February 2012 Archives

St. Anthony hookah shop fighting city

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A hookah bar in St. Anthony may be forced to close it's doors after two years at it's location near Northeast Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune and the Minnesota Sun.

Saeed Kiblawi opened his hookah bar, Flamezz Hookah Lounge on Stinson Blvd after the City Council granted him a license with the condition that he install a ventilation system in the building, according to the Star Tribune.

However, once the city realized Flamezz would have indoor smoking, they re-evaluated their decision and unanimously approved a bill prohibiting the sampling of tobacco, according to the Star Tribune.

"We're not trying to get rid of his business; we're trying to get rid of smoking, "Council Member Hal Gray said, according to the Star Tribune.

Kiblawi's attorney, Eric Brever said Kiblawi will fight the proposed amended ordinance because it would put Flamezz Hookah out of business, according to the Minnesota Sun.

A St. Paul school that has worked to close the achievement gap has seen successful results in recent years, only to find a setback in 2011 when their test scores plummeted, according to the Star Tribune and MinnPost.

Dayton's Bluff Community School has partnered with the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation to institute a new style of learning and dedication, according to the Star Tribune. The partnership enabled the elementary school to create a rounded education and wellness program for students and their families.

Students were able to see a dentist, parents in need were given rent vouchers, teachers were required to reapply for positions and those rehired were given extensive training on how to teach in urban populations, according to the Star Tribune.

In 2010 the minority students of the school outperformed white students on state math tests and 67 percent of Dayton's Bluff's minority students were proficient in reading, compared to 42 percent of minority students district-wide, according to the Star Tribune.

In 2011, however those scores plummeted, leaving school officials to examine why. Principal Steven Flucas said he believed the drop may be due in part by the school's new reputation, which could be what is attracting new students, according to MinnPost.

"There's disappointment, of course, Said Flucas' predecessor, Andrew Collins, according to MinnPost. " But there's also a sense of optimism about what this building can do and what's possible."

Most people have heard of the $100 laptop, or the One Laptop Per Child project, and soon the founders of the project will unveil their newest endeavor: the $100 tablet, according to CNN and the New York Times.

"The tablet is a refinement of the laptop," Yves Behar, one of the people behind the One Laptop Per Child project, said according to CNN. "It's much smaller, it's much lighter, it uses less energy, less materials. It can be even more cost effective."

The new tablet has been six years in the making, according to the New York Times, and is built with children living in the poorest countries in mind. The tablet, called the XO-3, is solar-powered, has 4GB of internal storage, a standard USB outlet, is rubberized and has a waterproof back.

The XO-3 is slated for launch later in 2012, according to the New York Times and CNN.

Hundreds of teachers to receive layoff notices

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Approximately 600 teachers in Woonsocket, Rhode Island will receive a layoff slip in the near future, according to Fox News and WPRI News.

The Woonsocket School Committee voted Wednesday to send the notices to teachers 3-2, saying the move would give the district more flexibility to handle anticipated budget cuts, according to WPRI News.

The Woonsocket Teachers Guild is asking residents of the city to stand up for the teachers.

"While not all educators receiving notices would actually be let go, giving termination notices to all teachers and paraprofessionals sends the wrong message to the community about the city's commitment to public education, Teachers Guild President Jeffrey Partington said.

Journalist killed in Syria shelling attacks

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Journalist Marie Colvin, of Britain's Sunday Times was killed in Syria last week while trying to escape a shelling attack, according to CNN and NPR.

Colvin, 56, was trying to retrieve her shoes when a rocket landed a few yards away. Colvin had taken off her shoes when she entered the building that was serving as a makeshift press center. This is customary in Syria, according to CNN.

Colvin's mother, Rosemarie Colvin, said aid workers have tried for several days to retrieve her daughter's body from Syria, however a final attempt Saturday led to workers determining the situation was too dangerous, CNN said.

Throughout Colvin's journalistic career, she had been known for reporting human elements in dangerous war zones, according to NPR.

"Almost every frontline in a warzone I've been to, Marie was there," said James Hinder, one of Colvin's colleagues, according to NPR. "She was quite often the first person there. And more often than not, she was the only person there."

Analysis - Multimedia Options

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I will compare the stories I used about Marie Colvin dying in Syria. I used CNN News and NPR News. These two news organizations are both reputable news sources, and both cover national and international news, not having a clear tie to a specific locality, except the United States, of course.

