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March 29, 2009

Week of 3/23 - Obituaries


I chose to look at the obituary of Steven Bach, who died at 70 from cancer and was known as a producer, biographer and memoirist. The sources used in the obituary of Steven Bach include his agent, Robert Lescher, Roger Ebert, an un-named United Artists executive and David Thompson.

It has the standard obituary lead, in that it lists his name in the first paragraph, folled by what he was known for, and then listing where and at what age he died. The second paragraph lists his accomplishments, and the following paragraphs list quotes and a short biography of his life. The lead works, in that it is the standard obituary lead which is very formulaic. The obit features quotes, even negative ones, like the quote from Roger Ebert.

Timberwolves beat Nets, end losing streak

Led by Mike Miller's 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the New Jersey Nets Sunday, 108-99, the Star Tribune has reported. The loss places New Jersey at the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference, 5 1/2 games out of the 8th and final playoff spot.

Other high scorers in the game were Ryan Gomes, who scored 21, and Kevin Love, who scored 16 points along with 11 boards. Rodney Carney scored 19 points coming off the bench. The two top scorers on the Nets were Vince Carter, who scored 36, and Devin Harris, who had 19.

Minnesota was without their top two players. Al Jefferson has been out since February and Randy Foy was out of the game due to a hip injury. The absence of these players required another player step up and score points in order for the Wolves to pull off the win.

"I think sometimes when your offense is clicking, your defense will be a little bit better and tonight we shared the ball and moved the ball and everyone was excited," Wolves guard Ryan Gomes said.

Two people from Eau Claire die after Colorado car chase

The Star Tribune has reported that a man and woman from Wisconsin were killed Saturday after allegedly trying to flee from troopers, the Colorado state patrol said.

Jonathan P. Holum, 29, and Cora Weil, 23, both of Eau Claire, were identified as the victims by the state patrol.

The pickup truck that both Holumn and Weil were in was weaving on Colorado 82 in Garfield County after midnight, authorities said. Holum was thought to be driving under the influence according to a trooper.

Holum drove away when the officer took their information to his patrol car, the Denver Post reported.

During the chase, the truck drove off in an attempt to force a trooper's car off the road, troopers said. The truck then rolled after losing control, ejecting Holum and Weil. The car rolled twice into the median, the Denver Post said. Neither of them had their seatbelts on.

St. Paul Chiropractor sentenced to 90 days in workhouse for sexually touching co-worker

A St. Paul chiropractor received a sentence of 90 days in the Ramsey County workhouse after sexually touching a co-worker during a massage, the Star Tribune reported.

The chiropractor, Christopher Thaemert, 43, of Hugo, Minn., could have received up to a year in prison. The co-worker said Thaemert ran his hand over her private parts and kissed her leg.

Thaemert's defense attorney, Earl Gray, said Thaemert denied touching the woman inappropriately, and that Thaemert apologized for kissing her on the ankle, WCCO-TV reported.

Thaemert requested he be put on electronic home monitoring or community service. Instead, District Judge William H. Leary sent Thaemert to participate in a work-release program. Thaemert will not have to register as a predatory sex offender.

Gray said Thaemert's business and family have both suffered as a result of the publicity.

"His family life has not been real pleasant," Gray said.

Thaemert will not be allowed contact with the victim or her family. No lawsuit has yet to have been filed.

Thaemert will be on probation for 3 years and will have to submit a DNA sample to the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners, WCCO-TV said. Thaemert must also pay the victim's restitution.

GM CEO quits after pressure from white house

Yahoo News has reported that Rick Wagoner, the Chairman and CEO of General Motors, will resign due to the white house's request, Administration Officials said Sunday. Wagoner's resignation comes at the same time as President Obama reportedly readies additional restructuring efforts.

Obama is expected to announce on Monday how GM and Chrysler LLC will be restructured so that they may continue to receive government loans. Both companies currently have $17.4 in government aid and have requested $21.6 billion more.

While it still is not clear who the successor of Wagoner will be, it is the thought of many in the company that recently promoted Fritz Henderson will take the job. CNN Money has also said that Henderson will likely be the new CEO, noting that he managed daily operations at GM when Wagoner was lobbying and traveling. Henderson also saved GM from bankrutcy by securing up $30 billion in low-interest loans.

