March 2012 Archives

DNR webcam offers live views of downtown falcon nest

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Bird enthusiasts can get an up-close look at a pair of peregrine falcons nesting in downtown St. Paul, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Non-game Wildlife Program of the Department of Natural Resources has placed a live webcam in their nesting box, according to the Press. This project was created in cooperation with the Midwest Peregrine Society and the businesses of Town Square and Sentinel Properties.

According to the Press, the pair laid its first egg Wednesday. Program supervisor Carrol Henderson said the female will lay up to four more eggs over the next few days. The eggs should hatch around April 28 and the young will stay in the box until late June or early July, the Press said.

The Press said peregrine falcons chase their prey at speeds of up to of 200 miles per hour and that they've made a remarkable comeback from the edge of extinction.

State Patrol adds more seat belt enforcement

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The Minnesota State Patrol is adding more seat belt enforcement next week in 10 greater Minnesota counties that have endured the most unbelted deaths and injuries, according to the Star Tribune.

According to the Tribune, these extra patrols are starting Monday and going through next Sunday in Cass, Itasca, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Olmsted, St. Louis, Stearns, Renville, Rice and Winona counties.

The Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety says that combined, those counties had 854 unbelted deaths and serious injuries between 2007 and 2009, according to the Tribune.

The Tribune said the primary seat belt law requires drivers and passengers in all seating positions, including the back seat, to be buckled up or in a proper child restraint.

Officers will stop and ticket drivers or passengers without seat belts, the Tribune said.

Military investigators suspect that the American soldier charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and other charges in connection with the attacks against Afghan civilians this month committed the shootings during two separate operations, a United States official said Saturday according to the New York Times.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation, said that the investigators believed that the soldier, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, left his Afghanistan base and carried out the first set of killings, returned to the combat outpost and then, sometime later that evening, went out and attacked a second village the New York Times said.

The Times said the official said this account emerged from a range of interviews that Army investigators had conducted over the last several days as they tried to piece together what happened that night and why.

The series of events, he said, seems to support the United States government's assertion that the killings were carried out by one person, according to the Times.

Sergeant Bales, 38, was formally charged on Friday with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 6 counts of assault and attempted murder in connection with the March 13 attacks the Times said.

Boat lost in Tsunami spotted

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A Japanese fishing ship that was swept to sea during last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami was spotted this week floating off the coast of British Columbia, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

The Intelligencer said an aircraft crew noticed the 150-foot-long vessel drifting roughly 150 nautical miles off the southern coast of Haida Gwaii on Tuesday, according to the Canada Department of Defence.

Transport Canada is currently monitoring the the ship for marine pollution and to see if it becomes an obstruction to the public right of navigation, according to the Intelligencer. On its current trajectory and speed, the empty ship wouldn't make landfall for approximately 50 days.

The Intelligencer said debris from the tsunami is already washing up on Washington beaches, and much more is expected.

Oceanographer Dr. Curtis Ebbsmeyer said chunks of wood and plastic and other pieces of flotsam from the tsunami will continue to show up on local beaches for years or even decades.

Analysis: Obits

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The obituary about Noble Fleming, an arbitrator of tea for the Thomas J. Lipton Company, seemed to be pretty standard.

Sources include his daughter, the president of the Tea Association of the U.S.A., and the executive vice president of the Tea Association of the U.S.A.

It has the standard New York Times obituary lead that we learned in class, and I believe it works well for the situation.

The obit differs from a resume because it takes a more personal and in-depth look into a person. It describes not only what a person did in their life, but also what kind of person they were, what their personality was like, what is was like to interact with them, etc. It takes more of an emotional approach.

'Green' trash bags law to be enforced in Minneapolis

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A state law passed in January 2010 and new city policy will be put into effect making it mandatory to use compostable yard bags starting on gargbage day the week of April 9, according to the Star Tribune.

David Herberholz, the city's director of solid waste and recycling, said that with less plastic being sent to composting facilities, the process is less expensive, safer for employees, better for the machinery, and results in a higher quality compost, according to the Tribune.

