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February 25, 2008

Eagan Man Sues St. Paul On Housing Enforcement

An Eagan property owner filed a federal lawsuit Friday against St. Paul officials for violating fair housing laws, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Robert McCampbell, 52, alleged that city officials are violating housing laws by trying to reduce the number of low-income rental units, which has had an impact in minorities such as African-Americans. He says that officials are illegally shutting down apartments with minority tenants by using the by using the building code enforcement system. The lawsuit states that repeated building inspections and condemnations raised costs and drove out low-income tenants.

McCampbell owns two apartment buildings in the Payne/Phalen neighborhood between 2001-2006, with most of his tenants being minorities, according to the <u>Pioneer Press. McCampbell alleged that city officials made it seem like the minority tenants were not welcome in St. Paul and made racist comments toward them

In the lawsuit McCampbell claims that Andy Dawkins, the director of the city's Neighborhood Housing and Property Improvement department from, "strongly suggested in 2005 to low-income landlords that the bottom tier of tenants should be eliminated from St. Paul." (Star Tribune)

Dawkins denied treating tenants different based on race, saying that he is only trying to hold landlords accountable for keeping their buildings up to code.

Vikings' McKinnie Arrested

Minnesota Viking Bryant McKinnie was charged with aggravated battery, disorderly conduct, and risiting arrest after being arrested following a fight at a Miami nightclub Sunday, according to the Star Tribune.

It all began when McKinnie was asked to leave Club Space and began to argue with and spit on security guard Eric Otero, according to the police report. Otero,32, said he wouldn't press charges if McKinnie left, reported the Pioneer Press.

McKinnie did eventually leave to a nearby strip club, but eventually returned to Club Space to fight with Otero again. The authorities were called and according to the Miami police McKinnie was "in the middle of a large crowd, throwing punches and again yelling obscenities. (Pioneer Press)

The Vikings lineman was then arrested and bailed out for $9,000 dollars according to the Pioneer Press. He is being charged with aggravated battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

This is not the first time McKinnie has been in trouble with the law. In 2006 he pleaded guilty for disorderly conduct and being a public nuisance in the "Love Boat" incident.

Missile Strikes Disabled Spy Satellite

An interceptor missile struck a disabled American spy satellite over the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, said the Pentagon according to the New York Times.

The missile was suppose to destroy the fuel tank of the satellite to prevent its 1000 pounds of toxic hydrazine from striking a populated area. Although the satellite revolves the earth every 90 minutes, experts were able to pinpoint a spot were if struck the contents of the tank would fall into the water or less populated areas of the earth.

Though officials don't know immediately weather the tank was destroyed, they are hopeful the mission was completed because they were informed that the interceptor's "kill vehicle" hit the satellite.

The mission marked the first time that a interceptor designed for missile defense was used to strike a satellite, and Pentagon officials stressed that this is a one-time thing, said the Star Tribune.

Officials weren't sure if the missile would be able to hit the small fuel tank, but if it was successful there will be a large amount of research and data that can be studied to improve the nations missile defense technologies.

A Pentagon spokesman refuted the possibility that the mission was designed to test the nation's defense technologies in the first place saying, “This is about reducing the risk to human life on Earth, nothing more.� (New York Times)

Raul Castro Becomes Cuba's New President

Raul Castro was named president by Cuba's parliament Sunday following his brother Fidel's retirement, reported the Associated Press.

Fidel Castro, 81, retired after ruling the communist country for 49 years. There will not be a significant shift in the communist government polices.

Some Cubans were hoping that the change would at least lead to some new economic policies, but that does not appear to be the case. The U.S. has called the change from one Castro to another "transfer of authority and power from dictator to dictator light." (Associated Press)

More evidence of this is the fact that Raul Castro has been effectively ruling Cuba for
19 months already while his brother was recovering from emergency intestinal surgery, according to the Washington Post. Little has changed during that time.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the government to begin a democratic change in the country, saying that Cubans have a right to choose their own leaders.

February 18, 2008

Gophers Basketball Team Falls to Rival Wisconsin

The Minnesota Gophers were on the wrong end of a 56-65 loss at the hand of the Wisconsin Badgers Saturday, all but ending their hope for an NCAA tournament bid, reported the Star Tribune.

Senior guard Lawrence McKenzie three-point basket with just under nine minutes less to play pulled the Gophers even with the Badgers, but the Gophers match Wisconsin run away as they missed their next seven shots in a row.

