March 2012 Archives

Obit Analysis

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The obituary for the man who designed Como Zoo's Japanese Garden on the Star Tribune website, followed the obituary lead exactly. The lead works well because you know who he is and why he is important right away along with his age.

The only source included is from St. Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee, along with part of a letter he had written before his death.

This obituary doesn't include the cause of death or who he is survived by which makes it seem more resume-like than others. But it differs greatly from a resume because it doesn't just list his experience, nor does it include all of his experience. It is very straight-forward and only focuses on what he was known for: gardening.

The Pillsbury A-Mill stopped running over a decade ago but the building still stands with the Mississippi River running right through the bottom of the building.

Now Dominium Co. plans to convert the building into 255 low-income housing units for artists, which would include studios and performance areas. Costing over $100 million, the project would be one of the most expensive residential construction projects in the Twin Cities, reported the Star Tribune.

The site of the mill is one of three city sites on the National Register of Historic places and was called one of the 11 most endangered historic places in the country last year.

Dominium's plans got the go-ahead from the Minneapolis Historic Prevention Commission but still needs approval from the city planning commission.

The land around the mill has been taken over by developments and the mill is the one of the last spots left for developing.

Due to the age of the building along with restrictions that come with the historic designation, the most economically feasible option was low-income housing, said Owen Metz senior development associate for Dominum to the Star Tribune. The project will be funded by affordable housing and state and federal historic tax credits, a public subsidy to clean up the site and a financing package with housing revenue bonds.

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Associaton said the group supports the plans for the area, saying it is the building that deserves it the most.

U.S. pays Afghans 'blood money'

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Family's of those killed in the shooting spree by an American soldier were paid $50,000 each and wounded persons were paid $11,000, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.

This sort of payment is common in order to settle disputes from deaths in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, was charged by the U.S. military with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Officials told relatives of those killed that the investigation would be thorough and said some might be asked to travel to the United States for the trial, reported the Washington Post.

"The victims' families said that by accepting the money, it didn't mean that they forgave the killer," Esaqzai told the Washington Post.

Lawmakers could lose drunk driving immunity

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Concordia University students are trying to change a law that currently grants lawmakers the privilege to drive drunk to and from the capitol during session.

The Minnesota constitution currently excuses members of each house from arrests except in cases of treason, felony or breach of the peace. This means they could not be arrested for drunk driving or speeding as long as it is to and from the capitol during legislative sessions.

The law originated in the 1800s to stop the arrest of lawmakers, who would be jailed in order to prevent them from making key votes.

Students from Concordia University are trying to change the law after a drunken lawmaker boasted about this privilege, reported KSTP. The students partnered with other lawmakers to remove the immunity, wanting to include DWI's in the definition of "breach of peace."

The bill passed two committees. Reports from KARE 11 said it is being debated in the House and will be voted on in the Senate in the upcoming weeks.

Yale University trains girl's body to grow new parts

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Angela Irizarry was born with only one pumping heart chamber. In August, doctors at Yale University performed experimental surgery to grow a new vessel by implanting a bioabsorbable tube in Angela's chest.

The tube had cells in it, including stem cells from Angela's bone marrow. Doctors say the tube has disappeared and left a conduit that acts like a normal blood vessel.

"We're making a blood vessel where there wasn't one," said Christopher Breuer, the surgeon who implanted the device. "We're inducing regeneration," he told the Wall Street Journal.

Angela's condition, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, affects more than 3,000 new born children in the Unite States every year and is normally treated by multiple surgeries that enables the child to function with the ventricle missing. Approximately 70% don't live to see their first birthdays, said Dr. Breuer.

Regenerative growth was thought impossible for humans but stem-cell research and tissue engineering have recently shown that, if placed correctly, they could possibly "reawaken" the developmental forces thought to be lost at birth.

The procedure took four years of labratory research beginning at Yale in 2003. In 2007 Dr. Breuer asked the Food and Drug Administration to test on patients. It was another four years before he got the approval. A similar approach was studied on 25 children and adults in Japan a decade ago.

Lakeville dad who left 11-year-old gets joint custody

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The father who left his 11-year-old son to go to California will recieve joint custody with the boy's mother.

Steven Cross, 60, and his ex-wife Katik Porter, 39, will share joint legal and physical custody of the boy once legal issues are resolved, the spokesperson for Dakota County Attorney's office told KARE 11.

Cross left his son for California in July, leaving only a note telling the child to go to the neighbors and asking them to become his guardians, according to reports from KSTP.

At the time he left, Cross had had full custody of his son. He had previously told the 11-year-old that his mother was dead, but revealed in the note that she was still alive.

Porter had lost or given up visitations rights in 2002 but wanted them back once Cross was charged with child abandonment.

The son is currently in foster care waiting to re-establish a connection to Cross. The next court hearing is April 25.

