Daily Digest: St. Croix Bridge vote, tornados devastate Midwest, and Valley Girls as pioneers

John Hageman

–The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on the controversial St. Croix Bridge proposal, according to the Star Tribune.

The $690 million four-lane bridge requires a congressional exemption from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a law authored in 1968 by Vice President Walter Mondale that preserves certain waterways with outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values.

This would be the first exemption under the act.

Under the guidance of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the bill was approved by the Senate last month.

The bridge would replace the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge, which connects the eastern suburb to Wisconsin. The bridge has been a source of traffic congestion, as it needs to be raised when boats pass underneath.

The bill has bipartisan support, including U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Mark Dayton. But U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, called the proposal  “not just a bridge, but a monument to government waste." She advocated for a scaled-down version of the Stillwater Lift Bridge.

 

–At least 13 people were killed Tuesday as tornadoes swept across the Midwest, according to MSNBC.

The worst devastation took place in Harrisburg, Ill., where 10 people were killed and 35 to 40 houses were destroyed.

In Missouri, three more deaths were reported. All 3,000 residents of Buffalo, Mo., lost power during the storm.  

Eight people were injured in Kansas, where Gov. Gov. Sam Brownback issued a disaster declaration for the affected area.

 

–Have you ever been fun of because of the "Valley Girl" way you talk, in which every sentence ends in a question? (Like totally?) Well some linguists say you deserve credit, not scorn, “for pioneering vocal trends and popular slang…adding that young women use these embellishments in much more sophisticated ways than people tend to realize,” according to the New York Times.

A recent study from researchers at Long Island University found evidence of a new vocal trend emerging in young women. The sound was described the sound as a “vocal fry” or “a raspy or croaking sound injected (usually) at the end of a sentence.”

Linguists say that this is a way for young women to communicate ideas.

“If women do something like uptalk or vocal fry, it’s immediately interpreted as insecure, emotional or even stupid,” Carmen Fought, a professor of linguistics at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., told the Times.  “The truth is this: Young women take linguistic features and use them as power tools for building relationships.”