April 26, 2009

Computer assisted reporting analysis

The story "Interior Ignored Science When Limiting Water to the Grand Canyon" in the Washington Post, said that they used documents to determine that Interior Department officials ignored data that showed there would be environmental degradation if water flow was limited in the Grand Canyon.
The story then explains the documents and links with sites that were used for evidence to legitimize this statement.
For example, there is memo published online from the Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent that officials knowingly produced an incorrect environmental assessment that would slow water from Glen Canyon Dam at night to generate electric power.
The document also describes how this decision will directly affect the endangered humback chub and errode the canyon's beaches.
There was also a news release from the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, that outline high flow experiments in the river proving ecosystem deterioration if the rivers flow patterns changed.
This release also gives statements from political officials that say that though they are aware of the potenetial dangers, they must be considered in relation to the country's need for energy.
"Republican House members admonishing that future river management decisions must “balance any environmental benefits with the costs to power consumers in the West, particularly during a time of record-high energy prices.”
The reporter needed to use many computer skills in this article. Mostly research skills, and knowing where to find the appropriate information was essential in writing the story.

April 25, 2009

Student riots in Dinkytown

Minneapolis police used pepper spray and smoke gernades to break up a block party in Dinkytown on Saturday night, according to a report by the Star Tribune.
According to the reports, there was a crowd of over 500 students on 7th street in between avenues 13th and 14th Avenues SE and about 60 police officials.
Six students were arrested.
According to the Minnesota Daily, after police started to use projectiles to disperse the crowds, some students responded by throwing broken bottles at the officers.
Jeff Ormsbee , a chemical engineering junior, said the police arrival was expected.
"People were jumping on cars, riding in shopping carts and chanting around the fires," said Ormsbee
MPD Sgt. Jesse Garcia said that students used Spring Jam as an excuse for uncontrolled partying.
"This is a lot of drunk college students that are taking advantage of a good situation,” Garcia said.
“I think they might have gotten the message tonight.”

Bee keeping allowed in Minneapolis

Beekeeping will be legalized in Minneapolis for the first time in 34 years, according to a report in the Star Tribune.
The City Council passed Council Member Diane Hofstede proposal to keep bees on city limits if permission is acquiried from neighbors.
Owners of the bees will be required to get a signature from all neighbors whose property touches their own as well as 80 percent of those that live within 100 feet of the area the bees will he held.
An area where hives will be kept will be surrounded by netting so bees will have to rise before flying, preventing fly through zones on close property.
Owners will also be required to obtain a permit that will cost $100 initially and $50 annually.
According to the Minneapolis City Pages, the allowing bee keeping in the cities may help bee populations have been facing collapse from human-based stresses.

April 23, 2009

U.S. officials to train Mexican police in war on drug cartel

The United States and Mexico are working on plans that may send as many as 300 U.S. police officials to Mexico to train Mexican police investigators during their current war on drug use, according to a report in USA Today.
The Mexican government would select as many as 9000 officials to be trained for the violence and corruption that takes place within the country that is suspected to be from warring drug organizations.
Officials say that other training essential to battling cartels and criminal groups is education on narcotics, weapons trafficking, money laundering, and fingerprint examination.
Police officials in the south western states believe that the Mexico drug problem is also fueling drug and violence issues in states sharing the boarder.
Costs of training between the U.S. and Mexico and when the training will commence is still undetermined.
In a report on Reuter news website officials said that the U.S. has already given $1.4 billion in anti-drug aid to give Mexico equipment such as helicopters, as well as funds to clean up corrupt police forces and courts.

Obama's Earth Day speech delivered in Iowa

President Obama will address the green economy at a wind power plant in Iowa on Earth Day, according a report in the New York Times.
Obama will discuss his administration's energy agenda, which includes decreasing dependence on oil and the creation of green jobs, at a Maytag plant in Newton, Iowa
Van Jones, White House Council on Environmental Quality adviser, said that Obama's speech in Iowa shows how the administration is doing more to reach out to areas that are not considered mainstream environmental areas.
"I think normally you would not expect the president of the United States to spend Earth Day standing in a closed plant in Iowa," Jones said. "You will see a manufacturing hub that was part of the last century's economy coming back as a manufacturing hub of the next century's economy."
According to the Washington Post, Obama urged congress to pass legislation that would allow $150 billion to be invested towards research and implementation of renewable energy also.
Obama also pressured congress to speed up the process of installing a cap-and-trade system with companies emissions.

