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March 29, 2009

Loon Design Wins For Habitat License Plates

A design of two loons on a lake won the most votes for the potential redesign of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources "critical habitat" license plate according to the results of a non-binding DNR poll, the Star Tribune reports.

The loon design beat out eight other possible design in the voting which began March 10, and ended Sunday, KTTC reports.

Four of the eight designs will be chosen by DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion to be sold along side the current deer and loon designs already being sold.

The decision will be announced Friday at the Minneapolis Auto Show, DNR's Lori Naumann said.

The plates are sold to motorist who give at least $30 a year to Reinvest in Minnesota, a program focused upon buying land and research for conservation research.

Obituary Analysis

Irving R. Levine, NBC News Correspondent, Dies at 86

Several sources are used throughout the article. His son is quoted at the beginning. His career at NBC is a matter of some public record and probably easily accessible.

The article opens with a standard obituary lead. I understand his major accomplishment and why I should now about him.

The obit is different from a resume because at the end I feel like I know more about the person than just their accomplishments. A bit of his personality and effect on those around him comes through in the obit.

Kosher Tequila

A New York businessman plans to launch a kosher tequila in time for Cinco de Mayo, AP reports.

Martin Silver, president of Star Industries, said the tequila will be released in celebration of the Mexican victory over the French in 1862. The company will be investing millions of dollars into this enterprise, Russia Today reports.

Silver hopes that the Agave 99 will be a quality product that observant Jews can enjoy.

The tequila will be produced in Mexico using methods approved by a rabbi. Agave 99 will cost $41.95 a bottle.

As well as delivering kosher tequila to observant Jews, it is hoped the new product will aid the Mexican economy.

March 28, 2009

Notre Dame's Invitation to Obama Stirs Controversy Amongst Catholics

Notre Dame's decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak at the university's commencement later this year has caused controversy amongst some Catholic communities, AP reports.

Catholic communities across the country are criticizing the Catholic university Notre Dame for inviting Obama saying that his views on stem cell research and abortion are in opposition the church's teachings.

Notre Dame has a traditionally invited newly elected presidents to speak at the university inculding Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. Obama's invitiation is not the first time a presidents invitation has caused controversy.

Students wore white arm bands in protest of George W. Bush speaking at the university.

Groups like the Pro-Life Action League and the Cardinal Newman Society do not agree with the university's choice saying that it gives a platform to those who disagree with the church's teaching.

Others groups like Catholics United are saying that it this view is too narrow.

"Millions of American Catholics continue to lose their jobs, go without health care, and wonder how they will pay for their children's higher education," Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, said to U.S. News. "This is what Catholics are truly concerned about, and this is the real outrage."

March 27, 2009

St. Thomas Student Died in Mexico

The family of a St. Thomas University student Josh Gunderson who died in Mexico Tuesday are searching for details of there son's death, which is being investigated as an accident in Mexico, the Pioneer Press reports.

Officials with the American Consulate General in Guadalajara said Gunderson died early Tuesday morning.
Manuel Banuelos, a spokesman at the consulate, said that Gunderson was with two other Americans when he possibly fell and hit his head according to unofficial reports, the Star Tribune Reports.

The family's lawyer has been having difficulty contacting the families of Ashley Jones, 18, and Zachary Jensen who were staying in the Puerto Vallerta resort with Gunderson.

"We want to make sure it was just an accident. We just want some reassurance that that was the case," Brian Gunderson, Josh's uncle. said. "They haven't made any contact with us yet, and that to me is not right."

Mexican police are investigating the incident as an accident and do not suspect foul play. However, they are investigating to determine what may have caused the accident.

Funeral arrangements have been made for Gunderson of Oak Park Heights. His family has also started a memorial fund in Josh's memory for players needing finacial aid to play hockey.

March 25, 2009

Woman gives birth on airplane, Leaves baby in garbage

The wave of a baby's wrist averted tragedy.

