March 2012 Archives

"Party-drug" lab busted

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A drug lab was busted on Thursday in St. Paul.

Timothy Lee Meyer, 32, and Amanda Lee Vickaryous, 23, were arrested at the scene where police found chemicals, grain alcohol, and ether, according to the Pioneer Press.

The apartment was apparently making synthetic LSD and tranquilizers, Fox News reported.

Ramsey County sheriff's office spokesman told the Pioneer Press that this is the first drug lab of this kind to be found in Minnesota. It appeared that the drugs were being broken down, and turned into "super-drugs."

The two adults arrested at the scene apparently have a criminal history, and a 4-year-old found at the scene was taken into custody, Fox said.

Youth minister charged with stealing from church

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A former Burnsville youth minister has been accused of stealing $8,000 from a church last year.

John Mertes, a 40-year-old from Burnsville, appeared in court this week on the felony charges of theft-by-swindle by skimming funds from the church last year, according to Fox News.

The missing money was called to the attention of the church in January, after a $500 check was missing from a fundraiser, the Washington Post reported.

In total, about 40 checks made out to the church were deposited into Mertes' bank account, summing up to over $8,000, the Post said.

According to Fox, Mertes told police that he was under financial stress, and that none of the money was ever given back to the church.

Obit Analysis

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The obituary I used for my analysis was for Lincoln Hall, from the LA Times.

Lincoln Hall dies at 56; climber survived Mt. Everest ordeal

The obituary used Hall's quotes, his book, his website, newspaper articles about him, a magazine article about him, and other people's quotes about him.

The article did not use a standard lead, however I think it adds to the story. The alternative lead is about the reason he's famous.

The obituary is different from a resume because it goes beyond accomplishments and proficiencies. It tells the story behind his quirks and famous aspects. The obit also includes information provided from other people.

Student shot and killed at Mississippi State

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The shooting occurred late Saturday night in Evans Hall, an all-male dorm, Bill Kibler, vice president for student affairs, told CNN.

The student's identity has not yet been released, but he was shot more than once, and died at the hospital, Kibler said.

According to the Washington Post, the three male suspects fled the campus in a blue Crown Victoria. However, no arrests had been made by early Sunday.

The campus remains under emergency status, and a series of alert text messages were sent to students shortly after the shooting, CNN said.

The school's website says the campus is located in a low-crime area, and that emergencies are rare, the Washington Post reported.

Minnesota man dead after car crash in North Dakota

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The North Dakota Highway Patrol said a Minnesota died after fleeing a trooper and crashing his pickup, according to the Pioneer Press.

Paul Mertens, a 36-year-old from Ramsey, Minn. died while being taken to a Bismark hospital by ambulance, the Bismark Tribune reported.

Mertens was reportedly driving in a reckless manner, and a trooper pulled him over. Shortly after, Mertens fled, reaching speeds of up to 90 mph, the patrol statement said.

Mertens apparently lost control of the vehicle about four miles later, as it rolled multiple times and ended up in the ditch. Mertens was ejected from the truck, according to the Bismark Tribune.

Garage fire leaves one dead

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A fire in St. Paul destroyed a garage and left one man dead.

Police believe that Donald Pnewski Jr., a 53-year-old St. Paul native, died in a garage fire on Thursday, according to the Pioneer Press.

Authorities believe that Pnewski was living in the unattached garage at the residence belonging to his mother, Kare 11 reported.

According to the Pioneer Press, Pnewski's had been living in the garage because his mother didn't want him in the house. She reportedly died a few months ago, but Pnewski continued to live in the garage.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Strong earthquake rocks Mexico

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A 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit southern Mexico on Tuesday, with vibrations felt as far as 200 miles away from the epicenter.

The earthquake injured at least 11 people, and damaged hundreds of houses, with the epicenter near the town of Ometepec, Guerrero, CNN reported.

A Guerrero official confirmed with the Washington Post that over 800 homes were damaged, about 60 of which collapsed.

Tuesday's quake was strong, but not as strong as the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico City in 1985. That earthquake is known as the deadliest in Mexico's history, as it killed over 10,000 people, CNN said.

Seismologists and civil protection officials told the Washington Post that there didn't appear to be extreme damage due to where and how the earthquake hit.

According to CNN, authorities were surveying buildings, schools, and hospitals on Wednesday, determining the extent of the damage.

Texting and walking is dangerous!

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A Michigan woman plunged into Lake Michigan after walking off a pier while texting on Monday.

Bonnie Miller, a 45-year-old from Benton Harbor, was walking with her family on the South Pier in St. Joseph on Tuesday. Miller was texting and lost her balance, falling into the lake, Wood TV reported.

Due to the current and her clothes, Miller was struggling attempting to tread water, so Rebecca Van Zant, of Mishawaka, jumped in to help her, ABC 57 said.

Police arrived at the scene around 9:30 p.m., and threw the pair flotation devices.

Both women were successfully pulled out of the water.

After 3 1/2 weeks alone in a New Mexico national forest, Margaret Page and cat were found Friday by a rescue team.

According to ABC News, Page, a 41-year-old New Mexico native, was reported as missing on Feb. 14, but authorities didn't start searching for her until this week. When searchers found her, Page was malnourished but alert, articulate, and well-hydrated.

Relying on a creek for drinking water, Page and her cat, Miya, lived on a bag of pretzels and a few supplies, rescue workers told the Washington Post on Friday.

Page had been hiking in that area of the park before, according to Villalobos, but her landlord, Adam Rodriguez, told police Page said she was travelling to visit friends in Florida and never mentioned plans to go to the forest, ABC reported.

Man dies in ATV accident

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A man from Wyoming, Minnesota died Saturday in an ATV accident near Duluth.

