May 5, 2007

Stabbing at MOA

A female is currently in the hospital in critical condition after being stabbed Saturday in the stomach at the Mall of America.

According to police, a 14-year-old stabbed the victim. It was not said how old the victim is.

Bloomington Police said the incident occurred around 2:30 p.m., on the mall’s third floor. Investigations into determining what caused the confrontation, as well as looking at a potential relationship between the suspect and the victim, are underway.

The victim is currently in a hospital, but it was not disclosed which one in the state. The suspect is in custody.

The Pioneer Press did not have a report on this story as of 4 p.m, on Saturday.


Shots were offered starting at noon Saturday to a potential 1,500 people who may have been exposed to hepatitis A at a Minnesotan resturant earlier this week.

The Pioneer Press reported that another 200 people were given shots Saturday morning, bringing the total number of people to around 1,800. The Pioneer Press also reported that there was a third case of Hepatitis A confirmed on Friday.

The Pizza Ranch in Slayton closed on Tuesday after tests showed that two employees were infected, according to the Star Tribune. The shots are being offered to customers who ate there or at catered events from April 20 to May 1.

Shots are available at the Murray County Fairgrounds in Slayton.

There has been no indication that any paying customers had been infected, the Tribune said.

Health officials plan to offer all customers and employees shots that can prevent infection up to 14 days after exposure. The shots use immune globulin.

The Star Tribune said that Hepatitis A is caused by a virus found in feces, and is commonly spread through eating food or drinking beverages.

Local health officials hope to have more test results on other employees as early as Saturday. There are around 20 people that work at the resturant.

The Star Tribune also reported that this breakout of Hepatitis A has been the first in seven years that it has been traced to a restuartant. In 2000, an outbreak occurred at a bar in Little Canada and sickened several dozen people.
Annual cases of hepatitis have dropped since the 1990s, when they numbered in the hundreds, to 36 in 2005, the Star Tribune reported.

April 26, 2007

Dog Ordinance passed

The St. Paul City Council approved an ordinance saying pet owners cited more than once for abusing or neglecting an animal cannot legally own another pet.

According to the Star Tribune, the ordinance is aimed at people who train dogs to fight, puppy mill operators and negligent pet owners.

The decision came just two days after a woman was attacked by two dogs on St. Paul’s East Side. On Friday, a 4-year-old girl in Minneapolis was bitten in the head by a pit bull while it was chained to a fence. She needed 13 stitches in her head.

In previous weeks, another woman nearly died after two dogs attacked her, and an 8-year-old boy in Minneapolis was attacked by an Akita that got loose from a local yard.

According to the Pioneer Press, one council member wants the ordinance to go even further to change state law to allow the city to prohibit entire breeds of dogs. Some disagree, saying it’s not the dogs themselves but the owners who cause the problems.

The ordinance, according to the Pioneer Press, is meant to address the problem when the city removes an abused dog or one that has been trained to fight; owners just buy a new one.

Pit Bulls are notoriously known to be the type of dog some owners train to attack. In all recent dog attacks, pit bulls have been involved in all but one.

The Pioneer Press also reported that similar “get-tough? dog laws are becoming more popular as states try to prevent the threat of dangerous dogs. Some states are pursuing criminal charges as well as financial charges, the PP said.

The Pioneer Press has much more detail on the attacks and the people involved in them in their article. They also have numerous quotes from the council, dog owners, shelter affiliates and people who were attacked. They also cited a Supreme Court case in California relating to the issue of dog control and attacks. The Star Tribune article was much shorter and included few quotes. It was more of an informative piece, while the PP took it to another level with detail.

Fight occurs in middle of rush hour

Two women got out of their cars and fought Wednesday in the middle of a local freeway during rush hour.

According to the Star Tribune, the women threw punches and tossed items as they took up the center lane of westbound Interstate Hwy. 694 near the Mississippi River.

