An MPR Special report, presenting the big Minnesota news stories of 1998. Highlights include Governor election, Comfrey and St. Peter tornado, farm crisis, mergers, the Northwest strike and the big tobacco trial. Program ends with brief remembrance segments on various individuals that made news in the year.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
With news from Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Mike Mulcahy governor-elect. Jesse Ventura is pushing for the incoming first lady to get a salary to Ventura says his wife Terry has already virtually abandoned her horse racing business because of the duties of first lady. He says she should get paid $25,000 or so for all the work. She'll be doing for the state Governor salary is more than $120,000 a year the demolition work in downtown. St. Cloud is complete and Cruz are now clearing away the debris from the December 11th, natural gas explosion. The owners of the four buildings destroyed by the blast are still deciding whether to rebuild Stearns County officials are also I am the downtown property the Minnesota Vikings will have wide receiver Jake Reed back in uniform when they host a playoff game a week from Sunday. Reed hasn't played since undergoing back surgery last month, but coaches say he's done well in practice this week and read says he feels good. He gave credit to Matthew hatchette who filled in for him while he was injured read said Hatchet gained valuable experience from theYeah year you never know about to Stephanie again, you know so cuz you're going to be a very physical game but hats is Israeli. We have to ready to go and you know, I'll give all my respect in improv that he's a good ballplayer when you have a ball feel like that it make you want to get well fast the Vikings opponent in their January 10th game depends on the outcome of this weekend's playoff games. Well, it's going to be a cold New Year's Eve at 4 this afternoon. They'll be some partial clearing around the state house from 10 below do around 10 above tonight a chance for some light snow on the far Southwest late tonight. Otherwise a Lowe's around twenty five below in the far north to near zero in the southwest right now. It's cloudy generally in the north sunny in the South Saint Cloud has three above Duluth Eight Below in the Twin Cities for above that's news. I'm Mike Mulcahy. Thank you. Mike 6 minutes now past 11 programming an NPR is supported by Hazelden foundation for over 50 years a national leader and adult alcohol and drug addiction recovery.Center City, Minnesota, 800-257-7800 Good morning, and welcome to mid-day on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary Acton. Glad you could join us 1998 has been a very busy year for news reporters in today on midday before we let this year getaway. We're going to look back at some of the major stories of 1998 stories, which will ultimately take us to the storm-ravaged communities southern Minnesota the picket line to Twin Cities International to financially strapped Firearms, Minnesota family farmers and some of the boardrooms at Minnesota tycoons all of those stories and more are coming up the shower and we hope you'll be able to travel along as we revisit the places and the people who made Minnesota headlines this year. Our tour begins naturally enough on the campaign Trail for the first time in 16 years. The governor's seat was up for grabs. This year was governor ardy Carlson announced that he would not seek re-election a large field of candidates step forward first, there were 10 Then there were three and finally I was just one when I was in the Grande parade of people. When people go to vote there is a level of trust and familiarity that needs to be there in order for someone to really have the opportunity to govern. Well. I hope that the work that I've done for the last 16 years as attorney general will be a foundation for that. I want to find out if it's indeed true that you must be a professional politician to leaders and Governors State or Can a citizen govern if I fail in my opinion the American dream is that is now dead and you must be a professional politician. I Believe In My Bones, I believe in all my heart but Society built on lasting values like family and Faith respect for the Dignity of all Life unlimited democratic government is the best path to achieving the great human potential Humphrey is going to be all involved about his education education and helping family right from the very very beginning my property take for example has jumped an average of $460 a year for the last 4 years in a row all we've got a 4 billion dollar Surplus going on at the Capitol. Why do you think I'm running for governor? Isabel for Jesse Ventura wasted protest about absolutely not and I think that's pompous and arrogant to state that what do you think the chances are he might actually win? Probably around 25% as was Ross Perot in 1992. I've been listening to the debate and I really like Jesse and his ideas in with the people and I like that. 2 months ago, they told me I was 10% and their so-called polls now. I'm up to almost 25% in a matter of a couple of weeks. My candidacy has wind in the sails. We're moving. We are pumped. I mean we are pumped. This is just so fun. I drive over the road truck and and and was able to vote on an absentee ballot and I've already cast my vote for Jesse many inquiries from Mays college students asking how to register where they can vote what the procedures are. I'm not sure what what is due to but it's really nice and refreshing to see so many young people out Jesse Ventura with 37% of the valence counted Norm Coleman the Republican 34% Skip Humphrey 28 Rossetti is the dfl candidate. Now it's 1998. How many American dream lives on in Minnesota? Cuz we've shot the world. That portrait of this year's campaign was produced by Minnesota public radio's Jim Bickel now over the noon