April 2011 Archives

By Kelsey Lund

The White House has been omitting and falsifying information on visitor logs, an investigative report from iwatch news found.

This iwatch news story detailed the holes in White House visitor logs and why those gaps of information were important. The reporters used the White House database of released visitor logs to inform their story.

The reporters had to analyze the database of visitor logs for what areas were left blank, who was recorded as visiting, when visits were missing, what visitors never showed up but were listed as having done so, and how many of the visitors were actually on group tours.

Computer skills were necessary in order for the reporters to sift through this huge amount of data and get results worth reporting. They had to be able to sort the information and analyze it for patterns.

The reporters also needed computer skills to know where to look for this information, and what sort of information was relevant to their angle.

Car pieces may lead to Dinkytown hit and run driver

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By Kelsey Lund

Car pieces recovered in Dinkytown after the car hit three students and drove away could lead to finding the driver responsible, Kare 11 reported.

Early Friday morning a car driving the wrong way on Fifth Street hit the students, sending all three to the hospital, KSTP.com reported.

One of the students, Benjamin Van Handel, 23, of Appletown, Wis., was listed in critical condition with a serious brain injury, Kare 11 reported.

The suspect vehicle was a white four-door Toyota Camry or Solara with front end damage, KSTP.com reported. Minneapolis police are asking for help in finding the vehicle, Kare 11 reported.

By Kelsey Lund

Laos met with three other countries sharing the lower portion of the Mekong River seeking their approval for a proposed $3.8 billion Mekong River dam project that environmentalists say threatens food security, fisheries and farmland, Reuters reported.

The four countries, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, could not agree about the construction of the first dam in the lower Mekong region, Reuters reported.

About 60 million people rely on the lower Mekong River for food, water and transportation, and environmentalists fear these people's lives could be threatened by the dam, Bloomberg reported.

The four countries had to meet based on a 1995 agreement stating the countries must consult one another before building power plants on the Mekong River, Bloomberg reported.

Laos still has the final say in building the dam, which has the potential to push some fish into extinction, relocate villages, and cost the agriculture industry of Thailand and Laos $500 million per year, Reuters reported.

By Kelsey Lund

Tennessee investigators are asking for help in their search for the 20-year-old nursing student missing since Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Mark Gwyn, appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday asking for more information to help assist with the 250 leads the investigators were checking in the disappearance of Holly Bobo, Reuters reported.

Bobo, the cousin of country singer Whitney Duncan, was last seen in Decatur County by her brother, Reuters reported.

Bobo's brother said he saw Bobo being lead into the woods by a man wearing camouflage clothing, at the time he assumed it was her boyfriend, CNN reported. He called the police after later finding blood outside, Reuters reported.

The Tennessee governor authorized $50,000 to be added to the $25,000 award offered for leads that will assist in finding Bobo, CNN reported.

Obamas earn $1.8 million in 2010

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By Kelsey Lund

President Obama saw his 2010 income drop to a third of what it was in the previous year as his book sales lower, although he is still a millionaire, CBS News reported.

The Obamas declared a total income of $1.73 million in 2010, compared to a total of $5.5 million in 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported. Most of the earnings stemmed from Obama's book sales, the Los Angeles Times said.

All the proceeds from Obama's new children's book, "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughter," were donated to a charity, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Overall, the Obamas donated almost $250,000 to 36 various charitable organizations, CBS News reported. The majority of the amount donated to charities came from the children's book sales, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The release of the federal tax returns confirming the president's millionaire status coincide with Obama's recent announcement that he will pursue the end of tax cuts for wealthy Americans such as himself, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Edina woman killed in house fire

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By Kelsey Lund

A woman died in a house fire in Edina early Monday morning, the Pioneer Press reported.

The fire in the family home on Oaklawn Avenue started in the basement before 4:45 a.m. and killed Cynthia L. Robb, 54, the Star Tribune reported.

Robb's husband and two daughters were not in the house at the time of the fire, the Star Tribune reported.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but Edina Fire Chief Marty Scheerer said tragedies like this one are why smoke alarms are so important, the Pioneer Press reported. Scheerer said the smoke detectors in the house were not working correctly, the Pioneer Press reported.