CNN is what some people might see as a more traditional news source. Their articles are made primarily for print, and the multimedia pieces they use are generally pictures and sometimes videos. The writing included in CNN stories generally follows the AP Style guidelines and any pictures or videos used compliment the written story, rather than imitate it or go over the same information.

NPR is a radio news organization that also has a written component, although many times the written component is a transcript of their radio broadcast or interviews. This writing is not necessarily in the AP Style, as radio journalism has it's own style., as evident by the way the article was written in this case.

The multimedia options they generally choose for their websites are links to podcasts of their radio programming or recordings of a news story. Generally there are not as many visual multimedia options used as with news organizations like CNN, because NPR is appealing to a market who enjoys radio, or news they can listen to while doing something else like driving or working.

In addition, the podcasts of NPR news broadcasts generally integrate sound effects like those of Edward R. Murrow broadcasts. While noises may be present in the videos on traditional news sites like CNN, they are generally not integrated into the story the way they are with NPR broadcasts.

Minneapolis boy dead after train-hopping accident

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A teenage boy was found dead near railroad tracks in northeast Minneapolis Thursday after train hopping with friends, according to the Star Tribune and Kare 11.

Chris Hanson, 15, was found by a railroad employee around 10:20 p.m. along the tracks near 14th and Fillmore Street Northeast. Hanson sustained multiple blunt-force head injuries, according to the Star Tribune.

Hanson's mom, Melissa Standal said she tried to warn Hanson against train hopping after finding out the night before he had sometime jumped on and off moving trains, according to Kare 11.

"As sad as it is that I had to lose my son... I hope he might save other people's lives," Standal said, according to the Star Tribune.

A memorial fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank.

Sex offender scheduled for release in Minnesota

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A Minnesota sex offender, who has pled guilty to molesting 29 children and committing 100 predatory sex acts is scheduled to be released from the state hospital in St. Peter, according to the Star Tribune and CBS.

Clarence Opheim, 64, was sentenced to jail in 1993. He has gone through the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP), one of the most widely respected behavioral programs in the state for sex offenders, according to the Star Tribune.

Most offenders who have entered MSOP, were never released, but have instead died before deemed eligible for release. However, with many pending lawsuits from inmates who are currently going through the program, Opheim and 11 others are on the board for potential release.

Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said in an interview last week she opposed Opheim's release in January, but has reversed her position after reading a report from an independent, court-appointed examiner who concluded that Opheim deserved a greater degree of freedom after accomplishing the requirements of his treatment program, according to the Star Tribune

House Republican leaders are calling the release "reckless," and are asking the Dayton administration for an explanation of why Jesson reversed her decision., according to The Star Tribune.

Spear gun found in carry-on in New York-area airport

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A spear gun and utility knife was found in a passenger's carry-on bag at a New York-area airport, according to CNN and the TSA.

The passenger told TSA he was unaware that the weapons were prohibited in his carry-on bag after the weapons were detected and he was questioned.

The TSA released a statement saying they recognize most passengers who carry prohibited items do not have ill intent, however their officers are responsible for preventing weapons from getting through checkpoints.

"That's why our officers are trained to look beyond the ordinary to ensure that dangerous items and people are not able to board aircraft," the TSA statement said.

In the list of prohibited sports goods for carry-on bags, baseball bats, ski poles and bows and arrows are included on the list along with spear guns, according to CNN.

Museum robbed in Greece

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Authorities in Greece are on the hunt for two masked gunman who tied up a guard the Archeological Museum of Olympia and stole 65-68 of statues and a gold ring Friday, according to CNN and the Huffington Post.

This robbery marks the second big theft like this in 2012 in Greece. In January three art works were stolen from the National Gallery in Athens, including a painting by Pablo Picasso and one by Piet Mondrian, according to CNN.

"It is the first time that we have an armed robbery at the museum during operating hours. It shows that the cuts the Culture Ministry has made since the crisis hit in 2009 make it easier for such incidents to take place," said Dimitra Koutsoumba, president of the Greek Archaeologists' Association, according to CNN.

Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos submitted his resignation after the robbery, though it is unsure if this resignation has been accepted at this time, according to the Huffington Post.

The robbery Friday occurred at the museum of the ancient Games at Olympia, which is only a few hundred yard from the world heritage site's main museum that contains priceless statues and bronze artifacts from the holiest sanctuary of ancient Greece, according to the Huffington Post.

The ceremony for the lighting of the Olympic flame for the 2012 London Olympics is scheduled to take place on May 10 at the Ancient Olympia site, where the museum is located, according to CNN.

