April 2012 Archives


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In the story about Bahrain's Formula One race, the reporter relied heavily on computer-assisted reporting because they were not allowed in the area where the news was happening.
The reporters that wrote about the incidents surrounding the protests, the hunger strike of the prisoner, the death of the civil rights leader and the arrest of a British news crew were all found out via the internet.
The story specifically sited watching people's Twitter accounts for news updates, which is where the British newsman reported his release.
They also relied on reporters who were in the country to post pictures and for protesters to post pictures on the internet using various social media sites or blogs.

Police crack down on distracted driving in MN


Twin Cities police are cracking down on distracted driving starting April 19, according to the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

Police are looking for people who are using their cell phones in the efforts to put an end to distracted driving, according to the Star Tribune.

The state mandate was enacted in 2008, and said that drivers in Minnesota cannot read, compose or send texts, emails, or access the Internet while their vehicle is in traffic. In addition, drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use a cellphone in any way while driving, according to the Pioneer Press.

Since the texting law was put into place, citations have increased dramatically. In 2009, 294 tickets were given for distracted driving. Last year, 784 were written out to drivers, according to the Star Tribune.

Fines for texting and driving are around $115, according to the Pioneer Press.

Peavey Plaza possibly a historical landmark

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Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis has been spared from the bulldozers for six months in order to allow the city to evaluate if it should be named a historical landmark, according to the Star Tribune and MinnPost.

The Heritage Preservation Commission voted on Tuesday to have the city planning directy begin a study to make the designation. The study will take at least six months, according to the commission chairman, Chad Larsen, said the Star Tribune.

According to the city of Minneapolis, only one of three pumps at the plaza works and the pipes that carry the water are difficult to impossible to make because the pipes are deeply covered in concrete and the parts are no longer made, according to MinnPost.

In addition, access to Electric power is limited and the plaza drains storm water into the sanitary sewer, which is not up to code, according to MinnPost.

"We have not been able to keep up," said Mike Kennedy, of the city's Public Works Department, who cited budget restrictions as the reason for deterioration of the plaza, according to MinnPost.

While some believe that building a new plaza would be a better use of the space, others are not convinced.

"The decision to destroy Peavey Plaza is unredeemable. Once it's gone, it's gone forever," Trish Block, who has formed a Save Peavey Plaza organization said, according to MinnPost.

Exercise linked to good grades


Schools around the country have been finding that active kids make smarter kids and higher test scores, according to the Star Tribune and ABC News.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement in 2010 that said that more physical activity for students is beneficial not only for health reasons, but also for academic benefits, according to the Star Tribune.

"There is substantial evidence that physical activity can help improve academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores," the CDC report said, according to the Star Tribune.

For one Minnesota student, physical exercise with academics has made a world of difference in the last year. Alex Sellner, a student at a Farmington elementary school was once in a special reading program, and now is ready for placement in a gifted reading program, according to the Star Tribune.

"It's shocking to me. His test scores went up dramatically. His reading has never been this good. Whatever [Alex's teacher] doing, it's working," said Bob Sellner, Alex's father, according to the Star Tribune.

This theory is being tested by many in the medical and education communities.
A group of educators at the Medical University of South Carolina recently incorporated 40 minutes of physical education everyday while also including a learning component. After participating in the study, more students were able to score higher than before the exercise program was implemented, according to ABC News.

Attempts to stop April 20 gathering successful

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Steps were taken Friday at the University of Colorado to stop an annual gathering promoting marijuana smoking, according to CNN and the Huffington Post.

In the past, the Norlin Quad on the university campus has drawn anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 people for the gathering, which takes place at 4:20 p.m. on April 20, according to CNN.

This year, in order to stop the event from going forward, university officials closed the campus to people who were outsiders and put a fish-based fertilizer on the quad, to give the area a bad smell. In addition, the quad was cordoned off with yellow police tape and guarded by officers, according to CNN.

"People fly in from around the country to participate. We don't understand why they have to come to (this) campus," University spokesman Bronson Hilliard said, according to CNN.
"I do not see any justification for the university shutting it down," said student organizer Daniel Ellis Schwartz, who said the measures infringe on First Amendment rights to protest. Schwartz suggested there also would be an off-campus protest against the university's measures to stop the event, according to the Huffington Post.

