November 2012 Archives

Beauty queen killed in shootout

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Mexican beauty queen died during a shootout between a suspected drug trafficking gang and soldiers in Sinaloa, news sources report.

2012 Woman of Sinaloa, Maria Susana Flores Gamez, 20, was traveling with a gang of suspected drug traffickers when they engaged in a shootout with military troops. Officers found a rifle near Gamez's body, however, it's not clear who shot her and it is unclear if she engaged in the shootout. The shootout also resulted in the death of two others, CNN reports.

Soldiers engaged in an hours-long chase with the gang, some members escaped during the shootout while others weren't so lucky. Amongst the two members that died, four were detained and officials seized six vehicles along with weapons and drugs. This instance is at least the third in which a beauty queen or pageant contestant has been connected to violent Mexican drug cartels, KENS 5 reports.

Trends where beauty queens or pageant contestants are involved with drug cartels is a sad but common occurrence in countries that offer few opportunities for youth. "They are disposable objects, the lowest link in the chain of criminal organizations," Javier Valdez, author of the 2009 book "Miss Narco," about narcotic ties to beauty pageants, said. "The young men recruited as gunmen and the pretty young women who are tossed away in two or three years, or are turned into the police or killed," CBS News reports.

Cultural group analysis

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The news story "Hamas wants end to blockade in cease-fire talks, official says" by CNN moves beyond stereotypes into something more substantive by using sources from the middle east and treating the story like it would be treated if it was the subject was U.S. individuals.

The war is presented as war and the ugly truth of it and without the names one wouldn't see the racial and cultural barrier. The story moves beyond the stereotype by emphasizing the attempt to reach peace and "a real stable situation." There was a mixture between sources from the U.S. and the Middle East. This mix of information and sources leads to a no stereotyped story.

Sources used to gain information included the military, Palestinian officials, Palestinian president, and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Head-on crash kills three

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Three people died in a bus accident in Inver Grove Heights Friday, news sources report.

A car and a school bus collided head-on at Argenta Trail and 77th Street West, the cause of the crash is not yet known, police said. The victims were a woman and her two grandchildren, the victims' names have not been released but family members have already built a small memorial on the accident scene, CBS Minnesota reports.

The bus driver was alone on the bus and emerged uninjured. Both vehicles were on fire when officers arrived. The Inver Grove Heights Police Department and Minnesota State Patrol continue to investigate the incident, The Inver Grove Heights Patch reports.

Fed-up San Francisco eyes public nudity ban

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The anything-goes mentality of San Francisco may change with a new public nudity ban, news sources report.

A vote is scheduled for Tuesday, if city lawmakers pass the ban, it would be illegal for anyone over the age of five to expose their genitals publicly, with exceptions to parades and festivals under city permit. Activists filed a federal lawsuit against the city Wednesday looking for a temporary restraining order, providing the court enough time to determine case merits, ABC News reports.

Supervisor Scott Wiener feels compelled to act after complaints were made about naked men gathering in a small Castro plaza, who sometimes walk the streets. His persuasion lead colleagues to pass a law requiring the use of a cloth between public seats and bare rears last year. However, the complaints continue, Fox News reports.

Christina DiEdoardo is the representing attorney for the nudist group and claims that the goal of the lawsuit is to stop a "fatally overbroad" legislation that would infringe on the First Amendment rights of the nudists'. The ban would establish a $100 fine for violating and would increase for additional offenses within a year, Mercury News reports.

Veterans killed in train crash during parade

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A freight train crashed into a parade float filled with wounded veterans Thursday, killing four veterans and wounding 16 others, news sources report.

The parade float crossed onto the railroad tracks after warning signals went off, investigators said. It was the second flatbed truck of two floats carrying the veterans in Midland, Texas. Some people on the float tried to jump off before the train collided with it, witness said. The military instincts of the veterans kicked into gear as they treated wounded individuals, Fox News reports.

The four veterans that died had served the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. They survived the harsh war of gunshots, explosions, and grenade attacks. They were scheduled to go on a hunting trip and spend the weekend with fellow veterans. Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gary Stouffer, 37; Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin, 47; and Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43, will be remembered by family, friends, and the country, ABC News reports.

Investigators are verifying that organizers had proper permits for the parade, and that there were no mechanical malfunctions such as truck breaks or the freight train breaks. Also using a sight test to determine the visibility the train engineer had prior to the crash, Seattle PI reports.