A Washington state county corrections officer was charged with bigamy after facebook found two women's connection to him on the site and suggested they be "friends."

Alan O'Neill married in 2001, moved out 8 months later, changed his last name to Fulk and then remarried without divorcing his first wife, reported the Washington Post.

When wife No. 1 found out about wife No. 2 she called the O'Neill's mother, reported the News Tribune.

O'Neill showed up at wife No. 1's house and she asked if they were divorced. O'Neill said they weren't, and neither party has filed for a divorce, reported the Star Tribune.

Wife No. 1 alerted authorities.

O'Neill, who was placed on administrative leave after the charges on Thursday, could face up to a year in prison if he is convicted.

Ultrasound Bill signed by Virginia Gov.

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Republican Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law on Wednesday a bill requiring woman to get an ultrasound before having an abortion.

The bill has brought on national criticism and debate since the original bill required a transvaginal ultrasound. Opponents said this procedure was medically unnecessary and physically invasive, reported CBS News. The revised bill allows women to opt for an abdominal ultrasound.

"This bill does not legally alter a woman's ability to make a choice regarding her pregnancy," said Governor McDonnell in a statement Wednesday.


Women held a march outside of the Virginia capitol to show their opposition when the original bill looked like it might pass, reported the State Column.

The revised bill passed the House of Delegates last Thursday by a vote of 61 to 35 and passed the Senate on a vote of 21 to 19, reported the LA Times.

Seven other states have laws requiring pre-abortion ultrasound screenings, and 12 more have similar bills making their way through legislatures.


Six world powers urged Iran to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency access to the military site Parchin, reported the Washington Post.

Western diplomats have received satellite photos of earth-moving equipment and other heavy construction equipment near the military base.

The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany want Iran to answer the questions concerning nuclear weapons, but claim diplomacy as the way forward, reported CBS News.

Iran's supreme leader gave a positive remark to the U.S., happy with President Obama for saying that he was trying to avert war with the Islamic republic.

CBC News
reported Tehran said Monday a visit would be granted when an agreement of conditions of the inspection is outlined.

An analyst, speaking on anonymity, said that now is the best time to make a deal because the Iranian leader will respond to positive remarks by the U.S.

Viking's cornerback assault trial

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The assault trial for Viking's cornerback Chris Cook began Wednesday.

Cook was arrested last October after a fight with former girlfriend Chantel Baker, 21, that led to trial on two felonies, reported the Star Tribune.

Cook is accused of felony counts of domestic assault by strangulation and third-degree assault, reported NBC.

Police were called to the house in October to find a "jacked up" Cook and Baker sobbing, holding her left ear.

Prosecutors portrayed Baker as the victim of assault. She had told police in October that she was choked by Cook but recanted this story in court.

As a witness for the prosecution, Baker told the jury Cook never choked her and that the fight was her fault, reported the Pioneer Press.

"At that time, that night, I wanted him to go to jail," she testified.

Baker's attorney, Sarah Hilleren, said in her opening statement to the jury that Baker would give a different version of the story because of her misplaced guilt.

Cook's attorney, David Valentini, told the jury that Baker was the aggressor, the first to attack Cook during a fight about texts from an ex-boyfriend.

The trial was scheduled to continue Thursday.

Minnesota pitcher debuts, Twins beat Rays 3-2

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Twins beat the Rays 3-2 in a spring training game debuting pitcher Scott Baker.

Baker, who ended the 2011 season with an elbow injury, pitched two hitless innings, reported the Star Tribune.

"I'm just doing my business," Baker said. "I obviously make sure that I do all the preventative stuff."

Ryan Doumit relieve Joe Mauer as catcher, his first start at the position, reported Fox News.

"He's going to move around, but he's going to get a lot of at-bats," said manager Ron Gardenhire.

Another notable player was Alexi Casilla, who had two hits during the game and a spring batting average of .556

The loss against the Twins is the Rays fourth loss of the spring and their third against Minnesota.

Sister of murder victim calls walking tour "evil"

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The sister of one of Jeffrey Dahmer's 17 murder victims was a part of a group protest Saturday at a Milwaukee walking tour of Dahmer's haunts. She called out to tours that what they were doing was "just as evil" as Dahmer himself, reported the Huffington Post.

Janie Hagen's brother disappeard in 1988 and was one of Dahmer's first victims.

"This whole thing opens up a lot of old wounds, a lot of painful memories," Hagen said while holding a sign calling tour-organizer Bam Media and Marketing heartless, reported MSNBC. "It's that same hurt all over again."

Hagen says it is just a ploy to make money off her brother's, and others, deaths.

The tour guide continued without hesitance, leading the group through the street for an hour. He read from notecards, naming the victims met at each location, their sexual activity and how Dahmer killed and disposed of them, reported CBS.

