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April 26, 2009

Analysis on Records/Computer-Assisted Reporting: Investigative Reporting on Troubled Bridges in Missouri

According to www.nicar.org's Extra! Extra! link, Mark Greenblatt is a reporter who used computer-assisted reporting to help him tell a story about Missouri's troubled bridges. Greenblatt employed records from the National Bridge Inventroy, Federal Highway Administration, MODOT, and a video clip tape transcript Department of Transportation. The reporter would have needed to know how to use Microsoft Excel and navigate these different source banks so he could retrieve the information he needed and design graphs or chart which would help him analyze the numbers. Also, he needs to know how to calculate percentages and percent change. In his report, his KOMU's "computer-assisted investigation" revealed citizens in Missouri are seriously at risk because of mid-Missouri's deteriorating bridges.


Clinton Said Moderation Is Lebanon's Best Hope

The New York Times reported Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Lebanon on Sunday for a lightning visit to express support for this fragile country, six weeks before crucial parliamentary elections in which the Islamic military group Hezbollah is expected to make significant gains.


While Clinton said the choice of a government was up to the Lebanese people, the United States which classified Hezbollah as terrorist organization, clearly hoped to bolster the electoral prospects of the existing majority, a coaliition of Sunni Muslim and Christian parties.

"It won't surprise you to hear that I think moderation is important in the affair states," Clinton said after meeting the president, Michel Suleiman, a formerly chief of the armed forces who stays above the political fray.

The United States has given more than $1 billion in aid to Lebanon in 2006, including $410 million for its security forces. Troops have taken part in American police training programs.

According to the Boston Herald News, the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington supports the "voices of moderation" and will never betray Lebanon by making a deal with Syria jeopardizing Lebanon's interests.


Yesterday's pledge to support Lebanon came just nearly two months before elections where Iranian-backed Hezollah and its allies could win possibly paving the route for renewed Syrian influence over Lebanon.

Swine Flu Case in the US

According to the USA Today, news of the spread of a novel, possibly life-threatening, swine flu strain escalated over the weekend, not only in Mexico but the United States as well.


There were 20 confirmed cases in five states, school closings in some areas, and the drain of the government's stockpile of antivirals drugs to combat the virus.

"We have an outbreak of new infectious disease that we are approaching very aggressively," said Richard Besser, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a White House news conference.

The New York Times reported that American health officials declared a public health emergency on Sunday as 20 cases of swine flu were confirmed in this country, including eight in New York City.


Other nations had imposed travel bans or made plans to quarantine air travelers as confirmed cases had also shown up in Mexico and Canada and suspect cases emerged elsewhere.

Top global flu experts struggled to predict how dangerous the new A (H1 N1) swine flue strain would be as it became evident that not enough information is known about Mexico's outbreak.

"We're in a period in which the picture is evolving," said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, deputy director general of the World Health Organization.

Swine flu causes flulike symptoms including respiratory congestion, fever and achy joints, but it mimics many other respiratory infections, said Anne Shuchat, interim deputy director for the CDC's Science and Public Hhealth Program.

Schuchat said the public can take precautions to slow disease spread by reducing travel, washing hands, and staying home when sick.

12 Arrested in Dinkytown Riot

According to Fox 9 News, twelve people were arrested and jailed after Minneapolis broke up a riot in Dinkytown Saturday.


The students arrested were Jeffrey Fredrickson, Jonathan Rokser, Joseph Moy, Jacob Kerwin, and Peter Robins.

Duran Cooley, Jacob Kersting, Gerald Nussmeier, Nicholas Owens, Adan Russell, and Kyle Martin were also arrested in the riots. They were not University of Minnesota students.

It started at 14th and 7th Streets around 8 p..m., where students were celebrating the annual Spring Jam block party.

Nearly 60 officers had to suit themselves up with helmets and gas masks and they fought off an estimated 500 partying students who were throwing beer bottles, rocks and other debris at them. Students were also starting fires in the middle of the street.

WCCO News reported that twelve people gave been arrested and a Dinkytown neighborhood is recovering after a riot.


Hundreds of people crowded the streets around the 1400 block of 7th Street near the University of Minnesota campus Saturday night.

"It felt like downtown Baghdad out there. This felt like a warzone," he recalled.

The crowd swelled and became destructive after a Spring Jam concert was canceled. Some set fires and tried to tip over cars.

Officers in riot gear pushed back the crowd with tear gas and foam bullets. The confrontation lasted about five hours.

"My entire house was flooded with tear gas," said Dan Schindler.

Minneapolis police said of the 12 people arrested, some may have been cited and released already. Five are current U of M students, two are recent students, one is a future student and four are non-students.

Man Who Disappeared for a Week Found Dead on Anoka Golf Course

According to WCCO News, after he'd been missing for a week, Jelani Brinson's body was discovered at the Greenhaven Golf Course in Anoka about 1 p.m. Saturday.


An employee notified police after seeing a body floating in a pond on the property. A family friend said they retrieved Brinson's wallet, which was on him at the time they arrived on the scene.

The golf course is located across the railroad tracks from where he was last seen on Kennedy Street in Anoka last Friday night. Friends said the 24-year-old abandoned that party and searchers found his shoes near the railroad tracks.

Just Friday night, family and friends of Brinson hosted a prayer service in Brooklyn Park. Brinson is survived by a 9-month-old daughter.

