Learn what keeps Central Minnesota moving! We take a look at big topics and see how they impact our everyday lives in the cities, towns, and fields of Minnesota’s heartland.

About MinnCentral Currents

MinnCentral Currents fills a need in Central Minnesota for educating and inspiring civic engagement by having discussions which target issues important to folks who live here. 

Each episode addresses a specific topic that directly impacts the people of Central Minnesota. Episodes highlight the voices of people in our community – their experiences, their questions and their concerns. We also talk to those in positions to make change – the people who run our businesses, our schools, our public institutions and our civic organizations – to learn what they are doing to help our communities thrive.

Our show strives to educate above all else. We focus on how to address the needs of people in our communities; to empower individuals to make a difference in their lives.

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Current Episode

Climate Generation

The effects of our changing climate are visible all around us. Over the past six months we have discussed how climate change is impacting our weather, our forests, our waters, and our food supply.

I was a child in the 1980s. I have spent my whole life listening to arguments about the reality of events that are measurable, verifiable, and happening around us.

Forty years. We have had forty years to address this issue from a basic standpoint of good stewardship of the earth. All arguments aside, shouldn’t we be conducting our industry and our lives in such a way that we minimally impact the home we will be passing on to our children? 

Kristen Poppleton, Senior Direct of Programs for Climate Generation – A Will Steger Legacy
Zaria Romero, Youth Climate Activist

 Full Show Notes


Episode 18: The Climate of Fishing

Fishing has long been a favorite pastime for folks in the land of 10,000 lakes. And fishing remains a hobby – and a skill – we pass down to our children and grandchildren. My kids love spending time at grandma and grandpa’s place on the lake, throwing a line off the dock to see what they can catch.

But, over time, what we can catch, and where we can catch fish that can be safely consumed, has changed. Things like pollution, warming waters, and changing shorelines can greatly affect the health and habitats of the fish below the surface.

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Episode 17: Conversation with Chief Bentrud

Every member of our community deserves to feel safe. How do the entities of law enforcement and governing bodies create systems that ensure the individuals operating in these spaces are able to best honor the social contract we each hold with one another?

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Episode 16: They Don’t Teach Civics Anymore

Every election cycle I’ll run into a few people, typically of middle age and above, who will at some point during the conversation lean in, tilt their head to indicate how serious they are, and declare with absolutely certainty: “Civics is no longer taught in schools!” I know from a small sampling of folks I’ve spoken to, we each can recall learning Civics in our youth, and my children who are currently attending Minnesota public schools are learning civics.

So what’s this all about? Why is there a perception that Civics isn’t being taught in school? And what is the Minnesota school curriculum for education around social studies, government, and civics?

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Episode 15: How can I help?

The recent cultural conversation around sexual violence may have been sparked by abuses at an institutional level, but it has encouraged victims and survivors to speak up, seek healing, and pursue justice for violence expereinced at the the hands of community members, friends, and family.

How do we support the cultural shift of speaking up about sexual violence within our own homes, schools, and communities, and what resources are available in our area to support victim survivors?

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Episode 14: Migrating Forests

What do these prolonged periods of severe drought mean for the future of our forests, and what can we do to take an active part in their preservation?

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Episode 13: Revitalization and Transportation

The history of St. Cloud, like so many towns across the Midwest, is tied to the river and the railroad. It’s a living history, with the later of these two features at the heart of current conversations around what the future holds for St. Cloud’s East Side.St. Cloud is the 10th largest city in the state of Minnesota. It sits at the intersection of two rivers, four major roadways, and a rail line that’s part of the Amtrak Empire Builder route. The bulk of St. Cloud sits on the sunset side of...

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Episode 12: Working 9 to 5

In January of 2020, for only the second time in the history of American labor statistics, women outnumbered men in the American workforce – a headline-making milestone. At the same time, however, another rare but significant story was developing – one that would ultimately lead to the worst job-losses among women in the history of our country. 

The pandemic hit female-dominated industries the hardest: Hospitality, education, health care, and retail. By April of 2020, the pandemic had caused 4.2 million women to exit the labor force.
And even as there was a slight rebound in early summer of 2020, losses continued to chip away at any gains made as more women excited the labor force to be caregivers of young children. By early spring of 2021, there was still a 2 million job deficit among women in the labor force.

In a speech in April of 2021, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, “Our policymaking has not accounted for the fact that people’s work lives and their personal lives are inextricably linked, and if one suffers so does the other.”

What can we learn about the real cost of personal and family labor by reflecting on how this pandemic-fueled recession disproportionately affected women? 

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Episode 11: Celebrating the Arts

Central Minnesota is alive with the arts! When researching this episode, there were honestly so many events and venues to choose from that it was difficult to decide where to focus our conversations today! From farmers markets to local art fairs to established galleries, weekly outdoor concerts to staged productions, we have so many incredible opportunities to engage with the arts in our region!This week, we’re not answering a question - we’re proclaiming: The arts are a fundamental part of...

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Episode 10: What’s the Buzz?

Today we talked about pollinators. We cover what the State of Minnesota is doing through inter-agency efforts to promote pollinator education and habitat development, then hear from a local Master Gardener about what we, as individuals, can do to help make habitat for pollinators in our own yards!

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Episode 9: I’m In Love With My Car

Today, we’re talking about our relationships to our vehicles, and what the incredible breakthroughs in automotive innovation mean for us as consumers. Guest: Jukka Kukkonen, EV Educator and owner of Shift 2 Electric Show Notes: MNEVBuyer.com Ford Lightning Article: Where the Energy Goes: Gasoline Engine Article: Where the Energy Goes: All Electric Engine Registered EVs in Minnesota as of February 2020 Registered EVs in Minnesota as of February 2021 Article: Senate Republicans threaten to cut...

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