December 2009 Archives

Analysis on records/CAR

Analysis on records/CAR

By Brittany Falkers


            An example of an article that makes effective use of records and computer assisted reporting is "Web maps localize Iowa air pollution" by Chris Hamby.

            Des Moines Register reporters Chase Davis and Perry Beeman spent months compiling and making sense of data for a series on air pollution in Iowa, according to Hamby.

            There were more than 1,600 facilities across the state, they employed a data editor James Wilkerson and digital projects editor Michael Corey to help make effective web mapping for they story.  

            In using computer assisted reporting programs to show mapping of pollution in Iowa, the reporters could create a story that was easier for the reader to understand.  The use visual reporting and multimedia made for an easier interpretation of the story by the readers.

            The reporters for this story employed the help of data editors and digital project editors, meaning, it took training and sophistication to compile and organize the data into maps.  

Twin Cites tennis coach charged with criminal sexual conduct

Twin Cites tennis coach charged with criminal sexual conduct

By Brittany Falkers


            A Twin Cities tennis coach was charged with criminal sexual conduct after a 14-year-old girl taking lessons form him complained that he slapped her buttocks and spoke to her inappropriately, according to charges filed Friday, USA Today said.

            Roberto DeFreitas, 47, of St. Paul, was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree, a felony, in Hennepin County District Court, according to the Star Tribune.

            A Minneapolis police officer in the sex crimes unit was contacted by the father of the girl Dec. 3 about possible inappropriate conduct by DeFreitas, the Star Tribune said.

            The girl told police she is enrolled in tennis lessons at Fred Wells Tennis and Education Center, also known as the Fort Snelling Tennis and Learning Center in Minneapolis, and that last moth she arrived early for a scheduled group tennis lesson when DeFreitas invited her into his office.  When he was alone with her, he began talking about his girlfriend and how she was a "Freak," sends "nasty" photos of herself to him and talks "Dirty," according to the charges.  He asked the girl if she did the same things with her boyfriend, and she told him no, the Star Tribune said.

            The girl also told police that on Nov. 21 she was walking through a tunnel at the Tennis Center when DeFreitas slapped her on the buttocks over the shorts she was wearing and commented on her rear end.  When she told him to stop, he laughed and asked her "why?" charges said, according to the Star Tribune.

Armed CD peddler killed in Times Square gunfight

Armed CD peddler killed in Times Square gunfight

By Brittany Falkers


            An armed man hawking CDs was shot to death by a plainclothes police sergeant Thursday after trading gunfire in the taxi area of the landmark Marriott Marquis hotel, the Star Tribune said.

            The sergeant chased the scam artist through sidewalks crowded with holiday shoppers and tourists.  The two exchanged gunfire that shattered Broadway theatre and gift shop windows, before killing the suspect near the landmark hotel, police told WCCO News.  

            Raymond Martinez, 25, was no ordinary CD peddler, police told the Star Tribune.  He was carrying a loaded pistol and had a handful of business cards from gun dealers in his pockets.

            No on else was injured, according to WCCO News.

2 dead, 1 injured in Stillwater shooting

2 dead, 1 injured in Stillwater shooting

By Brittany Falkers


            Two people are dead in an officer-involved shooting at a Stillwater apartment complex, police told Associated Press reporters. 

            The building's caretaker, 62, was wounded in the abdomen.  She was conscious and able to indicate that she had been shot by her husband, according to the Star Tribune. 

            Kathleen Gavegnano found her neighbor Friday afternoon.  "She said, 'If he dies, I want to dies,'" Gavegnano told the Star Tribune.  

            The woman's husband, also 62, was shot and killed by a Stillwater police officer after he refused to put down his gun and fired at the officers, officials told the Star Tribune.

            The wife was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.  Another woman was taken to Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater with minor injuries, according to Associated Press reporters.

            Neighbors identified the couple as Gertrude (Trudy) and Gerald Propps.  The second woman was the adult daughter of one of the Proppses, neighbors said, adding that Gerald Propps had been battling a number of illnesses recently, the Star Tribune said.