Obama said Sunday that GM and Chrysler need to take harder steps to assist struggling automakers. Obama appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday and said that automakers need to do more if they want more financial aid.

David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich said that many GM executives will be disappointed by the departure of Wagoner.

"They had great affection for Rick — someone that's fair, that acts like a coach, that holds people's feet to the fire but has a good understanding of human behavior," Cole said.

British minister used expense account to buy porn

Jacqui Smith, Britain's Home Secretary, apologized Sunday for using her parliamentary expense account to purchase five pay-per-view movies, ABC News reported. Of the five movies, two were x-rated and said to have been viewed by her husband.

Smith said that she should not have claimed any of these movies on the account and said the occurance was a result of not being careful enough with a service package that included both internet and TV.

"As soon as the matter was brought to my attention, I took immediate steps to contact the relevant parliamentary authorities and rectify the situation," Smith said.

Smith's spokeswoman said that x-rated is not the same as porn. She said the names of the x-rated movies could not be released due to government policy.

Smith's husband, Richard Timney, said he was sorry for any embarassment he caused his wife.

The parliamentary ethics watchdog has been investigating Smith over a previous expenses used to purchase a second home in central England.

Euronews said Smith will not be resigning because of either scandal, Euronews said.

March 15, 2009

Gophers, North Dakota State make NCAA Tournament

The Minnesota Golden Gophers will play the Texas Longhorns on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, WCCO-TV reported. It was announced on Sunday that the 10th-seeded Gophers will be facing off against the seventh-seeded Longhorns Thursday in Greensboro, N.C.

This is the first time the Gophers have made the NCAA Tournament since 2005, when Dan Monson coached the team. That year, the Gophers fell to the Iowa State Cyclones in the first round.

The winner of the game will likely play ACC Tournament Champion Duke the following Saturday. The No. 2 Duke Blue Devils play Binghamton in the first round.

The Gophers defeated the tournament's number one seed, Louisville, in December during non-conference play. However Minnesota had a difficult February, losing six of their last nine games. They defeated Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

The North Dakota State Bison also qualified for the NCAA tournament as the number 14 seed in their first year of Division I eligibility, the Star Tribune reported. The Bison will face the third-seeded Kansas Jayhawks Friday at the Metrodome, likely giving North Dakota State a homecourt advantage.

Man in critical condition after being shot at by police officer

A man was shot by a Litchfield, Minn. police officer and later airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center early Sunday, the Star Tribune reported.

The man was shot in the 300 block of Litchfield Avenue S. at about 1:30 a.m., a Litchfield Police Department news release said. No details have been released as to how or why the shooting occured.

The man who was shot is in the intensive care unit and is in critical condition, Janell Rasmussen, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said. The BCA, who is also investigating, declined to release any further details.

Further interviews about the shooting need to be conducted before the officer and the man can be identified. The officer is on a paid administrative leave, which is standard.

Police in St. Cloud are also investigating another shooting by a Stearns County Sheriff's deputy which occured on Friday at 4311 Clearwater Road, the St. Cloud Times has reported.

Man charged after police find $18,000 and pot

The Pioneer Press has reported that a Farmington man faces drug charges after his pot and money were found by police and a 16-year-old.

Police charged John Taylor Jordan, 36, Thursday in Dakota County Distrct Court after they found more than 200 plants in Jordan's home. Police were able to connect the pot found in his home with the pot found in the ditch, the report said.

According to a criminal complaint, police originally went to Jordan's home in response to a noise complaint. After no one answered the door, Jordan left the residence in his car but was later stopped for a traffic violation. Police noticed the same pot odor in Jordan's home and vehicle.

Police conducted a search of Jordan's home and found growing equipment and plants, the charges said.

Police also learned of a 16-year-old boy who had handed out $11,000 to his classmates at Rosemount High School. The boy told police that he found the money in a ditch, which led police to a discovery of four pounds of marijuana and two digital scales.

Authorities determined that Jordan passed the ditch after being stopped by police.

