May 6, 2007

Girl slashed at Mall of America

Two fourteen year old girls were involved in an altercation at the MOA on Saturday in which one girl slashed the other repeatedly with a razor-like object, the Pioneer Press is reporting.

The girl was taken into custody after the incident just outside the mall. The other girl was taken to the hospital with critical wounds, that were not life-threatening. Police say the girls knew each other prior, and the case was an isolate incident which was not threatening to the general public.

Dayton wants to run for Governor

Former U.S. senator Mark Dayton plans to run for Minnesota Governor in 2010, the Star Tribune is reporting.

He made the announcement at a DFL dinner in Rochester on Friday, and said he plans could change in the next three years. Though he has not formed a committee or officially started raising funds, Dayton has run for Governor in the past. In 1998 Dayton finished fourth in the DFL primary.

Despite some poor reactions to Dayton's performance as senator, he says he feels that he has grown and improved since initiating his elected official run.

April 29, 2007

Less jail time even in fatal drunk driving cases

While the punishments for DWI in Minnesota have been tightened and intensified on paper, they may not be carried out in the same fashion, the Star Tribune is reporting.

The Blood alcohol level was lowered recently, and changes were made so that the fourth DWI conviction in a 10 year span would count as a felony in Minnesota, but these changes are not giving the satisfaction to victim's families.

While state law recommends 4 years in prison for vehicular homicide, people quoted in the story who had lost loved ones were upset with the perpetrator recieving far less than that, in some cases only a year in jail. Those sentences are sometimes reduced when the defendant shows remorse, and also so that jail time can be balanced with time for mandated rehabilitation.

Man shot and killed in St. Paul

A man was shot and killed Sunday in St. Paul, the Star Tribune is reporting.

Police were called to the scene of a fatal shooting Sunday night, and the victim died shortly after police arrived on the scene.

A 23 year old man was arrested at the scene in connection to the shooting. Police are not releasing his name, nor the victim's name at this time. However, police do say that the men likely knew each other, and it was not a random shooting.

The crime took place in the 1100 block of Randolph Avenue of St. Paul, police said.

April 22, 2007

Man flees country in light of car crash

A man charged with killing 2 women while driving drunk has fled the country to his native China, the Star Triubne reports.

Fei Ni was driving his SUV on the wrong side of the freeway when he struck and killed two women.

He was charged and placed in jail with a bail option. Initially, the bail was $100,000 and the District Attorney raised that amount to $200,000 when Ni was deemed a flight risk. However, the intial condition that Ni surrender his passport was rescinded after the bail was raised, and Ni was able to retain his passport, which showed he was a Chinese national.

Technically, Ni did not break the law until he failed to show up for his court date. However, there is now a warrant out for his arrest, and his is considered a fugitive. The US does not, however, have an extradition treaty with China. This means that there is no compelling legal reason for China to send Ni back to the U.S.

It is likely that the only way to ever charge for this crime is if he leaves China.

Student dies after crash with drunk driver

A University of Minnesota student died Friday after being hospitalized since Easter Sunday, when her car was hit by a drunken driver, the Star Tribune is reporting.

Melissa Speich, 23, was driving by the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis on Easter Sunday evening, when Geoffrey Baker, 33, ran a red light and hit Speich's car. Baker was intoxicated at the time of the crash, and police expect him to face homicide charges.

Baker had a blood-alcohol that was twice the legal limit, and has had 3 prior DUIs.

Speich was in ICU care for almost two weeks where friends and family rallied around her. Students at the U of M even created web-based groups on sites like facebook to wish her well.

No information about the services has been disclosed.

April 8, 2007

Passengers fled scene of car crash

Questions surround the March 31st death of a 22 year old St. Paul man, the Pioneer Press is reporting. The man ran a red light in St. Paul, and hit a pickup truck in the fatal accident. The two passengers in the car with him at the time fled the scene immediately, and have not yet been located.

Family members of the deceased are asking for his friends who fled the car to come forward and help provide answers to the questions surrounding his death. Alcohol was found in the vehicle, but not conclusive evidence has been found to show that the deceased (who was driving) was intoxicated.

Funeral arrangements and the investigation are still pending.

Minneapolis may regulate house sizes

Minneapolis city council may put more regulations on the size of houses being newly built, the Star Tribune is reporting.

The city looks to rein in the growing size of new houses in already established neighborhoods where the average house size (and next door neighbor) is much smaller. New ordinances are proposed to limit the height of houses, their proximity to property lines, and also the percentage of the lot which they take up.

