October 2012 Archives

Clinton Visits Minnesota in Obama Pitch

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In Minnesota, a state normally known for its wide Democratic streak, President Obama's lead in the polls has narrowed, leading surrogates for both Obama and challenger Romney to make last-minute campaign stops, the Minnesota Daily reported Wednesday.

Clinton greeted an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,800 people, many of them students, at McNamara Alumni Center Tuesday morning.

One week before the election, Clinton gave the president a ringing endorsement, likely in a move to solidify Obama's lead in the state.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan also made a stop in Minnesota, having dinner at O'Gara's in St. Paul, according to the Star Tribune.

Both campaigns accused the other of being on the defensive, but the latest polls reveal this to be a three-point race in Minnesota.


Sandy's Death Toll at 50

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At least 50 deaths related to Superstorm Sandy have been reported as of Tuesday night, and more than 8 million customers are without power, ABC News reported.

The storm hit land near Atlantic City, New Jersey Monday night and caused major damage in states like New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia.

President Obama issued disaster declarations for both New York and New Jersey, which means federal aid will be offered to the affected areas.

According to CNN, recovery efforts are already underway. Two of New York's major airports are set to reopen in limited capacity on Wednesday

Recovery efforts were starting to take hold Tuesday night. The number of electric customers shivering without power fell to just under 6.9 million, down from nearly 8 million reported earlier in the day across 15 states and the District of Columbia. Two of the New York area's major airports, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty, were slated to reopen Wednesday with limited service.

Nonetheless, thousands are displaced and waiting in shelters for news about whether their homes have survived.

Two Motorists Shot along I-35E

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Two motorists were shot on Interstate 35-E over the weekend in separate incidents, the Star Tribune reported.

On Saturday, a an was shot in the neck and chin about 2:30 a.m. in St. Paul, and a woman was shot in the shoulder about 2:25 a.m. Sunday in Eagan. Limited information is known about the suspects and neither shooter has been arrested.

In Saturday's case, the victim and his brothers attempted to get into a bar in Roseville but couldn't because the bar was full. Afterward, the men were driving south on the interstate between Maryland Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue when five shots were fired from a green Ford Explorer. The driver, 26, suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Sunday's shooting in Eagan resulted in injuries for a 26-year-old Rosemount woman and was an apparent case of road rage, the Pioneer Press reported.

A Volkswagen Jetta carrying the woman and seven others entered I-35E at the Cliff Road ramp and was immediately tailgated by a dark-colored SUV. The Jetta driver "gave the finger," according to police, after which the SUV pulled next to the Jetta on the passenger side and fired at least two shots.

The driver of the Volkswagen Jetta was arrested on charges of DUI. Many of the witnesses in the Jetta were intoxicated, which police say has hampered the investigation.

Police are asking for the public's help. Anyone with information is asked to call 651-675-5700.

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Hurricane Sandy is now expected to hit the United States Monday, with residents of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland already experiencing pelting rains, high winds, and evacuations, CNN reported Sunday.

Forecasters warn that Sandy will likely collide with a cold front from the West to create a "superstore" that could last for days. The National Hurricane Center is warning of a "life-threatening storm surge" in addition to sustained winds of over 70 mph.

As of 11 p.m. Sunday, Sandy hasn't begun veering toward the U.S., but the National Hurricane Center said it should happen in the next few hours.

The superstorm could endanger over 50 million people, with the New York area getting the worst of it.

"The time for preparing and talking is about over," FEMA's Craig Fugate said. "People need to be acting now."

New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore moved to shut down their subways, buses and trains and have said schools will be closed Monday, CBS News reported.

New York's Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey's Chris Christie are warning residents to evacuate immediately.

East Coast Readies for Hurricane Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy is expected to reach the East Coast by Tuesday, with the East Coast making its preparations for the storm, according to CBS News.

Hurricane Sandy has already caused at least 40 deaths in the Caribbean, as well as significant damages.

As of late Saturday morning, tropical storm winds had already reached the North Carolina coast.

Travel along the East Coast may be disrupted due to the storm, which is expected to cause massive flooding and widespread power outages along the East Coast, CNN reported.

Flights throughout the East have been cancelled, and even New York's round-the-clock metro system could see service temporarily suspended.

Beach towns have already begun evacuations and several governors have declared states of emergency.

