March 31, 2008

Obituary Analysis

The obituary of Jon Hassler in the New York Times uses a standard lead. It gives the name followed by what he was most known for and ends with his age at the time of his death, though it does tag on where he had homes. The obituary sites Hassler’s agent for the cause of death, and further along sites two book reviews written about his stories prior to his death. The lead for this obituary works, it gives the information and is very straight-forward. It differs from a resume in that it does not site all the things he did in life, but focuses on what he was most well-known for. It is not an expose of all that he was capable of and all the minutia of his long life. The obituary covers only the most notable aspects of his life.

Southern California Highway Shootings

A fatal freeway shooting Sunday morning in Southern California is under investigation at this time, according the International Herald Tribune.
A second nonfatal highway shooting was already under investigation in Long Beach at the time of Fernando Valley freeway crash, according to the Herald Tribune. The man shot in that accident was hospitalized and treated for non-life-threatening injuries and told authorities it was a case of extreme road-rage.
Rescue crews responded to reports of a rolled over vehicle and finding the man had been shot in the head, they transported him to the hospital in critical condition, where he later died, reported the International Herald Tribune.
Los Angeles police officer Norma Eisenman told reporters that there are “no witnesses, no information? at this time.
The victim of the fatal crash was unidentified except as being a 25 to 30 year-old man, according the LA Times.
These two incidents are the latest in a string of highway shootings, according the International Herald Tribune.
A 46-year-old man was shot while driving on a freeway northeast of Los Angeles in late February.
A 26-year-old man was killed after a shooting in San Fernando Valley on March 1. Two weeks later a 54-year-old woman was found shot in the head in a car crashed on a freeway in eastern Los Angeles County.

One Killed in Saturday Shooting

Minneapolis police are investigating six North Minneapolis shootings, the most recent of which was Saturday at 1 p.m., to find out if they are related, according to KARE 11 News.
One man was killed and another injured, in the Saturday shooting near the intersection of Queen Avenue North and Highway 55, though the police have not confirmed that the two men who drove themselves to the hospital were involved in the shooting at that location, according the KARE 11 report.
According to the Star Tribune, police reported that the men were shot when a car pulled up alongside their car and fired shots into the car.
Police have not identified the two shooting victims at this time.

March 10, 2008

Wolverine Photographed

An Oregon State University graduate student accidentally captured the first –and only photographic – evidence of a wolverine in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains since the 1920’s, according to the Daily Green.
Katie Moriarty was trying to photograph the American marten with her remote-sensing camera, but instead snapped a photo of a wolverine in the Tahoe National Forest, reported the Daily Green.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, scientists will now use further methods of detection to find hair and scat samples that will be analyzed to determine where the wolverine originated.
William Zielinski, a research ecologist with the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Field Research Station and carnivore specialist, said scientists don’t know yet if the wolverine is a Sierra Nevada native or if there is another story behind the sighting there.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently deciding if the wolverine should be placed on the endangered species list, according to The Argus.

March 9, 2008

Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame Induction

The AP reporter advanced the induction of new Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees to be inducted Monday, including Madonna.
The reporter opens the piece with a description of some of Madonna’s previous work, setting up how far-fetched it may seem for her to be among the greats she will join in the Rock Hall.
He doesn’t mention the details of the actual event until the very last sentence, so this story is really not a listing at all. It is more of a story detailing the controversy around the Rock Hall’s selection and broadening of artists inducted.
The only source named in the story is Steve Morse, a Boston Globe music critic who was on the hall of fame’s nominating committee for seven years.
The last few paragraphs of the story spell out some of the details of the night, like who will induct who, while most of the rest of the story questions Madonna’s right to be inducted.
While this story is an advance, it almost reads more like an editorial piece.

University of MInnesota President Addresses Middle-Income Familes

University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks advocated relief for middle-income families hardest hit by rising tuition in his State of the University address Thursday, reported the Star Tribune.
“Middle income families bear the brunt of any increase in tuition and fees,? Bruininks said. According to the Minnesota Daily, he said that the university must try to create a “consistent and substantial level of scholarship and grant support for all middle-income Minnesota students.?
While Bruininks encouraged donors to give more money for need-based financial aid, a significant amount is required to make a difference because most university students are middle-income, reported the Star Tribune.
The president’s address also focused on the university’s goal to become a top public research university.
“If we expect investment and support, we must continue to demonstrate that we are an asset to the state of Minnesota and its citizens,? he said according to the Minnesota Daily.
Bruininks learned shortly before his speech that the Minnesota House had passed a bill including $136 million for university projects, a total about $6 million more than Gov. Pawlenty had recommended, reported the Star Tribune.
“I’m very hopeful it will pass [the Senate] and be signed by the governor,? Bruininks said.