Some are skeptical of the proposals because they are blankets proposals for the entire city of Minneapolis, and some dissenters feel that a blanket proposal wouldn't be conducive for a city the size of Minneapolis.

Other remodelers worry about the proposals regarding square footage limits, and the affect it might have on having an attached garage for the Minnesota winter.

March 25, 2007

Ethanol producers may have to shift gears

The Star Tribune is reporting that the percieved lottery waiting in Corn/ethanol production for farmers may be reaching a leveling point.

In recent years, the ethanol market has taken off due to rising oil costs, that have lead people to look to alternative fuels. However, prices for oil are dropping and are expected to keep dropping, and ethanol will not have the smae money generating capacity.

If oil prices were to drop below corn prices, then most of the current 16 Minnesota ethanol plants would likely rely on government subsidies for profit. Currently, the growth in the sector has been large because of the high and quick profits to be had. However, a combination of rising oil costs and more and more farmers getting into the market could bring down the price of corn/ethanol and reduce profits.

Numbers are used in this story fairly effectively. Stats are given from the U.S. Department of Energy which predict the price of oil in coming years, and also the price for corn. However, the prices for corn are given in quotes which help to contextualize what is considered a good or bad price for the product. Hearing general numbers gives the article a sense of legitamacy.

Debates rise over smoking in Indian casinos

Debate has risen on the topic of smoking in Indian gaming institutions, the Star Tribune is reporting. A Minnesota state bill thatbans smoking on a state-wide level looks as though it will pass and be signed into law. However, the issue of whether or not it will be applied in tribally-owned casinos is still undecided.

Historically, Tribes have not been required to follow many regulatory laws for Minnesota. This issue raises concerns over the welfare of workers in Tribal casinos. Supporters of the bill have championed it as a means to protect workers in establishments from secondhand smoke. There is debate about the protection of employees within Tribally owned casinos.

The issue of soverignty has long been an important one for Native Americans. Minnesota is one of a few states that has criminal jurisdiction over Indian land, but the smoking ban would not fall into that category.

March 13, 2007

Mail carrier killed in Apple Valley accident

A 60-year-old mail carrier died Tuesday when his mail truck went off the road and struck multiple trees in Apple Valley.

The man died at the scene despite efforts of bystanders and paramedics who performed CPR. The mail truck went off the road around 2:30pm on Tuesday and the name of the victim has not yet been released pending family notification.

An autopsy is underway in hopes of shedding light onto the reason why the driver went off the road. Speculation points to a possible seizure or heart attack while operating the vehicle.

Co-workers gathered at his job site in rememberance Tuesday afternoon.

The Star Tribune is reporting, and the Pioneer Press.

Weisman to expand

The University of Minnesota's on-campus art musuem, the Weisman, is set for a $10 million expansion designed by the original architect, Frank Gehry, the Star Tribune is reporting.

The musuem, which opened in 1993, seeks to add on additional studio and collaboration space, a cafe, and new galleries. Partially funded by Target Corp., the addition will be designed by Gehry, arguably one of the most famous architects living.

The Weisman was a jumping-off point for Gehry, as it was his first building outside of California, and reflected his now signature cubist, metallic style. The Weisman was designed shortly before Gehry designed the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain. Gehry is famous for that musuem, and the Guggenheim and Gehry were catapulted to new heights with its construction.

The addition to the Weisman is expected to reflect Gehry's current design style, and may not be a seamless integration with the rest of the musuem. The Weisman will not close during construction, and the addition is expeected to open in 2009.

The Pioneer Press is also reporting on the topic.

February 25, 2007

Pepper Spray altercation at Rosemount High

A 15 year old Rosemount High School student is being charged with a felony after he sprayed pepper spray in the school cafeteria, the Star Tribune is reporting.

The incident, which occured on Wednesday, started as a fight in the school cafeteria between 2 students, and escalated. The Assistant Principal tried to intervene, and one of the students sprayed pepper spray. The principal, along with multiple other students, were hit with the spray.

50 students reported irritated throats or watery eyes from the spray. School and extracurriculars were cancelled after the incident, and the school was ventilated by firefighters on the scene.

The teen cannot be named because he is a juvenile, but police officials did say that he was being held in a Juvenile detention center in Hastings.

The article can be found here.

Area man dies after found frozen to pavement

A Chaska man died Sunday, on what was his 19 birthday. The man was found early Saturday morning by a snowplow driver on the side of a road in Chaska, Minn.