U.S. Marine arrested in Okinawa

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Japanese police arrested a U.S. Marine Sunday on suspicion of trespassing, news sources report.

The 24-year-old was arrested after trespassing into the apartment of an Okinawa islander, police said. People in Japan hold an anti-American sentiment after two U.S. navy sailors raped a local woman in October, The Gulf Times reports.

Thomas Chanquet, of the Futenma Air Force, snuck into an unlocked apartment and fell asleep in a bedroom; a neighbor saw the incident and called police. Chanquet was drunk and is believed to have broken curfew while drinking off base, Masahiko Gishi, of the Okinawa police said, The Japan Daily Press reports.

Curfew was set for all troops in Japan after the two Navy sailors allegedly raped an Okinawan girl and a U.S. airman allegedly assaulted a teenager. A formal protest was lodged with the U.S. Embassy and U.S. military after the incident Sunday and Japan demanded for the enforcement of the curfew, Fox News reports.

Young Northern Minn. Boy bags 27-point buck

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A record buck got shot opener weekend by a 12-year-old boy from Motley, Minn. last Saturday, news sources report.

Not long after young Dylan Beach entered his tree stand, the buck of a life time walked into view about 100 yards from the stand. "I thought I heard something, but I wasn't sure if it was a squirrel or whatever," Beach said. "But then about 100 yards up, he came walking out." All it took was a single shot from Beach's rifle to drop the buck in its tracks, CBS Minnesota reports.

The buck weighed 229 pounds and it's antlers measured 241 inches, taking four men to load it into the back of the truck. It is within the top 10 biggest deer shot in Minnesota, ever, KSTP News reports.

Beach was hunting on family farm land about eight miles west of Sebeka, and the buck was well known in the area, Dylan's mom Jeannie Beach said. "I was half asleep when I called my sister and when I told her it was a 27-point buck she knew which deer it was. 'He got the monster, he got the monster,' she said." Dylan Beach still can't believe that he bagged the big buck, despite the handful of pictures of him and his trophy, The Brainerd Dispatch reports.

Number story analysis

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I reviewed the Los Angeles Times story "Indianapolis house explosion kills two, destroys neighborhood" where numbers were used in a few different ways.

The reporter used numbers to tell the story by informing readers how many people were injured or killed, approximately what time the explosion happened, approximately how many homes were damaged or destroyed, and the approximate cost in damages.

The numbers aren't overwhelming but rather helpful because they add to the story, allowing readers to get a grasp on the amount of damage. No math appears to have been done on this story.

The source of the numbers are from common knowledge of knowing the area, Indianapolis Fire Department officials, and spokesman for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard Marc Lotter.

House explosion destroys neighborhood and kills two

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A house explosion killed two people, injured several others, leveled two homes, destroyed over two dozen others and forced the entire neighborhood to evacuate Saturday night in south Indianapolis, news sources report.

The blast shattered windows, destroyed walls and could be felt and heard at least three miles away. An estimated 31 homes were damaged to the point of needing to be demolished, officials said. Seven people were taken to the hospital after the explosion and fire and were treated for injuries, Deputy Fire Chief Kenny Bacon said, CBS News reports.

"It was like a war zone," Whitney Pflanzer told the Indianapolis Star. "It was silent after that. And it was dark and dusty, and I thought it was a nightmare - it was a nightmare." Pflanzer and her husband ware laying in bed when the explosion occurred, blowing out their windows and collapsed their ceiling, Los Angeles Times reports.

Yellow tags marked moderately damaged homes where residents were allowed back to retrieve pets, medicine and other items if escorted by a firefighter. Most people were not allowed back into their homes, and their houses were marked with red tags, USA Today reports.

Grand Rapids residents killed in a rollover crash

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A Grand Rapids couple was killed in a rollover crash Saturday night in Itasca County, news sources report.

The vehicle ran off a wet road and rolled in the ditch on Minnesota 46 near Alvwood, northwest of Bemidji, around midnight Saturday, authorities say, Kare 11 reports.

The vehicle was a Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Joy Wilson, 54, with passenger and husband Donald Wilson, 56, who both died in the crash. Neither were wearing seat belts, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Polar bear returns to new Duluth zoo exhibit

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After the summer flooding of it's exhibit and surgery Duluth's polar bear returns, news sources report.

Major surgery was performed on Berlin at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center after she was found lethargic and unresponsive by Como zookeepers. The surgery removed a mass of dead tissue that had caused internal bleeding and a veterinarian said that it's highly unlikely Berlin would have survived with out the surgery, ABC 6 News reports.

