October 2009 Archives

Asian business owners file complaint on Met Council

A group representing Asian businesses located on the Central Corridor filed a federal complaint against the Metropolitan Council last week alleging that it failed to fully consider the effects light-rail construction will have on businesses, the Minnesota Daily said.

Concerned Asian Business Owners, a coalition of 30 businesses filed its complaint last week, the second federal complaint against the 11-mile-long construction that in the end will connect the downtowns of the twin cities, the Star Tribune said.

The group is seeking mitigation funding to ease financial loss that will result from the construction, the Minnesota Daily said.

The Met Council does not have enough funding to provide assistance, spokesman Laura Baenen said.

The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development conducted a 14-page-analysis of the project, showing that 85 percent of business parking will be permanently lost, gravely affecting 69 businesses, the Star Tribune said.

Retired policeman attacked by dog

A 2-year-old dog attacked his owner, a retired police officer from St. Paul, Sunday, tearing off his skin and eyelid, the Star Tribune said.

Jim Stewart, 53, had no problems with Igor, the dog, since he got him five months ago, KSTP said.

Amy Klinefelter, the roommate of Stewart, said that the dog had shown no signs of aggression before and immediately after the attack, the Star Tribune said.

Stewart underwent seven hours of surgery and was listed as in good condition Thursday, KSTP said.

U of M vet school gets $55 million grant

The University of Minnesota's School of Veterinary Medicine received a $55 million federal grant Friday to research in the fight against future international pandemics, the Star Tribune said.

The university will join the Emerging Pandemic Threat Program, a $185 million project by the United States Agency for International Development, a government agency that provides help to other nations, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) said.

The research will focus on developing countries where animal-born diseases occur before spreading to humans, MPR said.

For five years, starting in January, the program will focus its research on parts of Southeast Asian, Africa, and South America, the Star Tribune said.

Obama lifts ban on HIV immigrants

President Barack Obama voiced his intention Friday to overturn a ban that prevented people with HIV from entering the country, NPR said.

Obama will finalize the lift of the 22-year-old ban Monday, removing the United States from the dozen nations that still practice the ban, USA Today said.

"If we want to be the global leader in combatting HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it," Obama said at the White House before signing a bill to extend the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, NPR said. 

The program, started in 1990, was named after an Indiana teen who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion at 13 and fought for his right to attend school, USA Today said.  The program provides medical care and support services to more than half a million people with HIV, NPR said.

Fifteen shot dead at Mexico ranch

HORNOS, Mexico -- Fifteen men, a prominent union leader among them, were found Friday shot and killed in northern Mexico, BBC News said.

Margarito Montes, a union leader for farming laborers, was one of fifteen bodies found in an isolated ranch in Hornos, a town in Sonora state Friday, the Irish Times said.

The killing had characteristics of a drug cartel shooting, which often involves automatic weapons to murder groups, but an official link has not been made, the Irish Times said.

More than 15,000 people have been killed due to drug-related violence since Felipe Calderon, president of Mexico, launched military forces to attack cartels in 2006, BBC News said.

Many farmers in the northern Mexico area are often coerced or pressured into drug-farming, the Irish Times reported.

The city of Minneapolis's press release about the Second Avenue conversion to a two-way street and the Star Tribune's coverage of the news Thursday are very different in length.

The press release tells the story in 213 words and 9 long sentences. The article covers the story in 70 words and five shorter sentences.

The Star Tribune's article compresses the information the press release gives and cuts 143 words.

The article omits the press release's extra details that are related to the larger project and leaves a brief description of the purpose: "The two-way conversion is part of an effort to help drivers get into and around downtown, city officials say."

The newspaper article is much simpler to read than the press release. Both include a website where readers can go to get further information on the topic.

MINNEAPOLIS - Two Northwest Airline pilots flew their plane full of passengers 150 miles past their destination Wednesday night, the New York Times said.

Timothy B. Cheney, 53, of Gig Harbor, Wash., and Richard I. Cole, 54, of Salem, Ore., flew Northwest Flight 188 for an hour and 150 miles past their Minneapolis-St. Paul destination with 144 passengers on-board, the Star Tribune said.

Air traffic controllers tried to gain contact with the two pilots for nearly 90 minutes through radio, email, data text, and cell phone, and upon no communication, they put four military fighter jets on alert, the New York Times said.

