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March 29, 2008

Twins Lock up Closer Nathan for Four Years

The Minnesota Twins Signed Closer Joe Nathan to a four-year, $47 million contract Monday, reporter the Pioneer Presshttp://www.twincities.com//ci_8686162?IADID=Search-www.twincities.com-www.twincities.com.

The deal will make Nathan, 33, the second highest paid closer in all of baseball, only behind Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees. If any closer deserves that kind of money though, its Nathan, who went 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA and 37 saves last season. Since 2004 he has recorded 160 saves for the Twins, which ties him for the leagues best over that period of time with Rivera.

Nathan was in the final year of his previous deal, which was set to pay him $6 million. That will now be replaced by the $11.25 million he is set to make in each year of this new contract. The deal also includes a $12.5 million team option for 2012. The Twins had plenty of money to use to lock up Nathan after the departure of Johan Santana, Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva, which left the team significantly under their budgeted payroll.

The Twins now have four major components of their team locked up through 2010, when the new ballpark open. They include Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Nathan.

Nathan cites manager Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson as reason why he wanted to remain a Twin, according to the Associated Press.

"With the way they handle the pitchers here, they take care of us," Nathan said. "They worry more about careers than they do seasons. They think long term more than they do short term." (Associated Press)

Analysis on Obits

I will be analyzing the obituary written in the New York Times about Robert Fagles, the famous translator of the classics. The lead is exactly like the one we learned in class. It begins with the his name, then identifies him as a famous translator, followed by the time and place of his death. The first paragraph also ends in a 3 word sentence that says "He was 74." This is also exactly how a standard obit is written. I think the lead works well in that you get the most important information about who Fagles was in the very first sentence.
There were many sources use in this obit, which was pretty extensive. The reported obviously used some sort of bibliography for some of the information, but also brought in a variety of other sources. The reported used quotes from a New York Times interview in 2006, as well as a of his colleagues at Princeton University, who commented on his style as a translator

Famous Translator of the Classics Dies

Robert Fagles, a famous translator of Latin and Greek and an emeritus professor at Princeton University died Wednesday at his home in Princeton, N.J. of prostate cancer, according to the New York Times.

Fagles, 74 when he died, was one of very few people to tackle all three of the great classical epics. He published “The Iliad,? in 1990; “The Odyssey,? in 1996; and “The Aeneid,? which came out in 2006. Each one was published by Viking. His translations of these classic poems became bestsellers and fixtures in in classrooms across the country, each selling millions of copies.

The success of Fagles's translations over the countless other versions of the same work was due to his unique style as a writer. Instead of writing completely literally translations, he would reinterpret the works into a more contemporary translations that were "remarkable for their narrative energy and verve." (New York Times)

"No translator of major writers in the Western literary tradition has ever met with the kind of success that Robert Fagles has enjoyed. His 'trilogy,' both epics of Homer and that of Virgil, has brought these texts to life for over a million readers. It was a joy to share some of his joy in that success with him, just as it was sadness to watch his brave, slow battle with pain," said Robert Hollander, professor of European literature and French and Italian emeritus and a colleague for some 40 years at Princeton University. (News at Princeton)

High School Coach Turned in for Providing Alchohol to Minors

David Albrecht, a Woodbury High School Assistant Wrestling Coach, has been accused by five of his wrestlers for offering them bear at the state high school wrestling tournament according to police, reported the Pioneer Press Monday.

Albrecht, 21, walked into a St. Paul Hotel room Feb. 29 with a case of beer and two high school girls, according to the search warrant affidavit filed in Ramsey County District Court. He then offered beer everyone in the room according to the document. In the room were five Woodbury high school wrestlers, all underage, according to the Star Tribune.

The wrestlers left the room, but when they returned and Albrecht was still there they reported him to school authorities, according to Dennis Lazenbury, father of one of the boys in the room.

Albrecht has not been charged yet, but is being investigated for providing alchohol to minors, which is a gross misdemenor. Albrecht was a former wrestler at Woodbury and was in his first year as assistant coach.

"My son, it bothered him a lot that he was put in that situation," said Lazenberry."The kids stuck together and did the right thing in an awkward situation."
(Star Tribune)

March 10, 2008

St. Paul Man Shot and Killed at Bar

A St. Paul man was shot and killed outside a bar in St. Paul's East Side early Saturday morning, reported the <u>Star Tribune.