The Star Tribune reported that Jelani Brinson, the 24-year-old man who disappeared after leaving a friend's Anoka home April 17, was found dead Saturday in a golf pond.


An employee of the Greenhaven Golf Course in Anoka called the Anoka County Sheriff's Office to report seeing the body floating in the pond shortly after 1 p.m.

Brinson, of North Minneapolis, had been missing since he walked away from a friend's house on Kennedy street in Anoka.

People searching for him found his shoes in two different places along a nearby railroad track.

Dogs traced his scent west along the tracks for about 1.5 miles to an area behind the Outpost Bar in Ramsey, but the trail stopped there.

April 23, 2009

Man Charged In Hopkins White Castle Shooting

Hopkins police arrested a 20-year-old man for a fatal shooting outside a White Castle restaurant KSTP-TV reported.


Yusuf Hussein Omar is being held without bail in the death of 24-year-old Abdirizak Dahir Ali.

Ali, of Shakopee, was gunned downed at 2 a.m. Sunday after a fight in the parking lot of the restaurant on Blake Road North.

Officials believed the crime was gang-related.

Omar is being held in the Hennepin County Jail on second-degree murder charges.

According to the Star Tribune, a 20-year-old man on the street known as "JaJa" has been charged with second-degree intentional murder in the shooting of a man in a White Castle parking lot in Hopkins early Sunday.


Yusuf Hussein Omar had blood stains on his white shirt and blue jeans as Hopkins police arrested him, according to a complaint released today.

Omar's face was swollen and bruised as though he'd been in a fight, the complaint said. Omar was in the Hennepin County Jail with bail set at $750,000.

Omar is accused of shooting to death Abdirizalk Dahir Ali, 24, of Shakopee, whose body was found in the restaurant parking lot.

According to the complaint, Ali was shot four times by a 9 millimeter gun.

The complaint said witnesses identified Omar in lineups.

April 19, 2009





Woman Shot To Death Outside Maple Grove McDonald's

According to KSTP-TV News, police said a woman in her twenties, was shot to death outside the McDonald's at 6255 Sycamore Lane North in Maple Grove Sunday afternoon in what appears to be a murder-suicide.


Police were called to the restaurant around 2 p.m. They said the woman was shot with a shot gun just outside the door by the drive-up lane.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn Park Police saw a car which matched the description of the suspect's vehicle on Interstate 94. As they pulled the car over, they said the man also believed to be in his twenties, shot and killed himself.

The Star Tribune reported that in a bloody end to a domestic dispute, a young woman's on-again, off-again boyfriend shot her to death Sunday afternoon outside a Maple Grove McDonald's restaurant and then committed suicide on a nearby freeway police said.


At least a dozen people were eating inside the popular restaurant when the man accosted the woman as she walked toward the entrance, shooting her at least twice with a shot gun.

The man and woman had arrived separately at the restaurant to break off a year-old relationship, Maple Grove police capt. Tracy Stille said.

About six minutes after initial 911 calls, a Brooklyn Park police officer approached the parked vehicle and found the man dead inside from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Stille said.

Man Urinating Falls Off Highway 77 Bridge

According to WCCO News, a man was hurt after falling off the edge of the Highway 77 bridge in Bloomington, Minn. after attempting to urinate.


A 21-year-old man called police just before 5 a.m. Sunday who said his friend fell off the Highway 77 bridge.

The caller said he was driving north when his friend, age 23, asked him to pull into the bridge's emergency lane so he could urinate.

The Eagen Fire Department brought the man to safety using a chair lift. He was driven to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he remarried in stable condition with serious injuries.

Fox 9 News reported that rescue crews were called in around 3:30 a.m. Sunday to aid a man who had fallen from the cedar avenue bridge after reportedly trying to urinate.


Somehow the victim went over the ledge and fell about 30 feet into the marsh below.

Investigators believed it was an accident.

The man's injuries were said to be non-life threatening.

April 12, 2009






Bemidji Woman Pleads Innocent In Overdose Death

A Bemidji woman, age 29, has pleaded innocent to providing methadone to a man who overdosed and died WCCO
News reported.


Beltrami County sheriff's deputies discovered Christopher Anderson died at the apartment of Lillie Rae Kise on April
26, 2008. An autopsy discovered Anderson's cause of death was an overdose of methadone.

The complaint stated deputies found two dosage bottles of methadone in the apartment, one which was in the name of Kise indicating that it was to be used the day before and to be taken on April 27, 2008.

Kise pleaded not guilty April 6 to felony third-degree murder by selling, giving, or distributing controlled substances.

April 5, 2009

Analysis on Numbers in a News Story





April 3, 2009

Driver Crashes On I-394 After High-Speed Chase

WCCO News reported a driver crashed after leading authorities in the western metro on a high-speed chase Friday morning.


Michael Antoine, age 34, is being held on suspicion of felony fleeing and he is also being held on several warrants.

The chase began about 10 a.m. Friday on eastbound Interstate 94 near the Rogers/Maple Grove border when a Hennepin County Sheriff's deputy on his way to work noticed a car driving erratically, said Hennepin County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Lisa Kiava.

Authorities said Devine lost control of the SUV and crashed into a median on I-394 at Plymouth Road in Minnetonka. Once Devine got out of his vehicle, it blazed into flames. He was not injured and taken into custody.

According to Hennepin County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Lisa Kiava said Devine was wanted on three outstanding warrants in Hennepin, Dakota, and Sherburne Counties for failure to pay child support.