Jordan has been charged with a third-degree attempted controlled substance crime and a fifth-degree controlled substances crime. Jordan could face 25 years in prison if convicted.

"We're grateful the kid found the dope and the money, but we know where it came from," Capt. John Grant, of the Dakota County Drug Task Force, said in the Star Tribune.

NWA passenger had TB

A passenger on a Northwest Airlines flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Detroit was diagnosed with tuberculosis, Yahoo News reported. The passenger was traveling on Tuesday's Flight 51 to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Northwest said.

Shelly Diaz, a spokeswoman for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said health officials were contacting the 17 passengers in the vicinity of the sick passenger so that they could be tested. Passengers sitting two rows in front, two rows in back or in the same row will be contacted by state and local health department officials, the Detroit News said.

"The threat to the public is low. This is a cautionary measure," Diaz said in the Detroit News.

According to WXYZ-TV in Detroit, the sick passenger is being treated in isolation at Annapolis Hospital in Dearborn, Mich. Diaz said that further details about the passenger are not being released.

"The patient is still receiving care," Diaz said.

Bombing kills 4 tourists, 3 injured

A bombing has killed four tourists and injured three in Al Shiabam, Yemen, CNN reported.

The explosion occurred at 7:30 p.m. and could be heard in the Al-Qubah District of Al Shiabam, 2 miles away from the explosion, Hakim Al-Masmari, the editor-in-chief of the English-language Daily Yemen Post, said.

The tourists, all four of which were South Korean citizens, were taking pictures of Shiabam at sunset, Al-Masmari said. Their nationalities are not known at this time. One of the injured was a Yemeni tourist guide, The New Zealand Herald said.

The South Koreans were taken to a hospital where they died at the scene, Al-Masmari said. One of them was in serious condition.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, a terrorist attack has not been ruled out, a security source said.

Yemen has been known as a center for militant activity. It is the ancestral homeland of Osama Bin Laden.

The New Zealand Herald has said that a suicide bomber was responsible for the attacks.

March 8, 2009

Liriano, Twins flirt with no-hitter

Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano's four perfect innings of pitching helped the Twins defeat the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, 2-0, the Star Tribune reported. This is the second time in four games that the Twins came close close to a no-hitter.

It took a single by Oriole's top catching prospect, Matt Wieters, to break up the no-hitter in the ninth inning. The Twins scored thanks to a Carlos Gomez two-run homerun in the sixth off of righty Hayden Penn.

The Twins had a perfect game going up until the seventh, when Orioles first baseman Oscar Salazar got on base because of an error, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Liriano struck out five Oriole batters. Seven of the nine batters Liriano faced Sunday are expected to start on Opening Day for the O's.

"All my pitches were working for me today," Liriano said. "So it can't be any better than that."

Analysis: Week of 3/2 (Event Coverage)

Television: HBO show bids Ferrell's Bush farewell

This article talks about "You're Welcome, America. A Final Night With George W. Bush," a broadway show which is based on Will Farrell's impersonation of George Bush from Saturday Night Live. The show features Will Farrell impersonating the former president and was directed by Adam McCay. The article is advancing HBO's 90-minute television broadcast of one of the final shows.

The sources used for the advance are Will Ferrell and Adam McCay. For the angle, the article makes this a kind of send off for Bush, with comments from McCay and Ferrell about why it was important to them to do this and what it was like for Ferrell to follow Bush in the news and to satirize him on TV. The reporter, Neal Justin, avoids a listing by giving the show a backstory by talking about how the George Bush character came to be.

Dumpster fire at Eagan strip mall

A total of nine stores were damaged early Sunday morning when a dumpster fire spread to Cliff Lake Center, the Star Tribune reported. No one was injured, but three small businesses were seriously damaged, a fire official said.

The alarm at Cliff Lake Center sounded about 1:15 a.m. Firefighters discovered heavy smoke and flames when they arrived.

The damages sustained by the nine businesses were mainly due to smoke and water, Fire Chief Mike Scott said. GNC Nutrition Shop, a nail salon and a day care center sustained the worst damage.

"It doesn't appear suspicious at this point," Scott said.