The pilots claimed that they were distracted by a conversation and were not asleep, the Star Tribune said.

Delta Airlines, which merged with Northwest last year, has suspended the pilots', and the Federal Aviation Administration reported Saturday that it might suspend the pilots' licenses as well, the New York Times said.

Hit-and-run driver turns himself in

A young adult turned himself in Friday for a hit-and-run that killed a pedestrian Thursday night in south Minneapolis, the Star Tribune said.

The young man called Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia Friday afternoon after his mother heard the report on WCCO that morning and pressured him to turn himself in, the Star Tribune said.

Witnesses said the victim was struck around 9:30 p.m. on Minnehaha Avenue and 31st Street what was described to be a Chevy SUV, KARE said.

The man and the victim's names have not yet been released by officials.

Garcia described the young man as sounding, "scared and somewhat remorseful," the Star Tribune said.

HDTVs moved from sex offenders to vets

Fourteen of the 24 flat screen HDTVs at a sex offender program in Moose Lake will be moved to veterans homes across the state, Gov. Tim Pawlenty decided Friday, the Star Tribune reported.

Pawlenty expressed that the Moose Lake sex offender program's decision to buy nearly $60,000 worth of 50 inch TVs for clinical benefit was "a dumb decision," the Star Tribune said.

Pawlenty, whose administration has proven to be cost-conscious, said, "They don't need 50-inch, flat-screen plasma televisions for sex offenders," the Associated Press said.

Pawlenty decided to make "higher and better use for the sets," and plans to relocate the TVs to state-wide veterans homes and government agencies, and plans to sell some of the televisions to make up for costs, the Star Tribune reported.

"At a time when schools are being starved and poor people are getting kicked off their medical assistance plans and hospitals are struggling and nursing homes are struggling, how do you justify 50-inch, plasma-style televisions in a facility for sex offenders?" the Associated Press reports state Rep. Michael Paymar as saying.

Obama declares swine flu a national emergency

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency Friday night, Politico said.

Obama signed a declaration Friday night allowing Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius to overlook federal guidelines and hospital officials to alter patient rules in order to speed up the treatment process, USA Today said.

This declaration would allow hospitals to relocate flu-related services to an off-site location to protect uninfected patients and decrease burdens on hospital staff, USA Today said.

Over 1,000 American individuals have died since April, and another 20,000 have been hospitalized because of the swine flu, Politico reported.

Delays in vaccine production have allowed only 11 million of the 120 million ordered vaccinations to be shipped to health providers, but the government hopes to have 150 million vaccinations by the end of December, USA Today said.

Earthquake near Indonesia

SAUMLAKI, Indonesia - A strong earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia Saturday, BBC News said.

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit at a depth of 92 miles off the coast Saumlaki, Indonesia, BBC News said.

This earthquake was the second to hit Indonesia in two days, Fox News said.

Indonesia is located on one of the most active strings of earthquakes and volcanoes, BBC News reported.

The Indonesian government issued a tsunami alert but later withdrew it when they discovered the earthquake was too deep to pose a risk, BBC News said.

Multimedia analysis: Star Tribune and New York Times

The two newspapers focus on multimedia differently.

Once one clicks the "Multimedia" tab on the Star Tribune website, one is taken directly to a list of videos.  Once on clicks the same tab on the New York Times website, one is taken to a list of slide shows.

The Star Tribune features podcasts, audio slide shows, photo galleries, and more. The New York Times features interactive features and audio slide shows.

In a typical slide show posted by the Star Tribune is similar to an audio slide show posted by the New York Times. For these, pictures play as audio of interviews or events play along.

Although one would typically assume then that the Star Tribune's photo galleries would then be similar to the New York Times' slide shows, it is not.

The Star Tribune's gallery of the Gopher game against Penn State shows photos of the game and one-sentence descriptions of each photo: "Penn State running back Evan Royster (22) left Minnesota defenders behind as he headed upfield.." 

In the New York Times' slide show, there are similar descriptions of photos, but there is also deeper, in-depth information about the event or activity: "This photograph was taken during Game 3 of the 1989 World Series at Candlestick Park. Just two or three minutes after the earthquake, the crowd was still standing and surveying the damage."

