April 19, 2009

Analysis: Numbers

The story that I am analyzing is an article from the Pioneer Press about who will care for the elderly when the baby boomer generation becomes the elderly. The story uses numbers to make points about how elderly care faces a crisis when the baby boomer generation reaches the elderly ages. The story talks about the 78 million people that were born between 1946 and 1964, and how they are the ones caring for the elderly, but who will care for them. It also uses percentages to illustrate how senior population is increasing more rapidly than the number of likely caregivers. It also talks about how a percentage decline in caregivers could give the state more money to spend on seniors. It is not very clear on how that would work. The math could be better explained in this instance. However, for the most part the article uses numbers well to illustrate its point.

Three Dead in Separate Fast-Food Parking-Lot Shootings

In a span of 12 hours Sunday, two separate fast-food parking-lot shootings have left three people dead.

The first shooting occurred at a White Castle in Hopkins at 1111 Cambridge Street at around 2 a.m. Sunday, in an apparent verbal altercation, according to the Pioneer Press.

The second shooting occurred just before 2 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of the McDonald’s on Sycamore Lane N. in Maple Grove, according to a report from the Star Tribune.

Police responded to several 911 calls about a woman being shot in the parking lot.

Capt. Tracy Stille of the Maple Grove Police Department told the Star Tribune that police found the body of a woman in her 20’s in the parking lot with at least two gunshot wounds.

Witnesses said they saw the woman stumble to the curb after she was apparently shot once, and then they saw the man shoot her again.

Stille said the woman had met the suspect at the restaurant to break off a relationship between the two, when he shot her.

The man then drove off in a white car, but witnesses were able to give police a description of the car and a partial license plate.

An alert went out and a Brooklyn Park police officer found the car on the side of Interstate 694 on the border of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center.

When the police officer investigated, he found a man in his 20’s dead inside, from an apparent self-inflicted wound.

Family members of the woman arrived at the McDonald’s to give police information. Police said the names of the woman and the suspect are not expected to be released today.

In the first shooting, police arrived at the White Castle around 2 a.m. and found a man lying on the ground and pronounced him dead on the scene.

Witnesses claim that the man was involved in a verbal altercation with a group of men in the parking lot when several gun shots were fired.

Two suspects were seen fleeing the scenes; however, no suspects have been identified at this point, according to police.

The name of the victims has not been released at this time.

48 year-old St. Paul Woman Dies in Car Crash

A 48 year-old woman died Saturday after her car was hit by a stolen vehicle fleeing police.

The woman was identified by police Sunday as Shoua Vang, 48, of St. Paul. A male companion that was in the car with Vang was listed in serious condition as of Saturday night, according to a report from the Star Tribune.

Vang’s car was hit by the fleeing suspect, driving a Chrysler 300M, at the Larpenteur Avenue exit off of Interstate 35E. Vang was taken to Regions Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Roseville police identified the suspect as Tito Fonzio Campbell, 33, of Roseville, according to a report from the Pioneer Press.

Campbell received only minor injuries, while an 8 year-old boy that was in the car with him was being treated with non-life threatening injuries Saturday at Regions Hospital. Police say it is unclear if the suspect has any relation to the boy.

The incident began Saturday night when Roseville police responded to a stolen vehicle report on the 600 block of West Highway 36. The suspect was assaulting the female car theft victim, according to a news release from the police.

The suspect fled eastbound on Highway 36 before police say they called of the chase.

The crash happened at Interstate 35E and Larpenteur Avenue around 7 p.m. Saturday.

According to the news release, police were flagged down by witnesses of the crash at the intersection of Interstate 35E and Maryland Avenue.

Campbell is being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

Driver Faces Charges in Death of 5 Children

The driver of a car that fell into a bayou in Houston Saturday, killing 5 children, may face charges, according to police.

Around 5 p.m., Chanton Jenkins, 32, lost control of a Lincoln Town Car, causing it to fall down an embankment into the Greens Bayou near George Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to a report from the New York Times.

Jenkins, another man and a 10 year-old girl were able to escape the car. Two young girls, Carrington Jenkins, 1, and Hallie Jenkins, 4, and three boys, Devin Jenkins, 4, Malik Barlow, 7, and Drenton Thompson, 11, did not escape.

Houston police have announced the recovery of all bodies, except Hallie Jenkins, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.