Former Italian Prime Minister Sentenced for Tax Fraud

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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced Friday to four years in prison for tax evasion by a Milan court, CNN reported.

However, only house after the four-year sentence was revealed, Berlusconi's sentence was cut to one year in accordance with a 2006 amnesty law meant to reduce overcrowding in Italy's jail system, according to the Telegraph.

His trial involved executives from his Mediaset television group and the head of a Swiss bank, and concerned the purchase of TV rights for films that were then resold within the group at inflated prices. The scene allowed those involved to avoid a major tax bill.

Berlusconi is likely to appeal, calling the sentence "unacceptable" and even calling himself a victim of "judicial harassment."

The 76-year-old Berlusconi resigned as prime minister in November amid the country's massive debt crisis.

He also faces trial on charges that he hired an underage prostitute and tried to "pull strings to get her out of jail" when she was accused of theft.

Gunman Kills Wife in Cottage Grove

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A woman is dead Thursday and her shooter injured after a shooting in a Cottage Grove strip mall, according to KARE 11.

Cottage Grove police were called to the mall on the 7700 block of Harkness Avenue South around 3:30. Upon arrival, the body of a woman was found inside of a Jimmy John's restaurant.

The woman ran through the parking lot with the man, apparently her husband, firing at her from behind, the Star Tribune reported. Jimmy John's employees who witnessed the shooting said the woman ran into the store, where she was fatally shot by the gunman.

The gunman then shot himself. He was then transported to Regions Hospital, where he later died.

A spokesperson of the nearby Anytime Fitness told KARE 11 that surveillance video shows the man waiting outside the gym, chasing, and shooting at the woman before she ran into Jimmy John's.

Maple Grove Mother Hooked 12-Year-Old Daughter on Heroin

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A Maple Grove woman stands accused of giving her 12-year-old daughter heroin, leaving the child hospitalized for drug withdrawal last week, according to the Star Tribune.

Rebecca Rachelle Hill, 37, is charged with three felonies: child endangerment, second-degress drug sale and motor vehicle theft. Hill was originally arrested Oct. 14 for shoplifting at the Mall of America with her daughter along. She's also charged with a misdemeanor for given police a false name, according to Fox KMSP.

The girl told her father the next day that she regularly smoked both heroin and marijuana with her mother. The girl was placed in the hospital for withdrawal and has since been released. The girl's father was shocked to hear what had happened.

Police caught the two in Macy's and found drug paraphernalia and stolen clothes in the car Hill is accused of stealing from her aunt. Hill remains at the Hennepin County Jail.

Gaddafi Killed Following Capture in Sirte

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Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's longtime dictator, was killed Thursday as revolutionaries captured his hometown of Sirte, according to NBC.

Gadhafi, 69, spent 42 years as Libya's dictator before rebel fighters overthrew his regime several months ago. Gadhafi is the first leader to be killed in the Middle Eastern Arab Spring uprisings.

Broadcasters released graphic images of Gadhafi wounded but alive, with later video showing the leader's lifeless body, the Huffington Post reported.

It is believed that Gadhafi had been hiding out with heavily armed supporters in a few buildings held by regime loyalists in Sirte, battling the revolutionary fighters.

Gadhafi's death ends the regime, though the turmoil may not be over. Signs of infighting have already appeared, and the former rebels who now rule are disorganized.

President Obama told the Libyan people in a press conference: "You have won your revolution.

Analysis: Speech

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Bill Clinton spent time in Wisconsin this week, speaking to a large crowd at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Friday evening, according to an article in the FDL Reporter.

The article written about Clinton's speech follows some of the basic rules discussed in class. The reporter used strong words to describe Clinton's speaking, words like "making the case," "defended" and "blasted."

For the most part, the article follows the point-quote style. The reporter makes a statement before backing it up with a specific quote made by Clinton.

The article does a nice job structurally, though I would move the second paragraph, which describes where the speech was held and the crowd size, down at least one paragraph.

The article also gives relevant background information concerning the speech, including information about who else has been campaigning for President Obama in Wisconsin. In addition, the article provides information about the election and voting procedures.

Armstrong Loses Sponsors

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Doping charges are costing Lance Armstrong more than just his good reputation, with commercial sponsors dropping the athlete in response to the scandal.

