November 2010 Archives

A Man Killed in Highway 13 Crash

Kare11 News reports that a car accident killed a Prior Lake man near Highway 13 and County Road 42. Timothy Lavelle, 69, was killed when his car struck a minivan. According to the State Patrol, Lavelle turned left onto County Road 42 when the accident occured. It is not known if the crash was caused by road conditions, but the roads were wet at the time.

KSTP reports that the weather is not to blame for the crash in Prior Lake. A 2006 Honda Element and 1996 Ford Windstar collided in the intersection. The crash killed the driver of the Ford. The driver of the Honda, Gregory Blakely, 55, received minor injuries from the crash. The passenger of the Honda, Cleopha Grassman, 69, sustained minor injuries.

Fox9 News reports that Sgt. Hanson says the southbound vehicle was going through the intersection on a red light, and the other vehicle was making a left turn on a possible a red arrow. The driver of the Honda was not buckled up.

Kare11 reported between the hours of five and nine on Tuesday morning the State Patrol counted 67 crashes across the state, 29 of them being in the metro.

Four Teenagers Charged in Powderhorn Sexual Assault Cases

Fox 9 News reports that four teenagers, ages ranging from 14-16 years old, are being accused of robbing and sexually assaulting a woman in front of her two children in Powderhorn Park last Wednesday. The 45-year-old woman was cross country skiing with 10-year-old son and 13-year old daughter, when they were held at gunpoint by four teen age boys.

KSTP reports that the petition says the teens pointed a gun and knocked down a 13-year-old boy, demanding what he had. The boy pulled out candy wrappers. Two of the teenagers proceeded to sexually assault the boy's mother in front of him and his 10-year-old sister. The petition says the teens moved on to attack two teenage girls in a garage nearby Powderhorn Park.

KSTP reports that prosecutors want all four teens to be charged as adults. The teens are currently being held in custody at the Hennepin County Juvenile Justice Center. According to the court document the teens are being charged in connection with a sexual assault, robbery, and other crimes.

Kare11 News reports that all four of the teens have been charged today, but the news station is not allowed access to these charges because of the suspect's ages. When the news station was first told about the incident, the information from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office was that one of the boys was 16 years old, making the criminal charges public. Currently it is under dispute whether that suspect is 16 or 15 years old.

Kare11 News reports that the Hennepin County Attorney did not say how the age of the oldest suspect was released, before verfying that the teenager was 16 years old. He said that the issue will be resolved quickly, and that he apologizes for releasing the suspect's name.

Fox9 News reports that the mother who was sexually assaulted has released a statement about the crime. The woman is offering her forgiveness to the boys, saying they never received the love and care they needed. The Powderhorn neighborhood is planning to gather on Wednesday to take back the park, and display the strength of their community. They hope to replace the recent violence with music, art, and laughter.
"Overall it's a very safe place," said a resident of the Powderhorn neighborhood, "its pretty unusual, and I think the community reaction shows how unusual this is."

Local Volunteers at Armful of Love

The Sun Sailor begins their story about Armful of Love by describing many traditions that families have during the holidays. This leads into the tradition of the McReaken family from Burnsville, in which they volunteer at the Dakota County Armful of Love program. The Sun Sailor then describes how the family started volunteering at Armful of Love and the different types of experiences they have had.

Using an introduction that describes one family's individual involvement in Armful of Love is compelling for this story because it brings it to a much more personal level. Describing the scene at Armful of Love, and they family's involvement engages the reader in the story.

The Sun Sailor reports that Armful of Love began 38 years ago as a small program to give school children mittens and hats during the holiday season. The program has grown to cover the entire Dakota County. Armful of Love connects underprivileged families with other families in the community.

For families to qualify they must live in Dakota County, have children, and meet a certain income requirement. They must then complete and interview process and become approved for the program. The families ask for two children's clothing items, two children's gift ideas, and one gift idea for themselves, according to the Sun Sailor.

The Sun Sailor reports that Armful of Love is different than Operation Christmas Child and Toys for Tots because there is a specific family shopping for another specific family in the community. Sponsors include individuals, families, churches, schools, youth groups, businesses, and civic organizations. They are matched with a family after they specify how many family members they want to sponsor, the preferred age and the preferred gender.