The St. Louis County sheriff's office says the 56-year-old man was driving an ATV on a road in Pequaywan Township when his vehicle rolled over around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS reported.

According to the Associated Press, the man died at the scene. His name was being withheld pending notification of relatives. The sheriff's office says he was not wearing a helmet. No other vehicles were involved.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, said the Northland News Center.

Cameras being tested in Minnesota courtrooms

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Cameras ventured into Minnesota courtrooms Friday, as part of a project created by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The project makes it possible for cameras to be used in small, civil cases. These tend to be unusual because civil cases are typically settled before hearings or are rescheduled to accommodate for criminal cases, the Pioneer Press reported.

Across the nation, cameras are allowed in most courtrooms, including courts in Wisconsin, according to CBS.

Mark Anfinson a media attorney who helped craft the rules for the pilot project, hadn't heard complaints from anyone involved in a hearing where cameras had been allowed, he told the Pioneer Press.

Shooting outside an Oklahoma courthouse

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Three people were shot Wednesday following an exchange of gunfire outside of a courthouse near Tulsa.

A sheriff's deputy, a bystander, and the gunman have been hospitalized, authorities told the Chicago Tribune.

According to police, the gunman has been identified as 23-year-old Andrew Joseph Dennehy, CNN reported.

The incident occurred when Dennehy discharged his handgun into the air on a plaza outside of the Tulsa County Courthouse, Sgt. Shannon Clark of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office told CNN.

The gunman was shot in the upper torso and remains in critical condition, but the other victims's injuries were not life-threatening, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Tropical storm Irina hits Madagascar

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For the second time in two weeks, Madagascar is in a state of emergency.

Tropical storm Irina hit Madagascar on Monday, just two weeks after the nation was devastated by tropical storm Giovanna.

At least 73 people have died and more than 21,000 people are homeless following Irina's landfall in Madagascar, an official with the nation's disaster bureau told CNN on Wednesday.

Last month, tropical storm Giovanna killed 35 people and rendered 240,000 people homeless, according to the Washington Post.

According to CNN, many of the casualties occurred in southeastern Madagascar, where a mudslide swallowed homes and caused a traffic accident involving a minibus.

Speech Analysis

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For my speech analysis, I found a story from USA Today written about Obama's United Auto Workers' speech.

The story gave a critical look at Obama's politics behind the speech: whether he was actually just addressing the American public, or if he was getting into campaign mode.

The reporter gave both sides to the argument, and facts backing up why either could be true.

Overall, there is no exact answer to the critical analysis made by the reporter. He leaves the interpretation up to the reader. I think that is how the reporter goes beyond the story to help display the importance of the speech.

Girl locked in bedroom freezes to death

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A 3-year-old from Alaska died and her younger sister suffered hypothermia after being locked in a bedroom with an open window overnight.

The two girls were from the Inupiat Eskimo community of Barrow, in northern Alaska. The night they were locked in their room the temperatures dropped to 30 degrees below zero, the Associated Press reported.

According to state reports, Esther Edwards-Gust and her boyfriend Richard Tilden were indicted in connection with the death and extreme hypothermia of the girls, the Chicago Tribune said.

The Associated Press reported that Tilden was allegedly intoxicated when he was taking care of the girls, and he is accused of opening the window and leaving them overnight in the locked room.

Tilden also told officers he opened the bedroom window because the girls wet their beds, and he didn't close it before going to bed. In earlier interviews, Edwards-Gust told officers the girls were sleeping in their beds when she went to work that morning.

Edwards-Gust is a second-grade teacher at the Fred Ipalook Elementary School in Barrow, according to the North Slope Borough School District's website

Bones found in Crystal backyard

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Police have unearthed what they believe to human bones in the backyard of a Crystal home.

Crystal police announced they found the bones Friday morning. Police Chief John Banick told KSTP that they believe the bones belonged to an infant from several years before.

Officers were told about the possible death on Tuesday while they were investigating a domestic assault at the home, KSTP reported.

Crystal police said Thursday that the digging unearthed bones that may be human. Those bones, along with any other bones that may be found, will be turned over to the Hennepin County medical examiner's office, according to the Pioneer Press.

When Jif created a contest asking for the "Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwiches," Sullivan Jacobs answered their call.

A first-grader from Mankato, Sullivan is one of five finalists in the running for a $25,000 college fund and $10,000 for educational products, the Mankato Free Press reported.

The Blue Monkey Pita, as named by Sullivan, is a healthy concoction that combines blueberries, agave nectar, banana, maple syrup and peanut butter on whole-wheat pita bread.

When asked how this unique blend of ingredients came to be, Sullivan explained that he wanted french toast for breakfast, but his 4-year-old brother wanted peanut butter and bananas, according to the Pioneer Press.

Sullivan and his family are headed to New York where he will appear on the Today show, and the Blue Monkey will be put to the test.

The winner will be announced on March 30.

Train crash kills 16 in Poland

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Two passenger trains collided head-on in Poland on Saturday, leaving authorities questioning how the two trains ended up on the same track.

At least 16 people have died and around 60 more are injured in the wake of Saturday's train crash in Poland, the Polish State Fire Brigade told CNN.

The trains were carrying about 350 passengers when the accident occurred shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday, just outside of Szczekociny, Poland. Authorities have called the crash the worst Poland has seen in over 20 years, the New York Times reported.

According the the Times, more than 450 firefighters and 100 police officers responded to the crash. Heavy equipment was needed to cut both survivors and the dead from the wreckage, and two helicopters were used to airlift the injured to hospitals.

On Sunday emergency workers used sniffer dogs to search the wreckage for survivors.

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