The absence of Berlin at the Lake Superior Zoo underscored the affection the community holds for polar bears at the zoo, Peter Pruett, director of zoo operations said. Maicie Sykes, the zoo's lead animal keeper and Berlin's trainer is credited by Pruett for causing an advancement in developing a new polar bear exhibit, The Pioneer Press reports.

Marijuana legalization passes in two states

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Legalization of recreational marijuana was passed in Colorado and Washington Tuesday, news sources report.

Voters passed the legalization of recreational marijuana and the Colorado's Proposition 64 allows for the possession and business sale of marijuana for anyone over the age of 21. However, the federal law still bans its use, OTUS News reports.

"This is a complicated process, but we intend to follow through," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said. "That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos or goldfish too quickly." The legalization could lead to a Supreme Court v. federal government battle, CNN Money reports.

Over $1.2 million were provided in contributions and loans by the Marijuana Policy Project, backing the Amendment 64, state records show. The financial aid and political muscle backs the medical-marijuana and legalization campaigns nationwide, the ReporterHerald reports.

Norwegian mass killer complains about prison conditions

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A mass murderer complains about prison conditions after killing 77 people, news sources report.

Murderer Anders Behring Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence for gunning down teenagers on the Norwegian island of Utoya last year, telling fleeing teens, "You're all going to die," The Los Angeles Times reports.

Breivik, 33, wrote to prison officials complaining his inability to express political options and read all letters addressed to him, his laser Tord Jordet says. The Oslo District Court found Breivik sane and guilty of the July 22, 2011 terrorism and premeditated murder attacks. Sentencing can be extended as long as Brevik is considered a danger to society, Fox News reports.

Other short-comings were included in the letter to prison officials such as: "not enough butter for his bread; having to rush is morning shave; handcuffs that are 'too sharp,' and having to live in a cell that is decorated badly," USA Today reports.

Norwegian paper Verdens Gang discovered and exposed Breivik's correspondence to high-ranking right-wing extremists, resulting in restrictions in his activities. Authorities deprive him of letters in association with the establishment of the new extremist network, the Conservative Revolutionary Movement, Mail Online reports.

Obituary: Lloyd P. Johnson analysis

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DEE DePass of the Star Tribune wrote an obituary for Lloyd P. Johnson, who transformed Norwest Bank into a healthy and successful bank that bought Wells Fargo. See obituary here.

DePass used sources such as Johnson's COO and eventual successor Dick Kovacevich, retired Wells Fargo Minnesota President Jim Campbell, Wells Fargo's Current CEO John Stumpf. They had good insight on the story and contributed strong quotes that emphasized Johnson's legacy.

The obituary lead appears to be standard because it gets the reader curious about the legacy Johnson made on Norwest Bank. It doesn't go into detail but rather leaves the audience curious on how Johnson was able to aid the bank.

Johnson's obituary holds news value because without Johnson, Norwest was not likely to have survived. His three simple words, "Control. Profitability. Growth." was his turnaround plan. "It was so basic and so fundamental and exactly was we needed to focus on," Campbell said. Johnson transformed "Norwest from a bank with roughly $20 billion in assets in 1986 to one with $1.4 trillion in assets today." If that wasn't news worthy enough, Johnson designed a 57-floor skyscraper, and his advisory committee selected architect Cesar Pelli to build it in Johnson's legacy.

The obituary is different from a resume because it is not a regurgitation of Johnson's life but rather a detailed explanation of his legacy and impact on the Norwest Bank.

Arson is to blame for animal hospital fire

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Five dogs and a cat were rescued from a fire early Sunday morning after fire official were called to the North Branch Veterinary Hospital, news sources report.

North Branch police ask for the public's help after the state fire marshal confirmed the cause of the fire as arson. Fire official from North Branch, Rush City, Harris and Stacy fought to put out the fire, Kare 11 News reports.

Damage was extensive in the corner of the building close to the area where the overnight dogs were kept. All animals were removed unharmed. A trash can was found on fire across the street from the animal hospital, Sgt. Rick Sapp said. It is also suspected to be caused by arson, the Pioneer Press reports.

An award of up to $2,500 is offered by authorities in exchange for any information leading to an arrest of the arsonist. Anyone with information is urged to call North Branch police at (651) 674-8848 or the arson hotline at (800) 723-2020, Kare 11 reports.

