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

Continue reading "St. Paul Fire Chief leaves" »

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 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 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.

March 31, 2007

Father Poisons Son and then Self

Poison has been ruled the cause of death for the deaths of a father and son Feb. 14. Police discovered the bodies of a man and his son on the floor of a hotel room. 47-year-old Jeffrey Wagner of Edgerton, and his son, 7-year-old Zachary Wolfe of Luck, were found dead at the Richfield AmericInn, off of Interstate 494. Investigators were initially confused by how the father and son had died. There were no weapons in the hotel room or signs of injury to the bodies. Investigators believe Wagner killed his son and then himself. That idea was supported by the medical examiner's office when it ruled Wagner's death a suicide and Zachary's death a homicide. The Hennepin County coroner's office determined Wagner and Wolfe died from ingesting ethylene glycol - an active ingredient in antifreeze, which, becomes highly acidic once ingested, causing severe damage to the kidney, brain, liver and blood vessels.

The stories ran by the Pioneer Press and the Associated Press both discuss how Wagner picked up Zachary from his mother's home while the boy waited for a school bus. The Pioneer Press story differs in that it explains the troubled relationship between Wagner and his ex-wife, Zachary’s mother. The Pioneer Press writer mentions how no Amber Alert was issued because Zachary’s mother thought her child was not in any danger.

Read the Associated Press article here

or click the title to read the Pioneer Press article

Standoff with Bank Robber ends in Apparent Suicide

A standoff in Plymouth MN between police and a suspected bank robber ended Friday when the robber apparently shot himself. David Dean Dahlen, 47, was found this morning dead after a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police. The incident began around 12:35 p.m. yesterday when police recieved a report of an armed robbery at a US Bank at the Four Seasons Mall. Witnesses say Dahlen first tried to escape the scene jumping into a vehicle that failed to start. Dahlen then fled on foot, Plymouth police said. He ran until reached some nearby homes along the 4200 block of Quaker Lane. Dahlen forced his way into a house where he ordered a woman, the only occupant, to get out. The woman was not harmed. Once outside, she contacted the authorities. Police arrived and setup a perimeter around the house and tried to contact Dahlen by phone. Failing to reach Dahlen, police entered the home around 5:30 p.m. Officers found Dahlen in an upstairs bathroom, dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Officers were also able to recover the money stolen from the bank.

The Star Tribune really covered this story well, detailing the lockdown procedures surrounding neighbors and a local school had to endure. Both the Tribune and the Pioneer Press mentioned Dahlen had been released from prison in 1997 for a previous bank robbery, something that I believe gives readers a better idea of just the type of person Dahlen was. Although the Star Tribune article is longer, the Pioneer Press article seems to achieve the same result, only in less space.

Read the Pioneer Press article here1

or click the title to reade the Star Tribune article

March 25, 2007

Three Shot to Death in a St. Paul Home


Masked intruders broke into a St. Paul home Early Friday morning. The men demanded drugs and money from a mom, her boyfriend and her three children. The boyfriend offered the robbers $4 and a TV, but the armed intruders wanted more. Not getting what they were after, the five reported gunmen gathered Maria McLay, Otahl Saunders and the three children into an upstairs bedroom. Two of the children, a 7-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, reportedly witnessed the execution style killings of their mother, the boyfriend and their 15-year-old sister, Brittany Kekedakis. The intruders then made their way out the back door of the house, carrying money, electronics and jewelry. The two children fled afterwards to a nearby uncle’s house where they called police. Investigators are still searching for the suspects and clues at the scene of the crime.

The stories in the Star Tribune Pioneer Press are very similar in their focus. Both spoke to police investigators and family members of the victims to paint a clear picture of the murder scene to readers. The Pioneer Press reporter, however, chose to center more on the investigation aspects of the story, writing on how police are “feverishly? searching through the scene for all available clues. The Star Tribune article had a greater focus on the slain 15-year-old girl, mentioning how she was perceived at Como Park High School as "a cool, normal girl" who participated in a variety of school activities, including the school’s newspaper.

Click here for the Star Tribune story

or click the title for the Pioneer Press story

Minnesota Soldier Killed in Iraq


Another Minnesota Soldier was killed Saturday when his patrol was hit by an improvised explosive device, bringing the total of Minnesota troops killed in the war to 47. Minnesota National Guard Sgt. Greg Ninerd Riewer, of Frazee, Minnesota was originally scheduled to be home by now, but he was just one of the 2,600 Minnesota National Guard soldiers who learned in January their service in Iraq would be extended until August. The attack which happened at about 5:30 p.m., struck Riewer’s vehicle, killing him and also injuring three other Minnesota members in his unit.

The Star Tribune article talks mostly about Riewer’s life here in Minnesota; his hobbies, personality and how he was nicknamed “Smiley? by his family in Frazee because of his quiet nature. The story mentions a lot of his family. Riewer had five sisters and seven brothers, one of which is currently on deployment in Iraq.