Other drivers attempted to drive around the scene until police arrived eight minutes later to stop the fight. The women were arrested by police. The fight caused traffic to be delayed an extra 20 minutes.

The Star Tribune said why the fight started is unknown. The two women were riding in the same vehicle, along with one other man.

The names of the women have not been released. According to the Star Tribune, they are from out of state. As of Thursday morning, the women had posted bail and had not been charged.

Police call this type of altercation a “rolling domestic,? which usually occur on the shoulder of roads, not in the middle.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press did not report on this incident.

April 21, 2007

Man dies in fire, possible cigarette

A 63-year-old man died in southwest Minneapolis Saturday due to a house fire.

The man, whose name has not been released, tried to flee the fire and was found dead by the time firefighters found him near the back door of the house. The man lived alone.

According to the Star Tribune, indications are that the man had been smoking and an upholstered chair started on fire.

Nearly four years earlier, a woman was critically injured and later died in a house fire that started in a basement bedroom due to smoking. Ironically, this was a home next door to the house that started on fire on Saturday.

The Star Tribune reported that of 55 people who died in fires in Minneapolis between 1996 and 2006, 25 were a result of smoking-related fires.

Sgt. Sean McKenna, who was the source for the Tribune in this article, advises against having an open flame such as a cigarette near any kind of upholstered item.

The Pioneer Press did not report on the death.

Twins minor leaguer suspended

Twins minor league pitcher Anthony Swarzak received a 50-game suspension Friday for violating the league’s drug-of-abuse policy for a second time, the Pioneer Press reported.

This was his second violation under the new rules relating to drug abuse. Swarzak previously violated the policy during spring training in 2006.

He was not suspended for his first offense because the drug was not performance-enhancing. The “drug-of-abuse? list includes cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines and other narcotics. The policy for failing one of these tests puts the player on a “tracking system,? after the first offense, the Pioneer Press reported.

A second offense results in a 50-game suspension, which Swarzak received immediately Friday.

According to ESPN, Swarzak is the fourth minor leaguer suspended under the drug program this year, the second for a drug-of-abuse. There were 37 suspensions under the program last year -- 32 for performance-enhancing drugs and five for drugs of abuse.

Swarzak, 21, pitches for Class AA New Britain. He is been put in touch with the Twins’ employee assistance program for a second time.

"It's disappointing,? Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. “Fifty games is a long time in a season, and it's certainly going to hinder his development."

The Star Tribune did not have any reports about the suspension online as of 4 p.m. Saturday.

April 13, 2007

Rollover kills one

Another accident left a person dead Thursday night in Anoka County.

A rollover accident occurred near the intersection of Norris Lake Road Northwest and Cleary Road Northwest in Burns Township. It happened around 7:20 p.m.

The driver’s name has not been released. According to the Star Tribune, the driver was alone and lost control of the vehicle, spilling off the road and rolling over several times.

The driver was ejected from the car soon afterwards, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police are trying to determine the cause of the crash in a current investigation.

Both of these stories in the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune were pretty much identical. These were strict hard-news stories in which there wasn’t a lot of information to report, or until the name is released anyway.

Massive accident

Snowy, icy roads caused a 70-car accident on Hwy. 169 at the Hopkins-Edina border late Wednesday, which sent two people to the hospital with critical injuries.

The large, chain-reaction crash occurred around 10 p.m., the Pioneer Press reported.

The Pioneer Press also reported that the two injured were pedestrians. Several other people involved suffered minor injuries. At the time of the Press article, the state patrol said it was unknown which vehicle or vehicles started the crash, as well as which car struck the pedestrians.

The Star Tribune did a follow-up story, focusing on a couple and other people who were involved in the crash. The Tribune reported that vehicles involved reached more than 60.

According to the Tribune, the two victims had been in a crash on the bridge and had stepped out to flag down passing vehicles, then were hit, the state patrol said. They were then thrown off the overpass, where they were found 20 to 30 feet below in a grassy area by rescue workers.

