July 25, 2008

Intercontinental Video


In a neighborhood where most of the population has immigrated to the United States, Om Arora, owner of Intercontinental Video, is bringing everyone a little piece of home. By simply renting a movie.

“I started so everyone could have something from home,? Arora, 70, said behind a counter covered with DVD cases. “Each country, there are so many [movies].?

Arora opened his store, located on South Cedar Avenue and 5th Street S., in 1982. Since then, he has gathered thousands of films, each organized by country of origin, rather than by title or genre.

Intercontinental is like a tour of the world through film, with titles from over 20 countries, ranging from Mainland China to the European Nations. Titles like the original “Scarface? to “Pather Panchali, silent films to new releases.

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May 10, 2008

TXT-U Feature Story

Here is my final story for News Reporting and Writing--


University of Minnesota senior Xiong Yang was in Blegen Hall when the adjacent building experienced a bomb threat last December. Yang, 21, and a subscriber to the university’s TXT-U system, was concerned about his safety, which is why he wanted text message alerts.

“I was in the building and asked to leave before the text ever arrived,? Yang said.

TXT-U, launched last fall, is a part of the university’s emergency preparedness system to handle campus wide emergency situations. The system sends subscribers text message alerts with information and instructions about emergencies. After six months of operation, and two alerts, student support of the system is not as widespread as hoped.

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May 4, 2008

35W Bridge Ahead of Schedule

Construction on the new 35W bridge is so far ahead of schedule officials say it could open in mid-September.
According to reports in the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, the early finish would include a $200,000-a-day incentive which totals to about $20 million.
"During a weekly public tour of the construction site Saturday, managers for Flatiron Constructors said the bridge is 65 percent complete and that the hanging of concrete segments over the river could begin as soon as May 14 or 15 -- three months earlier than originally scheduled," said the Star Tribune article.
The article also said that the lack of snow this winter is a reason for the fast work.
The Pioneer Press said that a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation expect snags in the schedule.
"There are a lot of complex things that go into building the bridge." spokesman Kevin Gutknecht, said. "Our priorities on this bridge are to build it safely and to build a quality product."
The bridge was scheduled to be finished on Christmas Eve.

Two Shot in St. Paul

Two people were shot Saturday within a block of each other after a Cinco de Mayo celebration in West St. Paul.
According to a Star Tribune article, the 19-year-old man and 14-year-old boy were shot in separate incidents but very close to each other.
"The boy was shot at Mt. Hope Avenue and Baker Street, and the man was hit in the 200 block of Prescott Av. Police said they could not confirm whether the shootings were related," the article said.
According to the article, police took into custody two other teenagers driving a car believed to be in the area during the shootings.
"West St. Paul police stopped a suspicious car on Robert Street about 20 minutes after the shootings and reportedly recovered a gun believed used in the shootings," the article said.
A Pioneer Press article included more reporting of the incident, and said the second victim was 17-years old, not 19.

Min Dies After Suicide Attempt, Police Quarral

A 21-year-old man died Sunday after apparently trying to commit suicide with a controlled substance and a fight with the police officers trying to save him.
A Star Tribune article said police responded to the attempted suicide call at about 2:43 this morning. The partially clothed man began to fight with the officers.
"The officers sprayed a chemical irritant after a short struggle," a news release in the article said. "It had no effect on the man, who proceeded to bite both officers."
Officers used a taser gun to detain the man, but he was unresponsive after being shot.
"He fought but was restrained, at which time he became unresponsive," the release said in the article.
According the the article, the injured officers were treated and released.
"The incident is under investigation," the article said.
The Pioneer press did not run this story.

April 24, 2008

Two Students Expelled

Two students, from Apple Valley and Eagan High School, were expelled after buying souvenir swords in the United Kingdom. According to a Pioneer Press article, the students were on a choir trip and a chaperone discovered the items and kept them.
"The students flew home several days early, and the district disciplined the students when they returned," the article said. The discipline to follow was expulsion for the students, one of whom is a senior.
Some are arguing that the punishment went too far, however.
The father of one of the students spoke out at a school board meeting. "The severity of the punishment didn't fit the crime here," Brad Briggs, father of the Eagan student, said in the article. "It wasn't like he was buying an M-16."
The article said that as safety becomes a bigger concern, many schools are enforcing a zero tolerance policy, severely punishing students for violating rules. The students claimed the swords were souvenirs and had no intent to harm.
Whether or not the students had no intent to harm, the district maintains the punishment and the students will not be able to finish the school year with their class.
The chairman of the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School Board, Mike Roseen, said that the process of punishment is fair. "If someone gets caught up in something where they made a mistake, I'm sorry about that," Roseen said. "There's a policy we're going to go by."

