April 27, 2009

Public Health Emergency Declared Over Swine Flu

20 confirmed cases of swine flu caused the American health officials to declare a state of emergency Sunday over the disease that has caused over 103 deaths in Mexico.

The U.S. is not that only nation keeping a close eye on the situation, other nations have implemented specific travel bans for those arriving from Mexico and Canada.

Experts are still unsure regarding the severity of this particular strain of flu.

"We’re in a period in which the picture is evolving,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, deputy director general of the World Health Organization said in an interview with the Star Tribune. “We need to know the extent to which it causes mild and serious infections.”

Among the 20 confirmed cases, eight have been treated in New York Alone. So far no cases have been heard of in Minnesota.

"We don't want people to panic," Dr. Ruth Lynfield, Minnesota state epidemiologist, said at a news conference in St. Paul. "This has not been severe here."

Other states and territories in which cases have been confirmed include: Kansas, Ohio, California, Texas and Nova Scotia.

April 20, 2009

Twins Sweep Angels in Weekend Series

The Minnesota Twins were hoping to find a series that they could leave the Metrodome feeling proud of and this weekend they found it.

The Twins exited the weekend with a three-game sweep of Los Angeles Angels, including miraculous win Friday with a seven run rally led by Jason Kubel.

"Friday when we did what we did, it breathed some life back into us, almost like CPR," Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer said in an interview with the Star Tribune.

The weekend victory could not have come at a better time. After losing three of their four games against Toronto, manager Ron Gardenhire needed something positive to say to the team.

"There's that doubt in your mind when you get beat, 'What are we doing?' " Gardenhire said. "It puts more pressure on to do things. So a couple of games like this sort of reminds you that you are a good baseball team."

Some feel that the Angels performance may have been affected by the recent loss of 22-year-old pitcher Nick Adenhart in a traffic accident.

"A lot of these guys grew up with Nick. I'm not going to say that's 100% the reason why we're struggling," center fielder Torii Hunter said in an interview with the LA Times. "But you can tell it still affects this club."

5 Bodies Found in Maryland Home

A multiple murder-suicide was the result of 5 found dead in a northwest Maryland home Saturday.

Christopher Alan Wood, 34, used a .25-calibar handgun to kill his wife and three young children at their home in Middletown. He later used the weapon to kill himself. Their bodies were discovered by the children's grandfather.

According to the Baltimore Sun, authorities also said they found five handwritten notes at the scene indicating that Christopher Wood, an employee at CSX, may have had psychological and financial problems.

Wood had been transferred from Jacksonville, Fla., for work as an account manager in the sales and marketing group at CSX Corp. in Baltimore, a company spokesman said.

Authorities found the couple's two sons, ages 5 and 4, dead in their beds, and the bodies of their 2-year-old daughter and Francis Wood were in the master bedroom, Frederick County sheriff's office spokeswoman Jennifer Bailey said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. On the master bedroom floor was Christopher Wood's body, she said.

"There were no red flags. They were a very loving family," next-door neighbor Pat Hendricks said.

April 13, 2009

Obama's half-brother denied a visa

President Barack Obama's half brother was denied a visa to return to Britain after giving officials a fake name after being accused for sexual assault last year.

According to News of the World, Samson Obama was arrested by British police last November who accused him of sexually assaulting a girl. Samson Obama gave officers a false identity at the time of his arrest, claiming to be Henry Aloo, the report said. He was fingerprinted but not charged, and he left Britain.

S. Obama was caught trying to re-enter Britain in order to visit family members when he was stopped by immigration.

“This was obviously an extremely sensitive issue when it was flashed up by the database,” an unidentified official in the British Home Office said in an interview with the New York Times.

The Border Agency, which is responsible for immigration issues, said, “We will oppose the entry of individuals to the U.K. where we believe their presence is not conducive to the public good.”

April 5, 2009

Obama Visits Turkey As Promised

Obama holds true on his promise to visit a predominately Muslim country within 100 days of his presidency in order to mend foreign relations.

The trip is based on keeping the one Middle Eastern ally that we have during these times of turmoil.

Obama arrived at Turkey's capital Ankara Sunday evening and is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and political parties leaders.

As reported by China View, "President Barack Obama's visit to Turkey aims at highlighting Ankara's significance," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was quoted by Anatolia news agency as saying on Friday, just two days ahead of Obama's arrival.

Other issues that are to be touched upon during Obama's visit include human rights, Kurdish aspirations and Turkey's denial on the ethnic cleansing of Armenians.

According to The Star Tribune, draconian security measures will likely prevent protesters from getting many of their issues to be heard.

March 30, 2009

8 killed in nursing home shooting

A lone gunman entered a nursing home in North Carolina Sunday opening fire killing 7 residents and 1 nurse.

The shooting was reported around 10 a.m. at Pinelake Health and Rehab.

The patients were identified by The Associated Press as Louise Decker, 98; Lillian Dunn, 89; Tessie Garner, 88; John Goldston, 78; Bessie Hendrick, 78; Margaret Johnson, 89; and Jessie Musser, 88. All were residents. The nurse was identified as Jerry Avant Jr., 39.

According to Yahoo News, the suspected gunman Robert Stewart is not a resident of the home.

“He did have some violent tendencies from time to time,” Ex-wife Susan Griffin said in an interview with The New York Times. “I wouldn’t put it past him. I hate to say it, but it is true.”

Six others were injured during the shooting.

March 16, 2009

Coyote attacks spur Denver man to take action

A recent surge in coyote attacks new Greenwood Village has led to the city hiring a local contractor to eliminate the problem.

Jay Stewart, a primary employee of Animal Damage Control Wildlife Management Services has been tracking and evaluating coyote's aggressiveness and if they fail to pass the test, he manages the situation with one of his .22-caliber guns.