Brother Arrested in Memphis Mass Murder

Police arrested the 33-year-old brother Saturday of one of the six victims of a mass murder that took place earlier this week in Memphis, reported the New York Times.
Jessie L. Dotson, the brother of Cecil Dotson,one of the victims, was charged with six counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to the Times.
Among those killed were two children, ages 2 and 4, both Cecil’s, and four adults, Cecil Dotson, 30; Hollis Seals, 33; Shindri Roberson, 20; and Marissa Rene Williams, 26. Three of Cecil’s children survived the attacks, ages 7, 4 and 10 months, Memphis Director of Police Larry A. Godwin said at a news conference Saturday, according to CNN News.
According to Godwin, the two brothers began arguing last Saturday afternoon and the argument ended in the shooting of the six victims early Sunday in the rental home of Cecil Dotson, reported CNN.
Jessie Dotson was released from prison in January after serving 14 years in prison for second-degree murder in 1994, according to CBS News affiliate WREG.
Verle Jones, Shindri Roberson’s aunt, told WREG that the actions of Jessie Dotson were not those of a brother, but of a “cold-blooded, cold-hearted person.?
“Destroy your own brother and his kids and whoever else is around, that is not a brother. That man is possessed by a devil,? Jones said.
According to CNN, prosecutors said they are seeking the death penalty against Dotson.

March 4, 2008

Call for Truce in Order to Resume Peace Talks

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called for a truce between Israel and Palestinian militants before peace negotiations – suspended in protest of Israel’s offensive in Gaza – could continue, reported BBC News.
More than 110 Palestinians have died in Israel’s offensive in Gaza, including an attack Tuesday killing an infant girl and seriously wounding three others, according to CNN.
According to CNN, Abbas told a news conference that he called on the “Israeli government to halt its aggression so the necessary environment can be created to make negotiations succeed.?
He added that at least 20 children and dozens of civilians died in the Israel’s recent offensive and that “no one can justify the killing actions of the Israeli army over the past few days.?
The attacks Tuesday came only hours after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with President Abbas and called for peace talks to resume, according to the BBC.
Rice said she believed a peace deal within the year is still possible, though it is not an easy task.
She emphasized the importance of a unified focus on peace from all parties, and recognized the recent civilian death toll, saying the Israelis “need to be aware of the effects of these operations on innocent people,? reported ABC News.

March 3, 2008

Annan Leaves Kenya

The former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan left Kenya Sunday after spending five weeks negotiating talks between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, reported the Agence France-Presse.
Annan left with the message that there is still much work to do and that everyone has a part to play in the rebuilding and maintenance of Kenya as a “stable, peaceful, prosperous and welcoming? nation.
Negotiations between the two leaders were an effort to quell violence that broke out after presidential elections in December, which Odinga accused Kibaki of rigging, according to the AFP.
The power-sharing deal reached Thursday created the post of executive prime minister, to be held by Odinga, reported the Associated Press.
According to the AP more than 1,000 people died in the post-election violence.
Annan said Saturday that former Nigerian foreign affairs minister Olu Adeniji will take over mediation now that Annan is gone, reported the AP.

March 2, 2008

New Brighton City Council Member Arrested

A New Brighton City Council Member’s seat is in question after he was arrested by St. Paul police Monday, reported the Pioneer Press.
David Alan Phillips, 58, was one of nine men ticketed in an ongoing, undercover prostitution sting, according the Pioneer Press.
Mayor Steve Larson said the case was a “disaster? and he didn’t know how the city council would respond to the arrest of Phillips, who was elected to the council last year, reported KARE 11 News.
The citation for engaging in prostitution is a misdemeanor that carries on conviction a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, reported the Star Tribune.
According to a brief statement the city made, Phillips had not made a decision regarding his council seat, reported the Tribune.
According to the Tribune Mayor Steve Larson said removing Phillips from the council is not an option, but they could take other action like public censure.

February 27, 2008

Global Seed Vault Opens in Arctic

A frozen “doomsday? vault where millions of the world’s seeds will be stored opened Tuesday in an Arctic mountain in Norway, reported the Associated Press.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built to protect as many as 4.5 million crop seeds from disasters ranging from global warming to nuclear strikes, reported the AP.
According to the AP, the vault was built by the Norwegian government for $9.1 million and will operate like a bank box: Norway owns the bank, but the countries depositing the seeds own them and can use them as needed free of charge.
Among the first seeds placed in the vault were varieties of potatoes, barley, lettuce, aubergines, black-eyed pea, sorghum and wheat, reported the Times Online, though first to be placed was a specially prepared box of rice from 104 countries.

