April 2011 Archives

Record and analysis with computer skills reporting: Analysis

The article I analyzed was from AnnArbor.com.

In this story, the reporter used computer-assisted reporting to help move the story along. The story is about high radon levels in a basement where police in Ann Arbor, Mich. worked.

It used records and analysis from the past to give the story merit. For instance, in the analysis it compared the level of radon in the building compared to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's action level. The article claimed the levels in the basement were seven times the action level. By doing this, it puts into perspective the risk the officers were asked. I, for one, do not know much about radon levels. But, if you tell me that a building's radon level is seven time what the EPA says it should be, I know that something is not right and there is a story to be told.

This reporter uses computer skills to put numbers and averages into perspective. The reporter uses statistics from the EPA to give the reader an ideal of the exact number. The EPA gives a statistic and the reporter breaks it down and gives an exact number.

The reporter uses the records to enhance the analysis. The whole article averages and comparisons are being broke down to make his points. Some of these numbers have been figured out by using a computer. Averages and EPA radon levels have been analyzed by computer reporting to advance the story.

A Shoreview woman plead guilty of embezzling nearly $400,000 from her employer in a Minneapolis federal court on Monday, the Star Tribune reported.

Kimberly D. Swenson, 38, who worked as a client services specialist for Minneapolis-based Allianz Life Insurance Co., admitted that she embezzled money from the company from 2008 through 2010, according to the Star Tribune.

Swenson faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud. The sentencing date has yet to be scheduled, according to the Pioneer Press.

Four civilians and one soldier were killed by a suicide bomber at a local peace committee in Pakistan on Saturday, CNN.com reported.

The attack on the security forces convoy also injured five civilians and two more soliders in the Bajaur district town of Sarlarzai, according to CNNcom.

Pakistani anit-Taliban militia leader Malik Manasib Khan, who had survived four previous attempts on his life, was killed when the bomber blew himself up before the vehicle Khan was in, Google News reported.

The bombing has yet to be claimed by any party, according to Google News.

14-year-old boy rescued by nurse in Bloomington hotel pool

A nurse rescued a 14-year-old boy at the bottom of a Bloomington hotel pool on Thursday, according to the Star Tribune.

The nurse, who asked that her name not be released, performed CPR after pulling the boy out of the water. The boy, who was not breathing but did have a pulse at the time of the incident, was conscious and talking when he was taken to Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina for observation, the Star Tribune reported.

The boy was said to be underwater for a few minutes at the Bloomington Sheraton until the nurse, who happened to be in the pool area, pulled him out, according to Kare11.com.

Police said no further investigation is needed and what happened was an accident, Kare11.com reported.

Selig and Major League Baseball take Dodgers from McCourt

Frank McCourt's ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers was taken over by Major League Baseball on Wednesday, YAHOO! reported.

A trustee will be appointed by Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Selig told McCourt, who is preparing to sue MLB, the day-to-day operations and business aspects of the club will be overseen by the trustee yet to be announced, according to YAHOO!.

McCourt, who has had known financial issues dating back to at least 2009, needed a $30-million loan from Fox to meet the Dodgers' first payroll of the 2011 season. Selig stepped in as the Dodgers had more than $430 million in long-term debt as of 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported.

McCourts' divorce with Jamie McCourt has remained unresolved while McCourt has been unable to seal a solution for managing the Dodgers' debts, and improving their stadium and team. Tickets sales are around 17,000 this year, which is down 10,000 from 2007, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A knife brought by a student was discovered at a Cold Spring middle school on Wednesday, according to SCTimes.com.

This knife, which was reported to Principal Cheryl Schmidt by other students, marks the second weapon found at the Racori middle school since April 11, SCTimes.com reported.

The student, who's name and grade were not released, was identified as a female student, according to the Star Tribune.

A local police officer assigned to Rocori Public Schools was placed on paid administrative leave after a loaded handgun and ammuniton was brought by a seventh-grader to the middle school on April 11. The officer's leave was based on overall performance, officials said, according to the Star Tribune.

