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April 26, 2009

Analysis: Week of 4/20 (Computer-assisted reporting)


The statistics relating to chemicals found in waterways were found using the U.S. Geological Survey Database. Areas with runoff were found with the Department of Agriculture database. The reporters needed to have the ability to connect to the internet and would need to know how to search. The reporter would need to know what terms to use and what key words are needed for getting correct results when searching.

12 people arrested after Dinkytown riot

Minneapolis police arrested twelve people Saturday after a riot in Dinkytown, KMSP-TV reported.

Of the twelve people arrested, five are currently students at the University, two are recent students and one is a future student, KARE-TV reported.

The riot occured during Spring Jam Weekend at the U which is typically a big weekend for parties. U of M police arrived at a large off-campus party on the 1400 block of 7th Street SE about 8 p.m., KARE-TV reported. These initial officers had rocks, bottles and debris thrown at them, Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said.

The amount of students increased to about 500 at one point. The riot gear clad police responded to the crowd with foam bullets and tear gas.

Students started a large fire in the street, jumped on cars and attempted to flip them, causing property damage. Almost 60 police officers responded to the riots.

"This is not the kind-of behavior University of Minnesota students should engage in," Jerry Rinehart, the University's vice provost for student affairs said. "We're going to very vigorously look into each case."

Man falls off Highway 77 bridge after only pretending to do so

A man who pretended to fall of the Highway 77 bridge in Bloomington, Minn., fell off the bridge last Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. He was in stable condition.

A 21-year-old man called police before 5 a.m. Sunday, April 19, and said his friend had fallen off the bridge into a marshy area 30 feet below.

The 21-year-old driver was going north when his friend told him to pull into the emergency lane of the bridge so that he could urinate.

The 23-year-old then pretended to fall after climing the ledge of the bridge. He, infact, did fall after pretending to do so, a press release from the Bloomington Police Department said.

Bloomington and Eagan police responded, using a chair lift to rescue the man. He was then taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and treated. He received serious injuries, WCCO-TV said.

Man dies when rushing water carries him into Mississippi River

Rushing rain water from a tunnel under the Marshall Avenue Bridge in St. Paul swept a man into the Mississippi River and killed him Sunday, WCCO-TV reported.

The man was exploring and taking pictures with a friend inside the tunnel before it filled with water, sending the two men down an embankment into the Mississippi River, St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said.

While one man died, the other was able to swim to shore. The man who died was Ian William Talty, 30, of Woodbury.

Rowers from the Minneapolis Rowing Club and the University of St. Thomas heard a cry for help, Doug Hennis of St. Thomas said.

The rowers used two aluminum boats to search for what they heard when they saw Talty floating facedown in the river. The rowers took Talty to shore but he could not be revived. He was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.

While not identified in the story, the surviving man is 29-years-old and was a friend of Talty's KSTP-TV said.

Three hurt in Hampton University shooting

A shooting at a Hampton University dorm left three people hospitalized, CBS News reported.

The shooter is believed by police to be a former student and one of the three injured, police spokeswoman Yuri Rodgers Milligan said Sunday.

The two other victims were an unidentified man who was not a student and a night manager for the Harkness Hall dorm.

WAVY-TV reported that the shooter was an 18-year-old and the other two victims were a 62-year-old man and a 43-year-old man. One of the men is a pizza delivery driver.

All three of the shooting victims are alive however their conditions are unknown, Milligan said. The motive of the shooter is not known by officials.

Students and staff at the University were notified about the shooting through both e-mail and text messaging. The school is still on lockdown Sunday while police investigate.

Hampton University is a private school of about 5,700 students located in southeastern Virginia.

Cruise ship uses gunfire to stop pirates

The crew of an Italian cruise ship fired upon Somali pirates Saturday when the pirates attempted to attack, CNN reported.

The cruise ship, which had 1,500 people onboard, was attacked by six Somali pirates in a speedboat, Italy's ANSA news agency said. The security crew defended the ship by firing back on the Somalis, causing them to flee.

"It was an emergency operation," the cruise ship company's director, Domenico Pellegrino, told the Associated Press. "They didn't expect such a quick response. They were surprised."

The cruise ship is owned by an Italian company and was returning to Italy after a cruise, ANSA reported. The attack occured about 180 miles north of the Seychelles. No one was injured.

Piracy is common off the coasts of Somalia, Kenya and the Gulf of Aden, an area that spans more than 1.1 million square miles.

Yahoo News said some analysts are predicting that the use of weapons could escalate violence around the Horn of Africa, where 100 ships were attacked by Somali ships last year.

April 19, 2009

Woman gets urinated on during airline flight

A three week jail sentence has been given to a 28-year-old man after he urinated on a 66-year-old woman during a Continential Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu last month, AOL News reported.

