This news blog is an educational exercise involving students at the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

February 2013 Archives

Citing the looming fiscal cuts, federal immigration officials have released hundreds of detainees from immigration detention centers around the country, reported multiple news sources.

The timing has struck both critics and supporters as unusual because the sequester won't begin until March 1, reported the Washington Post.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which promotes more restricted immigration, said for conservatives "it's a scare tactic -- 'Look, we're going to release illegal aliens, they're coming for your family!" At the same time, it's a concession to pro-immigration advocates "that are objecting to the very idea of deporting aliens," reported the Washington Post.

Under supervised release, defendants in immigration cases have to follow a strict monitoring schedule that might include attending appointments at their regional immigration office as well as electronic monitoring, reported The New York Times.

Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security secretary, said at a White House briefing Monday "I'm supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. How do I pay for those?," reported The New York Times.

Analysis: "Flu vaccine left almost all seniors exposed"

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The Star Tribune article "Flu vaccine left almost all seniors exposed for worst strain," described the current flu season, which has infected many seniors. The author began the article with the effectiveness of the vaccine for senior citizens, which was at an astoundingly low 9 percent. He reported health officials do not know why it gave such dismal protection. He compared the vaccine's effectiveness using a quote from a University of Michigan flu expert that said, "a flu vaccine for seniors is considered pretty good if it's in the 30 to 40 percent range." This comparison highlights the discrepancy of this years vaccine in protecting senior citizens.

The author reported that the current percents are less than definitive because they come from preliminary data that is based off 300 elderly people scattered among five states. He also provided a theory that has yet to be proven for why elderly peoples' immune systems are unable to utilize their vaccines.

The author explained that the flu virus mutates at a quicker rate than most viruses, and that is why each year's vaccine is not 100 percent effective. He ended the article stating that next years flu vaccine will be available next summer, and it includes vaccines that protect against four strains, but added "experts say it's not clear whether they will be any more effective."

I found the article very informative, but I was bothered that there was not a concrete answer to why senior citizens were so affected. Statistics and quotes from the CDC provided a lot of credibility.

A spokesman for Hamid Karzai said the Afghan government has banned elite American forces from the Wardak province, which is seen by many as a strategic outpost for the Taliban, reported The New York Times.

The ban was in response to complaints from local villagers who said American special forces were torturing, harassing and even murdering innocent people in the province, said Aimal Faizi, spokesman for Hamid Karzai, reported Reuters.

The measure taken by Karzai could further complicate negotiations between the U.S. and Afghanistan over the presence of U.S. troops in the country after NATO forces leave by the end of 2014, reported Reuters.

Karzai has repeatedly warned his western backers in the country that if civilians are killed civilian support for foreign troops will dissipate and fuel the insurgency, reported Reuters.

High school football coach arrested in prostitution sting

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A Hill-Murray high school football coach was arrested Tuesday in a prostitution sting, reported the Associated Press.

The football coach, Mark Mauer, of Woodbury, was one of 19 men and four women arrested in a two-day sting at the LivINN Hotel on Central Avenue in Fridley, Minn., officials told the Star Tribune.

Mauer is the cousin of Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer and was hired as a coach at Hill-Murray last year, reported the Star Tribune.

According to Fridley police, Mark Mauer allegedly agreed to pay an undercover officer $100 for a half-hour of "full-service" on Tuesday, reported the Associated Press.

Mauer told police that he was just "messing around," that it was "stupid" to have gone there and that he had not intended to return when he left the room, reported the Star Tribune.

Peanut Corp. CEO indicted in peanut-salmonella outbreak

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The owner of a Georgia peanut plant and behind the virulent salmonella outbreak four years ago was charged Thursday with fraud and a host of other crimes, a move lauded by relatives of three Minnesotans who died from the outbreak, reported the Star Tribune.

The case against Stewart Parnell, president of Peanut Corp. of America, represents one of the most wide-ranging and forceful U.S. government actions against a top corporate executive over unsafe food, report the Star Tribune.

Parnell and three former employees of Peanut Corp. of America--including Parnell's brother, Michael Parnell-- we indicted on 76 federal counts of mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and the introduction of adulterated, misbranded food into interstate commerce with intent to defraud, reported the Pioneer Press.

Nine people died and more than 700 were sickened, including 45 in Minnesota during the nationwide outbreak four years ago, which Minnesota health investigators played a vital role in exposing, reported the Star Tribune.

The indictment alleges that Stewart Parnell repeatedly showed an utter disregard for food safety, referencing examples as early as 2005 of peanut products that were not recalled after contamination was discovered, reported the Star Tribune.

