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September 30, 2007

News Story Structure

The Star Tribune's story about the arrest of two teens involved in the Thursday shooting of a delivery driver was structured well, but certain things could have been done differently.
The first three paragraphs talk about the two teens and when and why they were arrested. The next few paragraphs go on to talk about juvenile crime in the metro area, while the last few paragraphs then describe the incident. Having been the first story I read about it, I was unsure about exactly what went on. The headline mentioned the shooting of the delivery driver, but it was still a bit hard to follow because all of those details were at the end.
The way that the reported ordered the story is a bit strange to me, because the background information comes last.
I did like that the story addressed the problem of crime among teens and has Mayor R.T. Rybak and members of Minneapolis Police Department quoted. It was interesting to me to learn more about the fact that overall crime rates are going down, but incidents involving juveniles seem to have been on the rise. I like how that trend was tied into the story.

September 29, 2007

Teens arrested in DHL delivery driver shooting

Two teens have been arrested in connection with a Thursday shooting of a delivery driver in north Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune.
The teens, 15 and 17, were arrested later Thursday and Friday morning respectively.
The incident happened around 2 p.m. near 29th and Oliver Avenues N. The DHL delivery driver was completing a delivery when he was shot inside his van.
The driver then drove to a hardware store on Lowry and Penn Avenues N. Employees called 911 and the injured driver was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale where his injuries were declared not life, threatening.
The 17-year-old boy is no stranger to the police. He has been arrested at least 10 times.
This incident adds to thought that juvenile crime rates are increasing in the metro area. Mayor R.T. Rybak addressed the issue saying, "We need to ask parents, guardians and the community to help us and to help keep guns out of the hands of kids. Youth violence is an epidemic in this city, state and country. I am outraged as a parent and as the mayor. We need tougher enforcement, and we will continue to look at the issues why some youth turn to violence."

September 28, 2007

Found remians are thought to be members of the Russian csar family

Experts say that it is "highly probable" remains found near the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in July are two children of the last Russian csar, Nicholas II Romanov. According to BBC News and the Associated Press in the Star Tribune, primary forensic work identifies the remains as Alexei, heir to the throne, and Maria, his elder sister.
The remains of other members of the family were exhumed in 1991, according to BBC.
Archaeologists found the bones in a burned field outside the city of Yekaterinburg. That city is in the Ural Mountains and is also the place where the Romanov family were held prisoner and shot by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
The BBC's James Rodgers in Moscow says the whereabouts of the missing Romanov children has been one of the great unsolved mysteries of Russia's blood-soaked revolution.

Police investiagte sex tape found near Las Vegas

Police are needing help to identify one of two young girls seen on a sex tape found recently near Las Vegas, reports the Associated Press in the Star Tribune Thursday.
The tape shows sexual acts being performed on a girl thought to be about 4 or 5 years old and it also shows a 10 or 12 year old in a sort of peep show, according to Nye County sheriff's detective David Boruchowitz. The older girl has been identified, and pictures of the younger one are being released in hopes that she can also be identified. Authorities hope this will help locate the abuser and put this to a stop.
"She could still be in this situation and (be) abused currently as we speak," Boruchowitz told "The Early Show" Thursday, where fully-clothed-still photos of the younger girl were shown.
The tape was turned into police by Darren Tuck, 26, of Pahrump, a small town about 60 miles west of Las Vegas. He said he found it in the desert, but the tape appears to show no signs of weather damage. Investigators do not think that Tuck made the tape.
The two segments of the tape were not filmed in the same room, and investigators are trying to determine if they were shot with the same camera.
In a more recent report by the Associated Press in The New York Times, police have identified a man as a ''person of interest'' in search for more information about the sex tape.
Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said it is possible that the man sexually abusing the younger girl on tape is Chester Arthur Stiles, 34. His last known address was Las Vegas.
It is believed the tape was made sometime since January 2005.