Chanton Jenkins, father of four of the children, reportedly showed signs of being drunk and failed a sobriety test at the scene of the crash, John Cannon, a spokesman for Houston police, told the New York Times.

The other man in the car, Chanton Jenkins’ brother, told police that Jenkins was reaching for a cell phone when he lost control of the car.

Cannon announced that police expect to file at lest four counts of intoxication manslaughter Sunday against Jenkins, according to the Houston Chronicle report.

Tracy Easley, mother of Carrington and Hallie, told the Houston Chronicle that she was the one who called Jenkins on the cell phone.

“It was a freak accident,” she told the Houston Chronicle, “We were talking on the phone and he was like ‘dang,’ and I assumed he dropped the phone.”

After the conversation, Easley said she went to the site of the accident and when she was stopped by police, she knew there had been an accident.

Iraq’s Parliament Selects New Speaker

The Iraqi parliament selected a new speaker Sunday after months of turmoil and failed majority votes prevented the appointment of a speaker.

The new speaker, Ayad Samarrai, a 63 year-old Sunni Arab, defeated his opponent, Mustafa al-Hiti, by a result of 153 votes to 36. The Iraqi parliament has 275 members, and 86 members did not vote or cast blank ballots, according to a report from the New York Times.

In a February vote, Samarrai received 136 votes, only two votes shy of the 138 that were required for victory.

Under the Iraqi system of government, the position of parliament speaker is reserved for a Sunni Arab, according to the New York Times.

Samarrai was considered the favorite for the position since it was left vacant in December by Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, who claimed he was forced to step down by rival political parties, including the Iraqi Islamic Party, of which Samarrai is a member.

Samarrai has also been a vocal opponent of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a member of the Dawa party. However, following his election, Samarrai express an interest in working with Maliki.

“Parliament should be complementary to the executive system, not hold it up,” Samarrai said to the New York Times.

A spokesman for Maliki did not have any comment on Samarrai’s election when contacted by the New York Times.

Samarrai had dual Iraqi-British citizenship, and lived in Britain during Sadaam Hussein’s rule, returning to Iraq after the United States evasion of 2003, according to a report from the Associated Press, appearing in the USA Today.

April 12, 2009

Most Lotteries See Declining Sales in Tough Economic Times

State lotteries are reporting declining sales as tough economic times have resulted in many people cutting back on gambling expenses.

David Gale of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries told the USA Today that the current economic conditions are the most likely reason that many state lotteries have seen a decrease in sales.

The USA Today reports that according to a 2008 Gallop Poll, half of Americans purchase lottery tickets, whether it is scratch-off tickets or numbers games. They spend nearly $60 billion resulting in an $18 million profit for local governments. The profit is generally used for education, transit and other services.

Some of the steeper declines include: California, down 5 percent; Florida, down 7 percent; Indiana, down 10 percent; Iowa, down 4 percent and Kansas, down 4 percent.

Kathryn Bensborn, executive director of the State Lottery Commission of Indiana, told the USA Today that lottery is viewed as entertainment, thus making the lottery expendable in a consumer’s viewpoint.

Alex Traverso, spokesman for the California Lottery, told the USA Today that gas prices have also been an issue. More people are using mass transit and not going to gas stations where lottery tickets are most commonly purchased.

Not all state lotteries are reporting declines. The Minnesota Lottery has reported a 6 percent increase in sales in the past year.

Fargo Faces Second Crest

After surviving a record crest in late March, residents in the Fargo-Moorhead area face another Red River crest as officials expect one of its tributaries to flood.

The Sheyenne River, a tributary of the Red River, is expected to flood, causing a second crest for the Red River that is forecasted to be 38 feet to 40 feet by next weekend.

“They’re watching the Sheyenne move a section at a time, knowing that it’s going to get to them,” Cass County Engineer Keith Berndt said to the Associated Press in a Star Tribune article.

The Red River first crested at a record, nearly 41 feet late last month. Residents worked to place sandbags atop the levees, and were largely successful in their efforts. The two cities were able to avoid major damage for the most part.

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney told the Associated Press that county officials have called in the Coast Guard to assist in preparations for possible evacuations in the area, whether using air boats or helicopters.

Officials evacuated North Dakota Veterans Home in the town of Lisbon, located near the Sheyenne River.

