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November 23, 2008

Woman Killed by Estranged Husband at New Jersey Church

Police are looking for a gunman who fatally shot his estranged wife and injured two others in a church vestibule on Sunday as service ended, ABC News reported.

Joseph M. Pallipurath, 27, drove from California to Clifton, N.J. where he opened fire inside St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church, New Jersey’s Star Ledger said.


About 200 people were in attendance, according to The Associated Press.

"Kids were crying. People were screaming," Suja Alummoottil said, according to ABC News. "It was chaotic."

Reshma James, 24, died at St. Joseph’s Medical Center about 4 p.m., Clifton police Detective Capt. Robert Rowan told the Star Ledger.

The other victims, a 47-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man, remain in “extremely critical condition,? according to the Star Ledger.

James had a restraining order filed against Pallipurath and had moved to New Jersey to escape her abusive marriage, ABC reported.

The majority of the church is made up of first-generation immigrants from India, The Associated Press said.

U of M, Augsburg Students Named Rhodes Scholars

Two Minnesotan college students were named Rhodes Scholars on Sunday, KSTP reported.

Brian Krohn, a senior majoring in chemistry at Augsburg College, and Ashley Nord, a physics, astrophysics and global studies senior at the University of Minnesota will study at Oxford University in England next year under the prestigious scholarship, the Star Tribune said.

Krohn, the first Rhodes Scholar from Augsburg, presented some of his biodiesel research to Congress members earlier this year, KSTP said.

Nord plans to pursue a career in biophysics after earning a doctorate in condensed matter physics at Oxford, WCCO reported. Nord is from Rapid City, S.D.

Krohn and Nord were among the 31 out of 769 applicants selected for 2009, WCCO said.

The Star Tribune reported that, according to the scholarship trust, 32 United States students were selected for the scholarship.

Rhodes Scholarships were created by Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist, in 1902. The awards are the oldest international study scholarships for U.S. students, the Star Tribune said.

Vatican Forgives John Lennon for Jesus Jibe

The Vatican newspaper forgave John Lennon this week for his 1966 boast that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, FOX News reported.

The late English singer told a British newspaper that he did not know whether Christianity or rock and roll would die out first, the BBC said.

Lennon’s comment enraged Christians, especially in the United States where some burned the Beatles’ records at gatherings in huge pyres, MSNBC said.

"The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a 'boast' by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll," Osservatore Romano, the Vatican daily said, according to MSNBC.

The newspaper went on the praise the musical talent of the Beattles, FOX News reported.

"The fact remains that 38 years after breaking up, the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians," the newspaper said.

Denny Hecker Closes 6 Dealerships

Denny Hecker, the prominent Twin Cities car dealer entrepreneur, closed six of his dealerships and sold three others this week because of the “sour economy,? WCCO said.

About 400 employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closings, the Pioneer Press reported. The recent closings reflect the problems many other dealers are facing.

According to the Star Tribune, in a release last week, state employment figures revealed that 2,000 dealership jobs were lost in October alone.

On Saturday the Hecker Automotive group shut down the Blaine Bargain lot, Froest Lake Chrysler Jeep Dodge Mitsubishi, Sillwater Ford Lincoln Mercury, Moticello Dodge Ford and Mercury, Shakopee Chrysler Jeep Dodge, and Rosedale Hyundai.

"The decision to realign our dealership came as we found ourselves in the midst of a 'perfect storm' of economic bad news: a financial crisis on Wall Street, chaos in the housing market, consumer confidence at all time low and the sight of the Big Three on their knees in Washington asking for a bailout loan." Denny Hecker Automotive Group President Barbara Jerich said in a statement on Friday night.

November 22, 2008

College Student Kills Himself in Front of Webcam

An internet audience watched as a college student committed suicide by taking a drug overdose Wednesday, the New York Times reported.

The family of Abraham Briggs says they are “horrified? that the online spectators and Web site operators waited until it was too late before acting to save the 19-year-old, according to FOX News.

Some of the spectators encouraged Briggs on to follow through with the suicide plan he posted to the Web site 12 hours before he died. Others cracked jokes and discussed whether or not he was taking a big enough dose to kill himself, Wendy Crane, an investigator with the Broward County medical examiner’s office, said to MSNBC.

Some of the viewers tried to talk Briggs out of his plan, the New York Times said.

Sometime after swallowing the pills, someone reported the situation to the moderator of the bodybuilding site the teenager was broadcasting from, MSNBC reported.