Rocori High School had a shooting in 2003, which left two students dead and has kept the shooter in prison, the Star Tribune reported.

Prince Harry promoted

The British army promoted Prince Harry to captain, Windsor Palace announced on Sunday, according to CNN.com

Third in line to the throne, Prince Harry, 26, will now be known in the military as Capt. Harry Wales, according to CNN.com.

The new captain in the Air Corps., who also completed an eight-month course of night flying and ground school training, also received his Apache badge on Thursday, ABC News reported.

Two Minnesota teens found dead of apparent suicides

Two 14-year-old girls were found dead of apparent suicides in Island Lake Township on Saturday, the Star Tribune reported.

Paige Moravetz and Haylee Fentress, both of Lynd, Minn. and 8th graders at Marshall Middle School, believed to have taken their own lives early Saturday morning, according to ABC KSFY.com.

An investigation will continue but authorities suspect no foul play occurred in their deaths, the Star Tribune reported.

Dayton and Wilf have unplanned conversation

Gov. Mark Dayton was at the University Club in St. Paul when he bumped into Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf on Thursday night, the MinnPost.com reported

Wilf was there to chat with lawmakers and Dayton had an unrelated meeting when an unplanned 10-minute conversation took place between the two, the Star Tribune reported.

Dayton said Wilf seemed "hopeful and I said I was hopeful (a new Vikings stadium) would be passed through the legislative process this session," according to the Star Tribune.

Nothing specific was discussed since the meeting was not planned, Dayton said, the Star Tribune reported.

9 fatalities so far in deathly Arkansas and Oklahoma tornado

At least nine fatalities have surfaced after a tornado caused destruction to several towns in Arkansas and Oklahoma on Thursday, according to the USA Today.

Another 25 people were also reported injured in the storm that ripped apart the only school in a small Oklahoma town and launched trees into several Arkansas homes, the USA Today reported.

The tornado resembles the horrible weather across the country. About 90,000 homes and businesses lost power in North Texas due to a strong thunderstorm, parts of Wisconsin reported tornadoes, South Dakota had snow, and the Red River has caused issues for residents in North Dakota and Minnesota, ABC News reported.

The twin sons of an 89-year-old mother, who fell on the floor and body was left to rot for three months, were charged with murder in Houston on Tuesday, according to the Star Tribune.

Edwin Larry Berndt and Edward Christian Berndt, both 48, were arrested after a neighbor phoned police on Monday and said she had not seen their mother Sybil Berndt since January, the Star Tribune reported.

Police were told by the twins that she fell on the floor, and they left her there without giving her food or water. She died three days later where her decomposing body became bug-infested. The twins said they did not have enough money to bury their mother and did not want to go to jail, the Star Tribune reported.

A person familar with the family said the twins have serious mental issues and did not murder their mother, but a detective working the case says that he talked with the twins and does not think they have any mental issues, according to WCHS6.com

After discovering the elderly Berndt face down in a nightgown, police found bank statements in her name totaling about $700,000, the Star Tribune reported.

Cultural group analysis

I read an article in the USA Today about adoption. The article was called "Adoption increasingly crosses racial, ethical lines."

This article gave statistics that showed how parents with different race than their adopted children is becoming more common. It explains that multi-racial families are becoming more normal.

An interesting point in the article was the opinion of an associate professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago who said that parents with the goals of teaching their kids to be "colorblind" might actually be a wrong approach.

I had a source lined up for this analysis but something came up and they backed out on me. Therefore I will analyze it myself. This article did seem a little stereotypical to me. Gina Samuels, the associate professor, was quoted as saying "Colorblindness actually creates discordance." Essentially Samuels is saying that this makes children think race doesn't matter. To me it was almost framed as if even with the advancement of multi-racial families, society is not improving with racial issues.