Administrator Mark Johnson told the Associated Press that it might be the first time in the veterans home’s 117-year history that they have had to evacuate due to a flood.

The home is protected by a dike and sandbags, but a bridge close to the home is at a low point along the Sheyenne River, possibly causing it to be blocked by the water.

Neighbors Upset with Proposed Diesel Fuel Plant

A proposed diesel fuel plant in Empire Township is being met with resistance from its Dakota County neighbors, Rosemount and Coates.

The plant is being proposed by Rational Energies, based in Eden Prairie, a company that develops alternative forms of fuel. The 200,000 square foot plant in Empire Township would burn garbage into diesel fuel.

However, officials from the neighboring towns of Rosemount and Coates are opposed to the location of the plant, according to a report by the Pioneer Press.

Coates Mayor Jack Gores told the Pioneer Press that his city is concerned that the location of the plant will negatively affect the value of land located nearby.

Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste sent officials from Empire Township a letter outlining his city’s concerns with the proposed plant.

Droste is concerned with the proximity of the plant to the University of Minnesota Outreach, Research and Education Park, a nearby planned community that could have up to 30,000 residents.

The UMore Park site is located just northwest of the proposed diesel plant and Rosemount officials believe that the volume of garbage trucked to the plant would cause problems for residents of the community.

Rational Energies CEO Ed Driscoll said that he understands the concerns of Rosemount and Coates, but does not believe that the proposed facility should be an issue for the communities.

“You’ve got Flint Hill up the street that produces 1,000 times more air emissions than what we would, a food processor that actually incinerates food in Rosemount. And you have a number of very large landfills in Rosemount,” Driscoll said to the Pioneer Press.

The facility has received approval from Empire Township and now must go through a permit process and environmental study with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Driscoll told the Pioneer Press that the permit process could take 12 to 18 months, and that the company hopes the plant will open sometime during the middle of 2012.

April 7, 2009

Italian earthquake kills hundreds

The death toll has risen to over 200 people Tuesday after an earthquake hit the Italian mountain range early Monday morning.
The earthquake hit the medieval town of L’Aquila, Italy before dawn Monday and the number of people killed has climbed to 207, according to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He also reported that 17 victims have not yet been identified.
According to a report from the New York Times, Berlusconi said that 15 people remain missing and that around 100 of the 1,000 people injured were still listed in critical condition. He said that the search for survivor will last for another 48 hours.
Many aftershocks have shaken the nation less than a day after the earthquake.
According to a report from the BBC, the earthquake that hit Monday morning was a 6.3 magnitude, which was preceded by a 4.6 magnitude tremor hours earlier that did not cause any damage.
The BBC reports that thousands of the 70,000 residents of the city poured into city streets after the 30-second shock.
A student dormitory was reported as one of the more damaged buildings.
“We managed to come down with other students but we had to sneak through a hole in the stairs as the whole floor came down,” student Luigi Alfonsi, 22, told the BBC.
Reports from Italy say that the earthquake was felt 60 miles away in Rome.

March 31, 2009

Minnesota and Wisconsin governors working together

The governors of Minnesota and Wisconsin have begun an initiative to combine efforts in certain areas, cutting $10 million in expenses for each state.
The collaboration of the two states began Jan. 13 and could result in the combination of one hunting and one fishing license for the two states.
According to the Pioneer Press, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle outlined five broad areas in the cost-saving plan:
• Joint procurement, the states are attempting to cut costs on small package deliveries.
• Cross-border collaboration, the states are looking into combining research projects and other wildlife initiatives.
• Information technology, the states would share technology to collect income tax and reduce fraud.
• Reciprocity, the states would allow over-sized trucks to get one permit for both states.
• Shared resources, the states hope to share law enforcement communication towers.
According to a report from the Star Tribune, the governors released a 130-page report outlining the areas where they could combine their efforts and cut costs.

March 29, 2009

Analysis: Obits

I am analyzing an obituary written by the New York Times for Irving R. Levine, a former reporter for NBC News.

The obituary takes the common form of obituary writing, with the same lead and all. It is a very affective way for this particular obit, because not everyone knows who he is. You learn who he is and what he did.

The obit also goes into detail on his timeline, or the story of his life, after covering the more important moments of his life.

The one place where the story differs is that there is not a list of surviving family members at the bottom of the story.