This article did not appear in any other local news sources.

April 20, 2008

University Professors Accused

Two University of Minnesota professors have been accused of collecting two salaries. According to a Star Tribune article, the pair moved to Minneapolis in January from Georgia Tech but have been collecting salaries from both schools.
Francois Sainfort and Julie Jacko, who are husband and wife, work in health informatics, the article said.
"The couple were making a total of just over $400,000 a year at Georgia Tech; their Minnesota salaries top $500,000," the article said.
The case is under investigation by the Georgia attorney general.
On top of the salaries, the couple allegedly had expense reports from Georgia Tech and travel reimbursement from the University of Minnesota.
Another article in the Pioneer Press said, "So far, Georgia Tech said it has identified about $100,000 in questionable spending, all from private funding sources."

April 19, 2008

Minnesota Bridge Problems

Minnesota is home to bridge work this summer. With the 35W Bridge underway was well as the Crosstown project diverting traffic, another metro bridge has been closed for work.
According to a Star Tribune article, the American Boulevard bridge in Bloomington has been closed to fix a construction error.
"The overpass is structurally sound," the article said. "But the western approach road has sagged because the wrong fill had been chosen to support it."
The fill, a substance called goefoam, was used because of the surrounding soil is "less than ideal," the article said.
The problem will be fixed with $360,000 of state and federal funds, the article said.
The closure came at an unfortunate time as another bridge, the 76th Street bridge, will close on April, 28, the article said.
American Boulevard is scheduled to reopen the next week, meaning two bridges within a mile of each other will be closed. "There was no way around it," a MnDOT spokeswoman in the article, said.

April 12, 2008

State Bans Smoking Shows

The curtain may be going down on the various smoking performances that bar owners have created in light of the state's smoking ban last year.
According to a Pioneer Press Article, the Minnesota Department of Health has filed against a Scott County bar on Friday for violating the ban. The bar, Bullseye Saloon in Elko, is one of many that hold "performances" so its patrons can smoke.
"The bars claimed an exception in the 2007 Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, which allows smoking as part of a theatrical performance, meant customers could smoke as long as they are considered part of the performance," the article said.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan said the performances violate the statewide ban.
Many people have continued to hold performances after citations however.
"We've given them every opportunity to comply. That's always been our approach," Magnan said in the article. "When that approach isn't working and we see repeated violations, it's our responsibility to continue with enforcement actions."
Bar owners in the article said they will continue to fight the law.
According to an Associated Press article in the Star Tribune, the health department can fine the violating bars up to $10,000.
The Pioneer Press said that the first trial is expected for April 28 in Virginia, Minn.

April 8, 2008

Attempted Assault in Sauk Rapids

Faculty, staff and students at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School stopped a sexual assault shortly after classes on Monday. According to a Star Tribune report, students informed the office of the problem and the incident was stopped before it became, "really, really ugly and dangerous," Superintendent Greg Vandal said in the article.
The assault was between a 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old woman in the school store the article said.
The school's Police Chief, Curtis Gullickson, said the boy has been taken to a juvenile detention center in Lino Lakes.
"The suspect has been charged as a juvenile with attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and two counts of assault," another article from KARE 11 said.
Vandal said the incident could have been a lot worse if it were not for the fast response of the students and staff. ""It is because of that student response that this is less serious than it might have been," He said in the KARE article. "This is serious but those students helped it become less so."

April 4, 2008

Paul Douglas

Paul Douglas, WCCO's weatherman for over a decade was released from the station today according to a Star Tribune article. Douglas was part of a nationwide purge throughout CBS due to low revenue and viewership, the article said.
"Douglas, who also serves as a Star Tribune columnist, joins at least five WCCO employees, including weekend anchor John Reger, who were told their services were no longer needed as the CBS corporation reacts to a sluggish economy and stiff competition from the Internet," the article said.
Douglas, 49, sent and e-mail to close friend that said, "Times are tough, many people are losing their jobs and I am not exempt from this troubling trend," according the the article.
Ken Stone said the move was "stunning and stupid" in a similar article in the Pioneer Press.
Douglas has been a broadcaster in Minnesota for over 20 years working between KARE, WCCO and parterned with the Star Tribune.
The Pioneer Press said that Minneapolis is not alone in the purge. "The New York-based broadcast and radio company is cutting staff at stations across the country including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston," the article said.
Douglas's situation may not be surprising as the media market is changing rapidly. "It's happening to newspapers and it's happening in the music industry and it's happening to movies," Stone said in the Pioneer Press.