First day vs. Second day stories

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I am comparing the story on cnn.com regarding the robbery in Greece. Here is the first-day story. Here is the follow-up story.

The leads in the two stories are about the same subject, of course, but approach it in different ways. The first day story just states that robbers broke into the museum and stole artifacts. The second day story said that not only did robbers break in, but starts out talking about the manhunt that is taking place to find the robbers.

The first day story is three sentences long. Each sentence is attributed to the police and states what happened regarding the burglary.

The second day story is 13 paragraphs long and discusses not only the actual burglary, but also discusses a burglary that happened in Greece last month, budget and staffing cuts to the museum, the resignation of an official, and touches on the lighting of the Olympic flame ceremony, which is going to be held at the site in May.

The first day story very clearly is attempting to get the facts of the story out as quickly as possible, as opposed to trying to write a riveting story. The second day story tells the reader more information about why they should care and the impact this robbery is having on people.

The second day story could very well be a response to other news organizations. The Huffington Post also had a very detailed account of the robbery along with discussion about the budget cuts to the museum and the 2013 Olympics. It certainly would not be very competitive of CNN to write the initial story, which was 3 sentences long, and leave it at that because readers interested in the story would have to move to another news organization to find the information they want.

Maryland House passes same-sex marriage bill

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The Maryland house narrowly passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage on Friday, according the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The bill, which is known as the Civil Marriage Protection Act was passed n a 72-67 vote after a similar billed failed to pass in the chamber last year, according to the New York Times.

The bill will be voted on in the Senate, where similar bills have passed in the past, according the Washington Post.

The bill will likely also be up for referendum in November, where voters will have the last say about the bill before it is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2013, according to the Washington Post.

Many delegats say they have received threats that a yes vote for the same-sex marriage bill would cost them the next election, which is scheduled for 2014, according to the New York Times.

"I've heard all types of threats, that in 214 at the ballot box, there would be revenge, but when that day comes, I know that for the seven openly gay colleagues, if they are able to have the same rights as my wife and I have, then I know that my green vote was the right vote," said Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., a Democrat from Baltimore, according to the New York Times.

Analysis of the progression of information

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In the story about the American student and Australian journalist, the information is ordered in a way that gives the most reliable sources first, and then orders the rest of the information lower, as the sources of the information become less reliable or professional. For instance, one of the first sources is a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff while the last source is the American student's twitter account, which could or could not really be her tweeting.
I think the reporter has chosen to do this because the most important information in the story is that information which is solid- the things we know for positive.
This could have talked about the American student's twitter activity first, which I think would have made the story more grabbing at the beginning. The story begins by talking about the two people who have been arrested, but then jumps down to talking about the relationship between the U.S. and Egypt, before coming back to the two arrested people.
I think I would have liked the story more if the story would have been organized the other way around.

An Arizona Supreme Court decided Tuesday an Arizona woman's name would not appear on the ballot for City Council because she was not proficient enough in the English language, according to CNN and the LA Times.

Alejandrina Cabrera of San Luis has been locked in a legal battle over her ability to hold a public office since Jan. 27 when her opponent, Jan Carlos Escamilla, the mayor of San Luis, filed a lawsuit asking a court to decide if Cabrera's skills in English qualified her to run for City Council, stated CNN.

Cabrera admits she is not extremely fluent in English, but said, "I think my English is good enough to hold public office in San Luis, Arizona," according to CNN.

In 1910 the Enabling Act was passed in Arizona, which included the provision that a person holding public office should have, "the ability to read, write, speak and understand the English language sufficiently well to conduct the duties of the office without aid of an interpreter shall be a necessary qualification for all state officers and members of the state legislature."

This court decision may have larger implications, as the subject is part of a growing discussion about English in the US, where people come for a variety of backgrounds, according to CNN.

To some in San Luis, the suit over Cabrera's ability to run for office revolves around San Luis' "touch brand of politics," according to the LA Times. There have been 24 recall attempts of political parties since 2001. Seven of those attempts have been successful.

Eight arrested in bribery investigation

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Authorities in London arrested five employees of Britain's bestselling Sun newspaper and three civil servants Saturday on investigation of alleged bribery charges, according to CNN and The Star Tribune.

A total of 21 people have been arrested in connection with the bribery accusation, though the individuals who were arrested Saturday have not been identified by police or News Corp, according to CNN.

"I'm as shocked as anyone by today's arrests," said Dominic Mohan, Sun editor, "but am determined to lead The Sun through these difficult times," according to CNN.

The names of the people arrested Saturday were provided to the police by a management standards committee set up by Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp, according to the Star Tribune.

