December 11, 2008

Analysis on records/CAR

Two writers from USA Today have written a series of articles examining the air quality of schools that are in close proximity to industrial plants. IRE reported that to complete this story, they used government data and sought out the air quality in these particular areas. It was innovative because they state that the EPA doesn't even run models such as this, and does not record information on the air quality around U.S. schools.

To do so, they had to have skills in mining government databases of air quality. They had to compare these levels to what is considered an acceptable amount of pollution. Then, most likely by mapping the data out, they could see where the bad levels of pollution lie in relation to schools. Through this, they could see exactly what schools were at risk. Being able to sift through government databases and then map it out to seek information was required.

'Nanny' star Drescher interested in Clinton's Senate seat

The Star Tribune has reported that Fran Drescher, former star of 'The Nanny', 51, has reported interest in Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's senate seat, should she join Obama's cabinet.

Among her qualities reported are her experience as an actress, an advocate for female health as well as public diplomat for the U.S. State Department.

The Huffington Post reported that Drescher said she is an "...authentic and honest person and I think Capitol Hill needs more of that."

Franken attempts to get rejected absentee ballots accepted

The Star Tribune has reported that U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken submitted 62 affidavits to accept absentee ballots that were allegedly wrongfully rejected.

This attempt followed a video released on YouTube by the campaign that highlighted seven Minnesotans who said their ballots were illegitimately rejected. Norm Coleman supporters said of the video that is was a, "shameless exploitation of individual Minnesotans in order to further their political agenda."

MinnPost reported
that as of today, 15,147 had viewed the YouTube video.

Hit-and-run driver ignored attempts to be stopped

The Star Tribune reported that a hit-and-run driver in Bloomington was pleaded with to stop, proceeding the death of the 62-year-old victim.

The 36-year-old man was arrested after hitting in the victim, who was walking into a Sam's Club. Alcohol is stated to have been a factor.

After hitting the victim, onlookers yelled for him to stop, but he instead sped away, running over the victim and dragging her 10 feet. KSTP reported that police has to use a taser to get the man, Anthony LaSalle, out of his vehicle.

43 states face financial issues with recession

CNN has reported that with the onset of the recession, 43 states are facing financial problems.

State budgets typically start on July 1, which means that most states are almost halfway through the fiscal year. Options the states have explored include cutting spending, using reserves, and raising revenues.

States not facing budget shortfalls include Texas, Hawaii, Montana, and Indiana. The Guardian has reported that despite these reports, still 50 states are asking for funding for things like healthcare and infrastructure.

Mice threaten huge albatross

CNN is reporting that an albatross on a South Atlantic island had its worst nesting season recorded due to mice.

The house mice are not native to Gough Island and are reportedly at risk to cause the extinction of the Tristan albatross. The threat comes from the mice eating the albatross chicks before they become fledglings. Additionally, albatross only lay eggs once every two years.

A study showed that out of 1,764 albatrosses incubating eggs, only 246 chicks made it to the fledgling stage. The BBC News has reported that these mice are "supersized" and have been attacking petrels and shearwaters, in addition to the albatrosses.

Regarding prevention of the mice, Biologist Dr. Richard Cuthbert said, "Successful eradications in the past have used poisons, particularly in New Zealand; that is one option."

November 23, 2008

Plane crashes in WI backyard

KSTP has reported that three people were killed when a plane crashed in Marshfield, WI Saturday.

Those killed were on the plane, which crashed and burned in a backyard. Authorities are unsure whether the plane had just taken off or if it was trying to land. The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reported that the victim's names have not been released.

The crash caused a fire and explosions, according to a report. The plane has not yet been able to be identified due to damage.

Bank robber admits to five heists

The Star Tribune has reported that a St. Louis Park bank robber has admitted to conducting five different robberies.

Suresh Harlan Small, 27, plead guilty to heists between Nov. 2, 2007 and March 28. Most recently, Small robbed a bank in St. Anthony, drove away, and led officers on a chase reaching almost 100 miles per hour. Small shot at officers, who shot back. He was eventually caught in Plymouth.