"It's a way to bring all of the communities in Dakota County together to sponsor these families," said Lorna McReaken, who plans to continue the family tradition of volunteering at Armful of Love every year, according to the Sun Sailor.

The Sun Sailor reports that Carla Mathwig, a volunteer at Armful of Love said, "Even if you can't give a lot, you can give something back to the community."

Horse Dies After Gun Shot Wound

The Waconia Patriot begins the story by replaying the scene the evening that the Russell family's horse was shot while standing in the family's pasture. The Waconia patriot uses the lead, 'Melissa Russell says its not unusual to hear gunfire around her farm, especially during hunting season.' followed by replaying the event where the family's horse was shot.

Melissa Russell said that the incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 2, when her daughter Sally was heading out to the barn to complete evening chores. As Sally made her way down to the barn, Dewey, one of the Russell family's horses was waiting at the gate. Russell said her daughter saw Dewey suddenly spin around twice, throwing his head up and down. Russell's daughter rushed to the horse's aid and saw the bullet hole in his shoulder, reported the Waconia Patriot.

According to the Waconia Patriot, after paying thousands of dollars in veterinary bills, the Russell family's forced to put Dewey to sleep, knowing that he would not be able to recover from the injury.

The Waconia Patriot reported that the sheriff office is investigating the issue. They believe that the horse was shot by a stray bullet and the incident was not a malicious act. Steve Walter, the local DNR conservation officer added that many deer hunters may have been sighting their shotguns that weekend, in preparation for the deer season opener. "You have to know what your backstop is," Walter said as a warning to hunters to prevent these incidents from happening in the future. "You have to know not just what you're shooting at, but where your bullet could end up. If you're shooting toward a hill or wooded area, you really shouldn't be unless you know what's behind it."

The Waconia Patriot reported that Russell said despite the incident, neither she nor her family is opposed to hunting. She hopes this incident can serve as a reminder to hunters to be careful and aware of their surroundings. "Its horrible about my son's horse," said Russell, "but the thing that emotionally scares me the most is my daughter was 50 feet away from this horse. That could have been her."

Afghan Hero Dog is Euthanized by Mistake in U.S.

The New York Times opens the article with a lead telling the story of how Target, a stray dog in Afghanistan, stopped a suicide bomber from entering the American military barracks. The lead states, "Target and two other dogs snarled, barked, and snapped at the man, who detonated his bomb at the entrance to the facility but did not kill anyone."

The New York Times reports that the dogs were from the eastern Paktia Province near the Pakistani border. One of the dogs died suffering wounds from the bomb explosion, and the other two, Target and Rufus, were flown to the United States. The dogs were taken care of by a charity and put up for adoption.

Target was adopted by Segt. Terry Young, 37, an Army medic who witnessed the animals' bravery and helped treat the dogs in Afghanistan. Target escaped from the Young's family lawn last week, according to the New York Times.

The New York Times reports that Target was brought to the animal shelter in Florence. Target's picture was posted on the shelter's Web site on Friday. Sergeant Young found Target's photo on the website on Friday and paid the fee by computer to recover her. When Sergeant Young arrived at the pound on Monday, the shelter had mistakenly euthanized Target.

"This is unacceptable," said Ruth Stalter, the county's animal care and control director, "and no family should be deprived of their companion because procedures were not followed."

The New York Times reports that the Puppy Rescue Mission, the organization that raised thousands of dollars to get Target from Afghanistan to the United States has expanded it's mission to encourage pet owners to install microchips in their animals to prevent these accidents from happening.

The NY Times reported that Tyler Clementi,18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University in New Jersey, commit suicide on September 22 three days after his roommate streamed a video of him having sexual intimacy with a man.

This story has a compelling lead that sets the scene for the article. The New York Times opens with, "It started with a Twitter message on Sept. 19, 'Roommate asked for the room til midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.'"

By setting up the story with this type of action from the night of the incident it makes the reader feel like they are "in the know" on a personal level. This style of setting up the story eases the the reader into the harsh reality that this choice of action by the roommate led to Clementi's suicide. Suicide is a very hard topic to read and write about, so this helps to make it seem more personal, not like it is just another news story.

