The women who helped win a war with a song (5×8 – 1/31/13)

The end of the Andrews Sisters, the cold hard facts of being cold in Minnesota, goodbye to Saint Paul’s ‘popover palace,’ another stab at ‘stand your ground’ laws, and why do we think we’re different?


Patty Andrews, the last living member of the Andrews sisters, died yesterday at 94. She and her sisters helped win a war and could make a tough Marine cry with a few notes of music.

They were born in Minnesota to Peter and Olga. Patty got the first big break when she won a talent competition (at age 12) at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. LaVerne played the piano there for silent films.

Peter didn’t like the idea of the girls going into showbiz, but mother did. When their father’s business collapsed, they hit the road, leaving Minnesota in the rear-view mirror.

For all the power their music had on others, it didn’t do much for themselves. The two remaining sisters didn’t talk to each other, and saw each other only twice since 1974.

Here. Pour yourself some more coffee and get to work an hour late.


I know how this is going to go. I’m going to post this video made by the Salvation Army, and someone will post in the comments the disagreement they have with the Salvation Army on social issues.

And that’s fine. Everyone has a right to an opinion.

But I worry that in that sort of debate, the stories like this get lost…

It may well be that disagreements over social issues is part of the reason donations to the “Heat Share” Program have fallen 16 percent in the last two years. If so, where is that money going instead?


If you worked in downtown Saint Paul and the boss took you to the River Room for lunch, you were either going to get a raise or get fired.

The River Room, part of Macy’s that actually was a success, will close at the end of the week, destined to become another locked and boarded-up “opportunity” downtown.

Within a few hours of Macy’s announcing earlier this month that it was closing the store, all of the available reservations for lunch were booked.

The Pioneer Press offers a touching “goodbye” today.

(Bob) Johnston also was responsible for the Valentine’s Day dinners that eventually faded when the restaurant stopped serving after the lunch hour.

“We’d hire a trio and have a dinner dance,” Johnston said. “People would look forward to that dinner. They had to write a Valentine note to each other. My son and his wife sat in a corner and evaluated them and chose a winner. The winner would get up and sing their note to their spouse to the tune of ‘You Are My Sunshine.’ ”

On this occasion, we remember Lydia Lunney, who died in 2008 at 93. For 74 years, she worked at the River Room, and — MPR’s Dan Olson reported in 2007 — changed her colleagues’ view of retirement.



City Pages reports on “stand your ground” gun laws, which are being used across the country in ways lawmakers never intended, it says. People who aren’t assaulting property owners are being killed and the shooters are going free.

In April, 22-year-old Cordell Jude shot and killed Daniel Adkins Jr., a mentally disabled pedestrian who walked in front of Jude’s car as he was pulling up to the window of a Taco Bell drive-thru in Arizona, which passed Stand Your Ground in 2010. Jude thought he saw Adkins wield a metal pipe in the air, but it was actually a dog leash. No arrest was made.

In June, a judge in Miami dismissed a second-degree murder charge against Greyston Garcia after he chased a suspected burglar and stabbed him to death. The judge decided the stabbing was justified because the burglar had swung a bag of stolen car radios at Garcia. The judge found Garcia was “well within his rights to pursue the victim and demand the return of his property.”

In October, citing the state’s newly strengthened castle doctrine law, Montana prosecutor Ed Corrigan declined to indict Brice Harper, who had shot and killed Dan Fredenberg, the husband of the woman with whom Harper was having an affair. Harper killed an unarmed Fredenberg when he walked into Harper’s garage.

Minnesota lawmakers may pursue a stand-your-ground law for the state again this session, City Pages says. Gov. Dayton vetoed a bill last year.


Today’s Star Tribune Letter of the Day leads to an interesting question of human behavior: Why don’t we think things that are happening to other people won’t happen to us when all evidence points to the contrary?

On Tuesday, in my job driving a truck for the city of Minneapolis, I treated city streets with a mixture of salt and sand. One of the streets on my route has four hill streets on it, and on Tuesday there were cars stuck on every one of them.

I put sand around each vehicle, and they were on their way. What puzzled me was that cars were still trying to come up the hills after seeing the others stuck.


Bonus I: Why don’t we still drive steam cars? (BBC)

Bonus II: What was it like for a Minnesotan at last week’s Crashed Ice in Saint Paul?

Bonus III: A man who fell through the ice while fishing is rescued, then gets a $5,400 bill for the help. (The Star)


The Mayo Clinic is seeking more than $500 million from the state as part of a $6 billion growth plan for the clinic. Part of the funding would be used to make Rochester a more desirable destination. Today’s Question: Is an investment in the Mayo Clinic project a good use of state money?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Sara Rosenbaum, the lead author of ‘Law and the American Health Care System,” discusses the Affordable Care Act.

Second hour: Diabetes research update.

Third hour: How to read in 2013.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): –Minneapolis native Arthur Phillips, speaking at the Pen Pals Lecture series about William Shakespeare, and Phillips’ new book, “The Tragedy of Arthur.”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The coming fight over immigration policy.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – — For an elderly person living with chronic medical problems, taking numerous medications each day can be a way of life. Prescription drugs can keep serious illnesses in check, if they’re taken as prescribed and managed effectively. For some seniors, getting out to see a pharmacist can be difficult in good weather, and treacherous during Minnesota winters. Some health systems are offering an alternative — virtual visits with pharmacists. MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki reports, it’s an approach that may become more common under the federal health care overhaul.

Dan Olson visits with Mel Dickie, 91, a substitute teacher in the Rochester school district who also makes one of a kind collector fishing rods.