hour. Today. We're going to have much much more on the campaign for governor will take a closer. Look at Jesse Ventura is Victory and then we'll be talking with three folks who watched the entire campaign unfold Ventura advisor Dean Barclay Coleman advisor. Cyndy brucato and Humphrey advisor Eric Johnson that's coming up over the noon hour. And of course, we'll be opening the phone lines as well. So you can participate right now. We're going to continue our look at some of the other big stories that headline Minnesota news this year man. Our next stop. This hour is Southern Minnesota on Sunday, March 29th, a huge storm devastated more than 60 miles of South Central Minnesota the storm virtually destroyed the small town of comfrey then about 5:30 and F3 tornado carrying Winds of up to 206 Mi per hour roared through Saint Peter. Two people were killed one of them a boy who was just 6 years old instead of public radio in Diamond was in St. Peter on March 29th. When the tornado arrived she's been following the recovery since as the warning sirens roared most people ran to a basement if they had one a few of the Brave or maybe the foolish ventured outside to watch that was until the tornado blasted across the city of St. Peter. It was over in just a matter of moments as people emerged most were unsure what had happened but it was evident ever had changed the width of it was I would say I'm a mile to a mile and a half cuz there was a farm off in the distance and it was completely covered the whole area was covered with with the motion of this for me on downed power lines shattered glass and other debris covered the roads Public Safety workers spread out looking to help dealing with problem. Strewn across the town as Darkness descended hundreds of people wandered the streets looking for friends and family. Nearly. All Communications were out only a scattering of phones around the outer edges of town still work cell phone systems were overloaded with the darkness came the cold which was the grip many people who were to be without heat and power for the coming week mini like Robbie Lynn and his family had a lot less lost two houses ones right here and ones out the country. We just moved out not even completely moved out in the country at in That's totally totally gone trailer house five sheds houses. There's no house. Boarded-up storefronts using plywood available at a local lumber yard on a tank now pay later basis bulldozers Rumble through the streets pushing aside the storms wreckage later in the night the National Guard Patrol the town with military trucks blocking off the streets the cliche. It's like a war zone seem to carry more weight people desperately tried to come to terms with what it happened. What's the disaster total scary? But at least we're alive. That's the main thing. Floor standing here where vertical and that's about it. The Lord is with us. He didn't do very good a job on that church down there though almost immediately Federal Emergency Management official set up at the state hospital along with the Red Cross and a shelter for displaced people soon. People needed to find something more permanent some turn to FEMA for this is a list of some temporary housing units in the area that I may be available and may fit your needs. So if you would like to look through that list, Do you do you know if there's anything that's available right in St. Peter doesn't look good. My only problem is that I am an EMT with the ambulance service and I need to be in town. I can make help tornado victims all night. Then she returned to her own badly damaged home an hour later people started knocking on Ming store to help her pack up before she moved to another location. I wandered around right now. I don't know what to do. You know. Usually when you're you're you're planning a move you've packed up five six weeks in advance and I had no clue how to go about getting all this stuff out of this house and where it was going to go and and and whatever and it was just amazing because I had all these people packing my belongings in the next few days St. Peter was hit by a second force of nature human nature the desire to help out thousands of people poured into the city for the cleanup the Salvation Army log 20000 volunteers within a 12 day. There were so many some were turned away Gustavus Adolphus College alumni return to their alma mater which sustained around 50 million dollars in damage Kevin Miller of the Class of 73 printed T-shirts with the slogan rebuilding a greater Gustavus. He wore one while handing out gold and black lapel pins. The volunteers Miller was heading home from vacation when the storm hit the college teachers here at Gustavus. give me just inviting them to be a part of our 25th anniversary. And so it was about the same time that the tornado is going on. So as soon as we get back to Minneapolis, we heard about it and I came down right away. So I was sort of like losing your own house because it's a part of me. I think that's how all the Gustavus people feel like the county courthouse and the Nicollet hotel are being restored. Then there are those like the old st. Peter Central School building for the past 20 years the Victorian era structure. How's the Arts and Heritage Center? Arnie langshan a lifelong. St. Peter Resident was inside when the tornado smashed into the building was all electricity in that black to see you know is it's totally black out through the windows and if there were sparks flying every which way was just finishing Your project hand restoring the building's 86 windows before the tornado ever. 84.1 numbers on the desk. That's when I was working on. So it was a bad time tornado. I wish you would have waited till I got a picture but it didn't and now its 8 hopefully they can't restore that. I don't think Lincoln was right demolition crews brought down the buildings remnants in November people watched