December 9, 2007

Minnesotan woman among 2 killed in Colorado

According to the Star Tribune, a Minnesotan woman was among two of the staff member killed at a missionary training center in Arvada, just outside Denver, by a man who was upset after being told he couldnt stay the night.

Another shooting occurred just 12 hours later in Colorado Springs at a megachurch, just 65 miles away. The two incidents are not said to be related, but authorities aren't ruling it out.

According to the Pioneer Press, two others were injured and the gunman is said to be at large.

The shooting occurred at 12:30 a.m. at the Youth with a Mission Center.

Police identified the Minnesota woman as 26-year-old Tiffany Johnson and 25-year-old Phillip Crouse of Alaska.

Two men, who were also staff members, were injured and taken to the local hospital. One of them is said to be in critical condition. Their names have not yet been released. They are 22 and 23 years old.

Witnesses told police the gunman was a 20-year-old white male, wearing a dark jacket and skull cap. He may have glasses or a beard.

Ice storm in midwest

According to MSNBC, An ice storm slickened the road, cut power lines of tens of thousand homes, and shut down airways Sunday from the Southern Plains to the Great Lakes and colder weather was expected to come.

Ice storm warnings are stretching from Pennsylvania to Texas and are supposed to continue into mid-week.

"Tomorrow may be even more of a dilemma than today because we're going to get even a little bit more colder," said John Pike, a meteorologist in the Weather Service's office in Norman, Okla.

Three deaths occurred in Oklahoma and icy roads are to blame.

Some communities in Missouri reported ice as thick as three-quarters of an inch, the National Weather Service said.

According to CNN, Five traffic deaths were blamed on icy roads in Oklahoma and more than 130,000 homes lost power in Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois and Kansas.

One of the busiest airports, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, canceled more than 400 flights.

Canadian pig farmer found guilty

According to MSNBC, a Canadaian pig farmer was found guilty Sunday on six counts of second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. It is said that he is country's worst serial killer.

Robert "Willie" Pickton's verdict ended the trial of the six of 26 murders of women, who were mostly prostitutes and drug addicts from a Vancouver neighborhood.

The remains of the bodies were found Pickton's farm but he denied that he killed them.

The jury was compromised of seven men and five women and had the option of charging him with first-degree murder, but didn't. The murders were not premeditated.

Pickton, 58, will serve life in prison and will not to be able to appeal for ten years.

Prosecutors said he will be tried for the other 20 murders but a date has not yet been set.

According to the Star Tribune, if Pickton is charged with the other 20 murders, he will become Canad's most prolific serial killer.

Police are investigating the missing of 40 other women.

Pickton listened to the verdict being read with his head down and witnesses said he smirked at one point.

He will be sentenced on Tuesday after the judge decides when exactly he will be eligible for parole.

It took the jury 10 days to reach a verdict.

Colorado church attack

According to MSNBC, a gunman killed one and wounded four others before being shot to death by a security guard in a Colorado Springs megachurch Sunday.

The gunman entered the church's main foyer around 1 p.m. and began opening fire. The 11 a.m. service had just recently ended and parents were picking their children up from the daycare nearby. The man, who has not been identified, was said to be wearing a dark trenchcoat and was carrying a high-powered gun.

A SWAT team searched the premise for any explosives but didn't find anything.

At least three people were taken to Penrose Community Hospital in Colorado Springs where they are listed in critical, good, and fair conditions.

According to CNN, the Chief of Police Richard Myers called the security guard "a courageous security staff member who probably saved many lives today."

Several "suspicious devices" were found at the church after the SWAT team searched the building, Myers said.

SWAT teams cleared the sevral buildings along with an explosive unit, he said.

Police don't know why the attack occurred nor did they have suspect to believe there was any relation to the shooter and the victims.

The shooting did however take place 12 hours after another shooting occurred at a missionary training facility that left two dead, just outside of Denver.

Vikings win Sunday's game

According to the Star Tribune, the Minnesota Vikings celebrated their fourth win on Sunday beating the San Francisco 49ers 27-7 and Adrian Peterson didn't have much to with it.

Defensive lineman Kevin Williams had an interception in the game's first play and scored a touchdown and Chester Taylor had an 84-yard scoring run, contributing to the victorious win.

The Vikings (7-6) made their way closer to the NFC playoff picture after they had a 27-0 lead by halftime.

Adrian Peterson was at an all time career low by game's end with 3 yards on 14 carries.

The 49ers shouldn't have been hard to beat with a current record of 3-10.

According to the Pioneer Press, Robert Fergusan caught a touchdown pass from Travaris Jackson, who passed for 163 yards.

The Vikings moved into the sixth spot for the NFC playoffs.

Chester Taylor's touchdown run was nothing short of dynamic, making the third longest in franchise history, and a bulk of his 101 yards rushing.

December 2, 2007

CAR Analysis

I found a story using the Extra! Extra! link recommended by you in our guide.

