March 2012 Archives

A semi-trailer truck collided with a train in northwestern Minnesota, killing the truck driver and derailing at least one rail car, the Star Tribune reports.

The accident occurred near the town of Plummer, FOX 9 reports. Plummer is in Red Lake County southeast of Thief River Falls.

No members of the train crew were injured, the Star Tribune said.

According to the Star Tribune, Canadian Pacific spokesman Ed Greenberg says the derailed car was carrying bunker oil, a fuel oil used aboard ships.

FOX 9 reports residents within a one-mile radius of the crash site were evacuated about 8 a.m. because of the oil leakage. The evacuation order was lifted about two hours later.

Mega Millions jackpot will be split three ways

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Lottery officials confirmed Saturday that three winners -- in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas -- will split Friday's record $656 million Mega Millions jackpot, CNN reports.

That equals approximately $218.6 million each.

The winning numbers were 2, 4, 23, 38, 46 with a Mega Ball of 23.

FOX NEWS reports Illinois' winning ticket was sold in the small town of Red Bud, near St. Louis, and the winner used a quick pick to select the numbers, Illinois Lottery spokesman Mike Lang said.

The Maryland Lottery said it sold a winning ticket at a retail store in Baltimore County, according to FOX NEWS. A winning ticket also was purchased in northeast Kansas, according to the Kansas Lottery website.

Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot, which amounts to a $462 million lump sum and around $347 million after federal tax withholding, FOX NEWS reports.

The Syrian government is trying to "systematically dismantle" the anti-regime "citizen journalist network" and have seized a key player in the operation, CNN reports.

CNN was told by an activist, who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons, the regime has been making arrests and have seized Ali Mahmoud Othman.

According to NOW Lebanon News, Othman is head of an opposition media center in the city of Homs.

"We believe Ali is being subjected to severe torture," the activist told CNN. "The lives of our activists and citizen journalists across the whole country are now at risk."

The capture of Othman is the latest attempt by the Syrian government to stifle independent reporting.

CNN reports Heather Blake, the UK representative for the group Reporters Without Borders, said Saturday that "Syrian authorities are systematically targeting journalists working inside Syria, and particularly local journalists and the media centers that have been set up. This is based on research that we and many other organizations have done."

Another group, the Committee to Protect Journalists, says at least eight journalists have died in Syria since November, CNN reports.

Analysis: Obituaries

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For this blog post, I am analyzing this obituary from the Star Tribune's website:

This obituary focuses on the life of Wayne Raske, an accomplished musician who was a native of Minnesota. The sources the Star Tribune used were primarily family members, including his sister, daughter, and son-in-law, who provided details on some of his accomplishments and reflected on lighthearted anecdotes.

The lead was not a standard obituary lead. The obituary starts with: "Name nearly any instrument and Wayne Raske surely played it. Fiddle, banjo, dulcimer, accordion, piano, bass, flute." This lead works because it highlights a unique aspect about Wayne that will surely catch the attention of readers who are interested in music. It also works because it serves as an introduction for the main content (Wayne's musical prowess) of the obituary.

The obituary differs from a resume because instead of highlighting only Wayne's abilities and experiences, it also includes some fond memories and stories that Wayne's family members will remember him by. It is written in a way designed to engage the reader with his unique life story, and it is not simply a summary of accomplishments like a resume.

Gophers defeat UND, advance to frozen four

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The Gophers earned their 20th trip to the Frozen Four by beating North Dakota 5-2 at Xcel Energy Center in the championship game of the West Regional, the Star Tribune reports.

This is the first trip to the frozen four for the Gophers since 2005.

According to the Star Tribune, five different players scored for the Gophers and goalie Kent Patterson had 24 saves.

The Washington Post reports the Gophers will play Boston College, the tournament's number one seed, in the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla., from April 5-7.

Ferris State and Union (N.Y.) College will face each other in the other national semifinal.

