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September 25, 2008

New Restaurant Opens Downtown

A restaurant owner has opened a new edition in downtown Minneapolis.
David Fhima opened a restaurant called Zhatar by Fhima. The downtown edition is open to the public and features an American/Mediterranean menu, the Star Tribune reported.
There is a Zhatar by Fhima located in Eden Praire, Minn. This location is only open to Life Time Fitness members.
Some of the dinner dishes include chicken-pesto sandwiches, steak au poivre and a classic wedge salad, chicken-and-root-vegetables tagine and pan-seared cod. Most dishes are $21 dollars or less.
The restaurant also have an alcohol and sushi bar.
Fhima had previously owned Mlps. Cafe in downtown on Hennepin Avenue. He quickly made headlines for a California lawsuit and Chapter 11 bankruptcy and he lost his restaurant.

Sources: Star Tribune

September 24, 2008

Bridge Problems to be fixed by April

Restrictions on the Washington Avenue Bridge is a result of concerns over how much weight the support columns could hold, the Minnesota Daily reported.
Officials are concerned with the strength of the columns that connect the car and pedestrian decks.
Concerns were heightened after a report released by URS Corporation, an engineering firm, on how much weight it could hold with the light rail line that will run across it in the future.
Hennepin County Engineer Jim Grube said likely fixes to the bridge could include bracing the columns to bolster them against the lower deck.
“Officials feared that too many people on one side or the other could add to the stress of the structure,� Grube said.
In response, Hennepin County was urged to restrict people to a 14-foot wide section in the middle of the bridge.
Officials hope to fix the problems on the bridge by April 1.

Source: Minnesota Daily

Teen Sentenced to 15 Years for Kidnapping

Minneapolis teenager pleaded guilty Wednesday to robbing and kidnapping a man last January.
Tavaris Dixon, 18, was sentenced in Hennepin County District Court to 177 months or 15 years in prison for kidnapping Joel Ganley.
On January 17, Dixon and Trevonnie Terrell Mack, 19, of Minneapolis decided to steal a car because they didn't want to take the bus home, the Star Tribune reported.
They robbed Ganley and then ordered him into the stolen car, which they abandoned and left Ganley in the trunk.
He was locked in the trunk for several hours in the freezing temperature.
Dixon said he was armed with a BB gun and admitted that he left Ganley in the trunk.
"Each night I pray on it. I pray for Mr. Ganley," Dixon said.

Sources: Star Tribune

Augsburg College Student Gunned Down

An Augsburg College student was killed Tuesday leaving a community center in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis.
Ahmed Nur Ahmed Ali, 20, was shot and killed after he left his work-study job at the Brian Coyle Community Center.
Police said, the circumstances surrounding Ali's death - a man known to many who was shot in broad daylight in front of a bustling gathering place - should be bringing witnesses and people with information out of the woodwork, the Star Tribune reported.
Despite the circumstances, no witnesses have come forth.
Police said they don't believe Ali was involved in any criminal activity that would have led to his killing.
"I wish I had more details," Capt. Amelia Huffman.
At the community center, Ali, played basketball with kids and teaching computer skills, the Pioneer Press reported.


Sources: Star Tribune, Pioneer Press


Escaped Elephant Hit by Bus in Mexico

A five-ton elephant that escaped from a circus Tuesday in Mexico City died when it was struck by a bus on a busy highway, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Bus driver, Tomas Lopez, was killed and four passengers were hospitalized, state officials said.
Juan Sanchez, state police spokesman said, the elephant escaped from its cage at the Circo Union, but he declined further details.
“Officials are investigating,� Sanchez said.
News agency, Notimex, reported the elephant named Indra had escaped when the keeper arrived to feed it, the New York Times reported.
Indra knocked down a metal door and wandered through two neighborhoods before entering the highway.
The Sun-Times reported that last month a 500-pound lion escaped from a private zoo in southern Mexico, killing a few animals and attacking a woman and child before it was sedated and captured.

Sources: Chicago Sun-Times, New York Times, Associated Press

September 21, 2008

River Rocks Draws Small Audience

The second day of the McNally Smith River Rocks Festival Saturday drew a diverse group of performers to St. Paul's Harriet Island.
Some of the headliners of the event were Jakcob Dylan, O.A.R., Mike Doughty and the Roots.The outdoor concert also included local groups like the live hip-hop band, Heiruspecs, Maria Isa, Skirt and Alison Scott.
The festival was a mixture of different musical genres like hip hop, 90s alternative rock, and soul.
Doughty described the Saturday event as "the perfect night," the Star Tribune reported.
According to the Tribune, the only imperfect thing about River Rocks was the lack of attendance.
Only 5,000 people showed up for both days of the event despite the diverse lineup of artists.