The moderator was able to trace Briggs’ location and notify the police. However, the police did not arrive in time to save him, FOX News said.

November 16, 2008

Cultural Analysis

The story “Fear of the Queer: Blacks in Florida vote to oppress gays,? by Bob Norman, published last week in New Times Broward-Palm Beach discussed the issue of blacks voting against gay marriage in Florida.

The story explained the phenomenon of many “civil rights-minded black voters? who voted against gay marriage, but voted for Obama.

The article used statistics to illustrate the facts. “While about 96 percent of black voters favored Obama, 70 percent of them were opposed to gay marriage, according to both pre-election and exit polls,? the article said.

This article asks many questions about why the majority of black Americans do not support gay marriage, assuming that because African Americans have experienced so much discrimination, they would want gay couples to have equal rights.

The story also uses quotes to add credibility and life to the story. "Black people have consistently been less supportive of gay and lesbian rights than any segment of the population in Florida," the article quotes S.F Mahee, an Oakland Park activist, saying.

American Girl Store Opens at the Mall of America

The opening of the American Girl store drew hundreds to the Mall of America early Saturday morning, according to the Star Tribune.

Some started lining up around 5:30 a.m. to be the first in the store, the Star Tribune said.

The Pioneer Press called the opening of the store “one of the most anticipated of the year in the Twin Cities.?

The first American Girl store opened in Chicago in 1998, when the company became a division of toy giant Mattel Inc.

The Minneapolis location is the seventh American Girl store in the nation, the Star Tribune reported.

The store is made to be an experience, where the average customer spends two hours browsing dozens of displays, eating lunch at the café, and purchasing dolls, books or matching outfits for girls and their dolls.

The company was started by Pleasant Rowland to encourage girls to read while sparking pride in America’s history, the Star Tribune said.

Turbulence Caused Crash of Mexican Jet, Official Says

The fatal crash of a the Lear jet, which killed everyone aboard, including Mexico’s interior minister, may have been caused by the turbulence from a large passenger jet it was following too closely, the transportation secretary said Friday, according to MSNBC.

The pilots of the jet did not immediately slow down after they learned they were nearly one nautical mile too close behind a Boeing 767-300, preliminary investigations revealed, MSNBC said.

Both aircrafts were on their way to Mexico City’s international airport on Nov. 4.

No alcohol or drug traces were found in either pilot and no evidence has been found to indicate that anything was wrong with the plane, Luis Tellez said to CNN.

Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino died with the eight other passengers on board. Five additional people were killed and 14 were injured on ground when the jet crashed into rush-hour traffic in Mexico City, CNN said.

Mourino, a close confidant of President Felipe Calderon, was compared to the equivalent of a vice-president by MSNBC.

November 15, 2008

Fridley Teen Killed in Gun Accident

A high school senior was shot and killed at his home by a friend who thought his gun was empty, according to the Star Tribune.

Emmanuel Bartuoh, 18, was watching the high school football semifinals when his friend, Samuel Keleih Dennis, 20, pointed a semi-automatic gun he did not know was loaded at Bartuoh and pulled the trigger, the Pioneer Press said.

WCCO reported a man named “Teri? to be the one who “allegedly killed? Bartuoh.

Dennis was booked into the Anoka County Jail on charges of second-degree manslaughter, according to the Pioneer Press.

Bartuoh played high school football with the dream of earning scholarships for college.

"I've known the guy since childhood. His dream all along was to play football, but here's why," Fridley High School senior A.B. Borner, a teammate, said. "I remember when he was a kid, he made a promise to his mom to support her. That's why he played his heart out. Everything he did, he did it for her," the Star Tribune reported.

The teenager moved to America from Africa with his mom, who he financially supported, WCCO said.

Bartuoh was known for his “attitude, drive and respect for fellow students,? WCCO reported.

His football coach, Lambert Brown, told the Pioneer Press that Bartuoh was a quiet leader and a standout player.

Nebraska Safe Haven Law to be Changed

Nebraska lawmakers are considering whether to change the state’s “Baby Moses? law which allows parents to abandon their children at hospitals without prosecution, CBS News reported.

The law was established in July to allow vulnerable parents to leave their infants in a safe place, the BBC said.

However, of the 34 children abandoned since then, only six have been younger than 10, according to CNN.

CBS reported that one infant had been abandoned under the safe haven law, but according to CNN, none of the children were infants.

The law allows not only parents, but any adult, to drop off any child under the age of 18 the BBC said.

