Main | March 2009 »

February 26, 2009

Problems at carlson

Snow stops school

February 22, 2009

Mice away!

Mice have been seen falling the from ceiling tiles of one Florida county courthouse.

Some staffers say they check their handbags for stowaways before leaving the building, reported.

The courthouse employees and lawyers say the mice run down corridors, munch on legal papers and scratch behind the walls.

One mouse even ran around a courtroom floor for an hour during a burglary trial.

The courthouse facilities manager said he's put out several dozen traps and says the rodents are getting more press than they deserve.

Story Structure

1,400 cars towed over the weekend
I think the reporter did an ok job on this story. It was very short and needed to be concise. The reporter had a concise lead. The next paragraph talked about the not having numbers for St. Paul and also reporting that t he snow emergency was continuing until 8 p.m. today. The following paragraphs detailed the parking regulations for snow emergencies and instructed readers how they should park.

I think the story could have been done in a more exciting way. It seemed very bland and could have befitted from a good personal story or quote. The order made sense and told the important information the reader needed to know.

China coal mine explodes

At least 74 miners are dead after a gas explosion occurred in a Chinese coal mine on Sunday, said.

The explosion injured at least 113 workers and trapped dozens of others, the Minnesota Daily said.

All the miners who had been trapped were found by late Sunday, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It was not clear if all the bodies had been recovered.

Four-hundred-thirty-six workers were in the Tunlan Coal Mine in Gujiao city when the blast occurred, Xinhua said.

China's mines are the world's most dangerous with more than 3,000 deaths a year in fires, floods and explosions.

The cause of the explosion is being investigated.

Federal judge to face sex crime charges

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent will made history in judicial court for being the first federal judge to face trial on a sex crime charge.

He is accused of fondling two female court employees as he tried to force himself on the women and have them perform sex acts, the Minnesota Daily reports.

Kent pleaded innocent to two counts of abusive sexual contact and one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse, said.

Kent faces up to life in prison and a fine up to $250,000 if convicted.

Kent has pleaded innocent to five charges related to federal sex crimes and to one alleging obstruction of justice, in which he is accused of lying to an investigative committee, the Daily said.

Dick DeGuerin, Kent's lawyer, said “Judge Kent believes his conduct with both of the (women) was mutual and consensual.”

DeGuerin said Kent and his secretary were involved in a longtime affair and that she is one of his “staunchest supporters.” DeGuerin said that Kent didn't mention the affair to the judicial council out of the concern a “gentleman” would have for keeping a secret.

Prosecutors have discounted that, saying: “Neither erectile dysfunction ... nor any other physical or mental conditions cited by the defendant prevented him from committing the charged offenses.”

Retired St. Paul officer injured from accidental gun discharge

A retired St. Paul police officer was wounded after an off-duty Minneapolis police officer's gun accidentally discharged.

The two officers were providing security at the Minneapolis Gun Show Saturday afternoon when the accident occurred, Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia said.

The Minneapolis officer was sitting in a chair when the gun's holster caught on the chair, Garcia said. The gun discharged, and one round hit the floor. The bullet fragmented and hit the retired officer in the left leg and in one hand, the Star Tribune reported.

He suffered minor injuries, and was treated and released Saturday, Garcia said.

Authorities are checking the gun and holster for possible mechanical problems. The Minneapolis officer involved will not be disciplined and the accident is not severe enough to be considered a critical incident, Garcia said.

A new coat of cherry-red

A spoon of iconic proportion will be missing its cherry starting Monday.

The one-ton cherry atop the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden's signature Spoonbridge will be removed for repainting and overhauling, the Star Tribune reported.

A crane and flatbed truck will maneuver through the sculpture garden and take the cherry offsite where it will be refurbished.

The cherry will get a fresh coat of marine-grade paint to match the original red used when the sculpture was created in the 1980s.

This will be the third time the Spoonbridge and Cherry has been repainted since its instillation in 1988. The last repainting was in 2006.

The cherry should be back in mid-April.

February 15, 2009

Spot news analysis

More charges against alleged U groper Feb. 11 10:28 a.m.
Suspected U groper faces more charges Feb.11 7:02 p.m.