The New Yorker reports that Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson river in an apparent suicide.

The Star-Ledger of Newark reported that Clementi posted a note on his Facebook page the day of his death saying, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."

The New York Times reports that Clementi's roommate, Dahrun Ravi,18, stated on Twitter that his roommate was gay, but according to classmates at Rutgers University it is unclear what Clementi's orientation actually is.

The New York Times reports that it appears that Ravi tried to make another attempt to broadcast Clementi's personal life. On September 21 he posted a message on Twitter saying, "Anyone with ichat, I dare you to chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it's happening again."

The Middlesex County prosecutor's office said Clementi's roommate, Dahrun Ravi, 18, and another classmate, Molly Wei, 18, have each been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy. The most serious charges could lead to a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The New York Times reports that Ravi and Wei stated that the initial broadcast was an accident, but became the gossip of the campus.

The New York Times reports that Rutgers officials would not say whether or not the two students have been suspended. Rutgers officials would not say whether the two suspects had been suspended. In a statement on Wednesday, University President Richard L. McCormick said, "It is more clear than ever that we need strongly to reassert our call for civility and responsibility for each other."

Clementi's family issued a statement on Wednesday confirming the suicide. "Tyler was a fine young man and a distinguished musician, " the statement read. "The family is heartbroken beyond words." Thomas Jung,19, who shared a music stand with Clementi in the orchestra said, "He loved music. He was very dedicated. I couldn't tell if anything was wrong."

This type of article showcases a more personal news story because Clementi's decision to commit suicide was triggered by the hurtful actions of his roommate and classmate. This story provides the hard facts of the story, the police reports, university statements, and events that took place, but does so in a way that does not take away from the magnitude of the event. The choice to release say that it was a suicide was made by the family, because of the bullying that provoked it. In most cases, suicide deaths are not reference which also makes this a notable article. This case has repeatedly been in the news since the incident occurred in late September, which shows that it was an important topic that has left lasting effects on the family, Rutger's University Policies, and students that attend Rutgers University.

The U.S. Government's Response to Climate Change

The New Yorkers introduces the issue of the United States regulation policy for climate change by introducing Darrell Issa, a Republican representative from California who will become the chairman of the Oversight Committee. The introduction and description of Issa in the first paragraph sets the scene for the upcoming discussion of the issue of climate change. Similar to creating a vivid opening scene, the use of this description pulls the reader in to want to keep reading the story.

The New Yorker reports that as the next chairman of the Oversight Committee, Issa wants to investigate the climate scientists. "We're going to want to have a do-over," said Issa.

According to the New Yorker, Issa's priorities reflect those of the other Republicans in the House. Providing the quote from John Boehner,the incoming House Speaker, "The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen, that it is harmful to our environment, is almost comical," to express this perspective.

The New Yorker reports that the possibility for government action to combat the climate change were slim even before the 2010 Elections. The American Clean Energy and Security Act that was approved in June of 2009 to cap the nation's emissions would not have provided adequate regulations to cut down emissions.

The New Yorker reports that for past two decades, under leadership from both parties, the United States has ignored science and failed to implement necessary regulations to control climate change.

The New Yorker concludes that without the support of the United States, there is no way to make progress on reducing emissions globally.

The USA Today reports, the Hickory Police say testing has matched the bone fragment with the DNA of 10-year-old Zahra Baker from North Carolina. The remains were found in an area close to where the girl's stepmother used to live. The police found the girl's prosthetic leg before they discovered the bone.

The Star Tribune reports, the police found the bone in some brush alongside the prosthetic leg earlier this month. Authorities revealed that one of the bones was found five miles away from the other remains. "We have recovered enough physical evidence to think we have found Zahra," Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said.

The Charlotte Observer reports that no one has been charged in Zahra's disappearance, and Adkins did not make any announcements about suspects on Friday. Zahra was reported missing on Oct. 9 by her father, Adam Baker, 33, and her stepmother, Elisa, 42. District Attorney James Gaither Jr. said the investigation into the homicide is ongoing.

