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September 28, 2008

Analysis structure


I chose to analyze the article “In search of the Giant Pumpkin� by Allie Shah.

The lead begins with “A science teacher� which is an interesting focus on the prize winning Chad Revier.

The second paragraph describes the prize money, the weight of his prize winning pumpkin and location of the contest.

Shah then quotes Revier, goes into dramatized detail of the weighing process, and then quotes Matt Marose, one of the events co-founders.

The end of the article focuses on the contest rules and finishes describing Revier’s even bigger pumpkin that was too rotten to be eligible for the contest.

I feel as though key information is given in the beginning, while the drama in the middle holds the reader to the end. I realize hard news is not supposed to have that type of drama or opinion but I think it works in this particular case.

The pumpkin contest was not a serious controversial topic, and Shah seemed to take advantage of that, while painting a picture of what the contest while the weighing took place.

Wisconsin man survives plane crash

A plane crashed in Hartland, Wis., today reported the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Police arrived and found a single-engine ultra light plane in the field on the north side of 210th Avenue, east of County Road D in Pierce County.

Alan Smith, 57, of Maiden Rock, Wis., was flying the airplane when he lost control and crashed into the field. Smith was able to walk away from the accident and drove himself to the hospital.


Pioneer Press “Wisconsin man OK after his plane crashes�

Pumpkins weigh in

Pumpkins weigh in

This Saturday a science teacher, from New London, won $1,000 by breaking the Minnesota state record for giant pumpkins.

Chad Revier only began growing giant pumpkins 2 years ago, but registered a record breaking 1,427.3 pound pumpkin at the 4th annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Stillwater.

Inspectors check pumpkins for any holes or cracks, due to people injecting pumpkins with water to make them weigh more. So any damaged pumpkin can be disqualified.

Revier also brought a larger pumpkin, 1,501 pounds, to the weigh-off but it was too rotten to be eligible.

The previous giant pumpkin state record was 1,258 pounds.


Star Tribune “In search of the Giant Pumpkin� Sunday, September 2008, B11

Collapsing Labrador research

Collapsing Labrador research

University of Minnesota researchers have identified a gene linked to the collapse of Labrador retrievers during intense exercise and excitement.

The Exercise Induced Collapse affects 3 to 5 percent of Labrador retrievers.

During increased excitement a dog’s legs will begin to wobble, which then leads to their back legs collapsing. In unusual cases a dog will also collapse their front legs or even lead to death. Typically, dogs recover quickly from the collapse.

This month the University of Minnesota released the identification of a distorted gene associated with EIC. This is the first time the particular gene, dynamin 1, has been recognized in a mammal.

Dynamin 1 produces a protein which distorts chemical signaling between muscle nerves and the brain.

In addition, learning more about how EIC protein functions could assist in understanding human disorders.

A new DNA blood test can recognize the mutant gene for $65. A Missouri breeder, Brett Bunk, uses the test to decide which retrievers to breed in order to ensure healthy dogs.


The Star Tribune “Labradors are falling down; scientists may have found why�

Finland College shooting kills 9

Finland College shooting kills 9

A gunman killed 9 people before killing himself last Tuesday, September 23, at a vocational school in Western Finland.

The killer, 22, opened fire on a class of students taking a test. The shooter, still unidentified, was questioned by police a day before the shooting from a violent YouTube video he posted. Police said they had no further reason to hold him in custody.

Investigators have since then found notes from the killer that say he quote “hates humankind� and has been planning the attack since 2002. Reported KPSP

This is Finland’s second school shooting in less than a year. In November of 2007; a gunman killed 8 people before killing himself.


KPSP Local 2 News “10 Killed in Finland School Shooting� -,menu412_2

Sofia News Agency “Finland Shooting Rampage Kills 9 Students� -

September 25, 2008

A 19-year-old shot to death in car

A Minnesota State University-Mankato student, 19, was shot several times and killed in a car in the St. Croix County Government Center parking lot Saturday in Hudson, Wis., police said.

Kelly Dahm was found dead in the passenger seat of a black sedan around 10:30 p.m. Saturday that was registered to Chris Ledesma, Dahm’s on-again, off-again boyfriend.

Chris Ledesma, 29, of Woodbury is suspected of shooting Dahm. Police say a relative of Ledesma appears to have driven him away from the shooting.

"Dahm and Ledesma had been seeing each other off and on for the past two years and at some point had been living together,� the chief said. Ledesma is married, but his wife is considered a witness and not a suspect, Jensen told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Ledesma, was booked into the Washington County jail on charges of felony possession of a firearm by an ineligible person and terroristic threats-reckless disregard. Ledesma served four years in a Wisconsin prison for felony reckless injury in a 1996 St. Croix County case, police chief of Hudson Wis., Marty Jensen said.