The two victims were Melanie M. Thompson, 37, of Minneapolis, and Leonard Taylor, 47. On Thursday night, Thompson was listed in satisfactory condition. Taylor was listed in serious condition.

The massive pile-up of vehicles may be the largest multi-vehicles crash in Minnesota in a generation, the Star Tribune reported.

April 6, 2007


MnDOT is warning Minnesotans about the upcoming, massive construction of roadways around the state. The Pioneer Press reported that there were more than 150 road projects announced for the 2007 season Thursday.

The headline on the Star Tribune page was, “Consider yourself warned! MnDOT predicts 16 of the 36 metro road projects will cause major traffic delays this summer.? The Pioneer Press reported that 121 projects will be “outstate.?

The summer of construction is projected to cost $1.5 billion. The biggest contract in state history, that of a new junction where Cross-town Hwy. 62 meets Interstate Hwy. 35W will cost a reported $288 million, the Star Tribune reported.

Other projects will close lanes and slow traffic in Eagan (Hwy. 77), Blaine (Hwy. 65) and St. Paul (Hwy. 36).

Although it sounds big, the metro area projects are lower than in previous years. There were a total of 69 projects in 2005 and 41 in 2006. Of the $1.5 billion being spent this year, $1 billion will be spent in the metro area alone, a similar total in the two previous years, the Star Tribune reported.

The Pioneer Press took a different approach to the article. They profiled each of the major spots in the Twin Cities, and gave the 5 W’s for the readers, including where, what, cost and alternate routes. The site also has visual maps of the areas and roads from around Minnesota.

Visit MnDot for more maps and details.

April 5, 2007

Golf stores robbed

Within the past week, thieves have broken into two Metro area golf stores, running-off with thousands of dollars worth of golf equipment, the Star Tribune reported today.

KSTP-TV’s website has a video of men carrying clubs out of a Golf Galaxy store in Bloomington. According to reports, the men broke in by smashing a window.

Last week a Richfield shop was robbed of $12,000 worth of equipment. It is not clear if the two robberies are related to one another.

March 28, 2007

Minnesotan dies in Iraq

A Minnesota soldier from Rosemount was killed Sunday in Baghdad, Iraq, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

Army Spc. Sean K. McDonald, 21, died of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

McDonald was assigned to the 9th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based in Wiesbaden, Germany.

The Department of Defense did not release any more details Wednesday. The Pioneer Press said McDonald is the 48th member of the armed forces to die in Iraq.

The story quickly became top news on both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press websites Wednesday night. For further details, check the papers for more in-depth articles once more details are released and family is spoken with.

Two sentenced for life

Two young men have been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of 19-year-old Christopher Lynch of Brooklyn Park last May.

According to prosecutors, Lynch knelled and begged for his life in a Minneapolis alley last May before being shot execution style. Cornelius Jackson, 20, and Lamonte Martin, 18, were both charged for the murder in 1st degree, as well as committing a crime for a gang, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Star Tribune reported that Lynch was not a gang member, but Martin and Jackson were members of the 19 Block Dipset gang. Prosecutors said that Lynch was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the murder occurred.

Jackson has a child, as well as Lynch. Lynch has a 6-month-old daughter whom he had never met.

The Star Tribune goes into much more detail about the court proceedings. The reporter gives details on what was said, by all parties including the judge. The article tells a story, while the Pioneer Press reported the ruling strictly as hard news without quotes. I thought the Strib article was much better for readers who have not heard of the murder beforehand.

March 23, 2007

Man arrested for beheading

A 24-year-old man was arrested Thursday on suspicions of beheading a dog of a 17-year-old, and then sending the head of the dog back to the teenager.

The Star Tribune was quick to point out that they were not naming the name of the suspect, because he has not been charged yet. The suspect could be charged as early as today on charges of terrorist threats and animal cruelty.