"[This] means an awful lot," Gophers center Erik Haula said, the Star Tribune reports. "It was one of the goals at the start of the season.

Motorist falls to his death during police chase

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A motorist being chased by police crashed his pickup truck on a St. Paul overpass near downtown early Thursday and then fell about 50 feet to his death, the Star Tribune reports.

According to the Star Tribune, St. Paul police identified him as Keith A. Johnson, 38, of Apple Valley. Johnson died of multiple injuries from the fall.

The chase began in Maplewood shortly after midnight and ended in a crash on the Highway 52 bridge just south of downtown, WCCO reports. Police still don't know if he was ejected from the car or if he jumped from the bridge.

The Star Tribune reports Maplewood Deputy Police Chief Dave Kvam said the pursuit began when Johnson did not signal a turn.

Supplier of fatal drug receives 10 year sentence

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Timothy LaMere agreed in court Thursday to a state-maximum 10 years in prison for supplying the synthetic drug that killed his close friend at a party in Blaine last year, the Star Tribune reports. LaMere was charged with felony third-degree murder last March.

LaMere, 22, spoke briefly about how he ordered the substance online but didn't know it was illegal, the Star Tribune reports.

The Pioneer Press reports Trevor Robinson, who was 19, ingested a white powder hallucinogen called 2C-E at a party the night before St. Patrick's Day last year. He died hours later from an overdose.

10 others who took the substance, including LaMere, were also taken to the hospital, the Pioneer Press reports.

LaMere told Anoka County District Judge Alan Pendleton he understood what he was admitting to and that he knew it meant he likely would be in prison for 10 years. He is set to be sentenced in May.

Slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin honored nationwide

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CNN reports worshipers in cities nationwide wore hoodies to church services Sunday to honor Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen who was shot while wearing a hoodie last month.

Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and Middle Collegiate Church in New York were among the churches honoring the teen, according to CNN.

"All of us have a stake in this, not just black people," said the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, of Ebenezer, according to CNN affiliate WXIA.

Martin was walking home from the gas station when he was slain in the town of Sanford on Feb. 26, USA TODAY reports.

According to USA TODAY, neighborhood crime-watch captain George Zimmerman claimed he fired at Martin in self-defense and has not been arrested, though state and federal authorities are still investigating. Zimmerman claimed that Martin attacked him.

USA TODAY reports Zimmerman, 28, spotted him and told a police dispatcher: "This guy looks like he is up to no good -- he is on drugs or something."

Friends of Martin find Zimmerman's account hard to believe. They said Martin was not the type of person to start fights, according to USA TODAY.

CNN reports the United States gave $860,000 to the families of people in Afghanistan killed or wounded in a shooting spree that is being blamed on U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, two Afghan officials said Sunday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, $50,000 per person was the amount paid to the families of those who were killed. Families received $11,000 per injured victim.

A U.S. official confirmed Sunday that a payment had been made on Saturday, CNN reports.

The Los Angeles Times reports U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales faces 17 counts of "premeditated" homicide, as well as other charges in connection with the March 11 assault on a nearby village.

Afghans are insisting that the suspect be returned to Afghanistan to face trial, CNN reports. Bales is being detained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Colts and Peyton part ways after 14 years

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The Indianapolis Colts released four-time league MVP Peyton Manning on Wednesday, NPR reports.

According to CNN, Manning plans to continue playing in the NFL, although it is uncertain as to which team will claim him.

"I don't want to retire... Nobody loves playing quarterback more than me," Manning said.

In a press conference with Colts owner Jim Irsay, Manning said circumstances had brought his time with the Colts to an end, despite both the wishes of him and Irsay that things could have worked out differently, CNN reports.

According to CNN, the Colts would have owed Manning a $28 million bonus if he'd remained on their roster past Wednesday.

ESPN reports following his release, Peyton Manning's representative has been contacted by 12 different teams including the Dolphins, Broncos, Cardinals and Seahawks.