The celebrated cancer survivor and cyclist lost his endorsement deals with Nike, Anheuser-Busch, RadioShack, Trek and others Wednesday in response to what the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency calls "overwhelming" evidence of Armstrong's doping, according to CNN.

The American Cancer Society, which has worked with Armstrong for years, will continue to collaborate with Livestrong, Armstrong's cancer charity. Nike and Anheuser-Busch will also continue to support Livestrong.

Armstrong said Wednesday that he has resigned as chairman of his foundation but will remain on the board of directors, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's investigation report, released last week, has all but ended Armstrong's career. Armstrong is now banned from competing in events sanctioned by U.S. Olympic governing bodies, and international cycling officials are considering stripping Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong continues to deny the doping charges.

New York Times Magazine Columnist Suspended

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Andrew Goldman, the New York Times Magazine's 'Talk' columnist, has been suspended for the next month after making controversial comments on Twitter, according to Politico.

Goldman got into a well-publicized Twitter feud last week with novelist Jennifer Weiner. Weiner criticized his "Talk" feature in which he asked the star of The Birds, Tippi Hedren, if she had ever been tempted to sleep with directors, according to The New York Observer.

Goldman was criticized by Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, among others.

"In light of his recent comments on Twitter, Andrew will not be contributing the Talk column to the Magazine for four weeks, beginning OCt. 28. He'll be back with the column after that," Hugo Lindgren, editor of the New York Times Magazine said.

St. Paul Man Gets Six Months for Attack on Coach

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A St. Paul man will spend six months in jail for attacking the coach of his son's youth hockey team last year in Inver Grove Heights, according to the Pioneer Press.

Thomas Angelo Tonda, 50, pled guilty to one felony count of making terroristic threats.

During a Dec. 6 practice of the Inver Grove Heights-South St. Paul PeeWee C team, Tonda confronted the assistant coach, choked him and threatened to kill him. Tonda confronted the coach after he disciplined Tonda's son for swinging his hockey stick incorrectly.

Tonda began screaming at the coach and attacked him, declaring: "I'm going to (expletive) kill you."

Tonda faced up to seven years in prison because he violated his five-year probation from a 2009 felony drug conviction.

The coach, Terry Johnson, was not hospitalized, but did miss more than a month of work because of neck pain, the Star Tribune reported.

Drunk Driver Hits 6 Pedestrians Near U of M Campus

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A driver was arrested Sunday afternoon for DWI after hitting six pedestrians in her car, police said.

The driver, identified as 32-year-old Kristine J. Peterson, hit six pedestrians while turning left only Oak Street from Washington Avenue near the U of M campus. Peterson told authorities she didn't see the victims crossing the street, according to CBS.

Police said six people were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. Five of the six victims have been released, with one man still hospitalized Monday. Everyone is expected to recover.

Police did not specify Peterson's blood-alcohol level reading, but did say that it was more than 0.08 percent, the legal limit for driving in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported.

Peterson has a court date Nov. 26.

Analysis: Multimedia Approaches

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The Amanda Todd suicide story has saddened people around the world recently and provided news outlets with an opportunity to engage their readers.

The Huffington Post and CNN both covered the stories, but in different ways.

The Huffington Post used a number of interactives in its story. First, there was a slideshow with pictures of Amanda Todd. Second, Huff Post included a slideshow that featured messages of condolence posted via Twitter and Facebook. This engages the reader and allows Huffington Post to tell the story with more than just their own words. The article also provided the original YouTube video posted by Todd.

CNN, on the other hand, simply wrote an article and provided a short video describing the situation. This works, but it forced CNN to tell the entire story. The article was quite long as a result, since the situation surrounding Todd's death is complicated.

In contrast, the Huffington Post article is much shorter, because the video and the interactive slideshows tell much of the story themselves.

Bullied Canadian Teen Commits Suicide

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A Vancouver-area teen who posted her heart-wrenching tale of bullying on YouTube last month was found dead Wednesday evening in Coquitlam, Canada, according to the Huffington Post. She is believed to have committed suicide.

Amanda Todd, 15, was subjected to intense bullying both on and off the web in the last several years. According to her video, in the 7th grade she would go on webcam with her friends to meet new people, and at one point, a stranger persuaded her to flash the camera.

A year later, a man messaged her on Facebook, threatening to send around the topless picture of her. Soon, her naked picture was made public.

After that, anxiety, depression, and panic disorder set in, as did the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Throughout the next several years, Todd faced severe bullying that led her to transfer schools twice. She began cutting, tried anti-depressants, and attempted suicide by drinking bleach.

At the time the video was posted, Todd was still dealing with cyberbullying, even though she had transferred schools yet again.

The premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, posted a YouTube video addressing the situation, according to CNN. "No one deserves to be bullied. No one earns it. No one asks for it. It is not a rite of passage. Bullying has to stop. Every child has to feel safe at school."

A Suffolk University pollster announced Tuesday that he has stopped polling Florida, Virginia and North Carolina because he has concluded that President Obama will lose in these critical swing states, Politico reported Wednesday.

"In places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, we've already painted those red. We're not polling any of those states again. We're focusing on the remaining states," the pollster, David Paleologos, told Fox News.

Recent polling since the first presidential debate has shown GOP presidential hopeful gaining ground on President Obama.

Paleologos's fellow pollsters are perplexed by the decision to call these states for Romney with nearly a month left until election day.

"All three of those states are still toss-ups," Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen told New York Magazine. "I don't agree with his assessment, and I don't know why he would have made it without even conducting any polling after the debates."

"I was just too polite," says Obama about debate

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President Obama discussed his debate performance in a radio interview with Tom Joyner Wednesday morning, describing himself as "too polite" during his face-off with presidential contender Mitt Romney, the Huffington Post reported Wednesday.

The president likened the race to a seven-game series in basketball, in which his team lost the third game after winning the first too. "The good news is, is that's just the first one...And, you know, I think it's fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one," Obama said.

Romney has made gains in the polls since the debate last Wednesday, with some polls now showing him in the lead, according to Politico.

The president said that supporters should not be alarmed and that the race was always going to be close.

"As long as people stay focused we will win this thing," the president said.

A former St. Paul priest who has been charged with criminal sexual misconduct is now facing 17 counts of possession of child pornography, the Star Tribune reported Tuesday.

Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer, 48, who served as the parish priest at The Church of the Blessed Sacrament until June, allegedly molested one boy and exposed himself to another in his camper trailer parked in the church lot.

In July, investigators searched the rectory of the church on a warrant and discovered a laptop with still images and video depicting "sex acts involving prepubescent males," according to CBS. The pornography charges Wehmeyer faces are each punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a statement saying it "deeply regrets the pain caused by clergy misconduct or by others within the Church, and is offering its support and assistance to all concerned."


Richfield Officers Put on Leave after Fatal Shooting

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Three Richfield police officers have been placed on paid leave while the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office investigates their involvement in the fatal shooting of a man, the Star Tribune reported Monday.

The investigation, which is standard procedure, centers around the shooting of 25-year-old Jeff O'Connor, who died Friday. Police officers went to a home on the 6600 block of Park Avenue South after receiving a call involving a man with a knife. O'Connor died on the scene, according to CBS.

Police say a man, later identified as Jeffrey Michael O'Connor, was shot and killed by police after the officers responded to a call involving a man with a knife inside a home on the 6600 block of Park Avenue South. O'Connor was pronounced dead at the scene.

O'Connor lived with his aunt, Kathy Brockmeier, who called him a "gentle young man" who had dealt with some "issues" lately.

The officers involved are Sgt. Mark Shelley, officer Tom Blair, and officer Brian Rogge. Each of the officers has been with the department for over 15 years.

Runners Take Off Amid Cold Weather

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Over ten thousand runners woke up early Sunday ready to run the 31st Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

According to CBS Minnesota, the race began at 8 a.m. at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. The marathon will take runners around the Chain of Lakes and will end at the St. Paul capitol.

Approximately 12,000 people are participating, and marathon organizers expect over 300,000 spectators.

It is likely that more than 40 percent of the finishers will be women, as more and more women are participating in marathons in recent years. Among marathoners in their 20s, women will outnumber women, the Pioneer Press reported.

This pattern has been seen throughout the country, with the results echoed by marathons in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and more.

The Pioneer Press said that this increased participation is "part of the evolution of the sport, from a competition reserved for serious runners to something the masses could enjoy."

