December 8, 2007

Bloomington teen dies in rollover

A 19-year-old Bloomington man died at about 3 a.m. Saturday morning in a vehicle rollover accident, according to the Pioneer Press.

Seth Hanson was driving on U.S. 75, south of Clinton, and "overcorrected," causing the car to roll several times, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Hanson was not wearing a seatbelt.

An 18-year-old female passenger was taken to a nearby hospital in Ortonville. Alcohol was detected in her system, and she was wearing her seatbelt, according to an accident report.

The girl had minor injuries, reported the State Patrol, but her current condition is not known.

Boy dies after being run over by cousin driving Christmas float

A 9-year-old boy died in Plant City, Fla., after being run over by a church float driven by his cousin in a Christmas parade, according to MSNBC.

Jordan Hayes was handing out beads and candy alongside the float Friday night, when his foot was caught by a wheel and he fell under the float, said Police Chief Bill McDaniel.

Parade watchers shouted at the driver "to back up," however, the pickup truck pulling the float ran over Jordan a second time. The driver, Jerry Bridges, is a cousin of Jordan, authorities said.

"This is a tragedy that defies words," McDaniel said. "This was supposed to be a time of celebration and joy, but it has turned into a terrible tragedy."

Girl dies after being found shot outside Wisconsin bar

A 16-year-old girl died early Saturday after being found shot in the back outside Cera's Tequila Bar in Racine, according to the Star Tribune.

Police said they were called to the "tavern" at about 1:15 a.m. after a report of a fight, and found the girl outside.

The girl died shortly after being taken to a hospital, the police department said.

No one has yet been taken into custody.

December 4, 2007

Lesbian pushes for sperm donor's financial support

A lesbian who used donated sperm to conceive a child with her partner rationalized Tuesday why the donor should provide financial support, according to London's The Times.

Andy Bathie, 37, from Enfield, north London, said he was assured he would have no personal involvement nor hold financial responsibility for Sharon and Terri Arnold's children after he donated his sperm.

Bathie said that he is "having money stolen from him by England's Child Support Agency, which was "forcing him to pay thousands of pounds in maintenance for the boy and girl, aged 2 and 4, cared for by the couple, who have now split up."

Terri Arnold said that Bathie had acted as a father to their children for a large portion of their lives. "He was a father to the children, a dad. He played a father's role for two years of their, well, my daughter's life," she said.

Terri admitted that originally the plan was for Bathie to simply act as a donor, but that he changed his mind and wanted to be involved, according to the Times.

"At the end of the day, I believed it would be beneficial for my children to have their father involved. He wanted that responsibility," Terri said.

The CSA said that the biological parents were financially responsible unless the child is legally adopted. Only licensed, anonymous sperm donors are exempt from being treated as the legal father, said a CSA spokesman.

"[Bathie] approached us to take on the father's role, not the other way around," Terri said.

Chanhassen teen killed in van rollover

Chanhassen teen and Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor, Andrew T. Jackson, was killed Saturday when the van he was riding in hit a patch of ice and rolled over, according to the Star Tribune.

Jackson, 18, recently had celebrated making the Purdue University hockey club as a freshman. The club was 10 minutes into their drive to a game in Danville, Ill. when the one-car accident occurred--at about 3:45 p.m. Jackson was killed almost instantly, according to the Star Tribune.

Seven of the hockey members were injured, all of whom were treated at a hospital and released.

Hockey served as a "stabilizing foundation" in Jackson's life as he dealt with the obstacles he faced. Jackson's sister, Nicole, said, "He had so many trials in his life. He had to go through so many obstacles. And then to get cut off like this."

Jackson's aunt, Therese Lockwood of Richfield, said that the family has heard little about the accident, which happened 5 miles north of Wingate, Ind., according to the Star Tribune.

The accident is being invested by Indiana public safety officials.

November 27, 2007

Analysis: records/CAR

South Mississippi's WLOX 13 reported on November 11 that homes that were, at one point, meth "factories" are being sold before the new homeowners are informed of the house's history.

"An actual methamphetamine in a vapor form is actually released during the chemical process. It goes into the walls, the ventilation system; the ventilation system circulates it through the house. This stuff in and of itself is dangerous," Narcotics Task Force Commander, Curtis Spiers, said.