Las Vegas rapper killed in drive by

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Rapper Kenneth Cherry Jr., known as Kenny Clutch, was killed Thursday in a drive by while driving down Las Vegas Boulevard, reported BBC News.

Cherry's Maserati, after being fired upon by a black Range Rover, careened out of control, colliding with a taxi, which then exploded, killing the taxi driver and passenger, reported ABC News.

In addition to the Maserati, four other cars were included in the crash, reported BBC News.

The passenger in the Maserati was taken to the hospital and sustained minor injuries, reported ABC News.

Authorities have launched a multi-state manhunt for the Range Rover, reported BBC News.


The spokesman for the state prosecutor in the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee Olympian sprinter accused of shooting his girlfriend, says there is an error in a detective's testimony when he identified a substance found in the athlete's bedroom as testosterone, reported CBS News.

Pistorius' lawyer says the substance was an herbal supplement that meets the standard of prohibited drugs for athletes, reported The New York Times.

The prosecution did not accuse Mr. Pistorius of directly using or abusing the substance. Testosterone in multiple forms is among banned substances on the 2013 list of prohibited drugs for athletes issued by the World Anti-Doping Agency, reported The New York Times.

Barry Roux, Mr. Pistorius' defense lawyer, said the substance found at his client's home was not deemed a banned drug. It was "not a steroid and it is not a banned substance," Mr. Roux said, accusing the police of taking "every piece of evidence and try to extract the most possibly negative connotation and present it to the court," reported The New York Times.

The International Paralympic Committee in Bonn, Germany, said on Wednesday that Mr. Pistorius passed drug tests on Aug. 25 and Sept. 8 last year, reported The New York Times.

In the Los Angeles Times article, "Russian meteor: Could there be an early warning system?," the author first addressed the question in the title with an 'it all depends' type of answer, then gave a brief description of what happened in Russia on Friday.

The author defined the factors that decide whether we detect a meteor heading toward earth. She quoted multiple scientist, including one from NASA, and others from prestigious universities.

She referenced the asteroid NASA identified a year before that passed by Earth Friday. She quoted a NASA scientist saying that it was all a coincidence that a different meteor happened to impact Russia the same day.

She assured readers that any big objects heading toward Earth would be spotted years in advance, and quoted a scientist saying there was nothing they knew of yet that would pose such a threat.

White House shares backup immigration plan

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The White House is drafting a backup immigration bill in case the bipartisan bill, being drafted in the Senate, fails to be agreed on, an Obama administration official said on Sunday, according to The New York Times.

Denis McDonough, President Obama's chief of staff, said Mr. Obama's aides are continuing to work with a bipartisan group of eight senators despite harsh criticism on Saturday night from Sen. Marco Rubio after the USA Today reported what it said were details of the administration's plan, reported The New York Times.

The White House has declined to confirm any details on their immigration proposal, but McDonough said it would all be revealed if the bipartisan Senate group failed to agree on a plan, reported the Chicago Tribune.

The USA Today said on Saturday that the White House immigration proposal would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Latinos favored Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the November 6 election by 71 percent to 27 percent, helping tip politically divided states in favor of the Democratic incumbent, reported the Chicago Tribune.


Snowmobiler dies after plunging into the St. Croix

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A 22-year-old snowmobiler died after going through the ice on the St. Croix River in eastern Minnesota, reported the Star Tribune.

He was pulled from the water within 20 minutes after the Washington County Sheriff's Office received a call of a man on a snowmobile going into the river, reported the Star Tribune.

Chief Deputy Dan Starry told the Pioneer Press, the man broke through the ice near the Xcel Energy Allen S. King power plant, which has a warm-water feed running into the river.

At least three Twin Cities area residents have died this winter when their vehicles broke through the ice, reported the Pioneer Press.

The man's identity is likely to be released on Sunday after his family is notified, Starry told the Star Tribune.

Coon Rapids man convicted of smuggling handguns

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A Coon Rapids man was convicted of illegally exporting guns he bought in Minnesota to his native country of Liberia for resale, reported multiple news sources.

McHarding Degan Galimah, 38, was convicted Thursday, Feb. 14, of a single count of smuggling firearms into Liberia, reported the Star Tribune.

Galimah bought seven 9-millimeter handguns from Madden Group, a federally licensed firearms dealer, at various gun shows, reported the Star Tribune.

After shipping the guns, Galimah made several visits to Liberia to sell the guns for a profit, reported Pioneer Press.

A sentencing date has yet to be set, reported the Pioneer Press.

Meteor vaporizes in Earth's atmosphere over Russia

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A meteor hurtling towards Earth burned up in the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, injuring 1,200 people, reported The New York Times.

The large meteor burned up in Earth's lower atmosphere dropping meteorites around Chelyabinsk, Russia, officials told BBC News.