"It's kind of been our whole deal this whole year," Gophers said senior center Spencer Tollackson. "We haven't really been able to close out the games. I thought we did some things well tonight. Some guys stepped up. We just couldn't finish it." (Star Tribune)

Though admitting the Gophers missed to many late shots, Tubby Smith was not very happy with the officiating of the game, according to the Pioneer Press. Wisconsin took over twice as many foul shots than the Gophers for the game.

Though not likely to make the NCAA tournament, anything over the Gopher's abysmal 9-22 record last year is an improvement. The Gophers are currently 15-9 overall, and 5-7 in the Big Ten, with six games left before the Big Ten Tournament. At the point the Gophers seem likely destined for the NIT tournament, barring a huge run at the conference tourney.

Afghan Suicide Bombing Kills At Least 80 People

A suicide bomber killed at least 80 people Sunday when he blew himself up among a crowd watching a dog fighting competition in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.

At least 90 more people were injured in the worst Afghanistan bombing since 2001. After the bomb went off some of the guards at the site began shooting, and it is unclear how many deaths were caused by cross-fire as opposed to the bomb itself.

Afghanistan has been a country riddled with violence the past year; in 2007 there were a record of at least 140 suicide attacks and one bombing in November that killed 70 people. Kandahar Gov. Asadullah Khalid thinks the bombing was the work of the Taliban, according to the Star Tribune.

Many battles have taken place at Kandahar, which is a former stronghold for the Taliban, between NATO and Taliban forces over the past two year.

Among the gathered crowd were many Afghan militia leaders, including a well known one who opposed the Taliban and may have been the target, according to officials.

The Taliban has denied any involvement in the attack, "That is not our work and I will not take responsibility for it," said a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi. (Star Tribune)

Eight Killed At Illegal Street Race

A car killed eight people after running right into a crowd watching an illegal street race in Accokeek, Maryland early Saturday morning according to the Baltimore Sun.

Some spectators had stepped onto the road to get a better look at who had won the race, which took place between two cars on an unlighted intersection on Route 210, when a Ford Crown Victoria ran right into the crowd. Seven of the eight victims died at the scene of the accident, and five more people were injured in the crash, though the driver of the car was uninjured.

At the beginning of the race the two cars spun there tires, resulting in debris and smoke which police believe helped cause the crash. Police didn’t comment on if the driver had his BAC tested or had his headlights on.

Police said there were about 50 people gathered and the victims in the crash ranged from their 20’s to 60’s.


The stretch of highway has been the site of illegal street races for approximately 25 years, and despite many calls from nearby residents a permanent solution was never found, According to the New York Times.

"This is a tragedy, no matter how you look at it. It's a tragedy all the way around," said County Police spokesman Cpl. Clinton Copeland. "We're not trying to put blame on anybody. We're just trying to find out what happened and to avoid it from happening again." (Baltimore Sun)

Four-Year-Old Boy Beat to Death


Carla Poole was arrested Sunday Feb.10th for beating four-year-old Demond Reed to death, reported the Star Tribune.

Poole 37, cousin of Demond's father, Tony Reed, agreed to take Demond in when Reed was sent to the Hennepin County workhouse for marijuana possession, according to the Pioneer Press.

Poole had said that the boy had been taken by a woman named Shawna Williams when Reed’s girlfriend came to pick him up. According to Demond’s grandmother, Charmon Brown.

The story and the name were completely made up as Demond was already dead at that point. Police found the body a few days later in a garbage bag in a closet of Poole’s duplex in North Minneapolis.

Police say that Demond was beaten for wetting his pants. Poole had two of her four children, ages four and six, hold down Demond while she beat him. At least one of the other two children witnessed the beating.

Poole contemplated calling the 911, but eventually decided not to out of fear, according to one of Poole’s children, and 11-year-old girl. The boy had a seizure and threw up, and eventually stopped breathing. The next morning the 11-year old said Demond’s body was “frozen�. (Pioneer Press) Poole through a blanket over Demond and moved him to the closet two days later.

Structure

I will be analyzing the structure for the Star Tribune article on the death of Demond Reed. The Story starts with a lead about the arrest of Poole for beating Reed and gives details about when, where, and how Demond died. Then the story went into the key details of what happened leading up to the death of Reed. This part was pretty much a summary of the story about Reed’s disappearance that ran last week. Next the article talked about the search for Reed and how they discovered him. I think the organization of this story was effective. The reader receives all the vital facts up front. Then the article refreshes the reader with what they presumably already know about the story, because the information ran last week. But it was still good to review what was already known about the case, before leaping ahead to the new information about the searching and discovering of the body. I think this method helped guide the reading clearly through the process of what happened. Chronologically the story is a little bit confusing, considering the boy was already dead when his disappearance was announced last week, but the was this story was structured helps keep everything strait for the reader.

