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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.

November 14, 2007

O.J. Simpson forced to stand trial

According to MSNBC, O.J. Simpson was ordered to stand trial Wednesday facing charges of kidnapping, robbery and other charges from the suspected sports memorabilia heist on Sept. 13.

Defense attorneys argued in a preliminary hearing and asked that the charges be dropped.

Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure ruled all charges would remain against Simpson and co-defendants Clarence “C.J.? Stewart and Charles “Charlie? Ehrlich.

“This is what we expected,? Simpson told The Associated Press before he left the courtroom. “If I have any disappointment it’s that I wish a jury was here. As always, I rely on the jury system.?

Kidnapping charges a life sentence in prison without parole and armed robbery charges could face defendents with years in prison as well.

The charges are in relation to the Sept. 13 sports memorabilia heist and Simpson claims he just wanted what was stolen from him previously like the suit he was wearing the day he was aquited of murder in the slaying of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

According to CNN, Simpson's lawyer was not at all surprised with the Justice of the Peace Joseph Bonaventure decision to stand trial.

Simpson is pleading not guilty to the 12 criminal counts is set to appear November 28 before Eighth District Judge Jackie Glass for a felony arraignment.

The charges he is faced with also involve coercion and assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men held two memorabilia dealers, Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong, against their will at a room in the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas. It was reported that at least one gun had been shown.

November 11, 2007

Oil spill in San Francisco Bay worst ever in decades

According to CNN, an oil spill in San Fransisco Bay is said to be cause of human error, not mechanical error, according to the Coast Guard investigation, making this the worst oil spill in the area in decades.

The ship, Cosco Busan, side-swiped a support on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and caused a 100 foot long gash in the side of the 926 foot long vessel.

Over 58,000 gallons of fuel spilled into the bay Wednesday from the vessel two fuel tanks, killing sea birds and caused closings of over two dozen beaches and piers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency.

Almost 20,000 gallons of oily liquid was sucked up by Saturday and 770 workers are trying to recover the area and clean-up the spilll as best they can. Officials say it may take months to clean up, but workers still willl not be able to recover most of the oil.

The oil will eventually dissolve in the water causing environmental damage.

Rescuers raced to the bay to try and rescue sea birds covered in thick oil and over 60 were found dead. Over 200 were rescued and taken to a rehibilitation center.

Coast guard officials have not yet determined an exact person or details of the cause yet, but the spill is linked to matters of communication between crew members, the one driving the vessel, and the Vessel Traffic Service, the Coast Guard station that monitors the bay's shipping traffic.

The fact that they hit a fixed object indicates it was cause for mis-communication.

According to MSNBC, officials are looking in to see whether the speed of the vessel could be another cause of the oil spill. Due to the foggy weather conditions, the vessel maybe should not have been going at the rate that it was, said Coast Guard Cmdr. Brendan McPherson.

The National Transportation Safety Board began their own investigation Sunday and could take up to a year before the investigation closes. The agency will look at everything from how fatigued the ship’s crew and captain were to any mechanical or weather issues that may have been involved in the accident, said Debbie Hersman, an NTSB spokeswoman.

5 Russian ships sink causing environmental catastrophe

According to MSNBC, waves in a bad storm split a Russian oil tanker in two spilling at least 560,000 gallons of fuel into a strait that leads to the Black Sea and officials are saying its going to take years to clean up.

The 18-foot waves also sank two Russian freights that were nearby and eight people were reported missing from one freighter but all were captured on the other.

The two ships combined were carrying over 7,150 tons of sulfur and could lead to significant environmental damage.

According to CNN, at least two sailors died and 23 were reported missing after five ships have sank in both the Black Sea and the Azov Sea.

Twenty-foot waves and over 78 mph winds made the task of rescuing crew members and cleaning up the spills extremely difficult.

"At the moment specialists are trying to work out the size of the oil spill and the direction it's heading," he said. "We will alert the respective Ukrainian services if the spill moves in their direction."

Packers declare victory of Vikings in Green Bay

According to the Pioneer Press, the Packers declare yet another victory Sunday after beating the Vikings 34-0 and roughing up rookie running back Adrian Peterson.

Peterson injured his knee late in the third quarter after catching a pass from quarterback Brooks Bollinger and being tackled bycornerback Al Harris.

Peterson was escorted to the bench and medical examiners looked at his knee. He did not return back to the game.

The Vikings (3-6) were hoping to declare this game, especially after Peterson broke a record last Sunday in a victory over San Diego carrying the NFL-record rushing yards to 296.