The Tribune said residents will have a four-week grace period to take care of leftover conventional trash bags lying around.

After trash pick-up the week of April 30, Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling will leave a note with non-compostable bags urging customers to re-package the trash in the more environmentally friendly sacks or in reusable bins, according to the Tribune.

North Shore activists honored

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St. Paul residents Mark and Joan Strobel received the Minnesota Parks and Trails Council's most prestigious award last week for their lifelong commitment to keeping the North Shore open and natural, according to the Star Tribune.

According to the Tribune, the Strobels led several efforts at Tettegouche State Park in the past 20 years, including adding 3,000 acres of land.

On one particular project, they worked with private landowners to add 3,700 feet of shoreline to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park's Gold Rock Point, the Tribune said.

The Tribune also said the Reuel Harmon Award is named for a founding member of the Minnesota Council of State Parks in 1954 that transformed into the current council, a grassroots organization focused on expanding parkland.

A representative of the main anthropology agency in Mexico says the remains found in a southern cave were part of a cemetery from 1300 years ago, according to the Washington Post.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Chiapas state prosecutor's office said authorities found the remains of 167 people on Friday on the Nuevo Ojo de Agua ranch, which is a region where Central American migrants pass through while heading north. Local farmers had come across the cave last week and had alerted the authorities, according to the Post.

Emilio Gallaga of the national anthropology institute says the first test results show the remains come from a still-unspecified pre-Hispanic community dating to the eighth century, according to the Post. He says clay artwork that could have come from a pre-Hispanic group was also found in the cave, the Chronicle said.

St. Paul Library To Hold Crossword Tournament

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People who enjoy doing The New York Times crossword puzzle will now have a chance to display their skills at a tournament this month at a St. Paul library, according to WCCO-TV.

According to the Independent, the competition will be held on Friday, March 30, at the James J. Hill Reference Library.

The contest will feature four original crossword puzzles created specially for the tournament by Times crossword editor Will Shortz, according to WCCO. The Independent said scoring will be based on both accuracy and speed.

People can sign up as individuals or in teams of up to four people. There are no divisions based on age, education or gender, according to WCCO.

According to the Independent, the top three finalists in each competition will advance to a finals round for a chance to claim the overall title.

A Chicken McNugget bearing a striking resemblance to founding father George Washington is still up for sale, according to the L.A. Times.

According to the New York Times, Rebekah Speight of Dakota City, Neb., made headlines this week when she almost sold the McDonald's delicacy for $8,100 on Ebay. But the winning bidder apparently changed their mind.

Speight was disappointed at the turn of events because she planned to use the money from the auction to send 50 children to a church summer camp, according to the New York Times.

According to the L.A. Times, she told the Sioux City Journal that she noticed the startling resemblance between the McNugget and George Washington when she was cleaning up after her kids. She thought it may be worth something, so she wrapped it up and put it in her freezer 3 years ago.

The Journal said the Ebay page has had plenty of interest from buyers and observers. The item has received 44,795 views and more than 1,600 people watched the auction unfold, according to the L.A. Times.

340-ton rock artwork reaches Los Angeles

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A block-long transporter carrying a 340-ton, 21-foot-high boulder wrapped in white plastic arrived in Los Angeles early Saturday morning, according to the New York Times.

The L.A. Times said the abstract installation, "Levitated Mass," was created by the Nevada artist Michael Heizer who is famously reclusive.

The rock is just a rock that broke from cooled magma that percolated beneath what is now North America about 100 million years ago, according to the L.A. Times.

The 11 day journey of the installation took seven months longer than originally planned and followed a route through four counties and 22 cities, according to the New York Times.

Park planned for Frogtown site in St. Paul

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A new park, urban farm and nature sanctuary may be established at 919 Lafond Ave., a 12-acre Frogtown property that has been owned by the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation since 1971, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune said the Trust for Public Land and the foundation came to an agreement of a $2.2 million price for the property that originally housed the Sisters of the Good Shepherd convent. The trust will be raising money for the site throughout the next 18 months.