Jerome Kenneth Kingzio plead guilty to assault charges and was sentenced Tuesday in a Honolulu federal court.

The victim was watching an in-flight movie during the flight to Hawaii on March 21 when Kingzio stood up and began urinating on her.

The victim pushed Kingzio back but he continued to urinate, CBS News reported. Kingzio was seated a row behind the woman's aisle seat and had been drinking and bothering other passengers throughout the flight.

The woman said the incident ruined her vacation and still causes her to suffer emotionally, U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo Jr said.

Kingzio will be placed under six months of supervised release following his release from prison. He will also undergo substance abuse treatment.

Man killed at White Castle in Hopkins

A man was killed early Sunday morning when a gunman fired shots during a dispute involving two groups of people at a Hopkins fast-food restaurant, Star Tribune reported. KSTP-TV has said the restaurant was a White Castle.

Two suspects are being held by police. Their identities have not yet been released.

Two groups of people began arguing and fighting in the parking lot of the restaurant in the 500 block of Blake Road. It was about 2 a.m. when shots were fired and the victim was hit. Police have not said how many shots were fired, KSTP-TV reported.

The crowd of people then scattered before police took two of the men into custody. Police continued to look for other suspects. Police are still looking for two of the men. There has yet to be any information released about the victim as of Sunday morning.

The Hennepin County Crime Lab was contacted to process the scene, KSTP-TV said.

KMSP-TV reported that the killer is still on the loose.

Children drown due to distracted driver

Five children drowned after their car veered off the road and slid down an embankment into a Houston, Texas bayou, CNN reported.

The driver of the car was distracted because of a cell phone he had answered, an adult passenger told police. The accident happened during massive flash flooding in Houston.

The driver, who the Houston Chronicle said was 32-year-old Chanton Jenkins, got out of the car with his brother and a 10-year-old girl. The chlidren killed in the accident included two girls, ages 1 and 3, and three boys, ages 4, 6 and 7.

Jenkins failed a field sobriety test before being taken to police headquarters for a blood sample, Houston police Officer John Cannon said. Depending on the results of the blood sample, criminal charges could be filed.

The car was found in 9 1/2 feet of water, however the doors could not be opened due to the strong current.

Officers found the bodies of the three boys and one of the girls early Sunday morning. One girl remains missing. Police said that Jenkins is the father of the three boys.

There's really no telling where we will discover the bodies, if we even will," Cannon said.

Jenkins has a criminal record going back to 1994 stemming from incidents including possession of a prohibited firearm and possession of a controlled substance.

Driver of stolen vehicle strikes and kills motorist after police chase

An innocent motorist was killed by a driver being chased by police Saturday evening, KARE-TV has reported.

Before 7 p.m., a 33-year-old man assaulted a woman and stole her car from the 600 block of Highway 36, Roseville police said.

Roseville police chased the man but stopped after the suspect exhibited dangerous driving. Shortly after, the suspect was involved in a crash near I-35E and Larpenteur Avenue that killed a woman and sent a man to the hospital. The man is currently in serious condition.

An 8-year-old boy was discovered in the stolen vehicle and taken to Regions hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police have not released information regarding the relationship between the suspect and the child.

The suspect was booked into the Ramsey County Jail for probable cause of Criminal Vehicular Homicide. The suspect was intoxicated, investigators said.

A statement released by the police department said that no officers were pursuing the vehicle at the time of the crash, the Star Tribune has reported.

April 18, 2009

US will boycott UN racism conference

Next week's UN forum on racism will be boycotted by the US due to a disagreement concerning Israel and freedom of speech, BBC News reports. The state department called the guiding document of the conference unacceptable after being amended.

The US said that their decision not to attend was final due to it being too late to address critical problems with the conference, JTA reported.

The US found the newer additions to the text regarding 'incitement' to be obstructive to unfettered free speech, the state department said in a statement.

The US said they were also alarmed about language in the text which concerned an "incitement to religious hatred."

The decision of whether or not to attend has raged in the US for weeks, the Associated Press news agency said.

The participation of the US in the conference was opposed by Pro-Isreal groups and supported by human rights organizations like TransAfrica. Canada and Israel have said they would not attend and EU diplomats are still considering.

The Durban Review Conference will open Monday and last for five days.

April 12, 2009

Analysis: Week of 4/6 (Diversity)

Mpls. gay couple, sons included in Easter celebration at White House

The article avoids stereotypes by talking about how this is the first time that gay families have been invited to the Easter Egg Roll at the White House. I did not previously know how the White House invited families to the Easter Egg Roll. I also did not know that this was the first time that the White House seeked out homosexual families to come to the Egg Roll.

