MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – From a funny friendship between a dog and a duck to an exclusive interview with the accused Sen. Al Franken, here’s a look at the most memorable moments WCCO captured in 2017.
The Unlikely Friendship Of Max And Quackers
Theirs is a friendship like none other.
Max, a 12-year-old Huskie, and Quackers, a 4-year-old duck, live in tiny Strout, Minnesota, and the two are inseparable.
Their bond formed years ago after Max lost his friend Sasha, another huskie, and he began hanging out next to Quackers’ pen. After the duck was let out, the two became quick friends.
“They sleep together, they eat together, they drink together, they go for walks together down the road. Everything is together.”
Students Raise Nearly $14K So Beloved Sub Can Pay For Wife’s Surgery
Walter Erickson is an 80-year-old substitute teacher at Champlin Park High School in the north metro, and he’s beloved by his students.
When the young academics learned that he was saving up so his wife could get cataract surgery, they stepped up in a big way.
After one student opened a GoFundMe account, and hundreds of small donations came pouring in, and soon they had nearly $14,000. Their goal was $500.
Erickson said he was “just overwhelmed” by their generosity.
Exclusive Interview With Sen. Al Franken
Over the last few years, it wasn’t unusual for Sen. Al Franken to sit down with Esme Murphy on WCCO Sunday Morning.
But on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Esme Murphy was in Washington D.C., and she was the only TV reporter in the country to speak with the senator, who’d recently become one of several powerful men accused of sexual misconduct.
In the half-hour exclusive interview, Franken apologized to his accusers, but meanwhile insisted that he remembered the specific encounters differently from those women.
He told Esme that he had no intensions of stepping down, that he’d earn back the trust of Minnesotans. But after more accusations came out in the following weeks, members of his own party demanded that he resign from his office.
A day later, he announced that he’d be stepping down in 2018.
Playing With The Boys
She was on the offensive line for Brainerd High School, a track-and-field star, and a state champion power lifter. Oh, and she also has a remarkable voice, and she’s a master ukulele player.
If you don’t find Lili Charlier’s story inspiring, you better just watch it again.
10 Years Later, Remembering The 35W Bridge Collapse
No one working in the WCCO newsroom on Aug. 1, 2007, will ever forget the hectic, heartbreaking hours that followed.
That was the day the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River, sending the lives of hundreds of people into chaos.
“My heart was pounding that whole ride over,” said WCCO’s Jason DeRusha, who heard the initial 911 call. “I could hear all of the squad cars and the ambulances coming behind us, and that’s when you know something really, really serious happened.”
Thirteen people lost their lives in the collapse. Yet, amid the tragedy, WCCO’s reporters couldn’t help but notice the bravery of first responders and everyday Minnesotans.
“They didn’t think about themselves,” DeRusha said. “It was a remarkable night.”
Philando Castile’s Mother Reacts To Jeronimo Yanez Verdict
“The system continues to fail black people.”
Those were the words of Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile, on the day the police officer who fatally shot her son was acquitted.
“I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota,” she said after the verdict came down. “He loved this state. He had one tattoo on his body and it was of the Twin Cities…My son loved this city and this city killed my son.”
U Teammates Fall In Love After Coming Out To Each Other
In 2014, Justin Rabon came out to the friend he knew he could count on. The next day, that friend, Brad Newman, came out to Rabon.
The two had never come out to anyone else before.
A month later, the two were dating and soon they were both running track at the University of Minnesota.
While they were nervous about telling teammates and family about their relationship, what they found was acceptance.
“They were just like, ‘Ok, that’s cool,'” Rabon said.
MSU pitcher Tosses Shut Out Day After Mom’s Death
Brody Rodning has a 93 mph fastball and he pitches for MSU-Mankato.
In March, he pitched a shut out game — one that was different from all others.
The day before, his No. 1 fan, his mom, died from cancer.
Rodning says she would have wanted him to play.
“I know that she was sitting there cheering me on the whole time. There was no way I was not going to pitch that game,” he said. “I knew she had my back whenever I needed it. Sometimes I took a step off the mound and looked up to her, talked to her. She was there.”
Protesters Shut Down State House Committee Meeting
It happened in January amid a state house committee meeting on proposed legislation that sought to make protesters liable to cover the costs of policing demonstrations.
WCCO’s political reporter, Pat Kessler, was there when tensions rose, with protesters standing up and shouting down lawmakers.
“Those seats you’re sitting in,” one man yelled, “will be replaced by somebody who represents us.”
Kessler pulled out his cellphone and recorded the scene. On Facebook, 6 million people stopped to watch.
‘Sandwich Man’ Gets New Van In Honor Of Viewer’s Late Son
Allen Law is known as the “Sandwich man.” For 50 years, he’s dedicated his life to handing out sandwiches and supplies to homeless and struggling people on the streets of the Twin Cities.
After airing a story about his need for new service van, an anonymous viewer donated one in honor of their late son, Nash.
“Everybody that gets in the van will know,” Law said. “I’ll say it came from heaven.”
Protesters Take Over As Mayor Calls For Police Chief To Resign
It happened in the wake of the Justine Damond shooting.
Reporters from Australia, where Damond was raised, said they were astonished when the mayor’s press conference was overrun by protesters who sneaked into the conference room.
Mayor Betsy Hodges had planned to call for Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau to step down. She left the room before protesters took to the podium, demanding that she herself step down from offic.e
Months later, Hodges lost her bid for re-election to city council member Jacob Frey.