The Wilder Foundation initially purchased the site to use as administrative and program headquarters until the construction of the Wilder Center facility at the corner of Lexington Parkway and University Avenue in 2007, according to the Tribune.

Analysis: Speech/Meeting

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When crafting the story about Cardinal Timothy N. Dolan's speech at a diocesan convocation, the author did an excellent job of incorporating pertinent current events into it. The author clearly had a good grasp of background information related to the speech content, which is incredibly important when covering a speech. The author provided enough information for the reader to gain a better sense of the current Catholic standings on many issues, like same-sex marriage, abortions, and birth control. Overall, the author seemed to cover the speech in an accurate manner.

Rio police arrest drug trafficker in shantytown

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Rio de Janeiro police said they arrested a former chief drug dealer of an infamous slum located five miles from the iconic Maracana stadium, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A police press release said Everton Mesquita was arrested Saturday inside the Morro dos Macacos slum, according to the Inquirer. The shantytown is southwest of the stadium, where some of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games events will be held.

The Inquirer said drug gangs in Morro dos Macacos shot down a police helicopter in October 2009, two weeks after the International Olympic Committee awarded the games to Rio. Three police officersz were killed, and 21 people also died in a related shootout between gangs and the police.

The police news release says Mesquita had fled the slum but was caught when he returned for his niece's birthday party, the Inquirer also said.

France woke up Monday with elation for the impressive Oscar success of "The Artist," the French production that was filmed in Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Times.

The Times said Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France called the film's five-Oscar victory "a testament to the vitality of our cinema," in a statement.

Headlines at newstands at Gare Montparnasse and beyond loudly saluted the near-silent film's achievement as a "renewal of French cinema," according to the Times.

The Times also said, 'There seemed no end to the images of Jean Dujardin's winning smile, and minor variations on the catchy phrase used on television as well as in print: "How a Frenchy seduced Hollywood."'

Lava flow has destroyed the last home in a vast but sparsely populated neighborhood in the Big Island's Puna district, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Sunday, according to the Washington Post.

The Post said the neighborhood's last remaining resident, Jack Thompson, left his home about an hour before lava raced down the hill and burned his house to the ground Friday, the newspaper reported.

The destruction of Thompson's home comes after many years of lava flows from the Kilauea volcano, according to the Post.

Over the years, the lava has destroyed other homes and cut off roads to the neighborhood, the Post said. Thompson said his last neighbor's house was destroyed in 2008.

According to the Post, the volcano has been continuously erupting since 1983, but Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists warned many weeks ago that the lava was becoming more active.

Playboy Looking For Sexiest U Of M Females

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University of Minnesota female students who've ever wanted to be in the pages of Playboy, now may have a chance, according to WCCO-TV. The magazine will be in the area next week to find the most gorgeous female college students for its "Girls of the Big Ten" feature in October.

WCCO-TV said Playboy photographers and representatives will meet with students at all of the 12 Big Ten schools to find the students who will make an appearance in the October issue.

Candidates need to be 18 years or older and have to be registered as a full- or part-time student at any Big Ten university, according to WCCO-TV.

WCCO-TV also said Candidates unavailable to go to the casting call can email a recent full-figure photo and head shot.

A first-grade Mankato boy is one of five finalists in a national sandwich contest after he created a peanut-butter sandwich that includes blueberries and maple syrup, according to the Pioneer Press.

According to the Press, Sullivan Jacobs named his masterpiece the Blue Monkey Pita, which contains whole-wheat pita bread, blueberries, agave nectar, banana, maple syrup and peanut butter.

The sandwich was pleasing enough to earn him a spot as one of five finalists in the "Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest" which is sponsored by Jif Peanut Butter, according to the Press.

The Press also said Sullivan could potentially win a $25,000 college fund and also $10,000 for educational products. The winner of the grand prize will be revealed March 30 in New York.

Sullivan says he created the recipe one morning when he wanted to have French toast but his 4-year-old brother wanted to eat peanut butter and bananas, the Press said.

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