December 9, 2007

"Hardy Minnesotans by the thousands braved the cold to audition for NBC's "Deal or No Deal." The goal was to get noticed, somehow."

Original entry found in the Star Tribune.

On Saturday morning, thousands of Minnesotans waited out in the cold for hours in order audition for the NBC show "Deal or No Deal".

The show is making two stops to try and find contestants. Here in the Twin Cities and in Philadelphia. The producer is looking for people who are fun and energetic. He also wants people who are easy to root for and who he feels deserve to win the money.

The actual auditions took place at Denny Hecter's Toyota dealership in Inver Grove Heights.

The scene must have looked pretty funny as people were trying to stay warm however they could. They were also trying to impress the judges in their costumes. Some people wore normal coats while others were in hunting clothes, santa clause outfits and one woman was even wearing a bear costume.

"Six-mile stretch of Hwy. 212 opens in Eden Prairie"

Original article found in the Star Tribune.

A new section of highway opened on Friday. Highway 212 now runs non-stop between the Eden Prairie mall area to Chaska and highway 41. It will even extend to 494.

This new road opening up will relieve a lot of traffic in that area. The stretch of road is six miles long and four lanes wide. The highway has new interchanges which opened up as well. These are at Powers Boulevard, highway 101, and highway 41. Yet, this is only the beginning.

Highway 212 is being improved all over the southwest portion of the suburbs of Minneapolis. This new section of road is being named highway 312, but in the future, the entire highway will be rerouted. However, this will not be done until fall of 2008.

"Broadway strike ends, but Hollywood's drags on"

Original article appeared in the Star Tribune.

For several weeks, the Broadway stage hands were on strike in New York City. This ended up shutting down the Broadway shows for a while, but now a new contract has been made with the stagehands and the shows will resume once again.

The strike officially ended on November 28. But before it ended, Broadway lost a lot of business during one of it's most successful times of the year. The main shows that were shut down were "Wicked", "The Lion King", "Rent" and "Jersey Boys".

The ratification of the stagehands contract was ratified at an overwhelming rate.

Unfortunately, the strike by the writers in Hollywood is still underway. It has lasted for six weeks now and does not seem to be coming to an end. Negotiations are not going well.

Right now the strike has caused many prime-time and late night TV shows to switch completely to reruns. Also, a lot of the writers have been having to live off of savings.

"British authorities arrest wife of man accused of faking death in insurance scam"

Original Article appeared in the Star Tribune.

In London, there is a couple named John and Anne Darwin. Several years ago, they were in serious debt due to an apartment rental business that was failing. In order to try and fix the problem, John Darwin faked his own death by staging a canoeing accident. The plan worked, at first, and Anne Darwin was given 50,000 dollars in life insurance money.

However, this year, John Darwin got tired of hiding. For a couple of years he had been hiding in his wife's home in a small room behind a closet. For a while they even moved to Panama in order to continue hiding the truth.

But, last week, John Darwin got tired of all the hiding and went back to England. He walked into a police station and tried to fake having had amnesia for the last five years. The police did not believe him and now he is facing insurance fraud as well as lying to get a passport.

Since he was caught by the police, they also went after his wife. So, on Sunday, she was arrested at an airport in Georgia. She is accused of helping her husband with life insurance fraud.

December 2, 2007

"Minneapolis, St. Paul declare snow emergency"

Original article appeared in the Star Tribune.

The snow storm on Saturday dumped up to eight inches of snow across central Minnesota. Now, in an effort to make the roads drivable again, a snow emergency has been called both in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Sunday night at 9 p.m., is when all of the parking restrictions will begin for both Minneapolis and St. Paul. St. Paul plans on plowing all night long to make things easier in the morning. For the most part, no signs have been posted, especially for the parts of the city that will be plowed starting at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

People who would normally park on Minneapolis and St. Paul streets need to take note of when the plow will be coming through. For if they fail to move their cars, the cars will be ticketed and towed so that the plows can get through unobstructed. No one is allowed to re-park their car until the plows have plowed all the way to the curb.

The main part of the snow storm is over, with not too much activity for Sunday. Monday has a 30 percent chance of snow and Tuesday will bring on another low-pressure system with the chance of snow and sleet.

"2 men are shot dead at South Side apartments"

Original article appeared in the Star Tribune.

In south Minneapolis, off of Pleasant Ave. two men were found killed. It seems that an argument took place in the early morning hours on Saturday and one person shot two others. The first victim was found on the hallway of the apartment video. A second had run out into an alley way, and it was there that he finally died from his gunshot wounds.

The shooting did not appear random and so no one else in the apartment should be in fear. It is unclear at this point whether or not any weapons have been found or if there are any suspects. However, no one has been taken into custody based on these murders.

"Evel Knievel dies at 69"

Original article found in the Star Tribune.

The spectacular daredevil Evel Knievel died on Friday, Nov. 30 of natural causes. He had health problems for some time before Friday, but on Friday he was having trouble breathing and died before he made it to the hospital.

Over the years Knievel has been known to attempt some the of the craziest stunts ever-all on his motorcycle. He could have died several times. He failed in completing several jumps including when he tried to jump over the fountain outside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and when he jumped over Idaho's Snake River Canyon.

During his career, he broke 40 bones, put himself into a coma, and ended up with an infinite amount of bruises. He was an incredible showman and always wore red, white and blue. He finally retired in 1980.

Knievel lived in Butte, Montana.

"Cruise ship spill in the Antarctic not yet contained"

Original article appeared in the Star Tribune.

Last week, an antarctic cruise ship named the "Explorer", hit an iceberg off the the tip of Chile. This caused the cruise ship to sink and thousands of gallons of fuel to be dumped into the ocean.