Twins Sign Hernandez

The Minnesota Twins signed starting pitcher Livan Hernandez to a one year-year contract Tuesday, reported the Star Tribune.

Hernandez, 32, was 11-11 with a 4.93 ERA for the Arizona Diamondbacks last year.

The one-year contract for Hernandez is worth a guaranteed $5 million and could be worth as much as $7 million based on his performance, according to the Pioneer Press. Hernandez is a two-time all star and was the MVP when his Florida Marlins won the World Series in 1997, and his career record is 134-128 with a 4.25 ERA.

"He's a guy who can give us some innings, a steady guy," said Twins general manager Bill Smith. (Pioneer Press)
Hernandez has indeed been one of the most durable pitchers of his era as he has pitched at least 199 innings in each of his past 10 seasons, including leading the entire league in innings pitched in each season since 2003.

The signing is following the departure of former Twins Johan Santana and Carlos Silva, who combined pitched 421 innings in 2007. Before signing Hernandez, the Twins had no starting pitchers older that 26 or with more than 48 major-league starts.

"We are expecting him to be a veteran leader, a presence on the pitching staff," said Smith, who is counting on Hernandez for another 200 solid innings. (Pioneer Press)

February 11, 2008

Garnett Honored at Wolves Game

Former Timberwolf Kevin Garnett received a 90-second ovation from the sellout crowd at the Target Center Friday night, reported the Pioneer Press.
Garnett was traded to the Celtics this past off-season and it was his first return to the place he played for his first 12 years in the NBA. The Wolves have drawn poorly all year, Friday was only their third sellout, but everyone came to see Garnett Friday, even if it was only for a couple minutes as Garnett is still sidelined with an abdominal injury and was unable to play.
The fans made the short time last though giving Garnett a standing ovation immediately after he emerged from the tunnel onto the court before he went back into the Celtic's dressing room, where he has insisted on watching games since he's been sidelined, according to the Star Tribune.
Garnett was a legend in Minneapolis, the cornerstone and fan favorite of the Wolves since his arrival.
"Kevin's such a good guy and he was here for such a long time," Wolves' vice president of basketball opertaions Kevin McHale said. "We spent so many hours in this gym working on his game. But it's a transient business by nature. Now it's been a while (since the trade). I really enjoy the guys we've got here. You do move on, though. That's part of it." (Pioneer Press)
Unfortunately the new guys couldn't close out the Celtics, even without Garnett, as the fell 88-86 on a last second shot.

University of Minnesota Tuition Expected to Surpass $10,000

The price of tuition at the University of Minnesota will almost certainly surpass 10 grand for the first time, reported the Star Tribune.
The tuition hike has been expect for while, but Friday any glimmer of hope to keep the price-tag of the University from reaching five figures was doused, even though the increase won't officially be released until April.
"I don't see any possibility that we can roll it back," said University President Robert Bruininks following a presentation to the school's regents Friday. (Star Tribune)
The increase is attributed in part to not enough money coming from the state government. The increase is expected to be 7.5 percent more that previous tuition for families making over $150,000 per year and 5.5 percent for families making less.
Tuition at the University has been increasing by more and more for the past four decades.
According to the Pioneer Press undergraduate tuition and fees at the University rose 10 percent during the 1970s, 42 percent in the 1980s, 37 percent in the 1990s and 66 percent in the first seven years of this decade, making it one of the most expensive state universities in the entire country.
This is an alarming fact for students, who are finding it more and more difficult to pay for college every year. Bruininks said that 60.5 percent of students graduating in four years receive loans and the average debt is about $20,500 when talking to the regents on Friday.
"Compared to what our parents paid for school, it's ridiculous," said Anthony West, a freshman from Mahtomedi. (Star Tribune)

Attribution

In the article about Indian doctor from the Star Tribune, there were several sources used. Two newspapers, the Toronto Star and the Times of India, were used in the article. The article also used local news reports and the Indian police as sources of their information, though the local news report they used isn't named. There are also many times throughout the article where the words "police", and "authorities" are use which may be referring back to the Indian police. The information from the police is scattered throughout the article probably because it is the main source being used. Each newspaper that was used has its own little paragraph with all of the information, so it's easy for the reader to keep track of what is going on. The format for attribution in this article is that the writer cited the Indian police at the beginning, and proceeded to use words like "police", "authorities" and "investigators" for the remainder of the story. This is somewhat confusing because they all could very well be referring back to the Indian police, but I can't be sure. It was effective how the writer kept the information from the two newspaper together, but it really would not have made sense to do it any other way. I did like though how the writer separated the two newspaper sources in the article though to avoid confusing.

