October 2010 Archives

Washington boy accidentally shoots mother

by Shannon Lee
A 4-year-old boy in Gig Harbor, Wash. loaded a handgun and accidentally shot his mother Monday afternoon.
The mother was talking on the phone with her back turned to the boy. She did not hear him and had no idea her son had access to the gun, reported CBS news. No one else was home at the time.
The boy's father admitted to have previously given his son live ammunition. He told the Seattle Times he did not know the boy kept the ammunition, and is "kicking himself" for giving it to him.
No arrests have been made, but prosecutors could file a negligence charge when the investigation is complete.
Kitsap County Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Wilson told the Seattle Times the little boy is feels very upset he shot his mother.
The mother sustained injuries, but is expected to be released from the hospital next Monday.

Two charged in Dunn Bros. robbery

by Shannon Lee
Two men were charged Friday for allegedly robbing a Dunn Bros. coffee shop and violently assaulting two employees Wednesday night.
Ronald Harold Moore, 47, and Carlos Maurice Harris, 38, reportedly entered the coffee shop shortly before its closing. Investigators said Moore ordered a drink and then pulled out a gun. He made one employee lay on the ground and demanded the other employee empty the cash register.
Authorities said Moore asked for more money, saying "I'm not playing; I will shoot you" to the victim on the ground, according to the Star Tribune.
The two employees said Moore was "unnecessarily violent" to them, reported Kare 11. Police captured Moore running north about one block from Dunn Bros. They caught Harris trying to climb a fence near Lake Street.
The suspects face charges of two counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault.

Police investigate attempted kidnappings in St. Paul

by Shannon Lee
St. Paul police are searching for leads in two attempted abductions. Both incidents occurred on Wednesday, though police do not believe they are related.
Jamie Khottavongsa, 15, told police a man in a white SUV drove up to her near the intersection of Thomas and Western avenues, asked for directions, then pointed a gun at her and told her to get in his car. She ran away.
A similar incident occurred 11 blocks away that morning. A 12-year-old girl reported a man drove up to her in a green van and stepped out of the car and told her to get in. She ran away and said she did not see a weapon.
Police told KSTP they are reviewing surveillance tapes from a convenience store located on Thomas and Western avenues.
The case involving the 12-year-old girl occurred a block from Jackson Preparatory Magnet. The elementary school told the Pioneer Press they are sending out a newsletter to students' parents and stepping up adult presence on their playground during recess time.

Argentina's ex-president dies at 60

by Shannon Lee
Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina, died Wednesday after a heart attack.
Kirchner was president from 2003-2007. His wife, current President Cristina Fernandez, was elected when his term ended.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez acknowledged Kirchner's work for international justice and called for three days of national mourning, reported the BBC.
Argentinian congressman Juan Carlos Dante Gullo told the Vision 7 TV network that the country "has lost one of its best men," reported CNN.
Politicians in the Unites States have expressed sympathy as well. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country mourned Kirchners death along with all Argentines, according to the BBC.
Kirchner and his wife received some criticism in recent years when they were accused of using their power over local authorities to gain wealth. The couple denied the allegations.
Kirchner is acknowledged for helping Argentina recover from a recession and stimulating economic growth during his presidency.

FBI investigates shootings in Virgina

by Shannon Lee
The FBI is investigating Virginia military shootings after the third shooting within a two-week period occurred Monday night or Tuesday morning when several shots were fired at a Marine Corps recruiting building in Chantilly, Va.
On Oct. 17, ten bullets were fired at the National Museum of Marine Corps. Two days later, a gunman fired shots at the Pentagon. No people were injured in any of the three shootings.
The FBI has determined the same gun was used in the first two shootings, and ballistic testing is in progress to discover if the same gun was used in the most recent shooting.
Officials told ABC News they are taking the incidents seriously, but the shooter does not appear to be targeting people.
Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings told CNN authorities do not know yet if the incidents are related.

Analysis of Toyota press release and news report

by Shannon Lee
The first thing that jumped out at me when reading Toyota's press release regarding a safety recall of certain types of vehicles was the use of the phrase "voluntary recall." The news report does not use the word "voluntary." It is a minor difference, but the word can insinuate that Toyota is doing the consumer a favor.
The press release focuses on the mechanics of how the brake fluid may possibly leak a small amount and cause the brake warning lamp to light up. It is not until nearly the end that the release mentions the leak could cause brake performance to decline.
In the Washington Post news article, the reporter announces in the first sentence that some Toyota cars in the U.S. might not be able to quickly stop. The first sentence also reminds readers that Toyota had bad publicity earlier in the year when some of their cars involuntarily sped "out of control," prompting and earlier recall. Toyota's press release, wanting to showcase the company in the best light possible, obviously did not mention that this was their second recall of the year.
The Washington Post reporter also picked out the sentence from the press release that mentioned the brake decline. In the press release, the sentence was located at the end. In the news article, it was quoted in the second sentence.
The reporter included background information on the recalls and used other, more favorable, quotes later in the article. After comparing it to the press release though, it is clear that the reporter wrote the most newsworthy, attention-grabbing content first, while the Toyota press release was worded in a way to make the recall sound less serious.