The story also does no interview anybody from his life; it basically uses knowledge that is public to write the obituary.

It could have been better to use more people from his life, but it is not certain if they are alive, since the story did not mention any surviving family members.

Man Kills 8, Injures 3 in North Carolina nursing home shooting

A gunman shot and killed eight people and injured three more in a shooting Sunday at a North Carolina nursing home.

Police said that Robert Stewart killed eight people Sunday morning at Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, N.C., including seven residents and one nurse. He is also accused of injuring three more people, including Justin Garner, the 25-year-old police office who first confronted him.

Police have indicated that no motive is initially known. They said that Stewart is not a resident or employee of the nursing home and it is not believed that he is related to any of the residents there, according to a report from Fox News.

Maureen Kruger, the country district attorney, said the victims were residents Tessie Garner, 88; Lillian Dunn, 89; Jessie Musser, 88; Bessie Hendrick, 78; John Goldston, 78; Margaret Johnson, 89; Louise Decker, 98; and nurse Jerry Avant Jr., 39.

Authorities believe that Avant was shot attempting to stop the gunman, his sister, Frances Green, told the New York Times.

“He just lay down his life to protect the residents and employees there,” Green told the New York Times, “Unfortunately he lost his life. But he was a hero.”

Authorities have scheduled a news conference for Monday morning, in which they will release any new information.

March 28, 2009

Dam Bursts in Indonesia, Many Killed

A large dam in Indonesia burst open following heavy rains Friday, flooding a highly urban area in minutes and killing at least 60 people, police said.

The dam broke around 2 a.m. in a largely urban neighborhood on the outskirts of the town of Jakarta, according to a report from the New York Times. Many were still asleep at the time, and woke to find their homes completely flooded with mud and water.

Rescue workers are now working through the mud and water to find any survivors. The death toll is currently 60, but police say it is rising. The Wall Street Journal reports that bodies from 47 of the victims have been identified.

The neighborhood, home to hundreds of residents, is a mostly middle-class university are of the city.

Residents described the event as almost like a tsunami, as a wall of water nearly 33-feet high rushed through their valley.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the area Friday to speak with rescue workers and residents. Yudhoyono said that the government will do everything possible to continue the rescue effort and find places to live for those who have been displaced.

The dam protected a low-lying area of the city from the waters of Situ Gintung, a 50-acre lake. The dam was constructed while Indonesia was still under Dutch colonial rule. Authorities said that they have been concerned something like this could happen.

Yudhoyono said a new, more modern dam will be built.

Upset juror released in Craigslist murder trial

A juror in the Craigslist murder trial was dismissed Friday, after a defense attorney inadvertently aimed a replica of the murder weapon at her.

Defense attorney Alan Margoles was questioning Minnesota Bureaue of Criminal Apprehension firearms expert Kurt Moline, when he pointed a gun similar to the one used in the murder in the general direction of the jury, according to the Star Tribune.

A female juror was upset by the action, that Judge Mary Theisen granted her request to be dismissed.

The defendant, Michael John Anderson, 20, is accused of luring Katherine Ann Olson to his Savage home and then shooting her after she responded to a fake baby-sitting job he posted on craigslist.org.

Anderson has admitted to holding the gun that killed Olson. Anderson’s attorneys maintain that he shot the gun shot accidentally and that he did not lure Olson to his house with the intention to kill her.

During a noon break for the jury, Theisen had a stern conversation with the attorneys about the actions earlier in the day, according to reports from the Pioneer Press.

“No one is ever going to have a replica firearm pointed at another person in this courtroom,” Theisen said, according to the Star Tribune. “If it does happen, I will chastise you infront of the jury.”

After her conversation with the jurors, Theisen spoke with the female juror, eventually leading to her granted dismissal.

March 8, 2009

Analysis: Event coverage

I am analyzing a story in the Star Tribune that is advancing local musicians that are playing music that has more to do with the Great Depression than being the Next Big Thing. The story uses sources that are the musicians that they are speaking about. They have gone to these musicians that they are writing about, and they interviewed them, and they got their perspective. They used the musicians to write the story.
The angle that they took had to do with how music is different in this economic climate. The article is talking about how these new age musicians are not like the pop acts that made it big in the late 1990s, but more like the acts of old like Bob Dylan and Brandy Snifters.