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November 15, 2008

Reasoning Behind 35W Collapse Released

Federal safety officials recommend new safety rules Friday to prevent future tragedies like the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge, reported the Star Tribune.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the collapse was caused by miscalculation and a design failure combined with inadequate oversight by the state and federal regulators, the Star Tribune reported.
The article attributed the collapse to the bridge’s construction which could not withhold the weight added over the 40 years since it was first built.
"It's intriguing to me that an error of omission of that magnitude would have been made," said Steven Chealander, one of five board members who signed off unanimously on the final report. "It's inexplicable,� reported the Star Tribune about the bridge collapse on Aug. 1, 2007 that killed 13 people.

November 5, 2008

Coleman Wins His Second Term

Sen. Norm Coleman begins his second term for Minnesota after the recount of nearly 3 million votes in the battle with Democrat Al Franken, reported the Star Tribune.
The Republican, whose margin in the unofficial state tally stands at 462 votes as of 2:15 p.m. today, said from his headquarters in St. Paul that he is "humbled and grateful for the victory that the voters gave us last night,� reported the Star Tribune.
According to the article, Franken’s spokewoman Colleen Murray has said there would be no further comment.

October 30, 2008

Dia de los Muertes comes to the University Friday

Student, faculty, and staff at the University of Minnesota will be celebrating Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead�) Friday with a costumed processional across campus, the Star Tribune reported.
A procession with costumed participants, dancers and noise makers will travel across campus, stopping at handmade altars, or ofrendas, that both remember lost loved ones and address the theme "Remembering Our Histories: Stories of Empowerment," reported the Star Tribune.
According to the article, the procession will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Klaeber Court and be at Scott Hall by noon. They group will continue on to the La Raza Student Cultural Center by 1 p.m. and finish in front of Coffman Memorial Union at about 1:45 p.m.
An introduction of an ofrenda, along with the serving of pan de muerto ("bread of the dead") and chocolate will also take place in the front of Coffman at that time, the Star Tribune reported.
This event is sponsored by the University’s Chicano studies department, the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence, La Raza Student Cultural Center and the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, reported the Star Tribune.

October 10, 2008

St. Paul Woman on Crew for Next Space Shuttle

A St. Paul woman is set to leave Earth this Nov. for her second mission into space, the Star Tribune reported.
Capt. Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper is on the crew of the shuttle Endeavour, which is scheduled for a nighttime launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 14, reported the Star Tribune.
Stefanyshyn-Piper, 45, made her first trip into space in 2006 as a mission specialist on Atlantis, where she made two spacewalks to assist in work on the International Space Station, the Star Tribune reported. And now she is to return.

October 2, 2008

6 Somalis Murdered Since December

Since December, six Somali men, all under 40, have been shot to death in the Twin Cities, the Star Tribune reported.
Two of the six victims have been identified as Abdishakur Adan Hassan, 21, of Minneapolis and Ahmednur Ali, 20, a student at Augsburg College. Although the victims have not been connected other than by their ethnicity, police are looking at the cases as a whole, the Star Tribune reported.
“We are not just looking at this case, but more broadly as the violence in the Somali community to see if there are any connections of patters,� Capt. Amelia Huffman said Tuesday as reported by the Star Tribune.
Police have been meeting with community members to enlist their help to hand out crime prevention information and identify problems before they get out of control, said Third Precinct police Inspector Lucy Gerold according to the Star Tribune.

September 24, 2008

Strip Club Owner Indicted For Stealing $2 Million From Club's ATM

A federal grand jury indicted the King Diamonds gentleman’s club owner Monday on suspicions of stealing about $2 million through the club’s ATM, reports the Star Tribune.
Lawrence F. Kladek was indicted on four counts of tax evasion and five counts of filing false tax returns.
According to the Star Tribune, the routine for taking cash out of an ATM involves money being transferred from a customer’s bank account into an account which replenishes the ATM. Yet in the instance of the King Diamonds gentleman’s club, investigators say when the customers withdrew cash, the money was transferred into separate accounts that IRS investigators say Kladek did not report.
From these secret funds, Kladek paid for about $1 million in personal expenses and investments.

September 17, 2008

Many Possiblities for Reduce in Minor Citations

Police efforts spent on Republican National Convention lessened time on party patrol and thus led to only eight minor citations in the first two weeks of school, the Star Tribune reported.
Area police typically try to crack down on underage drinking before and during the first weeks of school, when new students practice dangerous self-experiments with alcohol, University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. This has been demonstrated from the drop in minor citations from 76 citations last year to eight citations this year, according the Minnesota Daily.
However, the Minnesota Daily gave another possible reason for the reduction in minor citations. According to the article, it is believed that the new Welcome Week had an impact on the decrease in underage drinking because the students did not have enough free time to attend the parties.
“[Students] really didn’t have any choice because Welcome Week went from nine in the morning ‘til late in the evening,� said Welcome Week leader, Thomas Santori, reported the Minnesota Daily.
Students were kept busy with Coffman Union activities, including comedians, Gophers After Dark events and a night at the University Recreation Center field house with food and inflatable games, the Minnesota Daily reported.

September 11, 2008

New I-35W Possibly Opens Tuesday

New I-35W could be open to traffic as early as Tuesday, reported the Pioneer Pres.
After the bridge collapsed Aug. 1, 2007, killing 13 people, production of the new bridge began Nov. 1.
According to the Star Tribune, because the Flatiron Contractors finished building the new bridge in less than 14 months, the construction team will be eligible for the full $27 million in bonuses for finishing early, said spokesman Kevin Gutknecht.
Although Gutknecht said there would be no public opening because it would delay the opening of the bridge, the $234 million project is welcomed by all the commuters into downtown Minneapolis, reported the Star Tribune.
The article also listed off the following as last minute work which will be done on the bridge leading up to its opening: installing and testing anti-icing and smart-bridge systems, which monitor the bridge's movements, applying finishing and striping on the bridge deck, installing road signs, landscaping areas along the corridor, and installing traffic signals and lights.