First lead
A Minneapolis man accused of groping two University of Minnesota female students faces new charges today in seven other incidents, bringing to nine the total for which he has been charged.

Follow lead
The man accused of groping female University of Minnesota students was charged Wednesday with an additional seven incidents, bringing the number of alleged victims to nine.

The leads don't differ very much. I think the follow lead was maybe meant to appear in Thursday's paper so that's why the date was added. (I found these articles on

How are they summarized- The follow's main news is that Acosta appeared in court, didn't enter a plea and when he will next appear in court. The first-day story (morning news) puts the most recent news (new charges) in the lead while the rest of the story is a summary of the events of his arrest and attacks. It seems that the reporter knew that Acosta was facing new charges but did not know the details. The follow seems to be a more complete story about the recent goings-on and also tells a more complete past, present, future kind of story.

The follow adds detail about the court appearance and the charges and jail time he faces. It also talks about Acosta's motives.

The follow is written by the same person for the same paper, so the style is consistent and it flows smoothly from the first to the second story. I think if it was written in a competing paper, there would be more information and it would probably be punchier to attract readers.

Peanut Company files for bankruptcy

Peanut Corporation of America, the company at the center of the salmonella outbreak, filed for bankruptcy in court on Friday.

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy papers were filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of Virginia. The president of Peanut Corp., Stewart Parnell, signed the papers. reported that the company said its debt and assets both ranged between $1 million and $10 million in the filing.

Jean Holloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union and publisher of Consumer Reports, said that the bankruptcy will protect the company from liability suits filed by consumers who became sick or whose loved ones died as a result if eating PCA's products, reported.

The recent national salmonella outbreak was traced back to one of PCA's plants in Blakely, Ga. Inspectors found

More products were recalled this week after inspectors found roaches, dead rodents, rodent excrement, bird feathers, mold and a leaking roof were found at a Texas plant.

Zimbabwe minister accused of terrorism

Roy Bennett, the former Zimbabwean opposition activist, has been charged with conspiracy to commit banditry, sabotage and terrorism.

Bennett was pulled from an aircraft and arrested Friday shortly before he was due to take his oath of office and become deputy minister of agriculture, said.

Bennett's lawyer, Trust Maanda, said police claimed his client had been involved in funding for arms and explosives to commit the crimes he is charged with. Police claimed that the weapons would be used to sabotage essential services, TimesOnline said.

TimesOnline said Bennett denied the charges and believes that they are politically motivated.

The Movement for Democratic Change nominated Bennett to be a minister in a national unity government with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

There has been conflict between Bennett and Mugabe's government in the past. Benntett's farms were seized during the country's controversial land reform program and served jail-time for assaulting Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in parliament.

February 14, 2009

Alleged groper faceing more charges

The groper who attacked several women on the University of Minnesota campus was charged with seven more counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct Wednesday.

Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said more charges against Phillip William Acosta, 41, are pending.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Acosta was originally charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct to keep him in custody while police built up the other cases against him.

Acosta assaulted seven other women on the University campus, usually approaching them from behind on a bicycle.

Acosta admitted to all nine counts of assault and could face up to four years in prison because of the multiple incidents, Freeman said.

The Minnesota Daily said that Freeman will have a medical specialist perform psychiatric work on Acosta.

Freeman hopes to learn why Acosta committed the assaults and if there is a way to prevent him from committing these crimes in the future.

Acosta remains in the Hennepin County jail, the Star Tribune said.

Police offer reward for new information

Minneapolis Police partnered up with Crime Stoppers to offer a $1,000 reward to anyone willing to share details relating to the killing of a man in Cedar-Riverside.

Police are looking for new information about the killing of 20-year-old Joseph Sodd III, and hope the reward will encourage people to come forward, the Minnesota Daily said.

The Daily reported Lt. Rick Zimmerman of the Minneapolis Police Homicide Unit said Sodd left a bar on June 18 and walked toward the intersection of 19th Avenue South and Seventh Street South where his car was parked.

However, the Star Tribune said Sodd was driving home on his moped early in the morning when he was attacked near the intersection and stabbed in the throat.