The article explains that Mississippi does not have laws that require the meth remains of the meth labs to be destroyed, WLOX said.

It appears that WLOX uses one public record to provide information within the article--police records. They directly explain that the records revealed that 125 (Mississippi) homes were once meth lab sites, which serve as homes to new, unsuspecting home owners.

The reporter did not necessarily need computer skills to find this public record source, searching online archives or the like was not required because the local police were able to supply more useful information. Perhaps this is owing to the fact that there may not be much published information on numbers of ex-meth-lab houses in Mississippi.

November 21, 2007

'Little Red Ship' sinks off Antarctica

The Explorer, a small cruise ship, sunk in the middle of the night, forcing 154 to endure hours of freezing temperatures in lifeboats before being rescued, reported the Star Tribune Friday.

The ship, known as the "little red ship" struck ice early on Friday, before the captain called 100 passengers and the crew of about 50 to the lecture hall, according to passengers' accounts of the incident.

The passengers were told that "water was creeping in through a fist-sized hole" in the ship's starboard, causing the power to fail as water flooded the engine room, reported the Star Trib.

At about 1:30 the passengers climbed into the lifeboats and inflatable craft, and waited for four hours in the 20-degree weather until two ships arrived, one of which took in all off the passengers.

The accident occurred north of the Antarctic Circle in an "island chain that is part of the Antarctic peninsula, which juts close to South America," reported the Star Tribune.

No injuries were reported, the Star Tribune said.

The Explorer was the first cruise ship to ever sink in the frigid Antarctic waters, the Star Tribune said.

Sleep deprivation linked to child obesity?

The Star Tribune reported on Wednesday, Oct 14 that "Elementary school children who don't get enough sleep in third grade are more likely than their peers to be overweight in sixth grade," according to a study examining the relationship between excess fat and sleep in children.

Studies have also found a correlation between adults' weight and their sleeping patterns, the Star Tribune said.

Children ages 9 to 12 who regularly got less than nine hours of sleep per night were at increased risk of being overweight, reported researchers led by University of Michigan pediatrician, Julie C. Lumeng. Sex, race, social status and home environment did not affect the results of the study.

Researchers found that for every additional hour of sleep beyond nine hours, a sixth-grade child was 20 percent less likely to be overweight.

The authors write that the study's findings suggest the link between obesity and sleep duration is caused by fluctuations of the body's metabolism and hormone levels that control weight.

"The National Sleep Foundation recommends that elementary school students sleep between 10 and 12 hours per night."

Drunk, naked man causes Delaware I-95 wrecks

A naked, drunk man was arrested after he caused three accidents by running into highway traffic, Delaware police said, reported the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Two people stopped to try to help Ardonas Gilbert, 26, who was running naked along the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 Monday night. He responded by curing and punching them, Delaware State Police said.

Gilbert then ran into traffic, causing three separate accidents as drivers tried to avoid him, police said.

Gilbert was charged with two counts of assault and a single count of "being drunk on a highway."

Coffee shop burglaries on the rise as holidays approach

Minneapolis-area coffee shops are advised to keep a close watch for burglars this weekend, as their activity tends to escalate during the holiday season, according to Sarah Mahmud, crime prevention specialist for Minneapolis police, reported the Star Tribune Wednesday.

Caribou Coffee locations have been a "favored target," Minneapolis Police said.

As Black Friday's holiday shopping "kickoff" prompts thieves to become more active, Mahmud said shop owners should make their bank deposits frequently and should also avoid leaving large amounts of money in their safes.

"These are some very professional burglars who get in fast and out fast," Mahmud said.

November 20, 2007

Minnesota Norwegians resent Norway's decision to close career consulate

Norway recently announced it is shutting its Upper Midwest career consulate, upsetting many of the Norwegian-Americans that populate the Minneapolis area, reported the New York Times Tuesday.

The consulate opened in 1906, and is a "point of pride" for the Upper Midwest, particularly Minnesota, which claims 850,000 people of Norwegian descent.

"We're very proud of our roots, and we've tried really hard to preserve them," Shirley Hansen, one of the knitting club members at Minneapolis's Ingebretsen's Norwegian market, said. "Norway is near and dear to us, but now we feel like maybe they haven't considered us quite so important."