in tears for some damage to st. Peter's last Catholic Church was just as painful of God was put into the high altar here while back so that's preserved pastor of the Church of St. Peter survey the damage gaping holes blood daylight where once Rose Windows cast of Warm Glow on parishioners sitting in the pews below Sunday at 4:00 with reconciliation service will be the full charge. We finished at 10 to 5 by 5:30 the West no church as we know it and so it was pretty devastating. I met a woman yesterday and that's at Perkins in case when she says hello. Do you realize another 15 minutes and I do being in heaven because I just received at Solutions. So what kind of Rye humor people laugh laugh laugh during tragedies. It's been nine months since the st. Peter tornado many businesses have reopened competition for contractors remains Fierce as homeowners rebuild the cities total damage estimate stands between 250 and 300 million dollars and Wells St. Peters residents are reconstructing their lives. They're trying to help Mother Nature to known for its tree-lined Street St. Peter lost almost all of its foliage in the tornado. The city has replanted about six hundred trees another 1,500 are slated for planting next spring. But there's still a lot more sky in St. Peter than there was before March 29th 1998. I'm Lynette nyman, Minnesota Public Radio. You're just joining us on this last day of the year. We're reviewing some of the major stories in 1998. What are those major stories continue to unfold throughout the year the farm story if you will most farmers in our area are not going to look fondly on 1998 Main Street radio SmartStyle explains the seeds of the farm swamp. We're as far as long as the Asian financial crisis and it's down home as weather overproduction and disease. It was a year when Minnesota Farmers took home their first billion bushel corn crop a record soybean Harvest and wagons full of red ink the farm crisis of 1998 took hold first in the Red River Valley before rolling South has cold and unforgiving as an artic front. It left in its Wake Farmers disillusioned at their role in the nation's food system. You could just as well go and carry groceries at Hugo's and forget about the misery and headache cuz that's all we're doing is beating her. Against the wall out here. We employ 50% of the workforce in this country feed the whole damn world and we can't feed herself Steve panic and his father went out of business last spring. I need to get an operating loan for their Northwest Minnesota farm scores of wheat farmers in the Red River Valley went out of business this year ruined by several consecutive years of bad weather and disease the fungal blight bedeviling Wheat Growers has a name as repellent as its damage scab its cost Northern Plains farmers and estimated 1 billion dollars this decade. Scam was just one problem facing Farmers take Red River Valley producer Randy Oz but sent by drought floods and low grain prices. He's only had one profitable year in a decade. He sold out last spring. Now that I'm getting out of it, I don't know I wouldn't get back into right now. It would hate for any mail cuz I only want to go to the bank last time I clear up them guys. I'll be happy to be out of it. So I have them all I know is every farmer. I know that has quit farming hasn't regretted it by years and it was predicted 60% of Northwest Minnesota Farmers may not qualify for spring planting loans because they're in such poor financial shape the economic Tremors in the Red River Valley were quickly followed by apprehension in southern Minnesota wear crop prices fell faster and further than anyone had seen before the farm economy is is Pretty dismal right now with the current prices of both corn and soybeans southern Minnesota farmer. Brian runs doll could only watch as the mountains of grain. He and other Farmers produce drove down prices if it truly is a supply-and-demand market and you're supplying more than what the demand is its Financial suicide adding to the problem was a decline and World demand for us farm products. The biggest drop was Asia where devalue currency is made American Commodities unaffordable University of Minnesota farm analyst C4 druggie said the price drop left Farmers virtually, no profitable Refuge livestock prices and grain prices off and run in ways that cause them to be off setting that is not true at the moment and that we have a fairly low prices. For example in the hog market combined with dropping prices in the corn Market. There was one exception though to the jury. The price picture driven by strong butter and cheese demand the price of raw milk sword to record levels during 1998. That was welcome news for an industry which had lost three Farm the day for years still reeling from that disaster, Minnesota Dairy Farmers like Gary Jennison, welcome to higher prices, but we're conscious about how long they would last these are really bonus times. And I thank you you plan your business. So you run your business that during these times that's when you can make your improvements you retired that it but you don't plan on this kind of price forever. That's just poor business. For most Farmers though things got worse as the year went on many like this farmer singer at a rally in Worthington blame the government for their problems. I remember back in 90. When we got the freedom. Government said everything would be fine. A nothing going to be the freedom to farm legislation is supposed to end a direct government Farm subsidies. And most of government's role in agriculture by 2002. It already has a limited government control over how much corn and other grain Farmers grow with controls gone Farmers planted every available acre contributing to the oversupply and falling prices Farmers like Brian runs doll like to call the legislation freedom to fail. I don't have a very Rosy picture of You know the the future