Prior Lake couple faces felony for teaching son to make bomb

A Prior Lake couple faces felony charges after teaching their son and his friends how to make pipe bombs, the Star Tribune Said.

Robert Joseph Masters, 48, and his wife, Roberta Lynn Masters, 52, were charged with helping an offender and possessing explosive devices in September, the Prior Lake American said.

The couple said that teaching their son and his friends how to make bombs was "educational," the Star Tribune said.

The teenagers used these bombs to blow up six mailboxes, the Star Tribune said.

High number of marijuana stores in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES - Law enforcement officials and cannabis advocates believe the number of medical-marijuana dispensaries is too much, the New York Times said.

There are from 800 to 1000 medical-marijuana stores in Los Angeles, the New York Times said.

The Los Angeles City Council has been struggling to regulate medical-marijuana laws, the Los Angeles Weekly said.

Law enforcement officials are planning more crackdowns on cannabis clubs, the New York Times said.

Woman hit by bus at 46th street station

A Minneapolis woman was hit by a metro bus Friday morning, WCCO News said.

Rebecca Cruzen, 43, was crossing the street at 6:30 a.m. when she was hit by a 46th street Metro ransit bus Friday, the Star Tribune said.

The bus driver, who has driven Metro Transit buses for over seven years, has undergone the procedural drug and alcohol testing, the Star Tribune said.

Authorities are investigating the incident, the Star Tribune said.

Cruzen is in critical condition, on life support, Cruzen's family told WCCO News.

Nurse accused of encouraging suicide

A Faribault man is under investigation for encouraging members of suicide websites to kill themselves, MSNBC said Friday.

William Melchert-Dinkel is under investigation for the suicides of 32-year-old Mark Drybrough from England and 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji from Ontario, the National Post said.

Melchert-Dinkel, 47, has a fetish for forming pacts with suicide website members and encouraged others to kill themselves, the National Post said.

Melchert-Dinkel pretended to care for those he chatted with and gave them step-by-step directions on how to kill themselves, MSNBC said.

Legal experts say that the case against Melchert-Dinkel will be difficult to form because he did not physically help the victims to kill themselves, MSNBC said. No charges have been filed, MSNBC said.

Central Americans fall target to kidnappings

Central American migrants have been a frequent target for kidnappers this year, the Huffington Post said.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission

 conducted a survey in June that estimated 9,758 migrants were kidnapped between September and February in Mexico while on their way to the United States, the Huffington Post said.

These kidnappers released their victims for ransoms ranging from $1000 to $5000, the Huffington Post said.

The victims are forced to call their relatives in the United States for ransom money.

"They beat me and kept beating me until I handed over my telephone numbers," a Salvadoran immigrant told the New York Times.  The Salvadorian man was held captive with many others until 37 days after he was kidnapped, the Mexican Army raided the house, the New York Times said.

Spot and follow analysis: man sought in series of stabbings

The pioneer press wrote two articles on Saint Paul police's search for a man who stabbed his children's mother.

The second article was written nine days after the first, but added crucial information about Freddy Rivera's involvement in other recent crimes.

In the first article, the reporter focuses on Rivera's assault against his soon-to-be ex-wife during which he slapped, punched, cut and stabbed her.  It also briefly stated that investigators were trying to determine if Rivera was involved in other recent crimes.

In the second article, a different reporter focuses on Rivera's assault on two other individuals.  It describes his conviction of disorderly conduct in 2007, a knife fight in mid-September 2009 and a butcher knife stabbing in mid-September 2009 at a bar.

The second article also updated the charges against Rivera.

Marge Simpson is first cartoon ever on Playboy Magazine

Marge Simpson, the loving mother on the popular show "The Simpsons" is the first cartoon to ever appear on the cover of Playboy Magazine, BBC News said.

The magazine has given Simpson the complete star package: a cover photo, a data sheet, an interview and a two-page centerfold, the New York Times said.

According to the New York Times, James Jellinek, the magazine's editorial editor, kept quiet about how much Simpson reveals in the November issue, but said, "It's very, very racy." Jellinek emphasized the cartoon form, BBC said.

"We knew that this would really appeal to the 20-something crowd," Playboy spokeswoman Theresa Hennessey said.