According to the USA Today, Zahra's stepmother has been charged with obstruction of justice. Police say she admitted to writing the fake ransom note that was found the day after Zahra was reported missing.

The Star Tribune reports that Elisa Baker is currently in jail. She has not been charged with Zahra's death and has recently been cooperating with the police. She led them to the areas where the remains were found.

The USA Today reports that Zahra's father Adam Baker was arrested on charges unrelated to Zahra's disappearance. He is free on bail, but the police reported that he has not cooperated.

According to the Star Tribune, Zahra was diagnosed with bone cancer five years ago. She had her leg amputated and underwent chemotherapy, but still had partial hearing loss.

According to the Star Tribune, Zahra was born in Australia and moved to North Carolina two years after her father met his soon-to-be wife online. Zahra's friends and relatives from Australia described her as an outgoing and happy girl, and said that she didn't want to come the the U.S.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Emily Dietrich, birth mother who gave up Zahra as a baby, headed to the Hickory house where Zahra lived on Friday.

This is a notable story because it is a very rare situation. The fact that Zahra was a 10-year-old bone cancer survivor who had recently moved to the United States from Australia added to the importance of the story. The Charlotte Observer reports that Zahra's disappearance and homicide has become one of the most high-profile cases for a missing child in North Carolina. Anytime a homicide case involves a child it is a notable news story. The articles that are cited below are updated news stories, like the lab we did in class on spot news. As I was reading the Star Tribune article it was updated and I was able to see the different parts that were added to the article. I found that the Charlotte Observer covered this story with the most depth, most likely because they are the local newspaper and were the first to pick up on the story. The Star Tribune (article by Associated Press) went into depth about the background of each person in the story. The USA Today provided a brief explanation of the story and had a link to the Charlotte Observer story.

Bloomington Man Charged in Fatal Hit-and-Run

The 54-year-old man charged in the fatal hit-and-run death of an 85-year-old woman turned himself in on Tuesday, according to Bloomington Police.

KARE 11 reports that 54-year-old Mark Lundgren from Bloomington was charged with the felony hit-and-run last Friday.

Star Tribune reports the accident happened at 7:24 p.m. Oct. 21. Dorothy Hanson had walked a few blocks from the Martin Luther Care Center to her home after bringing a homemade spaghetti dinner to her husband, who was suffering from kidney failure. She tried to cross Old Shakopee Road at the intersection, about 30 yards from the marked crosswalk. According to the criminal complaint, witnesses said a dark-colored, full-sized pick-up with an extended cab the woman as she was trying to cross the street.

KARE 11 reports that witnesses said the truck accelerated after Hanson was hit.

WCCO reports that witnesses told police the driver of the truck didn't slow down, swerve or brake when they hit Hanson. She was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center where she died that night.

Police were contacted by the attorney of the owner of the truck five days after the accident. The truck was registered to Lindgren, and a search warrant was obtained for his apartment, according to WCCO's report.

The Star Tribune reports, during the search of Lundgren's apartment, a document was found on a computer stating Lundgren's activities the night of the accident, the complaint said. The document said, on the evening of the accident Lundgren had consumed one drink at a restaurant and had stopped at a friend's bonfire before going home.

WCCO reports that the document said Lundgren did not notice the headlight or damage to his vehicle until he got home. The document then states, "assumed it was a deer or bird." Police say they found another version of the document in Lundgren's shredder.

Lundgren has a history of driving violations, according to the Star Tribune report, the most recent in 2003.

According to WCCO, Lundgren has been arrested for drunk driving in the past, once in 1992 and again in 2003 in Indiana.

If Lundgren is charged the maximum penalty for the felony, he faces three years in prison with $5,000 in fines, according to KARE 11 report.

According to the Star Tribune, Hanson's husband, Robert, died nine days after she did. He was 85.

Deer Cause 2 Crashes in Southern Minnesota

One person died and four were injured in car accidents caused by deer in Southern Minnesota.

WCCO reports that a deer lying in the road caused a three-car pile-up on Friday. One person was killed and another was injured from this accident. Miacke Duerig, 17 was identified by the State Patrol as the individual who suffered injuries, but no information has been released on the victim who died. A total of 10 people were involved in the accident.

