November 2011 Archives

White House Shooting

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Oscar Remiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21-year-old Idaho man, has been arrested Wednesday after a four-hour manhunt; his first court appearance will occur in Pittsburgh at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the Star Tribune, Ortega-Hernandez took shots at the White House on Friday night around 9:30 p.m. from Constitution Avenue, approximately 750 yards south of the White House -provided by The New York Times.

The President and Michelle Obama were away from the White House at the time the shooting occurred -vacationing in California and Hawaii- according to the Star Tribune.

U.S. Park Police found an abandoned car with the semiautomatic assault rifle near bridge exiting the Capitol, according to the New York Times.

Ortega-Hernandez was arrested around 12:35 p.m. The New York Times reported, at a hotel in Pennsylvania; criminal records reveal accounts in Idaho, Texas and Utah; Ortega-Hernandez's mental health status is under examination -it was a God-sent personal mission, according to the Star Tribune.

United States & Asia Cooperation

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On Thursday the 17th President Obama declared that the U.S. military will expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region -where growing economic and strategic interests have greatly increased, Rueters reported.

This effort will not be effected by budget cuts made to the pentagon; since U.S. troops are leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, this effort will allow broad distribution amongst Southeast Asia to aid in the regions future.

"As the world's fastest-growing region - and home to more than half the global economy - the Asia Pacific is critical to achieving my highest priority: creating jobs and opportunity for the American people," President Obama said, according to Reuters.

Japan and South Korea wanted the U.S. to counter balance China's expanding global presence; U.S. marines, naval ships, and air crafts deployed to Australia will result in a total of 2,500 U.S. troops by 2016, compared to 28,000 troops in South Korea and 50,000 in Japan, Rueters explained.

Beijing accuses the U.S. deployment of military troops to Australia as escalating tensions within the Southeast region; China has invested military, long-range air craft and deep-sea naval force in the East and South China Seas, according to the New York Times.

The Trans-Pacific partnership would not include China. To better defend foreign producers' property rights and to limit subsidies to state-owned companies would be standards that would require Beijing to let its currency rise in value in order to allow China's inclusion into the partnership, the New York Times explained.

"The notion that we fear China is mistaken; the notion that we are looking to exclude China is mistaken," Obama said, provided by the New York Times.

Cities 97 Sampler - A Hit & A Helper

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At 8:00 a.m. Target stores throughout the state of Minnesota opened the sale of the "Sampler Vol. 23" from the Cities 97 FM station; Target stores sold all 33,000 copies by 11:15 a.m. that day, the Star Tribune reported.

A Target store located in Edina sold out its "Sampler Vol. 23" copies within just one half hour at a price of $25.97, according to Fox 9 News.

The Cities 97 FM station sells these Compact Discs in order to raise money for various Minnesota charities; this year's all-time estimated total should exceed $9.7 million, Fox 9 News explained.

"The Cities 97 Sampler is the longest running non-profit radio CD in the country," Fox 9 News reported.

Guns N' Roses gained relative attendance at their 2011 Twin Cities performance in comparison to past performances, though not bad considering a struggling U.S. economy and recent album sales on behalf of the band.

The 11:15 p.m. Guns N' Roses concert was held on Sunday the 13th at the Target Center and had an attendance of 8,000 fans -only 1,000 down from the previous 2006 concert, but up by 4,000 from the 2002 show, according to the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune went on to report that the only comment made by lead singer Axl Rose was made in reference to the previous 2006 show; "it was pretty rowdy our last time here," he said.

Rose retained his typical character: his famous 'shimmy shammy dance,' established by the Star Tribune, in addition to a black top hat, bandana, and wallet chain.

Guns N' Roses began the show with a bang but reduced to an atypical system that most rock musicians do not; Rose sought that an active, rowdy crowd would then prefer extended solos and cover songs, according to the Pioneer Press.

In addition, the band believed that its 3-year-old "Chinese Democracy" album, which didn't sell well in stores, would balance out the band's traditional, widely recognized tunes.

Guns N' Roses 2006 performance began with five hours of "mostly dreadful" opening acts before the main event, but this year's performance cut right to the chase; for the first hour, give-or-take, the Pioneer Press explained.

Nonetheless, by 1:55 a.m. Monday morning -during the band's performance of "Paradise City," one fan through a black bra at Rose; "One gets the sense it wasn't a gesture about sex as much as it was about sheer exhaustion," the Pioneer Press reported.

Minnesota Deer Hunter Deaths for 2011

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Minnesota's 16 foot height restrictions for elevated deer stands was vacated this 2011 deer hunting season, so safe-tactics such as safety harnesses, haul ropes, and non-slip grips should not be underestimated, Mike Hammer of the Department of Natural resources explained to the Star Tribune.

Hunting related deaths have occurred four times during the firearm season of this year, which is two more than that which occurred the previous; the most since four deaths that occurred during the 2006 hunting season, according to the Star Tribune.

"It highlights the fact that a lot of people fall from elevated stands,'' Hammer said. "If you fall from a stand, chances are you will get hurt.'' Provided by the Star Tribune.

