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March 29, 2009

Obituary Analysis

The obituary for Dick Williams in the Star Tribune starts out with a lead about what Williams was best known for, coaching basketball.

The article goes on to talk about his "no-cut" policy Williams had when coaching. This was effective because it told the reader about more than just his love for basketball, but his love for including everyone.

Some of the sources include: former players, his sister, and a person he worked with on the Wayzata Youth Basketball Association. The lead is an alternative, and not just an announcement of death. The age and cause of death are also delayed.

The obit differs from a resume because it includes a focused story, about basketball, along with his lifetime accomplishments.

G.M. chief is said to be resigning

As part of a rescue plan, which President Obama will announce Monday, to rescue the auto industry, chairman and chief chief executive of General Motors Rick Wagoner is said to be resigning.

A person close to the decision told the New York Times Sunday that Wagoner has been asked to step down as part of a plan to restructure the auto maker.

G.M. and Chrysler have almost used up the $17.4 billion loaned to them by the United States government.

It is unclear who may take over for Wagoner.

The company lost $30.9 billion last year, and sales have declined 27.7 percent in the United States.

Minnesota's public defenders overloaded

Minnesota's public defenders are taking on more cases than they can handle, and defendants are paying the costs.

According to the Star Tribune, the public defenders are meeting with their clients just minutes before they go into court, and have little time to offer advice and answer questions.

"It means that our justice system will slow down considerably and so cases will go unresolved, and that's very harmful for the victims and witnesses and general public," District Judge Joseph Carter said.

The state lost 5 public defenders last year because of budget cuts, and more of those jobs are threatened this year.

In the past, cases have moved through the court system within 3 months, but now cases are taking as long as 6 months.

In Dakota County, criminal cases have increased by 9 percent in the last year, and the public defenders have been decreasing.

St. Louis Park offers incentives to live, work there

The city of St. Louis Park is offering people incentives to buy a house, live and work in the city.

People who work in the city would receive a $2,500 grant to buy a home in the city, provided they live in the home for three years. If they move, the grant would be turned into a loan.

Those who buy a foreclosed home would receive an additional $1,000.

"We want to revitalize our neighborhoods and schools, and having new people move into our community is a way to do that,'' said Michele Schnitker, St. Louis Park housing supervisor.

There is enough money for about 25 grants this year.

The idea to give incentives for new home buyers is not limited to St. Louis Park, however, the idea of giving grants is unique to that city.

Many banks are also providing cash for closing on a new home mortgage, which adds to the incentives to buy a new home.

Information and quote from the Star Tribune.

Triatheletes are more likely to die during a race than marathoners, a new study found

Dr. Kevin Harris of the Minneapolis Heart found that swim-bike-run triathletes are at least twice as likely to die in a triathlon than marathoners.

The study found that the increased risk is because of the stressed caused on the heart during the swimming part of the event, a Star Tribune article said.

According to statistics there are four to eight deaths for every 1 million marathon runners but 15 deaths for every 1 million triathlon participants.

The colder lake and river water constricts blood vessels in the heart, which can cause an irregular heartbeat.

Contributing to the risk is the fact that it is difficult to stop swimming and signal for help during a competition.

Doctors suggest you get checked for any heart problems that you may not have known about before participating in a triathlon, workout in a lake or river and not just a pool during training, wear a wetsuit if the lake is too cold, and make sure proper medical equipment and staff are at the event.

President Obama to face defiance on first trip overseas

President Obama is expected to face opposition on his first trip abroad since taking office, this week.

According to an article in The New York Times, the president is unlikely to convince any foreign countries to change their economic policies, nor is he likely to make any progress on the Iranian nuclear threat.

Obama will be pressed to convince the international community that his economic stimulus plan will work, and that the United States is committed to working with other countries to strengthen the global economy.

American officials have traveled the world in the past to lecture other countries on the need for deregulated open markets, but these ideas are being blamed throughout the world for the recent market collapse. This will make it even more difficult for Obama to sell his plan.

Obama will also meet in Prague to discuss the missile defense shield and the uneasiness it has caused in the region due to Russian objections to the system, and the desire for Poland to have closer relations with the United States.

March 9, 2009

University groups' dance-a-thon raises $52,000 for children with HIV

The University of Minnesota student groups Minnesota's Future Doctors and the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students along with other groups sponsored a dance-a-thon on Saturday, raising $52,000.

The event was a 12 hour event that helped raise money for children, many who are under the poverty level, living with HIV to attend camp One Heartland. One Heartland is a national non-profit dedicated to helping children living with HIV.

Last year, the event raised $38,000 and had a goal this year of $50,000 which was well surpassed.

There were 50 university students among the 400 volunteers that helped at this years event.

Chemistry sophomore Alex Yue, an organizer of the event said that next fall they hope to expand their involvement on campus into Welcome Week.

Source: Minnesota Daily

Anaylisis: Wash. Ave. Bridge repairs

The story about the Washington Avenue Bridge repairs, used a press release as it's mains source, but also used comments by Paul Backer the project engineer.

The angle of the story was simply that there will be construction resulting in closures, and that the county has changed the date for potential completion of the project.