Blaine Christofferson, 39, was shot Cherry Pit bar around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. After being shot he was transported to Regions Hospital where he was pronounced dead after a short period of time, according to Kare 11 News.

Two men who knew Christofferson connected with the killing are expected to be charged soon, according to police. Although they are not positive police are pretty sure this was not a random shooting but that the tho parties did know each other, according to Kare 11 News.

Christofferson was on the other end of a similar incident in 1989 only about a mile from were he was shot Saturday. He was convicted for his association with an armed robbery attempt that ended up with a drug dealer dead. He was charged along with three other men connected to the killing, which involved a dispute over money. Christofferson plead guilty to attempted aggravated robbery and serving two years in prison.

Jason Fyten, 25, is the son of the man shot in the 1989 incident. "I'm sorry it happened to him and it's too bad he didn't seem to change his life around so it didn't happen to him," Fyten said. (Star Tribune)

Event Coverage

My analysis is on an article from the Minnesota Daily that previewed the Big Ten Wrestling Championships that were held at Williams Arena March 8-9.

In the article, the author quoted head wrestling coach J Robinson, as well as wrestlers Jayson Ness and Tyler Safratowitch. Besides those three sources, the author also used rankings taken from W.I.N. Magazine.

The angle of the story was that the Gophers would have their 'ideal' team on the mat for the first time this year. The author noted the wrestlers that had missed time with injuries.

The angle for the story was nothing overly creative or earth-shattering, but I think it was a worthwhile take on the upcoming event. Obviously injuries can play a major role in how sports teams do, and it was good to inform the readers of all the hurdles the wrestling team has faced this year. If a casual observer took note of how the team has underachieved significantly this year, they might be wondering what happened to the University of Minnesota Wrestling team that won nationals last year. By explaining how this weekend would be the first time the Gophers have their top wrestlers all in the lineup gives some context to the season they have had so far.

All things considered it was an informative article for the casual observer and gave all the necessary facts of the upcoming event as well as a relevant and somewhat interesting angle.

Minnesota Takes Second Place in the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament

The Minnesota Gophers placed 2nd at this years Big Ten Wrestling Championships held March 8-9 at Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota.

The Gophers qualified nine out of ten weight classes for the NCAA Championships to be held in two weeks, but had no champions in the tournament. All four of the Gophers finalists lost close matches in the final round: Jayson Ness at 125 pounds, Manual Rivera at 141, Dustin Schlatter at 149 and Gabe Dretsch at 174. The Gophers finished with 112.5 teams points, finishing second to rival Iowa, who had 125 team points.

The Hawkeyes qualified nine wrestlers for nationals as well. They also had one champ, Brett Metcalf at 149, who beat Minnesota's Schlatter in a highly anticipated title bout.

The tournament was the first time that the Gophers have had there entire regular lineup wrestling together, according to the Minnesota Daily. Schlatter had missed most of the season with a hamstring injury, and his brother C.P. at 157 and Roger Kish at 184 both missed significant time during the season as well. Unfortunately the injuries may still be an issue with the latter two, as both C.P. Schlatter and Kish had to injury default out of their semi-finals match.

The Gophers had a 12.5 point lead over Iowa after Saturday's wrestling, according to the Star Tribune, but were unable to make it hold up. The overall attendance for the event was 19,891 over the course of the three sessions of the tournament,

Missing Fridley Girl Found

A 4-year-old missing Fridley girl was found alive and safe in Minneapolis Friday, according to the Pioneer Press.

Police found the Anastasia Jones with her non-custodial mother and her boyfriend, according to Janell Rasmussen, spokesperson for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension..The mother, 19-year old Miracle Angel Flowers, had taken Jones from the Hennepin County Medical Center where she was visiting, reported the Star Tribune.

Witnesses were able to describe Jones and the care her mom was driving, and police called for an Amber Alert Friday afternoon. The car was a 1996 Sebring convertible, and the driver possible may have been 37-year-old Marlon Keith Jackson, according to the Pioneer Press. The alert was sent to the media and posted on electronic billboards along the highway. The car was found abandoned just a few hours latter, and by around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday police had found Jones.

Flowers had recently lost her parental rights to Jones, and she and her boyfriend are now in custody.