Arthur Joseph Knafla of Maple Grove, age 84, died the morning of the start of the firearm season in St. Louis County after lighting a propane heater from his partially enclosed deer stand; after his clothes caught on fire he fell from his stand, according to Outdoor News.

Outdoor News explain when members of Gene A. Berthiaume's deer hunting party, a St. Paul man of age 72, found Berthiaume dead beneath his deer stand in Saum on opening day; the cause assumed to be a fall from the stand.

Near Outing Minn., a man from Sartell, age 51, died on Sunday opening weekend after falling from his stand, receiving a fatal wound that resulted from his gun discharging, according to Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch, provided by Outdoor News.

In Brunswick Township the Kanabec County Sheriff's Office found a 15-year-old boy from Mora whose gun fired a shot into his inner leg while holding it between his legs, trying to take off his jacket, the Star Tribune Reports.

Casinos, Racinos, and e-Pulltabs

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Some say that no tax increases but a great deal of income for the state could be achieved through modernized gambling strategies, but Minnesotans fear an increase in crime rate and gambling addiction as a negative result.

The state of Minnesota could gain $40 million a year from e-pulltabs, and a recent state fiscal analysis report says that a racino could bring in $130 million a year, in addition to an increase of jobs that would result from video slot machines at Minnesota race tracks, according to the Star Tribune.

"If people want to spend their money gambling, it should be up to them," Paul Landvice, 54-years-old and a meat cutter said, provided by the Star Tribune.

In 2010, ten states took on new gambling tactics; Pennsylvania legalized table games, New York now participates in a multistate lottery, Ohio will invest in four new casinos, and the State of Iowa has private casinos, racinos, and tribal casinos. The American Gambling Association says that 15 states have commerical casinos and 13 states of racinos, the Star Tribune reported.

Debi Seifert, who sells pulltabls at Rail Station Bar and Grill in Minneapolis, claims that 12 years ago she would sell $5,000 for pulltabs a night, but today $1,000 a night is a steady rate.

Minnesota's Deer Hunting Success; or Lack-There-Of

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Since the beginning of the State of Minneosta's Deer Firearms Season began on Saturday Nov. 5, approximately 73,000 deer were registered statewide within the first three days, the St. Cloud Times reports, while at the same time last year's opener had a statewide deer harvest of 91,000. The St. Cloud Times goes on to explain that firearm license sales were consist with last year at 355,000.

State wildlife officials say that hunter registration has fallen 34-38 percent in the areas of Tower Minneosta and Cloquet Wisconsin; Wildlife manager Tom Rusch of the Tower area said deer harvest for Fall 2011's firearm season fell by 3,275 this year, with a harvest of 8,623 in the Fall of 2010. Rich Staffon of the Cloquet area reported a mere 8,956 deer harvest for this firearm season, compared to a harvest of 13,526 the previous season, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

The Department of Natural Resources says that the overall harvest of deer throughout the state of Minnesota, as of now, is down by 20 percent, high winds being a contributing factor the Dulth News Tribune says.

Conservation Officer Jermy Woinarowicz of Thief River Falls says its hunters have had moderate to poor hunting success; CO Bruce Vollbrecht of Bemidji has had low success with a high number of hunter participation; and CO Gary Forsberg of Pelican Rapids consisted of few hunters, low success rate, and a small number of deer sightings.

Gay Marriage Efforts

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A growing awareness of equal rights surround same-sex marriage has resulted in an increase of support amongst American citizens around the country.

According to the National Confernce of State Legislatures, same-sex marriage is legal in the state of New York, Massachusettes, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, and the District of Columbia.

Dozens of groups and coalitions that promote same-sex marriage rights have campaigned together under Washington United for Marriage, with news confrences scheduled Monday and showings to follow at sabbureum town halls, in order to get the Washington legislature to pass a marriage equality law in 2012, provided by the Seattle Times.

If the goals of the campaign are achieved, that would make the state of Washington the seventh state to legalize gay marriage, according to the News Tribune.

"We are going to push it," lawmaker from the 43rd district and an activist for marriage equailty, D-Seattle Sen. Ed Murray said. "I believe 2012 is the best change we've ever had to make marriage equality a reality," reported by the News Tribune.

Washington first passed a law, though with a broad scale of rights according to the Seattle Times, in favor of gay and lesbian persons called the Domestic Partnership Law in 2006; it prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in areas like housing, employment, and insurance, the News Tribune reported.

In 2009, the "everything but marriage law" was upheld by a public vote and the Seattle Times reports that two recent polls have statistics that display anti-same-sex marriage promotors are failing in public support.

Currnelty the Democratic State Senate holds a 27-22 majority, where as the Democratic State House maintais 56-42 majority, provided by the News Tribune.

School districts are requesting levies throughout Minnesota and Tuesday taxpayers decided to support their desire to do, the highest turnout since 1997's 86 percent approval rating, according to the Pioneer Press.

There are 114 Minnesota school districts have requested levies with 79 percent passing according to the Star Tribune, 80 percent passing according to the Pioneer Press. Out of the 114 districts, 56 percent requested levy increases the Star Tribune reported; 59 percent of proposed levy increases were approved, according to the Pioneer Press.