Dahm and Ledesma met while working at a Woodbury restaurant together, a best friend of Dahm, Ashley Blanchard said.

“She was the kind of girl who got along with everyone, was friends with everyone,� and was known for her loud laugh, Blanchard said.

The chief said he expected felony murder charges to be filed against Ledesma this week.

Sources: Star Tribune “Hudson police ID Maplewood teen as shooting victim�

September 21, 2008

China Milk Crisis

Analysis- Washington Post "Another Crisis But A New China?"

Throughout "Another Crisis But A New China", 4 sources are scattered throughout the article.

A chief financial officer of Mengniu (company), Yao Tongshan, is named; as well as a Beijing-based attorney, Li Fangping, and a father of a sickened child, Che Yanjun.

The father attribution really pulls at the reader’s heart strings on the issue, giving a personal connection. While the rest of the attributions reinforce statements made by the journalist, and voice personal opinions on either side of the issue. The attributions set up in this article are very effective. There is clearly a problem in China’s milk product production, and the writer notifies the reader about the problems without sounding opinionated.

Anoka motorcycle death investigation

Natasha Waalen, 28, was found dead early Friday morning in a perceived motorcycle accident.

Natasha’s father, Jeff Waalen of Andover, said authorities have informed him that his daughter’s injuries are not consistent with a motorcycle crash, and that her death may not have been an accident.

Natasha lived with her boy-friend and daughter, 4, in Anoka. She was working at Achieve Services Inc., who also worked as an acupuncturist.

Jeff Waalen told the Star Tribune that his daughter had received death threats after threatening to sue a local man.

No other vehicles appear to have been involved at this point.


Star Tribune "Anoka motorcyclist's death raises questions" By Abby Simons andTim Harlow

Helicopter crashes into a Wisconsin home

A helicopter crashed into a Kenosha, Wis. home early Sunday killing the two passengers, while sparing the home’s five residents-2 adults and 3 children.

“It’s an amazing miracle that no one was injured inside the home,� the Kenosha Fire Department’s Wesley Bernhardt said at a news conference.

The helicopter belonged to Midwest Aviation Services but the purpose and flight information were not available.

No flight plan was filed with the airport. A flight plan is not required, though it is recommended as a safety measure, operations supervisor at the Kenosha airport, Corey Reed, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Neighboring homes were evacuated due to fuel issues and other potential hazards.


CNN “Helicopter crashes into house, killing 2 aboard� -

Chilly with isolation

Isolation is often referred to as cold and lonely, new research at the University of Toronto recently found truth to feeling “left out in the cold�.

According to the journal Psychological Science, just thinking about rejection can make a room feel chillier.

Recent studies performed at the University of Toronto discovered that isolated people prefer warm drinks over cold ones. Perhaps, in order to make them selves feel better.

The results show psychological associations between cold temperatures and the feelings of loneliness, sadness or despair.

The first conducted experiment consisted of 65 subjects whom were divided into two groups. Half of the participants were instructed to think about a time they felt socially isolated. While the other half was instructed to recall an experience where they felt socially accepted.

Afterwards, participants were each asked to estimate the room temperature. Subjects instructed to think about rejection averaged 71 degrees, 5 degrees cooler than the temperature given by accepted group.

In addition, an experiment was performed involving a virtual ball tossing game so that certain participants would receive the ball only twice. After the game, the participants were all asked to rate their desire for hot coffee, hot soup or an icy Coke. Subjects who had been somewhat “isolated� by the virtual game showed greater preference for hot liquids than the “included� participants.

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a psychologist at Ohio State University, said the feeling of cold may be a physiological reaction to stress caused by social isolation. When people feel tense or stressed, their peripheral blood vessels contract, cooling the skin.

Lawrence E. Williams Jr., a professor at the University of Colorado who studies temperature and emotion, said the association is believed to have roots in infancy, when the physical sensation of warmth that comes from being held is connected to being loved.


Los Angeles Times “Isolated people really do feel left out in the cold� By Denise Gellene

Copper Theft

Copper theft in North Minneapolis causes house explosion

Thieves have found a new way to steal money. Copper.

From utility poles, to vacant copper pipes in vacant homes, burglars are finding a way to get their hands on this rising metal.

And for $3 to $4 a pound at a salvage center, copper’s chunk change can quickly add up.

Sunday morning, a vacant multiplex exploded sending glass windows across the street. Thieves cut through a gas line in order to steal copper. Which, emitted gas to later cause the explosion.

“There’s nothing left of it. The roof has pancaked down,� said Deputy Chief Dave DeWall of the Minneapolis Fire Department.