Since 2006, Playboy's circulation has slipped from 3.15 million to 2.6 million, the New York Times said. Putting Marge on the cover would ideally lower the magazine's median age to 35 while keeping its older subscribers, the New York Times reported.

Hugh Hefner, owner of Playboy Magazine, is a big fan of "The Simpsons" and even appeared in an episode in the early 1990s, BBC said.


Former Brazilian state legislator and TV host turns himself in

A former Brazillian state legislator and television host turned himself in Friday after he disappeared Monday when a warrant was issued for his arrest, CNN said.

Wallace Souza turned himself in to accusations of homicide, drug trafficking, witness tampering, possession of illegal firearms and forming gangs, CNN reported.

Authorities became suspicious when the crew of Souza's television show "Canal Livre" arrived at crime scenes before police did, BBC News reported.  Authorities claim that these deaths removed Souza's drug-trafficking rivals and boosted the ratings for his television show, BBC said.

Souza's political status gave him legislative immunity from prosecution, making it difficult to investigate suspicions, CNN said.  The state congress expelled Souza last week, removing his immunity and allowing authorities to investigate claims of wrong-doing, CNN said.

Souza said the accusations are rivals' attempts to smear his reputation, BBC News reported.

A police chief and several police officers are among fifteen others who have been arrested in connection with Souza, CNN said.

Downtown Minneapolis street conversions delayed

Minneapolis Public Works' plan to convert First and Hennepin avenues in downtown Minneapolis from one-way to two-way streets were delayed Saturday until Sunday due to snowfall, the Star Tribune said.

Streets are required to be dry before it can be painted, the Star Tribune said.

The $3 million conversion will allow drivers to reach their destinations more directly, the Star Tribune said.

These two streets have been one-way for almost 30 years, the Associated Press said.

Business-owners support the change, the Associated Press said.

Saint Paul family returns to extreme home makeover

A Saint Paul family was introduced to their new home Friday after neighbors and supporters chanted "Move that bus" for ABC network's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," KSTP Television said.

The Sandy Morris and her children Catricia and Mychal returned from their cruise vacation to a street of neighbors, friends and supporters, KSTP said. 

Ty Pennington arrived with his crew at the Morris' 100-year-old home the previous Friday to announce the family's opportunity for an home makeover, KARE 11 News said.

Volunteers in blue shirts could be found all over the neighborhood during the five-day construction, KARE 11 said

"24 hours a day they've been here," neighbor Sherri Flores told KARE 11.

"[Sandy Morris]'s given to this neighborhood and she's given to the children of this community, she deserves to have something and that really makes you feel good down in the heart, that people aren't envious," Tom Budzynski, lead construction manager with TJB Homes of Blaine, told KARE 11.

Children most susceptible to H1N1

The number of youth who have died from the swine flu in the United States has increased, the Washington Post reported.

Out of the 76 deaths of under-18-year-olds that resulted from the H1N1 virus this year, 19 deaths occurred this past week, the Washington Post said.

Last year, only 21 percent of children ages five to 17 received flu shots last year, the New York Times reported.

Twenty to 30 percent of the children who have died from the swine flu were healthy, while the rest had vulnerable health issues, the Washington Post said.

A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine reported that although children were more likely to spread the virus, infants and 25 to 64-year-olds were more likely to die from it.

Structure analysis: small-plane crash

A Star Tribune article on a small-plane crash near the University of Minnesota Rosemount Research Center on Saturday has a martini-glass structure.

Allie Shah and Joy Powell, the reporters on this story, started the article with a concise sentence that included important, but vague, information: "Two people were injured Saturday when a single-engine plane crashed into a Rosemount cornfield."

This lead includes who was involved, what happened, when it happened, and where it happened.  The information gives the reader a general knowledge of the incident, but it is vague enough to leave the details for later.

The second paragraph includes information on the injured pilot and the specific time and place it occurred.  The third paragraph includes details on the passenger who was found semiconscious.

The fourth paragraph includes a quote from the fire chief explaining the condition of the two individuals. The fifth paragraph summarizes what happened in chronological order, and the last paragraph explains that there is an investigation on the matter.

This article is very short, showing that a martini-structured article does not have to be long.  The reporters compress their words and report what is needed to be known.

This structure is effective because although one would assume that a martini-glass-structured article would be long, these reporters do an excellent job of proving the opposite.  The information gets to the reader quickly and efficiently.

