April 26, 2009

U.S. journalist jailed in Iran goes on hunger strike

A U.S. journalist who was arrested on charges of espionage in Iran is on her fifth day of a hunger strike, according to the Star Tribune.

Roxana Saberi, a dual American-Iranian citizen who will turn 32 on Sunday, was sentenced to eight years in prison after a swift one day closed trial.

"She said that she has started a hunger strike and this is the fifth day and that she will continue until she is free. I tried to tell her that this can be dangerous, but she didn't give me any time to protest," her father, Reza Saberi, told The Associated Press.

Iran's judiciary said they are investigating how the case was handled, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged prosecutors to make sure she receives a fair appeal.

April 20, 2009

U.S. Citizens caught up in immigration sweeps

The Los Angeles Times reported on April 9 that recent immigration sweeps have entangled some U.S. citizens.

Rennison Vern Castillo was arrested and jailed for harassing his girlfriend, and almost done with his prison sentence, when immigration authorities blocked his release.

They claimed that he was in the country illegally, even though Castillo became a citizen seven years ago.

After three months of further detention in a federal facility, an federal immigration panel blocked his deportation and an immigration judge released him from prison.

The unknown status of factory workers by immigration officials has lead to detention of some citizens during questioning of about their status.

Officials at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have downplayed the detention of citizens.

"ICE does not detain United States citizens," said spokesman Richard Rocha, adding that agents thoroughly investigated people's claims of citizenship. "ICE only processes an individual for removal when all available facts indicate that the person is an alien."

April 12, 2009

Minneapolis gay couple, sons to attend Easter celebration at White House

On Monday, a Minneapolis family will become a part of history. Tim Meyer, Mark Funk and their three sons--Rudy, Andres and Pablo--will be one of the first gay families to be officially included in the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House.

Meyer said they use the term "intentionally" invited because the Bush administration had unknowingly invited the first gay and lesbian couple to the event in 2006, according to the Family Equality Council, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) family advocacy group.

The Obama administration called oh the group to encourages it's supporters to apply for tickets, reported theStar Tribune Saturday.

"President Obama specifically sought us out," Meyer said. "We got a call two Sundays ago that said they extended the tickets to 50 more people. We got five of the tickets.

"This is the first time the White House has specifically reached out to gay families. It's a big deal."

April 5, 2009

Feds pour funds into the Big Easy

A stimulus bill trial-run has been underway in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of its infrastructure in August 2005.

New Orleans has a 5.3 percent unemployment rate compared with the national average of 8.1 percent.

After $51 billions dollars was injected into the local economy, big building projects began the economy in New Orleans is as one resident put it, "normal."

According to the Star Tribune, there is an ongoing demand for renovations as residents move back to the city.

March 29, 2009

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.

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

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

February 15, 2009

'McMansion' era ends in the Twin Cities

According to the Pioneer Press the era of supersized homes in the Twin Cities is coming to an end as consumers spend less and people become more environmentally conscious.

The median home size is predicted to drop 11 percent in 2009 said the Builder's Association of the Twin Cities.

An aging population is also a cause in the decreasing size of homes. Baby boomers prefer smaller ramblers, or town homes.

The ailing economy is causing people to think about what they really need and forcing them to live more modestly.

The "green effect" is causing home builders and buyers to build smaller more efficient homes, which is influencing the median home size in the Twin Cities.

February 8, 2009

Disease detectives in Minnesota are better than in most states

The discovery that a nationwide salmonella outbreak occurred as a result of contaminated peanuts was made by Minnesota health officials, who often find outbreaks that no one else does.

Minnesota investigators are often ahead of the game on outbreaks, while other researchers get lead in wrong directions or simply don't even know an outbreak is occurring.

The Star Tribune reported that many experts think because there are so many inconsistencies in food safety around the country the system should be overhauled.

Since 1995 great improvements in tracing outbreaks have been made since DNA has been used to match viruses in different states, allowing officials to know if there are many outbreaks, or just one.

The only thing that was able to detect this outbreak was detailed questioning of each patient who demonstrated symptoms.

January 31, 2009

Women has octuplets, grandma calls her obsessed with having kids.

A women with six other children gave birth to octuplets Monday which caused her mother to speak out.

The Associated Press reported that 33-year-old Nadya Suleman conceived all 14 children through in vitro fertilization. Instead of aborting the extra embryos left over from her first conception, she decided to have them implanted last year.

The woman's mother, Angela Suleman told the Associated Press that she was not supportive of her daughter having more children. She said she thinks her daughter should be married. She doesn't understand how her daughter will afford to take care of 14 children and go to school at the same time.

Nadya Suleman is currently pursuing a master's degree in counseling and holds a degree in child and adolescent development from California State University, Fullerton, according to a college spokesperson.

Angela Suleman, who is taking care of Nadya Suleman's other children, told her daughter that she will not be their when Nadya Suleman returns from the hospital.