Renewal levies, those that establish no tax increase but will continue to see funding, were sought by 58 districts, the Rocori district denied the renewal levy, as well as in Stillwater with half of its voters denying levy proposals, the Pioneer Press reports. Similarly, 41 percent of the Richfield district's voters denied levy increases, according to the Star Tribune.

"People know their schools are hurting and they stepped up," Mary Cecconi, executive director of Parents United for Public Schools said, provided by the Pioneer Press.

For the Twin Cities, only two out of eight districts were successful at achieving levy increases: West St. Paul with 7,200 voters and a voter turnout with 62 percent approval, in addition to Anoka-Hennepin, the largest district in Minnesota, according to the Pioneer Press.

"It was heartening that, in a tough economic climate, the success rate stayed quite high," Scott Croonquist, director of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, said, provided by the Star Tribune.

Toyota Recall Mania

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Steering problems for V-6 Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles have been reported though none have resulted in accidents or injuries according to USA Today.

The Toyota recall has accumulated to 550,000 cars globally, with only 420,000 cars affected within the U.S. The Associated Press claims 447,000 vehicles have been put on recall just in the U.S. and Canada combined, 72,000 from Asia, 25,0000 from Australia and New Zealand, 14,000 in Europe, and 10,000 from the Middle East; provided by USA Today.

Part of the issue Toyota faces regarding its engine complaints stems from the tsunami that hit Japan in March, as well as flooding in Thailand; The parent company has lost one billion dollars, where as the U.S. company profit is down 19 percent, according to USA Today.

Dating as far back as 2007, Toyota has received 79 reported complaints USA Today reports, but Reuters claims "the recall is the latest in a reputation-damaging series that began in Fall 2009."

Obituary for Gardner, Machinist, & Teacher

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The son of immigrant farmers and whom didn't know how to spell his name in the first grade: Aloysius Ricci, died on Sunday, Oct. 30 in Minnetonka.

Lewis M. Ritchie died at age 94 about three years prior to retirement. Born in Comstock, Wis., Ritchie was the son of an Italian couple who worked on a family farm, according to the Star Tribune.

At age 23 Ritchie married Genevieve and left the Wisconsin farm to live in Anoka, Minn., carrying on the gardening tradition by growing tomatoes. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War Two, then worked at a Minneapolis Honeywell company as a machinist; designing flight controls and guidance equipment, to name a few -the Star Tribune reported. After retiring to Minnetonka, Ritchie stopped gardening and began to teach night classes at the Anoka Technical College, a machine trends course.

Popular TV Host's Life: Admirable, yet Questionable

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James Wilson Vincent Savile was pronounced dead last week, due to natural causes the West Yorkshire Police had said, and was found in his home located in Leeds, West Yorkshire in Northern England.

Better known as Jimmy Savile, he worked at BBC as a host for "Top of the Pops" from 1964-2006, listing each week's top hit songs, according to the New York Times, but maybe best known for his part in "Jim'll Fix It," Mail Online reported.

Mail Online provided information that explained an interview with Savile was conducted approximately a week prior to his death at age 84; an interview that was about Savile's upcoming 85th birthday the following week when his death occurred.

Typically seen in a shiny tracksuit, cigar-in-hand, gold accessories, and sunglasses with rose-colored lenses, Savile attempted to avoid the limelight by developing a system that rotated his co-hosts for his "Top The Pops" broadcast. The New York Times goes on to describe past interviews with Savile where his credibility was questioned; however, Mail Online emphasizes his charity-driven acts and community-ties that resulted in a online petition to establish a memorial in his honor, located in Leeds.

"He loved the fame and the city -and with the amount of people he helped they owe it to him," Hairdresser and best friend, Hower Silverman, age 59, said according to Mail Online.

Born in Leeds on Oct. 31, 1926, Savile was the youngest of seven children, quit school at 14-years-old during World War Two to work in coal mines, later suffering from spinal injuries during an explosion, the New York Times explained.

Mother of U.S. Secretary of State -Obit Overview

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A mother's job reflects the past that she endured because she learns from it the importance of home-life and support for the future of her children.

Dorothy Howell Rodham died on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at age 92 in Washington with no details disclosed relating to her illness, CNN reported.

Rodham accompanied the Clinton family to many states during the family's years in office; The Star Tribune reported that Rodham was present in Arkansas while Bill Clinton was governor, preceding his succession to the seat in Washington as president, including trips in 2000 to India and China in 1998, according to CNN.

Other than a secretary job in Chicago without a college degree, Rodham's life centered around the home-front; at 8-years-old her parents divorced, relinquished their guardianship to her grandparents in California as she began work as a nanny earning a weekly payment of $3. After her marriage to Hugh Rodham she raised three children in Park Ridge, Ill., provided by the Star Tribune.

"My mother, who never got a chance to go to college, who had a very difficult childhood, but who gave me a belief that I could whatever I set my mind to" Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in 2008 during her presidential campaign, according to the Star Tribune.

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