Also, statistics are given about international children and national children being adopted, but there is no statistic about what race is adopting them. This article seemed to throw in quotes that portrayed the information as bad information. I think that a child of any race being adopted by a family of any race is a good thing. If that child is given a home and if that home teaches that race doesn't matter, then that child will grow up that way and society will advance. The quotes took away from the statistics.

Mother and five children safe after house fire in St. Paul

A mother and her five children safely escaped blazing flames from their house in St. Paul on Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune.

A 7-year-old girl said sparks set her bed on fire as she was plugging in an electric heater. The only one injured, the girl was treated with a small burn on her finger by paramedics, according to the Pioneer Press.

Tik Soukchaleum, the children's father who was just returning from work, attempted to extinguish the flames himself but failed. Soukchaleum also escaped safely, the Pioneer Press reported.

An estimated $100,000 of damage was done to the $114,000 home. Another $20,000 of damage was done to the contents, the Star Tribune reported.

An investigation is taking place to determine what officially caused the fire, the Pioneer Press reported.

The six people killed at a crowded mall were mourned during church services outside of Amsterdam Sunday, while officials wondered what the motives were for the attacker who had three firearms with him when he opened fire in the Netherlands, the Star Tribune reported.

Tristan van der Vlis, 24, the identified attacker, had an illegal weapons possession charge against him in 2003 that was eventually dropped. Van der Vlis opened fire in Alphen aan den Rijn with an apparent machine gun on Saturday. Van der Vlis shot himself in the head after wounding 15 others which added to the six fatalities at the Ridderhog mall, according to the Star Tribune.

Van der Vlis left a suicide note for his parents saying he was unhappy, but said nothing of killing others. Van der Vlis left no motive for shooting innocent civilians, according to the Australian.

Among the thousands of people at the ceremony near the shopping center of the killing spree was Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the Australian reported.

A suspect has been named after an explosion at a Jewish synagogue in Santa Monica, Calif. on Thursday was ruled an attack and not an accident like police originally thought, according to ABC News.

Ron Hirsch, 60, a transient who is familar with members of the synagogue and community center, is the suspect wanted by an FBI and police task force, ABC News reported.

Wanted for unrelated local charges and for possession of a destructive device, Hirsch had previously spent time at synagogues and other Jewish community centers seeking charity, according to the Star Tribune.

No on was injured from the blast, but it left shattered windows, a hole in the roof of the synagogue, and sent chunks of concrete and a heavy pipe crashing into a house, the Star Tribune reported.

Police have increased patrols around religious sites in Santa Monica and West Hollywood as the search for Hirsch has started, the Star Tribune reported.

Bomb technicians and detectives determined the explosion was deliberate after conducting forensic analysis and unearthing a large portion of the cement found, ABC News reported.

The device's strange construction of explosives inside of hundreds of pounds of concrete that was poured into a traschcan was the reason why the explosion was thought to be an industrial accident, the Star Tribune reported.

Skeletal remains found in Brooklyn Park

The skeletal remains of a body were found on Friday in a Brooklyn Park wooded area, CBS Minnesota.com reported.

The remains, which police say have been there for a long time, were discovered on Friday afternoon by a person walking by in the southern part of Brookdale Park, the Star Tribune reported.

The investigation by police, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, and Hennepin County Crime Lab will continue. More information should be released next week, according to CBS Minnesota.com.

Although it has not been officially determined that the remains are human, police say they are also going to investigate the area to see if anyone has been reported missing, according to the Star Tribune.

A Brooklyn Park grocery store employee killed himself and two other employees on Friday night, according to My Fox 9.com.

Abigail M. Fedeli, 20, who was shot in the neck and died on the scene, and Michael Habte, 22, who died later at North Memorial Medical Center, were shot in the break room of Festival Foods at 8535 Edinburgh Center Drive by another employee who's name has not yet been released, My Fox 9.com reported.

The shooter, who was an ex-acquaintance of Fedeli, was apparently fueled by jealousy when he confronted the two victims and shot them, the Star Tribune reported.