Protests do not stop Formula One race

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Government protests and burning tires and trash in blocked-off streets could not stop the Bahrain Grand Prix Sunday, according to CNN and the LA Times.

Protests caused the Grand Prix to be cancelled twice last year, as workers and the government felt the protests could pose a threat to Formula One crews, workers and fans, according to CNN.

The ruling Khalifa family assured Formula One crews and advertisers that the race would not be cancelled again this year, and would show that though there was unity in kingdom of Bahrain despite protests and division over the last year, according to CNN

In a statement Sunday King Hamed ibn Isa Khalifa said his government was working on a resolution: "I also want to make clear my personal commitment to reform and reconciliation in our great country. The door is always open for sincere dialogue amongst all our people," according to the LA Times.

Protesters of the race said that allowing the race to go forward to give a false impression of unity to people outside of Bahrain, when there was still much unrest, according to CNN and the LA Times.

The Khalifa family granted very few press visas to news organizations in the U.S., only allowing sports reporters and denying the New York Times reporters visas altogether, according to the LA Times.

In addition, British television reporter, Jonathan Miller and his crew were taken into custody in Bahrain, without explanation after the race. A shot time later, Miller sent a message on his Twitter account saying he'd been released, though his driver and an activist that had accompanied them were still in custody, according to the LA Times.

Some of the unrest in Bahrain was over the news of the recent killing of activist leader, Salah Abbas Habib Musa and the detention of another activist, al-Khawaja, who has been on a hunger-strike for the past two months, according to CNN.

Deadline for filing taxes later this year

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Procrastinators this year have a couple extra days this year to file their taxes. The deadline is April 17, instead of the normal April 15 deadline, according to NPR and the Imperial Valley Press.

The reason for the delay this year is due to how the weekend and holidays fall. This year, April 15 falls on a Sunday. In addition, Monday is the District of Columbia's Emancipation Day -- a local holiday unfamiliar to most Americans. Thus, the deadline has been extended until Tuesday, April 17, according to NPR.

The IRS said it expects to receive more than 144 million individual tax returns this year, with the majority projected to be submitted by the new April 17 deadline. As of the first week of April, the IRS had already received 99 million returns, according to Imperial Valley Press.

More good news for procrastinators is that if no taxes are owed, there will be no penalties even if the paperwork is filed late, according to Imperial Valley Press.

One dead and four missing after yacht accident

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One is dead and four others are missing off of the coast of San Francisco after powerful waves swept crew members from their yacht Saturday, according to CNN and CBS News.

The 38-foot yacht named "Low Speed Chase" was competing a race from San Francisco Bay around the Farallon Islands, a 60-mile race. The vessel was hit by a large wave that washed some crewmembers overboard, Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read said, according to CNN.

The crew remaining on the yacht turned the boat around to rescue those thrown overboard and got hit by another wave that sent the boat into nearby rocks where it ran aground, according to CNN.

Rescue crews found three crewmembers clinging to rocks, approximately 300 feet from Low Speed Chase, and the body of one crewmember was pulled from the water. There is no word on the condition of the three survivors, according to CNN.

Low Speed Chase was taking part in the Full Crew Farallon Race, a contest that dates to 1907, according to CNN.

Secret Service agents relieved of duty after misconduct

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A group of Secret Service agents and officers sent to Colombia ahead of President Barack Obama were sent home after allegations of misconduct, according to the U.S. government, according to CNN and USA Today.

A caller who said he had knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press the misconduct involved prostitutes. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute the allegations, according to USA Today.

CNN has reported the number of service members involved is 11, though USA Today has reason to believe there may have been 12 relieved of duty and sent back to the US.
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the allegations of misconduct were related to activity before the president's arrival Friday night, according to CNN.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the government personnel brought prostitutes back to their rooms Wednesday night. A hotel manager attempted to enter one of the rooms, and eventually a woman emerged saying, "they owed her money," according to CNN.

The issue at hand is not in regards to criminal allegations against the service members.

"My understanding is that there are no allegations of any crime being committed. It violates the Secret Service code of conduct," said King.

Minneapolis Teachers ratify new contract

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Minneapolis teachers have ratified a new two-year contract that raises their pay in exchange for working a longer school year higher pay, according to the Star Tribune and KSTP News.