if this is kind of the presidents, but even though low prices are driving farmers down to their bottom line some defend that freedom to farm. The legislation makes direct government payments to Farmers through 2002 when the subsidies will stop these payments are supposed to ease the transition of American agriculture from government control to the free market southern Minnesota farmer David Rose said the legislation is painful, but necessary. We don't subsidize the hardware store owner or the small manufacturer. Why should we subsidize the person involved in production agriculture, but even as freedom to farm is debated steps are being taken to undercut the legislation University of Minnesota farm analyst C4 druggie predicts political realities will override political philosophy the factors that if you have a substantial number of farmers in your congressional district, you see it properly is your job to respond to Their concerns to suggest that they would have nothing to do in these areas simply goes against the nature of the political Beast run geese prediction came true in October when Congress passed in the president signed at 7 billion dollar emergency Farm relief package. The money along with record crops will ease the impact of low prices, but won't cure Farmers Financial ills and as the year ends what may be the worst of 1998 to farm problems is taking shape right now. I'm looking at 1300 at Hogs that I need to sell in the next four weeks. I play I stand to lose 65 to $70,000 in the next 3 weeks at a meeting in Marshall Randy work smolov Rushmore describe the flood of reading his farm faces hog prices have collapsed calculated in constant dollars. They maybe even lower than during the Great Depression of the 1930s face with financial ruin Farmers like Dave Overman lash out. Saying the hog oversupply is caused by the rapid growth of large-scale corporate Farms. Nationwide on a vampire Yeah. There are calls for federal help to save pork producers for many though any help will be too late. Escalating debt means they can't get a loan to save their business as the new year begins credit will be the major concern for all Farmers ahead are weeks of negotiations and fine-tuning as they work to get the money they need for another year. This is Mark style, Minnesota Public Radio. And this is midday coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio today to Mark the end of the year were we're reviewing some of the big stories of the Year gone by and we'll continue our review in just a moment. Coming up on sound money this week information. You need to get all the financial aid you qualify for from Calvin Shandy author of paying for college without going broke. Hi, this is Bob Potter will have answers to your questions about the Federal Form rental contributions and more Chris Ferrell, Erica, Whitley or two so tuned in and call in sound muddy Saturday morning at 10 again Sunday afternoon at 5 on Minnesota Public Radio 91.1 in the Twin Cities. Just a reminder over the noon hour. Today is part of our year in review were going to spend the full hour talking about the campaign for governor campaign that ended with the surprising victory victory of Jesse Ventura that's coming up over the noon hour today forecast for Minnesota sunny in the north partly cloudy in central Minnesota cloudy in the South with some flurries high is today 10 below in the northeast of 10 above in the South Twin Cities gradual clearing through the afternoon with a high near 10 degrees above zero tomorrow on New Year's Day a light snow across much of the state with eyes from Five Below in the north 15 above in the south-west Twin Cities tomorrow cloudy with some light snow. Well iron review of the top stories of the Year continues now review takes us next to the courtroom. Then we'll head to the pickup line and then to the boardroom first of all the courtroom where Minnesota's tobacco trial will go down as one of the nation's biggest legal stories of the Year. Twin Cities attorneys took on the seemingly unbeatable tobacco industry and ended up winning nearly seven billion dollars for the state and for Blue Cross Blue Shield, Minnesota, Minnesota public radio's Elizabeth's 2 Wiki reports Skeptics against the tobacco industry where plentiful in the early months of the case with good reason. No one had won a major lawsuit against the tobacco companies, but Minnesota had something other lawsuits did not internal documents that show tobacco companies view themselves as drug companies. The drug was nicotine memos also show the industry new as early as the 1950s that smoking is addictive and causes cancer. It publicly denied that as this video tape deposition shows of the late CEO of American Tobacco Robert Hyman wrong in concluding that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. I would use the term misguided as he's wrong. How's it going to be polite about it not being polite about it in your opinion is wrong. Bennett Lebow broke ranks suffered a major blow in April when the US Supreme Court ruled the industry had to turn over nearly 40,000 internal company memos that suggested tobacco lawyers not scientist controlled research on the health effects of smoking around the same time support for a national settlement with the tobacco industry began unraveling two days after the high Court's ruling the second largest Tobacco Company r.j. Reynolds pulled out of the proposed settlement one. Tobacco critic Northeastern University law professor Richard A Nerd saw a connection. Making so fast when people got to see the documents that they handed over to be absolutely no, hope of getting anything better through Congress and that they might as well just throw a long ball and help it the land that summer useful Weber blame Congress for the breakdown and constituency which was American smokers and they didn't talk to the tobacco industry either and I think