The Pioneer Press reported that 50 firefighters responded and stayed at the scene for about three hours.

Victim of hit-and-run in critical condition

An Apple Valley woman who was hit while in a crosswalk is in critical condition on Sunday, the Star Tribune reported.

Joan LeVasseur, 26, was hit about 9 p.m. at the intersection of 153rd St. and Cedar Avenue while on her way to Cub Foods. The vehicle that hit LeVasseur was a large, neutral-colored vehicle that could have front-end damage, Police said.

LeVasseur suffered head trauma, brain injuries and fractures in her legs and pelvis, family members said.

Apple Valley Sgt. Joe Shaw said that although there have been several tips, no arrests have been made.

KARE-TV has added some important information to this story, noting that LeVasseur was born deaf and is now in a deep coma. She is currently at HCMC and is surrounded by family members.

LeVasseur's family said that she takes extra care when crossing the street because of the fact that she is deaf. The family is waiting for someone to come forward and is hoping and praying that LeVasseur will pull through.

"There are a lot of broken hearts asking for someone to come forward and tell us what they know," Robert Boever, LeVasseur's stepfather, said.

Annonymous Tipster leads police to body in car

An anonymous tipster, identifying themself as "someone trying to help," assisted Los Angeles police Saturday in their discovery of a dead woman in the trunk of her car, Yahoo News has reported. The message, sent via a fax to Los Angeles television station KTLA, alleged two men involved in the murder who police are currently in search of.

After police were notified by KTLA, they found the body in a Valley Village neighborhood, Officer April Harding said.

The sender of the fax said that the woman was killed on Feb. 28 and that her body is in a black trash bag in the car. The sender also noted a specific address that said the body would be in a 2-square-mile area of.

The incident was reported at 1:50 pm on the 11700 block of Hortense Street, Harding told KTTV-TV.

The fax named both a suspected killer and a man who the sender said helped clean the car, Harding said.

Police were given the victim's name, but will not release it until after notification of relatives and an autopsy.

March 7, 2009

Palestinian PM resigns

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has given his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas, BBC News reported. This resignation comes before talks of power sharing between President Abbas and Hamas, Abbas' rivals.

Fayyad has said that he will not step down until a national unity government is formed. Yahoo News is reporting that Fayyad may not step down until late March, and that he may be reappointed if a unity is not formed. Fayyad's resignation is an important building block for the formation of a unity government.

Committees have been assembled by delegations from Fatah, Hamas, and other Palestinian groups in an attempt to form a unity government. A month from now an indication of progress may be able to be seen. The rebuilding of Gaza would be co-ordinated by the new government.

The differences between Fatah and Hamas is one of the reasons that a peace deal between Israel and Palestine has not taken shape.

March 1, 2009

Analysis: Week of 2/23 (Meeting/press conference)

A news report in the Pioneer Press discusses the addition of a bike lane and sidewalk to Marshall Avenue, located on the Minneapolis-St. Paul border. The St. Paul City Council discussed the moving of some trees and a fence for the addition of a sidewalk. A councilmen mentioned how many people around the area would use a sidewalk with a bikelane. They also discussed how the property owner does not like the idea of a sidewalk since it requires maintenance.

The agenda can be seen here.

The Pioneer Press article basically summed up the information into a brief, ommitting less important information from the meeting. The article discussed how the sidewalk would be paid for and just mentioned that it was opposed by the Town & Country club.

Search called off for 2 missing NFL players

ProFootballTalk.com has reported that according to a knowledgable source, the 2 day search for a 21-foot fishing boat carrying two NFL players has been called off.

ProFootballTalk was reportedly told the boat left Seminole and followed the Intercoastal Waterway. A search was conducted to look for debris between Sand Key and Anlclote in Pasco County.

The U.S. Coast Guard was searching for four people, two of which are missing NFL players. The two missing NFL players are Defensive end Corey Smith of the Detroit Lions, and Marquis Cooper of the Oakland Raiders, Reuters said.

Ron Del Duca, Smith's agent, said the two men had apparently ran into a storm front.

The boat was reported missing after leaving Clearwater Pass and not returning on time. The Coast Guard said it searched west about 50 miles from Clearwater Pass.