The disappearance of Jones Friday triggered the first Amber Alert of the year. The Amber Alert is a public notification program that was started in 2002. Since the program was started an Amber Alert has been enacted 22 times.

Arizona Considering Allowing Guns On College Campuses

An lawmaker in Arizona is sponsoring a bill that would allow people on public colleges and universities to carry guns, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

State Senator Karen S. Johnson is sponsoring a bill that would allow students and professors with a concealed weapons permit to carry their guns around campus. Johnson believes that the shootings in the past year at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois may have been avoided if this law was in place.

The bill was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week by a 4-3 vote. Originally the bill was to allow guns at all public schools, but was amended to exclude K-12 institutions. The bill still has a couple more hurdles to face however, including opposition from the The Arizona Board of Regents.

The board unanimously passed a resolution opposing the new bill at their meeting in Tempe Friday, according to the Mohave Daily News. The resolution stats the the university campuses in Arizona should all be completely weapon free.

Arizona is not alone in this controversy. Currently 15 other states are considering laws that would make it easier to carry guns on public colleges and universities, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a Washington nonprofit organization. (New York Times)

March 7, 2008

Violence in Baghdad Continues with Twin Bombs

At least 54 people were killed in Baghdad Thursday when two bombs stuck a busy shopping area in the city, reported the New York Times.

Iraqi authorities reported 54 deaths and 123 more wounded according to the New York Times, but by early Friday an official said the toll had escalated to 69 people, according the <u>China Daily.

The bombing was especially deadly because of a tactic used by the bombers in which one bomb is set off followed by another a few minutes later. The second bomb killed many of the civilians, policemen and emergency officials who rushed to help the victims of the first bomb. Chucks of human flesh were sprayed for as far as 50 yards, according to the New York Times.

It does not appear to be clear how the second bomb was detonated. Some witnesses said it was strapped to a suicide bomber, but other think it may have been planted beforehand. Witnesses said the first bomb had been planted in a trashcan.

Baghdad has seen an increase in violence the past few weeks. Just back in February a series of bombings killed nearly 100 at two pet stores. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called this most recent bombing an attack against the Iraqi people.

"The remnants of terrorism committed a new heinous crime against innocent civilians in Karrada district in Baghdad which claimed the lives of many civilians and wounded many others." (China Daily)


March 3, 2008

Woman Thrown Into Traffic in Road Rage Incident

A Prior Lake woman was thrown into oncoming traffic on Hwy. 169 by a man in a road-rage Monday, according to the Star Tribune.

Jennifer Boulden, 34 and mother of five, had just made a legal U-turn when she missed her exit to Shakopee, when the man behind her started honking and motioning for her pull over. She pulled her car over and the man was screaming at her.She got out and walked over to his truck to apologize. When the man continued cursing and yelling Boulden tried to call 911. The man then seized her phone and threw it into the road, and then picked up Boulden herself and tossed her into the road.

"I remember rolling over and hearing skidding brakes. A lady got out and stopped traffic. A man ran and scooped me up and carried me to side of road," Boulden said. (Star Tribune)

Boulden was released from St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee on Thursday, but may need surgery after suffering two herniated discs in her spinal column, as well as both a severely injured lower back and right leg.

Scott County investigators are not sure that they will ever catch the man who threw Boulden into traffic, as he sped off from the scene quickly and no one could get his license plate number, according to Kare 11 News.

All the information the authorities have so far is that the main was driving a truck, likely with a camper shell. Neither Boulden or any of the witnesses could provide a description of the man or the truck.

"It's going to be very difficult unless another witness comes forward," said Captain Greg Muelken of the Scott County Police. (Kare 11 News)

Blackouts In Florida Affect One Million People

An enormous blackout came across Florida on Tuesday, affecting almost one million businesses and houses, reported the New York Times.

The blackout trapped many people in elevators and shut down many traffic lights, causing a huge spike in car accidents, though no injuries were reported. The blackout also knocked out two nuclear reactors.

The blackout began in a substation in western Miami-Dade County due to “some equipment failure?, according to Florida Power & Light. The blackout soon spread throughout nearly all of southern Florida. (New York Times)

But as of Wednesday the Florida Power & Light Company is still unsure of how a minor equipment failure triggered sure a far reaching blackout, according to the Star Tribune.

