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October 26, 2008

Richfield Man Charged in Hit and Run

A 36-year-old man from Richfield claimed he was defending his girlfriend after he drove his SUV into a man from St. Paul, according to the criminal complaint filed Thursday and reported on by the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune.

“The Ramsey County attorney’s office charged Moises Aguilar Nieves with two counts of second-degree murder,? the Pioneer Press reported.

David Ramirez, 46, also known as Sergio Escalona of St. Paul stood by the driver’s-side door of his ex-girlfriend’s SUV. Nieves allegedly drove his own black SUV into Ramirez, “struck the door and pinned Ramirez against her vehicle,? according to the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune.

The woman reported that she “blacked out? and drove her car to the rear of her home, and went inside, the Pioneer Press reported.

Nieves told police he was concerned that the Ramirez was forcing his girlfriend into unwanted sexual acts, but “police spokesman Peter Panos said the woman and ex-boyfriend still were friendly,? the Star Tribune reported.

Nieves attempted to cover the damage done to his SUV by crashing into a highway barrier, according to the Pioneer Press.

World Leaders Discuss Global Economic Crisis

Asian and European leaders finished a two day conference in Beijing Saturday to develop a coordinated response to the global economic crisis, according to Voice of America, the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.

The heads of state failed to offer any specific solutions, but “pledged to take effective and comprehensive action to reform world monetary and financial systems,? according to the Voice of America.

The event “underlined China’s growing role as a diplomatic counterweight to the United States, but fell short of offering specific solutions,? the New York Times reported.

“We need financial innovation, but we need financial oversight even more,? Prime Minister of China, Wen Jiabao, said, according to the International Herald Tribune.

“We have undoubtedly learned that our own financial system is in need of reform,? the under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs, David H. McCormich said, “it would be unfortunate if, as a result of this turmoil, policy makers in China mistakenly abandon their pursuit of financial sector innovation and liberalization,? the New York Times reported.

October 25, 2008

Californians Considering Chicken Coops

A decision regarding the quality of life afforded to animals in California is on the ballot next month. Voters are being asked to consider “whether the state’s farms must afford more living space to veal calves, egg-laying hens and pregnant sows,? the Washington Post reported.

Veal and pork are not primary industries in California, but it is a large producer of eggs, according to the New York Times. “California is the nation’s fifth-largest supplier – and the No. 1 consumer of eggs,? the New York Times reported.

“This is a well-intended initiative for animals with some very negative unintended consequences for people,? Julie Buckner, a spokeswoman for Californians for Safe Food, said, “it’s going to wipe out the California egg farmers,? the New York Times reported.

“If animals are going to be killed for food the least we can do is treat them with decency and give them a semblance of life,? Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive of the Human Society of the United States told the New York Times.

If approved, California will be the first state to outlaw the small cages used in egg production, according to the Washington Post.


Bus Driver Injured by Six Teenagers

Six teenagers attacked a Metro Transit bus driver Thursday night while he was driving through the Cedar—Riverside neighborhood after he had told them to “settle down,? the Star Tribune reported.

The driver lost control, the bus crashed, and the teens ran from the scene, the Star Tribune reported. Police arrested two teenagers shortly after the incident was reported, according to the Star Tribune.

Those two teens “were taken to Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center and are expected to be charged with
felony assault,? the Star Tribune reported.

The bus “crashed into a traffic light pole? and the driver was “treated for bruising around one of his eyes,? at Hennepin County Medical Center, Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons told the Star Tribune.

McCain Volunteer Fabricated Attack

A 20-year-old woman from Pennsylvania was detained with $50,000 bail set after confessing to police Friday that she made up the details describing a politically motivated robbery and assault against her, CNN, the Boston Herald and Seattle Times reported.

Ashley Todd has been charged with filing a false police report, according to CNN. Police said they were detaining her pending a psychiatric evaluation because she told them “she had suffered from mental problems in the past.?

She did not enter a plea and did not post bail, according to CNN.

Todd had worked as a volunteer for the McCain campaign phone bank in Pittsburgh, CNN reported.