The Pioneer Press article goes more in depth with Riewer’s service in Iraq and that he would have been in Minnesota now had his service not been extended. I feel it shows a little bias in Brian Bonner, the Pioneer Press reporter who wrote the article. There is bias in other parts of the article as well. The lead opens up with, “The state's latest combat casualty in a four-year-old war that has no end in sight.? An experienced reporter would know better than to put his or her personal opinions in a story.

Read the Pioneer Press article here

or click the title to get the Star Tribune

March 10, 2007

Man Shot on Metro Bus

A Twin Cities man was shot after trying to quiet a group of loud and rowdy passengers aboard a Metro Transit bus. 34-year-old Cleveland Montgomery was rushed to North Memorial Medical Center in critical condition Thursday. Authorities said the men who ranged in age from their late teens and early 20s, were being "jerks." Montgomery spoke to the group to try to calm them down and act respectable. As the group of four to five men got up to get off at Emerson Avenue N. near 18th Avenue, one of the men confronted and harassed Montgomery. After a brief verbal argument, the man pulled out a gun and shot Montgomery around 7:12 p.m. For trying to convince the unruly mean to be reasonable. Montgomery suffered two bullet wounds in his chest and a third in his left arm. He is scheduled to undergo surgery this Sunday.

The shooting has prompted Metro Transit, Minneapolis police and community activists to increase their efforts to maintain safety and decency on the busiest routes in the metro area where trouble occurs. This would include placing more officers on metro buses.

Read the StarTribune article here

or click the title to read the Pioneer Press article

March 9, 2007

Minneapolis Gas Station Explodes.

An explosion that rocked South Minneapolis last night is being considered the work of arsonists. Investigators are looking into the possibility that the destruction of Hovde's Auto Repair at 34th Street and 38th Avenue was arson. Multiple 911 callers reported seeing people running from the scene of the explosion Thursday night around 10 pm.

Firefighters say the blast was due to an excess build up of natural gas inside of the building. Motor oil and tires gave fire fighters little trouble as they put out the flames in only an hour. The building, which has stood since 1921, will likely not make a comeback according to the current owner of the station because of costly repairs. Luckily no one was injured or killed in the explosion felt miles around. A next door house was heavily damaged when it was struck by debris from the exploding gas station.

Click the title or click here to read the WCCO 4 article and see the 3 newscasts.

March 1, 2007

Represenative Michele Bachmann clarifies

U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann has admitted that her comments on Iran and Al-Qaeda were without actual knowledge on the matter and simply her opinions. Bachman said on Feb. 9 that an agreement already existed between Iran and other unnamed parties to disrupt the U.S.'s plans in the Middle East. As she put it, "America's adversaries are in agreement that a divided Iraq benefits their objective to expel America from the region, resulting in Iraq being a safe haven for terrorists." Bachmann claimed her comments were from publicly available reports about the intentions of Al-Qaeda and Iran and not based on any classified material.

Although Bachmann had no formal evidence to base her claims on, it is common knowledge that Iran and Al-Qaeda are firmly against U.S. interests.

read the star tribune article here or
click the title to listen to Michele Bachmann's speech

Chemicals found in water get a risk upgrade

Chemicals produced by Minnesota's own 3M, found in metro area water supplies have been labled "potentially more dangerous" by state health officials. The Minnesota Department of Health changed its recommended allowable concentration of two chemicals known as PFOA and PFOS. The chemicals were discovered in the city wells of Oakdale and more than 200 private wells in Lake Elmo during the past three years. The old recommendations by the health board stated 1.0 parts per billion for PFOAs and 0.6 parts per billion for PFOS would be not be harmful to citizens who consumed the chemicals in those quantities. The revised concentrations are exactly half of the previous recommendations. The change is due to recent scientific tests performed animals to document the effects of the chemicals. Scientists say that the research suggests there are greater health risks than previously thought.

3M is working quickly to install municipal water treatment facilities in the affected areas.

Click the title for the Star Tribune story or
read the Minnesota Public Radio article here

February 21, 2007

School shutdown after Mace attack

A Rosemount High School cafeteria was the location of a showdown between two students. When one pulled out a weapon, an administrator stepped and took the hit. Lucky for everybody, the weapon was only a can of mace. All 1,900 students at the school were sent home and the cafeteria disinfected. Although paramedics looked at about 50 students, no one sustained any significant harm from the chemical spray irritant. The student was apprehended by a police liaison officer and later taken into custody. The student faces disciplinary action by the district and possible criminal charges.

see the Associated Press story at WCCO 4 here

Click the title to read the Pioneer Press article

Explosion Obliterates a Family's Home

Part of a fireplace, the smoldering body of a car and a single wall are all that remains after a house north of Loretta Minnesota exploded this morning. No one has been reported killed or injured yet, but one man is reported missing. The owners of the house, a couple with a 2-year-old child, reported smelling gas and had a propane company crew out late last night to check on the furnace, which was apparently not working.