Initially there was some fear of an act of terrorism, but Mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Alvarez said that was not the case.

“There is absolutely no evidence that there was any foul play involved in this power outage,? Alvarez said. (New York Times)

The outage could have been worse if power companies had not adopted measures following blackouts in August 2003 that crippled much of the state. According to power industry officials the system worked correctly after the initial blackout, and nearly everyone had there power back in a couple of hours.

March 2, 2008

A Top Pakistani Military Official Killed In Suicide Bombing

A suicide bomber killed the Pakistani Army’s surgeon general and seven others on Monday, reported the Daily Times

Lieutenant General Mushtaq Baig, the highest ranking military official killed since Pakistan joined the U.S. led war on terror, died when a teenager blew himself up near a military convoy on a road in Rawalpindi. The bomber approached Baig's car on foot at a stoplight and then blew himself up, according to the army, reported the New York Times.

The eight deaths included five civilians, and 25 more people were wounded.

The Pakistani Army doesn't think Baig was a specific target.

“In my judgment, he was just waiting for a senior army officer,? said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. “When he saw a staff car with the signature of a senior officer, he carried out the attack.? (New York Times)

Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistani Army, has been the scene of a number of attacks on military personnel in the last few months. However the attack marks the first time a high-military official has been killed since 9/11, said Abbas in the Daily Times.

The attacker is unknown, but according to sources body parts of the bomber are being sent to the Combined Military Hospital for DNA testing, according to the Daily Times.


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Apple Valley Enjoys Record Setting Day In State Wrestling Tournament

Apple Valley added to their already extensive list of records at the state wrestling tournament at the Xcel Energy Center Saturday, reported the Star Tribune.

In addition to tacking another team title on to bring their all-time record to 16, the Eagles broke the record of most all-time state champs for one team with 52, breaking the previous mark of 50.

Apple Valley simple overpowered all comers in the team portion of the competition, winning their three duals by a combined score of 154-31. They crushed Albert Lea 57-6 in the title match, recording their 9th team title in the last 10 years.

In the individual competition, Apple Valley had 7 finalists, including 5 champs. The Champions for Apple Valley were: eight-grader Eric Devos at 103 pounds, freshman Destin McCauley at 119, junior Justin Lavalle at 130, senior Matt Mincey at 135, and sophomore Tyler Lehmann at 171.

Apple Valley had a finalist in each of the first six weights. For McCauley and Mincey, this was there 3rd consecutive individual title. For Devos it was his 2nd strait. Both Devos and McCauley have a chance to become Minnesota's first six-time individual state champions.

The five chamions for the Eagles tied the state record for most champs in a single year set by Forest Lake in 1993. The record would have been broken if it weren't for brothers Matt and Tom Kelliher both suffering upsets in the finals.

Following the tournament opposes coaches heaped praises on this record setting team, lead by its dominate lower-weights.

"This is the best individual-tournament team they have ever had,'' Cambridge-Isanti coach Neil Jennissen said. "They have seven kids that can win any tournament they walk into, and that includes at the national level. <u>(Pioneer Press)

Vikings Sign Big Time Free Agent

The Minnesota Vikings agreed to a six-year contract with free agent wide receiver Bernard Berrian Saturday, addressing the teams need for an upgrade at the receiver position, reported the Star Tribune.

Berrian, formerly of the Chicago Bears, signed a six-year deal worth $42 million, including $16 million in guaranteed money.

Berrian, 27, was the Viking's number one free agent target. The Vikings have already been busy this off season, signing both safety Madieu Williams and fullback Thomas Tapeh to long term deals. Tapeh played college football at the University of Minnesota. The Vikings came into the off season $37 million under the salary cap, and has showed a willingness to spend it.

Head Coach Brad Childress felt the need to upgrade his receiving corps this off season, sighting the positon as a weakness last season.

"We have the running game where we want, and you don't want to be one-dimensional in this league because (opposing defenses) can gang up on you, whether you're only passing it or running it, so this will help us average that out," Childress said. (Pioneer Press)

Last season with Chicago, Berrian led the team in catches (71), receiving yards (951) and receiving touchdowns (five). He views him self as the Vikings new number one receiver, according to the Pioneer Press, as does Childress.