they need to bring the tobacco industry and hear their Viewpoint. I think they need to hear from American smokers as well. We're going to be expected. Of punitive tax burden for months after Minnesota trial began the case came to a halt when estate settlement preempted. What was supposed to be the last day of closing argument for attorney general in and doing at Oriole candidate? Skip Humphrey the settlement ended a four-year War the tobacco industry has surrendered. And they have surrendered on our terms of company said they settled because they could not get a fair trial in Minnesota. They often accused judge Kenneth Fitzpatrick of bias. Philip Morris attorney Peter Blakely took particular issue with Fitzpatrick's ruling that banned the industry from raising the so-called death credit argument the argument that smoker is cost the Healthcare System less because they die sooner. That's why I keep evidence away from the jury because it's far and there is absolutely no question whatsoever that cigarette smokers do not cost more in healthcare than non-smokers. The net cost is less, but we're not allowed to present that evidence because we would be taking advantage of the fact that our product kills people agreed to pay the state. 21 billion dollars over the next 25 years it also agreed to pay the state's attorney's fees and Blue Cross Blue Shield about a half billion dollars each the company's also agree to ban billboard advertising and disband their research Council industry would also support Minnesota's tobacco document depository in Minneapolis-Saint glance a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco. And one of the industry's harshest critics call the depository. The state's most important contribution to Future battles with tobacco companies. The truth is a very powerful weapon and the documents which are available in the Minnesota depository ricocheting all over the world and having tremendous tremendous impact everywhere and I think people still don't even appreciate what's there and I think that was going to be the real Legacy of the Moon. So two cases the truth since the settlement judge Kenneth Fitzpatrick has retired and become a recluse 1/4 murderer has declare bankruptcy. The law firm that represented the state Robins Kaplan Miller & ciresi donated $30 of its attorneys fees to the Minneapolis Foundation to set up a permanent Endowment for Public Health & K through 12 education programs still nearly. I have $2 in attorneys' fees Drew fire from many republican leaders, including the governor. The state's lead attorney. Mike ceresi argued his firm earn those fees because Minnesota's case broke new ground and created a template for other lawsuits against the industry. We did more than any other law firm in the country where the only Law Firm who represented a state by itself. Our documents were used throughout the world. All of our Discovery was used throughout the world. We fought the national settlement in Congress. We protected Minnesota's rights in Congress way to hire Lobby. Do that. I'm sure they U legislature would not have done that the governor Carlson wanted us to take the four billion dollars. He wanted to stay to take 2 billion dollars less than the state actually received and will receive set aside 202 million dollars from its settlement for anti-smoking programs. But just like a lottery winner who discovered his friends. He never had. Interest have come forward wanting a piece of the remaining six billion dollars the legislature will soar through those requests and its next session last month. 46 other states settle their tobacco lawsuits under that settlement. Tobacco companies will pay each state on average about half of what Minnesota received but Minnesota's influence on the national. Tobacco, seeing appears mix well information coming out of the case appear to derail last Springs national settlement some critics say the industry got an even better deal last month. It's also unclear how much these multibillion-dollar settlements will damage. The industry's financial bottom line. R.j. Reynolds has announced plans to lay off about 15% of its Global Workforce. But still there's some question whether these settlements are really attacks on smokers in the end. Tobacco companies have raised their prices three times since May perhaps the most telling is on Wall Street since Minnesota settlement. Tobacco stocks have risen 42% I'm Elisabeth Shue Wiki, Minnesota Public Radio news were dueling in the courtroom. The labor dispute at Northwest Airlines was playing out at the negotiating table in the media and ultimately on the picket line. And more trouble mail. I had at Northwest 2 of Northwest largest Union still don't have new contracts and both are threatening to shut down Northwest in 1999. If their disputes are resolved Minnesota Public Radio is March sat act like reports. It was early spring when many Northwest customers began hearing about problems at the airline responsible for 8th of every ten flights in and out of the Twin Cities airport thousands of Northwest employees who helped the airline avoid bankruptcy five years ago by agreeing to pay cuts. We're unable to negotiate a new contract with now profitable Northwest pockets of unhappy ground workers began disrupting the flight schedule ticket holder started running into increase delays and cancellations. They said there was a lens cap on the wing that was cracked. So we sat there for an hour and they said that I get off we'll get back on here get it fixed. I told us once the the cap was down in the maintenance. Hangar. They're going to go get it and they told us it was in route in the air planner from somewhere else and then I told his flight was canceled according to government figures for of every ten Northwest flights in June were delayed the airline posted a nearly 65% decrease in sex Porter net income over the previous year management