The article uses both quotes and data to tell information that I previously did not know. For instance, data on exactly how many LGBT families will participate. Quotes are also used to reveal more personal details for more of a storytelling aspect. The article quotes the gay couple talking about how long the couple has been together and what the kids want to see at the White House.

Lemaire done as Wild head coach

Wild head coach Jacque Lemaire will no longer coach the Wild after this year, WCCO-TV has reported.

"There comes a time when you know it's the right time to go. And I know this," Lemaire said.

Lemaire has a career record of 538-415-176 after coaching stops in Montreal, New Jersey and Minnesota. He led the New Jersey Devils to the 1995 Stanley Cup title.

Lemaire became the coach of the Wild during their inaugural season of 2000-2001. Lemaire had a record of 291-256-107 with the Wild, including a winning record in his last six seasons.

Despite being plagued with injuries, the Wild came close to making the playoffs with a 40-33-9 record for 89 points.

"We tried a lot of players through the season. Some of them had great years, others not so good. In general, I think it was good for the whole team. The guys will learn from this," Lemaire said.

"I had eight great years," he said.

Man charged with attempting to start fire at MOA

A Minneapolis man has been charged with three felonies after allegedly making terroristic threats and starting a fire, the Star Tribune reported.

Andrew Nietz, 24, received two charges of terroristic threats and one charge of arson from both April 1 and April 6. Nietz told officers he had an "incendiary device" at the mall.

According to the complaint, Nietz had aerosol in his backpack when it exploded and caught fire in the third-floor transit area. Nietz also said he was a terrorist and had rocket-propelled grenades and a knowledge of guns.

Nietz was put on a 72-hour mental-health crisis hold six days before police again found Nietz at the mall, this time allegedly trying to light transit brochures on fire and threatening the life of a security officer and his family.

If convicted, Nietz faces 10 years and a $17,500 fine for the arson charge and three years and a $3,000 fine for each terroristic threat, KAAL-TV said.

April 11, 2009

Discovered body not that of Zamlen

The Star Tribune has reported that a body discovered in debris in the Mississippi River was not the body of a missing student from the University of St. Thomas, police said.

The body, which was found to be female, was discovered by barge company employees on the intersection of Childs and Shepard Roads.

A woman who was seen jumping from a nearby bridge a few weeks ago matched the description of the discovered body, St. Paul police spokesman Peter Panos said.

Dan Zamlen, the missing St. Thomas freshman, is still being searched for by volunteers. Zamlen was said to have been at the intersection of Mississippi River Boulevard S. and St. Clair Avenue before his phone cut out. Police have searched for him by both boat and helicopter but have since stopped searching.

The medical examiner's office said it hopes to be able to have more information by Monday on the discovered body's identity, KARE-TV reported.

8-year-old found dead in suitcase, Sunday school teacher arrested

A Sunday school teacher has been arrested in connection with the killing of an 8-year-old Tracy, Calif. girl whose body was found inside a suitcase in an irrigation pond, the Star Tribune reported.

Melissa Huckaby, 28, was arrested Friday, police Sgt. Tony Sheneman said. Huckaby, a local minister's granddaughter, was being held without bail in connection with the death of Sandra Cantu. Sandra's body was discovered by farm workers last week while an irrigation pond was being drained. She had disappeared March 27.

Sheneman said Huckaby went from calm to emotional when talking with officers Friday at the police station.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that Sandra was best friends with Huckaby's 5-year-old daughter and that Sandra would frequently visit Huckaby's home.

Sandra's aunt and uncle, Angie and Joe Chavez, and Sandra's mother Susan Levy addressed media late Saturday morning, saying they were "very glad' that someone was apprehended.

"You eye everyone now that walks by with a great deal of suspicion," Chavez said.

Suicide attack kills 9 Sunni fighters

Nine U.S.-allied Sunni paramilitaries were killed and 30 were injured Saturday when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt at an army base in Iraq, Yahoo news has reported.

The attack occurred in Jbala, a town about 35 miles south of Baghdad. The bomber struck at 11 a.m., when 250 members of the Sunni paramilitaries, known as the Awakening Councils or Suns of Iraq, were at the Jbala base.

More than 50 people have already been killed from the weeks previous bombings. A bombing in Mosul Friday killed five U.S. soldiers, making it the deadliest attack against U.S. soldiers in more than a year.

The ability of Iraqi forces to control security is an issue of concern since U.S. soldiers will withdraw from Iraq on June 30.

April 5, 2009

Analysis: Week of 3/30 (Numbers)


The reporter for the Winona Daily News uses numbers to show how much Winona helps out other Minnesota cities financially and then uses that number to compare with how much the city actually has to spend. The reporter uses per capita to show how much money is involved for the size of the area. He also uses percentages to show how much is being cut from certain programs.