            The incident happened at the Victoria Villa apartments, 1451 S. Greeley St.  It began about 4:30 p.m.  Washington County dispatcher received a 911 call from the 62-year-old woman because her husband needed medical care, Stillwater police Sgt. Jeff Stender told the Star Tribune.  While the woman was on the phone with the police, the dispatcher heard gunshots, and the woman was shot he added.

            One officer "arrived before everyone else and responded how he's been trained," Stender told the Star Tribune.

            The officer "did enter the apartment under fire," he added, and was forced to shoot after the man refused the officer's order to drop his weapon.  The officer is a 15-year, full-time veteran of the force and was put on standard administrative leave, the Star Tribune said.

600 climate protesters detained

600 climate protesters detained

By Brittany Falkers


            More than 600 people have been arrested at a demonstration against climate change in Copenhagen Saturday, the Sunday Times said.

            The protest started as a peaceful demonstration, calling for action on climate change, according to the Sunday Times.

            Industrial countries criticized a draft global warming pact Saturday for not making stronger demands on major developing countries as the protestors demanded for "climate justice" marching toward the U.N. conference, the Star Tribune said.

            The peaceful protest turned into rioting as hundreds of masked youths threw bricks and smashed windows in the Danish capital, the Sunday Times said.

            Police told the Star Tribune they rounded up more than 600 people in a preventative action, according to the Star Tribune.

            An estimated 30,000 people attended the open rally, which was part of an international "day of action" to mark the mid-point of the United Nations climate change summit currently being held in Copenhagen, the Sunday Times said.

Winter is here

Winter is here

By Brittany Falkers

                Minnesota's first major snow storm of the holiday season has moved eastward away from the Great Lakes and was diminishing Wednesday across Minnesota, the Star Tribune said.

                The greatest amount of snow fell Tuesday giving way to wind-whipped whiteouts and brutal windchills today, the Star Tribune said. 

                The weather has had effects on transportation over several parts of southeastern Minnesota, according to KARE 11 News.

                The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is extending a travel advisory urging drivers in 11 southeastern Minnesota counties to stay off the roads, the Star Tribune said.

                Wednesday has had 24 mph winds from the north gusting to 40 mph and beyond, the afternoon temperature of 8 degrees will feel like 15 below zero, according to the weather service.  The winds will create whiteout conditions that will produce "near-zero visibility" condition, the Star Tribune said.

                Jonathan Yuhas told KARE 11 News that accumulating snow would be done in the Twin Cities metro area by noon but the rest of the day will be very cold with gusty northwest winds ands sub-zero wind-chills.

                A Blizzard Warning remains in effect for the south metro and a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the north metro Wednesday, according to KARE 11 News.

Minnesotans protest Afghan war

Minnesotans protest Afghan war

By Brittany Falkers

            About 200 protesters, many disenchanted supporters of President Obama, demonstrated in south Minneapolis Saturday afternoon against the escalating war in Afghanistan, the Star Tribune said.

            The protesters gathered along the sidewalk on E. Lake Street at Hiawatha Avenue, watched by Minneapolis police officers, three on horseback, across the street, the Star Tribune said.

            Among signs held was one declaring the war in "Barackastan" waged by "Obombya," according to the Star Tribune.

            This protest came just days after a previous demonstration lead by a group of more than 100 anti-war demonstrators, according to the Minnesota Daily.

It was less than 24 hours after Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan that the anti-war demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday evening, disrupting traffic and chanting in protest of Obama's announcement, the Minnesota Daily said.

Protesters started marching at the southwest corner of Loring Park at around 5:30 p.m. and continued through downtown for nearly two hours, until returning to the park, according to the Minnesota Daily. 

NY grad student accused of fatally stabbing Binghamton University professor

By Brittany Falkers

            A New York graduate student has been accused of fatally stabbing a 77-year-old Binghamton University anthropology professor, the Star Tribune said.