blamed disgruntled workers were costing 100 million dollars in April May and in June, although only small percentages of flights were affected thousands of Travelers were inconvenience and Minnie began looking for options. I am flying next week and I am flying America and so it is it is changing my my travel plans from now on by the end of July the International Association of machinists Northwest largest Union, which represents almost all of its ground workers was Voting down a contract offer during the balloting many machinists took Northwest management to tasks for failing to share record profits the workers last contract gave them three years of pay cuts in early 1998 company insiders cashed in nearly 70 million dollars of stock options. The employees were demanding their share. Running work. They don't want to give us the money but yet everybody else is getting you no raises and bonuses and I haven't had a pay raise and since 92 the day after The Machinist voted down their contract Northwest most powerful Union. The airline pilots Association was released from federally mediated contract talks with the airline the countdown to the strike began 30 days later more than 6,000 pilot shutdown Northwest Airlines. I'm very disappointed reach a tentative contract settlement with Northwest management. The deadline for negotiations is now expired. I have instructed our strike committee to inform all Northwest Pilots to withdraw their services immediately. No, Northwest pilot will fly until further notice from me. Well thousands of Travelers were inconvenienced by the strike. The Twin Cities airport did not become overrun with thousands of stranded passengers as many had predicted additional flights by competitors coupled with postponed to travel. He's the impact of the Northwest shut down as red-tailed playing sat mothballed Union and Airline leaders blamed each other for the breakdown as far as I know. We haven't offered a Northwest management to resume talks whenever they're willing to come to the table the pilots. Play me all kinds of things. But the problem is is that new ones contacted the Northwest negotiators early indication the walkout would not be settled quickly. President Clinton didn't exercise his authority to force Northwest Pilots back to work under the railway Labor Act. But the White House did intervene within days of the walkout summoning the two sides to the Washington DC Office of the transportation. Secretary Rodney Slater, I emphasize to both parties. The president's concern about the impact that this strike is having on the economy of specific regions of the country and upon the flying public. I asked both parties to get Beyond whatever factors had led to the break off negotiations and requested them to consider whether further negotiations would be productive a week later Slater travel to the Twin Cities with top Clinton aide Bruce Lindsay to help me. T8 negotiations Lindsay stayed in town until Northwest and it's Pilots reached a tentative agreement President Clinton announce the deal from outside the White House and its Pilots have reached the terms that form the basis of an agreement. The parties are now working on the specific time of getting back to work the agreement. Of course, we'll have to be approved. But I think the strike is over leaders of the pilots Union quickly finalize the settlement after a 19-day shutdown Northwest Airlines began restoring service Northwest old Wall Street events leading up to the walkout the strike itself and its aftermath cost more than six hundred million dollars from July through September for the first nine months of 1998 Northwest posted net losses of more than 100 million dollars compared to net profits of nearly a half billion dollars during the same period a year earlier. Well dealing with angry workers and customers preoccupied Northwest for much of 1998. The airline did move ahead with plans for a partnership with houston-based Continental Airlines Northwest bought a 14% stake in Continental giving the Minnesota Airline controlling interest on major decisions at Continental including mergers and Acquisitions. The two Airlines launched an extensive operating Alliance, which critics charge will reduce competition and increase ticket prices. The Department of Justice is suing to block the partnership in the area of competition the pilot strike underscore. Just how dominant Northwest is and its hub Market Detroit Memphis and Minneapolis, St. Paul 1998 brought a significant increase in Twin cities-based Sun Country Airlines flight schedule and the Metropolitan airports commission decided to build a new much larger Charter terminal at the Twin Cities airport proponents of more competition. Hope a large modern second terminal will encourage more Airlines to serve the Twin Cities and lead to reduced airfares. Northwest CEO, John dasburg said his top priority for a 1998 was the result of contentious contract dispute with all of the airlines workers. However, the year ends with the airlines to largest unions the teamsters representing flight attendants and The Machinist to represent most Brown workers still without new contracts. The flight attendants say like the pilot Bill shutdown Northwest with a strike if their contract isn't resolved the machinists voice the same threat, they're likely however to officially lose their most powerful group of workers next year Northwest mechanics in aircraft cleaners voted to switch from the I am to the aircraft mechanics fraternal Association and for as it's called is awaiting certification of the election, which the I am is challenging if anfa becomes the mechanics and Cleaners New Union as is expected dealing with it, maybe one of Northwest Biggest challenges of the New Year, this is Mark as a tactic Minnesota Public Radio. The Northwest airline strike was probably the biggest business-related news story of the Year. There