The shock wave from the meteor's blazing path burst windows and rattled citizens, reported The New York Times.

President Vladimir Putin said he thanked god no big fragments had fallen on populated areas, reported BBC News.

The meteor's immense speed sent loud bursts through the area as the fireball ripped through Earth's atmosphere, reported multiple news sources.

The majority of those hurt, in the Chelyabinsk region where meteorites fell, suffered cuts and bruises but at least 46 remain in hospital, reported BBC News.

Ex-LAPD officer dead

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The charred body of former LAPD officer Christopher J. Dorner was found inside the burned-out cabin in Big Bear Lake where police officers had been caught in a deadly shootout, reported The New York Times.

The cabin, believed to be harboring Dorner, was set ablaze after police shot pyrotechnic teargas, commonly referred to as burners, to flush Dorner out, reported BBC News.

Dorner began his alleged rampage Feb. 3 when he killed the daughter of a former police captain, and her fiance, reported ABC News.

Dorner had not been spotted since Tuesday; authorities believe he had been hiding out in an unoccupied cabin steps away from where they had set up a command center, reported The New York Times.


The Star Tribune article "Minnesota homes have become hotbed for radioactive gas radon" opened with a Prior Lake man's diagnosis of advanced lung cancer. The author then segwayed to the unawareness most Minnesotans have of the odorless, colorless gas radon. In the article the Star Tribune did their own data analysis that concluded 40 percent of homes in Minnesota when tested for radon are found to be above the safe level. Adding to this statistic the author described why radon plagues Minnesota homes--because of our state's regional geology.

The author continued to intersperse quotes from people affected by radon in their homes. He also quoted a professor from the University of Minnesota who studies radon awareness. The author also gave a little synopses of radon's history in the U.S., which was brought to national attention in the '80s when a worker at a nuclear plant kept setting off sensors, because radon was on him from his house.

The author added steps on how to test your house for radon, and added that the law does not require houses to be tested for radon before they are sold. He gave background information about state radon standards, citing the the Indoor Radon Abatement Act Congress passed in 1988.

The author gave a diverse array of information about radon, which made the article interesting. He also livened the article with statistics and quotes which kept me reading. I knew of radon before this article, but I now know more and am glad I read it.

State of the Union Address will focus on the economy

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Securing his re-election through campaigns for the struggling middle-class and promising change for those who are down and out, President Obama's State of the Union Address on Monday will focus on the job creation, wage growth and mobility of the middle-class, reported CBS News.

Pundits have criticized President Obama's second-term's focus--gun control, immigration reform and climate change--as lacking what he promised the American people. reported The New York Times.

The White House released an early version Tuesday's speech, reported The New York Times.

The address will sound a lot more like his re-election stump speech and less like his second inaugural address, aides familiar with the process told CBS News.

Water main rupture in St. Paul

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A rupture in a 20-inch water main in St. Paul occurred around midnight on Wall Street, between Fifth and Sixth streets, reported multiple news sources.

Rushing water ran down Wall and Broadway streets toward Kellogg Boulevard for two hours, until the rupture was isolated at 2:45 p.m., reported Pioneer Press.

The cause is still unknown. The pipe dates back to 1952, which is not unusual for pipes in the area, reported the Star Tribune.

Areas surrounding the pipe experienced weakening in water pressure, and officials warn not to drink the water before an analysis is made to determine if the water is safe, reported the Star Tribune.

Aftereffects of 8-month-old lost in Lake Minnetonka

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Jonathan Markle plunged three times into the cold, dark water of Lake Minnetonka in a last ditch effort to save his 8-month-old daughter trapped in his submerged SUV, news sources reported.

After the accident Markle was taken to a nearby hospital where they found his blood alcohol level was 0.13, much higher than his claim of drinking two beers, reported Star Tribune.

A day after being charged with criminal vehicular homicide, Markle made his first appearance in court, reported the Pioneer Press.

His next hearing is March 4, reported the Star Tribune.

Ex-LAPD officer goes rogue

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Christopher Dorner, former Naval reservist and Los Angeles police officer, has eluded authorities after assassinating a couple and ambushing police, news sources report.

The manhunt began Thursday, after Dorner was sought in connection with three shooting deaths and an attempted shootings of police officers, reported The New York Times.

In his 6,000-word "manifesto," which he posted on Facebook, Dorner outlines his plan to take revenge against police for his dismissal, reported The New York Times.

"I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" to Los Angeles Police Department officers, on or off duty, said the manifesto. It also stated: "Unfortunately, I will not be alive to see my name cleared. That's what this is about, my name. A man is nothing without his name," reported CBS News.

