January 2012 Archives

Opiate use on the rise in Twin Cities

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Abuse of heroin and other opiates has reached a record high in the Twin Cities, reported WCCO News.
The semi-annual report released by the Minnesota Department of Health on Monday said that admission to treatment centers for heroin has tripled since 2000, reaching 10 percent in the first half of 2011. About one in five patients last year were admitted for abuse of heroin or other opiates, reported the Pioneer Press.
Among these other opiates are "fake pot," manufactured marijuana that is sold as incense, and other synthetic drugs sold as "research chemicals" and "bath salts," according to the Star Tribune.
"With the emergence and growth of these dangerous and addictive drugs, it is imperative that communities educate themselves, embrace prevention efforts, and become part of the solution," said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, reported WCCO News.
Steps have been taken to limit access to these synthetic drugs, but they are still found on the Internet and in some stores.

The St. Paul School district and its teacher's union reached a tentative contract deal onTuesday after negotiating since last May, reported the Star Tribune.
The announcement was given in an email from St. Paul Federation of Teachers President Mary Cathryn Ricker and Superintendent Valeria Silva, reported the Pioneer Press. They called it an "historic" agreement, which will give more support to teachers, class sizes, and special education, according to the Star Tribune.
A district spokeswoman told the Pioneer Press the details will not be released until school board and union's executive board go over and finalize the contract.
The announcement came just hours before a rally planned by St. Paul teachers, which was cancelled.

Italian officials have halted underwater rescue missions on Tuesday for passengers still missing after the Jan. 13 cruise crash off the coast of the island Giglio, reported the Star Tribune.
Italy's Civil Protection agency cited dangerous conditions for divers as the reason for the decision, but stress the search will continue wherever possible.
In the statement, the agency said the families of those still missing, as well as diplomatic representatives of their countries of origin, have been informed, reported the New York Times.
So far, of the estimated 4,200, 17 bodies have been recovered. All except one has been identified. 16 people are still missing and presumed dead, according to the Huffington Post.
The New York Times reported that rescue officials said the agency will most likely call of the search formally on Wednesday.

Analysis: Lead in honor killing story

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A jury on Sunday found three members of an Afghan family guilty of killing three teenage sisters and another woman in what the judge described as "cold-blooded, shameful murders" resulting from a "twisted concept of honor," ending a case that shocked and riveted Canadians.
Article from the Huffington Post.

This is overall a very typical hard-news lead. It has the who, when and where that are seen in leads. It details the who a lot because there are so many people involved in this story. It makes sure to include not only the killers, but the victims.
It does not, however, name them specifically. Instead this is left to a new paragraph, which is very typical for leads. They give enough information so the story is told but leave the details for later.
This lead adds not so typical things by writing quotes from the judge. This is different because it gives more details, but not typical details. This is used to get at the emotion of the audience as well as express the novel nature of this story. It is clearly a highly emotional and controversial case and adding that right away will help to interest readers.

Potential problems with Viking's temporary stay at TCF

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The NFL could be an issue involved in plans for the Vikings to temporarily play at TCF Stadium while waiting for their new stadium, reported the Pioneer Press.
Despite the stadium playing host to the team for one game in 2010, many don't see this a a viable option for the future, even temporarily. "TCF is a gem, but it's not an NFL stadium," said an anonymous source to the Pioneer Press.
Among their issues with the idea is the numerous logistical problem as well as a $67 million hit in operation losses. The lack of space and the University of Minnesota's ban on alcohol could affect fans' satisfaction. However, the university's president said Friday they would most likely allow alcohol at Viking's games if the team were to play there, reported the Star Tribune.
The team and university are in talks for TCF to become the temporary home for the Vikings for three years while their new stadium (the location of which is unknown).

Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf met with Gov. Mark Dayton at the State Capitol on Wednesday to discuss plans for the team's new stadium, reported the Star Tribune.
Wilf has long been seeking a $1.1 billion project on 423 acres of land in Arden Hills. The site has been thought of as a long shot, but the owner stays optimistic.
"Arden Hills is not out of the picture. We would still like to explore, but we would leave it up to the legislative working group to decide where they would want us to work hardest at," said Wilf, according to the Pioneer Press.
This site plan is being considered along with one which will cost a lesser $918 million and is preferred by the city of Minneapolis, and Gov. Dayton, reported the Star Tribune.
The Pioneer Press reported the team said they would put $425 million towards the site in Arden Hills, but have not announced financing if the site is not chosen. Still to come is not only a formal decision as to where the stadium will be located, but also how it will be financed.

Dozens of early-decision applicants were falsely given acceptance letters by Vassar College on Friday after a test letter was mistakenly released, reported the New York Times.
Of the 122 students who checked the special early decision website after 4 p.m. and received an acceptance letter, 46 students were accepted, while the other 76 had been sen the wrong letter.
By 4:30, the mistake was corrected and the applicants were given their actual letters.
The news of being accepted also came with instructions to cancel all applications to other colleges as a commitment to the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., school. Though it is not known how many applicants did so, the impact of the mistake is weighing heavy on the misled students.
After her daughter was accepted, Alise Shaughnessy, was elated, but devastated when she recieved news of the mistake, reported NBC News. "Vassar knows that early decision candidates have their heart set on attending there," said Shaughnessy.
The school has issued an apology to the students affected.

Three members of an Afghan immigrant family were found guilty of first-degree murder in Ontario, on Sunday, according to the Huffington Post.
Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 48, and their son Hamed, 21, were convicted for the drowning of their three daughters, as well as Shafia's first wife in a polygamous.
The three sisters, Zainab, 19, Sahar 17, Geeti, 13, in 2009, were drown because they allegedly dishonoring their family by going online, wearing revealing clothing and going out with boys. It is believed Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, who was also drowned, supported the girls' actions and wished to divorce Shafia, reported the New York Daily News
Among the evidence against the suspects, including testimony from teachers and school officials claiming the girls were fearful of their father, were tapes in which Shafia called his daughters "filthy," and "whores," according to the New York Daily News
All three maintained their innocence and claimed the girls' car plunged into the water after an accident. The prosecution argued this was premeditated murder and that the suspects drown the women at a separate location before staging the accident. The judge described the three cold-blooded, shameful murders" with a "twisted concept of honor," reported the Huffington Post.
The guilty verdict brings with it a life sentence without possibility for parole for 25 years.

Bachmann to run for a 4th term in Congress

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After much speculation, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann announced today that she will be running for Congress once again, reported the Pioneer Press
Bachmann, who was known for her direct opposition to President Barack Obama's policies during her run to be the GOP's presidential candidate, said she will run for the House for the fourth time.
"I am very thrilled to be in the position that I am today, and I am looking forward to continuing," said Bachmann, the Star Tribune reported. "Obviously we'll see what happens with these maps... But I do intend to run again."
Bachmann is a strong candidate in Minnesota's 6th Distract, but district reshaping plans could present a challenge for the Republican. The Democrats presented one plan that would pit her against six-term Democrat Rep. Betty McCollum.
After her high profile and controversial presence in the GOP's presidential candidate race, some experts speculated she might turn to a career in talk media. However, Bachmann does not feel her political career is in danger.
"What people recognize is I've worked extremely hard on their behalf," she said according to the Star Tribune

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