look at your day and create a space that feels right. So one week you may have the ability to exercise three times and the following week, as you sink into your awareness, you may realize you can only get to the gym twice.

So balance is really much more about stepping into an awareness, listening to what is right for you, and then choosing the actions that are best associated. It's about creating actions after the awareness so we can be flexible because balance is not about rigidity through the actions, it's about flexibility and being honest in our awareness about what is right for our life in that moment.

CATHY WURZER: Mhm. I mentioned our listener, and she said you have really helped her with the series of meditations dealing with specific emotions. We have about two minutes left. Shoot. Can you lead us in a meditation that could help us listen to our bodies and then work through some more difficult emotions?

EMILY HALL: Sure. Absolutely. So I think we'll do just a quick single word meditation. And this is a short meditation that will help you listen to your body at any point because you're just choosing a single word. You can do this for 10 to 30 seconds or one to three breaths. And we're going to incorporate our holistic self, so I'm going to have you place your hands on two parts of your physical body. So if you're listening right now and you're not driving, go ahead and place one of your hands right on your heart center, so the center of your chest.

And the other hand we'll put on that core of our body right in the center of our stomach. And the word I'm going to help you choose today is calm. And so as we get ready, I'll have you picture the word calm in your mind. And for this brief exercise, when we inhale, we are just going to inhale calm. OK? And so go ahead and sit up straight and close your eyes. Place your hand on your heart and your chest and just picture that word calm, or you can whisper it, and just inhale deeply on the count of three. 1, 2, 3.

Inhale through your nose. And then exhale. And one more time we'll do that. So picture that word calm, or just whisper it out and go ahead and breathe inward. And exhale out. So this brief exercise is not going to dramatically change your day or life, but it will be present with you in the moments that you need to pause or go inward. You can choose any word to support.

You could choose patience if you need that, or joy, and you find these moments in your day. With your morning coffee, if you had a break at work. I know I do this often after I buckle my kids in the car seat in the past and walk around before I get in my car. I just breathe in patience. And so this is just a simple 10 to 30 second meditation that you can do to help you shift that moment that you're in.

CATHY WURZER: Emily, what a gift that is. I thank you so much. You're going to have to come back because there's just a lot to talk about. I also want to ask you a little bit more about the energy body work that you do. It's just so very interesting. And thank you for what you're doing.

EMILY HALL: Thank you, Cathy. I appreciate being here.

CATHY WURZER: Emily Hall is a registered nurse and energetic body worker based in Minneapolis.

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OK. We're going to go from being calm to just kind of ratcheting up a little bit because we're going to talk about sports. A lot of folks are excited about the Twins trades this week. Why would that be? Well, we're going to ask our sports experts, Wally and Eric. Wally Langfellow is the founder of Minnesota Score Magazine and the co-host of 10,000 Takes, sports talk show on radio and TV. Eric Nelson is the other host of 10,000 Takes and the Minnesota Vikings reporter for CBS Sports Radio's Eye on the NFL. Hey, guys. How are you doing?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Good, Cathy. How are you?

CATHY WURZER: Good so far.

ERIC NELSON: Yeah. Good afternoon. Cathy.

CATHY WURZER: Good afternoon. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I think we should start with the Vikings. Why not? So I'm kind of curious here. What's happening when it comes to training camp, Mr. Langfellow?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Well, some injuries earlier this week really at the top of the list. And nothing major. I think that the most concerning thing right now is Irv Smith. He had a surgery on his wrist. He will be out the entire preseason, which, of course, runs into early September. So he will hopefully be ready for opening day against the Green Bay Packers, but he's out. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison both with finger injuries or hand injuries earlier this week. It doesn't look like either one of those is serious, but nonetheless, injuries are injuries.

One interesting thing that came down this week, the NFL was rated on what values each of the teams have. And the Dallas Cowboys franchise is rated at a $7.64 billion worth right now. So Jerry Jones is doing pretty well. $7.64 billion. Minnesota Vikings, 18th on that list. So the Cowboys are number one, the Vikings are 18th on the list. And Ziggy's club is worth $3.72 billion, so I think his investment is paying off--

CATHY WURZER: You think?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: --would be my guess.

CATHY WURZER: You think?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Yes. I think so. By the way, the first NFL preseason game is tonight, the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. Yes. Jacksonville is taking on the Raiders tonight.

CATHY WURZER: So speaking of Hall of Fame. Eric Nelson, I always loved to listen to Vin Scully. He was just such a master broadcaster.

ERIC NELSON: Yeah, no question, Cathy. And before I get into that, we should mention Anthony Barr, four time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Vikings, is now going to Dallas to try to increase the value of America's team. He signed with the Cowboys.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Oh, boy.

ERIC NELSON: But you are right about Vin Scully, and I was very fortunate as a young kid growing up in Orange County, California. I listened to him often. And boy, he paints a picture on the radio. He's an icon, and probably the greatest broadcaster ever, spanning 67 years with the Brooklyn, then LA Dodgers. And we lost Vinny the other day, and the tributes continue to flood in for a guy who was universally loved. But what some people may not realize, Cathy, is Vin Scully also did NFL Play by Play on television for CBS.

CATHY WURZER: Mhm.

ERIC NELSON: In fact, he was the broadcaster for the legendary 1977 Mud Bowl playoff game, Minnesota Vikings at the LA Rams. It was soggy. It was rain soaked at the old LA Coliseum. It wasn't one of those quintessential sunny SoCal days. I was at the game as a young kid, and after about one quarter, you couldn't see the numbers on the jerseys. And the Vikings sprang the upset.