Scheerer also said that if fire sprinklers were installed in the home the outcome may have been different, the Star Tribune reported. Minnesota does not currently require fire sprinklers in houses, the Star Tribune reported.

Mother drives her family into Hudson River

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By Kelsey Lund

A mother intentionally drove her minivan with four children inside off a boat ramp into the Hudson River in Newburgh, N.Y. on Tuesday night, killing herself and three of her four children, the New York Times reported.

Lashandra Armstrong, 25, drove her four children Lashaun Armstrong, 10, Landon Pierce, 5, Lance Pierre, 2, and Lainaina Pierre, 11 months into the Hudson river after what was later reported to the police as a domestic dispute, Reuters reported

The lone survivor, a 10-year-old boy, who does not share the same father with the three other children, escaped the van through the driver's side window, swam ashore, and went to the Newburgh Fire Department where he informed the police of the incident, the New York Times reported.

The police found the car in 8 feet of water more than 25 feet from the shore after an hour-long search effort, Reuters reported.

Police are looking for the three children's father, Jean Pierre, for questioning, Reuters reported.

Man's hand wound leads to Minneapolis stabbing charges

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By Kelsey Lund

A hand wound sustained by a Minneapolis teen when he allegedly stabbed three people at a Minneapolis light-rail station on Friday led police to arrest him, the Star Tribune reported.

Alexander Andre Lanier, 19, went to the hospital with a cut on his palm that appeared to be from sliding down the knife's handle onto the blade, causing police suspicion and leading to his arrest, Fox 9 reported.

The three victims of the stabbings were getting off the light rail at Lake Street at 10:30 p.m. on Friday where Lanier and another person were allegedly making gang signs, the Star Tribune reported.

A fight started and the victims were stabbed, Fox 9 reported.

Lanier was charged with three counts of felony assault and is being held in custody with $300,000 bail, the Star Tribune reported.

Man charged with defiling altar at Lakeville church

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By Kelsey Lund

A Lakeville man with a history of mental illness was charged with a felony on Tuesday after he poured a liquid thought to be urine on a church altar during a Saturday night mass, the Pioneer Press reported.

Steven Richard Fay, 34, was arrested at All Saints Catholic Church in Lakeville on Saturday and charged with second-degree criminal damage to property, the Star Tribune said.

The charge that would normally be a gross misdemeanor was changed to a felony since Fay performed a "hate-based crime" against a religious institution, the Star Tribune reported.

Fay had three previous mental illness commitment cases in 1999, 2004 and 2006 in Dakota County, the Star Tribune reported.

Bail was set at $40,000 by the court, the Pioneer Press reported.

By Kelsey Lund

A woman in a shopping center near Paris was the first person to be fined for wearing an Islamic veil that covered her face on Monday after the new French law banning face coverings went into effect, BBC reported.

The 28-year-old woman was given a 150 euro fine with one month to pay, the Guardian reported.

The law bans face coverings in public places, including on the street, in shops, and on public transportation, BBC said.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France, was the main supporter of the new law, hoping to boost his record low poll ratings before the next election by winning over more conservative voters, the Guardian said.

The French government defends the law saying a face covering gives its wearer inferior status in France, BBC said. The law has resulted in an outcry from some Muslims and libertarians, BBC reported.

Mitt Romney enters Republican presidential race

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By Kelsey Lund

The former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, entered the race for the 2012 Republican nomination on Monday with a short video, the Guardian reported.

Romney ran for the Republican nomination in 2008 unsuccessfully, but is now a front-runner in the 2012 candidacy race scoring the highest in the Republican opinion polls, Reuters reported.

Romney criticized the Obama administration for its inability to lower unemployment rates, the Guardian said.

In his announcement video, Romney said his own experiences as a businessman are better suited for fixing the country's unemployment problem, the Guardian reported.

As a Mormon, Romney lost votes in 2008 from the large evangelical Christian voting base, Reuters reported.

He has also recently been criticized by some Republicans for the healthcare program he supported in Massachusetts that inspired Obama's national healthcare plan, Reuters reported.