Jimmy Johns employees vote on unionization

by Shannon Lee
Two hundred employees at the Twin Cities fast food chain Jimmy Johns were eligible to vote today on the nation's first fast food union.
Several workers complained about low standards in their work environment, prompting them to form the Jimmy Johns Workers Union.
Not all employees believe that unionizing will improve working conditions, MPR reported.
Mike Mulligan, president of the group of stores, told MPR he believes most employees are treated fairly for the line of work they do.
But Uptown employees Davis Ritsema told MPR that "conditions are pretty terrible," and that he plans to vote 'yes' to the union.
Ayo Collins, another employee, told Kare 11 he hopes their efforts will inspire other fast food workers in the nation to unionize.
The Bureau of National Affairs reported that union members earn an average of $2.36 more per hour than non-union workers, according to Kare 11.

Suspected cholera outbreak kills over 100 people in Haiti

by Shannon Lee
Over 100 people died in Haiti and more than 1,000 suffered vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, which led Haitian health officials to blame the outbreak on cholera.
The outbreak occurred about 60 miles north of the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, leaving hospitals "overwhelmed" and forcing them to evacuate patients to other clinics, the BBC reported.
A Haitian Ministry of Health official told the Miami Herald that cholera is definitly responsible for the outbreak, though The Pan American Health Organization said that it was still too early to tell.
Jessica Duplessi, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told the Miami Herald, "We still don't know if it's coming from one central source or not. That is what the doctors and experts are trying to analyze."
Several people feared a cholera outbreak would occur in Haiti when it's January earthquake hit, which killed around 250,000 people and left over 1.5 million homeless, reported the BBC.

Last RNC 8 members pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanors

by Shannon Lee
The last four RNC 8 defendants pleaded guilty Tuesday to gross misdemeanor charges, ending a two-year battle that began with their arrests at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
No defendants were given jail time, but were each ordered to pay fines ranging between $200 and $1000.
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said that the RNC 8 members were initially charged with conspiracy to commit riot and furtherance of terrorism, but the terrorism charge was dropped as part of the plea agreement, the Minnesota Daily reported.
Of the 752 cases pertaining to arrests made during the RNC that the city or county attorney's office reviewed, 103 people have pleaded or been found guilty of misdemeanors or felonies, the Star Tribune reported.

Judge refuses to reinstate "don't ask, don't tell"

by Shannon Lee
Judge Virginia Phelps denied the Pentagons request Tuesday to reinstate the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans openly gay people from serving in the US military.
Phelps ruled last Wednesday that the policy was unconstitutional, and her ruling will remain in effect while government lawyers prepare to appeal. If the appeal is granted, DADT would be reinstated.
Some gay rights groups plan to test the ruling by sending openly gay people to enlist in the military, the BBC reported.
Other gay activists warned actively serving troop members to remain silent about their sexual orientation until the legality is sorted out, according to ABC News.
Supporters for and against the policy are angry at the situation, ABC News reported. Critics believe it disrupts troops currently serving, and supporters worry that the unstable ruling is confusing to service members.

St. Paul rapper dies unexpectedly

by Shannon Lee
Local musician and rapper Mike "Eyedea" Larsen, 28, was found dead in his St. Paul home Sunday morning.
Larsen was a well-known artist in the Twin Cities hip hop scene. He won national and international freestyle rap competitions, and collaborated with renowned hip hop group Atmosphere.
His work had been described as "literate, focused, often surprising and always amusing," reported the Pioneer Press.
Larsen's mother, Kathy Averill, told Fox 9 that her son died Saturday in his sleep. She plans to hold a memorial service later this month.
Ramsey County medical examiners have not yet determined the cause of death, and are waiting for results from a toxicology test, the Pioneer Press reported.

Comparison of CNN and Pioneer Press multimedia options

The CNN and Pioneer Press websites both contain a lot of condensed information. They each feature a bar going across the top of their pages for easy access to subcategories, and both websites allow user comments on news stories, which provides an interactive component not available to paper readers.
The CNN site is organized a bit clearer. It is quicker to scroll from the top to the bottom, and story headlines are neatly organized into evenly spaced and sized boxes, allowing for better scanability.
The Pioneer Press story headlines are concise, but the website seems more cluttered with a mix of rows and columns. The ads take up more space and are more prominent and distracting than the ads on the CNN site, which keeps all but one ad at the bottom of the page. This might be because the Pioneer Press news organization has less money than CNN, so it needs to place a greater emphasis on ads.
The most obvious difference between the two is the news content. The Pioneer Press' top story is about the Vikings, complete with a Brett Favre photo. As you scroll down the page, the most prominent stories are about local sports and other topic concerning the local community. CNN's top stories were about national politics and agriculture, appealing to a broader audience.