Todd, told police that a “6-foot-4 black man approached her from behind, put a knife blade to her throat and demanded money,? the Seattle Times reported.

She handed over 60 dollars and returned to her car. When the assailant noticed her McCain bumper sticker, “the man punched her in the back of the head, knocked her to the ground and scratched a backward ‘B’ into her face with a dull knife,? according to the Seattle Times.

CNN reported that she said the attacker was “punching and kicking her while threatening to teach her a lesson for being a McCain supporter?

Before Todd admitted the story was false a McCain spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker, said that McCain and Gov. Palin “spoke to the victim and her family after learning about the incident,? CNN reported.

The Obama campaign similarly wished the woman “a speedy recovery,? CNN said.


October 19, 2008

Taliban Attack Bus Killing 30 to 40

The Taliban attacked Thursday kidnapping and killing between 30 and 40 people on a bus, Afghan officials told CNN Sunday.

The victims were civilians, according to Afghan officials, but the Taliban spokesperson said “the group’s fighters arrested and killed 27 Afghan soldiers,? CNN reported.

“Defense Ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi says the militants hijacked the bus and its 50 passengers,? according to the Voice of America.

CNN reported that 10 passengers were released, six were found beheaded, and the remaining are believed dead. It is difficult to find the passengers or their remains “because of the poor access to the region,? the Voice of America reported.

The Taliban claimed 27 Afghan soldiers were killed among the passengers, but an Afghan general told CNN that “no soldiers were killed in the attack, noting that ‘army soldiers are not allowed to travel by road, they always fly.’?


Advance Analysis

This story, written for the vita.mn section of the Star Tribune, advances the reopening of Barbette, with a new exhibition. Teri Anvid is quoted as a source, and is the only one direct source. Anvid is the new curator of the art museum, and the story highlights the new curator’s vision, coupled with the opening of Eddie Hamilton’s “pastel figure paintings? and Scott Helmes “collaged figure paintings.? By discussing the once bare walls and the new vision for filling them, the writer, Jahna Peloquin, advances the progression of art from one curator to the next, and couples event information parenthetically at the close of the paragraph.

October 18, 2008

Obama Biden Endorsements

Senator Barack Obama and his running mate Senator Joe Biden won many endorsements from national papers in the past few days, some from unlikely states.

Two unlikely endorsements, the Chicago Tribune, which “hasn’t backed a Democrat in its 161-year history? and the Los Angeles Times which “hasn’t endorsed a presidential candidate since 1972, when it backed President Richard M. Nixon’s re-election,? the Miami Herald reported Friday.

The Miami Herald also published its own endorsement Friday for Senators Obama and Biden.

The Denver Post made its pick for the presidency on Saturday reporting that Barack Obama was “the right man to lead America back to prosperity.?

The Washington Post similarly endorsed Obama. Stating “it gives us no pleasure to oppose Mr. McCain,? but outlining that the “stress of the campaign can reveal some essential truths, and the picture of Mr. McCain that emerged this year is far from reassuring. And we find no way to square his professional passion for America’s national security with his choice for a running mate.?

In favor of Obama however they compare his temperament as “unlike anything we’ve seen on the national stage in many years. He is deliberate but not indecisive, eloquent but a master of substance and detail, preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. We think he is the right man for a perilous moment,? the Washington Post wrote.

Pros and Cons of Electronic Textbooks

The cost of text books “has risen twice as fast as inflation, nearly tripling in two decades from 1995 to 2005, according to a U.S. government study,? the Christian Science Monitor reported, Friday.

But, “students still prefer the printed textbook,? the Dally Skiff reported Friday. The draw of the hands on text book is that it supplements learning through tactile reinforcement, and is able to be interactive, highlighted and page turning all factor into learning the Daily Skiff reported.

Another drawback, noted by the Daily Skiff, is that electronic textbooks can not be sold back to the book store because the electronic access codes are one-use only.

Keith Whitworth, an instructor of sociology, told the Daily Skiff students have been socialized through their elementary through high school experience with textbooks.

That may change however, because “Independence Hall Association launched a free, comprehensive, online U.S. history textbook,? according to a statement issued Monday at 24-7 press release. This is the “first entirely free digital textbook for middle and high-school students,? the press release reports.