Non-profits discuss cutting poverty by 50 percent in St. Paul

There will be a conference held in St. Paul on Monday to discuss the goal of decreasing poverty by 50 percent by the year 2020, according to a report in the Star Tribune.
Catholic Charities USA, one of the nation's leading charities, will hold their conference titled, "Centennial Leadership Summit: Working to Reduce Poverty in America" at the College of St. Catherine.
Those expected to attend are civic leaders, philanthropists and St. Paul elected officials including St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, said that Catholic Charities will address causes and ramifications of poverty while encouraging a sustained national commitment to the issue.
"In a country as prosperous as ours, it is simply unacceptable that 37.3 million people, including 13.3 million children, continue to live in poverty," said Snyder.
According to a press release from Catholic Charities, they are holding meetings across the nation "to give a greater priority to the needs of the poor by advocating for changes in public policies, expanding and creating innovative poverty reduction programs, and empowering individuals to embark on their journey out of poverty."
Catholic Charities USA is comprised of 1,700 local Catholic Charities institutions and agencies and helps up to 8 million people a year regardless of their religion or economic status.

April 20, 2009

$150,000 awarded in Goldman Environmental Prizes

This years "Goldman Environmental Prizes" will take place in San Fransisco on Monday where six environmental activists from around the globe will be awarded $150,000 according to USA Today
One winner is selected from each continent in Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.
The winner selected from North America this year is Maria Gunnoe, of Bob White, W.Va, who is working on removing the process of ending mountain top removal mining.
Gunnoe said she is been fighting since 2003 in which a creek flooded, as a result of the mining, and caused damages to her house.
"I've had a 60 foot wide, 20 foot tall wall of water come at me. They lost their intimidation tactics right out the gate," she says.
According to a report in the Contra Costa Times, this year's event will be the 20th anniversary, and 3,300 people from around the nation and the world will attend the invitation-only event.

Countries question attending U.N. racisim conference

The U.N. will be meeting for the first time in eight years on Monday to address global racism, without U.S. ahttp://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009-04-19-un-racism_N.htmttendance as while as at least 5 other countries that are boycotting the meeting, according to a report in USA Today.
USA Today reports that the conference is "already experiencing much of the bickering and political infighting" that occurred in 2001 at the last conference in Durban, South Africa that attempted to address similar issues.
Barack Obama announced Saturday that he would boycott the ceremony "with regret" because draft declaration was objectionable that may cause a repeat of Durban - "a session through which folks expressed antagonism toward Israel in ways that were often times completely hypocritical and counterproductive."
Britain will be present though is hesitant to send representatives because of the Holocaust denial or anti-Semitic attacks that occurred in 2001.
According the the New York Times, Australia, Canada, Israel and Italy already have said they would not attend while the Netherlands declared its boycott on Sunday.

Green money is placed over green movement during recession

The recession is changing the direction of the current green movement, according to a report in the Pioneer Press.
In many situations buying eco-friendly products are more expensive and people are more concerned about the green in their pocketbooks instead of in the environment.
The Pioneer Press said that people who are worried they may not have a job in six months are unlikely to install solar pannels or will shy away from the more pricey organic grocery stores.
To save money, we pared down on organic foods, and we stopped subscribing to a CSA (community-supported agriculture)," said 32-year-old Sundee Kuechle.
Also the press reports the numbers of hybrid car sales of declined.
"It's not that people don't want to do it anymore, but priorities are changing. The bottom line is, if you're worried about cutting costs, and you perceive — rightly or wrongly — that green is more expensive, you might put it on hold," Michael Solomon said, a professor at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.
New York Times released results from a poll that ranked the top concerns of Americans after Barack Obama became president. At the top of the list were jobs and the economy, related to the current recession.
Climate change was number 20, at the very bottom of the list.

Local airport aims to decrease collision of wings

Though bird populations are rising, so are the number of flying airplanes causing an increase in the number of collisions. The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is taking action to protect the natural habitats of the air, according to a report in the Star Tribune.
On Thursday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport officials practiced using noise devises 100 yards away to scare away birds and shooting nets into the air to capture those that have been flying and living on the airport's land.
According to the Federal Avian Administration, 122 bird strikes occur in Minnesota out of the, 7,439 incidents that occur nationally.
However, these numbers are likely to be low as the FAA estimates only 20 percent of bird airplane collisions are reported.
In a report in the Pioneer Press in March, the FAA says it needs to expand secrecy in records of the number of bird collisions in specific areas because if the public learned the information then airports would avoid reporting collisions.
The Minneapolis airport's records report that 219 people have been also been killed as a result of bird strikes since 1988.
Though John Ostrom, the manager of air operations at the airport said these precautionary procedures will help, they it will not stop collisions altogether.
"No matter what we do, no matter how much we spend, we will not be able to prevent aircraft from hitting birds," said Ostrom.