The Pioneer Press identified the man as Anthony A. Gomez. For the past three weeks, Crystal Brown and her grandmother Shirley Brown have lived in fear of Gomez. According to Shirley Brown, the suspect and Crystal Brown were friends, but the suspect wanted to be her boyfriend.

The grandmother said she believed Gomez killed the dog since the day Crystal Brown found the box laying on the front steps back in February. Two weeks earlier, the dog had disappeared and couldn’t be found. There were candy hearts in a box along with the dog’s head.

Both papers commented on the national attention the story received. Cards and gifts have poured in from all over the world, from such places as Russia and Canada, and from numerous states in the U.S. America’s Most Wanted even posted the case on its website.

Shirley Brown said she had known Gomez since he was a child. Her grandchildren used to play with him. Gomez only lives two blocks away.

Gomez was convicted of fifth-degree assault in 2001 and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in 2005. Both cases occurred in St. Paul, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Star Tribune went into more detail on the story. It wasn’t a hard news type of story. It went into a lot of sentimental depth and used a lot of quotes. The Pioneer Press used a similar technique, but it was more of a hard-news story.

3 killed in shooting

Three people were killed in a shooting early Friday morning in St. Paul.

The victims included a 15-year-old girl, a 31-year-old man and a 32-year old woman. The man died at the scene. The other victims were brought to Regions Hospital, where they later died.

The St. Paul Pioneer press released the names of two of the victims, unlike the Star Tribune. Maria Lynn Mclay and Otahl “T.C.? Webb were the elder victims. The teenager was their daughter, a student at Como Park Senior High School.

The deaths bring the number of St. Paul homicides to seven this year, almost half of the 16 that occurred in 2006, the Star Tribune reported.

The Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press used an unidentified woman who said she was a cousin of the male victim as a source. She spoke with WCCO radio earlier today.

According to this source, two other children escaped from the house and told her about the incident. She said at least two men entered the home at around 6:20 a.m., demanding money. The man was shot in the head when he responded he didn’t have any. The 32-year-old woman was then shot after telling the assailants to take whatever they wanted.

St. Paul Police Spokesman Tom Walsh said that the people involved likely knew each other. Police also said they do not know how many suspects were involved and how many shots were fired. There were no weapons found at the scene.

The police were tipped by a 17-year-old who was not in the house at the time of the shooting, the Star Tribune reported. Police said she went into the house, saw the bodies and called police. Her relationship to victims or occupants of the house is not known.

Walsh described the neighbourhood as blue collar and quiet.

March 8, 2007

Man shot dead

A man was shot and killed in St. Paul on Wednesday in what appears to be a drug deal gone bad.

Robert Renville, 20, was shot around 6 p.m., and was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul shortly after. He died there at around 8 p.m.

Renville, along with two others, were fired upon and shot while driving, police said. Police have arrested a 24-year-old from St. Paul in connection with the shooting. Livon Lucket, 19, was shot in the leg and Russell Robinson, 40, was shot in the arm.

The Pioneer Press reported that another person who avoided the bullets drove away, and followed an “erratic? path through the West Side, making stops along the way.

Police said the incident was not gang-related.

March 7, 2007

Pawlenty in Iraq

Gov. Tim Pawlenty visited Minnesota troops in Iraq Tuesday.

Pawlenty had lunch with troops in Balad and had town hall meetings in Tallil. This marks the 3rd trip for the governor since 2004.

The arrival and trip to the Middle East was not announced. For security reasons, these kinds of trips are not announced in advance. According to the governor’s office, Pawlenty had no public events scheduled for Tuesday.

Pawlenty also traveled with fellow governors from Arizona and Oklahoma. They met with Gen. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

The Star Tribune reported that Pawlenty also made a stop in Washington, D.C., where the three governors meet with Condoleeza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. Peter Pace (Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staffs).

The Pioneer Press reported that Pawlenty planned to travel to Iraq after learning that 2,600 Minnesotans in the 1st Brigade Combat team had their tours in Iraq extended. The troops were originally supposed to come home this month.