Zimmerman said police do have some leads, but nothing strong enough to “put someone in jail?.

He also said that there were multiple robberies committed in the area at the time Sodd was killed, but police would not say if any of these were related to Sodd's death.

A Minneapolis Police news release asked “anyone with information, no matter how small or insignificant, to please come forward and talk with investigators.?

Loving Llamas

Two beloved llamas helped lay their owner, an Ohio farmer, to rest by acting as the honor guard in his funeral on Friday, the Star Tribune reported.

Four other llamas from a statewide drill team helped lead the funeral procession for Terry McCrone, 61, who died of cancer on Feb. 7.

McCrone raised llamas on his farm, Divine Providence Farm, in Plymouth Township.

The News-Herald said the llamas wore purple ribbons at the funeral to represent the family farm.

During the eulogy, Rev. Bob Ladygo, pastor of Bible Baptist Church, told of the llamas looking in the window to check on McCrone once he fell ill.

“It was as if they were telling him that now it was their turn to take care of him,? he said.

The ribbons tied around the llamas' necks were tied into an unbroken loop to represent the “unbroken chain of love? Donna Moore, leader of the drill team, said.

The loop was given to McCrone's wife, Tara, and daughter, Kati.

February 8, 2009


Serial groping suspect nabbed at the U

Sources (in order):
Police Chief Greg Hestness
Lynn Wondergem - student
Lt. Nancy Dunlap, head of the Minneapolis police department's sex crime unit
police department
Betsy Sandberg - student

The quotes are scattered throughout the article for the most part, but are used to really start and end the story on a stronger note as well.

The quotes were not all just “official?type statements, there were also personal statements that added a human element to the article.

The quotes from the two female students gave the reader a sense of how the event was affecting the community.

For the most part, the author followed the “noun/ pronoun before the said? rule we learned in class. I think when he didn't follow the rule it was to add variety to the structure or to make the sentence more clear.

I thought the article's use of attributions worked well, but I wouldn't have put quotes from two female students in the article. The were not victims or witnesses so whatever they have to say can't be too important to the story. I think one quote from a general female student would have been enough to capture the community-feel.

Are those pigeons in your pants? Or...

An Australian traveler returning from the Middle East was caught with pigeons in his pants, Australian customs officials said Tuesday.

Authorities became suspicious of the 23-year-old man after discovering two eggs, said Richard Janeczko, national investigations manager for the Customs Service.

The pair of eggs were hidden in a vitamin container and the pigeons were found in the man's pants; one held to each leg with a pair of tights, a statement released by the agency said.

The pigeons were alive and wrapped in padded envelopes. said the man could be charged with wildlife smuggling – which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of 110,000 Australian dollars ($70,430).

The case was turned over to the Quarantine Service to be assessed for health risks, Janeczko said.

Officials also seized an undeclared eggplant from the man.

Recycling of toxic ship will create much-needed jobs

A ship constructed with toxic substances is due to arrive in northeast England for recycling Sunday after being turned away from at least three other countries.

The British ship recycling company, Able Ship Recycling, had to apply for special permission from the country's Environmental Agency and Health and Safety Executive to process the ship.

Scrapping the aircraft carrier will create about 200 jobs at the company's Teesside Environmental Reclamation and Recycling Centre.

Able chairman and chief executive Peter Stephenson said the contract was “crucially important... at a time when there are so many economic problems facing the world – and especially a region such as the north-east of England.?

The French Navy has spent years searching for a site that would deconstruct the former aircraft carrier Clemenceau, known now as Q790, said.

Greenpeace activists boarded the ship in 2006 to prevent it from being sent to India and scrapped. The environmental group said that the ship contained “high levels of asbestos and other hazardous materials?.

Then-President Jacques Chirac of France recalled the ship after the country's Council of State ruled its export could violate European law and Greenpeace declared “victory?, the group said.

The ship had previously been rejected Turkey and Greece after the original plan to use the ship to create an artifici

serial groper blames attraction to female buttocks for attacks

The 41-year-old Minneapolis man told police that he sexually assaulted 10 female students over the last several weeks because he is attracted to female buttocks, the Star Tribune reported Thursday.