October 17, 2008

Woodbury Man Charged With Intentional Homicide

After shooting his 19-year-old girlfriend, a Woodbury man called his wife to tell her “She is dead, I put three bullets in her head,? according to the Star Tribune.

Christopher S. Ledesma, 29, was charged Tuesday in Hudson Wis. with first-degree intentional homicide. The victim, Kelly Lynn Dahm had been found dead Sept. 20 in the front seat of Ledesma’s car which was parked “in the main parking lot of the St. Croix County Government Center in Hudson,? according to the Star Tribune.

Since Ledesma was on parole for having attacked two men and a boy with a knife in 1996 after having served four years for that crime, he was ineligible to buy a firearm, the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press reported.

Instead, his wife bought the firearm for him to use, because “someone was out to get him, and he needed protection,? he had told his wife, according to the Pioneer Press.

Four days prior to her death, Dahm was waiting in their car outside the sporting goods shop while Ledesma and his wife bought the gun, the Pioneer Press reported.

Ledesma has made “several utterances to jailers, including ‘I’m not a cheater. I loved her. I’m the one who was hurt, that why I (expletive) killed her,’? the Pioneer Press reported.

Surgeon Honored for Reattaching Teens Arms

A doctor was recognized for his treatment of an 18-year-old, whose arms were ripped off in a farming accident, and for his medical career Thursday night at the University of North Dakota Alumni Association’s Sioux Awards, according to the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune.

Dr. Allen Van Beek, 64, treated John Thompson in 1992 in an eight hour operation that restored Thompson’s mobility so he can “do everything except play darts,? according to the Pioneer Press. “Van Beek estimated that fewer than 10 people have had successful double-arm reattachments,? the Star Tribune reported.

Thompson’s arms were cut off by a “spinning power takeoff shaft on his father’s central North Dakota farm in January 1992,? the Star Tribune reported.

Thompson fell unconscious following the accident, and “woke up to his dog, Tuffy, persistently licking his face,? the Pioneer Press reported. Thompson then walked roughly 400 yards, used his mouth to open the door, and clenching a pencil between his teeth, dialed for help. Since he was concerned about his mother’s carpet he then went to the bathroom to wait, the Pioneer Press reported.

October 12, 2008

Petters Group Initiates Layoffs Friday

Following the former CEO’s resignation and detainment for fraud charges, Petters Group has cut nearly 50 jobs in layoffs on Friday, the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press reported.

The CEO, Tom Petters, has been charged with “masterminding a massive investment fraud scheme, which is estimated to involve more than $3.5 billion,? and is in jail without bond, the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press reported.

The headquarters, located in Minnetonka, along with another branch in West Palm Beach, Fla., and elsewhere throughout the United States will be affected the Star Tribune reported.

Polaroid is one company held under the umbrella of Petters Group. In addition, Pettesr owns “all of the voting shares of Sun Country Airlines,? according to the Star Tribune, and the company “filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday,? according to the Pioneer Press.

Contenders for Senate Debate in Golden Valley

Minnesota’s three top contenders clashed during the Senate debate in Golden Valley Saturday evening according to the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

The Independent Party’s candidate Dean Barkley, Democratic candidate Al Franken and Republican Sen. Norm Coleman met at Breck School in Golden Valley to discuss “a range of issues: Iraq, the economy and negative ads,? according to the Star Tribune.

The debate was televised, before a crowd of 500 “riled-up? audience members who clapped, cheered, and laughed, according to the Pioneer Press.

“I will vote no for certain things, even if 85 senators vote for it… I guess, maybe I’m just, I don’t know, a maverick,? Franken said according to the Pioneer Press.

Barkley said, “this whole economic collapse, it was on your watch. I’m going to pin you on that one," the Star Tribune reported.

Coleman, who was taking criticism from both remaining candidates for his time in Washington contributing to the current economic crisis, reminded the two challengers “it was easy to cast stones from the cheap seats,? the Star Tribune reported.

