« March 2007 | Main | May 2007 »

April 28, 2007

Former Mets employee sold steroids to Major League Baseball players

A former employee of the New York Mets clubhouse pleaded guilty to charges of selling a variety of performance-enhancing drugs over a 10-year period to more than a dozen Major League Baseball players. As an equipment manager and clubhouse assistant for the Mets from 1985-95, 37-year-old Kirk Radomski pleaded guilty to felony charges of distributing drugs such as anabolic steroids and human growth hormone, to dozens of Major League Baseball players over a 10-year period beginning in 1995. Charges against Radomski also include money laundering, which with drug charges could carry a $500,000 fine and up to 25 years in prison. Radomski agreed to provide information to the committee led by former senator George Mitchell that is investigating drug use in the MLB as part of the plea deal accepted at the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. According to the warrant calling for Radomski’s arrest, he became a major source of drugs for baseball players after federal investigators shut down Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative in Burlingame, a company which has been found guilty of illegally supply athletes with performance enhancing drugs. The same federal investigators who obtained guilty pleas from Barry Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, among others, are currently handling the case. Radomski admitted that after he left the Mets, he operated his drug distribution network out of his New York home using his baseball connections. So far, no MLB players have been identified in the court filings in connection with the case, although names and paragraphs of text from the federal search warrant were redacted to conceal the identities of any involved parties until further investigation.

The Washington Post and New York Times articles covered the exact same materials but took slightly different angles. The Post focused on the ex-Mets batboy, Radomski’s history with the MLB. The Post’s reporter also listed many of the details of the investigation, like who is conducting it and where they’ve been getting their information. The New York Times writer chose to focus his story on past players involved in Steroid scandals. The Times mentions a few key MLB players who’ve come under fire for being accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, most notably Barry Bonds.

Click here for the Washington Post story

or click the title for the New York Times

April 27, 2007

St. Paul Mayor hit by drunk driver

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman was involved in a car accident Thursday evening when a drunken law school student rear-ended him at a red light. At the time, Coleman was riding in a city vehicle with his police escort after leaving a forum at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in St. Paul. No one was injured in the accident and Coleman returned to his job as Mayor today. After the accident, scene was cleared by police, Abbie Raymond, 22, of St. Paul was booked into the Ramsey County jail. Raymond, a student at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, was charged with a gross misdemeanor of driving while under the influence of alcohol. A Breathalyzer test taken by Raymond at the accident scene registered a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit at a 0.26 percent. The accident occurred at approximately 8:40 p.m. while Raymond was traveling with another intoxicated passenger in her Honda sedan. Raymond’s sedan impacted Coleman’s unmarked black Crown Victoria while traveling between five and 10 miles an hour.

This another article where the Pioneer Press went above and beyond the Star Tribune. I’m beginning to think that if it doesn’t happen in Minneapolis, the Tribune doesn’t really care as much. Then again, St. Paul is the Press’s main beat and they should not be out done on their home turf. The Tribune and Press stories were similar in every aspect except one: the Press’s writer dug a little into Mayor Coleman’s history and reported on how this is “not Coleman's first bump in the road since he was elected.? It turns out that Coleman was involved in an accident back in April of 2006.While driving his son, Coleman’s vehicle was hit when a car full of “young people? spun out of its lane on Interstate 94 and clipped the mayor’s vehicle.

Click here for the Star Tribune's article

or click the title for the PIoneer Presses

Fight breaks out at funeral of murdered St. Paul teenager

After a St. Paul teenager was shot and killed on a bus Sunday, his funeral wasn’t much more peaceful. A fight broke out today during a rescheduled visitation for Earl Freeman, 16, who was killed on a Metro Transit bus. Relatives canceled the original service, which was set for Friday morning because of concerns the feud between two rival groups which allegedly led to Freeman’s death, would continue at the funeral. Even after moving the funeral services, later held at a University Avenue funeral home, an altercation erupted between friends of the victim and friends of the shooter, according to a St. Paul police spokesman. Although no one was arrested, the services were moved to the Spielman Mortuary. 17-year-old Jerome Cross has been charged with the second-degree murder of Freeman. The family of Freeman claims the accused killer’s friends have made threats against the family. Services and the burial will be continued in Chicago, according to a death notice the family took out in the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune really gave this story to the Pioneer Press it would seem to me. The Tribune writer interviewed nobody in the matter and posted their story 2 hours later than the Press. The story the Tribune posted was basically a rehash of the Press’s article, except lacking the details of violent threats towards the victim’s family.