April 3, 2008

Man Arrested in Tuesday's Attempted Abduction

The man who tried to abduct a 14-year-old girl in St. Paul on Tuesday was charged today with attempted kidnapping and false imprisonment. Ali S. Abdilahi, 31, of St. Paul appeared in Ramsey County District Court today for the alleged charges, a Star Tribune article said.
According to another article in the Pioneer Press, police are still searching for the other man involved in the crime who actually tried to pull the girl in the car.
"The girl has told police she didn't know either man," the article said.
The girl was approached Tuesday morning by the men and when they grabbed her, she hung on to the outside mirror of their car and was dragged about 30 feet, police say.
"An officer saw streaks of blood on the girl's leg, and scraped and bloody skin on her knees. Her clothes were wet and torn," the Pioneer Press article said.
Police arrest Abdilahi after the girl identified him in a linup, the articles said.
"She had seen and remembered part of the car's license plate, and wrote it down. Police ran variations of the number through law enforcement databases and found a car that matched the description the girl gave," the Pioneer Press said.
Abdilahi is being held at the Ramsey County jail. The Start Tribune said his bail is set at $35,000 while the Pioneer Press said it is $75,000.

March 30, 2008

Guthrie's Architect Wins Highest Prize

Jean Nouvel, the French architect who designed Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater won the Pritzker Prize on Sunday. According to an article in the Star Tribune, Nouvel received architecture's highest honor in large for his part in the new theater. "The honor, comparable to a Nobel Prize, came in no small part from his work on the blue-clad complex in Minneapolis' mill district, Nouvel's first U.S. project," the article said.
"Nouvel joins Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando and I.M. Pei in receiving the top honor in the field in recognition of his high-rises, museums and performance halls around the world," said and AP article in the Pioneer Press.
Both articles said that Nouvel will receive a $100,000 prize, and that he has worked on over 200 projects, mostly in Europe.
According the the Star Tribune, the Guthrie is the fifth building in Minneapolis to be designed by a Pritzker winner. The others include the IDS tower, an addition made to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Weisman Art Museum and an addition made to the Walker Arts Center.
"I cannot imagine this building in Paris or in New York City," he said in the Star Tribune article. "It would be ridiculous. It is completely linked to the specifics of the program, the situation, the dialogue with existing buildings and the river. And it is for me great memories."

March 26, 2008

Gas Leak In Rocori

The Star Tribune reported Wednesday that a gas leak in Rocori High chool in Cold Spring sent 37 to local hospitals. 33 people were admitted to St. Cloud Hospital and 15 were likely to stay overnight said Dr. Tom Schrup in the article.
The remaining four people were treated and released at a hospital in Paynesville.
"The cause of the leak, which prompted a strong emergency response from health and public safety officials, was under investigation and not fully clear late Wednesday," said the article.
According to the article, all but one of the people treated were students. The other was a physical education teacher for ninth and 10th grade class.
Another article in the Pioneer Press said that all of the chemicals were cleared by 4 p.m. "All of the chlorine had been cleared and students and faculty were being allowed back into the building to retrieve personal items," said Cold Spring Mayor Doug Schmitz in the article.
The articles said the chlorine gas came from the pool, but the problem has been contained and the school will open normally on Thursday.

Endeavour Touches Down

The Space Shuttle Endeavour and its seven person crew touched down Wednesday in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
According to an AP article on the nighttime landing was rare. "It was only the 22nd space shuttle landing in darkness," said the article. "Fewer than one-fifth of all missions have ended at nighttime; the last one was in 2006."
The New York Times said the shuttle's first landing was canceled due to weather. "Clouds threatened to obscure the site," said the article.
Both articles said the mission lasted for 16 days. According to the article, "The astronauts installed the first piece of Japan's Kibo lab, put together a giant Canadian robot named Dextre, tested a shuttle repair technique and more.
The shuttle mission continued to bring the International Space Station closer to completion. said the station is now 70 percent complete and that NASA wants to have it completed by 2010.

March 8, 2008

Amber Alert Child Found

The missing 4-year-old girl was found Saturday less than a day after an Amber Alert was issued for her disappearance.
Anastasia Jones was found unharmed at about 12:30 p.m., said Janell Rasmussen, Amber Alert coordinator for the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in a Star Tribune article. She had disappeared Friday from Hennepin County Medical Center.
The girl was found with her non-custodial mother in Minneapolis. "The mother, Miracle Angel Flowers, 19, recently had lost her parental rights to Anastasia," said the article.
The Amber Alert, the first of the year, was issued Friday describing Anastasia and the car police believed she left in.
"The alert was broadcast on highway electronic billboards and in the media," said the Star Tribune.