October 11, 2008

Connecticut Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriages

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples were entitled to legalized marriage, according to the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

The ruling came as a 4-3 decision in which “civil unions relegate them to a ‘separate’ and ‘inferior status’ that falls short of full equality,? the Los Angeles Times reported.

Gay couples in Connecticut can get married starting Oct. 28, 2008 when the ruling is implemented, according to the New York Times.

The ruling referenced other discriminatory exclusions throughout the United States history, such as banning interracial marriages, excluding women from the workplace, and separate public facilities for black patrons, the New York Times reported.

“Like these once prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection,? Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote in his majority statement, as reported in the New York Times.

North Korea Removed From Terror Blacklist

Despite once being referenced as “an axis of evil? by Pres. George Bush, North Korea will be removed from the terrorism blacklist according to the Bush administration’s announcement made Saturday, according to the New York Times.

North Korea, who recently stopped deconstruction of its main nuclear reactor and had threatened to rebuild it in retaliation for not receiving treaty promises of oil and removal from the blacklist, agreed to decommission its known reactors. They have not however guaranteed inspectors access to any other potential nuclear reactor sites, according to the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times.

Japanese officials voiced disappointment over the announcement given Saturday, according to the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor.

“Conservatives, including some of the president’s former neo-con supporters, object on principle to the deal of cutting a deal with a regime which they regard as murderous, illegitimate and inherently untrustworthy,? the Christian Science Monitor reported.

John McCain, republican presidential nominee, also voiced disapproval according to the New York Times.

“So that’s a clear victory for North Korea,? John Bolton, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations under President Bush, told the New York Times.


October 10, 2008

Teacher Investigated for Sexual Assault Claim

A St. Paul teacher from Humboldt Junior High is being investigated for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old student.

Police have not filed charges against John Bernard Mauer, 58.

Police searched Mauer’s home and classrooms, taking a computer, a laptop and a bag of pictures – but police told the Star Tribune there is not enough evidence to support any allegations.

The girl reported that her teacher made advances toward her by “brushing up against her breasts? and showing her pictures of himself when he was younger, wearing only underwear, police said.

The special-ed student had been moved to another school recently following what the mother described as symptoms of high stress.

The girl reported that the teacher came to visit her at her new school on Sept. 19.

The mother notified the new school’s officials a few days after the visit and the school has placed Mauer on paid administrative leave.

Mauer did not answer calls to his home.

The girl’s mother told police that the teacher had called their home on two occasions, after regular school hours to “inquire about her well-being,? according to the police report.

In an interview at the Midwest Children’s Resource Center at Children’s Hospital the girl told the examiner that Mauer allegedly “pulled her pants down turned the lights off in his class room, and penetrated her on his desk,? the Pioneer Press reported.

“School should be the safest place in the world for kids to go,? Denise Quinlain, executive director of the middle grade schools in the district, said.

Press Release Analysis

Completion of the I-35W bridge announced Sept. 18 by Mn/DOT in its Sept. 15 press release conveyed pride and optimism regarding the completion of the bridge. The Star Tribune took the information from the press release and combined it with an anecdotal lead about one man’s second thoughts about getting up to cross the bridge at 5 a.m. which ran on Sept. 19. The coverage of the opening is much more animated and personable than the news release announcing the re-opening. The reporter who wrote the story disregarded the many quotes throughout the press release, made by Commissioner Tom Sorel and Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Instead, he wrote a personal account of one man’s experience waking early in the morning to cross the new bridge. The reporter then tied in other people who drove over the bridge that morning and briefly described the procession. The details of the procession drew information from the press release, such as the state troopers, emergency and Mn/DOT vehicles which led the traffic over the bridge. But, beyond these basic facts, the news coverage of the actual event diverged sharply from the press release issued by Mn/DOT.

October 5, 2008

Spot News and Follows

Spot news stories can begin with scant information. As in the local developments surrounding the FBI raid on a local business, Petters Group Worldwide, official statements were released but little was known about the reason behind the raid. Due to the deficit of information, the story was then filled out with information about Petters Group and its connections in the business community.

The story ran in both local papers, and as the story developed, the Pioneer Press supplemented its original story’s page with links to the new information regarding Petters’ resignation and warrant which alleged investor fraud.