As the search expands, police have upped security protecting the individuals listed in the manifesto. As a result some schools have shutdown Friday in the Bernadine area, and fast food restaurants have closed up shop only allowing drive-thru customers, reported CBS News.


Crippling sanctions tighten their grip

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American and European powers tightened the already constricting sanctions on Iran in hopes of deterring Iran's ongoing attempt at nuclear weapons, news sources reported.

Iran's already crippled economy now faces stricter sanctions on their oil trade, forcing the nine countries waived to purchase Iran's oil to deposit their payments in an account that only allows Iran to spend the funds to purchase goods from that country, reported the BBC.

Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen told BBC that the US would continue to tighten restrictions "so long as Iran continues to fail to address the concerns of the international community about its nuclear programme."

Separate measures are being placed on Iran's media landscape which has continually suppressed dissent, the BBC reported.

The U.S. and Israel hope these new sanctions will pressure Iran to submit to a nuclear deal that would drastically change their current operation, reported The New York Times.


Analysis: Apartments snapped up as fast as they're built

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In the Star Tribune article: "Apartments snapped up as fast as they're built," the writer begins with a lead that sets the stage for what sounds like a booming rental market. The subheadline reads: "Demographic and economic changes are driving explosive growth in metro rental market," when I read this I expected the article to dig a little deeper on the subject. The author does provide numbers and statistics, but none of them, in my opinion, illustrate demographic or economic change. In the third paragraph he provides a quote from an elated property manger who has 100 percent occupancy. The author then tells of the year before, which added 300 rental units and compares it to this coming year which is expected to add 2,300 rental units.

He provides the specific percent of vacant rental units--2.9 percent--and describes the market's past trajectory and future projections. He plays two tenors against each other: one of property managers happy with the market, and another warning that the new influx of rental units could offset demand.

He adds direct quotes from a woman who before the recession would most likely be in the market for a permanent home, but because of the current situation she and her nascent family have settled on a newly built apartment.

The article covers the rental landscape very well, and the multiple views he provides paint a full picture of the rental market. He ends the article with a quote from the woman whose family has been living in the new apartment. She loves the apartment and the fact that she is not tethered to it for the next 30 years.

A middle-aged man and an elderly woman were hospitalized last Saturday, Feb. 2, after their car fell through the ice on Lake Minnetonka, reported multiple news sources.

It is the 14th accident this year on Lake Minnetonka, reported Hennepin County Police, who have been working hard to spread the message that lake Minnetonka is unsafe for travel, according to the Star Tribune.

"This has been a common theme this winter," said Maj. Darrell Huggett of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. "The ice is not safe this year" because of the frequent fluctuations between cold and mild weather, he told reporters of the Star Tribune.

Police received a call at 2:24 p.m., Saturday, from a man who said his car had fallen through the ice, reported the Star Tribune.

A driver noticed the accident and rescued the man from his car and brought him to a parking lot to be helicoptered to Hennipen County Medical Center, reported the Star Tribune. The woman was rescued by police shortly after, and taken to HCMC by ambulance, reported Star Tribune.

The vehicle fell into a 10-foot-deep channel under the Hwy. 101 bridge, reported the Pioneer Press. Last year, February 2012, all lakes in Hennepin County were closed, reported the Pioneer Press.


Boiler explosion in Mpls. school forces evacuation

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A boiler exploded in Lake Harriet Community School forcing 300 students to be evacuated to a nearby fire station in temperatures close to zero degrees, reported the Star Tribune. The school houses 700 students grades three through eight, which are divided into two campuses, reported the Star Tribune.

No one was hurt, but the boiler did emit smoke and steam after its explosion, reported the Pioneer Press.

There was apparently no fire, a Minneapolis Public School spokeswoman told the Star Tribune.

School resumed after firefighters cleared the building for re-entry, reported the Star Tribune.

50-mile police chase ends with fatal crash

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A 50-mile police chase, beginning near a homicide scene in Austin, Minn., traveling through three counties abruptly ended when the suspect's car rolled over on Hwy. 13 fatally throwing the man from the vehicle, reported the Pioneer Press.

A homeowner living off Fourth Street Northwest in Austin called 911 after seeing a body on the ground at the front of a home and a man leaving the scene, according to the Star Tribune.

The chase began near the homicide scene. when police noticed a Saab speeding south on Fourth Street in Austin, Minn., at 3 a.m. Friday, reported the Star Tribune. The suspect, a 46-year-old man, died at 4 a.m., less than two miles south of Waseca County, reported the Star Tribune.

During the course of the chase the suspect reached speeds topping 130 miles per hour, reported the Star Tribune.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Austin police are leading the investigation into the homicide, reported the Star Tribune
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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2013 is the previous archive.

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