The vault, consisting of three chambers built 400 feet inside a mountain, will be kept at -0.4 F, reported the Times.

Cary Fowler, the executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust that led the project, said the opening of the vault marked a historic turning point in “safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,? reported Scientific American. She added that crop diversity would soon prove to be one of the most important factors in many of the world’s problems including climate change and water and energy supply.

February 25, 2008

Georgia Couple Wins Big

A Portal, Ga. Couple hit the jackpot when they purchased their Mega Millions ticket a a convenience store, reported the Associated Press.
According to the AP Robert and Tonya Harris matched all five numbers plus the Mega Ball, winning the $270 million jackpot in Friday night’s drawing.
According to a spokeswoman for the Georgia Lottery, the Harris’ win has not yet been confirmed since the winning ticket must be presented for verification and the offices are closed until Monday.
Robert Harris said they don’t usually play the lottery, but made an exception this time, using the birthdays of their grandchildren for their numbers, reported the AP.
According to WSAV news the odds of winning the jackpot were one in 176 million, but with their numbers 12-22-19-7-13 and mega number 10, the Harrises beat those odds.
Thirty-six other players matched the five numbers but did not match the Mega Ball, they will receive $250,000 each, according to the Edmonton Sun.

40 Killed in Iraq Suicide Bombing

Forty people were killed Sunday and 46 others were injured outside of Baghdad, when a suicide bomber attacked targeting pilgrims on their way to a Shia holy festival, reported the Daily Times out of Pakistan.
According to the Times the attack in the town of Iskandariva, about 25 miles south of Baghdad, came just hours after militants killed three pilgrims and wounded 36 others in a separate attack in southern Baghdad.
The bomber detonated a vest filled with explosives at a rest stop where Shiite pilgrims had stopped on their way to the Arbaeen ceremony, a major religious ceremony, which will take place on February 28, reported the Agence France-Presse.
A doctor at a hospital in the city of Hilla said that most of the casualties were caused by the people being hit by the balls bearings from the explosion, reported Reuters. The news agency reported that it was one of the deadliest attacks this year in Iraq and occurred despite tightened security.
U.S. brigade commander Colonel Tom James said security at rest areas for pilgrims would be strengthened by Iraqi forces, but said it was “very difficult? to protect everyone, reported Reuters.
According to the U.S. military the suicide attack took place on a two-lane highway where more than 40,000 pilgrims had passed earlier in the day, reported Reuters.

February 21, 2008

FEMA MIsspent MIillions

Government investigators have discovered that FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, misspent millions of dollars, reported the Associated Press.
During a three-month review of FEMA last summer, the inspector general found that more than $13 million in proceeds they received from selling used trailers purchased after Katrina, was spent on sport utility vehicles, travel expenses, purchase card accounts, tree-removal services, agency decals and banners, and global positioning systems, according to the AP.
According to USA Today, the proceeds from those sales, under law, should have been returned to the U.S. Treasury or used for purchase of other trailers for hurricane victims.
James McIntyre, FEMA spokesman, said an immediate hold was put on spending of those funds early last year after officials within the agency recognized the spending problems, reported USA Today.
McIntyre added that while changes have been put in place to assure that funds aren’t misspent in the future, the funds from the sales of used trailers were used for what they were originally intended for — disaster relief and emergency assistance, according to USA Today.

Two Brothers Among Victims of School Bus Crash

The investigation continued today following a school bus crash Tuesday outside the southwestern Minnesota city Cottonwood.
Police released the names of the four victims today, grades 5 through 9, which includes two brothers, Jesse Javens, 13, and Hunter Javens, 9, both of Cottonwood, reported KARE 11. The other two victims were identified as Reed Stevens, 12, of Marshall and Emilee Olson, 9, of Cottonwood, according to KARE 11.
It was released Wednesday that the driver of the van that broadsided the school bus, Alianiss Morales, 23, did not have a driver’s license, reported KARE 11. According to the news station, she is listed in stable condition after injuries sustained from the crash.
Eight students injured in the crash remain hospitalized in Sioux Falls, S.D. and Marshall, reported the Star Tribune.
The school superintendent said it was hard to find words to describe a tragedy like this one and although school will resume Thursday, a memorial service will be held at the school Thursday night, according to the Star Tribune.
All four victims were students of Lakeville School, where Olson’s mother is a physical education teacher and Reed’s mother is a former teacher, according to the Pioneer Press.