He had no hat, gloves or coat and police say that he had been outside for at least a couple of hours when he was found. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died on Sunday.

The man reamined unidentified for part of the weekend, as police had no way to identify him. Eventually, his parents called police after hearing a description that matched their son, whom they had not seen in 2 days.

Police initally had leads that placed the man at area bars on Friday night, but they have since ruled those possibilites out. Police do not suspect foul play.

The support in this article comes from police official quotes, that immediately follow the lead. The second paragraph is a quote from a police official, and this gives legitamacy early on in the story and provides support for the lead.

The article can be found here.

February 11, 2007

St. Paul man dies in fire

A 29 year-old St. Paul man died in a grease fire on Saturday night, the Star Tribune is reporting. Authorities believe that the man, Ronrico Madison, was cooking with a pot on the stove, when the oil in the pot caught fire. They believe Madison tried to put out the fire with water. In cases of grease fires, Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said, water only makes the fire spread farther, and get larger.

The fire was discovered when the Madison's mother came home to the house on Goodrich avenue, and she saw the fire and called 911. Firefighters got Madison out of the house and took him to St. Paul's Regions hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Extensive damage was done to the first floor of the house, but no other residents were harmed.

The article can be found here:

A Pioneer Press article for comparison can be found here:

February 4, 2007

Apple Valley man dies one week after being shot in the head

Famis Franklin, an Apple Valley resident, died Jan. 28th after being shot in the head a week earlier. Franklin was a father of two originally from Chicago.

His mother, Selena Franklin, said that after an argument with his fiancee, he need time to himself. He was alone in his sister's house on Jan. 19, when police say the front door was broken down in an apparent robbery.

Franklin was shot in the head, and despite a grave outlook, his mother believes he was responsive for some of the time that he was in the hospital. Selena Franklin takes solace in the knowledge that four of his organs were donated to other patients in need.

Famis was an active member of the music scene in Minneapolis, performing at various clubs in the Twin Cities, and also running his own record label. Police on the case have no suspect or motive known. Police urge anyone with information about the shooting or the robbery to contact them.

Services for Franklin have been held.

The article can be found here:

January 28, 2007

Man who fell from hotel window still in critical condition

The Star Tribune is reporting that Joshua Hanson, the man who fell 16 stories last weekend at the Hyatt Regency, is still in critical condition. He had surgery last weekend to implant a metal rod in his right leg. Family members have also told the newspaper that he is still breathing with the aid of a tube.

Hanson is somewhat alert, his eyes are open and he can communicate with squeezing hand signals. Doctors at the Hennepin County Medical Center say that he is lucky to be alive, and that his recovery will be a slow one that they can't outline time-wise.

Hanson crashed through a 17th story window while joking around with his friends after a night of drinking. The downtown hotel was up to code with their windows when it was first built and therefore the hotel was "grandfathered in" when the code was upgraded.

A challenge that the reporter faced with this story was articulating the nature and logistics of the man's fall and subsequent landing. Those types of physical/structural things seem difficult to explain through words alone.

The lead of this story includes the surface answer to almost every question a lead should answer. It's a little more lengthy, but includes a lot of key information. The Star Tribune leads I've looked at seem to be much more hard news oriented, while the NY Times leads were a bit more featurized and focused on the people involved in those articles.

The article can be found here:

Drug Raid at Edina Mall

The Star Tribune is detailing that the clothing store Image, in Southdale mall, was shut down on Thursday after a drug raid by local police. Cocaine, Marijuana, and a large amount of cash were found after with the raid. The shop is owned by two brothers, one of whom is a prior drug offender.

Police did not give a comment detailing the exact nature of the situation within the store, and whether or not there was drug dealing going on there. Mall officials assured potential or returning customers that it is a safe place, and the Edina police are a presence in the mall.

The reporter may have been challenged by needing to get quotes of people who had noticed something about the store and the customers who shopped there in order to flesh out the story. In a case like this the police are not inclined to share a lot of information while the case is still s new and pending, so the quotes of people close to the situation shed more light on everything. Also, the reporter has to be careful in this story not to jump to conclusions. For instance, despite the fact that a bag of cash was found in the store, it can't be assumed within the story that there is, in fact, drug dealing going on there.

The lead in this article is a short & sweet hard news lead. It gives the event, the people, and the place in one succint sentence. It's a really good example of the leads that we have been practicing in the second week of class.

The article can be found here: