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December 7, 2008

Motherly Love

Motherly Love

A New York mother went to extreme lengths to prove her son’s innocence. Doreen Giuliano’s son, John Giuca, was convicted of murdering Mark Fisher, a 19-year-old college student in 2003.

Giuliano went through an extreme transformation by losing weight at a gym, dying her hair blond, tanning, creating a phony name and a sexy change of wardrobe. She then initiated a relationship with one of the jurors, John Allo, for almost eight months. The two drank at bars, had dinners and smoked marijuana in Giuliano’s Brooklyn residence.

With recorded tapes of their conversation, Giuliano has a base for a defense motion that was filed this week.

“What she did was extraordinarily commendable,? said one of Giuliano’s lawyers, Ezra Glaser. “It shows the love of a mother and the great lengths she’ll go to help her child.?

Giuliano accuses Allo of having personal knowledge that Giuliano’s son ran with a rough crowd.

“Allo went on to explain that he didn’t know Giuca directly, but used to hang out in his clique and heard rumors that the Fisher slaying—something he failed to mention when questioned under oath during jury selecti0on. Asked if he had been curious about newspaper accounts of the trial, he responded that he’d read them. He also bragged that he had been the first one during deliberations to vote for a conviction.?-Star Tribune

“I shouldn’t have been in that jury,? Allo said.

“My main concern was that John got a fair trial,? said Giuliano.

Sources:

Star Tribune “ Undercover Mother? By Tom Hays

November 6, 2008

Parents seek prayer for dying child instead of medical help

Parents seek prayer for dying child instead of medical help

Wisconsin parents prayed for their sick 11-year-old daughter rather than seek medical help.

Madeline Neumann died at her home in Weston Wisconsin on Easter from diabetes after becoming to ill to talk, walk or eat. The girl likely had symptoms for weeks or even months that should have prompted medical help.

Parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann have pleaded not guilty to second-degree reckless homicide. The parents have said that they believe in the Bible which says healing comes from God. They considered their daughter’s illness “a test of faith? and never expected her to die.

Madeline’s parents claim that she has not been to a doctor since she was three.

Wisconsin laws state that it is not child abuse to treat illness through prayer alone. However, a second, a homicide law, states that makes no exception for prayer.

The judge is undecided to weather the parents should face trial.

Sources: Star Tribune “Judge torn as he ponders if parents should face trial?

November 2, 2008

An overdue library book returned after 61 years

An overdue library book returned after 61 years

After 22,275 overdue days, New Word Analysis, was returned to the Holland Hall School Library in Tulsa Oklahoma last week.

The book was mailed to the school with a check for $250 to cover the overdue fines.

Now living in Florida, Martha McCabe Jarrett, found the book and decided to send it back.

“To take the time to return it after all these years, and to write such a gracious note was inspiring,? said Librarian Betty Niver.

Sources: NewsOn6 “Library book returned, 61 years late?

October 25, 2008

Gas down

Gas down

The demand of oil within the United States has dropped 10 percent in the last few weeks. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans drove 15 billion fewer miles in August, or 5.6 percent less than last year.

“It follows that there’s going to be some spending effect,? said Francisco Blach head of commodities research at Merrill Lynch in London.

With the decrease in demand, American’s driving patterns have been considerably altered.

The current decrease in gas price is a nice relief at our current economical crisis.

With a 10 percent world wide demand for oil off, it is odd that prices have fallen more than 50 percent. Blanch says that it is not a one to one relationship, and that small demand swings can cause large price swings.

One reason why prices have fallen quicker than demand is due to investment banks pulling money out of oil futures.

Sources: Time article- What's Behind (and Ahead for) the Plunging Price of Oil

October 19, 2008

Dog finds lost Oregon climber

A Washington’s Mount Adam’s mountain climber was found Friday just below a 6,000 foot level on the west side of the mountain by a search-and-rescue dog.

The 27-year-old man survived by eating centipedes and drinking water from creeks for five days.

A broken ankle prevented him from reaching any kind of help. He is now in fair condition at a Portland hospital.

Sources: Star Tribune

Soldiers linked to killings

A 19-year-old girl was found dead in the foot hills west of Colorado Springs. The killer met Judilianna Lawrence on MySpace, he then had violent sex with her before slitting her throat open and leaving her to die.

Fort Carson soldiers returning from deployment in Iraq are suspected in six different murder’s or attempted murders.

Officials are seeking answers to the linked killings and combat-stressed veterans.


Sources: Star Tribune

October 12, 2008

Wells Fargo to combine with Wachovia

Wells Fargo to combine with Wachovia

Wells Fargo is expanding with a $12.2 billion acquisition of Wachovia Corp.

By limiting loans and selling additional products, Wells Fargo has avoided financial dictator that has struck Countrywide Financial, Washington Mutual, Wachovia and many others.

“Wells Fargo knows how to gather deposits, sell additional products and not make loans to people who can’t afford to pay them back,? said Celent analyst Bart Narter.

Wells Fargo has however experienced its fair share of downfalls. A $1.4 billion loss was taken on ill-advised home equity loans and gambled with catering consumers with shabby credit reports.

Once the Wachovia and Wells Fargo deal is complete, Wells Fargo will merge with Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the U.S. banks with the country’s largest networking branch “and in man y ways, Wells Fargo may be the strongest of them all,? said analyst Frederick Cannon of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. –St. Paul Pioneer Press.

After the merge Wells Fargo will have $1.42 trillion in assets, still trailing that of Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan.

However, size does not necessarily equate to financial strength.

Sources: St. Paul Pioneer Press “Wells Fargo points wagons east with Wachovia deal? by Michael Liedtke

October 5, 2008

The stem cell race

The stem cell race

Government progress needs to be made in order to sustain public momentum and support of stem cell research.

Commercialization is “excruciatingly slow? said Micheal Haider, CEO of BioE Inc., a St. Paul company that extracts stem cells from blood in human umbilical cords. “I’m not aware of a successful stem-cell company. If you thought gene therapy was difficult, then (stem cells) are astronomically difficult.?-Star Tribune

The University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic are researching and developing stem cells that would repair damaged heart tissue, thus preventing heart failure. In addition the Univerisity is using their stem-cell technology to grow replacement organs such as livers, kidneys and hearts.

Large medical device makers like Medtronic are also continuously developing ways to insert stem cells into the body.

They hype of stem cell capabilities falls nothing short of amazing. Stem cells are the basis of regenerative medicine, which would assist the body in healing itself. These ‘blank slated’ cells are capable of continuously replenishing themselves, growing into specialized cells that could inform the heart to beat, a pancreas to produce insulin, or grow into dopamine-producing neurons (which could be used to treat Parkinson’s). These capabilities are extremely exciting but, researchers are continuously confronting controversy, slowing the entire process.

Struggle to disassociate adult and embryonic stem cells yields to be very frustrating for advocates.

Stem cells harvested from embryos are derived from an early stage of an embryo, called a blastocys, (approximately 4 to 5 days old). Once the cells are removed from the blastocys, the embryo will not continue into human life, thus creating controversy. After almost ten years of research, there have been no approved human trials using embryonic stem cells.

Adult stem cells however, are found in human tissue and umbilical cord blood. There is less controversy with adult stem cell research because the production does not require the destruction of an embryo.

President Bush issued guidelines that limited federal funding to embryonic stem cell lines already in existence in 2001.

“The biggest disappointment from the summit is that stem cells automatically equals embryonic stem cells,? Haider said. “This makes it more difficult for the rest of the industry. Stem cell has become a word like Kleenex, a brand name for everything. We spend great deals of time educating people, getting their heads to turn back.?

Advocates also put blame on overly cautions regulators for delaying the technology.

“People on Capitol Hill are obsessed with…safety,? said Michael Werner, president of the Werner Group, a Washington, D.C.–based consulting and lobbying firm.

Cell research and therapy has been hurt by the lack of confidence within the investor community.

There is no denying huge medical gains could be made. But, the future of stem cells lies in investors, researchers and largely government decisions.

Sources:

Star Tribune Monday, September 29, 2008 "Stem cells: Time to make good on promises" by Thomas Lee

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

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.


Sources:

CNN “Helicopter crashes into house, killing 2 aboard? -http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/21/helicopter.crash/index.html

September 14, 2008

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.