The reporter has pretty much composed a listing, since it lacked any quotes and comments from the general public.

Wash. Ave. Bridge repairs to begin March 16

The Minnesota Daily reported Wednesday that repairs to the Washington Avenue Bridge will begin as of March 16 and will be completed in May.

Previous statements from university and county officials said that the bridge work would be done by April 1.

The Hennepin County project engineer Paul Backer said that parts for the project needed to be manufactured by a company in New York and delivery for the project will take longer for that reason.

The county anticipated that the two inside lanes will be closed during the universities spring break.

Minneapolis cab fare stay put for now

Minneapolis cab fairs will remain the same for now, after they were lowered because of lower gas prices.

The city council lowered the rates earlier this year to compensate for the decrease in gas prices this year.

The council decided in August 2008 that cab fares should be determined based on gas prices, but few expected that to result in lower fares as gas prices decreased.

Council Member Cam Gordon asked for approval, which required unanimous consent by the council, to delay the rate increase for one year without committee approval.

This request was shot down resulting in a delay in the voting on the rate increase until April 10.

Source: Star Tribune

Pakistan regains control of a remote area

The Pakistani government is claiming victory over the Taliban in Bajaur a northern tribal region of Pakistan.

Many of the Pakistanis in the region are dissatisfied with the way the government has handled the situation, seemingly leaving residents and shop owners with nothing after the battles in the area destroyed much infrastructure.

“We want compensation for the structures that have been demolished,” said Idrees Khan, a tribal leader from Inayat Kalay, “and we want accountability from the government and the Taliban.”

The day before a reporters' visit to see the progress in the region, thre Frontier Corps members were killed in Mohmand, and three government security men were killed by a land mine.

Many in the intelligence community believe it is only a matter of time before the Taliban return.

“If the government doesn’t build and attract tribesmen back quickly, and do things to put money in their pockets, there is every likelihood of a reversion to the militants,” said former chief secretary of the North-West Frontier Province Khalid Aziz.

Obama to lift limits on Stem Cell Research

President Obama will sign an executive order on Monday lifting a ban on embryonic stem cell research according to USA Today.

After years of bans and uncertainty under the Bush administration about research with embryonic stem cells, Obama will overturn the ban on federal funding for such research.

Following Obama's executive order, the National Institutes of Health will have 120 days to establish new research guidelines

Many scientists praised the move by Obama but said it may have been more helpful two years ago. Since then scientists have been able to use skin cells to make new lines of stem cells, which may someday eliminate the need for embryos.

"Hallelujah, this marks the end of a long and repressive chapter in scientific history," said stem cell researcher Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass.

Opponents have also been quick to voice their disappointment with the decision.

"We're not afraid of the science, but we don't view the president's mandate as stepping into this controversial area and making taxpayers responsible for the loss of human life," said Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council.

Source: USA Today

March 1, 2009

Lions roar in early March snowstorm

Much of Alabama was blanketed with 4 inches of snow Sunday morning, canceling hundreds of church services.

The storm is now heading toward New England where it threatens to drop up to 15 inches of snow in some areas.

The amount of snow is reminding people in the south of the 1993 storm that blanketed Atlanta with 4.2 inches and Birmingham with 13 inches of snow.

Flights are being delayed and canceled across the east coast.

"It's the first of March, which as you know is the month that we say comes in like a lion and out like a lamb," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "It's pretty clear that the lions are getting ready to roar."

Information from the Star Tribune and AP

5 holdups in Minneapolis Sunday Morning

The Star Tribune reported Sunday that Minneapolis Police are investigating if 5 robberies that occurred Sunday morning may be linked.

The suspects, who robbed 7 people in five locations between 12:30 a.m. ad 2 a.m. Sunday, are described as men in their 20s.

The men drove up the the victims in their cars yielded a gun. The suspects stole wallets, purses, cell phones, clothing and cash.

All the robberies occurred in south and southeast Minneapolis

Southwest Airlines may lead to a showdown

Next week Southwest will begin flying 8 non-stop flights each day to Chicago's Midway Airport.

According to the Star Tribune, Southwest is set for a showdown between itself and Northwest Airlines, which is notorious for the lengths it will go to defend its turf.

Because of its merge with Delta airlines last fall, Northwest can "no longer claim to be the hometown airline," the article said.

Dean Headley, co-author of the Airline Quality Rating report called Southwest the McDonald's of the airline industry. "McDonald's knows where the best corner is and they go get them," he said.

Minneapolis travel expert Terry Trippler said the competition between Southwest and Northwest will result in a win for the consumer.

Middle Class Task Force Meets: Analysis

An article written for the Associated Press discusses the first meeting of the Middle Class Task Force set up by President Barack Obama, and lead by Vice President Joe Biden.

The article includes some details from the actual White House press release, but also includes information about the first announcement of the task force. It also includes quotes from the vice president from the announcement of the task force, and not from the actual press release.

The article ties the task force to the economic stimulus bill, but doesn't include specific spending for the task force, as the press release does.

The article included some information about members on the task force, but didn't go into detail. It also only included on quote even though many were included by most members of the task force in the press release.