See the Star Tribune story here

or click the title for the Pioneer Press article

April 21, 2007

St. Paul Fire Chief leaves

St. Paul Fire Chief Doug Holton on Thursday accepted an offer to become Milwaukee fire chief. Holton was unanimously selected for the position by the six-member Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. Holton received the job offer just two years through his first four year term as St. Paul's fire chief and only weeks after he received a no-confidence vote from his St. Paul firefighters. The members of the Milwaukee commission were especially interested in Holton's ambitions to diversify the mostly white department. Holton will begin his stated 4-year term for the Milwaukee Fire Department within the next 45 days. Controversy with Houlton’s management began in March when rank-and-file St. Paul firefighters a 366-6 no-confidence vote against Holton. A department-wide audit of the situation by an independent consultant blamed both Holton and the unions for departmental conflict. Holton continues to maintain that his decision to accept the Milwaukee job offer had nothing to do with the no-confidence vote. Holton will be returning to his hometown of Milwaukee where he spent 25 years of his career as firefighter.

The article by Pioneer Press chose to focus on the troubles Houlton faced as chief of the St. Paul Fire Department. The article details how he and St. Paul's largest firefighter union - International Association of Fire Fighters Local 21, continually butted heads over department issues. The story written by the Star tribune with contribution from the Associated Press took the angle of Houlton’s history as a firefighter in Milwaukee and as a chief here in St. Paul. Both stories were quite different in their portrayals of Houlton. The Pioneer Press focused more on the negatives of Houlton’s career, while the Tribune covered the various accomplishments of his career; giving us an idea why he was chosen over four other finalists for the position.

click here for the Pioneer Press Story

or click the title for the Trib's article

click here for the Pioneer Press Story

Gonzales Testifies before Senate Panel


Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee members Thursday for questioning on his handling of the firings of federal prosecutors. Gonzales was drilled for over five hours by the committee, mostly about his role in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Democrats have alleged that some of the prosecutors may have been removed for political means. Democrats believe Gonzales is attempting to interfere with political corruption probes Two of the fired prosecutors have also alleged improper pressure from GOP lawmakers as the evidence against Gonzales continues to mount. The panel hearing was widely considered to be crucial to Gonzales’s ability to hold on to his job. Alberto was careful to present an accurate defense of the firings, apologizing for the way they were handled but defending them as the "right decision." Many of the questions thrown at Gonzales elicited incoherent explanations as he struggled through the hearing. Gonzales has even come under attack from members of his own party over the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys. On Thursday Gonzales received the first resignation demand from a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Many others voiced doubts about his truthfulness and his ability to lead the Justice Department.

The story about Gonzales has been growing for months. The Washington Post covered the recent news of Republicans of his own party turning against him and calling for his resignation for the first time since he took office. The New York Times focused the majority of their story on explaining Gonzales’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Times builds their story around mostly quotes from senate members and direct testimony of Gonzales himself.

Click the title for the NY Times Story or ...

Click here for the Washington post Article

April 20, 2007

Mourners gather to support victims from Virginia


Students on campuses across the nation held ceremonies to honor the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre.
More than 200 U of M students gathered late Thursday morning. They stood on the south side of Coffman Union. Hundreds lined up to sign large plastic banners that declared "Today We Are All Hokies," a reference to the nickname of Virginia Tech's athletic teams. The mourners observed a moment of silence for the 32 people shot to death Monday. The gathering also included several speakers who asked for unity with the victims and survivors. A few of the speakers mentioned Wednesday's bomb scare at the U of M, which shut down eight U buildings and left students, faculty and many others a little uneasy. Vice Provost for student affairs, Jerry Rinehart commented that, "We're open communities and vulnerable to violence." Pastor of University Baptist Church, the Rev. Douglas Donley, closed the vigil with these words: "We're here to share our grief, our confusion, our rage and our compassion …
"Say the names: Oklahoma City, Columbine, University of Texas-Austin, Kent State, Jackson State, Red Lake, Waco, Sept. 11. And now Virginia Tech will join the litany."