Man falls off bridge when only pretending to fall

A 23-year-old man fell off of a bridge Sunday after only pretending that he was going to fall on Sunday, according to an AP story in the Star Tribune.
A 21-year-old man called the police at 5 a.m. Sunday reporting that his friend had fallen off of Hwy 77 into a "marshy area" 30 ft below.
The man said that he was driving north with his friend, who he said had been drinking, told him to pull over into the emergency lane so he could urinate.
The report said that the 23-year-old climbed over the bridge ledge and after looking at his friend pretended to fall.
He then in fact fell," reads a press release from the Bloomington Police Department.
Bloomington and Eagan police responded to the call and a chair lift was used to rescue the man.
The man is now in the Hennipen County Medical Center being treated for serious conditions.

April 13, 2009

Ethnicity/Cultural Analysis

The story "A Black Man Breaks Ground in Mecca" in the New York Times is about a black man becoming the first to lead prayers in Mecca, a duty usually reserved for pure blood Arabs.
This story is culturally diverse because it shows the situation of an individual, other than middle-eastern, becoming culturally and religiously accepted within a society that is thought of as segregated.
Americans especially believe that all of mid-eastern are Muslim with tan skin.
This story destroys that idea with details and quotes from the articles subject.
“The king is trying to tell everybody that he wants to rule this land as one nation, with no racism and no segregation,” said Sheik Adil.
The story also added interesting details and historic references such as some of Mohammed's closest prophets were black.
The story also discusses skills that demonstrates himself as a leader which made him a competitor for the position.
The writer showed the Adil's personality to make the story more than an article about racial differences.

April 11, 2009

U.N. becomes impatient with U.S. climate change plans

The U.S. has promised to increase their efforts in decreasing their greenhouse gas emmissions at United Nations climate talks on Wednesday, according to a report by the New York Times.
However, many delgates and U.N. officials are concerned that the U.S. plans are not as immediate as those needed.
Jonathan Pershing, the deputy special envoy for climate change, said at a news conference that Obama's plan requires all countries, including developing countries, to curb their emissions by the year 2050.
The Kayoto Protocol established in 1997 requires emission reductions by the year 2012 for developed nations.
He also said that most other programs, such as the European Union program, sets rates for decrease of emissions for 2020.
Pershing said that the U.S. plan will have a more detailed outline by June in which negotiations will resume in Bonn, Germany.
However, Pershing said that details like how much the United States would reduce emissions, when the reductions would take place and how much money would be spent on curbing emissions would unlikely be decided by June.
“U.S. policy is something we’re developing at home, according to what we see as the science and political capacity.” Pershing said

Cities greening of alleys

Cities are starting to redesign their back alleys from being dark and dangerous to welcoming and eco-friendly, according to a report by USA Today.
Cities are restructuring the use of these forgotten roadways to be used for gardens, cafes and buffer zones that absorb rain water runoff by resurfacing them with porous pavement.
"The biggest issue with alleys is not what folks are doing to retrofit them but the fact that folks are rediscovering them," says Craig Lewis, principal of the Lawrence Group Town Planners and Architects in Davidson, N.C.
For example, one of Chicago's goals in their Green Alley Program is for alleys to absorb polluted water into the ground instead of it running into Lake Michigan.
Over 80 of the cities 1,300 alleys have been rebuilt to include rock beds underneath the surface that will filter and recharge underground water basins.
According the the New York Times, the cities pavements, which are made from recyclable materials, are also designed to reflect heat keeping the city cooler on warm days and absorb heat when temperatures drop.

University finds contanimated water in 3 buildings

The University of Minnesota found contaminated water in three research and medical buildings on Wednesday, according to a report by the Star Tribune.
The university started an investigation after discolored and foul smelling water were reported in Moos Tower.
The three buildings where water appears to be contaminated are Diehl Hall , Moos Tower and the Philips-Wangensteen Building.
Over 600 dentist appointments were canceled from the complaints, said university spokesman Daniel Wolter.
Wolter said that the cause is more than likely from seasonal maintenance on the water's cooling system
According to the Minnesota Daily, Steve Llewellyn, Bio-Medical Library manager in Diehl said that other than turning off the drinking fountains, staff and classes are unaffected by the water problems.
Officials have been working on flushing water out of the buildings system since Wednesday and dentist appointments are likely to resume by Monday.