December 17, 2007

Student Sues School District

By Christine O'Donnell

South Washington County School District 833 has denied responsibility for the acts of one of its employees, who was convicted of sexually abusing a student earlier this year.

The student, now 18, has filed a civil suit against the school district and the man convicted of abusing her, Richard Parnell Rucker of Washington County, for sexual abuse during her three years at Lake Junior High School in Woodbury. She is asking $50,000 for physical injury and emotional distress.

The trial for this case is scheduled to begin in the Hennepin county court in July.

Rucker worked for the school, and three others in the district, as an integration specialist and counselor in the Project Alliance, an after-school diversity program. The victim’s guidance counselor recommended she attend the program. The woman was in ninth-grade at the time. It was during this program that she met Rucker.

Rucker was convicted last January for sexually assaulting the victim, according to the civil complaint.
The jury found him guilty for acts of sexual contact and intercourse that occurred in Rucker’s apartment, truck and in movie theaters for two years starting in the fall of 2003, according to the answer to the civil complaint given by South Washington County School District 833.

Some of the school’s other employees became concerned with Rucker’s relationship with female students from 2003 to 2005. The district restricted his employment to only Lake Junior High and Cottage Grove Junior High, but the abuse did not stop, according to the answer to the civil complaint given by South Washington County School District 833.

Rucker’s office was moved to a more public space, where he could never be alone with a student and he was restricted from giving students rides in his car. None of the actions stopped the abuse and the school did not end his employment with them, according to the complaint filed by the victim.

Because the school was unable to stop Rucker from sexually abusing the victim while he worked for them, the victim is taking the entire school district to court.

December 3, 2007

Playoffs are a possiblity for the Vikings

After beating Detriot thisweekend, the playoffs are now a real possiblity for the Vikings, according to a Star Tribune.

The Vikings have won four of their past five games, getting closer to a .500 record.

"We're going to go for the jugular here, right now. It's lietting us know that we can't be complacent," said Darren Sharper, a veteran safety for the team.

The Vikings have faced obstacles from the NFC tiebreaker system, but now after their third consecutive victory they really have a chance to make the playoffs.

Man found dead in a Charred Fuel Oil Tank

A missing refinery worker was found dead in a charred fuel oil tank Sunday, according to the Star Tribune.

NIcholas Gunter, 29 was found dead a day-and-a-half after the 10,000-barrel tank he was workin on exploded and caught fire.

He was most likely checking gauges on top of the tank when the explosion occured at the Marathon Petroleum Co. site in St. Paul Park, said Robert Calmus, the company spokesman.

The refinrery processes crude oil from Canada adn the United States into gasoline, disel, fuel oil, jet fuel, kerosene, propane and asphalt.

November 19, 2007

UND trying to hold on to its Fighting Sioux nickname

The Sioux Indians may lose their fight to get UND to change their mascot, according to the Star Tribune.

The Indians are caught in a Catch-22 where they'll be made the bad guy if they don't comply with the Universities wishes, according to Clay Jenkinson, the Theodore Roosevelt scholar in residence at Dickinson (N.D.) State University said.

"It [is] outrageous to make North Dakota's Indians bear the burden of settling a controversy they didn't create, about a nickname that appropriates their culture without their consent,"Jenkinson said.

Roman Catholic Order settled Sex Abuse Case.

An Alaskan Roman Catholic religious ordered agreed to pay $50 million to settle a sex abuse case Sunday, according to CNN.

There are 110 victims of sexual assault by Jesuit priests of this Roman Catholic order, according to Ken Roosa the lawyer on the case.

The people abused were alter boys, alter servers or alter girls at one point, Roosa said. When some told their story, it was recieved with "How can you say such things about a man of God."

November 11, 2007

Vikings lose to Packers

Packers beat the Vikings in a 34-0 victory Sunday, according to the Star Tribune.

One of the main reasons the Packers have been so successful is due to their starting quarterback Brett Favre, said Ron Wolfe the Green Bay Packers general manager.

Since Favre was traded from the Falcons to the Packers in 1991, the Vikings have been through 14 starting quarterbacks.

"He's just a great football player," Wolf said. "What makes him so great is he loves to play."

Musharraf won't set a date to end Martial Law

Pakistan's Presdent, Gen. Pervez Musharraf has refused to give a date that will end the military's control over the admisitration of justice, Sunday according to the NY Times.

However, he did appear to give in to American pressure by restoring parliamentary elections in early January.

Elections may be difficult seeing Pakistani citizens still don't have their basic civil liberties.

Wstern diplomats dismissed the election date and question General Musharraf. How can the country have fair elections when his security forces have arrested 2,500 civilians, suspended the constitution, blocked independent news channels and banned public gatherings?

November 4, 2007

Gopher's lose homecoming game

The Minnesota Gopher football team lost to Illinois 17-44, according to the Star Tribune.