High School shut down after chemical spill

by Shannon Lee
Edina High School and a nearby middle school were evacuated Friday morning after a custodian reported a spill in a storage room.
Around 8 a.m. the schools e-mailed families to let them know about the spill, reported WCCO.
Students and staff were sent to two church parking lots while firefighters and a chemical team assessed the spill, reported the Star Tribune.
Assistant Fire Chief Darrell Todd told the Star Tribune that a blocked pipeline caused clear liquid to leak.
Superintendent Ric Dressen told families that the spill was "nontoxic," according to the Star Tribune.
Classes will resume on Monday, but the High Schools homecoming dance on Saturday will be moved to the local community center.
No injuries were reported.

New policy bans illegal immigrants from Georgia schools

by Shannon Lee
Georgias top education officials voted Wednesday to ban illegal immigrants from attending five of Georgias public colleges.
The ban will go into effect in fall 2011, and is meant to prevent illegal immigrants from being admitted over legal residents to Georgias most selective public colleges, reported CNN.
Immigrant-rights groups protested the policy Wednesday, arguing that it hinders certain groups of people from educational opportunities, the New York Times reported.
The State Board of Regents spokesman John Millsaps told CNN that undocumented students will still be able to attend 30 other Georgia colleges if they pay out-of-state tuition and are not accepted before documented students.
Georgia is the second state, following South Carolina, to adopt a policy limiting illegal immigrants from higher-educational institutions.

Mayor pleads guilty to drunk driving

by Shannon Lee
Mankato Mayor John Brady pled guilty Wednesday to an Aug. 26 drunk driving charge in Golden Valley.
Brady received a $400 fine for a DWI, and a $100 fine for having an open bottle in the car, reported Fox 9. He was also sentenced to one year of probation, 60 days in the workhouse and 3 days of community service in Mankato.
Brady told the judge the experience was "in many ways a gift, to get my addiction under control," reported the Star Tribune.
The majority of Mankato City Council members voted in favor of Bradys resignation, but they did not have the required number for it to pass, Fox 9 reported.
Brady argued he is seeking treatment and to "let the voters decide," according to the Star Tribune.

Burqa ban takes hold in France

by Shannon Lee
The highest court in France approved a controversial law Thursday to ban the wearing of burqas in public.
The law will fine anyone wearing a face veil in public anywhere other than a place or worship, and will go into effect early January 2011.
The French government argues the ban will protect womens rights, according to Al Jazeera, though Amnesty International told CNN it goes against human rights.
A Pew Global Attitudes survey found the majority of people in France, Germany, Britain and Spain support the ban, while most Americans do not, reported CNN.
Many organizations plan to dispute the law to the European Court, according to Al Jazeera.

Governor race heats up during debate

by Shannon Lee
Candidates running for Minnesota governor participated in their first commercially televised debate Saturday.
All three candidates stated their proposed plan for the state budget deficit and criticized the other candidates for having unrealistic plans, reported Minnesota Public Radio.
The Rasmussen poll shows Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer have a comparable amount of support from voters, with Dayton just two points ahead, according to Kare11. Independence Party Candidate Tom Horner is trailing far behind, and told Kare11 he promises not to run any negative campaign ads.
The candidates have several more debates scheduled before elections on Nov. 2, including a two-hour debate Tuesday on MPR's Midmorning program, noted MPR.

Spot and follows analysis of New York Times article

The first-day story of a New York Times article about violent antigay attacks opens with a hard news lead. It states that seven men were arrested in the Bronx in connection with the torture of two teenagers and a 30-year-old man they suspected were gay.
The second paragraph gives detail about when the arrests were made, the suspects ages, and the name that the group of friends called themselves. Starting at the third paragraph, the story unfolds chronologically, and includes quotes from the police chief.
The second-day story includes many of the same paragraphs as the first, but the length is roughly twice as long and doesn't use the hard news format that the first one does.
The lead begins with a description of the 30-year-old victim, and the first four paragraphs describe the torture he endured.
The article includes additional comments from neighbors, and mentions the incident in relation to other gay hate crimes that have been in the news recently.
The biggest difference in the second article is the style of reporting. It reads much more like a narrative story than the first article.
It also offers many more facts than the first, concluding with additional arrest information and reporting that one suspect has confessed and another was taken to the hospital for unknown reasons.