All of the people on board were saved by a nearby ship, but 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 6,300 gallons of lubricant and 260 gallons of gasoline were lost in the ocean.

The general area of the spill was near Santiago, Chile. For the most part the small spill is only contained by icebergs, but officials from Chile are working to get started on creating a more permanent barrier against the spill.

Thankfully, the 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel which were dumped into the sea will not cause too much damage to the surrounding marine life. This is because diesel fuel is the least harmful of the hydrocarbons, so it will not cause too much damage.

November 25, 2007

"Park Board guessed wrong, so trees get whacked"

Original article found in the Star Tribune.

Trees all over the metro area are being pruned thanks to a park board which thought that they wouldn't be a problem when they grew. Several years ago, trees were planted all over the Minneapolis area in order to replace elm trees that had died of Dutch elm's disease. Many of those trees were planted very near or right under power lines. It was thought that in a few years all of the power lines would have been moved under ground. However, that is not the case.

Now Xcel energy has to begin pruning all of these trees in order to prevent damage to power lines and ultimetely, blackouts to citizens. So, Xcel is sending out people to prune the trees year round. Many of these trees are in such a bad position that they have to be cut drastically in order to prevent damage. However, this is not pleasing to those people who have to look at the trees.

Many are complaining that the trees are left looking terrible. Some pine trees are even having the top cut right off of them. But Xcel says in response to complaints that the trees have to be cut so much in order to prevent future damage.

The plan is to have 1.6 million trees pruned within 5 years.

November 21, 2007

"Latest plan for downtown Wayzata is gaining"

Original article found in the Star Tribune.

Downtown Wayzata is currently discussing changes around the Wayzata Bay Area. The people of this small town want some reform as far as the shops and retail area there.

So, on Monday night, more than 350 residents of Wayzata gathered in a church basement to discuss changes. For the most part, the residents want to see changes take place.

Presbyterian Homes and Services are the ones that wish to transform Wayzata's downtown. The plan is to take Wayzata Bay area and five more blocks and build it up full of bigger retail buildings. Most of downtown Wayzata is only full of one story buildings. Also, the building company is planning on putting in a plaza and reducing paved area.

"New limits on snowmobiling in Yellowstone"

Original article found in the Star Tribune.

For the last several years, conservationists have been concerned about snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park. They say that the snowmobiles cause air pollution and unwanted noise.

So, in the winter of 2008-2009, only 540 personal snowmobiles will be allowed in the park per day.

However, this year, the number of snowmobiles will stay the same as in the past. 720 snowmobiles will still be allowed every day.

Local business owners are not happy about this. They say that the snowmobilers bring good business to their stores.

This whole issue is being spurred on by the National Park Service. The National Park Service hopes to eventually get rid of all snowmobilers in the park. But congressmen who live in the states surrounding Wyoming do not seem to be in favor of the decision.

"France: Civil servants on strike, too"

Original article found in the Star Tribune.

There has been a strike in France for the last week among many civil workers. Those involved in the strike include transportation workers, teachers, air traffic controllers and others. However, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy is determined to keep further strikes from happening all over France, so he is refusing to give into their demands.

The original plan was that the strike would only last a day. But now workers are determined to win the strike and cause the President to give in to their demands.

The President is currently working on new reforms in social, economic and political areas. If he were to give in to the strikers, it were significantly damage all that he has done in those other areas and it would be detrimental to his political decree.

November 18, 2007

"Edina residents see red over murky water"

Original article located in the Star Tribune.

The city of Edina has been having some problems with not very clear water for some time now. It started out with a yellow tint. Then the water started to leave rust spots on laundry and smelling bad. Finally, in Lynn avenue area, the water coming out the pipes is reddish brown with bits of things floating in it.

The problem with the water pipes has most likely come out of this really hot summer combined with old metal pipes. The hot summer caused the metal pipes to rust and corrode more than they usually would.

1.4 million dollars has been set aside by the city in order to fix the problem. Unfortunetely, they will not be working on the pipes until at least next spring. Then, it will take them 3 years to finish.

The plan is start by getting rid of the rust from inside the pipes and them lining them with something new such as cement or plastic. This will hopefully keep the pipes clean in the future.

For now, the water contains a lot of iron but is still considered safe to drink. Plus, Edina neighborhoods are working on flushing out some of the rust and improving the water. When it gets even colder the problem should temporarily go away.

"Flooded Katrina cars showing up worldwide"

Original article located in the Star Tribune.

A couple years after the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe in New Orleans, it is being discovered that many cars that were flooded and seemingly destroyed, have been sold to foreign countries.

These cars often have mold lines which show how deep they sat in water. But some people, in countries like Bolivia, jumped at the chance to get a car for cheap.

Over 10,000 cars damaged by Katrina are suspected to now be located in Bolivia. Bolivia has pretty relaxed import rules, so it was an easy place for these cars to go.

They were mostly bought over the internet through sites that were originally supposed to turn the cars into scrap metal. One car, a mini cooper, owned by Colleen Mcgaw, was sold to a very large United States salvage company. But somehow, it was sold to a person in Bolivia for $7000.

Thankfully, Mcgaw had received a check from her insurance for $18,500 for the car. The check came because of the immense water damage that the car had received.

"Explosion kills dozens of coal miners in Ukraine"

Original article appeared in the Star Tribune.

A methane blast erupted in a coal mine in Ukraine at about 3 a.m. Sunday morning. More than 360 were able to get out of the mine, but over 63 were killed.

This is one of the worst mining disasters in years. The Ukrainian President has even declared three days of mourning for Ukraine in honor of those who died.

The coal mine itself is known as the Zasyadko mine. It is very deep. The actual blast area was located at 3,300 feet deep.

The dust was so bad that many could not even where they were going as they tried to escape. Some even had to walk over dead bodies as they tried to save themselves.