            Authorities told the Star Tribune that Abdulsalam al-Zahrani was charged with murder Saturday in the death of Richard T. Antoun of Friday, according to the Star Tribune.

            Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen says Antoun knew al-Zahrani from school, according to the Star Tribune.  He told the New York Times the two had known each other for "quite some time."

            Mollen says he didn't know whether al-Zahrani has an attorney.  There was no phone listing in Binghamton for the 46-year-old Saudi national, the Star Tribune said.

            Antoun died Friday after being stabbed four times with a six-inch kitchen knife, according to TransWorld News.

            University officials notified students of the stabbing by text message, TransWorld New said.

            Binghamton president Lois DeFleur called the killing "an act of senseless violence," according to TransWorld News.

Twin Cities janitors rally for greener jobs

Twin Cities janitors rally for greener jobs

By Brittany Falkers


            Twin Cities janitors launched a campaign Saturday aimed at making their jobs "green," according to the WCCO News.

            More than 300 janitors and community members rallied and marched in downtown Minneapolis Saturday to push for a reduction of toxic chemicals in their workplaces and save energy - while making sure they have full-time jobs in their new contract, according to the Star Tribune.  

            They met at noon on Saturday at Block E in downtown Minneapolis.  Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison were scheduled to attended, according to WCCO News. 

            Javier Morillo-Alicea, president of Local 26 of the Service Employees International Union, told the Star Tribune, "We know that conservation is key for our children and grandchildren to inherit a livable world."

            SEIU Local 26 represents more than 4,000 janitors who clean buildings in the seven-county metro area.  The union is preparing to bargain a new contract. The current contract expires Dec. 31, the Star Tribune said.

Mosque hit my suicide attackers near army headquarters

Mosque hit my suicide attackers near army headquarters

By Brittany Falkers


            At least 36 worshippers were killed, including six military officers, during Friday prayers, according to the Star Tribune.

            The attackers sprayed gunfire and threw grenades before blowing themselves up, officials told the Star Tribune. 

            The attack happened at a mosque n the garrison city of Rawalpindi, which added a further blow against the military establishment as the arm pursues militants in the lawless tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.

            The brazenness of the attack stunned Pakistan, the New York Times said.  

            The attack was the latest in a wave of strikes by suspected Islamist insurgents that has killed more than 400 people in Pakistan since October, the Star Tribune said.

            A military statement said four attackers hurled grenades, then opened fire as they launched toward the mosque, which was located on Parade Lane in a military residential colony, just a few miles from the capital.  Two suicide bombers then blew themselves up inside, while they other two militants were killed in an exchange of gunfire, according to the Star Tribune.

Teacher charged because of inappropriate notes to girls

Teacher charged because of inappropriate notes to girls

By Brittany Falkers


            A Buffalo, Minn. middle school teacher was charged with leaving sexually suggestive notes in two of his students' lockers, according to WCCO News.

            Martin Lee Bartels, 53, of Anoka, put the notes in the seventh-grade girls' lockers.  He was charged Tuesday with a misdemeanor disorderly conduct in Wright County District Court, the Star Tribune said.

            Bartels had worked with this school for 28 years.  He was captured on a school surveillance video placing a note inside the locker of on of his students, WCCO New said.

            The notes were brought to the school administration by the student in question.  Soon after, another student brought yet another note to the administration's attention, according to WCCO News.

            According to the complaint against Bartels, police say he admitted to them that he wrote two notes on his home computer.  Both notes said how the bodies of the girls, ages 12 and 13, turned him on, the Star Tribune said.

            "Great curves all over the place," the complaint quoted one of the notes as saying.  "I really, really, really love your legs, I wish you would show them off more often.  I like how you show just enough on top [to arouse] me," according to the Star Tribune.

            The school's principal and information technology director observed Bartels using his computer and were able to observe his action via remote desktop access.  They allegedly witnessed Bartels composing another explicit note, which also included instructions on how the student was to send notes back to him, WCCO News said.

            After police were contacted, Bartels was questioned.  He admitted that he had written the notes, according to WCCO News.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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