Norwegian officials say the decision to close the consulate was based on money issues. An official at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, Jannicke Jaeger, said it cost approximately $2 million per year to operate the consulate.

“In part, this is an image problem about how Norway views us,? Jeff Mueller, president of the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce for the Upper Midwest, said. “Norway looks at us as ‘that’s where our ancestors went.’ ?

New consulates will be opening in China, whose economy is "booming," as well in Spain, where many Nowegians retire, The New York Times said.

“It’s silly to think that this place is somehow going to break the budget for Norway,? said Anne Kanten, a resident of Milan, Minn., which calls itself Norwegian Capital U.S.A. “What’s more Norwegian than Minnesota, anyway??

November 18, 2007

Local first-graders express Thanksgiving-season gratitude

The Pioneer Press asked local first-graders to write (and draw) about what they are thankful for, and included a selection of the 500+ submissions in an article posted Saturday.

The topics were wide-ranging, as some children expressed thanks for the customary "family and friends," whereas others were thankful for "the Army" and "xylophones," the Pioneer Press said.

A few submissions that were selected by the Pioneer Press include:

"I am thankful for presidents. They keep us safe. They help the city. They love us! Forever and ever!" -Ansel Sanchez, 6, Apple Valley; Paideia

"I am thankful for Vaseline and ChapStick for my chapped lips." -Holly Becker, 6, Eagan; Deerwood Elementary

"I am thankful for xylophones because they make good music." -Alexa Murray, 6, West St. Paul; Somerset Heights Elementary

"I am thankful for my grandpa, who died, because he and I drank root beer floats." -Logan Finkel, 7, St. Paul; Somerset Heights Elementary

"I am thankful my mommy's heart healed. I love my mom. I hope she gets better." -Luke Wasson, 6, Falcon Heights; Minnehaha Academy

"I like guinea piggies because they smell me. Two guinea pigs nibble on my finger, and it tickles me. They think I'm a carrot." -Erik Haider, 7, Mendota Heights, Somerset Heights Elementary School

TXT-U to aid in campus emergency notification

University of Minnesota students, faculty and staff now have the option to receive emergency notifications via text messages, according to the Minnesota Daily.

The emergency notification method was introduced Friday, and is intended to communicate "school closings and emergency situations" throughout campus, according to a news release attributed in the Daily's article.

"Text messaging is a quick way to reach people, particularly when time is of the essence," Vice President for University Services, Kathleen O'Brien, said.

The service, which is free (excluding standard service provider charges), is available online for students to register.

Tips for women battling a bulging stomach

According to the Star Tribune, surveys reveal that the stomach is the body part women most often say they would like to change.

The flat stomach that these women desire can be attained by: reducing intake of artificial sweeteners; eating fewer high-fat meals, avoiding lactose-containing foods; avoiding antibiotics if possible; decreasing or releasing stress, the Star Tribune said.

"Our bodies have a limited ability to rapidly absorb certain sugars, which can lead to gas and bloating," the Star Tribune said. The article then continued by saying that one should settle on using aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet'N Low) or sucralose (Splenda)--all artificial sweeteners--because they are "absorbed more easily by the body."

"Fat in the small intestine inhibits the stomach from emptying," according the Star Trib, so one should "limit their daily intake to one-third of their daily calories."

The article mentions that many surprising foods contain dairy, therefore it is important to read labels and make note of when you feel bloated or sick.

Antibiotics, the Star Tribune said, get rid of beneficial bacteria in the small intestine, thus resulting in bloating and gas.

"Chronic tension" may cause one's body to store more fat around the middle, so finding roughly 15 minutes to relax every day is beneficial if you want to bump that hump.

November 17, 2007

Non-habitual binge drinking not harmful to baby?

According to a University of Oxford team, binge drinking does not harm a pregnant mother's unborn baby unless she habitually drinks excessive amounts, reported London's The Times Wednesday.

A team from Oxford analyzed studies from 1975 to 2005 said in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health that there is not consistent evidence of harmful effects when alcohol intake is low and "binge drinking" is infrequent, The Times said.

The team found little evidence that miscarriages, stillbirths and other birth defects resulted from binge drinking.

Mervi Jokinen, who represents the Royal College of Midwives, argued that the study implies that drinking during pregnancy is safe and that research proves that more than three "units" per week raises the risk of miscarriage, The Times reported.