New Zealand police announced Wednesday that a 29-year-old woman with assault and abandonment for leaving a newborn baby in an airplane wastebasket, CNN reports.

The woman boarded the plane in Apia, Samoa. She then gave birth to baby Grace and left her in the garbage unbeknownst to anyone on the plane. Airport employees stopped the woman as she was leaving the airport in Aukland, New Zealand when they noticed he blood stained clothes.

A cleaning woman noticed the baby when her hand appeared above the baskets rim.

The child and mother were reunited in hospital, but the child is in the care of social welfare workers, the BBC reports.

Immigration officials and Pacific Blue are investigating how the woman boarded the plane. Woman more than 36 weeks pregnant require medical clearance.

Cultural stigma surrounding childbirth outside of wedlock may have led the mother to abandon the child Su'a William Sio, a Kiwi lawmaker of Samoan descent, said

"This is mostly derived firstly by fear," he told the New Zealand Herald newspaper. "Fear that they've done something wrong and fear of shame of the 'unmarried' mother bringing to the family."

The woman could face up to seven years in prison and up to NZ$100,000.

March 15, 2009

Man Attempts to Rob Tae Kwon Do Studio, Action Ensues

A thief learned a hard lesson when he tried to steal from a Tae Kwon Do studio in Milwaukee, AP reports.

Master Instructor David Kang was giving a private lesson when he decided to take water break. He found a man in his closet when he went to get the water, MSNBC reports.

The man fled when Kang asked him what he was doing.

Not willing to let the man go, Kang chased the theif through three stores and held on to him until police arrived.

Police did find Kang's wallet in the man's coat.

Kang did not have to use his martial art, but he prepared if the man tried to punch him.

"I'm ready to go anytime," Kang said.

Two Children Shot in Fairview Park

A shooting in North Minneapolis Friday has put two children into the hospital, MSNBC reports.

The shooting took place near Fairview Park resulting in a 15-year-old girl being shot in the leg and and 10-year-old Truvontee McElroy being shot in the abdomen, the Star Tribune Reports. Both children were taken to hospitals with non-fatal injuries.

Police say the shots were fired a block away from the park and the children were not the intended victims. There were roughly 30 to 50 children in the park at the time.

"This is not fatal, which I think we're very fortunate more people were not injured tonight," says Minneapolis Police spokesman Bill Palmer.

Police have suspect information, but are not releasing it at this time.

March 13, 2009

Sleepy Eye Teacher accused of Sleeping with Student

An English teacher at Sleepy Eye High School in southern Minnesota was charged Thursday for criminal sexual conduct with a 16-year-old student, KSTP reports.

Calvin C. Cullom, 47, of New Ulm was arrested on Wednesday for third degree sexual conduct, accused of being an authority figure and having intercourse with a student at his house with the past weeks, the Star Tribune Reports. He was later released on a $25,000 bail.

The police department learned about the allegations on Monday from a tip from the public senior investigator David Borchert of the New Ulm Police Department said.

Investigators told KSTP that the two had been suspected of having a relationship between February and March.

Students reported that during this time the two had spent a lot of time together and that the female student had asked friends to cover for her so she could spend the weekend at Culloms.

March 11, 2009

Madoff Expected to Plead Guilty

Former Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff is expected to plead guilty to 11 counts of fraud that caused over $50 billion in losses worldwide, his lawyers said to the BBC.

Prosecutors seek a jail sentence of 150 years for Madoff, 70.

Madoff has been under house arrest since December when he was arrested for running a Ponzi scheme in which early investors are paid off with new clients investments.

No agreement has been made to co-operate with authorities, but but Madoff is "trying to get some leniency from the judge without being forced to turn on family members and associates," said John Hueston, partner at law firm Irell & Manella.

Many victims of Madoff's scheme are troubled by the possible guilty plea, Reuters reports.

Investors said in telephone interviews to Reuters that they want more details about the scheme and where the money went.