A statement made by News Corp said, "News Corporation maintains its total support to the ongoing work of the management standards committee and is committed to making certain that legitimate journalism is vigorously pursued in both the public interest and in the full compliance wit the law," according to the Star Tribune.

Britain's National Union of Journalists claimed some News International staff felt let down by managers over their cooperation with the police and stated they felt the investigation to be a witch hunt.

Piggyback Bandit banned from Minnesota high school events

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The Minnesota State High School League has banned a man who calls himself the Piggyback Bandit from league-sanctioned events due to his history of jumping on the backs of high school athletes, according to the Star Tribune.

Sherwin Shayegan, 28, has also been banned from attending school activities in North Dakota, Montana, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Associated Press stated earlier this month that Shayegan acknowledged jumping on two players at a Montana soccer tournament in October, according to the Star Tribune.

Judge Bob Wood gave Shayegan 360-day suspended jail sentence, fined him $730 and told the 250-pound Shayegan to, "go back to Seattle and behave," according to the Star Tribune.

Minnesota State High School League executive director, Dave Stead said he received a call from Shayegan on Friday asking if he had been banned from high school activities in Minnesota, according to the Pioneer Press. Stead confirmed that Sheyegan had been banned from high school activities.

"He asked me if I could send him something in writing that said he was banned," said Stead. "It was a very amicable conversation. He knows his past behavior has been bad."

In the first homicide of the year, a man was shot and killed early Saturday at the Millennium Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune and St. Cloud Times.

Police said the shooting occurred at about 2:30 a.m. inside a room on one of the upper floors of the hotel, according to the St. Cloud Times.

Police Sgt. Steve McCarty said the suspect fled to the Hyatt Regency hotel across the street from the Millennium after the shooting, where he was arrested without incident, according to the Star Tribune.

McCarty also said the victims were acquaintances and the cause of the shooting is under investigation, according to the Star Tribune.

The Minneapolis Police Department is investigating the case and is asking that if anyone has information to call 612-692-8477.

An Australian journalist and an American student were arrested in Egypt Saturday on accusation of attempting to bribe people to join a strike that marks the first anniversary of Hosni Mubarak's ouster, according to CBS and ABC News. The ouster demands a faster transition to civilian rule.

American student Aliya Alwi and journalist Austin Mackell have been transferred to a military intelligence office, according to Alwi's Twitter account. Alwi also wrote the report filed against them included witnesses testifying seeing them, "offering money to youth to vandalize and cause chaos."

According to CBS, the arrests follow warnings given on Friday by the country's military council that Egypt faces "conspiracies." Many activists say the message seeks to undermine their campaign aimed at pushing the generals to relinquish power.

Egypt's criminal investigation of the U.S. democracy advocates has prompted calls in Washington to cut the country's aid package, according to ABC.

A North Carolina woman was tased in front of her 3-year-old daughter Saturday when she cut in line at a McDonald's drive-thru and refused to wait in line, according to ABC News and the New York Times.

Evangeline Lucca, 37, skipped the order screen at a McDonald's in Hope Mills, N.C. and went directly to the pick-up window, where she was told she should go to the end of the line by McDonald's employees, according to ABC.

Lucca refused to move from the drive-thru, holding up the line for 20 minutes before police arrived on the scene, according the New York Times.

According to the Cumberland County Sherrif's Office, Lucca was confrontational when deputies arrived, and police were forced to use a stun gun, ABC News reported.

Lucca was charged with second-degree trespassing and her daughter was taken into protective custody, according to the New York Times.

Hennepin County has agreed to pay an Occupy Minnesota protester $15,000 and change it's trespassing policy as part of a settlement which arose from a trespassing arrest during an Occupy Minnesota demonstration last year, according to the Star Tribune and City Pages.

Melissa Lynn Hill was arrested on Oct. 15 for trespassing while standing adjacent to the Hennepin County Government Center plaza after receiving a trespass notice two days earlier for writing in chalk on the plaza. The notice barred Hill from the Government Center for a year.

"I was arrested on a public sidewalk," said Hill, according to the Star Tribune. "This sends a strong message that they can't be misusing their trespass policy to suppress free speech."

Hill was the first Occupy Minnesota protester to spend the night in jail, according to City Pages.

The new trespassing policy that resulted from the settlement indicates if an individual is barred from county property for more than 45 days, that person may appeal and must get a hearing within 10 days, according to City Pages.

