November 26, 2007

Bar center of controversy

Diamonds Sports Bar and Grill in Ramsey has caused quite a controversy by wanting to host motocross and demolition derbies.

Many members of the local community are against the idea, claiming it would cause a great deal of noise and disorder to their community and also feel the events could damage the surrounding wildlife and the Mississippi River.

Diamonds owner Gary Gruber said his business needs the events in order for him to keep his business profitable.

The Ramsey Planning Committee voted on Nov. 1 and denied a permit for Diamonds to host such events and the City Council will vote on Tuesday to decided if they want to run several environmental assessments of the damages the events could potentially cause.

Related:

Bar's plan raises ruckus in 'quiet' Ramsey

Neighbors oppose plan for loud outdoor entertainment at Ramsey bar

Gopher football close to landing top recruit

Eden Prairie's Willie Mobley is one of the top rated defensive tackles in the nation and has been offered scholarships from many big time football programs.

However, only one day after Eden Prairie won the Class 5A state championship Mobley announced that out of all the schools interested in him he is only interested in two, Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota.

Mobley has made official visits to both universities and has said he does not know when he will make his official decision. He has also stated he is very confident in the direction of Gopher football. He loves the idea of playing close to home and looks forward to the teams new stadium.

Mobley has also said he feels extremely comfortable with Ohio State and that it is a first class football program.

Hopefully the Gophers don't let another home grown recruit leave the state for a bigger program.

Related:

Scout.com: Willie Mobley Profile

Mobley narrows choices to U, Ohio State

Wildfire continues destruction in California

The Santa Ana winds push flames into Malibu, 14,000 residents forced to evacuate.

The long predicted fire sparked in the middle of the night and the harsh winds spread it quickly. 1,700 firefighters were used to combat the fire and six received minor injuries. Several special firefighting vehicles were also used against the flames. Fifteen helicopters and 15 planes were used. Helicopters used hoses and swimming pools and the Pacific Ocean to refill their water tanks and certain planes called the SuperScoopers did the same by flying low and dipping into the ocean.

Forty-nine homes were destroyed and another 27 were damaged in the fire. By Saturday close to half the evacuees were able to return to their homes and the fire had been close to half contained.

Related:

California wildfire sweeps down on Malibu, destroying 30 homes

California wildfire destroys 20 homes, keeps moving

November 25, 2007

Howard put out of office

Australian Prime Minister John Howard was defeated Saturday in the countries latest election. His loss came at the hands of the Labor parties Kevin Rudd.

Howard is a conservative and was one of the Bush administrations largest allies and his views on Iraq and his refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol global warming agreement. Australia and the United States are the only two industrialized nations who have yet to agree to it.

Rudd has vowed to sign the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible and to pull Australia's 550 combat troops from Iraq.

Several other countries have recently elected new leaders who are against the war in Iraq. Donald Tusk, Poland's new prime minister, has promised to change relation with the United States and said he would pull out all 900 of Poland's troops from Iraq.

Related:

Rudd wins, Howard out

Australian voters oust Bush ally

November 19, 2007

U.S. called on to be more responsible

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the United States and China to take a more conservative role during his U.N. report on climate changes in Valencia.

The U.S. and China are the worlds two largest greenhouse gas producing countries and this request will not come easily. However, members of the panel claim efforts must be made immediately to start cutting greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid a global disaster.

If the average temperature were to rise just 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 to 30 percent of all plant and animal species would be at risk of extinction. Increase the number to 6.3 degrees and 40 to 70 percent could be wiped out.

With the U.S. and China both major players in global politics they are looked to to set a good example for smaller, less powerful countries. For the good of the world both of these countries are being told exercise more caution with their greenhouse gas emissions. I hope they listen.

Related:

U.N. Environmental Panel Releases Images Of A Bleak World By 2012

U.N.: 2012 is deadline for action

NBC cleans SNL house

The Writer Guild of America saw its first casualties of their two-week strike as a majority of the "Saturday Night Live" staff was fired.

Reports say "SNL" laid off nearly its entire production staff until further notice. Rumors are also circulating that NBC is going to make more firings on the sets of the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "Last Call With Carson Daly." NBC representatives refused to comment of the situation.

In related news the cast of NBC's "30 Rock" and "SNL" are showing their support for the writers by putting on two live performances in Manhattan.

Related:

SNL staff let go by NBC, reports say

Report: Writers Strike Prompts NBC to Fire Entire 'SNL' Staff

Local girl dies as binge drinking issues surface

Amanda Jax died of alcohol poisoning after turning 21 last month. Due to large problem with binge drinking, Attorney Ross Arneson is considering filing charges against some of the bars Jax visited the night of her death.

Being a college town, Mankato police are used to dealing with underage and heavy drinking issues frequently. Officer Jerry Huettl claims they see people with blood alcohol levels of 0.40 on a weekly basis.

In order to combat these issues Mankato recently passed a social-house ordinance, which holds residents responsible for all underage drinking done under their roof. The ordinance had been in the process of being passed a month before Jax's death.

Mankato police arrested 143 18-20 year-olds for underage drinking in September alone. Hopefully the new ordinance and the memory of Jax's recent passing will help to drastically cut these numbers.

Related:

Binge drinking is significant problem in Mankato, police say

In Mankato, binge drinkers 'dodge a bullet' many times

Gophers end season to forget

Despite a strong effort the Minnesota Gophers football team lost their final game of the season Saturday to the Wisconsin Badgers. The Gophers played uncharacteristically well, but missed opportunities led to a 41-34 defeat.

The Gophers finished the season 1-11 overall and set a school record for losses in a single season. They were also winless (0-8) in Big Ten play for the first time since 1983.