According to the Star Tribune, Peterson wasn't the only one feeling a little off balance in Sunday's game. Brett Favre, quarterback for the Packers, took an elbow the head in the third quarter and reported feeling woozy once he stood up.

But that didn't stop him from driving his team to another glorious win. "I don't want to say it was a concussion, I'm not a doctor," Favre said. "But I was a little woozy when I stood up. I was well aware of what was going on, but I was a little light on the foot."

Favre passed yet another milestone in Sunday's game joining Dan Marino in the only NFL quarterbacks ever to thre over 60,000 career yards.

November 9, 2007

9-year-old girl found dead in cave, two suspects arrested

According to MSNBC, a 9-year-old girl was found dead in a cave in southwest Missouri Friday and two suspects have been arrested.

Rowan Ford was reported missing by her mother on Nov. 3 and police authorities are 99 percent sure the body they found was Rowan's.

The names of the two suspects in custody have not yet been released but both are said to be in their mid-20s.

Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland said the names have not been released because charges have not yet been filed.

The girl's body was found on private property just 10 miles south of her hometown Stella, which has a population of about 200.

Authorities have yet to figure out how the girl died. "We do know it was a homicide, " Copeland said.

The girl's stepfather, David Spears and two of his friends were with the girl the night she was reported missing. Spears had left the girl at their home until midnight and didn't check on her.

According to the Star Tribune, authorities believe the girl was killed in Barry County and then taken to nearby McDonald County.

The McDonald County Deputy found the girl after he had stopped by on his way to work after recalling there was a cavern there. FBI authorities began collecting evidence at the scene.

Police Officer dies after being hit by squad car

According to the Star Tribune, a police officer died Friday after being hit by a squad car in the line of duty on Nov. 1.

Mark Berinard, 34, a Minneapolis Park Police officer, was on foot chasing a suspect when a squad car had struck him in the alley, which was also pursuing the suspects.

After being admitted to the hospital, Bedard suffered from a collapsed lung, several broken bones, and a torn aorta. During surgery, his heart had stopped twice causing him to have a stroke.

This is the first time in the department's 100 years that an officer died in the line of duty from a traumatic incident. Bedard was a 12-year veteran of the park force.

According to the Pioneer Press, Bedard was pronounced dead around noon Friday.

November 4, 2007

Diversity Analyses

I read a story about foreign-born maids and how they are brought over to the United States to serve middle and upper-class Americans. To me, this deals a lot with cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity. All these women are being taken advantage of because they come from poor backgrounds, a different culture and all of them are of ethnic descent.

Many of the women are beaten by their employees, sexually harrassed, and some even forced to sleep in closets. All of them are extremely underpaid and overworked.

The story does move into something extremely substantive. It is written with great detail and really makes the reader feel for the women the writer is writing about. It describes their backgrounds, their work environment, and the abuse that they receive. It explains the appearance of the women being interviewed and what has been done so far to change this issue.

I know this story probably isn't the typical story for a racially diverse group but I just thought it was really interesting and in its own way, fits into the category.

Teacher and student affair

According to the New York Times, a teacher ,who ran away with one of her former students, was arrested in Mexico on Saturday.

Kelsey Peterson, 25, is a sixth-grade mathematics teacher, was arrested on the California border in Mexicali, Mexico and the boy was released to nearby relatives.

Peterson was turned over to the FBI and was transported back to the United States.

The boy who is not identified is an eighth-grade student, but was in Peterson's math class in sixth-grade.

School officials said the two fled after an investigation began to determine whether or not they were engaging in a romantic relationship.

The boy was last seen on Oct. 26.

Peterson was charged on Monday with kidnapping, child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Federal charges could surface as well.

According to CNN, the boy was an illegal immigrant and may be forced to stay in his native country, Mexico to not return to his current residence in Nebraska.

Police conducted an international search for Fernando Rodriguez when Peterson's vehicle was spotted crossing the border.

"They didn't have a very well-defined plan, it was basically to continue driving into Mexico to hide," said Alfredo Arenas, the Baja California state police official who detained Peterson. "This was a mutual agreement to flee after the story came out that they were having sex."

Superintendant Todd Chessmore said he placed Peterson on paid administrative leave on Oct. 25.

A Million Little Pieces

According to the New York Times, only 1,729 people asked for their money back after buying James Frey's, "A Million Little Pieces," a memoir that contained fabricated content.