Analysis: Spot and Follow

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The recent story of teen runaway Kara Alongi and the Twitter hoax she created unfolded over a series of several days, which makes it an excellent example of spot and follow.

When the Star-Ledger broke the story late Sunday night, few details were available. The lead told readers that police were searching for Alongi and gave some information about the Twitter explosion that her disappearance had sparked, but there was no information available about who might have entered her house or where she could be.

An update to the original story came later Sunday night, posted below the original text. The update let readers know that police suspected no foul play, a critical piece of information.

Because of the Twitter explosion that occurred, national news outlets soon picked up the story. CBS News posted a story similar to the original Monday morning, with more information about the Twitter aspect of the case.

Several hours later, the story changed. CBS posted a new story, stating that Alongi's tweet was a hoax, and that a taxi was called to her house at approximately the same time as Alongi tweeted her message. This new information drastically changed the lead of CBS's story. Instead of focusing on the fact that Alongi had suspiciously disappeared, the focus of the story is now that she is a runaway who created a hoax.

CBS posted another update Wednesday informing the public that Alongi had returned home. The focus of the lead was that she had returned safely and gave an overview of the case-Alongi's tweet, the Twitter fury that ensued, the hoax, and her return.

Families Testify in Minnesota Terror Trial

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Families of al-Shabab fighters are now testifying in the trial of a man accused of helping men from Minneapolis return to Somalia in order to fight with that terrorist organizations, the Minnesota Daily reported Thursday.

Prosecutors have begun using family stories to establish a solid case against Mahamud Said Omar, who is accused of organizing and helping fund the men's trip back to Somolia to fight. Omar faces five terror-related counts, including conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, according to CBS. He is pleading not guilty.

Since 2007, more than 20 Minnesota men left Minnesota for Somalia to fight with al-Shabab, a terror group linked to al-Qaida, according to prosecutors.

The court heard testimony from the family members of three of these young men. The mother of one of these men tearfully testified, turning away as prosecutors showed a picture of her son with a bullet in his head.

Omar, 46, argues that he isn't capable of organizing or funding the men's involvement.

Missing New Jersey Teen Returns Home

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A missing New Jersey teenager has been found and returned to her family Wednesday, CBS News reported.

Kara Alongi, a 16-year-old from Clark, N.J., was found walking along the New Jersey Turnpike in Carneys Point Tuesday, Clark Police Chief Alan Scherb said.

Alongi sent out a tweet Sunday evening that read, "There is someone in my hour ecall 911," leading to a wave of concern from her friends and community. Her tweet was retweeted over 32,000 times with the hashtag "#helpfindkara," but police soon determined the tweet was a hoax.

Alongi was, in fact, a runaway, according to The Star-Ledger.

Scherb said that, if not for Twitter, the Clark Police Department would have handled the Alongi case like any other missing juvenile case. Police said that the department received 6,000 calls in approximately 12 hours.

YouTube Video Shows Missing American Journalist

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A video clip posted on YouTube appears to show an American freelance journalist who has been missing for weeks, CNN reported Tuesday.

Austin Tice, a 31-year-old former Marine and journalist who had been reporting on the Syrian civil war for The Washington Post and McClatchy Newspapers, appears in the video, blindfolded and in distress. Both news organizations identified Tice in the video, as did Tice's family.

It is unclear where and when the video was shot. Men armed with machine guns are shown in the video talking loudly as they lead the man believed to be Tice up a hill. The captive man then tries to say a prayer in Arabic before saying, "Oh Jesus, oh Jesus," in English.

The U.S. State Department confirmed that U.S. officials have seen the video, but said they are unable to verify whether the video actually depicts Tice.

THe video does not have the customary appearance of jihadist videos, leading some to raise concerns that the video was staged, according to the Associated Press. Previous reports have indicated that Tice may be in government custody.

Syrian Authorities Displace Thousands

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Thousands have been displaced and their homes demolished in the Syrian city of Hama, according to UPI.

Syrian security forces have been going door to door asking people to leave their homes in the Mesha Alarbaeen neighborhood of Hama.

The neighborhood is considered the "main gathering place" for opponents of President Assad's government, a resident told CNN. Hama is a stronghold of anti-government activists.

One resident said she's been living on the street with her children for several days since her husband was detained and her home destroyed. Others have gone to neighboring areas in the province.

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