The rest of Pawlenty’s trip hasn’t been disclosed. The trip was also kept secret until this morning. He is expected to return to Minnesota sometime this weekend.

February 28, 2007

New policy starts debate

The Metropolitan Airport Commission held an intense debate about religion and alcohol Tuesday in Bloomington.

The MAC listened to testimonies that would impose harsher penalties for taxi drivers who refused to give service due to religious or other reasons. Some staff of the MAC insist that harsher practices are necessary to provide reliable service at the airport.

Since January of 2002, Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport Director Steve Wareham reported that there were a total of 5, 222 documented refusals of customers. Around 100 people are denied service at the airport every month, the Star Tribune reported. The MAC is considering extensive punishments for such drivers.

The debate mainly involved airport taxicab drivers of Somali descent and their refusal to drive people who have been drinking or have alcohol. The MAC received a “fatwa? (or a religious edict) last year from the Minnesota Chapter of the Muslim American Society, stating the religion of Islam prohibits taxi drivers from carrying passengers with alcohol. The edict states alcohol is prohibited because “it involves cooperating in sin according to Islam.?

About three-fourths of the 900 total cab drivers are Somali, many of them being Muslim.

Responding to the possible penalties, one driver said, “It’s against the law to discriminate against someone because of his belief. I urge you guys to look at this issue very seriously, because you are deciding the fate of 600 drivers and their families, their livelihood.?

Under the current system, drivers may refuse service to people who are drunk or appear dangerous. However, airport officials would like to see drivers who refuse service to have stricter penalties should they refuse passengers for any other reason.

The current penalty for a driver is being sent to the back of the taxi line. The Pioneer Press reported that translates to a three or four hour wait for the next customer.

Under the new policy, a first offense would result in a driver being suspended for 30 days. For a second refusal, a driver’s airport license would be revoked for two years, the Pioneer Press reported.

Also present during the debate was a group of blind Minnesotans, speaking about being denied rides from some taxis. Some Somali drivers consider the saliva of dogs unclean and therefore refuse to have dogs in the cabs, which sparked resentment from others.

A local Twins Cities resident, who spoke before the three-member panel of airport commissioners said, “the cabdrivers have a right to their religious view, but in this country, are they Americans or are they Muslims? Alcohol is a part of American society, and if they don’t like that, then they can find another job.?

The new policy will be voted on in April, and if passed, will take effect starting May 11.

February 26, 2007

Man killed at local bar

A man was shot and killed early Monday morning at a Minneapolis bar.

An off-duty police officer working security at the 4th Street Saloon at 328 W. Broadway in north Minneapolis reported that shots had been fired inside the bar just before 2 a.m., a Minneapolis police report said.

One of the shots fired hit the victim in the chest, whose name has not been released.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that the off-duty officer found the man dead and did not mention anything about hearing shots.

One 21-year-old man was taken into custody, and others are being questioned. Police are investigating and looking for witnesses.

February 23, 2007

Snow on the way

A huge snowstorm is expected to hit Minnesota this weekend.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for numerous parts of Minnesota (including the Twin Cities) which will last from 6 p.m. tonight until 6 p.m. Sunday evening.

The storm is expected to come into two waves. The first wave is supposed to hit Minnesota tonight and continue through early Saturday morning, dropping a potential four to eight inches of snow overnight.

The second wave is expected to start Saturday afternoon and continue into Sunday afternoon, with a potential of another six to eight inches of snow.

The storm will also bring conditions of ice, blowing and drifting snow to Minnesota. Total accumulation of snow could range from eight to eighteen inches in the Metro area.

According to Rich Naistat, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Chanhassen office, the weekend storm is the biggest of the winter and could double the season’s snowfall in one weekend. So far this year, the Twin Cities have seen just 12.2 inches of snow, much less than the average. Weather officials have even called it a “drought? because of the constant lack of precipitation across Minnesota.