Dahmer, a chocolate factory worker, visited Milwaukee-area gay bars where he would met his victims. He confessed to the murder of 17 men in 1991, some of whom he mutilated and cannibalized. Dahmer was beaten to death by an inmate in 1994.

Participants of the tour found it educational.

"You look at it now and it's all these nice buildings," Paul Smith, 26, of Waukesha said. "You really wouldn't think all these horrific things happened here."

Speech analysis

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The CBS story "Obama talks tough at AIPAC, urges caution on Iran" from CBS, covers President Barack Obama's talk at the annual American-Israeli conference in Washington D.C.

The reporter started off with a very simple, hard lead about what the speech was on--probably because it was not only a speech but it was a major issue topic. The second paragraph gave some context to the speech. The following seven paragraphs used a lot of quotes from Obama as well as summarizing what the speech said. The then used quotes/summary from a speech given by Israeli leaders.

The reporter went beyond the event in that he gave part of another speech in another place from another person, but relating to the topic. This gives more context to Obama's speech as well as allowing the reader to get a wider view of what the situation is like. The reporter also included history of the relationship between the President and the Israeli leader. Other background information about the situation in Iran was also included apart from the actual speech.

White Supremacists get white-washed with Snowballs

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A rally by a white supremacist group on the steps of Duluth City Hall, found opponents who threw snowballs at the group.

The confrontation began around 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning in a steady snow, reported the Duluth News Tribune.

The two groups met and the confrontation was mostly verbal, but members of the counter-protest group began throwing snowballs and both groups began jostling each

Four members from the opposition group were arrested on disorderly conduct charges, reported the Star Tribune. Three were released and the fourth was held on an unrelated warrant.

The Supreme White Alliance group was protesting the Un-fair anti-racism campaign that began in January to bring attention to racial inequalities with sayings like "It's hard to see racism when you're white."

By 11 a.m the group was escorted into the City Hall and walked through the building and then outside to where they had parked their cars.

Once the group had gone inside, an Occupy Duluth protester began an impromptu speech about the white supremacists that exist in every day life.

One man reiterated the idea the white supremacist group had, that the problem was the campaign, and another person shouted at him for spewing hatred.

A small scuffle broke out, but turned into a peaceful discussion between 6 or 7 people.


206 killed in arms depot blasts in Republic of Congo

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An arms depot exploded Sunday morning at the Congolese capital, killing 206 people including many attending a mass, reported the Star Tribune.

Shock waves reverberated out in a three mile radius, pulling down houses and buildings, including across the river.

It is unclear what caused the blast, which happened around 8 a.m., but officials said the depot stores war-grade weapons. Several smaller blasts were heard throughout morning, and another major explosion occurred around 1 p.m., reported the Washington Post.

A morgue reported 136 bodies and a nearby hospital counted at least 237 wounded patients.

Defense Minister Charles Zacharie Boawo appeared on T.V. telling the country to not worry, saying the explosion wasn't a mutiny, war or coup d'etat.

Obama says he isn't bluffing on Iran

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President Barack Obama said he is not bluffing about attacking Iran if the country moves from nuclear power to nuclear weapons, but he warned Israel against a premature attack, reported the Washington Post.

Obama told The Atlantic Magazine that "a military component" is among many options for dealing with Iran, and both Israel and Iran understand that.

This is the most direct threat that Obama has issued over the nuclear weapon dispute.

Obama will be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said he will try to convince the Israeli leader to hold off attacking Iran in the upcoming months. If they do attack, it will have no U.S. support, reported the Star Tribune.

If there is an attack, however, it could force the United States into an arms race in the Middle East, as well as allowing Iran to play the victim and draw new support that would undermine Israel's security, warned Obama.

Though Obama will not deny the possibility of military action down the road, he has not given a clear action plan for the United states. The issue of the attack on Iran is about the timing, not whether it should happen.

Israeli leaders have hinted at wanting a description of what the U.S. would do if Iran moved towards nuclear weapons and when the U.S. would take these steps.

Toddler's stabs by intruder are life-threatening

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Rochester police say the wounds sustained by a 2-year-old boy are life-threatening, reported The Republic.

The suspect came into the home about 6 a.m. and stabbed the toddler in the torso and abdomen, said the Post-bulletin. The toddler was treated for the injuries at St. Mary's hospital and is in critical condition as of this morning.

A 26-year-old man tried to intervene and was also stabbed. A second man staying in the apartment received minor injuries in a struggle with the intruder, reported KSTP.

According to the post bulletin the intruder was the boyfriend of the mother of the 2-year-old until about a month ago, but not the child's father.

The intruder jumped from a second-story window after the mother of the child called police. He was arrested an hour later and was treated at St. Mary's hospital for wounds sustained by the police dogs and has now been moved to Olmstead County Jail.

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