were lots of other Minnesota businesses making headlines this past year in part because of all the corporate mergers and Acquisitions that occurred in 1998, even the Minnesota Vikings changed hands. However, I like similar takeovers in the 1980s. This year's murders involving Minnesota companies were marked by a comparative lack of turmoil Minnesota public radio's Bill Kaplan reports in Minnesota, the financial services industry saw the greatest merger Activity 3 company is an ounce deals totaling 45 billion dollars Norwest merger with West Coast banking power Wells Fargo was one of the biggest transactions in the country ensure Conseco bought Greentree Financial the same Paul companies bought a competing insurer USF mg of Maryland. In the field of Health Care Medtronic bought not one but five companies in Rapid succession one big reason for the surgeon mergers. The Bulls on Wallstreet many deals have been paid for with stock the CEO sitting atop a rising share price has more buying power also deregulation is putting a premium on size and the Telecommunications financial services and utilities Industries and American Express financial advisors Economist. Dan. Laufenberg says mergers are viewed as a way to help the bottom line price increases are hard to come by. We're in a low inflation some people that are you a deflation environment. So it's really difficult for corporations to raise prices and their face with increasing cost. And so that means their profit margins are being squeezed until the only way that they can improve their profits is to get Rabbit to get redness grow one way to do that. If you can't do it on your own is to acquire it On a sunny September morning on the Plaza outside the Federal Reserve Bank in Downtown Minneapolis activist in union members raise their voices in opposition to the biggest deal involving a Minnesota company a 30 billion dollar merger of Norwest and Wells Fargo, the protest stands out in part because they've been relatively little Hue and cry over a merger that would cost Minneapolis the headquarters of one of the states corporate Old Guard and the Nations seventh largest bank to some the muted response has been notable. It is point. You haven't seen a lot of reaction man. That's a big deal. That's a big deal Republican St. Paul Mayer Norm Coleman has made business involvement of Keystone of his effort to revitalize downtown st. Paul. He points out Norwest has worked hard to Quail concerns and the company promises little change and its approach to business War philanthropy in Minnesota. But Coleman says the departure of CEO Dick evasovich and the corporate headquarters to San Francisco is troubling you says when you lose the CEO of community loses clout Where the Capital City Pawn Shop in St. Paul the reformed I think we're up to 47 CEOs. Now that a part of this organization when you get to see on your side being involved in the community a lot done, whether it's the return of the NHL which could not have happened without them with his development of the Saint Paul in the Mississippi development framework long-term vision for the city's development couldn't be done without him several factors may help explain the lack of Civic anxiety over murders involving Minnesota firms among the biggest deals. Minnesota companies were more often the buyer and retain control of their own destiny. The takeovers themselves have been different in the late 1980s phrases, like corporate Raider and hostile takeover hovered over bitter and protracted fight for control of a company top Executives might have deep personal and philanthropic ties to the community rarely kept their jobs that they lost to take over battle and The Replacements might have little connection to the area. That's an area was far less prevalent now many murders this past year were driven by what the acquired company is doing right not. Management was doing wrong as in the 80s for Minnesota. Some of the mergers hold the promise of thousands of new jobs Medtronic which gobbled up five companies expect to add 4000 jobs doubling its Minnesota employment Medtronic CEO William. George says, the company has had good luck here new businesses. List of innovation so late we like it is a place to expand and find it a good place still layoffs or a Hallmark of mergers the Saint Paul companies in the new Wells Fargo have announced job cuts of between two and three thousand each Wells Fargo says, it will retain and retrain as many as possible according to the firm Challenger Gray & Christmas which helps laid-off workers find jobs merger-related job cuts through November are running a double last year's Pace CEO. John Challenger says mergers and Acquisitions are probably the greatest source of workplace stress because they threatened job Cuts, but he says they also become more routine. That doesn't mean it easy in the thinnest lightest for anyone but back in 93 when the first real heavy downsizing hit we saw people just shocked never expected. In fact that a layoff might occur today. Everybody has been through it before as a family member or friend who's been through it. So it's less of a surprise today to people the good news for those who are laid off is record low unemployment Dan laufenberg of American Express financial advisor says, he's seen research suggesting that many people laid off wind up with jobs that pay more not less than their old one the messages if you lose your job now is a good time to lose your job because you might be able to find a job that that does as well or maybe even better than what you were getting before and this I think we fix the fact that the job market is extremely tight. Minnesota's unemployment rate for November is the lowest on record for the month and the 12th consecutive months of unemployment rate under 3% The merger fervor is likely to continue the powerful economic forces behind it deregulation lack of