"Previously if someone had a problem, they could write a letter to the security manager," Jordan Kushner, Hill's attorney, said, according to the Star Tribune.

The trespassing order that was placed on Hill has been lifted, and Hill has agreed to refrain from writing in chalk on county property going forward, according to the Star Tribune.

Memorial Service Planned for Missing Minnesota Couple

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A memorial service is being planned for the Minnesota couple who is still missing after a Costa cruise ship tipped over last month near an Italian island, according to CNN.

Gerald and Barbara Heil have been missing since Jan 13, when the cruise ship they were on, the Costa Concordia, hit rocks near the island of Giglio and then tipped onto one side.

The memorial service is being planned in the wake of the decision to discontinue the search for 15 people who remain missing after the incident.

The Heil family told the Pioneer Press they and the relatives of other missing people from the incident have been escorted near the Costa Concordia, where they could place flowers into the water to honor their loved ones.

The Heil family is grateful to the rescue teams involved in the search, according to CNN and the Pioneer Press.

Assange Makes His Final Appeal Against Extradition

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Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, is in the process of making his final appeal against extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sex crimes, which Assange claims are false, according to CNN.

"The words 'judicial authority' can only be understood as meaning an independent judge or a person executing equivalent power," Dinah Rose QC, Assange's lawyer said. Rose also said that to consider the Swedish public prosecutor as a judicial authority is "contrary to basic, fundamental principle of law," according to The Guardian.

"The decision whether to arrest somebody might be made by somebody who is partisan," Clare Montgomery on behalf of the Swedish judicial authority. "That happens throughout Europe."

Assange has been living under house arrest for the last year in a house called Ellingham Hall, which is north of London. The owner of the house is Vaughan Smith, a former British soldier and journalist, CNN said.

Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday that the Susan G. Komen foundation decided not to renew funding for some Planned Parenthood projects in 2012, CNN reported.

Planned Parenthood's statement indicated they believed the Komen Foundation had "succumbed to political pressure" by decided to cut funding for breast cancer screenings, due to the controversy caused by the fact Planned Parenthood offers abortion services.

The Komen Foundation denied that the decision was politically motivated Thursday.

"We've always had the right to cancel contracts for organizations that came under investigation for potential wrongdoing. We don't base our funding decisions on emotions or politics or whether one side or another will be pleased," Nancy Brinker, CEO and found of the Susan G. Komen foundation said, according to CNN.

The American Right to Life, a pro-life group has speculated that the Komen Foundation may have made the decision to stopped funding Planned Parenthood due to a link between abortions and breast cancer, according to Fox News.

However, the National Cancer Institute's official stance on such a link is that, "the evidence overall still does not support early termination of pregnancy as a cause of breast cancer," according to Fox News.

Sources Analysis

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In the CNN story about the Susan G. Komen foundation's decision to stop funding many Planned Parenthood programs, there were 13 different sources. The sources used included the offices of the primary companies involved in the stories, including Planned Parenthood, the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg's office, and the Susan G. Komen foundation.

The sources who were individually named included the obvious people a reader would want to hear from such as the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, and both the CEO and the president of the Komen foundation, Nancy Brinker and Liz Thompson, respectively.

I noticed there seemed to be significantly more quoted sources from the Komen Foundation than from Planned Parenthood. This seemed appropriate, however, considering the Komen foundation was the organization taking the action in the story. In addition, Planned Parenthood and the mayor were both criticizing the Komen foundation and making somewhat inflammatory claims about the Komen foundation. In order to give the Komen foundation a fair voice in the story, I think it was important to find as many comments from them as possible.

In addition to Brinker and Thompson, the people named from the Komen foundation included Kathy Plesser, who was against the decision the Komen foundation made, Mollie Williams, who no longer works for Komen, but was saddened by the split between Planned Parenthood and the Komen foundation, and Elizabeth Berger, who gave a statement about a resignation of an employee for the Komen foundation.

In addition to the above-named sources, CREDO, a corporate supporter of Planned Parenthood, and the American Life League, a supporter of the Komen foundation decision were both quoted.

The sources were spread throughout the story, though most of the Pro-Planned Parenthood sources were near the beginning of the story and most of the sources associated with the Komen foundation were found near the end. I think this happened due to coincidence based on the way the story flowed best.

The journalist who wrote the article allowed the story to flow from one idea to the next without trying to equal out every opposing quote or idea immediately, but letting each idea have it's own place in the article. My questions were answered by the sources in the story as they arose in my mind. In this way, it seemed as though the article lead me down a mapped out path in such a way that it didn't feel forced.

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