August 5, 2005

Children of meth users are filling foster homes

http://www.startribune.com/dynamic/story.php?template=print_a&story=5534339

This article highlights one woman's experience with meth and how it's affected her family. Melissa Sjoblom is 37 years old and is in prison for making meth. She had her 15 year old son arrested and sent to treatment, for the third time, when he came to visit her high.
The article continues to give statistics pertaining to the number of kids in Minnesota foster homes because of a parent's meth use. Sixty five percent of washington County foster home kids are there because of abuse and neglect resulting from a parent's meth use, nad more than half of the Pine County foster placements are attributed to meth.
I knew that the situation existed, but I had no idea that the numbers were so high.

Posted by Patricia Pellinen at 5:18 PM | Local News

August 4, 2005

Last in the nation, Minnesota tightens drunk driving limit.

The drunk driving law in Minnesota went into effect on monday, August. 1, 2005. Police have already starting charging people who have a .08 percent blood alcohol content which is down from the level of .10. Many supporters to this law are saying that it makes Minnesota roads safer, but businesses are saying that if you add the lower DWI limit to the smoking bans and the higher minimum wage, it means that they are hit the most this year. Their biggest concern, according to one Minneapolis business man is that with these laws, people may say it's not worth going out anymore.

I think, people who have desire for alcohol and want to get drunk, should stay at home and satisfy their desire and not take others lives away. Or if you want to go out anyway while drunk, please find a predestine driver.artile

Posted by William at 12:05 PM | Local News

Alzheimer's Study

The article I choose was from the July 20, 2005 issue of the Minnesota Daily.

This article is about an alzheimer's study conducted at the University of Minnesota. In this study researchers were able to reverse memory loss in mice with brain degeneration for the first time. This suggests that it is possible to recover the ability to remember things. The tests were conducted by inducing dementia through genetic engineering to make the mice express a human protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. Researchers were then able to turn off the gene using food supliments. When they did this, they found that not only did memory loss stop, but the mice actually regained some ability to remember.

Posted by Ryan at 11:20 AM

August 2, 2005

Last state to act: DWI now at 0.08

Star Tribune 7/31/2005

The article was about Minnesota being the last state to lower the level of alcohol in your system from 0.10 to 0.08 percent to be considered driving while intoxicated. Although the law was in effect since May 2004, Minnesota was the last state to enact it.

The article continues with a questions and answers section, most of which is very education. For example, by changing the legal blood-alchohol limit to 0.08 the state will now receive nearly $20 million for building and improving state and local roads. Apparently this federal money was being held until the now. With the state needing all the money it can get, if you believe everything you read, this was incentive enough.

However, the article discussed the number of alcohol-related crashes that were reduced in states using the 0.08 level, discussed how you impaired at each percentage interval , and there were over 34,000 drunk driving arrests in Minnesota last year alone. The article contains good practical information, as well, if you drink alchohol and want to make sure you are legal to drive and/or the consequences of driving while intoxicated.

The statistic that really jumped out at me was the average blood-alcohol percentage found in drivers that were pulled over in Minnesota -- the "average" was high at 0.16!

What do my classmates think about the lowering of the percentage? And how will you change, if anything, what or how you are socializing?

Posted by Deborah Mueller at 2:21 PM | Local News

August 1, 2005

Limits on student aid

Limits on student aid up for vote
July 30, 2005
Star Tribune

This article talks about a law that has been in effect for five years that is about not allowing students who have been caught with drugs to be able to collect financial aid. These students are still allowed to attend school, but they may not receive financial aid. Each year about 35,000 students are effected by this law. According to the article, "Some opponents also say the current law is discriminatory because most of those convicted on drug charges are members of minority groups or from low-income families." The first offense under this law is loss of aid for a year, second is no aid for two years and after three offenses you lose your aid permanently. If you are caught selling drugs the first offense is no aid for two years and second is no aid permanently.

Before reading this article, I have not heard of this law before. In my opinion I think it is a good law. The students who do not do drugs have a better opportunity to receive more aid. They say that this law effects low income families and minorities, but my argument is if these people are so poor and need the money, then why on earth on they wasting their money on drugs. If you are willing to waste your money on that then you deserve to not get help for your schooling. (This is all my opinion.)

Posted by Dianna at 2:34 PM | Local News

July 30, 2005

Richfield project ready takeoff

By october MSP airport will be ready to open a brand new runway. This runway will benefit many members of the local communities by diverting many flights from their current flightpaths. However many other communities will become bombarded by noise when the new runway opens. In leiu of this there is a new proposed development in the works for just such homes. According to the Star Tribune, a swath of land that will run along the new runway will be purchased and in place a pair of mico downtowns will be created. This development will at first contain a super target and home depot with hopes of attracting restraunts and other businesses that will embrace the airport.