Some civic leaders and parents don't like the deal because it only extends the school calendar by four days, when the original goal was to extend the school year by 35 days. Researchers say that additional time in school improves academic performance among low-income students, according to KSTP News.

The contract is projected to cost the district $17.1 million, which is largely financed by non-classroom cuts. That's a 6.4 percent increase in district costs, according to the Star Tribune.

Critics of the plan say the new deal protects bad teachers with seniority and tenure, and want the union and the School Board to get rid of the so-called "last hired, first fired" policy, according to KSTP.
Those voting approved the deal with 83 percent support, said Lynn Nordgren, president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, according to the Star Tribune.

Albert Lea Man killed in head-on collision

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An Albert Lea man died Saturday night after a head-on crash just north of Albert Lea, according to the Star Tribune and the Albert Lea Tribune.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Michael D. Skov, of Albert Lea, was driving north on Hwy. 13 about 10:40 p.m. when his car, crossed into the southbound lane and collided with a Cadillac, according to the Star Tribune.
The driver of the Cadillac, 17-year-old Alex Kast of Freeborn, Minn., and two passengers were taken to Albert Lea Medical Center, where they were treated and released, according to the Albert Lea Tribune.
The State Patrol report stated there was no alcohol in the driver or passengers of the Caillac, but it was unknown if there was alcohol in Skov's system, according to the Albert Lea Tribune.
All involved were wearing seat belts.


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I decided to look back at the story about the Minnesota child who went missing with his father for two weeks, and then upon being found, inflicted injuries on himself.
My initial reaction is that the father is mentally ill and should not have custody of the child. I think it was unstable and wrong for him to take off with the child in the first place because it was unlawful, but the fact that he then inflicted injuries to himself only confirmed my initial fears that he was an unstable person. I am a single woman with no children. In fact, I don't even like children all that much, so my view is very limited as to how these types of thing work. What does a custody battle like the one the Minnesota man is going through look like? How does this really affect the child? I can only guess.

I brought this up to a friend, Ryan, 35, who is the father of two boys to get more insight. I found it surprising that his initial thought wasn't first about what a sick man the father was like me, but about the sadness of the custody battle. My friend did not condone the father's actions, but said simply, "I don't see why there has to be a custody battle in the first place."
Ryan talked about how he feels that it is in the best interest of the child to have 50/50 custody in most cases, and he felt it was sad that the child was used as "leverage" in the custody proceedings.
Ryan wondered aloud, about why it is, "presumed that it is better for the kid to be with only one parent, anyways."
After talking to Ryan regarding the part about the dad inflicting bodily harm to himself I asked him if he thought the father was stable enough to care for the child.
Ryan said he felt the incident was an act of desperation, which could probably be blamed largely on "the system."
"Now this guy is going to labeled as a flight risk and emotionally unstable for the rest of his parenting life and it's going to be an up-hill fight to maintain any remotely normal relationship with his kids," Ryan said.
Ryan finished by saying he thought many of these issues could be avoided if there was a presumption of equal custody from the start of custody proceedings.

Current TV filed a countersuit Friday against Keith Olbermann, just one day after their former employee filed his suit against the company, according to CNN and the Associated Press.

"In particular, Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay a dime to Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all," says the cross-complaint, which was signed by Laura W. Brill, a lawyer for Current TV, according to CNN.

Olbermann filed a suit again Current TV and its co-founders, former Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt, after he was ousted from the network last week.

Olbermann says he is owed $50 million to $70 million in compensation, according to his suit. The lawsuit also seeks a judgment for other unspecified monetary damages, with interest, according to CNN.

"Olbermann deeply regrets his decision to put his trust in Hyatt and Gore. Current had neither the desire nor the ability to produce a first rate news commentary show. Olbermann did not join Current to ruin his hard-won reputation and appear on a show that was an embarrassment," the lawsuit claims, according to the Associated Press.

A Navy fighter jet crashed into apartment buildings in Virginia Friday after experiencing a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" during takeoff, according to CNN and the Boston Globe.

Just before the jet hit the apartment buildings, it dropped loads of jet fuel over the military community of Virginia Beach, according to CNN. It is unclear whether the release of the fuel was due to the mechanical malfunction or if it was a purposeful maneuver by the pilot, according to the Boston Globe.

Both pilots, who live in Virginia Beach, are suffered minor injuries, and five other people were injured on the ground, according to CNN.