The Star Tribune ran a follow story the day after the raid discussing the worksite’s “returning to normal.? They also approached the continuing investigation into Petters’ home. The Star Tribune also reused much of the information it had used the previous day, though not in strict adherence.

Further supplementing the information a few weeks later, the Star Tribune returned to the story of Petters by profiling in almost a feature like story the other millionaire under investigation in the same case. This follow story ran like a feature in some respects, breaking away from the FBI raid lead to a story about a man convicted and imprisoned being led to “turn his life over to God.?

No charges have been made about this second millionaire yet, but, the news is an interesting tie and an interesting follow to the Petters’ incident.

Unlike the follows that were discussed in class, this information was all expressed in fresh web pages with links from one story to the next, rather than integrating the information directly into the same page.

Former Convict Turned Millionaire Under Investigation

The local FBI investigation into $1 billion in fraud now includes another area man, a reformed convict turned millionaire.

Frank Vennes Jr. is under investigation for allegations that he and others “raised funds from investors for the purchase and resale of electronic good that actually didn’t exist and then used the money for other purposes,? the Star Tribune reported.

In 1987, Vennes was convicted of money-laundering, drug and firearm charges, according to the Star Tribune.

Vennes was once an inmate and following his release began ministering to other prisoners, advising them how he had “left behind a life of crime to become a success,? the Star Tribune reported

October 4, 2008

Local CEO Arrested for $1 Billion Federal Fraud Charges

Authorities arrested a local business man, Friday, on charges associated with $1 billion of federal fraud, the Pioneer Press reported.

Tom Petters faces charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice which were made on Thursday, one week after a raid investigating both the company headquarters in Minnetonka and his home, the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune reported.

The judge ordered no bail be set because Petters is considered a flight risk, following a secretly recorded conversation in which he stated he “had not intended to be in the country by the time of the presidential debates,? according to the Star Tribune.

Kim Jong Il Makes First Appearance in 50 Days

Kim Jong-Il emerged Saturday after about fifty days of seclusion to watch a university’s soccer game, the state’s media said on Saturday, as Reuters reported.

This is the first appearance since mid-August when U.S. and South Korean officials think he may have suffered a stroke, and perhaps undergone surgery, reported Reuters.

Kim failed to appear at the 60th anniversary of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea festivities on Sept. 9. His absence sparked speculation regarding his health during a tumultuous time of talks regarding nuclear proliferation, Bloomberg reported.

“Kim’s reappearance came as the secretive state finished talks with a U.S. nuclear envoy,? Reuters reported.

Kim congratulated the team saying “the revolutionary and militant students in our country are good at art and sporting activities while devoting all their wisdom and enthusiasm to the study of science for the country and the people,? Bloomberg reported.

October 3, 2008

Republican National Convention Search Warrant Made Public

A police search warrant outlining suspected support for terrorism, weapons and plans for violence during the Republican National Convention to justify entry into a St. Paul man’s home arrived at the Ramsey County attorney’s office, Monday, according to the Star Tribune.

When police raided the duplex they found boxes suspected to be housing weapons, but found only Vegan leaflets called “Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating? which his roommate distributes for $15 dollars an hour, according to reports in both the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune.

The home owner, Mike Whalen, said he “has been involved with Irish solidarity groups and has brought speakers to the Twin cities -- including mothers whose children have been killed by plastic bullets -- to talk about the violence in North Ireland,? the Star Tribune reported. He also teaches Irish dancing, and is well-known in the community.

Mother of Missing Child Named as Suspect

Police elevated Casey Anthony from a “person of interest? to a “suspect? regarding the disappearance of her 3-year-old daughter, CNN reported Thursday.

Caylee Marie Anthony was reported missing on July 15 - her mother said she hadn’t seen her since mid-June, when she reportedly left the child with a baby sitter, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Police can't find the babysitter and now question whether the baby sitter exists.

“Deceptive responses, lies, uncooperativeness? contributed to her suspicion Sherriff’s spokesman Capt. Angelo Nieves told the Orlando Sentinel in an explanatory email.