Source: Star Tribune


Boyfriend Suspected in Biker's Death

28-year-old mother died Friday in a motorcycle incident.
Natasha Waalen, appeared to have lost control of her motorcycle but after invesitgating her injuries, police believed it was more than a traffic crash, the Star Tribune reported.
"Multiple factors," reported a Saturday news release issued, "are not consistent with a motor vehicle accident.''
24 hours after Waalen's death her boyfriend and the father of her 4-year-old daughter was suspected of killing her.
Jeff Waalen, her father, had said that he suspected that a man who had recently threatened to kill his daughter over a potential lawsuit might be the culprit, the Tribune reported.
"They're barking up the wrong tree," Waalen said, referring to his daughter's bofriend.
The 33-year-old suspect was charged on probable cause of first-degree murder and sent to the Anoka County.

Sources: Star Tribune


Sexually Rebellious Teens in Chile

Sexual rebellion is on the rise amongst teens 14-18 years old in Chile.
Although Chile is one of the most sexually conservative countries in South America teens are begining to strip off their shirts, reveal bras, tattoos and nipple rings at parties.
"Chile's youth are clearly having sex earlier and testing the borderlines with their sexual conduct," said Dr. Ramiro Molina, director of the University of Chile's Center for Adolescent Reproductive Medicine and Development, the Star Tribune reported.
The sexual experience is happening through 18-and-under discos, photo-sharing websites, and on-line social networks.
"There is much more of a rebellious spirit among the young people today," Michele Bravo, 17, at a recent afternoon party said." There is much more freedom to explore everything."

Sources: The Star Tribune

High-speed Chase Near Superblock

A high-speed chase ended Monday in the superblock on the University of Minnesota campus.
Tarise Rogers, 18, and a 17-year old passenger lead the police from downtown Minneapolis to the intersection of Harvard and Delaware streets southeast.
After police pulled Rogers over for multiple moving violations at the intersection he sped away.
The suspects’ stolen car struck a yellow barrier near the superblock after hitting the police car.The police chased and arrested the suspects on campus, the Minnesota Daily reported.
Rodgers was charged with stealing and tampering with a car. He was also charged with fleeing the police.
The 17-year-old passenger was charged with tampering with a car and then he was taken to juvenile detention.

Sources: Minnesota Daily


35W Bridge Reopening

A procession of cars lead the ceremony for the openinig of the 35W bridge Thursday.
The ceremony, which began around 5:00 a.m., celebrated the reopening of the bridge only 13 months after the original brigde collapsed, the Minnesota Daily reported.
Hundreds of people waited for the opening so they could be the first to experience the new bridge.
The procession began from the south and the north ends of the 35W bridge, the Star Tribune reported.
Many commuters around the city expressed happiness that the bridge has reopened for traffic.
“It’s nice to close this chapter out and see the bridge open,�Mn/DOT Safety Officer Doug Thies said. “It’s a psychological linking of the north and south together,� the Daily reported.
The Star Tribune reported, Drivers and passengers waved at each other as they cheered and snapped photos in celebration of the grand opening.

Sources: Minnesota Daily, Star Tribune

September 15, 2008

Social Critique Through "Unconventional Wisdom"

The Minnesoa Institute of Art featured a new exihibition that began Aug. 29- Oct. 26.
The exhibition, Unconventional Wisdom, is a mix of intensely dark humor, poignant wit and social critique that will leave you smirking, despite an apprehensive feeling about the future, the Minnesota Daily reported.
Mike Elko and Ruthann Godollei’s new exhibition displays issues of overconsumption, violence, and politics.
Godollei, a professor of art at Macalester College, concentrates on printmaking. Her pieces function as biting social criticism that utilize only one word and one object. Godollei’s pieces include buzzwords of the U. S. government like “Troop Reduction� and “Redeployed." Her work is interpreted as sarcastic and disturbing.
Elko’s prints are an adaptation of the style and visual language of ’50s and ’60s tabloids and Sears catalogs, the Daily reported. Elk's work is humorous but yet a harsh critique of society. The Daily reported, one of his pieces featured a young woman holding her head in distress above a caption that reads, “I feel CHEAP and USED! After four years of heartache, she finally admits, I Chose the WRONG MAN!�
Godollei and Elko’s pieces provide art along with dialogue and social comentaryof world around us.