Currently the city of richfield is acquiring about 90 properties to create a new distinctive and inviting area. Of course there are problems with current tenants and landowners who do not move. Linda Jensen said "A lot of people around here see it as progress." Many just want to leave it the way that it is without such a large amount of change. However, Bruce Palmborg the city's planning commissioner said that "We have the right ingredients, the key will be blending them together. We're kind of excited."

Posted by Shannon at 4:32 PM

Is a Large Economic Gap Among Citizens a Good Thing

Here is a spin off of the article Gap between the rich and poor spurs new questions. It is found in the July 24th, 2005 Star Tribune OP EX section.

The article gives a few reasons that are both positive and negative for why different countries have higher or lower income inequalties. In the article it states that the U.S. has the highest income inequality among developed nations. Now I suppose that this is not really a large surprise to anyone, however upon further thought it spurs a large number of questions. I am simply going to focus on a few.

#1. Is a large Economic gap among cititzens a good thing?

I don't always feel that the gap is a good thing, but I also believe that it is a necessary thing. Without some sort of gap what would make a nation want to strive to do more. If everyone is average, then why would you want to work more than average?

#2. Would everyone being average lead to overall better educations and raise a nations productivity?

Well it sounds good in theory, but I am not sure that I can fully support such an example. Would to average students make up for one excellent students abilities? Well I suppose it all depends on how many average students you have vs. how many excellent students you have.

Well just a few simplistic, I repeat simplistic, thoughts on a widening economic gap. I just find it funny that many people want a large economic gap among countries and a small economic gap back home. It is always easier to forget about people when you don't see them face to face.

Posted by Shannon at 11:00 AM

July 29, 2005

Coleman to propose stem cell bill, breaking with Bush

the Pioneer Press,July 26, 2005
by Frederic J. Frommer

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/state/minnesota/12229187.htm

Since this article on July 26, another republican politician has come forward in support of federal funding for stem cell research.

“Because harvesting embryonic stem cells destroys embryos, Bush and many other conservatives equate the process with abortion and view it as immoral.” (Frommer). Norm Coleman, like many in the Republican Party, opposes legalized abortion. This is why his proposal involves the use of embryos that have already been destroyed. The Bush administration, however, does not intend to lift the ban of federal funding for stem cell research it enacted four years ago.

Personally, I’m for stem cell research, and I have every confidence that our next president, Republican or otherwise, will lift the ban.

Posted by Patricia Pellinen at 9:56 PM | World News with a Local Emphasis

Wallets found at barracks provide trip back in time

July 26 Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/site/premium/access-registered.intercept

Have you ever lost a wallet? Maybe you’ll get it back in 60 years. That’s what happened to Willard Groth of Hoyt Lakes. He’s 81 years old now, but he was a young Army private in 1944 when his wallet, and the $20 it contained, disappeared.

His was one of 25 wallets that was found in the heating ducts of an old military barracks in California. Because all of the wallets had one thing in common, a lack of cash, the Army theorizes that the wallets had been stolen and stashed there by the thief. More interesting, however, are the items that were left in the wallets. Driver’s licenses, dog-tags, and even tips for surviving an atomic blast.

Willard Groth may have lost his 20 bucks, but what he got back is priceless.

Posted by Patricia Pellinen at 9:32 PM | Human interest

Impact of smoking bans under scrutiny

article

Continue reading "Impact of smoking bans under scrutiny"

Posted by William at 2:05 PM | Local News

Minnesota law targets foreclosure scams

MPR

A recent article posted on MPR’s web site talked about a new Minnesota law that tries to stop mortgage foreclosure scams. The article talked about the story of Teresa Amelsberg Crowe who was a victim of one of these scams before the new law was passed. Teresa was in an accident and had medical bills on top of private schooling bills for her children. With the mounting debt and no where to turn she opted for what she thought would be a good choice. She decided to refinance her house and use that money to pay off her bills. Teresa’s real troubles began when a con artist real estate agent suckered her into selling her house. The real estate-agent was able to convince Teresa that this was her only option because of her bad credit. The real estate agent bought the house and agreed to rent it back to Teresa but now Teresa cannot afford rent and is about to get evicted.

The new Minnesota law requires that the homeowner be able to pay off the transaction and it limits the amount of money that can be made in these deals. Even with the passing of this law there is a bill in the U.S. House that would repeal it. Many lending agencies feel that they can regulate themselves and ‘buyers should beware’.