“I certainly recognize and can commiserate and empathize with families across our state and across the country who are obviously struggling with parenting issues, but this is not the appropriate way of dealing with them," Todd Landry, head of the state's Department of Health and Human Services' division of children and family services told the BBC.

Gov. Dave Heineman urged parents to think of the message they were sending to their children before abandoning them, CNN reported.

"Think of what you are saying. You are saying you no longer support them. You no longer love them,? Heineman said.

Officials are working to change the law so that only infants will be received by hospitals. The law is expected to change by the end of next week, CBS said.

November 10, 2008

Obama Positioned to Quickly Enact Change

President-elect Barack Obama is in a position to quickly overturn policies put in place by President Bush, including taxpayer support of abortion and limits on oil expansion and stem cell research, the New York Times reported.

Although the complete list of policies to be reversed will not be announced until Obama meets with his new cabinet members, his advisers have already started working on finding what policies he would have authority to overturn with his executive powers, according to the New York Times.

The economic crisis at hand has given Obama additional power to enact change, FOX News said.

“The best thing for a president is to come in under crisis. You can’t ask for anything better,? James Ceaser, professor of politics at the University of Virginia said.

The crisis gives the president-elect “a ‘license’ to push through policy,? Ceaser said, according to FOX News.

Organizations like the Center for Reproductive Rights are clamoring to be heard. The organization called on Obama to repeal the gag rule enacted by President Bush that prohibited taxpayer dollars from being given to groups that perform abortions, the New York Times said.

While the economy is first on Obama’s agenda, the new administration is “looking for quick changes that Obama can make from his first day in office,? CNN reported.

November 9, 2008

Numbers Analysis

The Miami Herald story, “Paloma destroys hundreds of homes in Cuba,? uses numbers in a variety of ways in order to effectively tell the story.

The article used numbers to tell readers how far inland the storm send sea water (“almost a mile?), the estimated cost of damage the storm caused (“$9.4 billion?), and how much of the island’s crops were destroyed (“nearly a third?).

When describing distance, the reporter converts miles to kilometers in parentheses to make the concept easier to understand for all readers.

The reporter also used fractions to describe numerical concepts. By doing the math for readers, the story becomes easier to understand.

The story also uses numbers to describe the hurricane category (4), helping readers understand the strength of the storm.

In a story about hurricanes, numbers are vital to help readers understand the extent of destruction. The reporter did a good job of effectively using numbers to communicate well with her audience.

Alum Donates $300 Million to the Univ. of Chicago

An alumnus has given the University of Chicago’s business school a $300 million gift, the university announced Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

David G. Booth’s unrestricted donation is “the largest individual gift ever to a U.S. business school and the largest in the University of Chicago’s history,? Dean Edward Snyder said according to MSNBC.

The gift more than doubled the previous record for a business school donation, which was a $105 million endowment from Philip Knight, founder of Nike Inc., to Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 2006, Snyder said.

Snyder announced at a news conference Thursday that the school will be renamed the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

The money will be used to expand the school’s presence abroad as well as “attract star faculty,? Snyder told MSNBC.

Twenty Dead in Russian Submarine Accident

At least 20 people have died in an accident on a Russian submarine test run in the Sea of Japan, official said Sunday, according to CNN.

The accident was caused by a fire safety system that was activated by mistake, spewing chemicals and injuring 21 others, the BBC reported.

Freon gas from the fire-extinguishing system was released Saturday, killing the victims, Sergei Markin, a Russian investigative agency official, said to MSNBC.

The submarine, which was to be commission later this year by the navy, was holding 208 people, including 81 servicemen, Russian navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said to CNN reporters.

The BBC reported that 14 civilians were reported dead while CNN said that 17 civilian members of the shipyard crew were killed.

All accounts reported that the accident did not damage the submarine’s nuclear reactor. The submarine returned to its base on Russia’s Pacific coast under its own power, the reports said.

November 8, 2008

Rare Whooping Cranes Pass Through SW Minnesota

A whooping crane breeding program is giving southwestern Minnesotan residents a rare look at the bird, according to a Department of Natural Resources official, the Star Tribune reported.

Four whooping cranes, a bird listed as an endangered species, have been sighted in Lincoln County since mid-Sept., Bob Meyer, DNR area wildlife manager said.

Myer told WCCO that the wild population of whooping cranes "doesn't fly through here at all and these were hundreds of miles from where they were raised in Wisconsin."

The birds are the result of a breeding program that would not allow all the birds to concentrate in one area in order to lessen the risk of the cranes being wiped out, WCCO said.

The cranes will likely be leaving the area soon, as the temperature continues to drop, KARE 11 reported.