Phillip W. Acosta was arrested Tuesday and charged Thursday with two counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with two incidents on the University of Minnesota campus Tuesday night.

Acosta remains in the Hennepin Country jail held pending the possible filing of additional or more serious charges.

Acosta was arrested on the university's West Bank after a woman reported being groped near the McNamara Alumni Center Tuesday night.

Dispatchers told the officers who arrested Acosta that another groping had been reported 20 minutes earlier, and soon the two victims identified Acosta as their attacker.

Acosta has no known affiliation with the university.

65,000 gallons of oil sludge spill into Chicago suburb

A broken holding tank spilled 65,000 gallons of oil sludge and contaminated a 3-mile area in a Chicago suburb, the Start Tribune reported Sunday.

The spill came from a Caterpillar facility in Rockdale, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Six-thousand gallons seeped into the Des Plaines River near Joliet while the rest spilled onto land, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer William Mitchell said.

Though the sludge poses no threat to humans, wildlife is in danger.

The U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and local officials are working to contain the sludge, Mitchell said.

Floating barriers were put in place to keep the spill from spreading and trucks will be used to suck up the sludge once the spill is contained.

Caterpillar released a statement saying that “an undetermined amount of wastewater has overflowed from a storage area,? and that “Caterpillar has notified appropriate authorities about this overflow and the company immediately began corrective action when the overflow was discovered.?

February 4, 2009

Serial Groper Caught

A 41-year-old Minneapolis man confessed to groping 10 female students after being arrested by University Police Tuesday.

The Star Tribune reported that police arrested the man shortly after a woman reported being groped as she was walking near the McNamara Alumni Center.

Officers spotted a man on the West Bank matching the description given by the victim.

Dispatchers notified police of another groping that had happened 20 minutes earlier on Washington Avenue SE as they were arresting the man.

The suspect was held in a squad car while the two most-recent victims were brought to the area and identified the suspect as the man who grabbed them.

The assaults started on Dec. 9 and all took place on or near The University of Minnesota campus.

The suspect approached the women at all times of the day and night and usually was on a bicycle, University Police Chief Greg Hestness said.

The man was taken to the Hennepin County jail.

February 2, 2009

Colorado Man Charged After Threats Towards Presdient and Mall of America

A 20-year-old southwestern Colorado man surrendered at the FBI's office in Durango after being indicted on charges to kill President Obama and bomb the Mall of America.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Timothy Ryan Gutierrez, of Cortez, Colo., surrendered Thursday after being indicted Tuesday in federal court in Denver and was being held without bail.

The Star Tribune reported Gutierrez allegedly e-mailed the FBI on Jan. 12, writing “I'm going to assassinate the new president of the United States of America. PS you have 48 hours to stop it from happening.?

Gutierrez also e-mailed a threat against the Mall of America; “I have rigged 40 pounds of C4 [a moldable plastic explosive] ... and my favorite TNT to 7 cars outside the Mall of America.?

Mall officials were informed of the threat by the FBI and Bloomington police, said Maureen Bausch, the mall's executive vice president of business development.

The mall was given the all clear after it was determined “the threat wasn't valid? and nothing suspicious was found.

Gutierrez faces one count of transmission of threats and one count of falsely threatening to use explosives.

Gutierrez told the Cortez Journal that the threats were a prank.

Michael Goldman, Gutierrez's assigned attorney, told The Associated Press he didn't want anyone to rush to judgment.

St. Paul Man Shot and Killed During Robbery; Third Homicide This Year

A St. Paul man was shot and killed during a robbery early Saturday morning, the third reported homicide this year, two of them happening last week.

Jeffery Lamont Logan, 44, was leaving the American Legion at 976 Concordia Av. around 1 AM when he was confronted by three men.

Police spokesman Peter Panos said it is still unclear what happened, but according to the Star Tribune, Logan's brother, Charles Walker, said Logan was with a cousin whom the robbers had targeted, which led Logan to step in.

“He was a kind-hearted man, but he wouldn't let anything happened to his own,? Walker said.

They fought briefly, leading to the shooting, said Walker.

Logan was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where he died.