Here is the link to the When Seconds Count story.

This story was about how ambulances are taking a long time to respond and arrive to reach the victim's at their homes or places of business.

A reporter did an investigation to track it and then reported on it. The number were actually quite shocking and a lot of the victim's and their family members reported in the story were upset.

The reporter looked at more than 70,000 EMS response time records and tracked them all. You can tell he used CAR for this story as he looked in the county's database for the records, which was stored electronically.

He then needed to analyze the numbers mathematically. I'm assuming critical thinking came into play in doing so. He needed to analyze it so he could write it for his readers to understand in a clear and simple way.

I'm also assuming some sort of spreadsheet software (Excel) was probably used in analyzing the data and figuring out the mathematical aspect. The reporter had to be efficient enough to use the spreadsheet software and whatever other programs were used in doing a full analysis.

A lot of numbers were used in the story and many figures were reported. The reporter, at the very least, had to possess some basic math skills.

British teacher offends Islam

According to MSNBC, a British teacher was convicted of insulting Islam in Sudan letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammad and the teacher's lawyer expects his client to be pardoned.

Two British Muslim politicians visted Khartoum on Saturday to try and get the teacher released.

Labour peer Lord Ahmed and Baroness Warsi, arrived in Sudan a private meeting and met with Sudanese officials about the case of Gillian Gibbons.

“I would not be surprised if president of the republic will tell delegation we have dropped this charge,? defense attorney Kamal al-Gizouli told The Associated Press, explaining that only the president has the power to lift Gibbons’ 15 day sentence.

Gibbons' sentence ends on Dec. 9 and was moved Friday from the women's prison after thousands of Sudanese, burned pictures of her and demanded that she be executed.

According to CNN, Gibbons, 54, was sentenced on Thursday and received a credit for time served. As of Sunday, she only had eight days left in her sentence.

She did apologize to a faculty member that was offended by the toy's name and she still wishes to stay in Sudan and continue teaching.

However, she will be deported immediately after she is released.

December 1, 2007

Missing refinery employee

According to the Pioneer Press, authorities searched for a St. Paul Park refinery employee Saturday night and some believe he may be injured or dead after a fire broke out earlier Saturday morning.

The man, whose name has not been identified, clocked in as usual at the Marathon Petroleum Company Refinery but was not accounted for after the tank fire ended.

We know that he was at work," Bob Behr, the refinery's human resources manager, said. "When people come into work, they have to scan into the plant so that if there's an emergency we can account for all individuals. We also know he didn't leave because he would have had to scan out."

The fire started about 8:30 a.m. and was declared out by 9:30 a.m. The fire was contained in a 10,000 barrel fuel oil tank.

No injuries were reported, Washington County Sheriff's department officials said.

The company will conduct a formal investigation to determine the cause of fire, but employees did say they heard an explosion.

The impact was minimal because the fire was confined and nothing indicates it had any environmental impact.

According to the Star Tribune, the barrel contained about 8.000 gallons of fuel oil and it wasn't immediately clear if production would be affected.

According to the Marathon company website, the plant has won several awards for workplace safety in recent years.

The employee was still missing around 5 p.m. Saturday evening.

Red Wing man claims Hot Lotto Jackpot

According to the Star Tribune, a Red Wing man the Nov. 21 jackpot for the Hot Lotto and opted to take the $4.4 million cash option.

After tax withholdings, Jerome Cody's net winnings are $3,025,867, lottery officials said in a news release.

Cody bought his ticket at Freedom Valu Center in Red Wing. He said he stops in there twice a week for gas before heading to work in Hastings.

Erickson Oil, the parent Company of Freedom Valu Center, received a $10,000 bonus for selling Cody the winning ticket.

According to the Pioneer Press, the jackpot was totaled to be worth $7.1 million dollars at the time the numbers were announced Nov. 21.

On Thanksgiving morning, Cody stopped back in the store and asked the cashier to scan his ticket. A printed message indicated the prize was too large to redeem at the store and when the clerk printed the winning numbers, they realized that Cody had the winning ticket.

Cody is Minnesota's sixth jackpot winner since Hot Lotto debuted in 2002.

Hostages in Clinton's office

According to CNN, the man who held hostages Friday in one of the offices of Sen. Hillary Clinton claimed that he was raped by a parish priest.

Leeland Eisenberg, 46, claimed he had a bomb strapped to his chest, but police later said they were road flares that were taped together.

Five people were held inside by Eisenberg, including a small child. All hostages were released and unharmed by the time the event had ended.

Eisenberg, who is from Somersworth, complained about being unable to get mental health treatment before the incident ended.

He had filed a lawsuit back in 2002 against the Boston Archdiocese, claiming that the then Archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law had molested and raped him.

After the lawsuit went public, Law resigned from his position.

According to the lawsuit, Eisenberg then 21, went looking for housing at the Roman Catholic Parish of St. Catherine of Alexandria. He was homeless and lived in cars in a junkyard in Massachusetts.

