Today on the MPR News Update the parents of the gunman in last month's shooting rampage in Minneapolis talk about his mental illness struggles. We look at the TV ad barrage in the 8th Congressional District. A Minnesota Lynx star speaks out against the marriage amendment. And the sugar beet harvest goes on despite a labor lockout.
'NOTHING WE COULD DO': Many lives changed the afternoon of Sept. 27 at a small but growing Minneapolis business called Accent Signage Systems. An employee, Andrew Engeldinger, had just lost his job. He responded by opening fire and killing six colleagues. Then he turned the gun on himself. This morning, we aired the first part of two interviews with Engeldinger's parents, in which they describe their anguish at watching their son's struggle with mental illness. "There was nothing we could do," his mother told Cathy Wurzer.
AUGUSTUS OPPOSES MARRIAGE AMENDMENT: With her adopted home state of Minnesota considering a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, Lynx star Seimone Agustus is now becoming a vocal proponent of equal rights for gays, and critic of the amendment and its proponents. "I never understood the whole point of opposing or hating someone else's happiness," she said in an interview with AP, accompanied by her longtime girlfriend, LaTaya Varner.
WHAT WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT VOTER ID: The question you'll see on your ballot mentions two of the requirements: Voters would need a valid photo ID to vote; and the state must give free IDs to eligible voters. However, the language that will be added to the constitution if it passes is three times as long as the ballot question and adds several more requirements, such as a new system of provisional balloting. Watch this video to find out what we know about these possible changes to Minnesota's voting system -- and the questions that remain.
SKIP THE PROPS: Have you ever wondered why it is that President Obama and Mitt Romney never whip out a handy chart or Power Point page during the presidential debate to drive home a complicated point about job creation or trade policy with China? News Cut's Bob Collins, who will be live-blogging the second presidential debate tonight, posted the formal agreement between the two candidates on his blog today. It says: No props allowed.
CRAVAACK vs. NOLAN: Outside groups supporting Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack have released two new ads attacking DFL challenger Rick Nolan over his time in Congress decades ago, providing fuel for the next debate between the candidates. Cravaack is criticizing Nolan for his record as head of the Minnesota World Trade Center decades ago. Former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's American Action Network is behind one of the new anti-Nolan TV spots.
FOLLOW THE MONEY: Rep. Michele Bachmann's re-election campaign raised more than $4.5 million in the three months ending Sept. 30, more evidence that the three-term Republican Congresswoman remains among the most prolific fundraisers in Congress. No other congressional candidate in Minnesota has raised a comparable sum. In fact, Bachmann's fundraising haul likely exceeds the combined amount raised by all of the major party candidates in the other eight U.S. Senate and House races in the state.
MORE FROM THE OMAR TRIAL: Phone records tracked by the FBI show a Minneapolis man accused of supporting a Somali terror group exchanged hundreds of calls and text messages with a second wave of al-Shabab recruits from the Twin Cities. Mahamud Said Omar appeared to be in frequent phone contact with several men who left for Somalia in late 2008, FBI Special Agent Casey Villarreal told federal jurors Monday.
NEW MENINGITIS WARNING: Minnesota health care providers are being urged to contact any patients who received a drug injection manufactured by the New England Compounding Center. The government warning comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration identified three new possible cases of fungal meningitis in patients who received NECC products that had not previously been implicated in the current meningitis outbreak.
UNITEDHEALTHY: UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s third-quarter earnings jumped 23 percent, thanks in part to Medicare and Medicaid business growth that helped the nation's largest health insurer beat analyst expectations. The Minnetonka company also raised its 2012 earnings forecast.
THE SOUND OF MONEY: Unions hope a national consumer boycott against Crystal Sugar that started Monday will pressure the company to settle a labor dispute, but the beet farmers who own the American Crystal Sugar cooperative are not feeling that pressure. For them, the biggest matter at this time of year is to load beets from fertile fields into trucks. For farmers like David Kragnes, the sound of those beets hitting the metal truck box is the sound of money. (And take a look at this photo gallery from the Kragnes farm near Moorhead.)
GET OUT THERE: The little Arrowhead town of Grand Marais has had more personas than Madonna. Originally a Native American settlement, it was a European immigrants' fishing camp, a fur trading post and a shipping hub before its current iteration as a tourist destination and the seat of Cook County. We've profiled the town for our "get out there series," which is accompanied by some stunning travel photos.
STADIUM SHOPPING LIST: A ballroom full of people in Minneapolis last night offered their two cents to the billion-dollar stadium in the works to replace the Metrodome. It was the first stop on what HKS, the stadium's designers, are calling a listening tour. They heard that Minnesotans are expecting a lot from the new stadium, which is expected to open in 2016. Closed captioning for the jumbo scoreboard replays, more elevators, real grass, purple seats: Those are just some of the items on fans' stadium shopping list at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
'WILD' THING: It was 1995 and Cheryl Strayed was a mess. She had lost her mother to cancer. She embarked on a string of affairs. She divorced. She tried heroin. Then one day she chanced across a guidebook for the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs through Washington State down to California and beyond. She couldn't get the idea of hiking the trail out of her head, and her epic trek and subsequent memoir turned her life around, she tells Euan Kerr.
MORE HEROES: Art Heroes is an MPR News series about people who commit themselves day in and day out to transforming their communities through their art. We benefit from a wealth of artists in this area who are also great community leaders. For our latest profile and photo gallery we spent time with Michelle Hensley, the artistic director of Ten Thousand Things, a theater company that brings its shows to prisons, homeless shelters and rehab centers. The company recently performed William Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" to a group of incarcerated men in a gym at Hennepin County Corrections.