Heather Brown loves to put her curiosity to work to answer your Good Questions on WCCO 4 News at 10.
She returned to WCCO in October of 2012 after two years of reporting at WNYW, a Fox affiliate in New York City. In the Big Apple, she primarily covered New York City public schools, but had the opportunity to report on breaking news, Hurricane Sandy and the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.
Heather had been at WCCO from 2006 through 2010. Some of her most memorable stories included the destructive forest fires in the Boundary Waters, the Republican National Convention in St. Paul and the 35W bridge collapse. She also reported for CBS News on the historic flooding in Fargo and tornadoes in western Minnesota.
Before her journey to Minnesota, Heather worked at WIS in Columbia, S.C. There, she covered the 2004 S.C. Democratic presidential primary, reported on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina from Biloxi and produced an award-winning education series that helped students get school supplies needed in many South Carolina classrooms.
Heather is a born-and-raised Philadelphia gal. She graduated with honors from Colgate University, so cold winters are nothing new! After college, Heather worked at CNBC in Los Angeles producing business news stories. She spent almost two years on the west coast before heading to Boston. In 2003, she earned a master’s degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
She’s proud of her Department of Natural Resources firefighting certification, participation in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program and nine marathons. (The 2010 Twin Cities race was her PR!)
On the weekends, there’s a good chance you’ll find Heather, her husband and their two kids exploring the lakes, parks and restaurants all over Twin Cities. But, give her a good book in front a warm fireplace and she’ll disappear for hours.
Earlier this week, cities and counties began sending out 2015 proposed property tax notices, including the estimated market value of your home. In Ramsey County, the assessments increased by an average of 10.4 percent. In Hennepin County, there was an average increase of 8.4 percent and in Anoka County, the average jump was 18.7 percent. So, how do cities and counties figure out how much our homes are worth?
Earlier Tuesday evening, the U.S. Senate failed to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline by a vote of 59 – 41. Immediately after the vote, Republicans said they’d bring up the issue again in January. The fight over this pipeline has been a long, contentious battle that began in 2008 when TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, applied for a construction permit.
According to one study, people spend an average of 2-4 hours a day hunched over their smartphones, which puts a lot of stress on the spine.
A new report out by the Project for Student Debt finds 70 percent of Minnesota college students graduate with some sort of student debt. On average, they owe $30,894, which puts Minnesota as the 5th highest in the country for student debt.
On Thursday, charities across the state will be asking for donations during Minnesota’s sixth annual Give to the Max Day. Last year, more than 52,000 people gave $17 million in 24 hours, which is part of the $4 billion dollars Minnesotans give away every year.
On Tuesday, Best Buy announced it is joining other stores in opening even earlier on Thanksgiving Day. The retailer announced this year stores will open at 5 p.m. This follows Target’s Monday announcement that it will open Thanksgiving Day at 6 p.m.
Could this year’s early snowfall tell us anything about the rest of the winter?
Craig from Richfield and Beverly from Prior Lake asked: Who is responsible for removing campaign yard signs after the election? State law says yard signs must be removed 10 days after the state’s general election, but doesn’t stipulate who is responsible for taking them down.
You may have noticed new blue lights popping up near traffic signals all over the metro. They are small, generally tucked out of the way so they don’t distract drivers. Over the past two weeks, they’ve been going up all over Ramsey County.
When you voted Tuesday, you probably noticed a lot of judges on the ballot. This puzzled Kirk from Oak Park Heights because he knows the governor also appoints them. On Washington County’s sample ballot, there were 28 judge seats. Twenty-four were unopposed.
Good Question: Can we get enough Vitamin D from the Minnesota sun?
Starting tomorrow, an 88-foot white spruce from the Chippewa National Forest will make stops in 30 cities over 19 days on its way to Washington, D.C. It’s going to spend part of November and all of December as the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree.
Many of you have written us to share your, let’s call it, distaste for all of the political ads on television. They’re nothing new. So, Cheri from McGregor wanted to know: When did television political advertising start?
We know two bad things about candy for sure: it’s basically sugar, which causes tooth decay, and its empty calories can lead to obesity. But really, how bad is it for kids to chow down on their bounty of Halloween candy? Deb Sheats is the director of the dietetic program at St. Catherine’s University.
Brandon from Plymouth, Minn. has been thinking about the old Metrodome sign on Interstate 394. He wants to know: when are the signs coming down? The short answer is those signs will come down when they have new ones to put up.
At more than 5,500 miles, it’s the longest-continuous international border. Three-hundred-thousand people cross it legally every day at more than 100 checkpoints. But just how secure is the border? Dr. William Beeman is a professor of Middle East anthropology at the University of Minnesota.
Starting next year, Social Security benefits will rise 1.7 percent — or about $20 a month based on an average monthly Social Security payment of $1,192. That increase, or cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), has been pegged to the consumer price index (CPI) since 1975. It’s one of several ways to measure inflation. So, how do we measure the CPI?
Ever get a prescription filled and find the bottle only half full? After that happened to WCCO viewer Angela a few times, she wrote to us wanting to know: Why is there so much extra space in pill bottles? “There are several reasons,” said pharmacist John Hoeschen. He owns St. Paul Corner Drug on the corner of Snelling and St. Clair avenues.
The CDC reports the newest life expectancy numbers in the United States are at an all-time record high – 78.8 years. The authors of the study also found the life expectancy was 81.2 years for women but just 76.4 years for men – a gap of 4.8 years, the same as 2011.
Joann from Arden Hills asked: What’s the difference between partly sunny and partly cloudy? “This is kind of a gray area,” said WCCO-TV Meteorologist Matt Brickman. “I think meteorologists give themselves a little leeway. I always think in terms of percentages.”
If you’ve been in the market for a new television, you’ve likely seen all of the new 4K displays at the stores. The major television manufacturers have come out with their own versions of the ultra-high definition sets even as the broadcast networks are still working to broadcast in 4K.
HBO just announced that, starting next year, it’s cutting the cable cord. Fans of shows like “Veep” and “Game of Thrones” will no longer have to subscribe to the premium channel through their cable TV provider, but rather will be allowed to stream shows on the Internet.
If you’ve been listening to the political ads over the past few weeks, you’ve heard the term “middle class” mentioned over and over. This had Barbara from Mound wondering: Who’s in the middle class? Pew Research says 44 percent of people identify as solidly middle class. That’s down from 53 percent back in 2008.
Angela from Minneapolis asked: What is the most popular license plate for a cause in Minnesota? There are almost 4.5 million passenger license plates in Minnesota. According to the Department of Public Safety, the DNR Critical Habitat plates are the most popular at 101,412.
If you’re feeling a little sluggish this time of year, you’re not alone. Karina from St. Paul has been feeling more sleepy than usual. And when she’s brought it up to her parents, they’ve always told her it’s the change in the weather.