By Kelsey Lund

A story in the San Diego Union-Tribune addresses the positive image of America many of the youth in Yemen have.

The story uses quotes from Yemenis the reporter taught English to, as well as his observations of teenagers when he lived in Yemen for a short period of time to report that most young Yemenis idealize America.

Ibrahim, who asked that only his first name be used for privacy reasons, a Yemeni international student at Augsburg College said this report does not delve into the complexities of how the people of Yemen view the West.

I "had people telling me that I am an American spy or that I converted to Christianity," Ibrahim said of some conservative Yemenis who disapproved of his choice to study in the US. "There are very religious young people and very open young people who watch American movies and try to dress like Americans in spite of the culture opposition."

In all, although this report takes a different approach than labeling Yemenis as hating America, it does not attempt to grapple with the complex issue of how Yemenis view Americans.

By Kelsey Lund

The expected increase in water levels of the Mississippi River closed three locks and dams in Minneapolis for all traffic on Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported.

The river is expected to reach unsafe water flow levels by Friday due to melting snow and rain in the Mississippi basin, the Pioneer Press reported.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to close the Upper and Lower St. Anthony Falls and Lock and Dam1 near Minnehaha Park, the Star Tribune reported.

The locks and dams may remain closed through April 17, according to an estimate by the National Weather Service in the Star Tribune.

Fatal U.N. Plane Crash in Congo Kills 32

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By Kelsey Lund

A United Nations plane crashed while landing at Kinshasa airport in Congo on Monday, killing 32 of 33 people on board, BBC reported.

The plane was landing in heavy rain and wind when it broke in two and caught on fire, the New York Times reported. The cause of the crash is unknown, the New York Times said.

The plane was flying from Kisangani, Congo with 20 UN workers, as well as Congolese and foreign passengers and a Georgian crew aboard, BBC reported.

The United Nations has yet to identify the lone survivor, BBC reported.

Airplanes are not well maintained in Congo and crash often, according to the New York Times.

By Kelsey Lund

A Circle Pines woman was charged on Tuesday with stealing almost $63,000 from two nursing home residents where she worked, the Star Tribune reported.

Lisa Marie Blair, 43, allegedly stole the funds to pay for her personal expenses, including $2,000 for her daughter's college tuition, Fox 9 news reported.

St. Paul police said Blair admitted to taking the money for her child's college tuition, claiming she borrowed it and intended to pay it back, Fox 9 news said.

The money was taken from South St. Paul nursing home residents over a period of time from March 2009 to November 2010, mostly in the form of checks made out to Blair, prosecutors said in the Star Tribune.

Blair posted $10,000 bail with conditions, Fox 9 news reported.

Air France plane wreckage found

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By Kelsey Lund

Bodies and debris were discovered on Sunday from the wreckage of an unsolved Air France plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil in 2009, BBC reported.

The plane's black box flight recorders that investigators hoped would solve the mystery of the crash were not found, investigators said in the Associated Press.

The wreckage and bodies from the crash will be raised within a month, BBC reported.

Three previous attempts failed to find the plane that had sunk after its crash, BBC reported. The fourth attempt used robots capable of searching depths of up to 13,120 feet in the ocean when they discovered a part of the plane, BBC said.

All 228 people from over 30 countries died on Flight 447 when the plan crashed into the ocean on June 1, 2009 on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, the AP reported. The cause of the crash remains unknown, the AP reported.

Obama announces his re-election bid

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By Kelsey Lund

President Barack Obama formally began his re-election bid on Monday with an email and an online video, becoming the first official candidate of the 2012 election, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Obama's announcement was aimed toward his grassroots supporters from his first campaign, the Los Angeles Times said.

The video on Obama's website focused on everyday voters voicing their hopes and concerns for the 2012 campaign, a restrained message during a time with a lot of tension on Capitol Hill as the budget negotiations stall in Congress, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Obama said in his email to supporters that campaigning would not detract from his presidential duties, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"We're doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you--with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build," he wrote, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Obama is planning several fundraisers in Chicago, San Francisco, the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and New York with tickets as high as $35,800 to attend, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Before Obama can raise money, however, he must file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, which he is expected to do Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2011 is the previous archive.

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