The city of St. Paul alone has more than 1,500 tons of road salt stored in four locations and 85 plows and 11 sanding trucks are prepared to start clearing the major routes as soon as more than two inches of snow falls, St. Paul Director of Public Works Bruce Beese said.

February 21, 2007

Shipwreck found

A possible uncharted shipwreck in Lake Superior near Duluth was discovered by Minnesotan anglers Sunday.

The ship, which is located about 150 feet off-shore from Duluth’s Park Point, is located in about ten feet of water. The ship could be seen through the ice by the anglers, despite ten inches the lake has in this area.

As of right now, it is unclear whether the wreck happened in this area and was uncharted, or if the ship had been documented as a wreck and moved due to water currents.

According to the Pioneer Press, the extremely low water level and unusually transparent ice may have made the ship easier to see. The PP also reported that there had been other documented shipwrecks near Duluth, but not relative to this specific location.

Thom Holden, director of the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center, said he didn’t know of any wrecks occurring in the area.

February 14, 2007

Death after chase ruled a suicide

The death of a Minneapolis man earlier this week after a police chase was ruled a suicide Tuesday, according to the Ramsey County Medical Center office.

Mitchell Moua, 25, had been shooting back at police during a chase on Monday. Moua eventually crashed into parked cars near a thrift store. As the officers approached the vehicle, a gunshot went off. Hearing the gunshot, officers returned fire.

The medical examiner’s office said a police round was found in Moua’s arm, and other bullets struck the door of the vehicle. The autopsy showed an entrance and exit wound in Moua’s head, the now proven cause of death.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, police were trying to arrest Moua on a warrant for assault and false imprisonment charges. The PP also reported that Moua had held a gun to his head prior to the police chase.

Moua was a member of the Masters of Destruction gang, also referred to as the Men of Destruction. He had been released in November from federal prison for selling methamphetamines. Federal authorities were also looking for Moua for weapons violations.

The PP goes into much more detail of the account. Both papers have quotes from Moua's father, Blong Moua.

February 13, 2007

Mauer to stay for four more years

The Minnesota Twins signed hometown hero Joe Mauer to a four-year contract worth $33 million, avoiding an arbitration hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Mauer batted .347 and won the first American League batting title in MLB history for a catcher last year. He was given the second biggest contract in Twins franchise history.

According to the contract, Mauer will make $3.75 million in 2007, $6.28 million in 2008, $10.9 million in 2009 and $12.5 million in 2010. Mauer only made $400, 000 last year.

Mauer, only 24, will be under contract when the new stadium opens in 2010.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan has been busy negotiating with numerous players trying to keep key players in Twins uniforms. So far, Ryan has signed MVP Justin Morneau, Nick Punto, Mauer Lew Ford and Juan Rincon. Michael Cuddyer, who had a very good season and was a key player last year, has yet to be signed.

February 9, 2007

18-year-old murder solved

A murder which has gone unsolved for more than 18 years was finally solved Thursday, after new DNA evidence pointed to the killer.

Larry Wayne Brigman, 57, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Dale Luverne Heinold Thursday in Ramsey County District Court. Heinold was stabbed to death in 1989 in St. Paul.

Brigman is currently in an Ohio jail for committing a similar crime three weeks after Heinold’s death. He also has numerous parole violations and has fled convictions.

The DNA match was the first ever in a cold case for St. Paul police. According to Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, Heinold’s murder was solved because of continuing persistence of family and police.

Heinold was killed in May of 1989, where authorities found blood of an alleged attacker in his apartment. Police found Heinold’s stolen car parked near a bar in Ohio as well. The evidence went cold soon after.

Heinold’s sister then went to authorities last June, asking them to review the case again. The blood samples recovered from the scene in 1989 were given to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab for testing.

In October, the MBC told St. Paul police that they had matched the blood from the crime scene to Brigman through a national database.