None of the residents in the building that was hit has been reported missing to authorities, but as of Friday three residents were still unaccounted for. Rescue crews are using a checklist of all occupants in the five buildings in an effort to account for all residents, according to CNN.

Bruce Nedelka, Virginia Beach EMS division chief, said that the plane not having as much fuel on board "mitigated what could have been an absolute massive, massive fireball and fire. With all of that jet fuel dumped, it was much less than what it could have been.''

A group of Occupy Minneapolis protesters were arrested Saturday night on Nicollet Mall after a night of moving protests, according CBS News and the Star Tribune.

Police arrested the 12 protesters near the 9th Street intersection shortly after 11 p.m. Police say they arrested the protesters because they were walking in the street and at one point impeded an ambulance from an emergency run, according to CBS News.

"They were making their way back to Peavey Plaza when an ambulance was trying to get through the streets on an emergency run. They were severely hampered by these people in the street, as well as other motorists. That's when officers made these arrests," said Sgt. Stephen McCarty of the Minneapolis Police, according to CBS News.

Several people who were involved or near the occupy protest have alleged that the police acted brutally.

Osha Karow, 23, of Minneapolis is alleging brutality after a mounted officer used his horse's muzzle to push him back even though he said he was complying with the officer's request.

Also, KSTP-TV said one of its photographers was injured while videotaping the arrests when an officer shoved his camera, knocking it to the ground. Police said they're investigating that incident, according to the Star Tribune.

According to the Star Tribune, activists posted links to videos of some of the arrests and the incident involving the KSTP photographer at tiny.cc/mrqgcw.

Minnesota boy found after two weeks

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A Minnesota boy who has been missing for almost two weeks has been found, according to the Star Tribune and MPR News.

James Nordrum allegedly kidnapped his son, Wyatt Nordrum, 7, March 27. Nordrum is in a custody battle with Wyatt's mother, according to the Star Tribune.

Nordrum's attorney, Terri Port Wright, said that Wyatt was uninjured and has been reunited with his mother. Port Wright says Wyatt was safe the whole time, according to MPR.

The Duluth News Tribune reported Sunday that Wyatt of Brookston, and his dad were found Saturday in the Stoney Brook area of St. Louis County with help from public tips.

Although Wyatt is unharmed, Nordrum is in intensive care currently for self-inflicted wounds. Nordrum hurt himself when he learned authorities were closing in, according to Port Wright.

Syria continues shelling, despite impending deadline

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Syria has agreed to withdraw its military forces from towns and cities by Tuesday, but continues shelling in the meantime, according to CNN and the Guardian.

Though the deadline is in the future, the Tuesday deadline is "not an excuse for continued killing," the spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday, according to CNN.

Approximately 52 people were killed around the country Friday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said, according to CNN.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, repeated demands that Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, follow through with the plan of withdrawing troops so that a ceasefire can take effect two days later, on April 12, according to the Guardian.

Both western and Arab governments doubt whether Assad will comply with a plan that implies the end of his rule, though diplomats to concede that the plan is the only one in motion currently.

The pro-government daily publication, al-Watan, quoted an unnamed official saying the government was not bound by next Tuesday's deadline for a ceasefire because that day marks "the beginning of army units' withdrawal and not the end," according to the Guardian.

Numbers analysis

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I looked at a story about the people who won the recent Mega Millions jackpot. The author was crunching the numbers in regards to how much each winner will take home, assuming they take the lump sum award. The author compared the winnings to the net worth of some of the richest people in the world and basically warned against the ruin that will come of the winners if they act like some of the richest people in the world. The article wasn't implying that the richest people in the world were stupid, but just that their income was not as finite as winning the lottery once and many lottery winners in the past have wasted their earnings in the past, not realizing how finite the money was.
The author used dollar amount, obviously, by comparing the amount thing cost. For instance, a fancy apartment in New York, the Dodgers sports team, etc... The author primarily focused on using numbers in this way for the article.
Also, numbers were broken down in regards to costs per day to make it more understandable the amount we were talking about. For instance, when one hears that a person earns $7 million per year, this is likely a number that most people can't really comprehend. The author points out that this is equal to $19,000 a day. This makes the number such that many people can understand how that would change a life. $19,000 is what some people make in a year!
In addition, percentages were used to describe what percentage of the richest population the winners fell into now.
Here is the article in question!

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

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