KARE 11 identified the victim who died as 16-year-old Jordan Ressler. He died in a three-car pile-up. One vehicle slowed because of a deer in the road, causing two others to collide behind it.

WCCO reports that the second crash happened on Saturday evening in Blue Earth County. Three people were left injured in this accident. The State Patrol said the deer flew up into the windshield and exited through the back window of the car.

The Star Tribune reports that a New Ulm family was battered and bruised from an accident in Blue Earth. Chis and Susan Blake and their daughter Olivia, 17, were driving on Blue Earth County Highway when an oncoming car hit a deer directly in front of them. The deer crashed through the windshield of the family's car, hitting Chris in the face, glancing off Susan and hitting Olivia in the backseat. The deer's momentum carried it our of the back window.

KARE TV reports Chris suffered numerous broken bones in his face. His daughter Olivia suffered a broken nose and bruises on her face, and his wife Susan had scratches on her face and bruising. "I have broken bones in my sinus cavity," said Chris, his eyes swollen so badly he can barely see. "Both sockets of my eyes are busted, my nose is broken and my upper jaw bone is broken." He has been told by Hennepin County Medical Center that he will need two surgeries to realign the bones in his face, and will need to have his jaw wired shut.

Investigator Found BP Took No Shortcuts in Oil Spill

By Annie Favreau
The lead investigator for the BP oil spill said on Monday that he found no evidence that BP had taken safety shortcuts to save money.

The New York Times reported that Fred H. Bartlitt Jr., the lead investigator, disputed the findings of other investigators who accused BP and its partners Halliburton and Transocean of cutting corners to speed the completion of the well.

According to the Seer Press, Bartlitt did agree with the plaintiff's complaints that the BP employees ignored the results of a pressure test completed right before the explosion. The results of the pressure test should have sent up a warning flag for the workers, but no one reported any concern. Bartlitt also said that a lot of the evidence about the oil spill is at the bottom of the ocean and may never be obtained.

The New York Times reported that Bartlitt said, many critical questions about the accident remain unanswered. Bartlitt commented that officials do not know what caused the failure of the cement at the bottom of the well, why employees tried to close the well after failing the important pressure test, or why employees did not realize gas and oil where gushing from the well.

"To date we have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety," said Bartlitt, defending his stance in his presentation on Monday, in the New York Times report.

Forbes reported, that Bartlitt's conclusion limits the potential liability of BP and also creates some skepticism. Forbes energy writer Christopher Helman said it is, "generally accepted wisdom among oil and gas insiders that of course BP cut corners to finish Macondo as quickly as possible."

Even with the skepticism, Forbes reported that BP shares rose by 2.9% on Tuesday after Bartlitt's announcement that BP did not cut safety corners in an attempt to save money.

By Annie Favreau

President Barack Obama visited Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim majority nation, last Tuesday to meet with Indonesian President Suslilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

On his homecoming visit, he criticized Israel for its decision to approve 1,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem during the peace negotiations with the Palestinians, the New York Times reported.

The New York Times reported that President Obama said, "This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I'm concerned that we're not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough."

The Star Tribune reported that President Obama voiced his concern that, "Each of these incremental steps can end up breaking that trust between these parties."

This was Obama's first trip to Indonesia, where he lived for four years, as President of the United States, reported both the Star Tribune and New York Times.

The Star Tribune reported that Obama voiced his support for Indonesian President Yudhoyono's dedication to the Indonesian people at a time when the country has been hit with earthquakes, a tsunami, and the recent volcano eruption.

The New York Times reported that President Obama is reaching out to connect to the Muslim world. Obama said he intends to reshape American relations with Muslim nations so they are not "focused solely on security issues" but rather on expanded cooperation across a broad range of areas, from science to education.

The Star Tribune reported that Obama said policy differences between the United States and Muslim countries will linger, but that building better ties between the people of the United States and the Muslim world will foster improved overall relations.

The New York Times reported that President Obama responded to a question about the progress the United States has made with Muslim countries with, "I think its an incomplete project, we've got a lot of work to do."

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