Police on alert for "peeping tom"

by Shannon Lee
People living near St. Thomas reported a man recording residents through their windows on the 1800 block of Portland Avenue in the last two weeks.
"I just feel really unsafe and I feel like I'm always being watched," a victim, who asked to be unidentified, told Kare11.
St. Paul police have increased patrols in the neighborhood, and St. Thomas University has issued a campuswide alert, reported the Pioneer Press.
The suspect is described as a 20- to 30-year-old white male with dark hair and a taller, fit build, according to Kare11.

Police search for "Honeybee Shooter"

by Shannon Lee
Law enforcement in Indiana and Illinois teamed up to search for a man who is suspected in a shooting spree that killed one and injured two.
The suspect is described as a heavyset white male in his 40s. He appeared disheveled and asked the victims questions about honeybees.
Officials determined that the same gun was used in the shootings, reported the Chicago Tribune.
Several police departments told the Post Tribune they have been flooded with hundreds of calls, mostly rumors, claiming to have information about the shooter.
"They're all urban legends," Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller told the Post Tribune.
Lake County, Ind. Sheriff Roy Dominguez told the Chicago Tribune the entire law enforcement community is working around the clock to catch the suspect.

Child left in van while dad watched movie

by Shannon Lee
An Inver Grove Heights man is accused of leaving his 4-year-old son in a van while he went to see a movie.
Dominick Miller, 32, was charged with gross misdemeanor neglect of a child after theatre employees called police at about 8:45 p.m. on Friday.
An employee saw the boy sitting alone in a van that was parked running in a fire lane. A witness later told police she saw the boy sitting in the van at about 7 p.m. yelling for his dad.
While police were investigating, they approached a man who a teenager reported as trying to steal his friends vehicle. The man smelled of alcohol and was identified as Miller, according to the Pioneer Press.
"Clearly, this was very disturbing to leave a young child, 4-years-old, in a car with the engine running for several hours," Dakota County attorney James Backstrom told WCCO.
Miller could face up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine if convicted.

Alcohol banned from University fraternities

by Shannon Lee
The University of Minnesota Interfraternity Council voted unanimously Sunday to ban alcohol in fraternities when guests are present.
The ban comes after a 19-year-old reported she had been sexually assaulted at a University Fraternity, making it the third reported sexual assault to occur at a fraternity within a two-week period, according to the Minnesota Daily.
Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer told the Daily alcohol was involved in all three cases.
The IFC also suspended one of the fraternities where an alleged sexual assault took place, reported the Star Tribune.
Fraternity and Sorority Coordinator Chad Ellsworth told the Star Tribune this is the first time the IFC has declared an alcohol restriction in his six years at the University.

Two Israeli soldiers convicted of using boy as human shield

by Shannon Lee
Two Israeli soldiers were found guilty Sunday for using a 9-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield.
The soldiers forced to boy, identified only as Majd R, to check suspected booby-traps during an invasion south of Gaza City on Jan. 15, 2009, reported the BBC.
When the boy was ordered to check bags for explosives, he had trouble opening one and a soldier shot at it, according to the New York Times. The boy was returned to his parents, unharmed but terrified.
The soldiers will be sentenced at a later date, reported the BBC.
Their convictions are the first serious ones in Israels investigations of soldier conduct during the Gaza raid, said the New York Times, though human rights groups said the military's criminal proceeding are inadequate.

The Star Tribunes article about how Shot Spotter technology helped police locate suspects in a recent fatal shooting was structured a little differently compared to the hard news structure we've been learning in class.
The reader doesn't learn who was killed until the third paragraph, or who was arrested until the fifth paragraph.
The writers chose to focus on the Shot Spotter technology, and the first two paragraphs give brief information about what the technology is.
The introduction works, though, because the article is not so much about the homicide, but about how police were able to locate suspects.
Paragraphs four through eight contain police quotes, explaining how Shot Spotter was instrumental in their investigation, and details about who was arrested. These paragraphs serve as linking information to tie the crime into the story and illustrate why the technology is news. The paragraphs are somewhat interchangeable.
All of the following paragraphs, except for the last, don't mention the crime at all. The topic is broadened to give general information about Shot Spotter in Minneapolis: When it was installed, how many there are and where they are located. It is interesting information, but not essential to the story. The story could have ended after the eighth paragraph.
The last paragraph, however, is the kicker and jumps back to the homicide. I would consider this story as one written in the martini style, and it works well for the topic.

Missing Shoreview man found in Vegas

by Shannon Lee
A man who went missing and told his wife he had been kidnapped was found in Las Vegas early Friday morning.
Matthew Anderson, 29, disappeared Sept. 17 and made a quick phone call to his wife, saying in hushed tones that he had been abducted. He was last seen at Rosewood Village Apartments, reported the Star Tribune.
Authorities later discovered his abandoned van in Chicago, and learned he had withdrawn $1,000 from a bank the afternoon he went missing.
Police told the Pioneer Press Anderson was not abducted and was found in good medical condition.
No charges were filed against him because he was not the person who called police.

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