One of the great playoff wins the Vikings have ever had, 14 to 7. And Vin Scully, of course, is calling the game in the booth. And since then, I've watched it many times over on YouTube. And I tell anybody who's a Viking fan, young or old, pull it up and listen to Vin Scully call a Minnesota Vikings football game with Chuck Foreman scoring a touchdown and Bob Lee leading the team to a win at the Mud Bowl.

CATHY WURZER: It's classic. It is classic. Hey, let's talk Twins while we still have the opportunity here. We have got about four minutes left. Wally, it looks like the Twins are now in a three team race. Is that right? In the AL Central? What the heck happened there?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Well, and it has been. It really has been a three team race most of the season. But they did make some moves, and they hope to pull away from Cleveland and Chicago. They made several moves at the trade deadline, as most folks know. And three of the four guys that they picked up were pivotal in their win yesterday over the Detroit Tigers. Michael Fulmer, reliever, came in relief and threw a scoreless inning.

Jorge Lopez, the closer that they picked up, came in and closed out the game and he got the save. And Sandy Leon, probably the most little known player in the deal, they got from Cleveland, a team that's chasing them, of all things. He had two hits and two RBIs to help the Twins with the victory over Detroit yesterday. They have a one game lead on Cleveland as they head into this weekend series against Toronto, and the Blue Jays are here beginning tonight.

CATHY WURZER: Eric.

ERIC NELSON: Yeah, Cathy. And right now the Twins, despite being in first place, are 20th out of the 30 MLB teams in attendance. They're averaging just under 22,000 fans per game. That should change starting tonight. Get ready for a Canadian coup d'etat. Blue Jays fans are going to flock to Minneapolis from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario.

There's going to be lots of Labatts and Molson beer consumed in the next few days because if you look at Toronto, Cathy, on a map, it's obviously in the east. For some of these people in Canada, Minneapolis is the closest chance they get to seeing their beloved Blue Jays play. And by the way, Toronto is very good. This will be a test for the Twins. There's going to be a lot of Blue Jay blue in the Twin Cities. Probably out at the Mall of America too.

CATHY WURZER: Never know about that. Say, Wally, before we go, as we're talking about baseball, this is something that we have talked about in the past. We've done stories about the Baseball in Benin little league tournament this weekend.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: It is this weekend and it's-- well, it's a project that I've been involved with for several years now, Cathy, and we're bringing baseball to that small country in West Africa. And this weekend, we're holding a wood bat little league tournament in Robbinsdale in St. Louis Park that will benefit those kids in Africa.

We use the money to send equipment over and so on and so forth. But all weekend long, 38 teams from around the metro area will be in Robbinsdale and in Saint Louis Park, little league kids, and all the money goes towards building baseball in that small West African country. And it is a very impoverished nation. I've been there a couple of times. It really is a great project.

CATHY WURZER: And before we go, Eric Nelson, let's talk quickly here about the T Wolves.

ERIC NELSON: Yeah. Obviously they're not playing now, but they have a young guy by the name of Ant, Anthony Edwards, who is-- he's gaining traction as a future star. He's now in a movie called Hustle.

CATHY WURZER: What?

ERIC NELSON: He, along with Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. Yeah. He's on the silver screen. Anthony Edwards. They are pitching Sprite, which has a new clear plastic bottle that's good for recycling and all that stuff. And Ant said the other day in an interview, he wants to be the new face of the NBA.

And who's to say he can't? He's got a megawatt smile that could light up Minneapolis. He definitely connects with fans. He's got incredible potential, and he seems to embrace being in the limelight. So good luck to Ant, one of Minnesota's young sports stars.

CATHY WURZER: Yes, he is a star, and you guys are stars as well. Thanks for joining us. I hope you guys have a good weekend.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Thanks, Cathy.

ERIC NELSON: Thanks, Cathy.

CATHY WURZER: See you later. Wally Langfellow is the founder of Minnesota Score Magazine, the co-host of 10,000 Takes, sports talk show on radio and TV. And Eric Nelson is the other co-host as the other host of that 10,000 Takes. He's also with CBS Sports Radio's Eye on Football. Say, before we go, I'd like to thank a listener for this lovely letter. Stephanie from Woodbury.

She says, I'm sending a heartfelt thank you to you and your Minnesota Now staff for your excellent program. It's now one of the best on MPR. The program to date has been truly impressive. A mix of politics, culture, music is always enlightening. The research time and energy that goes into these shows is notable. It's more like a personal almanac event. Thank you. I appreciate that, Stephanie. Thank you so very much.

Hey, and of course, the people behind the show, they make me sound-- they always make me sound good. More than I really deserve. Our senior producer is Melissa Townsend. Our producers are Gretchen Brown, Simone Cazares, and Ellen Finn. They do a great job. And our technical director is Alex Simpson, pushing all the right buttons. Making sure we're actually on the air, which is always a good thing. Thanks to all those individuals for putting this show on the air. Thank you to you for listening every day here on MPR News.

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Support for Minnesota now comes from True Stone Financial, a full service credit union working to improve the financial well-being of its neighbors since 1939. Serving individuals and businesses at 23 locations and online at truestone.org. Equal housing opportunity insured by NCUA. Sunshine, 76 degrees right now at MPR News, 91.1 KNOW, Minneapolis, Saint Paul. We're in the midst of a gorgeous day here in the Twin Cities. Low humidity, pleasant temperatures.

We'll probably get to about 85 for a high today. Not much of a wind. The overnight lows should be around 68, and I feel like heat humidity-- hang on, it's coming. Tomorrow, 92 for a high. Little windy tomorrow. 50% chance of rain tomorrow night. Saturday looks wet, thankfully. Showers and thunderstorms are likely Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Chance for rain too on Sunday. It's 1:00.

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