September 26, 2007

The dollar contiues to come up short

The euro eased back down to $1.4136 late Wednesday, after hitting another high earlier, $1.4162, according to reports in The New York Times and BBC News.
The dollar hit a 15-year low Monday, according to the New York Times.
''Against currencies like the euro, we could be seeing the highs being put in about now,'' Bob Sinche, head of global foreign exchange strategy at Bank of America Corp., said. The market had been overreacting to recession fears, and investors' worries about growth have taken a back seat for the moment, he said, boosting the dollar. Some economists disagreed, however, taking slowed widespread demand for manufactured goods as a sign of a softening economy.
Also, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates last week by a bigger-than-expected half percentage point Lower interest rates are efforts used to jump start an economy and analysts predict more cuts for the near future.
Other bad news for the U.S., orders for durable goods, including things from washing machines to commercial jets, were down by 4.9 percent.

September 25, 2007

Man allegedly ripped the head off a domesticated duck

A Denver businessman was charged for allegedly ripping the head off a duck while staying in a St. Paul hotel last Saturday, according to reports in both the Star Tribune and WCCO.
Scott D. Clark, 26, was charged Monday with felony animal cruelty after making his first court appearance. Bail was posted and he was released Monday afternoon. This charge is punishable by up to two years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
The incident happened early Saturday inside the Embassy Suites hotel downtown St. Paul. Onlookers say that Clark cornered the duck, grabbed it and ripped its head off, telling them he was hungry. He was allegedly drunk.
When police tried to arrest Clark, he became belligerent, saying that he was a federal employee and would have their jobs. He asked officers if he was in trouble and after hearing "yes," Clark said, "Why, because I killed it out of season? Big deal, it's just a [expletive] duck."
But these ducks have been a member of the Embassy Suites' family for many years. Seven or eight ducks swim in the ponds and wander the walkways of the lobby for guests to enjoy. Rosco Larson, general manager of the Embassy Suites, said Monday, "... we are deeply saddened by this incident."

September 23, 2007

Attribution analysis

The Star Tribune article about a 12-year-old girl critically wounded by a gun shot late Friday attributed its information well, but was not terribly specific.
Most of the details about the incident were said by police or other city officials. No names were given. Because the victim was so young, her name was not given and her family declined to talk about the incident.
The article goes on to discuss violence involving young teens on the North Side and if this is a growing trend. This part of the article is much more developed and contains more quotes and facts about recent crimes. Don Samuels, a City Council member who represents certain North Side neighborhoods, was quoted in the article saying that he believes the age of persons involved in crimes is younger compared to four or five years ago. Samuels is quoted more throughout the story and is easily understood.
Other quotes in the story come from Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan. His quotes seem to contradict at times. He is first saying crime rates among youth are going down, but later said that at least four boys have been shot in the last several weeks, all were not life threatening. Dolan said this is an ongoing issue.
Facts from records, although it does not specify what records, also appear in the story. Numbers and percentages of different types of crimes and youth involvement are given, coming to the conclusion that overall youth crime activity and gang related incidents are declining compared to last year.
The article ends with a woman who lives near the neighborhood where Friday's shooting took place. Natalie Johnson Lee, a former City Council member, saw many kids walking in the area that night as she drove home from church. She thought is was strange because of the time, but none of the children seemed to be causing any problems. Lee heard loud noises about a half hour later, but wasn't sure what they were of if the kids were still in the area. Her quotes add more detail to the story.
Overall the reporter set up quotes and attribution well. A specification on records that were used to find information could have been added, as well as more information about the incident itself, if it was available.

Clinton leading in Democratic presidental candidacy race

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has the edge in the Democratic presidential candidacy race, the New York Times reported Saturday.
Although support and enthusiasm was strong at the start of Illinois Senator Barack Obama campaign, Clinton seems to have become the leading candidate. As the voting early next year draws closer, Obama and John Edwards, former senator of North Carolina, are going with new campaign strategies, some aimed directly at Clinton.
Obama has been trying to combat the doubts presented about his level of experience and how he would handle Washington. Edwards is hitting Iowa hard like he did in 2004 to see if his supporters are still there. Both candidates are concerned with how well Clinton continues to do, said the report.
“I think they’ve run a great campaign,? said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, of Clinton. He also said that her main problem will be proving herself and not letting her previous years in Washington overshadow her. “The question is ultimately, Is she credible — whether people buy her as an agent of change in Washington." Axelrod said. "If they do, she’ll do well.?