He was hired as painter at the church and was provided with room and board. Eisenberg claims Law showed him pornography and molested him.

He also said that Law raped him after he had passed out drunk one night. He had awoke to find Law engaging in sexual intercourse.

According to, Clinton traveled to New Hampshire Friday to talk with the hostages and their families.

Eisenberg requested to speak with Clinton amid the incident but his request was denied.

“I need to speak to Hillary Clinton,? CNN quoted him as saying. “Something’s got to change. Ordinary people need help? with their insurance

“He was someone that was not known to my campaign headquarters until he walked in the door today,? Clinton said at a late-night news conference in Portsmouth. “It appears that he is someone who is in need of help and sought attention in absolutely the wrong way.?

Three days prior to Friday, Eisenberg's wife had filed for divorce and was supposed to be in court one hour before he held people hostage. He was due in court for a domestic abuse hearing.

Reese Witherspoon Top-paid Actress

According to CNN, Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon asks for $15 to $20 million a picture, making her the top-paid actress in Hollywood. Althought the 31-year-old actress's latest movie release "Rendition" was a flop, the business still agrees that she is a moneymaker.

She topped The Hollywood Reporter's annual list for 2007 beating out Angelina Jolie who is now ranked second. Jolie asks for $15 million per picture and only received $8 million for the animated movie "Beowulf."

Nicole Kidman dropped two places this year and Cameron Diaz came in third. Other big time actresses like Renee Zellwegger and Sandra Bullock were also among the top ten, earning $10 to $15 million paychecks.

According to MSNBC, the top-paid male actors like Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson earn $30 million a picture and also receive a portion of the movie's profits.

Actors like Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio can earn up to 20 percent of the film's profits.

“Men traditionally command a higher salary than the women,? Michelle Grabicki, an executive features editor at the trade publication, said. “It’s a newer trend, women getting a percentage of the back end. Cameron Diaz is catching up with the men.?

The salary list appears in The Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment: Power 100? issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

November 27, 2007

A man was sentenced Tuesday to one year in prison after he had convinced an aquaintance to cut the head off of hs ex-girlfriend's dog, which was later sent to her in a gift-wrapped box.

November 18, 2007

Iraqi children and American soldiers die in roadside bomb in Iraq

According to CNN, three Iraqi children died and seven others are injured after a roadside bomb went off Sunday as the children gathered around U.S. troops that were handing out toys.

Three American soldiers also died in the explosion in Baquba, located 12 miles north of Baghdad.

According to MSNBC, Sundays attack along with several others occurring in the same area, raises questions of Iraqi security, even though the American military said that violence is down 55 percent since a troop buildup began this year.

Police said the troops were handing out toys such as sports equipment in a playground, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Deaths have raised to at least 3,870 of members of the U.S. military since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

Chester Taylor bring Vikings to a win

According to the Star Tribune, Adrian Peterson stood on the sidelines in a sweat suit and watched Chester Taylor impressively lead the Minnesota Vikings in a 22-29 victory over former Vikings player Daunte Culpepper and the Oakland Raiders.

Peterson was restricted to play in Sunday's game due to a knee injury from last week's game against the Packers. Taylor did his best to match Peterson's performance with 22 rushes for 164 yards.

"I ain't the one to start no controversy," Taylor said. "I knew I could do what I did in the game. I'm going to play hard no matter what, and if I get the opportunity I'm going to take advantage of it."

Matt Birk, another teammate, said Chester has been overshadowed this year with Adrian Peterson and that he'd take him on his team anytime. "He runs hard. He fights for every last yard he can get."

According to the Pioneer Press, Taylor had three touchdowns and 202 total yards and the Vikings turned the ball over four times during the first half of the game.

Taylor, smaller than Peterson, played just like him until Peterson fell to the Vikings on the draft board last spring.

He touched the ball eight times in the first quarter and picked up five first downs. He also scored his second touchdown on a 38-yard scamper to make it 19-13 Minnesota midway through the second quarter.

The Vikings revived themselves in Sunday's game after an embarrassing loss to longtime rival Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.

Two dead in mobile home fire

According to the Star Tribune, two people died Saturday in North Mankato in a mobile home fire that started after an explosion occurred.

Neighbors rushed out of their homes to see Shawn and Beth Marxen's mobile home in flames.

The fire department arrived at 114 Kingsway Drive and removed the two bodies out of the home after putting the fire out.

Neighbors broke several windows in the home and attempted to rescue the people inside but the thick smoke restricted them from helping.

The bodies have not yet been identified and the investigation has started to determine the cause of the fire.

According to the Pioneer Press, several 911 calls were received at North Mankato Police at 1:25 a.m. Saturday.

he rear of the residence was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at the Camelot Mobile Home Park.

Two bodies were recovered from the charred mobile home.

Autopsies were being conducted, and authorities said the fire was under investigation.