Small may face up to 25 years in prison for each robbery.

(No other news sources were found that discussed this event.)

Augsburg student named first Rhodes Scholar

The Star Tribune has reported that Brian Krohn, a senior chemistry major at Augsburg College, was named a Rhodes Scholar Saturday.

Krohn, 22, is a part of 32 Americans chosen for the honor. He plans to go for a master's of science in environmental change and management at Oxford University in England.

"A very normal person is a good way to describe me," he said about himself Sunday. He has worked together will veteran scientists to alter the production of biodiesel so waste is not created.

WCCO reported that Krohn is one of two students at Minnesota schools to win the award this year.

90 puppies found neglected in Florida home

West Florida TV, via CNN, has reported that 90 puppies were found neglected in a Florida home.

The home was in "unacceptable living conditions". Carolyn Bragg, the homeowner, was allegedly selling the puppies from her home. The puppies were discovered Saturday during part of an investigation into puppy mills.

The puppies were Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier and Pug breeds. Bragg will have 90 counts of animal neglect. The Ledger reported that the woman has been a dog owner and breeder for more than 25 years.

Bragg's house allegedly had a roach infestation and rats. Despite claims from the potential buyer that turned her in, Bragg states that all of the dogs have health certificates.

Six killed in Columbian volcano landslide

CNN has reported that six people were killed by a volcano eruption landslide that occurred Thursday in Columbia.

Officials reported Sunday that four of the victims were children. Three people are currently missing. The Nevado del Huila volcano destroyed at least 20 homes. The area in which it occurred contains a reservation for Nasa indigenous groups.

Nearly 300 people have been evacuated from their homes. Fox News reported that although they did not know of any casualties, 8,000 people were ordered to evacuate.

This particular volcano erupted in 1993 and killed nine people.

November 16, 2008

Diversity analysis

One of the articles that I wrote an entry about this week, reported from CNN, covered the rallies held across the nation over the weekend in response to the passing of bans in Florida, California, and Arizona of same-sex marriage. This article covered a topic involving cultural diversity. Much uproar was created with the bans because of the civil rights issues surrounding the stating inequality of the laws.

This article definitely moved past stereotypes surrounding the GLBT culture in the U.S. The story focused more on the massive efforts of both gay and straight participants to overturn these newly-passed bans. The story heavily uses quotes from signs and chants shouted by the crowds to confirm the views of the protesters as well as counter-protesters. Examples of what views were held by both sides gave a very active impression of the rallies. The story, however, does little to highlight big things I did not know, mainly because it was more about covering an event across the country, rather than share a bunch of facts.

Clinton as Secy. of State supported by Republicans

CNN has reported that Henry Kissinger, Former Nixon and Ford Secretary of State said Clinton would be an “outstanding� as pick for the position.

Hillary Clinton is said to be the top pick for the role for President-elect Barack Obama. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger noted the possible pick as a "great move."

MSNBC reported
that others known to want the position are Sen. John Kerry and Gov. Bill Richardson. Although it is thought that Clinton could possibly be interested, her office has stated that any decisions about the pick are up to Obama and his team.

Hunter shoots through house window

KSTP has reported that a hunter in South Haven missed a deer and accidentally shot a bullet through the window of a house Saturday.

The bullet in question traveled three-fourths of a mile after missing the deer. Although the residents were home, no one was injured. The hunter will have to pay for the damage done to the window.

The Duluth News Tribune reported that the hunter, Brent Lang, 39, of Redwood Falls, was hunting with a friend. The damage was done to the home of David and Theresa Weis. She was indoors, while he was installing Christmas lights on the roof at the time of the incident.

Al Franken heads to Washington D.C.

KSTP has reported that U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken will be meeting democratic leaders in Washington D.C.

The meetings are to discuss business with the party as well as litigation potential in the Minnesota race. The Star Tribune has reported that the recount of votes will start Wednesday of this week.

Coleman is said to lead Franken by 206 votes. It is also said that this recount is the most scrutinized since the 2000 presidential election's recount in Florida.