Lakeville Girl Dies in Car Accident

One of the two Lakeville sisters injured in a Wednesday car crash has died, her parents said in a statement released Saturday, according to the Pioneer Press.

Kayla J. Borgerson, 17 “was not able to survive the multiple, traumatic injuries she sustained from the crash,? Keith and Sue Borgerson, her parents, said, according to the Star Tribune.

Kayla was driving with her sister, Katie Borgerson, 15, near the Borgerson home when their Toyota Camry collided with a pickup truck around 6 p.m., Lakeville Police Chief Tom Vonhof said, according to the Star Tribune.

Kayla was flown by helicopter to Hennepin County medical Center because her injuries were life threatening.

Katie was also taken to HCMC, where she remains in serious condition.

Questions Raised in Senate Recount

A Ramsey County judge ruled Saturday against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman’s request to stop the opening and counting of 32 absentee ballots delivered late in the polling day, the Star Tribune reported.

The U.S. Senate race is headed toward an automatic recount because of the mere 221-vote advantage Coleman currently has over Democrat Al Franken, the Pioneer Press said.

Coleman’s campaign argued that the votes should not be counted because they were not opened on Nov. 4, according to the filed injunction, the Pioneer Press said.

Minneapolis elections director Cynthia Reichert called Friday morning, reporting that 32 ballots had been found, KARE 11 said, citing Colman’s campaign request.

"We were actually told they had been riding around in her car for several days, which raised all kinds of integrity questions," Fritz Knaak, Coleman's attorney, told WCCO.

Coleman’s campaign manager, Cullen Sheehan, raised questions as to how Coleman’s lead of more than 700 points has diminished to 221 points since Wednesday.

"Instead, of the normal slight changes in vote totals one would expect during this process, we are now seeing huge chunks of votes appearing and disappearing," Sheehan said to the Pioneer Press.

November 2, 2008

Obituary Analysis

The obituary of Studs Terkel run in the Star Tribune has a standard news lead. The lead begins with Studs Terkel, the man’s name, and then goes on to give an identifying fact about Terkel. The lead identified him as “the preeminent oral historian of 20th-century America who described the major events of his time through the experiences and observations of the ordinary men and women who lived them.? The lead also follows the standard by ending the paragraph with a short sentence that tells the reader the person’s age. “He was 96,? the article’s lead concluded. The lead works well, giving readers the most important facts, identifying Terkel’s major life accomplishments and age of death.

The obituary sourced Time magazine, saying that "next to Richard Nixon the person whose life has been most dramatically affected by the tape recorder is Studs Terkel."

The obituary is similar to a resume in that it highlights major life accomplishments, but is obviously different in that an obituary is written not to sell a person for a job but to celebrate a person’s life.

12-year-old Trick-or-Treater Fatally Shot

A 12-year-old boy trick-or-treating in South Carolina was killed Friday when a convicted felon sprayed nearly 30 rounds with an assault rifle from inside his home, police said according to a CNNhttp://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,445870,00.html run, AP story.

Quentin Patrick, 22, said he thought he was being robbed after 12-year-old T.J. Darrisaw, his 9-year-old brother, Ahmardre Darrisaw, and their father, Freddie Grinnell were hit by the gunfire after knocking on Patrick’s door around 8:30 p.m., FOX News said.

The family stopped at Patrick’s house on their way home from a Halloween celebration after seeing the porch light on, according to FOX News.

Ahmadre Darrisaw and Freddie Grinnell were release from the hospital after being treated for minor injuries, Myrtle Beach’s Sun News reported.

T.J. was killed from a shot to his head, Sun News said.

Patrick has been charged with murder and assault and battery with intent to kill, FOX News said.

Man Charged with Piggy Bank Theft

A 34-year-old Eden Prairie man was charged Saturday with stealing eight piggy banks from a Hopkins home, according to a KWTX report.

The change from the piggy banks totaled more than $2,700, KARE 11 said.

Robert Black stood at a coin-counting machine for more than half an hour while the money was counted, police said, according to WCCO.

Police said Blake then picked up his girlfriend and bought her boots, shirts, and a coat at Burlington Coat Factory, according to the Pioneer Press.

A neighbor called the police and wrote down the license number of the white Lincoln Town Car after seeing a man leave the house with two large nylon bags, KARE 11 reported.

The victim’s son told police Blake had lived with the family in the past, the Pioneer Press said.

The Pioneer Press found through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that Blake “has four previous convictions, including two for first-degree burglary.?