pricing power and excess capacity particular infant services are not going away even a dramatic Plunge in the stock market may result in your lie in a pause changing only how deals are paid for for Minnesota Public Radio my bill cat. So there are few of the big stories of 1998 a reminder over the noon hour. We're going to focus on the biggest Minnesota news story of the year the election of Jesse Ventura that coming up over the noon hour and this hour we're going to remember now some of the other folks who made news this year. It's something I've always wanted ever since I was a child. I have no memory of ever not wanting to being elected office. I very much respected and I cannot tell you what a tremendous honor it is. To be allowed to be governor and that's something I think we tend to lose sight of it's a great honor to be there and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. It's been hard and difficult but it's also been both challenging and rewarding and I will always be forever grateful there very few people that can say they lived their dreams I did and I'm very very humbled by it and very grateful for I have been asked for a lot of my close friends. You know why Minneapolis? Well, they're very simple. That's where the team is. But also I will tell you I have followed. football on all levels all of my life And there are certain teams that have a character that somehow other teams. Just don't seem to develop. And in what I call Purple pride is a very real thing. In this area with his football team. I've never been in one of my career basketball. So to be able to do it in the NFL and in this division that were in such a tough division. It just it's just wonderful. I really see that the space station is a stepping stone in that in international Cooperative effort of the future. I think if we can learn to do this in low earth orbit, 200 miles above the Earth in build a project of this magnitude and work together up there then he'll carry over to bigger and better things. I am running or thinking about running soon to announce this campaign because we'll talk about children. We will talk about education. I have been saying everywhere I go that I that I'm representing the Democratic winning the Democratic party and and that's all about Universal Health Care coverage and jobs at decent wages and investment in public education an investment in children and sustainable environment. And you know what that's what most people believe in. What country are they in the United States? Risk engagement with an idea is a very frightening saying and that's what theater is when people come and they want the theater to Ida substantiate their view of the world or to make them forget their view of the world. When is that what theater is is a forum whereby ideas are good for 2 in gender a dialogue about those ideas. If you didn't want to convince you it wants to enlist it. Are your beliefs deep enough to disagree. I'd still wonder why they're Florida. I have no idea. I guess I guess it just signals the start of the off of the concert on the show or whatever people like to call it. And I think it's just a formal start that's about it. And then you supposed to have it be having a good time. I always have a good time when I thought so but as far as big of a concert and after the site after the intermission when I came again for the second time after the rest of The Office return to this this young woman in set now, why does this guy always arrive late till you see if it's different things to different people? I think some days I'm sure about not playing. And then they'll be a couple days stretch where you know, I'll be teased a little bit about how good my body feels or how well I swing the bat or I'll talk to a friend or I'll tell me I'm crazy to retire and just enough to keep me confused long enough to keep putting the decision on hold. You know, it's so many people ask us. Why do you review as a news? Why do you regurgitate all that bad news means that what's the point when the reminder sells of how lucky we are to have survived in each week? This is a wonderful night. Excited. But anyway That remembrance of some of the people who made news in 1998 was prepared by Minnesota public radio's Chris Roberts. This is midday coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio reminder. Once again over the noon hour. Today. We're going to continue our review of 1998 special Focus over the noon hour on the biggest story of the year. Maybe the biggest political story of the decade the election of Jesse Ventura as governor of the state of Minnesota. That's over than an hour. I'm Ray Suarez 1998 has been a busy year for news it begins and ends with presidential scandal in the headlines and in between we've seen globally conomic turmoil a major antitrust suit against Microsoft Devastation wrought by El Nino join us for a look at 1998 top stories and how they'll set the scene for 1999 on the next Talk of the Nation from NPR news. As always mr. Suarez, I'll be along at 1 this afternoon right now. It's 12 noon the weather forecast for this last day of 1998 sunny and the north partial clearing in central Minnesota. Some flurries are forecast for southern Minnesota ice today 10 below in the northeast-10 above in the South news headlines are coming up next. The music programming you hear everyday on Minnesota Public Radio is made possible through listener contributions. If you haven't already made your tax-deductible 1998 contribution to NPR call one 800-227-2811 today. Thanks. You're listening to Minnesota Public Radio. We have some flurries at 6 degrees above the wind chill is eight below at Cantor W FM 91.1 Minneapolis. And st. Paul should clear off in the Twin Cities this afternoon with a high around 10 above partly cloudy tonight with a little bit below zero cloudy tomorrow 40% chance for light snow with a high around 10 degrees above zero.