September 22, 2007

Strategy to help pollution problem in China sees little cooperation

A "No Car Day" planned in many Chinese cities to help the current pollution problem wasn't followed by many in Beijing, according to a report in BBC News Saturday.
Drivers were encouraged to leave their personal cars at home in hopes to lessen the smog. This is in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Some endurance events may have to be postponed if the pollution has not improved, according to the head of the International Olympic Committee.
Many speculate that the problem, made much worse by the millions who drive each day, will not be fixed with events like "No Car Day." Public transportation needs to be improved and more affordable and more cycle lanes need to be added to roads.
But more vehicles on the road isn't the only problem. The main cause, economic growth, has been great for China. An article in the New York Times said, "China is choking on its own success." This NY Times article is the first in a series examining the impact of China's economic growth.

Cyclist shoots driver after nearly being hit

A motorist in Milwaukee was shot once after knocking a cyclist from his bike, according to the Associated Press report in the Star Tribune.
The accident happened around 10:45 p.m. Friday night. After a near collision, the motorist, 28, got out of his car to check on the biker who had fallen to the ground. The cyclist got up and fired three shots. One shot hit the driver in the shoulder.
According to the police and written in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, the driver drove to a friend's house and was taken to the hospital. There he was treated and released. The cyclist has not been identified.

September 19, 2007

Twin Cities Traffic: Normal or not?

According to WCCO's Reality Check , extra travel time is needed to get anywhere in the Twin Cities area. They suggest adding six minutes for a drive that should take 20. Then factor in weather and possible accidents along they way and add eight more minutes. Now a drive that used to take 20 minutes, is estimated to take 34, reported Pat Kessler on Tuesday.
The average Twin Cities driver wastes 43 hours sitting in traffic, according to a new report out Tuesday. That along with other numbers make the metro area the third worst in the nation for traffic congestion among cities with a population between 1 and 3 million. San Diego and Denver are first and second respectively.
Also reported was the time spent on the roads is costing driver's more, $1.1 billion to be exact, in lost time and money. Forty-two million gallons of gas are also burned up as a result of stop and go traffic. But is that the whole truth?
A report on Sept 14 from the Pioneer Press states that most drivers still spend less than half an hour getting to work every morning, whether it be driving a car, riding a bicycle, using public transportation or walking.
The numbers reported by the U.S. Census Bureau state that 66 percent of Twin Cities workers spent 29 minutes or less getting to work in 2006, and one in four reported a commute of 15 minute or less.
The Pioneer Press article does go on to say that those numbers were collected before the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge. This has had an obvious effect on traffic flow.

A man shot and killed by St. Paul police

A call sending St. Paul police to a house on York St. Tuesday ended with one man dead and two officers on administrative leave, reported by both the Pioneer Press and WCCO.
The man police officers shot and killed was identified as Donald Gartner, 34.
Reports from the two sources differ as to who called police Tuesday night. The Pioneer Press reports that neighbors called about two men fighting with pipes in the backyard, while WCCO specultaes it was Gartner's girlfriend, Gloria "Tootsie" Telin.
When officers arrived, Gartner and Telin were the only people at the home. Telin had "obvious signs of domestic assault" and when police tried to arrest Gartner, he grabbed a knife.
The dispute continued outside the house, with Gartner lunging at officers. He kept the knife in hand after officers had told him to drop his weapon. Telin had locked herself inside the house. Officers shot Gartner, who was then taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where he later died.
The officers, Jessica Phillips and Cory Kochendorfer, are both on adminastrative leave. This is standard procedure after being involved in a shooting.

September 16, 2007

Leads Analysis

The lead written for the Star Tribune story about a shooting inside the Target Center seemed a bit vague, even though it did contain what, who, where and when. None of the information, except where, was detailed.
"Two men fought late Saturday," which are the first five words in the lead, tell the necessary information, but do not do much to intrigue me.
It does mention later in the story that police refused to revealed to more details than they did, which may be a reason for the vague lead.
It was a well written hard-news lead, including many basic answers to the questions words and getting the news to the reader effectively.