Indian Doctor Suspected of Running Illegal Kidney Transplant Business Arrested

The fugitive Indian doctor suspected of being the mastermind behind an illegal kidney operation was arrested Thursday in Chitwan by Nepalese police, reported the Star Tribune
Police say Amit Kumar was the head of an illegal organ trading operation based in Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi. He was identified at a resort by an hotel employee who recognized him from the news.
Kumar illegal took up to 500 kidneys from patients, many of whom were unwilling. Some were promised construction jobs in return for their kidney, some were held on the operating table by gunpoint.
The kidneys were then sold over the past nine years to people visiting India, which has become an increasingly popular destination to undergo surgeries and transplants because of their low cost of medical care.
Kumar has been accused of organ schemes in the past and authorities believed he had fled the country, possibly to Toronto where his wife and two sons live. The Toronto Star Reported that Kumar has been traveling back and forth between Canada and Toronto for the past two years.
Kumar's wife, Poonam, believes that her husband had nothing to do with the accused crimes.
"He only did operations. He didn't know who was coming or going. He was the surgeon. He just did the operations," said Kumar's wife.

Police Find Body of Missing 4-year-old.

The body of a four-year-old who had disappeared for a Minneapolis home was discovered Sunday by the police, reported the Pioneer Press.
Police have been searching for Demond Reed as well as Shawna Williams, 38, since Wednesday when they disappeared from a home in north Minneapolis where Reed lives with relatives, reported the Star Tribune.
"We really, I don't think, have a clue," said Sgt. William Palmer of the Minneapolis Police Department as to why Reed left the home. (Star Tribune)
Reed had been left with relatives since he was brought to Minneapolis by mother his to visit his incarcerated father. Her mother then returned to Chicago, but has since come back to the Twin Cities.
The police are investigating the death as a homicide, but no charges have been filed yet. They did take a woman into questioning but would not say how the woman is related to the boy. The woman Reed left with, Williams, is believed to be an acquaintance of the relatives which Reed had been staying with.
Though it is being investigated as a homicide, the cause of death is still unknown.
"A lot of the details in this case have been fairly unclear," said Palmer. (Pioneer Press)

February 10, 2008

Giants Top Patriots in Super Bowl 17-14

The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII on Sunday, Feb. 4, reported the New York Daily News.
The Patriots were previously undefeated and heavily favored going into the game but suffered one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history
Giants quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning led his team on a game winning drive late in the fourth quarter capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds to go to receiver Plaxico Burress, reported the News Journal.
The final drive included one of the most spectacular plays in Super History. Facing 3rd-and-five on their own side of the field, Manning somehow managed to escape the hold of three Patriots defenders and completed a 32-yard pass to reliever David Tyree, who came down holding the ball with one hand against his helmet.
This improbable drive came just minutes after Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady led his team to the end-zone to put his team up 14-10, it what looked like another textbook fourth quarter rally for Brady.
But Manning stole the show and shut up his critics once and for all in what has been a tough season for the Manning and the Gaints, who started the season 0-2 and entered the playoffs as a number five seed.
"I don't even know what to say, man," said Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. "I mean this team, this season, where we started and where we ended was totally unexpected. Five weeks ago I couldn't have told you that we'd beat the Patriots." (New York Daily News)

February 4, 2008

Rebels advance into Chad's capitol

Hundreds or Rebels forced their way into the capitol city of Chad, N'Djamena, on Saturday, reported the Washington Post.
After a three day trip across the desert from the direction of the Sudanese border, the rebel trucks came through the town shooting off guns. The rebel force is made up of three groups led by Mahamat Nouri and Timane Erdimi, who is a close relative of current of current Chad president Idriss DĂ©by, according The Guardian.
Apparently the government was caught of gaurd by the swiftness of the roughly 250 vehicle attack. It is still unclear though whether the rebels of the government is in control.
Radio France International was told by the rebels that an offered to arrange for the departure of president Deby had been made in order to "avoid a pointless bloodbath." (Washington Post)
But Cherif Mahamat Zene, the Chadian ambassador to Ethiopia, contains that the government is still in control. He also believe that Sudan is the source of the rebels and the weapons in this attack.
U.S. officials say that the rebels have not taken over the city yet, but that the fighting remains intense.