Both papers reported on an interview that a Minnesota invesigator did with Brigman back in November. According to the interview, police told him his DNA had been found in another murder case. Brigman replied, “"That's sweet. That’s just what I need.?

Both of the local papers have a lot more information on Brigman and his previous convictions.

Analysis: The Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press told this story as hard-news, but with a more personal attachment to it. The leads were different. The ST had a lead summarizing the mystery and heartache of the subject, while the PP focused on the hard-news conviction. Both stories go to the main point of new DNA evidence being found immediately. Then, the storytelling of the articles went into to the details of family and Brigman’s history. The structure also included detailed information about the case and murder scene back in 1989. Flashbacks, sort to speak, were used to describe the events for people who had not heard of the case before today’s article. Both articles were easy to follow and provide the reader with what information is needed. The history aspect obviously helps because without it, the article wouldn’t make sense at all. I thought it was interesting that both papers concluded their articles with the interview piece and quote from Brigman. It is also worth pointing out that the papers did use some different sources, but mainly the story wasn’t affected by it. Usually the sources said the same things, just by different people. The sentences were short and smooth, allowing the reader to follow the storyline easy. The articles could be considered to be in the inverted pyramid format, but it would be hard to take a lot out of the info, considering the history and previous information needed to inform the reader. Therefore, it is hard to consider which piece of information is more important than the other, outside of the conviction of course.

February 8, 2007

Wisconsin woman dies in crash

Black ice and icy road conditions may have been a factor in a fatal crash Wednesday in Hastings, where an Ellsworth, Wis., woman died.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the 49-year-old woman was driving southbound on Highway 61 at about 6:30 a.m., when another motorist driving northbound lost control of a pickup. The driver of the pickup, 42-year-old Kevin D. Holcomb collided with another vehicle before striking the woman’s vehicle head-on.

The woman, whose name will be released sometime Thursday, was airlifted to Regions Hospital and was later pronounced dead.

Holcomb didn’t suffer any injuries. According to the State Patrol, he was wearing a seatbelt and had not been drinking.

The other driver, Carrie Cernohous, 48, was taken to Regina Hospital in Hastings with a minor neck injury. Cernohous and the driver who was killed were wearing seatbelts as well.

The accident, which occurred over the Mississippi Bridge near Hastings, is currently being investigated by the State Patrol.

The accident caused the bridge to close in both directions from 6:30 a.m. to after 9 a.m., resulting in massive delays during the morning commute.

January 31, 2007

Pawlenty sets record

Gov. Tim Pawlenty spent $3.9 million campaigning in 2006, a new state record. The mark is also twice the amount ever spent by any candidates for governor.

Pawlently decided to reject public financing, the first governor candidate to do so in nearly two decades. The state program normally provides public subsides to candidates who agree to limit total spending, which according to the Pioneer Press, maxes out at $2.4 million.

According to Pawlenty’s campaign committee, he raised $3.4 million in 2006 and used another $721,000 which he already had. He also received maximum $2,000 contributions from political action committees representing beer wholesalers, car dealers, dentists, accountants, and the Prairie Island Dakota Community.

Pawlenty’s money was well spent, considering his slim victory of one percentage point over Democratic candidate Mike Hatch. According to the Star Tribune, Pawlenty got help from constant attack ads from an anti-Hatch group in the final days of the campaign. Spending by that group and others like it, are to be announced today.

Peter Hutchinson also set a record for the most money spent by an independent candidate. Hutchinson spent $1.3 million during his campaign. At the time of the article, Mike Hatch had yet to report his results.

Wrestling is shutdown

The Minnesota State High School League shutdown wrestling statewide Tuesday after several athletes developed a skin virus.

In what is believed to be a national first, The MSHSL decided to close down the sport for eight days after 24 athletes from ten different teams were diagnosed with the virus. Caused by the herpes simplex virus (same virus that causes cold sores), Herpes Gladitorum often causes blisters and sores to develop in such areas as the face and neck. The virus, which is spread through touch, is potentially harmful because reoccurring outbreaks can happen throughout one’s lifetime.