March 5, 2008

Adam Thielen

Adam Thielen, the Monticello teen that suffered a heart attack Friday left the hospital today.
"Days after he collapsed in cardiac arrest during his high school basketball game - and scribbled a question on paper," said the Pioneer Press article. "Did we win?"
Thielen woke from a coma earlier this week.
Paul Thielen, Adam's father, "thanked everyone involved in the care of his son, whose rapid recovery meant he was able to go home today," said the article.
Thielen suffered from short-term memory loss, has a defibrillator implanted and he has been discouraged from "strenuous athletics," according to the article.
"He can resume school soon and continue his ambitions to study sports management in college," said the article.
Thielen collapsed Friday while playing basketball in Monticello. He was transported to Monticello-Big Lake Hospital and later airlifted to North Memorial.

March 1, 2008

Bill Carlson

Bill Carlson, a WCCO-TV anchor died Friday from prostate cancer.
According to The Pioneer Press, Carlson was 73, he reported the news for almost 50 years and was inducted in the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame. "Work was extremely important to him," said Mark Rosen, sports director, anchor and reporter at WCCO-TV in the article. "He felt that was his place. That was his motivation."
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, said the article, and he decreased his work about a year ago.
He died at home Friday with his wife, Nancy Nelson, and their dogs, said the article.
According to the article, Carlson conducted hundreds of interviews with people like Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. "He earned a degree in radio and television speech from the University of Minnesota," said the article.
WCCO honored Carlson at the beginning its Friday night newscast.

February 26, 2008

Pawlenty's Veto Overridden

Minnesotans will soon be paying more at the pumps. In an historic override of Governor Pawlenty's transportation bill veto, Minnesota House and Senate put the law into action.
According to The Star Tribune, the bill proposed $6.6 billion for better roads and bridges. It is also the first state gas tax increase in 20 years, said The Star Tribune.
The override is Pawlenty's first and in The Star Tribune, he called the plan "ridiculous."
"Six House Republicans joined the DFL majority in the 91-41 vote, one vote more than the two-thirds majority needed and two more than the bill got Thursday," said The Star Tribune.
The Senate vote was 47-20.
"Such override votes are rare," said The Pioneer Press. "Pawlenty, a Republican, is one of five governors in the past seven decades to have the Legislature pass a law over his veto."
The new law, according to the articles, will not only increase the gas tax, but license tab fees. Hennepin County will also see a 0.25 percent increase in sales tax.
"I think today we all knew we were making history," said Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud in The Star Tribune.
Representatives for and against the law talked in the articles, but either way, prices are about to go up.

February 22, 2008

Van Driver in Bus Crash Is in U.S. Illegally

The van driver involved in the Cottonwood school bus crash is said to be in the U.S. illegally, officials say.
In an article in The Star Tribune, the woman, Alianiss Nunez Morales, is using an alias. According to the article she has been charged with four counts of criminal-vehicular homicide, running a stop sign and driving without a license.
Another article in The Pioneer Press said, "The first four counts are felonies that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both."
Morales told officials she is from Mexico. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have reason to believe that she is in the country illegally and using an alias, according to The Pioneer Press.
The Pioneer Press also said that Immigration officials have showed pictures of the real Alianiss Morales to her grandparents in Puerto Rico. "They did not recognize the woman in the picture."
"Judge Leland Bush set bail at $400,000 without conditions or $200,000 with conditions," said The Pioneer Press.

February 17, 2008

Heat Radiator Falls on Student

The Star Tribune reported that a student in Chaska suffered a broken leg Thursday after a large radiator fell from the ceiling of his school and stuck him.
Two other teachers and two students were also injured at the Guardian Angles Catholic School, but no one was severely hurt. Nancy Ronhovde, the school's principal, said in the article that the heater did not fall straight down and, "It could have been a lot worse."
The radiator unit was about 400 pounds, and 2-feet by 5-feet according to the article.
"Students were preparing for a Valentine's Day party," said the article.
The Guardian Angles School is approximately 100 years old, and the incident occurred in the basement. According to the article, Ronhovde said the basement will not be used until experts consider it safe.

February 3, 2008

Obama Takes Minneapolis

Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama spoke to a nearly full house at the Target Center Saturday. The Pioneer Press called it, "One of the state's larger political gatherings in recent years."
Obama impressed supporters with references to Martin Luther King Jr. and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. He said, "We are in a defining moment in history. ... We cannot afford to wait."
One of the biggest parts of this story was not the rally, but the wait to get inside. The Pioneer Press described it as a five-hour wait with crowds winding through downtown Minneapolis's skyway system. The Star Tribune said the waiting line resembled a group waiting for a concert because of the loud music booming from inside the Target Center.
Supporters and non-supporters alike were among the nearly 20,000 attendees who had the chance to hear the candidate speak. Both articles mentioned people who came undecided, but only The Pioneer Press quoted a person who is now choosing Obama.
Obama's visit was well received and just in time, as Minnesota will caucus on Tuesday.