15-year-old boy charged for murdering family.

A boy in Baltimore county in Maryland has confessed to shooting his parents and two brothers on Friday, according to Maryland Wire. 15-year old Nicholas Browning was charged with first degree murder of his family members John, 45; Tamara, 44; Gregory, 13, and Benjamin, 11.
According the Associated Press, Browning used his father's handgun to shoot all of his family in their at their house Friday and the tossed the handgun into some near by bushes. Browning hung out with friends then until 5 p.m the next day when he arrived home and stagged the discovery of the murders and told his friends to call 911.
Early the next morning Nicholas admitted to the murders and was charged as adult with four counts of first-degree murder. But even charged as an adult Browning is too young to face the death penalty according to state law. (Maryland Wire)
Nicholas was a sophomore at the prestigious Dulaney High School in Timonium, a suburb of Baltimore. He was an active member of the Boy Scouts and was on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. Friends said he sometimes complained about his father but never included anything violent.
A group consisting of mainly teenagers gathered at Browning's home Sunday night for a candle vigil, mourning the tremendous loss for the community.

Gophers wrestlers fall short of number one ranked Iowa

The Minnesota Gophers wrestling team lost 13-20 against Iowa Friday in front of over 7,000 fans at Williams arena, according the Pioneer Press.
The fourth ranked Gophers got off to a great start when number one ranked sophomore Jayson Ness recoded a 14-2 major decision over number three ranked Charlie Falck of the Hawkeyes, giving the Gophers four team points. But consecutive decisions in toss-up matches at 133 and 141 for the Hawkeyes gave them a 6-4 lead in the team score and put a huge dent in Gopher's hope of knocking off thier top ranked rival from Iowa.
Going into the last weight class, the Gophers were trailing the Hawkeyes 13-17 and needed a big win from red-shirt freshman Ben Berhow, but he fell 7-3 to sixth ranked senior Matt Fields of Iowa.
The most highly anticipated match of the night was suppose to be the 149 pound weight class which featured number one ranked Brett Metclaf of Iowa and number two Ranked Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota but Schlatter was not able to wrestle because of an injury that his held him out since late December, according to RevWrestling.
It was a tough loss in what has been a difficult year for the Gophers. Minnesota started off the season ranked number one after winning the NCAA championship last year, but have already suffered four dual meet losses on the year.

Presidential Candidate Clinton comes to Minneaplis

Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton spoke to a crowd of nearly 4,000 people at Augsburg College in Minneapolis on Sunday, reports the Star Tribune.
Clinton talked for over 30 minutes on topics ranging from affordable health care to protecting the environment. The stop was one of many across the nation for Clinton in a last ditch effort to gain some votes before the primaries on Tuesday. Minnesota is one of 24 states that will be holding primaries on Tuesday. Clinton's visit comes on the heals of democrat party rival Barack Obama speaking in front of nearly 20,000 at the Target Center Saturday.
According to the Pioneer Press, Clinton was slightly ahead of Obama in a statewide poll the final week before the primaries.
That was taken before candidate John Edwards dropped out of the race though. A deciding factor may be who the Edwards supporters not choose to vote for. Former Edwards supporter Will Labovitch, 28, of South St. Paul, attended both the Clinton and Obama and events and is leaning towards Clinton.
"The trouble is it felt like a church revival, not a political campaign rally," Labovitch said of the Obama event. "I think I might give Hillary a shot." (Pioneer Press)

Santana traded to Mets

The Star Tribune reported wednesday that Twins star pitcher Johan Santana has been traded to the New York Mets for four prospects.
In exchange for Sanatana, the Twins accepted Minnesota accepted outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey and Philip Humber from the Mets. The Twins have been knowingly shopping Santana for several months, but many have blamed them for being too patient and not accepting earlier alleged deals from the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
The Twins have been publicly ridiculed for making this deal which dealt the two time cy-young winner Santana for a handful of prospects not even sure bets to make the Twins opening-day roster this spring. Even though Santana still had one-year left on his current contract, the Twins were looking to trade him now as they were not expecting to re-sign him once his contract was up, due to his incredibly high anticipated price tag. Despite the seemingly lopsided trade Twins owner Bill Smith believes he made the right move in dumping Santana now.
"It would have been a distraction. ... Every day the home media, the visiting media, every day, wants to know where you're going to be next year," said Smith."It would have been a little bit of a distraction, I think, for everybody on the team." (Pioneer Press)
The Santana trade is tough to swallow for Minnesota fans, especially since another hometown favorite, Torii Hunter, has already departed this off-season.