Madoff will not face a jury trial, where details concerning his co-conspirators and financial crimes could be made apparent.

Victims of Madoff's scheme come from North and South America as well as Europe, including hedge funds, banks, individuals, retirees and several charities.

Gunman Kills 15 in School Shooting

A German teen killed 15 people in a shooting spree Wednesday that ended in him taking his own life, AP reports.

Tim Kretschmer, 17, entered a school in Winnenden, where he was a former student, and began firing upon students and teachers killing 12, CNN reports. Three more were killed Kretschmer fled the scene.

No motive is currently known, but most of the victims were female. Eight female students, one male student and three female teachers were killed during the rampage, said Baden Wuerttemburg state interior minister Heribert Rech.

"They were completely taken by surprise. Some of the victims still had their pens in their hands," Rech said.

The shootings began at 9:45 a.m. and lasted for two minutes. Police arrived on the scene almost immediately.

"This speedy intervention means they prevented further escalation of events," Rech said.

The gun Kretschmer used was his father's who was part of a local gun club.

Kretschmer shot several students in the head in first floor classrooms including some teachers. When police arrived he fled the scene shoot one male student as he left.

He shot one medical facility worker as he fled on foot into town where he hijacked a car and driver. He left the car and driver and fled to a car dealership where he took two more men's lives along with his own.

At least 15 other people were injured in Winnenden and nearby Wendlingen including two police officers and 6 students, police spokeswoman Renate Roesch said.

March 8, 2009

Event Coverage Analysis

Home and Garden Show auction to Benefit Habitat for Humanity

The story uses the information from the websites for the show, Habitat for Humanity, and the Restore.

The angle of the story is there is a charity event occurring at the event which is mainly a trade and sales exposition. It lets people know how to donate and take part in the event and where to get more information.

The story is rather brief and close to a listing, but it does provide some background on the store beyond its activities at the show.

Man Nearly Ran Over At Gas Station

Authorities said a Florida man was nearly ran over while standing in a parking spot Monday when a man intentionally tried to hit him, reports the News-Press.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office said that the victim was reserving the spot for his wife at the Murphy USA gas station, reports AP.

According to the police report victim Jose Santiago, 57, waved at the suspect Miguel Angel Neira, 46, to stop. Neira lunged forward and hit Sangtiago in the knees causing bruising and swelling.

Neira was arrested for battery.

U.S. to Help Mexico Limit Violence

President Obama met with Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Michael Mullen. Saturday to discuss increasing violence in Mexico, military officials told CNN.

Officials said Obama was interested in speaking with Mullen's after his visit to Mexico City to hear Mullen's opinions on how the U.S., could help Mexico limit violence, reports the Voice of America.

The U.S., military may help Mexican military and police by providing surveillance, intelligence, and training personnel in hopes to limit the possibility of violence crossing the border.

Mexican drug cartels have been locked in violence over drug-trafficking routes into the U.S., which has already lead to the death of over 1000 people including one U.S., citizen found dead late February.

Teen Girls Rob Taxi Driver at Knife Point

Two girls were arrested Tuesday after a cabjacking Monday in south Minneapolis and another attempted robbery of a taxi Tueday, reports the Star Tribune.

The girls, 17 and 15, are jailed and face felony charges according to police records.

The two girls robbed the first man late Monday and stole his van, leaving him stranded on the side of the road. They then tried to rob another man Tueday before noon. The man resisted and called police who apprehended the two girls.

The first taxi owned by Latino Americano Express Taxi was found abandoned at 7 a.m., unharmed. No one was injured in either incident, reports Fox 9 News.

Body Found Frozen in Golf Course Stream

Groundskeepers of an Anoka County golf course found a body frozen in ice near the 16th hole Friday, reports the Star Tribune.

The groundskeepers were inspecting the condition of the Majestic Oaks Golf Course when they discovered the body frozen in 2-feet of ice in a nearby creek, reports the Pioneer Press.