Major meth ring busted in Twin Cities

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Hennepin County prosecutors announced charges against 20 men and women Friday afternoon in connection with a Twin Cities meth ring, KARE 11 reports.

According to KARE 11, local police and federal agents recovered nearly 17 pounds of meth with a street value of over $500,000.

Authorities say Koua "Jimmy" Yang of Minneapolis and Jose Salgado of St. Paul, both 32 years old, were major distributors in the ring, KARE 11 reports.

Two of those accused of supplying the meth, Felix (Short) Lopez-Martinez, 23, of Cottage Grove and Pedro (Peli) Ayala-Leyva, 37, of Brooklyn Park, were said by an informant to be associates of the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, according to court records, the Star Tribune reports.

Investigators say the drug ring was operating on a national scale. It was centered in the Twin Cities, but also included distribution hubs in Duluth, St. Cloud and Eau Claire, KARE 11 reports.

Gopher WR dismissed from team

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WCCO News reports Ge'Shun Harris was dismissed from the Gophers on Thursday by head coach Jerry Kill.

The dismissal is a result of credit card fraud charges against Harris for allegedly taking a stranger's bag at the Minneapolis airport and making several purchases with a card he found inside, FOX 9 reports.

Criminal charges were filed against Harris in Ramsey County Court Thursday in connection with the January incident, WCCO reports.

Once the football program had knowledge of the case, Harris was immediately dismissed, according to WCCO.

"Every member of our team is well aware of our expectations of them and how we enforce our team policies," Kill said in a statement.

Harris faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted, WCCO reports.

Harris is scheduled to appear in court on April 4, FOX 9 reports.

Gas goes up 12 cents in two weeks

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Gasoline prices have climbed 12 cents over the past two weeks, CNN reports, citing findings from the Lundberg Survey.

It was less of a jump than the previous two weeks, when the price climbed 18 cents, said publisher Trilby Lundberg.

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular is now $3.81, CNN reports.

CBS News reports Denver has the nation's lowest average price for gas at $3.36 among the cities surveyed. Los Angeles has the highest at $4.35.

"Gasoline prices would like to peak soon because there is too much gasoline supply versus demand," Lundberg said, "except on the West Coast due to refinery maintenance projects."

CNN reports Lundberg said gas prices are up 31 cents from the average last year.

Car bomb attack at Nigeria church leaves six dead

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CNN reports six people are dead after a car bomb detonated outside a Catholic church on Sunday in the Nigerian city of Jos.

The attack happened outside of St. Finbar's Catholic Church, according to Plateau Gov. Jonah David Jang. The bomb went off as worshipers attended the final Mass of the day.

MSNBC reports security stopped the suspicious car at the gate shortly before the bomb was detonated.

The blast damaged the church's roof, blew out its windows and destroyed a portion of the fence surrounding the church's compound, according to MSNBC's article.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but the city has been targeted in the past by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, MSNBC reports. The group could not be reached for comment.

"This is an unfortunate situation and we will do all we can to prevent future occurrences," Jang said to a crowd of residents, CNN reports. "We all must be calm and we all must leave things in the hands of God who knows why he has allowed this to happen."

Analysis: Speech

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This article covers Vladimir Putin's acceptance speech after winning Russia's presidential election. The reporter used vibrant words to add life to the speech summary. For example, the reporter wrote that Putin's eyes were "brimming with tears" to capture the emotion behind the event. Describing that his eyes were "brimming with tears" is more engaging for the reader than saying "he cried." The reporter also included the fact that the crowd was waving flags to convey that the atmosphere was supportive, which also adds to the liveliness of the article.

The reporter goes beyond the event by including background information about the election. The reporter helps the reader get a better understanding of Russia's political situation by including statements like: "Mr Putin's win was never in doubt..." and "The West can expect Mr Putin to continue the tough policies he has pursued even as prime minister..." The reporter also included the election results, revealing that Putin won in a landslide. Although these snippets of information are not extremely in-depth, they help readers who are not familiar with the Russian political circuit understand the significance of Putin's victory.

