May 4, 2008

Tuition rates will increase at the University of Minnesota

The tuition rates at the University of Minnesota would go up 9.5 percent next year if the state budget cuts are adopted, MPR said.

The 9.5 percent increase is one of three scenarios for budget proposals released by President Robert Bruininks, while the other two would increase tuition by 7.5 percent, according to the Star Tribune

The university had already planned to raise tuition, but the university warned of the additional 2 percentage point increase if Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposed cut of $27.3 million is enacted, Star Tribune

The 2008-09 school year will be the first time the university has seen tuition rates of over $10,000 if the budget cuts are enacted.

Coed dorm rooms now allowed

Major colleges in the United States are allowing for dormitory rooms to be coed, the Associated Press said.

Schools including Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin College, Clark University and the California Institute of Technology are allowing students of the opposite sex to share a dorm room, The Washington Times said. Other schools such as Stanford University will also allow the policy in the fall semester of 2008.

Students and schools say that the policy comes primarily from those who want to live with close friends who are of the opposite sex, although couples living together are not unheard of.

"It ultimately comes down to finding someone that you feel is compatible with you," said Jeffrey Chang, a junior at Clark in Worcester, Mass., who co-founded the National Student Genderblind Campaign, a group that is pushing for gender-neutral housing. "Students aren't doing this to make a point. They're not doing this to upset their parents. It's really for practical reasons."

Virus outbreak in China

The Ministry of Health in China strengthened efforts to stop a deadly child virus that has infected over 3,000 children and has killed 22 since Saturday, according to the Xinhua News Agency. CNN

Numbers of children infected rose from 3,321 deaths on Friday to 3,736 early Saturday in the hardest-hit city of Fuyang in the Anhui province, the news agency said. Overall the virus has hit 4,529 children in 15 cities. The Washington Post

The virus, called Enterovirus 71 , causes fever, mouth sores and a rash with blisters, the Associated Press said.

"Authorities in Anhui ... are doing the utmost to treat the children and strengthen disease control," Wang Yan, an official of the Anhui provice, said.

May 2, 2008

Analysis on records/CAR

Find a story where the reporter used computer-assisted reporting. If this isn't obvious, or you can't find one, pick a story from's Extra! Extra! link. Write about the records and analysis used to produce the story. What computer skills did the reporter need to do this reporting?

I found a story about con-artist Cindy McKay at The Baltimore Sun's Web site. The 52-year-old woman was recently indicted on charges of first-degree murder. Throughout her life she committed many more crimes, including stealing thousands of dollars all over the Northeast region of the United States. The story uses CAR in detailing the places that McKay took advantage of. The site has an interactive map of McKay's trail of crimes. In order to create this map, the reporter would need to have map detailing experience, as well as knowledge of a spreadsheet program to create a layout of McKay's crimes. There is also a type of slideshow to go along with the map, which you can get to by clicking on certain locations of crimes committed. This would call for some type of slideshow program, such as SoundSlides.

April 30, 2008

Plans to double Mall of America

Powerful Minnesota legislators united on Tuesday in backing a large Mall of America expansion behind a major Mall of America based on millions in public tax subsidies, MPR said.

Thousands of construction workers gathered at the State Capitol in a rally to support the expansion and call for employment. Star Tribune

Four major legislators, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and Senate Minority Leader David Senjem, said they are in support of state clearance for the $2.1 billion project. Star Tribune

"In this particular project we actually, in a net sense, will have more money for the state treasury, more people put to work, more tourism, more jobs, more economic development than any other project that I can think of before the Legislature right now," Senjem said. Star Tribune

Tom Bakk, the chair of the Senate Taxes Committee, is the chief sponsor of the project, and he says that it will create around 7,000 jobs for construction workers. MPR

"That is going to be the number one thing on my mind the final day when we close this session up, to make sure everybody in this room has got a job," he said. MPR

April 29, 2008

Tornados in Virginia

Over 200 people were injured when 3 tornados ripped apart central and southeast Virginia on Monday, officials said. CNN

The tornados devastated the area, tearing down many homes and businesses, Bob Spieldenner, member of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said. New York Times

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service said the first tornado hit Sentara Obici Hospital Suffolk, the second hit Colonial Heights, about 60 miles northwest, and the third twister hit Lawrenceville, a town 70 miles south of Richmond. CNN

Terry Tysinger, spokeswoman for Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg, said most injuries were not life threatening. New York Times

April 15, 2008

Standoff in south Minneapolis ends

The standoff between police and a burglary suspect in a south Minneapolis residence area ended peacefully on Tuesday. Kare 11

The suspect was taken into custody Tuesday morning, police said. Star Tribune

The man had been inside a townhouse on E. 25th Street since about 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, and had taken two women and two children hostage. The four people were later released unharmed, but the man stayed inside until the SWAT Team talked him into surrendering about four hours later, police said. Kare 11

The standoff began at around 5 a.m. when the suspect allegedly fired shots in an attempted burglary blocks away, police said. Kare 11

An hour later a woman called the police and whispered that she needed help, police said. Star Tribune

It was likely that the suspect knew the hostages and the entry to the house was "not random," police said. Star Tribune

Cougar shot dead in Chicago

A 150 pound cougar was shot dead by police who feared attack on the streets of Chicago after he had been roaming the city for several days, officials said. Chicago Tribune

The cougar was shot in Roscoe Village neighborhood, though no one knew where it had come from. WBZTV

There had been several sightings of the cougar throughout the city, police said.Chicago Tribune

Frank Hirschmann saw the cougar, and was frightened, he said. "I seen a mountain lion jump a six-foot fence like it was nothing right by my house," he said.