Neo-nazi protest is surprised by counter-protest

Four neo-Nazi protesters were surprised Saturday by about 200 counter-protesters outside of a South Minneapolis Young Women's Christian Association, the Star Tribune said.

The four men, participants in the National Socialist Movement, were at the midtown YWCA to protest a workshop called, "More Than Skin Deep: Uprooting White Privilege and White Supremacy one cell at a time," the Twin Cities Daily Planet said.

After 30 minutes, the four men were escorted to their car by Minneapolis police officers and counter-protesters, the Star Tribune said.

The neo-Nazi group relocated its Minneapolis headquarters to Detroit, Mich. in 2007, the Twin Cities Daily Planet said.  Their group intends to re-establish a presence in Minneapolis.

More than 100 Minneapolis residents met Wednesday to discuss strategies for a counter-protest, the Twin Cities Daily Planet said.

"Our city must remain a 'no-go' zone where white supremacists cannot organize or build a movement with their hate speech and violence," Dan Gannon, an anti-racist community organizer, said in a press release.

President of Somalia visits Twin Cities

The president of Somalia met with members of the Minnesotan Somali community Saturday in a United States tour to gain support for his government, the Star Tribune said.

At a Books for Africa event, President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed told listeners that he wants to find a solution for the ongoing violence in his country, the Star Tribune said.

Al-Shabab, a group which the U.S. government says has ties to al-Qaida, has led up to 20 young Somali men from Minnesota to Somalia to fight, the Star Tribune reported. Three of those men have died.

President Ahmed will speak at the University of Minnesota in Northrop Hall on Sunday at 3 p.m., the Minnesota Public Radio said.

President Ahmed, who is supported by many Somali-Americans and the U.S. government, will travel to Chicago and Columbus, Ohio after Minnesota, MPR reported.

St. Paul family gets extreme home makeover

A East St. Paul woman discovered Friday that her home will be transformed in ABC network's national television show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," the Star Tribune said.

According to the Pioneer Press, on Friday morning, Sandy Morris and her son and daughter woke up to the voice of Ty Pennington, "Good Morning Morris family!"

Morris, who operates a low-cost daycare for a multicultural neighborhood, was nominated by the children she cares for and their parents, the Pioneer Press said.

The 113-year-old home was falling apart, and "Extreme Makeover" came just in time, Morris said to the Star Tribune.

Lisa Griebel, the mother of one of Morris' daycare children, said that she first thought the home was a drug house, the Pioneer Press said.  Since then, Griebel has grown to adore the Morris family.

Battle on gay divorce continues in Texas

A Texas judge opened up a battle on same-sex marriage Thursday when she ruled that a same-sex couple married in another state can divorce in Texas, the New York Times said.

District Judge Tena Callahan ruled that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage violates the constitutional guarantee to equal protection under the law, the Washington Post said.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott will appeal the ruling, which he argues goes against voters' approval of the ban in 2005, the Washington Post said.  He argued that if the state of Texas does not recognize same-sex marriage, the courts cannot dissolve one.

Peter A. Schulte, the lawyer of the same-sex couple hoping for divorce, says they did not want to challenge the state's ban, the New York Times said.  They simply hoped to divorce in Texas, where they now live, instead of having to move back to Massachusetts, where they wed, in order to divorce.

Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison support Abbott's objections, the Washington Post said.

Slow relief for earthquakes in Indonesia

Government disaster relief was tardy for a series of major earthquakes that hit the Sumatran district in Indonesia Wednesday, BBC News said.

The 7.6-magnitude earthquake is estimated to have killed over 1,100 people Wednesday evening, the New York Times said.  A 6.6-magnitude aftershock hit 16 hours later.

On Friday, in the town of Padang Pariaman, officials counted up to 80 percent damaged buildings and 207 deaths, the New York Times said.  Officials estimated that over 282 people lay trapped under landslides, but no police officials were seen until later in the day.

The Department for International Development team from the United Kingdom was delayed in its rescue efforts due to technical issues, BBC News said. The DfID is sending aid, though, with material goods, medics, and humanitarian experts.

No authorities have come to help, Sutan Maskuri, 55, told the New York Times 44 hours after the disaster.  Maskuri sent his sister to a regional hospital after no aid appeared for a landslide that killed five siblings.

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