November 2009 Archives

Mother And Daughter Convicted In Daycare Death

Wcco News reported that a mother and her daughter were convicted on charges of manslaughter Wednesday after a child died at their in-home day care in Bloomington, Minn., in August 2008.


The child, 22-month-old Demar Hicks, started choking when the seat belt straps of his car seat wrapped around his neck after he was placed in a playpen.  Demar was treated at Children's Hospital but died two days later.


The Dakota County attorney's office revealed in a statement to The Star Tribune that the child died from "being deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time." 


Police were uncertain in the month following the toddler's death if any charges would be filed against the day-care providers.  The case was turned over to the Hennepin County Attorney that prosecuted Doris D. Meeks, 48, and Harmony S. Newman, 21. 


Demar's parents are still struggling with the loss of their child.


"He was my baby," said Alexia Coleman, Demar's mom.  "He was my life."


Meeks and Newman were found guilty of second-degree manslaughter and child neglect and endangerment. 


You simply can't leave a child of that young of an age unattended in this manner," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.


Court reports showed that Meeks violated her daycare license that required both providers to be present to look after the 14 children. Meeks had left Mama D's Day Care when Hicks died. 



Both Meeks and Newman have been taken into custody and will be sentenced Dec. 21 at 1:30 p.m. 

US Consumer Spending Exceeds Expectations

The U.S. Department of Commerce released a statement Wednesday that showed  consumer spending increased by .7% in October with comparison to the previous month.

The rise in spending raises hope that recovery is in progress for the economy despite the country's high unemployment. 

President of ClearView Economics Ken Mayland told BBC news that the increase in consumer spending is promising.

"Don't count consumers out, they are making a contribution to the recovery," he said.

BBC News reported consumer expenses make up more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy.  The Commerce Department data showed that consumers made greater expenses on both durable and nondurable goods in October.

Consumers spent more money on cars, household appliances, clothes, and food despite the highest rate of unemployment in October since April 1983. 

Tim Ghriskey, cofounder of Solaris Asset Management, said the increased spending is necessary for an economic upturn.

"Certainly everybody is looking for the consumer to begin to step up here a little bit in the economy," he said.  "This is very positive data."

Kidnapped Journalists Freed In Somalia

The New York Times reported that two foreign journalists were freed in Somalia Wednesday after a ransom was paid for the pair's release.


Australian Nigel Brennan and Canadian Amandia Lindhout were kidnapped in August of 2008 when they were working as freelance journalists for Western media organizations in Somalia.


Ms. Lindhout told Canada's CTV that she was tortured and kept in various houses during the 15 months of captivity. 


"It was extremely oppressive," she said.  "I was kept by myself at all times. I had no one to speak to." 

Mr. Brennan worried the pair would be sold to other militants after they were separated.

""Being pistol-whipped is sort of torture, being completely stripped of everything and then locked in a room, no-one to speak to, is a form of torture really," he said. 

Somali MP gave little details of the ransom amount but said the hostages were rescued by militiamen.

BBC News reported that Brennan and Lindhout are believed to be staying at a hotel in the capital, Magadishu.  The pair will fly to Kenya Thursday. 

Journalists have been frequently seized in Somalia since 1991, the last time the country had a stable government. British journalist Colin Freeman was released in January after being held captive in Somalia for nearly six weeks.

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