The Gophers made a final stop to get the ball back for what could have been a game tying drive with 1:25 left in the game. However, a tipped Adam Weber pass was intercepted by Ben Strickland, the same player who blocked the infamous punt two years ago.

To say it was a rough first season for head coach Tim Brewster would be an understatement. The Gophers will lose some key players this offseason but Brewster hopes to recruit players better suited to his spread offense. Only time will tell if this will spell success for the Gophers.

Related:

Lost axe is the final blow for Gophers

Upon Further Review: Badgers 41, Gophers 34

November 12, 2007

Tubby wins first game

New coach Tubby Smith got his first win as a Gopher in the teams season opener on Saturday as the team beat Army 84-52. Smith, formerly from Kentucky where he helped establish the Wildcats as a basketball powerhouse, brought a buzz back to Gopher basketball after a 9-22 season last year.

The Gophers defense highlighter their victory as they caused 25 turnovers and held Army to 35.2 percent shooting while the Gophers shot 43.5 percent.

Senior Dan Coleman led all scorers with 16 points and Damien Johnson added 12 points. Army's leading scorer from last year, Jarell Brown, was held to just five points on the night.

With a new coach, inspired team and invigorated fan base, the Gophers hope to carry this momentum over to their next game.

Related:

Gophers go right to work under new coach

I feel this article was a good use of numbers. It demonstrated how to successfully use percents, and also dealt with a variety of other number ranging from stats, scores and time.

Tubby opens Minnesota tenure with win

Are tests invasion of privacy?

The Minnesota newborn screening program is in danger of being shut down. The program takes five drops of blood from newborns about a day after they are born and screens them for more than 50 rare conditions. However, the program is being labeled an invasion of privacy and may be changed drastically.

People against the program argue that parents should be required to give consent before the tests are done and if they may keep the blood for future research.

People for the program cite the obvious. If a child has one of the rare conditions screened for it can be treated very early on, drastically improving that child's quality of life in the present and the future.

The debate on privacy versus genetics rages on and may continue to do so for the unforeseeable future.

Related:

Critic of screening program says real issue is 'control of your life'

Five drops of blood: Invasion of privacy?

Guns sold to public

Businessman Kassim al-Saffar was instructed by U.S. officials to distribute weapons to Iraqi police in training at the Baghdad Police Academy. However, al-Saffar not only gave the police in training but also to the general public, selling them to anyone with enough money.

Stories like this shed some light as to the ways the U.S. military misplaced around 190,000 weapons that were supposed to be supplied to Iraq in 2004-05. Luckily none of these missing weapons have been linked to any American deaths.

Al-Saffar claims he did nothing wrong, however, sources have said his business was no secret around the armory. The Pentagon has yet to comment on the situation.

Related:

Broken supply channel sent arms for Iraq astray

Iraqi ran his own private arms bazaar

Stagehands strike

The entertainment industry suffered another blow as Broadway Stagehands went on strike Saturday in New York. The strike caused 27 shows, including such hits as "Wicked," to be shut down. Only eight shows were left running because they have a separate contract with the union.

The strike has left many fans disappointed and angry, and costing New York coveted revenue. While the strike is to young for financial estimates to be made, comparisons are being drawn to the 2003 musicians strike which lost the city millions of dollars.

The strike is over new work rules involving the cost of putting on a production that have been established by producers in the past three months of negotiations. Local One stagehands and the League of American Theaters and Producers have yet to schedule further negotiations, so an early end to this strike does not look probable.

Related:

Broadway dark as strike hits

Stagehand strike closes curtains

November 5, 2007

Rice not convincing enough for Turks

According to Turkish officials, Secretary of State of State Condoleezza Rice failed to convince them not to send troops to attack Kurdish rebels in Irag. Rice had spent two days attempting to prevent this.

A Turkish attack on Iraq would be a major blow to the U.S. since we are responsible for Iraq's security. This is a major concern because the region targeted for attack is one of the few regions in Iraq that is relatively peaceful and enjoying an economic boom.

The only person who can now persuade the Turks to not pursue military action is President Bush, who has a meeting today in Washington with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Related:

Rice To Turks: Kurdish Rebels Are 'Common Threat'

Rice failed to change our minds, Turks say

Writes put down their pens

The Writers Guild of America went on strike this morning after a final attempt at reaching an agreement with the Producers yielded no results.

The guild is demanding an increase in pay ranging from .5 to 2.5% in their share of profits from DVDs and other media that has developed since the internet has become so widespread. The producers are arguing that that the new revenue brought about from the rise in popularity of online videos and internet capable cellphones must be used to cover the rising cost of that media.

During the strike the production of television shows (minus reality and new programs) and new movies may eventually stop. In fact several shows, such as "The Daily Show," "The Colbert Report," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," will all being to air reruns effective today.

Related:

Writers seek bigger cut from new media

Hollywood writers strike as talks fail

Asian carp invading Minnesota waters

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working hard to stop the invasion of Asian carp into Minnesota waters.

Asian carp have two species that pose a large threat. The bighead carp can reach 100 lbs and eats so much it leaves nothing for Minnesota's native species of fish. The silver carp is not as voracious as the bighead carp, but pose a danger because they leap out of the water when boats pass.

Bighead carp have been caught in the St. Croix River in 1994 and Lake Pepin in 2004 and just last months.

The DNR is trying to determine the best way to stop this invasion. One idea is revolves around building barriers of light, sound, bubbles or electricity on waterways to keep the invasive fish moving upsteam into Minnesota waters. However, this project isn't guaranteed to work and would be extremely expensive.

Related:

Bighead and silver carp

Carp bring harm on a large scale