A judge granted the 1,700 disgruntled customers their wish Friday in Federal Court in Manhattan after a lawyer, Larry D. Drury convinced a judge, Richard J. Holwell to offer a refund to anybody who bought the book before Frey's falsehoods were made public.

The book earned Frey over $4 million dollars.

In January 2006, the website www.thesmokinggun.com, accused Frey of including false information in his best-selling book.

Random House received $2.35 million to cover their costs, but the reimbursement to the customers only totaled $27,348.

Another $783,000 will be paid for legal fees, and another $432,000 will go towards publicizing and carrying out other parts of the settlement.

According to CNN, the book became a huge success after Oprah Winfrey included it in her famous book club.

Drury noted that 93,738 copies of the book were sold in the seven months after the controversy began.

He also said the proportion of people who made a claim and demanded reimbursement was significantly lower than in similar cases in the past. Only 7.2 percent took advantage of the settlement, while usually more than 20 percent do.

James Frey is currently working on another novel, "Bright Shiny Morning," scheduled to be released in the summer 2008.

Mexico flood

According to the MSNBC, a Mexico flood Saturday left 800,000 people homeless and has citizens sleeping on the roofs of their homes waiting for help to arrive.

Almost the entire state is under water and the destructive weather has effected more than half of Mexico's entire population.

Pregnant women and children held signs up on their roof pleading for safety, citizens fight for the limited food and water supply, and livestock swim neck-high in murky, muddy water.

More than 28,000 people have been rescued by army and navy teams despite the foggy weather conditions and people hovering helicopters trying to grab on.

Elelectricity and drinking water has been shut off as well as power and phone lines leaving limited necessities to the people.

According to CNN, eight people have died in the widespread flood, but officials say rivers receded slightly on Saturday and will continue to.

Over 69,000 people are staying in shelters and many others are fleeing the state as water, food, and electricity become scarce.

Officials are saying that with so many people packed together in the area, a spread of disease is very likely.

November 1, 2007

Suspect charged with killing Katherine Olson

According to the Star Tribune, Michael John Anderson has been charged with 2nd-degree murder for killing Katherine Ann Olson who disappeared Thursday after accepting a nanny job she found on Craigs List.

Olson arrived at a Savage home expecting to babysit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. after being hired by "Amy" from the nanny ad she answered.

When she arrived at the run-down house, she was met by Anderson who got her upstairs to his bedroom and reportedly shot her in the back with a .357 Magnum handgun, dragged her downstairs and tied her ankles together with twine.

Olson put her in the trunk of her car and parked the vehicle several blocks away, where police authorities found it later that day.

Olson also put her crushed cell phone in a bloody towel that had his name written on it and threw it into a nearby garbage can.

He was charged Tuesday by the Scott County court. He had told police at one point that somebody else killed her and that another friend thought it would be funny. He also, at one point, told police he witnessed her being killed.

His bail is set at $1 million.

According to the Pioneer Press, Olson's first hearing is scheduled for Nov. 16 at 8:30 a.m., and told police he had no contact with Olson even though cell phone records show that he had.

At a press conference, authorities said Anderson seems to be the only one involved in the killing and that they don't have a motive yet. The investigation is still continuing.

The maximum sentence for Anderson's current charge is 40 years in prison, but charges could change once he goes before a grand jury.

Mankato student drinks herself to death

According to the Star Tribune, Amanda Jax died in Mankato Monday after what police say was due to drinking herself to death, but official cause of death is unknown. Police officials are not surprised by this and have actually expected something like this to happen soon or later.

Matt Westermeyer, deputy director of public safety for Mankato, said that binge drinking has been a problem for sometime now.

He also added that other college towns have the same problem and mentioned other situations in which students had to face deadly consequences from their unruly behavior after drinking.

Jax, from Meyer, was found dead in the morning after her 21st birthday celebration, in an apartment neary Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her friends had brought her there after a night of drinking.

Police said it "appears that alcohol played a significant role in the death of Ms. Jax" after she "became quite intoxicated."

Services for Jax are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at St. Boniface Catholic Church in St. Bonifacius. Visitation is from 4-8 p.m. today at the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia and one hour prior to Friday's service at the church.

According to the Mankato Free Press, Jax had been convicted of alcohol-related offenses in two separate counties, both in 2005 and 2006.

The university, in the past, has promoted decreasing drinking on or around campus and new programs have been so far sucessful.

This incident has reawoken the Health Services department at the university and further steps are going to be taken into yet again trying to prevent drinking.