Sources: Minnesota Daily

Arsenic Cleanup in Minneapolis Neighborhoods

By Catherine Mayfield


Federal Regulators proposed a $17.9 million plan to clean up arsenic-tainted soil in several neighborhoods in south Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported.
The contamination was traced from CMC Heartland Lite Yard pesticide production and storage plant that operated from 1938 to 1968. A pesticide containing arsenic was produced there and material from an "open-air railcar- unloading and product-mixing operation is believed to have been wind-blown into nearby neighborhoods," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.
Some areas have arsenic levels higher than 25 parts per million, reported the Star Tribune. When the contaminated soil is removed, the Environmental Protection Agency will fill in the yards with clean soil and restore any disturbed landscaping.
Contractors will have removed contaminated soil from about 200 yards with the highest concentrations of arsenic by the end of the year.
Homeowners have to give permission for the cleanup. The federal Superfund will pay for the entire cleanup.

Sources: Star Tribune

Fines for Cyclists on Washington Ave. Bridge

Hennepin County issued a statement Aug. 21 that the Washington Ave. Bridge's upper deck has structural deficiencies that would prohibit pedestrian traffic and only allow “legal weight vehicles� to travel in the lower deck, the Minnesota Daily reported.
To insure safety, fences were placed on the sides of the upper deck leaving pedestrians and bikers to a 14 foot space to navigate to and from the West Bank Campus. As another safety precaution, bicyclists are to walk across the bridge.
University police Chief Greg Hestness announced that UMPD will begin giving out $80 fines to bicyclists who don’t walk their bikes across the bridge connecting the West and East Bank campuses, the Minnesota Daily reported.
“We know it's not an ideal situation, but we wish there was more access,� Vice President for University Services Kathleen O’Brien, said. “This is what the engineers believe is most safe.�

Sources: The Minnesota Daily

September 14, 2008

New I-35W Bridge Could Open Tuesday

By Catherine Mayfield


The reconstruction of the new Interstate 35W bridge is expected to open as early as next Tuesday.
Monday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other officials will announce the opening date of the bridge, the Minnesota Daily reported.
"It's unlikely that there will be a ceremony for the opening of the bridge," Kevin Gutknecht, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said.
Construction of the new bridge was a $234 million project by Flatiron Construction. The Minnesota Daily reported, the construction team could be eligible for a $20 million bonus if they finish the bridge by Monday.
Flatiron will get $200,000 for every day the bridge is finished before Dec. 24, up to 100 days. Monday is the 100 day mark.
The bridge has a variety of new features that include a 100-year life span, 10 traffic lanes, and it will be light-rail ready to accommodate future transportation plans, the Minnesota Daily reported.
Jon Chiglo, the design build project manager, said the bridge will also include smart technology to monitor the structural health of the bridge over time.
The Pioneer Press reported, MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel said officials are looking forward to seeing Minnesota motorists use the bridge for the first time.


Sources: Minnesota Daily, Pioneer Press

Explosions in India's Capital Kill Civilians

By Catherine Mayfield

Saturday a series of syncronized explosions hit five markets in India's capital New Delhi, the New York Times reported.
According to Indian officials, the bombings were the latest of a series of terrorist attacks in the cities across India.
"18 people had been killed. Scores were wounded — in one hospital alone, more than 50 casualties were wheeled in within two hours of the blasts," Shivraj Patil, India’s home minister, said.
Police and govenment officials said the attacks were an intent to cause panic, inflict civilians, and to inflame tensions between Hindus and Muslims.
The New York Times reported, in the past three years, mosques and temples have been attacked. The attacks on Saturday took place during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
Sunday, the Star Tribune reported that the casualties had risen to 21 deaths and 100 civilians wounded. Officials said that the group responsible for past attacks are responsible for the attack in the capital.
As in the previous attacks, the group sent a number of Indian media outlets an e-mail message just before the blasts Saturday evening warning that India was about to receive "the Message of Death," the Star Tribune reported.
City police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said, "We have collected vital clues and we hope to crack the case soon."


Sources: New York Times, Star Tribune