I think it is unfortunate that people get hurt like Teresa did but you do have to have some common sense when it comes to things like this. I would have contacted a lawyer before signing anything not after I got screwed.

Posted by Chuck at 12:41 PM

Hospitals strive to be "Safest in America"

MPR

I recently was in the hospital as you all know and I think that I received very good medical care but that doesn’t always happen. Imagine if you went into the hospital for surgery on you right knee and instead the doctors operated on your left. This is the kind of thing that hospitals in Minnesota are trying to prevent by sharing information with each other. Hospitals in the past have been reluctant to share embarrassing information about surgical mishaps with their completion but 10 Minnesota hospitals set aside their difference in the hope of making themselves safer. The 10 Minnesota hospitals are calling this program “Safest in America”. The top priority of this program is to prevent wrong side surgeries from taking place by making pre-operative procedures uniform for all of the hospitals. This helps because some nurses work at more than one hospital and to have every thing the same reduces confusion and possible mistakes. Another policy that has come out of this program is “cause for a pause”. Despite its funny name the policy is useful in preventing mistakes from happening before surgeries. The basic premise of the policy is to stop and say out loud what exactly what the surgical procedure was going to be performed and on what body part. Some other policies that have also resulted from this collaboration of information has been the elimination of 9 confusing abbreviations for prescription drugs, giving children prescriptions based on weight not age, and better blood sugar monitoring.

I think that it is good that hospitals are working together to make it safer for us all. I know that I would have one big law suit if the doctors operated on my wrong hand.

Posted by Chuck at 12:20 PM

Hennepin rethinks smoking ban

This article is from the July 27, 2005 issue of the Startribune.

This article outlines how Hennepin is concidering making changes to the smoking ban. They are currently doing an economic impact study of the ban. They are thinking of making it more like the Ramsey County ban, where bars that get more that 50% of their sales from alcohol would be exempt. The story gives examples from several bars about the reduced sales. In one example, sales at a ber in minneapolis are down 35%.

I choose this article because I was against the ban from the beginning, and am glad to see they are rethinking it. I worked in a bar in the past, and can tell you that most of the people who came in were smokers. If you are a smoker and cannot drink in a bar, you are less likely to go to that bar. I used that argument with people when Hennepin was discussing the ban, and they said that more non-smokers would go to the bars because there wouldn't be so much smoke. I argued that the number of people who start going to the bars would be far less than the number that stop going.

I have seen this where I live. My town is split between Hennepin county and Wright. There is one bar on the Hennepin county side that used to be very busy. Since the ban, that bar is always empty, and there is more business at the other two. I also gave a personal example in class. Me and my friends no longer go to bars in resturants in Hennepin county because of the ban. If we don't go, then I'm sure there are a lot more people who do the same things. I go back to the best argument against the ban; these are privately owned establishments, and smoking is still legal in this country, these it should be up to the owners to decide if they want to allow smoking in their bars.

The government seems to have a love-hate relationship with smokers. They don't want us in bars and resturants, and in some cities they don't want us in parks. However, they love us when they can get more money from us by charging us with a "users fee."

Posted by Ryan at 11:49 AM

Homeland security chief meets with St. Paul officials

On friday, July 22, 2005 the nation chief of homeland security met with officials of St. Paul. The chief urged the citizens of this great state to be vigilant but there was no imminent threat in the state. He went on to say that the state leaders were doing good jobs in keeping the citizens save. On the part of the Major of St. Paul, Randy Kelly who told the homeland Security chief that the city was asking for more than $3 million in federal grants in order to combat terrorism.

Chief Michael Chertoff told the citizen of Minnesota not to avoid Public transportation out of fear. He went on to say that eventhough there was no known threat in the state, but a potential terrorist attack at the Mall of America was a focus of concerned.

The chief also lamented about how the department was also focusing on border security and how a sophisticated tunnel along the U.S. Canadian border was found and appear to have been built to smuggle drugs.

I think the Canadian authorities need to do more work on their side of the border in order to strengthen it. For the past time terrorists have been using Canada to enter the U.S.

sources: mpr.org

Posted by William at 12:29 AM | Local News

July 28, 2005

Man captured for rape & kidnapping

Man wanted in St.Paul rape/kidnapping captured
July 25, 2005
Star Tribune

Courtney Clark was captured in Washington County this week for raping and kidnapping a women. He also killed her boyfriend. Last week, Clark was charged with "first degree criminal conduct and kidnapping of a woman in her apartment." Clark broke into the woman's apartment, tied up the girl and threw her into the bathroom, where she heard muffle sounds of her boyfriend and then heard nothing. Clark then raped her and tried to suffocate her and then kidnapped her, where she escaped from jumping out of his vehicle. They also believe that Clark is "the prime suspect in an unsolved 1993 Minneapolis murder." Clark will also now be charged for the murder of the boyfriend. The boyfriend's body was found by some railroad tracks.