Both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune covered the vigils and memorials. The Star Tribune article was much more encompassing of the nation-wide ceremonies. The Pioneer Press’s story was only four paragraphs long and focused Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine’s request for a day of morning and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s request that Minnesota churches ring their bells at 11:00 am.

Click the title for the Star Tribune story or ...

Click here for the Pioneer Press

April 15, 2007

Marines accused of killing Civilians

A preliminary investigation into an incident more than a month ago involving a suicide bombing in Afghanistan has indicated that over 40 Afghans were killed or wounded by Marines in a retaliation counter-attack. The investigation claims that the American marines reacted to a bomb ambush with excessive force in eastern Afghanistan. The marines responded by opening fire on several targets, hitting groups of bystanders and vehicles with machine-gun fire in a series of attacks that covered more than 10 miles of highway. Senior Special Operations commanders said there is no evidence that the Marine Special Operations platoon came under small-arms fire after the bombing as according to reports from the marines. Statements from Marines reported the platoon began taking enemy fire and seeing people with weapons right after the bombing. The troops continued shooting at perceived threats as they traveled miles from the site of the March 4 attack according to some evidence. Other evidence supports the idea that civilians might have been killed in a small-arms attack that followed the suicide bombing. One Marine was injured by shrapnel in the suicide bombing, but immediate medical evacuation was not necessary. Of those killed, investigating officers reported that they were unable to find evidence linking the dead civilians to enemy warriors. A few of the dead included a 4-year-old girl, a 1-year-old boy and three elderly villagers. The marines could face criminal charges if they are convicted of the civilian casualties.

The two articles written by the Washington Post and New York Times, although containing reports from similar agencies such as the Special Operations Command Central and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the writers of each used different sources within the organizations.

Click here for the Washington Post article

or click the title for the New York Times article

April 14, 2007

Boy found crying and abandoned

Police are still searching for the parents of a toddler who was found alone crying on the corner of a street Thursday morning. The boy, estimated to be 18 months to 2 years old, was first spotted by Chue Siong. According to Siong, He came across the small boy just across his doorstep in St. Paul. The boy was crying and refusing to say a word to anyone. Siong had just taken his four children to school about 10 a.m. when he saw the shoeless boy. The boy wore an orange puffy coat and seemed hungry. Siong had never seen him before and was puzzled as to where the parents might be. Siong waited with the boy for hours as he wandered around sobbing; when no sign of parents or help, he called the police. There were no indications that the boy had been physically abused or neglected, police said. Police went door-to-door around the neighborhood looking for anyone who knew the boy, but found no one. Even after searching a statewide database of missing-person reports, no files matching the boy's description have turned up. The toddler is now in Ramsey County protective custody. Authorities say the child is physically in good condition and will be staying with a foster family until legal guardians or relatives can be located.

The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press both hit the same points in their stories, however, I feel that the Pioneer Press story is written much better. Tad Vezner of the Pioneer Press used great descriptions when detailing the matter in which the boy was found. His opening line, “The little boy had no shoes,? gives me an idea that this is going to be a tragic story. More adjectives such as “soaked, striped socks,? just add to your pity for the abandoned child.

Click the title for the Pioneer Press story

or click here for the Star Tribune story

140 Pound Dog Attacks 8-year-old Boy


While walking to school in South Minneapolis with his two older brothers, an 8-year-old boy was attacked and bitten repeatedly by a large dog Friday. Police said DeVonta Prince was attacked just before 8 a.m. after a neighbor’s dog named Akita, got off its chain in a yard along the way to the boys school. The mere 60 pound boy was bitten on the head and had his left arm in the jaws of the 140 pound dog when a neighbor was able to beat back the dog with a shovel. The teenage son of the dog's owner arrived at the scene shortly after and calmed his pet. After taking the dog home and telling his father what Akita had done, the father had the dog euthanized later on Friday. The man told police his dog had never acted aggressively, especially towards children.
DeVonta is listed in satisfactory condition after more three hours of surgery at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The Pioneer Press posted the article published by the Associated Press, probably because they figured the Star Tribune would beat them to the Minneapolis based story anyway, seeing that Minneapolis is the Tribune’s main beat. The article itself covered only the bare-bones of the story, quoting only the victim child. The Star Tribune article covered by David Chanen, had quotes from more than just the DeVonta. The story includes a Minneapolis Council Member’s opinion on the event and also, a side story about the family’s own dog which was shot by police Wednesday night. The side story is told from the accounts of a Minneapolis police lieutenant and the Step-father of the boy. The story itself had nothing to do with the attack of the boy, except that it also involved a dog being killed. I would not have included the second part of the story. I would have instead focused more reports of recent animal attacks from Minneapolis Animal Control.