According to The New York Times, it is estimated that thousands of coyotes have moved into metropolitan areas over the last two decades, drawn to ample food sources and escaping hunters, traps and other perils of rural life.

The issue was said to have spiked interest after an attack on a 14-year-old boy near Westlands Park.

"It's important to understand, in the first place, who is encroaching on whose territory," Peter Ingram columnist for The Denver Post said. "In all honesty, the coyotes were here first, and we are the intruders, we are the ones who have fractionalized their numbers and pushed them into the few open spaces and parks remaining."

March 9, 2009

Storms Rip Through Midwest

Strong winds and thunderstorms ripped through parts of the Midwest Sunday leaving houses and buildings damaged.

Northern Indiana and central Illinois were two of the regions affected by the severe winds and at least 7 houses were destroyed about about 30 others sustaining damages near Laomi, Ill.

Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig said in an interview with The Chicago Tribune that at least 19 houses had been damaged, including three that were leveled in the area.

The storms were so severe that a school bus was lifted into the air and thrown into the side of a building.

Footage taken by WTHR-TV in Indianapolis showed a school bus lying atop a flattened building in Fayetteville, about 70 miles south of Indianapolis, where the tornado was reported.

The National Weather Service said at least one person suffered minor injuries in Illinois.

March 1, 2009

Local Economy Struggles in Rhode Island

As the smallest state in the U.S., Rhode Island is currently facing their own economic meltdown.

According to the latest federal figures, Rhode Island faces a 10 percent unemployment rate, second to that of Michigan at 10.6 percent. As well as unemployment, Rhode Island facesthe highest foreclosure rates, widest budget gaps and most-vulnerable pension systems.

Some feel the problems facing Rhode Island can be attributed to the state's small size. Others feel it could be used as an asset. Either way, the state is working non-stop to find some economic relief.

“The whole political system is based on back scratching and getting things for your friends,” said Robert Whitcomb, editorial page editor of The Providence Journal. “That’s true for every place, but more so here because of the intimacy — you keep bumping into people you know.”

According to The New York Times, Rhode Island is less educated than the rest of the country which may be attributing to their poor economy. Many residents still focus on blue-collar industries such as lumber, service work and the automobile industry.

“In that way, we look more like a rust belt state than Connecticut or Massachusetts,” said Laura Hart, a spokeswoman for the State Department of Labor and Training in an interview with The New York Times.

February 23, 2009

Federal Judge Indicted of Sex Crimes

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent will be the first Federal judge charged Monday with sex crimes.

According to The Chicago Tribune, the judge has been accused of fondling two other female courtroom employees. He was reported to have forced himself on the women and tried to get them to preform sexual acts. writes that jury selection will begin Monday and if found guilty, Kent could face up to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Kent has pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual misconduct.

Kent has served the courtroom for over 19 years and some feel that will gain him some credibility with the panels.

February 22, 2009

First Female President for Swarthmore College

Rebecca Chops has been named as the first female president for Swarthmore College in New York.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Chopps had been the president of Colgate University since 2002.

Chopps succeeds Alfred Bloom who had been with Swarthmore since 1991.

"Succeeding Al Bloom is a daunting prospect," said Tom Spock, a Swarthmore alumnus who chaired the 12-member presidential search committee in an interview with The Chicago Tribune, "But (Chopp's) deep commitment to the liberal arts, along with her proven administrative talents, make her the ideal president to move the college forward."

As documented by Colgate University, Chopp had a extremely successful career with their institution. ed the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan that has elevated the university's academic profile.

February 13, 2009

A Plane Crash Near Buffalo Results in 50 Dead

A commuter plane crashed Thursday into a house near Buffalo, NY killing 49 aboard and on the ground.

Flight 3704 traveling from Newark on its way to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

All 44 passengers, four crew members and one off duty crew member were killed as well as one resident within the destroyed house.

Two other residents, a 57-year-old woman and her 22-year-old daughter, suffered minor injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital, where they were treated and released, officials said in an interview with The New York Times.

Both black boxes on board the flight have been located but the cause of the crash has not yet been identified.

The Star Tribune has reported that other pilots flying at the time were complaining of icy conditions which have resulted in major crashes in the past.

According to a recording of air traffic control's radio messages captured by the Web site, no Mayday call came from either the pilot of the crew prior to the crash.

February 9, 2009

Ohio Parole Board Recommends Clemency for Death Row Inmate

The Ohio Parole Board recommends to Gov. Ted Strickland that an inmate facing execution for stabbing his 61-year-old mother to death be granted clemency.

As reported by The New York Times, the board voted 8 to 0 in favor of mercy for the inmate, Jeffrey Hill, who stabbed his mother to death in 1991 in a crack-cocaine-induced rage.

Also included in the recommendation was the board’s suggestion that Hill serve life in prison with an opportunity for parole after 25 years.

Hill’s family is among those who reject the idea of execution.

"They have suffered tremendous loss, and execution would add further to their suffering," the board told The Columbus Dispatch.

The execution of Hill is scheduled for March 3, and his fate rests in the hands of Strickland who is currently reviewing the case.

February 1, 2009

Additional Guards Called to Recover from Winter Storms

More than half a million homes and businesses are still without electricity following a winter storm that affected portions of the country from the Midwest to the East Coast. Gov. Steve Beshear has deployed every Army National Guard to help with the crisis.

As told to The Star Tribune, Beshear said ""with the length of this disaster and what we're expecting to be a multi-day process here, we're concerned about the lives and the safety of our people in their own homes."

Many rural households are isolated from the city and workers are putting in extra hours working to clear fallen trees and debris from the roads.

The Pioneer Press records that the addition of 3,000 guards brings the total to 4,600 guardsmen working in the area.