This year the Gopher football team has not won many games, but their defeat this weekend, homecoming weekend, was incredibly upsetting.

46,604 gopher fan's came to the homecoming game. Coach Tim Brewster said the team's defense had made improvements; however, the events of the game showed differently.

The Gopher's allowed the Illini's, Brewsters alma mater, 655 yards total throughout the game.

By the end of the game the stands were near empty.

State of Emergency declared in Pakistan

Saturday night Gen. Pervez Musharrah, the Pakistani Leader declared a state of emergency, according to the NY Times.

Musharrah made the declaration that fired the chief justice of the Supreme court, suspended the country's constitution and filled the capital with police in an attemt to salvage and strengthen his power in the country.

This act now forces the U.S. to "publicly castigate the man it has described as one of its closest allies in fighting terrorism."

October 28, 2007

Indians Lose Land to Economic Growth

Indians are losing land their land to India's economic growth, but are not reaping the benefits, according to the NY Times.

Mines and Dams are being built on land that used to belong to Indian citizens, but the citizens are not getting any benefits.

Over the past few decades the governments industrial and public works projects have displaced people from their land. Citizens have gone on a 200-Mile protest in hopes the government will find a way to balance economic growth and maintaining their citizen's property rights.

The walk will take approximately 26 days.

Pawlenty Plans to See Melting Ice Caps

By Christine O'Donnell

A famed Minnesotan explorer plans to take Governor Pawlenty to see the melting ice caps of the Artic, according to the Star Tribune.

Explorer Will Steger sets off for the northernmost tip of the Canadian Arctic in the spring. His first journey to the North Pole was completed on a dog sled in 1986. This time he plans to take Governor Pawlenty with him.

Steger wants to increase awareness about global warming and hopes bringing the governor will help. If Pawlenty decides to go it could boost his national standing as a candidate for Vice President.

Pawlenty has not confirmed the trip, but Steger plans to leave on the 1,500 mile journey by dog-sled in March.

October 22, 2007

Analysis: Brooklyn Park Residents Stall City Action

By Christine O'Donnell,

"Met Council is requiring the cities to build thousands of units while residents worry about crime, property values," according to the Star Tribune.

Journalist Lora Pabst wrote a story in Fridays paper about the 200 Brooklyn Park residents that held a community meeting this month in response to the cities plan to build a luxury apartment complex.

The complex would include 20 percent affordable housing units. Residents are concerned that this will change the neighborhoods structure. For example the crime rate, the traffic and school system.

City officials decided to slow the process and a study is to be conducted to see how building "high-density residential complexes" will affect their city.

The Metropolitan Council has told Brooklyn Park along with several other cities in their district that they must build thousands of affordable housing units by the year 2020.

Jeff Lunde, a City Council member told me in an interview that he thinks "the cities need to work together," in reference to building thousands of new housing units by 2020. In Pabst's article, he says that he 'wants to make sure other cities are meeting their assigned number of units from the Met Council so one city isn't overburdened. He is also quoted saying " It's a shared burden or opportunity, however you look at it."

Lunde felt that he was correctly quoted in Pabst's article and that overall she did a great job reporting the story.

The first Indian-American Governor electecd Saturday

By Christine O'Donnell,

The first Indian-American was elected as governor Saturday in Lousiana, according to the NY Times..

The needs of Louisiana's citizens were more important that racial or ethinic concerns.

Governor Bobby Jindal, 36, is the son of an Indian Immigrant. He claims that he is a "normal red-blooded football loving Louisana guy."

After the devastation of Hurrican Katrina, Gov. Jindal plans to bring the state out of depression.

Gov. Jindal won with a 54% vote.

Hannah Montana in Minneapolis!

By Christine O'Donnell

Miley Cyrus/ Hannah Montana performed in Minneapolis Sunday night.

According to the Star Tribune, 14,000 fans attended the concert.

Destiny Hope "Miley" Cyrus is the Actress/ Singer's full name according to She plays an average 14-year-old girl who has a rockstar alter ego on the Disney Channel.

The concert was sold out seconds after the tickest went on sale, so parents had to resort to buying them off scalpers or a ticket broker website.

Ticket scalping became legal state-wide in August.

the ticket's face value was $64 or less, but some people paid $1000 for them.

October 15, 2007

Chavez to Castro: "You will never die."

Castro and Chavez were broadcast over the radio and television in their countries, Cuba and Venezuela, Sunday, according to the New York Times.

This was the first time Castro has been on air since he's been sick. Castro, the Cuban leader, 81, has been sick and had to undergo intestinal surgery in July 2006.

Castro has ceded authority of Cuba to his younger brother Raul.

In their broadcast meeting Chavez, the Venezuelan President said this to Castro:

''You will never die. You remain forever on this continent and with these nations, and this revolution .... is more alive today than ever, and Fidel, you know it, we will take charge of continuing to fan the flame."