At approximately 7:20 am this morning, neighbors reported a loud explosion followed by a raging fire at the family's home. It took around 50 firefighters from a total of six departments close to two hours to bring under control the fire started by the blast. Lucky for the family, they spent the night away from the home, although authorities still have not been able to get in contact with the husband who stayed else where than his wife and child.

Click the title to read the Star Tribune article.

Click here to watch the KARE 11 video

February 12, 2007

Police Chase Ends with the Suspect Shot in the Head

A lengthy car chase through St. Paul ended early this morning when the driver crashed into a few parked cars and was then shot in the head. The man was wanted in connection with possible aggravated assault and kidnapping charges. Authorities are saying he was likely shot by Police but are not ruling out the possibility the man shot himself in the head after exchanging fire with officers at the corner of E. 7th and Arcade Streets.

The man was quickly transported to Regions Hospital where he has been listed in grave condition.

Click the Title for the Star Tribune article or
Click here for the Pioneer Press Article

February 11, 2007

Joe Mauer Stays with Twins

Twin's all-star catcher and holder of last year's American League batting title has agreed to the Minnesota Twin's $33 million contract deal. With his new four-year contract, Mauer will play for the Twin's through the 2010 season. The signing of this new contract comes as a relief to many fans that feared Mauer might leave the Twins for a better contract.

As the first catcher ever to win the American League batting title with an impressive .347 average, Mauer had a lot of pull in Major League Baseball. Mauer was scheduled to meet with Twins General Manager Terry Ryan and Team owner Carl Pohlad this Tuesday to discuss his salary arbitration hearing. The Twins forwent the hearing and offered Mauer the contract to avoid the possibility of losing him to a better offer.

Read the Twins' official press release here.
Click the title to read the Star Tribune article.

February 7, 2007

Winter weather brings traffic to a stand still for hours

Tuesday's freezing cold temperatures and inch or so of snow did a number on the daily commute here in the Twin City area. The conditions led to nearly 400 crashes and other accidents around the metro. The Minnesota State Patrol blamed careless drivers who weren't respecting the speed limits or the slick road conditions.

Most highways and freeways experienced major delays or were shutdown completely due to multi-car accidents. One of the worst was a south metro pileup of about five semi-trailer trucks and 41 cars on northbound Interstate 35 near Elko New Market. Another accident resulted in a backup on westbound I-94 that stretched from Minnesota all the way into Wisconsin.

Click the title to read the Pioneer Press story
Read the Star Tribune story here

February 4, 2007

Father and Son murdered

Early Saturday, a 911 dispatcher sent police to a farm house in Southern Minnesota near Waseca after receiving a call from a 13-year-old boy. The boy, identified as Alec Kruger, told the dispatcher there was an intruder in his house. Shortly after, the dispatcher heard gun shots and then the line went dead. When police arrived at the scene, they found the bodies of Alec and his father shot to death. Alec's mother was also shot and listed in critical condition.

Today, authorities arrested a suspect in connection with the shootings. Called "a person of interest," the suspect will be charged Monday for the shootings deaths of the father and son.

January 30, 2007

Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes

January 27, 2007

Man who fell 16 stories lives and goes home today

A man from Wisconsin fell 16 stories out of a hotel window January 20th after going out drinking with his friends. The craziest thing about the accident is that the man survived the plunge with only a broken leg and a collapsed lung. Experts say that his level of intoxication which caused him to stumble and then crash through a window could also have been what saved him. He is expected to leave Hennepin County Medical Center today and return to his parent's home in Wisconsin.

U threatens to end tuition reciprocity

Most Minnesotans, especially those in college, believe that it is unfair for Minnesota residents to pay more to attend its own state universities than residents who come from Wisconsin. Currently, students from Wisconsin pay $1,200 to $2,700 less than Minnesota students, depending on the U campus; the Wisconsin rate is generally based on what they would pay at a similar campus in their home state.

A senior analyst in the U provost's office claims, "no other state in the country allows students from another state to attend and pay less than their own residents." Problems arose when Wisconsin officials told Minnesota they want to stick with current reciprocity practices after more than three years of talks. U officials believe that Wisconsin residents should at least pay the same as Minnesotans, not less.

January 22, 2007

Chemical contamination raises concerns

A chemical manufactured in the past by the 3M Co. has shown up in the municipal drinking-water wells of several cities in Washington and Dakota counties. A health advisor stated that the low-level traces of the chemical known as perfluorobutanoic acid is not harmful at the present, but long-term exposure to the chemical is unknown.

Many of the tens of thousands of residents are concerned with how long it will take to clean the city wells of the chemical. Officials suggested installing water filters or using bottled water for their drinking and cooking needs until the problem is solved.

January 21, 2007

High school newspaper banned from printing photo

A St. Francis High School student newspaper was told by the principle that it could not print a photo from a recent high school play. The picture is one of the play's charcters dewstroying what appears to be an American flag, although it is actually a fake flag made of bunting. The superintendent of the school's district is defending the principle's choice to censor the photo claiming what it depicts is a violation of U.S. Law. First Amendment experts and a Civil Liberties group disagree with the Principle's decision and might take things to court.