While the numbers are numerous, they are not hard to understand. The reporter used percentages to help give a better idea of what the numbers mean. The numbers come from people like state auditors and spokespeople. Sometimes numbers are just listed, leaving out the sources.

Winona honor students charged with theft

Three Winona Senior High School honor students were charged with stealing more than $1,300 worth of cash and merchandise from gym lockers, the Star Tribune reported.

The students were charged with felony counts of theft and receiving stolen property. Of the three students, one of the boys was 17 and the other two were 16.

The students stole cash, cell phones, an iPod and a credit card by breaking padlocks on lockers last December, prosecutors said.

One of the boys indicated the other two involved in the theft after a few of the stolen items were found in his backpack, authorities said.

Police searched one of the teens but found nothing until he dropped wads of cash as he walked out of the room.

The students are due in court on April 20.

'Strib' journalists campaign for paper

A campaign to make sure that the Star Tribune continues to be printed has been put together by a group of Star Tribune journalists, WCCO-TV reported.

Employees are expected to be at the Twins home opener Monday to pass out newspaper hats, t-shirts, petitions and score cards. The groups is also launching a Web site, http://www.savethestrib.com.

The campaign's organizers said their goal is to convince people that the paper is an important resource to the community. The organizers also hope to solicit ideas on new ownership and business models.

Jackie Crosby, a business reporter for the Star Tribune, told KARE-TV that they want the public behind them.

"Because we feel like we're more than just a for-profit business, we feel like we're part of the community and we have an important role to play in civic life," Crosby said.

Police search for missing St. Thomas student

Police are searching for a St. Thomas student who has been missing since early Sunday, WCCO-TV reported.

Dan Zamlen, 18, of Eveleth, Minn. was last heard from at 3 a.m. before his phone went dead as he was on the phone with a friend. Zamlen's sister told KSTP-TV that before his phone went silent, he said 'I'm slipping. I'm slipping.'

Zamlen was believed to be near the Mississippi River at the time of his disappearance. Friends of Zamlen said he was heading to the University of Minnesota to meet with other friends.

Zamlen's sister told KSTP-TV that he had left a party at St. Thomas on his own and that he was angry and wanted to cool off.

St. Thomas spokesperson Jim Winterer described Zamlen as 6-foot, 175 pounds, with a blue jacket and jeans. Winterer also said there is also a concern for Zamlen since he is a Type 1 diabetic.

A State Patrol helicopter and firefighters searched along the Mississippi River for Zamlen while friends and family handed out pictures. Despite these efforts nothing was found Sunday.

"You know you always see it on the news, college kid missing, or some little kid, you feel bad for the family, this is the last thing I ever thought I'd deal with," Zamlen's sister said.

Destruction of Mexican 'Death Saint' shrines protested

The Mexican government's destruction of "Death Saint" shrines was protested by about 200 worshippers Sunday, Yahoo News has reported. The worshippers said that the destruction of the shrines is religious persecution.

Protestors marched from a Mexico City neighborhood to the Metropolitan Cathedral while chanting, "We are believers, not criminals!"

The shrines are being destroyed due to their popularity with drug traffickers, who often leave shrines to the saint during raids on cartel safe houses.

The Death Saint, which is depicted in a similar manner to the Grim Reaper wearing a robe, is believed to protect against untimely or violent deaths. Those who worship the saint will pray to the saint for protection or leave candles. Tens of thousands of people worship the Death Saint in small churches and chapels.

Over 30 shrines were destroyed by army troops and workers last month in the city of Nuevo Laredo.

David Romo, the archbishop of the Death Saint worshiping sect, said the destruction of the shrines was religious persecution and demanded a meeting with President Felipe Calderon.

"Sometimes people look down on us because we believe in her, but my faith is bigger than somebody looking down on me," America Melendez, a 24-year-old street vendor, said as he marched with a red-robed statue of the saint.

April 4, 2009

Three Police Officers killed in Pittsburgh

A gunman fatally shot three Pittsburgh police officers when they responded to a domestic disturbance call Saturday, Yahoo News reported.

While the motive for the shootings is not clear, friends of the shooter said he was upset about losing his job and feared an Obama gun ban, Police Chief Nate Harper said.

The shooter, Richard Poplawski, 23, shot two officers in the head as he met them at the door, Harper said. A third officer was also shot when he tried to help.

SWAT teams fired over 100 rounds at Poplawski, who was armed with a bullet proof vest, 22 long rifle, AK-47 and pistol, the New York Times said.

Poplawski was charged with three counts of homicide, aggravated assault and a weapons violation.

Harper said that never before have three officers been killed in the line of duty in one call, the New York Times said.

“No matter how many years they had on, they paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Harper said.