The closure of the sport will extend through Feb. 6. Until that date, athletes and coaches are not allowed to have skin-to-skin contact. The decision to shutdown has drawn mixed reaction from Minnesota coaches.

Both local newspapers reported that the original cause is perhaps being traced back to the Clash Duals tournament held in Rochester Dec. 28 and 29. During the tournament, two teams from Kasson-Mantorville and Scott West were disqualified due to the virus. The Pioneer Press included the belief of Steve Patton, tournament chairman of the Clash, that a wrestler from Nebraska could possibly be the initial carrier of the virus. However, according to Patton, there is no concrete proof yet. The Star Tribune didn’t include any specifics on who the initial carrier could be.

According to Patton and both papers, the wrestlers were all thoroughly checked before competition. If there were any questionable wrestlers, they were then sent to the Mayo Clinic for further inspection.

Officials would like to stop the outbreak before the section tournaments start Feb. 14, as well as the state tournaments which start Feb. 28 and end March 3.

The Star Tribune reported that a similar outbreak occurred in 1999, when 60 wrestlers were affected and numerous were disqualified from post-season competition. The Pioneer Press reported that 56 wrestlers and three coaches on 17 different teams were infected in 1999.

Analysis: In both local articles, the writers used direct quotes, paraphrased information and used statements from MSHSL officials. The direct quotes were normally in typical fashion: not too long and typically ended in “last name said?. However, one quote from the PP used a direct quote in an awkward fashion: “Said Olson of Forest Lake? started the sentence. New paragraphs were generally started for direct quotes, as well as statements that were paraphrased. The Pioneer Press used a lot more quotes compared to the Tribune. The PP had quotes from multiple coaches, a referee and MSHSL officials. I also found it interesting that the PP included the possibility of the single cause (a Nebraska wrestler), while the Tribune didn’t mention the specific possibility.

January 27, 2007

Survivor of 16 story fall to leave hopsital today

After surviving a fall of 16 stories last week, a Wisconsin man is expected to leave the Hennepin County Medical Center Saturday.

Joshua Hanson was staying at Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis Jan. 20 when he fell out a 17th floor window. He landed on a roof overhang, feet first, about one story away from completely hitting the ground.

Amazingly, Hanson didn’t suffer any brain or spinal injuries, but did suffer a broken right leg and a punctured lung. Hanson had been drinking with some friends, and police said the incident was the “result of some drinking-induced horsing around.?

Hanson remembers the fall, but has not commented on the accident. Both local papers reported he doesn’t feel comfortable discussing it yet.

Hanson had a medal rod placed in his right leg and is currently able to walk with the help of a rolling walker. According to the Star Tribune, Hanson is expected to make a full recovery, but a time table was not given.

The story even received national news attention from areas such as Britain and Australia.

January 25, 2007

Crazy accident leaves local worker dead

A bizarre working accident left a Minnesotan man dead Wednesday afternoon.

Gene White, 63, was repairing a Perkins flagpole in St. Paul when a large ball dropped from the pole and hit him in the head.

White was knocked unconsciousness immediately and was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital a few hours later.

White started his own business, Twin Cities Flag Source, over 23 years ago and normally fixed flags at local banks and companies.

James Honerman, a spokesman for Minnesota OSHA, is investigating the incident. According to Honerman, there have been similar accidents that have occurred in previous years. Amazingly, falling objects have killed 15 workers and injured another nine in the past five years in Minnesota alone.

It is not entirely clear why the ball, which weighs 10 pounds, fell. It is also not clear if White should have been wearing some sort of head protection while working.

Both the Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press reported on the freak accident. The reports were generally similar, but had some differences. The Tribune had information on the previous deaths, while the Pioneer Press included quotes from a few eye-witnesses and a graphic map that showed where the accident happened. Both stories were of the typical hard-news fashion.