Fire starts inside a Burnsville liquor store

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Red Lion Liquors in Burnsville caught fire last Sunday after vodka bottles started caught fire on the shelves, news sources report.

Vodka with its nickname firewater held true when vodka bottles on a shelf magnified sunlight and started the fire. Surveillance cameras caught the fire in action, slowly smoke emerged from the vodka display, which caused the paper sign to melt away, Fox 9 News reports.

Heat increased in intensity and caused the tops to pop off of the vodka bottles, spraying steaming liquor causing the fire to send 12-foot flames into the air. The ceiling fan fueled the flames. "It was just a freak thing," manager Dave Hautman said, Fox 9 News reports.

The interior of Red Lion Liquors was tarnished by smoke, but escaped with little permanent damage. It is closed for cleanup which is scheduled to be finished by Monday, Nov. 5, at the latest, the Burnsville Patch reports.

Occupying the current building for the past nine years, the Red Lion has been in Burnsville since 1978, prepared for burglaries but not the fire that had emerged. "It's the unexpected things that can kind of sucker punch you," Hautman said, Fox 9 News reports.

Wolves taken opener weekend

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50 wolves were killed opening weekend by Sunday, news sources report.

Wolf season opened Saturday and a total of 3,600 licenses were issued for the season. 32 wolf kills were reported Saturday and by Sunday evening another 13 were killed, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said, The Republic Indiana reports.

In the North West region 20 wolves were harvested, 22 in the North East region, eight were harvested in the East Central region, who's target is nine wolves. State officials say wolf hunting will end in the East Central region Monday. Hunters are required to check the wolf count status each morning before hunting by calling 1-888-706-6367 or by visiting so the DNR can actively monitor wolf numbers in each region, Kare 11 reports.

A quota of 200 wolves per season was set for a total of 400 wolves. Early season is from Nov. 3 to Nov. 18 and trapping season is from Nov. 24 to Jan. 31, The Pioneer Press reports.

Former Chicopee teacher pleads guilty on rape charges

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A former High School teacher in Springfield, Mass. was charged with raping a 15-year-old student, news sources report.

Donald Cushing, 60, of Chicopee, pleaded guilty in Hampden Superior Court on Monday to five counts of rape and abuse of a child and five counts of dissemination obscene matter to a minor, The Republican Massachusetts reports.

The 15-year-old girl told police that she and Cushing exchanged cell phone numbers, and they began calling and texting each other every day. In April into May "things got very serious," the girl said. They had sexual intercourse on the floor of the classroom closet "three or four times," she said. In March and May, Cushing had texted images of his genitalia to the girl, she later told police. Family members found sexual text messages in the girl's phone Tuesday, Private Officer News reports.

Cushing has been sentenced to eight to ten years in state prison and will be on probation for ten years under nine special conditions including: No contact with the victim and her family; no unsupervised contact with children under 16 with the exception of family members; and successful completion of sex offender treatment, The Republican reports.

The action taken by the school and police personnel "reflects our zero tolerance policy for this type of incident," Chicopee Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette said, Private Officer News reports.

Cyclone Nilam claims lives

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Tropical Storm Nilam claimed eight lives and displaced 150,000 people in India and Sri Lanka before weakening Thursday, news sources report.

282 schools were turned into relief centers by state authorities in Chennai, cargo operations at the city's port were placed at a halt, district official B. Sridhar said that about 150,000 people were directed to Nellore shelters, flooding displaced 4,627 people in Sri Lanka, and the island's central region landslide threat caused 56 people to flee, NBC News reports.

Heavy rains cause electric wires to snap resulting in multiple electrocutions and houses collapse resulting in deaths in East Godavari, Prakasam, Nellore, and Kakinada. An elderly woman died due to sudden temperature drops in Nellore. Cattle loss and crop damages were also reported, The Times of India reports.

An oil tanker named the Pratibha Cauvery became stranded after it ran aground near Elliots Beach in Chennai during Cyclone Nilam. The crew abandoned ship, but the strong winds caused the lifeboat carrying the 22 crew members to capsize. Fishermen rescued 16 of the crew members, one member died, and the rest are missing. The coast guard began searching for the remaining crew with five helicopters and three boats, The New York Times reports.

Of the 198 damaged electric poles, 100 have been repaired and power has been restored to numerous people. "A large number of fisherfolk live along E.C.R., and 3,888 people were all evacuated last night," the Kancheepuram district collector, L. Sitherasenan said. "Most of them have now returned to their homes," The New York Times reports.

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