MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ivy and Kelley in Mrs. Neppl’s class at Tremont Elementary are learning about rivers. They want to know: What is the longest river in the U.S.?

The Missouri River, at 2,541 miles, beats out the mighty Mississippi at 2,230 miles.

But here’s the thing: the Missouri is a tributary of the Mississippi.

So, when the record books talk about the Mississippi being the fourth longest in the world, they’re actually talking about the Missouri – Mississippi.

And since the Mississippi is the one that ends up in the ocean, the Mississippi gets the name.

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Carl from Plymouth wants to know: Why do maples turn color in different patterns?

The folks at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources helped me on this one. Colors can be impacted by weather, sunlight or even damage to roots.

So the parts of trees with shade might turn later. Any branches on the tree that are stressed — by root damage, disease, insects or even getting impacted by putting in a driveway — will turn later as well.

And which roots are getting what rain can make a big difference.

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Mark wants to know: How does Mall of America count all of its visitors every year?

MOA surveys people to figure out how they get there, and how many people come in that party.

They use that data, along with car counters at the parking ramps, to figure out car traffic.

They monitor the parking occupancy levels and work with Metro Transit for train and bus numbers.

Heather Brown

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