According to USA TODAY, a 41-year-old high school teacher quit his job and left his wife and children to move in with an 18-year-old student.

James Hooker, 41, and Jordan Powers, 18, now share an apartment, and Hooker is on paid administrative leave from the school, the Huffington Post reports.

Police are investigating whether the couple had any illegal contact before her 18th birthday in September. Both have said there was no sexual contact before she reached the legal age, USA TODAY reports.

Hooker and Powers first met when the teen was a freshman at Enochs High, and they say feelings for each other only developed through spending time together during and after school and through phone calls and text messages, USA TODAY reports.

School officials condemned teacher-student romances, with Superintendent Pam Able calling them "not only unprofessional, but immoral."

Bakdash insists hit and run death was an accident

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Timothy Bakdash took the stand in his own defense on Friday in the murder trial for the Dinkytown car accident that left a University of Minnesota student dead last April, the Star Tribune reports.

According to the Star Tribune, he explained to the jury that Benjamin Van Handel's death was an accident.

"I did not see him on that sidewalk. I did not try to hit him. I did not try to kill him," he told the court.

To convict him of first-degree murder, prosecutors must prove to the jury that Bakdash's actions were intentional and premeditated, the Pioneer Press reports.

According to the Pioneer Press, Defense attorney Joseph Tamburino has said he plans to use a "voluntary intoxication" defense, arguing that his client was too drunk to form the intent the law requires for a first-degree murder conviction.

St. Paul man pleads guilty to setting teen on fire

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A St. Paul man pleaded guilty Friday to setting his girlfriend's son on fire in an early morning attack last summer, the Star Tribune reports.

Curtis E. Reed, 55, was scheduled to go to trial this month on the first-degree assault charge. However, he plead guilty as Ramsey County District Judge Rosanne Nathanson ruled he could not advance a theory that he was defending himself against a conspiracy.

The victim, Antoine Willis Jr., then 19, was asleep when Reed lit him on fire. He suffered second- and third-degree burns that will cause permanent disfigurement to his face, neck and hands, prosecutor Dawn Bakst said.

Nathanson, in her ruling, wrote that it "would be an absurd result to allow violent force against a sleeping individual just because the defendant perceived that individual to be a part of a larger conspiracy against him. There is no support in self-defense jurisprudence for such a theory."

The Pioneer Press reports that the plea agreement calls for Reed to serve at least 12 years in jail.

Deadly tornadoes sweep across U.S.

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39 are dead in five states after a series of tornadoes ravaged the Midwest and South on Friday, CNN reports.

Following the devastating storm, the death toll has reached 21 in Kentucky, 13 in Indiana, three in Ohio and one each in Alabama and Georgia.

The remains of houses and trees lie scattered among the extensive debris, according to CNN.

"The whole downtown is gone," said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear in a telephone interview, The Cypress Times reports. "It looks like a bomb was dropped right in the middle of the town. Every building is destroyed or on the verge of collapsing."

Beshear told reporters he was requesting an expedited disaster declaration from President Barack Obama.

Train crash in Poland kills 16

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Two trains running on the same track collided head-on in southern Poland on Saturday, killing 16 people and injuring 58, USA TODAY reports.

The crash near Krakow was the country's worst train disaster in more than 20 years. Rescuers worked through the night to assist the victims.

One of the trains was on the wrong track. Prior to the crash, maintenance work was being done on the tracks. However, officials said it's too early to determine the cause of the disaster.

The Guardian reports the US consulate in Krakow said an American woman was among the dead. Spokesman Benjamin Ousley said he could give no more information.

"This is our most tragic train disaster in many, many years," said Donald Tusk, the county's prime minister. "It's a very, very sad day and night in the history of Polish railways and for all of us."

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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