He then fled to Minneapolis where authorities closed in on him before he shot himself near West River Parkway, according to the Star Tribune.

All three had been working at the store for a while. Fedeli and Habte were on the clock when they were killed, but the shooter was not, the Star Tribune reported.

Numbers analysis

The article I choose to analyze came from the USA Today. It was called "Ford outsells GM for second time since 1998."

The numbers are used in the story to emphasize how big of a deal it was for Ford to outsell GM. The reporter also uses dates and years to factor in the point being made. The numbers, dates, and statistics basically tell the story themselves. In a way the article is saying "the numbers don't lie."

I did find the numbers a little overwhelming. The reporter threw a lot of numbers and dates out in each paragraphs. I think it the numbers were cut out a little bit, or focused in on a specific type of car, or even just given a broad point it would have flown better.

The numbers were crunched and did tell the story. However, a couple of times it was too much numbers and I found myself skimming the article. I had to go back and read it again.

The numbers given seemed to be provided by GM and Ford, but aren't specifically attributed. They also aren't listed completely, but it is mentioned several times that both companies "said" something.

Roller coaster fall kills 3-year-old boy in suburban Chicago

A fall out of a roller coaster killed a 3-year-old boy at an indoor amusement park in suburban Chicago Saturday, the Star Tribune reported.

Jayson Dansby, 3, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was riding a small roller coaster with his twin brother when he freed himself from the safety bar. Wedged between two cars, he proceeded to fall about three or four feet from a moving roller coaster, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Ruled an accident, the cause of death was officially listed as multiple injuries by the Cook County medical examiner, according to the Star Tribune.

NATO's request was granted by the U.S. for an extension of 48 hours of American participation in airstrikes against targets in Libya, MSNBC.com reported.

NATO asked the U.S. to extend their support by two days in a mission that started two weeks ago. The U.S. was originally going to hand off all strike missions to other nations by Saturday, U.S. officials said on Thursday, according to Fox News.com.

Although Muammar al-Qaddafi is still in power, America's naval and air forces were going to stop their combat missions in Libya, Fox News.com reported.

Missing hiker's body found dead in California

A missing hiker's body was found Sunday near the Coyote Flats area of the Angeles National Forest in California by friends, relatives, and enforcement officials, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Joe Le, 20, a hiker who was swept away by the current on Friday, is believed to be the body found Sunday, according to MSNBC.com.

Le was swept downstream while trying to cross the cold, waist-high waters along a rope crossing, his hiking partner Brian Tran said, MSNBC.com reported.

An official identification has yet to be made by the coroner's office, according to the Los Angeles Times.

St. Paul man seriously injured by train

A St. Paul man was struck by a train and seriously injured in the North End neighborhood on Sunday, according to the Star Tribune.

Jason Moreau, 34, was taken to Regions Hospital after being hit while walking the tracks near N. Oxford Street and W. Jessamine Ave. just after 1 a.m., the Star Tribune reported.

The details of the incident aren't exactly clear, police officials said, the Pioneer Press reported.

Moreau's condition was not available on Sunday afternoon, according to the Pioneer Press.

Nearly 55,000 pounds of frozen, raw turkey burgers that might be contaminated with Salmonella were recalled by Jennie-O Turkey Store of Willmar on Saturday, according to the Echo Press.

Further raw turkey products still might be recalled while the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service continues its investigation of illnesses linked to the recall from turkey processing company, the Echo Press reported.

The products on recall, which were only sold at Sam's Club and packaged on Nov. 23, includes 4-pound boxes containing 12 individually wrapped burgers of Jennie-O's "All Natural Turkey Burgers with seasonings Lean White Meat." The identifying lot codes of the packages are "32710" through "32780," and the use-by date is Dec. 23. 2011, the Star Tribune reported.

A total of 12 people from 10 different states have become ill within the last four months, according to the Star Tribune.

Consumers can return the products at Sam's Club for a refund, Jennie-O said, the Star Tribune reported.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2011 is the previous archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.