Lakeville man found not guilty in baseball bat death

A Lakeville man has been acquitted of murder charges stemming from the baseball bat death of his friend, WCCO has reported. The jury spent 30 hours deliberating before making their decision, the Dakota County Prosecutor said.

The complaint said that the two men had spent the night drinking. An argument then ensued and Charlie Otto Reynolds, 32, ended up striking Joshua Jay Skare, 33, in the head with a bat.

According to the Star Tribune, Dakota County Attourney James Backstrom said that the state was not able to prove that the attack was not in self-defense.

Reynolds has been charged with first-degree premeditated murder, second-degree murder with intent to kill, second degree murder without intent to kill while committing a first-degree assault and second-degree murder while committing second-degree assault.

The prosecution and defense agreed that Reynolds did indeed strike and kill Skare. They were more focused on deciding whether Reynolds planned or intended to kill Skare.

According to Reynolds' testimony, on the night of March 15, Skare left the living room in which he was expected to sleep and entered the upstairs bedroom of Reynolds. After becoming increasingly belligerent, Skare pushed Reynolds into a banister and as Reynolds was fearing for his life, he struck Skare with a bat.

"It is a really tough case because there are victims on both sides," Kevin DeVore, Reynolds' attorney, said. "He lost his best friend, and he's going to have to struggle with that for the rest of his life."

Man exposes self, receives probation and prison time

A Fridley man was sentenced Friday to 90 days in jail and six years of probation for allegedly exposing himself to girls in St. Paul, Roseville, and New Brighton, the Star Tribune reported.

Following the sentence, Brian E. Thompson, 27, may not have any contact with vulnerable adults or children, not possess any pornographic material, will not be allowed access to the internet without permission, will have to submit polygraph tests, and will need to enter sex offender treatment. If Thompson does not follow the conditions of his probation, he will face a large fine along with three consecutive yearlong sentences.

Thompson has also received three separate charges of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to the charging documents, Thompson would expose his private parts after driving up to juvenille victims and asking for directions.

According to the Pioneer Press, Thompson offered his soft spoken regret to the judge in which he said his actions were wrong.

"I wish I could take it back, take it all back," Thompson said.

Radio Broadcaster Paul Harvey dies at 90

CNN has reported that well-known radio broadcaster Paul Harvey died Satuday at the age of 90. He died at a Phoenix hospital, surrounded by family members, Louis Adams, a spokesman for the networks, said.

Harvey was well known for his "The Rest of the Story" radio program and was heard on more than 1,200 radio stations and read in over 300 newspapers, his website says. Harvey had been recovering from pneumonia as well as the death of his wife, who died in May of last year.

He began broadcasting in 1933 as a high-schooler. He broadcasted for the Navy in 1940 and enlisted in the Air Force until 1944. He worked in radio in Chicago after leaving the Air Force, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Harvey was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1990 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 from former President George W. Bush.

Bush said Harvey was, "a friendly and familiar voice in the lives of millions of Americans."

"His commentary entertained, enlightened, and informed. Laura and I are pleased to have known this fine man, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family," Bush said.

Iran has materials, but is far from making nuclear bomb, officials say

The Star Online has reported that the United States believes Iran has enough nuclear fuel to make a bomb. This is according to U.S. Joint Chief of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, who said so on Sunday. Mullen made the comments on air during CNN's "State of the Union" program.

"And Iran having nuclear weapons, I've believed for a long time, is a very very bad outcome -- for the region and for the world," Mullen said.

While Mullen believes Iran has enough nuclear fuel to make a bomb, it should be noted that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said that Iran is not even close to actually building a weapon (Los Angeles Times).

The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Tehran may have one third more enriched uranium than originally stated, based on an IAEA's report.

The U.S. suspects Iran of using its nuclear program to build an atomic bomb, but Tehran say that their enriched uranium is for generation of electricity. President Barack Obama has refered to Iran's nuclear program as an "urgent problem."

The IAEA said that Iran's understatement of the amount of uranium may not have been on purpose, and that Iran is working with them in order to avoid any more miscalculations of uranium amounts.