Initially it was thought that only a severed head had been discovered. Animals had taken a toll on the head, exposing the throat and making the body initially unidentifiable.

A steamer from the Anoka County Highway Department was used to remove the body from the creek Lt. Paul Sommer of the Anoka County Sheriff's Office said to the Star Tribune.

"There's no straight protocol for removing a body encased in ice, so we used the steamer rather than chipping it out," Sommer said.

Authorities believe the victim was a man based upon his clothes. A wallet was also found on the body, but remained frozen late Friday.

Sgt. Mike Longbehn of the Anoka County sheriff's department said that body could be linked to on of four missing person cases from the north metro/


March 4, 2009

Democrats Help Republicans Apologize to Limbaugh

Democrats launched a Web site Wedneday that mocks the Republican leaders who recently apologized to talk show host Rush Limbaugh for criticizing or disagreeing with him, reports the CNN.

The Web site allows for visitors to send fill-in-the-blank type apologies to Limbaugh on behalf of Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Georgia; South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford; or Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

The website gives anyone the chance to apoligize to "Leader Rush," Jennifer Crider, Communications Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committe, host of the Web site, told the New York Daily News.

"If you're one of the growing number of Republicans who need a quick and easy way to apologize to Rush Limbaugh after you cross him, look no further than ImSorryRush.com," Crider said.

Limbaugh was unapologetic about his "I hope Obama fails," comments made late last year.

"What is so strange about being honest and saying, I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation?" Limbaugh told Republican leaders at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. late February.

Democratic Nation Committee Chairman Tim Kaine told CNN that Limbaugh is a leading force in the Republican Party and is an obstruction to President Obama's agenda.

Democrats hope by linking congressional and state Republican leaders to Limbaugh, voters will be turned off by the talk radio host's polarizing and incendiary commentary.

March 1, 2009

Ticket Withdrawn Against Good Samaritan

The Colorado State Patrol withdrew a jaywalking ticket on Friday against a man who helped 3 people avoid traffic and was hit and seriously injured doing so, reports AP.

Relatives said bus driver Jim Moffett, 58, was helping another man aid two elderly women across a busy street in the middle of a snow storm when was hit, sustaining serious injuries, reports the Press Association.

In a statement from the State Patrol they said that the charges would be withdrawn under the circumstances.

The patrol initially filed the charges because regardless of Moffett's intentions, jaywalking had contributed to the accident.

Charges have also been dropped against the other man and one of the woman, the second woman was never cited.

Charges against the driver were not withdrawn.

Meeting/Press Release Analysis

This story focuses upon Mayor R.T. Rybak's budget proposal to the city. The story mentions that the White House blog mentioned his proposal Monday. The reason the story focus upon the budget proposal is one, because it was mention by the White House blog, and two, because it is currently relevant to job losses and the economic downturn.
According to agenda's for the day the comments and mayor's proposal was only part of the meeting and subsequent documents put out following the meeting. Specifics about the budget and its implementation are left out. Police are focused upon, but they are not the only people losing jobs in the cities. Also happening that day was a meeting where a proposal to limit binge drinking in the city was made.

UMD Consider Medical Amnesty

The University of Minnesota Duluth is considering a policy to limit legal ramifications to students seeking medical attention for other students with alcohol related illnesses, reports the Star Tribune.

Since the school year began 9 students and 4 visitors have been taken to the emergency room with problems caused by alcohol, only one was over 21, reports the Duluth News Tribune.

The university is aware that there are more cases that go unreported and untreated. They hope to increase the number of students seeking help by giving students some level of legal amnesty.

The proposal the university is seeking will encourage students to call an authority figure for help. Neither the student seeking help nor the afflicted student would be receive any legal punishments.

The university worked with 9 of the 90 colleges and universities with similar policies in developing their own policy which would take effect next fall.

The policy would only include those students living in university dormitories. Students would not be completely free of consequence for seeking help. The university may require chemical dependency evaluations for the ill student and education or counseling for those who called.