Officers believe there is a link between drug use and easy access to copper refund money.

“They can come here, cut a line, turn it in, maybe get 20 or 30 bucks,� Minneapolis police officer assigned to the problem, Rich Jackson said. “Well that’s a hit of meth, a hit of crack, couple bags of marijuana.�

Xcel Energy said they have taken action by replacing stolen ground wiring with copper-clad wires with little to no value.


KARE11 “Explosion levels multiplex in North Minneapolis� -

WorldNow “Copper theft a rapidly growing crime� -

KARE 11 “Copper thieves target utility poles� -

China Milk Crisis

Melanin, a chemical used to make plastics and laminates, has tested positive in infant formula and other milk products throughout China.

Contaminated formula has killed four infants, and sickened 6,244 more.

In order to add bulk to milk derived foods, certain Chinese producers have been known to use melanin. The chemical is able to make products appear more nutritious due to testing as a protein in nutritional assessments. Melanin is not toxic, but can cause renal failure, kidney stones and possible death.

Chinese pet food companies labeled melanin as wheat gluten and rice protein last year, resulting in thousand of pet deaths from renal failure before being recalled.

Infant formula from China has yet to turn up within the United States. U.S. authorities said Friday that they are taking extra precautions to keep out contaminated milk products.

Melanin tainted products were recalled Friday.

Washington Post “Another Crisis, But a New China?� by Ariana Eunjung Cha
Time “Melamin� by Kate Pickert

September 14, 2008

Soon it will all vanish

Soon it will all vanish

In the Star Tribune article ‘Once again, a bridge’ the lead strikes the reader as a startling statement.

“Soon it will all vanish� grabs the reader’s attention, and is a bit confusing. Why would the new bridge which is replacing the collapsed one already ‘vanish’? This lead sentence draws in the reader to read further.

This lead sentence also qualifies as a blind lead. The reader is not quite sure where the writer’s direction is headed. It withholds a vital piece of information that the reader needs to know/read in order to understand the initial statement.

The reporter choose this approach to grab the reader by the hair and pull them farther into the story. There are many articles in various news papers about the I-35 Bridge; this lead is what sets this particular article apart from the rest.

'Like Titanic'

Like Titanic

A passenger ferry sunk in the North West Turkish port of Bandirma.

"The vessel sank within half an hour... There is one dead," Bandirma Mayor Recep Eraydin told Turkey's NTV television.Of 100 passengers, there is one known death, 70 were rescued and 30 are still unaccounted for.

Night vision helicopters were called upon the scene to assist in the search.

There was great panic and no-one was in a position to help others... It was just like the Titanic disaster," crewman Melih Erim was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

Misplaced cargo and/or an overloaded vessel are thought to have caused the accident.

Brains over Beauty

Brains over Beauty

"It's safe to say this is one of the more- or most-instrumented bridges in the nation," said Jon Chiglo, project manager for MnDOT told the Pioneer Press.

The new 234 million dollar I-35 Bridge was predicted to be completed by December, 24 2008. Not only is the bridge done considerably early, it has also created a lot of buzz technologically as well as aesthetically.

The new bridge will come fully equipped with bridge monitoring technology. Embedded sensors will analyze and process movement in expansion joints and bearings, weight management and overall bridge performance. The information will be sent through fiber-optic cables to MnDOT, and the University of Minnesota, whom are said to help analyze the incoming data.

Despite the technological advancements, some people are not pleased with the bridge’s appearance.

"We had an opportunity to build a signature bridge, and we didn't take it," said Jerry Foss, a real estate agent who lives nearby, to the Star Tribune.

Due to the bridge being a major transportation connection to Minneapolis, constructors note time as being a factor to the architecture.

"The first goal was to have a bridge that was safe and effective," Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said.

However, the new architecture could be beneficial in viewing the Mississippi due to the wider guardrail spacing.

In addition, both ends of the bridge will be marked with two sets of three vertical concrete “waves� which will stand more than 30 feet tall.

"It's to let the driver know in a sculptural way that they are crossing the river," Figg reported to the Star Tribune.

Note: The Pioneer Press reports the bridge’s opening this week as being three weeks ahead of schedule as opposed to the Pioneer Press noting the completion date as December, 24 2008.

East Lake Street stabbing in Minneapolis

East Lake Street Stabbing in Minneapolis

Three people were stabbed Saturday in front of a Taco Bell near the intersection of East Lake Street and Third Avenue South reports the Star Tribune.

A man, 26, and woman, 40, were both seriously injured after being stabbed in their chests. The third victim, a woman, 24, was stabbed in the arm. All three victims were later hospitalized.

Any possible motives are unclear at this point, but robbery does not appear to be a motive.