Click the Title for the Star Tribune story

or Click here for he Pioneer Press's Associated Press story

April 8, 2007

Greek Cruise Ship Sinks in the Aegean Sea

Only two people are missing after a Greek cruise ship struck a volcanic reef Thursday. The 469-foot Sea Diamond was carrying nearly 1,600 people when it began to sink. When the ship ran aground on the volcanic rock bed, the captain tried to free the ship from the reef before evacuating the passengers as required by international rules. The ship's hull was ripped open by the effort to move off the rocks, causing it to completely sink 18 hours later. More than a dozen ships in the area were involved. Six navy rescue helicopters, two military transport plane and four warships also were been sent to the area, along with emergency medical crews. All but two were retrieved from the sinking ship in a three-hour rescue operation. Some passengers complained of an insufficient supply of life vests and little guidance from crewmembers. A few of the biggest headlines in this accident are the reports that the captain and crew were unprepared for the evacuation. The captain and five other senior crewmembers have been charged with negligence and violating international maritime rules. If convicted, the officers face a maximum five-year sentence.

In the Associated Press and CNN stories, both read as though they were written from the same press release (they probably were). It was hard to find other versions of this story other than the ones straight from the Associated Press.


Click the title for the CNN article or

Click here for the AP article

Double Van Collision Kills Two

Two men were killed in a head on collision Friday. 78 year-old John Carroll, a World War II veteran lost consciousness before the veterans service van he was driving crossed the median of Interstate Hwy. 35W and struck a car, and then a van head-on. Carroll and the other van driver collided shortly before 2p.m. The other driver, father of four, Bobby W. Tomlin, 38, of Mahtomedi, died along with Carroll near County Road 88 in New Brighton. Carroll was on his way back from the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center with two fellow veterans. Passengers Richard Kerr, 83, and Bob Butte were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center. Kerr was listed in critical condition while Butte was listed as injured, but stable. The other car that Carroll’s van collided with carried two passengers who were unharmed in the accident.

The Pioneer Press and Star Tribune covered two different angles with this story, something that seems rare to me in this market. The Pioneer Press writer spends much of his story with the life of deceased Bobby Tomlin. The writer talks about Tomlin as a father of three daughters, ages 11 months, 3 years and 12 years, and a 10-year-old son. The article goes into Tomlin’s schooling and also his job as a watch repairman.

The Star Tribune article takes the side of John Carroll. The writer covers Carroll’s service in WWII, his job as a St. Paul fire fighter and also tells us that he crashed a county owned vehicle. The van Carroll crashed was a handicapped accessible van owned by Chisago County to transport Veterans to medical appointments. Carroll had been a driver of the van for more than three years.

Read the Star Tribune Article here

or click the title for the Pioneer Press article

April 7, 2007

U of M Football Players Accused of Rape

Bail was set at $100,000 each for three University of Minnesota football players accused of the rape of an 18-year-old woman. Authorities say charges against Alex Daniels and Keith Massey, both 20, and E.J. Jones, 19, could come as early as Monday. The three will remain in jail unless the Hennepin County Attorney's Office does not file charges against them by noon Monday. The players have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. The alleged rape occurred either late Tuesday or early Wednesday in the apartment of the three players at University Village Apartments. The 18-year-old woman accusing the three of rape is not a student at the University of Minnesota. The players have not yet been formally charged.

The articles by the Pioneer Pres and Star Tribune have interviews with university Police Chief Greg Hestness and university athletic director Joel Maturi. The story progression and outline are similar, except the Pioneer Press writer gave background/biographical information on the three accused football players, listing their stats and position on the Gophers football team.

Read the Pioneer Press article here

or Click the title for the Star Tribune.