Upon receiving the first call of the sighting on Monday morning, Animal Control used guns with tranquilizers in them, but had switched to bullets by the time it was found. Chicago Tribune

"It's a shame to lose such a beautiful animal, but it had to be done," said witness Ed McCarthy. WBZTV

75 dead in plane crash in Africa

A passenger plane crashed into a busy marketplace near the runway during takeoff from the Goma airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 75 people, officials said. CNN

Five crew members and 10 passengers survived the crash, Antoine Ghonda, a Congolese lawmaker and former foreign minister, said. It was not determined if the death toll included people on the ground. International Herald Tribune

"We have already picked up many bodies - dozens of bodies," Julien Mpaluku, governor of the province of the eastern Congo town of Goma, said. "There are a lot of flames, which makes it difficult to know if the bodies we are picking up are those of passengers of the plane or else passers-by or people that lived in the area where the plane crashed." International Herald Tribune

A family of four Americans, who sustained minimal injuries, were onboard, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said. CNN

The aftermath was described as "a scene of total devastation and chaos" by one journalist on scene.

One dead in St. Croix river accident

A Stillwater man died after his car plunged into the St. Croix River on Monday, authorities said. Associated Press

Mohanraj Pothiraj, 28, drove his SUV into the River, which was covered with a thin layer of ice. It was not clear why, authorities said. MPR

Pothiraj was accompanied by Rohini Krishnamurthy, 27, Kalai Selvi Vijaya Kumar, 25, who both were in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul and Deepa Veluswamy, 25, who was in serious condition. Associated Press

Five to 10 minutes passed before rescuers responding to a frantic 911 call broke the car window and pulled the victims out. MPR

British journalist freed

Iraqi security forces freed a kidnapped British journalist on Monday after two months of captivity in a Shiite militia stronghold in Basra, a defense official said. Associated Press

The story of Richard Butler's was shown on state television soon after his release surrounded by Iraqi military officials who welcomed his release.Yahoo News

Butler, who was abducted along with his Iraqi translator on February 10 while on assignment, was thankful for the soldiers who had rescued him. Associated Press

"Thank you and I'm looking forward to seeing my family and my friends at CBS and thank you again," Butler said, who was thin but in good condition. Yahoo News

The army patrol that found Butler was not looking for him, a military defense spokesman said. They were conducting a sweep of the area and responded after coming under fire from the house where he was being held.
Associated Press

Butler said the Iraqi troops were "brilliant." Associated Press

April 10, 2008

35 arrested in Olympics bomb plot

Terrorists from Islam were planning to attack Beijing, Shanghai, and other locations in China with explosives and other devices for the Summer Olympics, China announced on Thursday. CNN

35 suspects were arrested during a 10-day series of raids, a statement from the Ministry of Public Security said.

China also said that authorities discovered about 21 pounds (9.5 kg) of explosives, eight detonators, two explosive devices, and some propaganda materials for "holy war" from the raids in Urumqi, the capital for the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The Autonomous Region is home to about 19 million people, mostly made up of Muslims and other minorities.

"We know that their goal was very clear -- that is, specifically to sabotage the staging of the Beijing Olympics," Communist Party Secretary Wang Lequan said.

Chinese officials have not produced evidence for the allegations against the subjects. Yahoo News

This event is the latest in a series of the latest in a series of terrorism charges against ethnic minorities in the run-up to the Summer Games, Yahoo News said.

$65 million given to University of Minnesota for cancer research

The Minnesota Masonic Charities donated $65 million on Thursday to the University of Minnesota for cancer research, its largest donation ever, MPR said.

The donation will be given over a period of 15 years.

Masonic support of cancer research and care at the University of Minnesota over the past 53 years now totals $100 million. In recognition of this record-breaking gift, the University of Minnesota Cancer Center will now be called the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Earth Times

The state has nearly 17,000 Mason, of which Dr. Ray Christensen is Grand Master. At the signing agreement for the donation, Christensen said the Masons have supported several other charities over the years from the Shriner's Hospital for Children to housing and health care for seniors.MPR

"As a fraternity, I wanted to look at something personally that affected both genders, all ages, all walks of life and certainly cancer is one of those things," Christensen said.

Analysis on diversity

Find a news story about a culturally or racially diverse group or about an issue involving cultural, ethnic or racial diversity. Does the report move beyond stereotype into something more substantive? How? Does the story tell you something you didn't know? What? And how does the story do that - through quotes, data, and observation?

I found a news story entitled "Obama inspires black Minnesotans," at MPR . The report talks about the implications having a potential black president are, and what black Minnesotans have to say on the matter. I think that the story does move beyond stereotypes, because it gathers opinions from many people , all who have something new to say about Obama and black people in Minnesota. It digs deeper than the obvious, for example it includes a quote about how Obama makes a great role model for black children, "representing a path to success through education and working within in the system, instead of fighting against it." I learned that some people do not consider Barack Obama to be a black man, because of where he is from. The story informs readers of new information through using a wide range of people surveyed and interviewed. Thorough reporting was done on gathering information about the attitudes of black Minnesotans and the 2008 presidential race.

St. Cloud bridge to be repaired

Construction will begin on a replacement of the De Soto bridge, a segment of Highway 23 that runs through St. Cloud, transportation officials said on Thursday. MPR

The bridge was closed abruptly last month when bent gusset plates were discovered by examiners, the St. Cloud Times said. Flawed gusset plates were the reason for last year's I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

A replacement bridge will cost about $35 million, compared to $325,000 for repairs that could have been done in about seven week, state bridge engineer Dan Dorgan said. Ultimately the decision was made to replace the bridge so it could coincide with other construction already planned for Highway 23, so there will be less disruption for commuters. St. Cloud Times

Construction will start in September, and completion is expected to be in November 2009. MPR