McCain is not refrencing Bush in his presidential candidacy campaign

As the 2008 presidential candidacy campaign continues, republican Senator John McCain voices his thoughts on victory in Iraq, but not his feelings about President George W. Bush. The New York Times reports on McCain's campaign tour and his tributes to Gen. David H. Petraeus instead of President Bush. This seems to be a strategy to renew support for the war in Iraq.
As McCain traveled through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, he found much more support than early in his campaign. After poor fund-raising and poll numbers nearly two months ago, many people had put McCain far behind in the race, but the new direction of the campaign seems to be bringing him much more attention.

A low-fare airline plane crashes in Thailand

A plane full of many tourists crashed during heavy rain Sunday while landing on the resort island of Phuket, reports The New York Times. At least 83 of the 130 passengers and crew aboard the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 of One-Two-GO low-fare airline are confirmed dead.
The reason for the crash is still unknown, but it is speculated that the weather was a factor. Witnesses report that the airplane seemed to touched down on the runway, but then slid off into a dirt embankment. The air craft broke into two pieces and started on fire, reports the Associated Press in the Star Tribune.
The majority of the passengers aboard, 79 of the total 123, were foreigners. Survivors of the crash were taken to area hospitals.
The airline, One-Two-GO, was established in 2000. It is one of many low-fare airlines in Southeast Asia which has made travel much more affordable. It is also one carrier whose overall safety has been questioned. Other incidents and procedures, such as a plane nearly hitting the Tokyo Tower in October 2004, have raised these questions.
The Star Tribune reports this accident is the country's deadliest aviation crash since Dec. 11, 1998.

Minneapolis homicide investigation continues

The death of a man in south MInneapolis last week was ruled a homicide Saturday by police, reported both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.
Mark Loesch, 41, left his home in south Minneapolis around 11:30 Wednesday night to go for a bike ride, which was one of his hobbies. He never returned home that night and was found around 7 a.m. Thursday morning on the 3700 block of Elliot Avenue S. Loesch was lying on a lawn and barely breathing. He died before paramedics arrived.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office said Loesch died from multiple blunt-force head impacts.
Police continue the investigation, but have made no arrests.

September 14, 2007

Suspect killed in Miami officer shooting

One officer was killed and three others injured in Miami after a man opened fire during a traffic stop Thursday. The Pioneer Press reports that after 12 hours of searching, Miami police killed the suspect, Shawn Sherwin Labeet, 25, later Thursday night.
The Miami Herald reports the incident began routine burglary detail in South Miami-Dade. Officers tried to stop a Honda Accord driven by Labeet when he sped off, then stopped and ran into his girlfriend's house, the place where he shot the officers from.
Jose Somohano, 37 and a married father of two, was shot in the neck and killed. After firing from inside the house, Labeet ran outside still firing at officers, got back into his car and sped off. He crashed into a fence not long into the chase, but escaped police on foot. Labeet was found not long before midnight at Pembroke Pines condo complex and killed.
More details surrounding the story continue to be discovered, including Labeet's use of a fake identity.

September 11, 2007

Chaska Social Host Law

According to the Star Tribune, the city of Chaska is now able to punish those persons who provide a venue to underage drinkers, even if they did not provide the alcohol. This is the first to be passed in Minnesota, but it is thought that Carver County may follow suit.
Chaska's city council voted and unanimously passed the Social Host Ordinance Monday night despite knowing the county was considering the same law. Carver County Commissioner Randy Maluchnik isn't sure the social host law could pass in the entire county because of certain behaviors that are acceptable in rural areas.
The Chaska Herald reported that the parents and police present at the meeting seemed to be very much in favor of the new law. Most see it as another way to protect teens by keeping their parents from giving them alcohol.
The law does have some exceptions including those parties held at houses without the parents or landowners knowledge and certain religious holidays and celebrations.