St. Paul Police have arrested a 20-year-old West St. Paul man and two St. Paul men, 27 and 28, in connection with the murder. The three men were booked into the Ramsey County jail where they are awaiting formal charges.

On Saturday afternoon friends and family gathered at the American Legion post to mourn Logan's death. He had no children but loved to dote on the children of his five younger siblings.

Logan was an honor student and earned letters in several sports at Highland Park High School, all despite being born without a left hand.

Kare11 quoted Walker as saying “I never had an excuse for not trying to succeed. He'd always say, 'look, I've got one hand, I can do this. I know you can do that.' He instilled that in me.?

“I know his death is going to impact this community pretty big,? Walker said. “When a nice person goes out with his friends and this happens to him, it's not right.?

February 1, 2009

News Lead

Star Tribune

St. Paul man killed during holdup; 3 men arrested
Lead- "The three men who gunned down Jeffery Lamont Logan during a botched robbery in St. Paul early Saturday could have just asked for the money."

This lead contains the news elements/ values:

IMMEDIACY-"early Saturday"
CONFLICT-"Gunned down... botched robbery"
EMOTIONS- This lead is trying to get the reader emotionally involved with the story, or at least giving this lead an emotional twist rather than sticking to straight, hard-news methods.

Who- Three men, Jeffery Lamont Logan
What-"gunned down... durring a botched robbery"
When-early Saturday
Where-St. Paul

I think the reporter used something other than the normal hard-news lead because they wanted to invoke the readers emotions. The man who was killed was kind-hearted and had a big impact on his family, friends and community. I think the reporter wanted to capture and convey the emotions of this story.

This unconventional lead also is more likely to capture the reader's attention because it is not the norm. It makes the reader curious to hear the rest of the story, and thus more likely to read on.

Iceland Appoints Openly Gay Woman Minister to Serve as Interim Prime Minister

Johanna Sigurdardottir was sworn in as Iceland's prime minister Sunday, becoming the world's first openly gay premier and the first woman prime minister in Iceland.

Sigurdardottir, 66, takes office less than a week after the country's Cabinet resigned amid fallout from the country's financial collapse after huge debts amassed during years of rapid economic growth in Iceland.

“Now we need a strong government that works with the people,? Sigurdardottir said.

Both parties forming Iceland's new coalition government support her appointment.

Sigurdardottir is a former flight attendant who made her way into politics via the union movement. She was minister of social affairs and social security in the former Cabinet, which resigned Monday.

Polling company Capacent Gallup said Sigurdardottir was Iceland's most popular politician in November, with an approval rating of 73 percent. She was the only minister who's approval rating improve on the previous year, said Capacent Gallup. reports that Sigurdardottir lists Jonina Leosdottir, 54, an author and playwright, as her spouse on her ministry Web site. She has two children from a previous marriage.

Sigurdardottir's time as prime minister may be short-lived because the government she is forming is only due to last until the next elections, which must take place in May and could be held in April.

Information also obtained from:
The Star Tribune

Body Discovered Entombed in Ice in Abandoned Warehouse

A man's body was found frozen in a block of ice by kids playing hockey in and old warehouse in Detroit.

WXYZ Detroit Action News reported that a friend of one of the players called to tip off Detroit News reporter Charlie LeDuff after learning of the body 15 feet down an elevator shaft.

The kids who discovered the man were afraid to call police because they were trespassing.

LeDuff investigated the tip himself Tuesday evening, and upon finding the man's legs and feet sticking out of the ice called police. LeDuff was not able to get anyone to investigate he scene until Wednesday night.

After two hours, firefighters were able to release the body from the ice using ladders, saws and other tools.. Officers say the man was likely in the shaft for months. The basement was flooded and froze once winter hit, trapping the body in ice.

Even though the body is exhumed, police don't know the cause of death. Police say the man's death may have been accidental, but are still not ruling out homicide.

The building where the body was found was once owned by the Detroit Public School System and used to store textbooks and supplies. The building has been long abandoned.

Some controversy may be developing regarding the number of people, including the trespassing hockey players, several homeless people taking shelter in the building, a police officer and others, who where aware of the body and the time it took for authorities to respond.