There is not much to really say about this article. It is a sad article, that never should have happened. I hope they lock this guy up and he stays in prison for a very, very long time. He should not be allowed out again. (in my opinion)

Posted by Dianna at 11:16 AM

July 26, 2005

'Glass ceiling' remains intact

Star Tribune
The Economist
Published July 26, 2005

This article basically says that not much has changed in the workforce over the past two decades since the term 'glass ceiling' was initiated in terms of women holding top positions in corporations. "Women account for almost half the workforce in Western countries... But at the top of the corporate ladder it is a different story."

The article describes some reasons why women have not increased in numbers holding these top positions, but at the same time explains why they should be. Some of the same companies who have NOT promoted women to these power psitions, are convinced that it makes good business sense to have more women in these leadership roles. Some companies ARE changing and the article states that research conducted in America, Britain and Scandanavia supports the idea that companies believe that it would be good for their profits -- there is a "trong correlation between shareholder returns and the proportion of women in the higher executive ."

As we have discussed in class during the leadership segments, the article states women are better at team-building and communication. Companies who are promoting women in these positions include IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Alcan.

The article is summarized by making suggestions as to what companies should do if women have to leave the corporate office for a length of time, i.e. to raise their children or care for a family member, in order to bring them up-to-speed and on track again for these positions.

I don't know about you, but I have always believed that women are effective leaders and should be in the top corporate positions. I am glad to see that more corporations are beginning to address this issue, and of course, IT'S ABOUT TIME!

Posted by Deborah Mueller at 6:57 PM | National news

July 25, 2005

Arsenic in land

Arsenic under study in Phillips neighborhood
July 22, 2005
Startribune

Envirnomentalist will be checking soil from about 600 homes and businesses in the next month for arsenic. They believe the arsenic is from an old pesticide manufacturing company that was running in 1938-1968. They had arsenic in their pesticides to kill grasshoppers. They believe yards got contaminated from the spread of dust by the wind. They have found arsenic in several areas. The project manager, Tim Prendiville, stated "Based on previous sampling, we haven't been able to develop a pattern of contamination, so we figured we'd just go out and sample everybody." "Last year the Envrionmental Protection Agency removed contaminated soil from 30 yards and replaced them with clean dirt and grass."

I am glad that the Environmental Protection Agency is taking charge and is going to check all the soil. It is also nice that they are replacing people's yard with clean dirt and grass.

Posted by Dianna at 8:09 PM | Local News

St. Paul neighbors oppose home for single mothers

Star Tribune
June 23, 2005

This was a short article, but I'm glad there was some discussion in class about the topic. I am sure some of you are right that the neighbors are opposing the home for single mothers because of the rich elitist (my words) area they are proposing the home be built. But again, how threatening is a home with mothers and children so the single mothers can attend college?

Even the last paragraph of the article states those that oppose the home will not even meet with anyone from the group 'Jeremiah Project'. In re-reading the article, it appears the residents want the site to be used for senior housing. So they are not opposed to a home being built for a group, but specifically the mothers and their children.

This is more information I found searching the LexisNexis Academic website. The article is dated 4/22/2005 w/ the headline New Place for a new start; The Jeremiah Program in Minneapolis, which helps low-income single moms turn their lives around, is seeking to expand to St. Paul" --

"The Jeremiah Program in St. Paul expects to have room for 40 single mothers and their children when it opens in the fall of 2006. Applications for its Minneapolis site are taken on an ongoing basis. The requirements:

- Low income.
- At least 18 years of age.
- Must be a resident of Minnesota at least 2 years.
- A high school diploma or GED certificate.
- Enrolled in college or training program.
- Children 4 years of age or younger.
- Drug and alcohol use evaluation.
Applications are available by calling the program at 612-259-3006."

I could not locate an article more recent than the June 23 article, but if you find something as follow-up, please respond.

Posted by Deborah Mueller at 5:28 PM | Local News

Reciprocity agreement needs to change

The article I choose is from the July 25, 2005 issue of the Startribune.

This article is about Minnesota's reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin. The agreement was made so students could choose to go to schools in neighboring states without paying out of state tuition. Under the current agreement Minnesota students going to school in Wisconsin pay the tuition rate of a comparable school in Minnesota, and vise versa. Because tuition rates are lower in Wisconsin, Minnesota students going to Wisconsin schools pay higher tuition than Wisconsin students. However, Wisconsin students going to Minnesota schools pay lower tuition than Minnisota residents. At the U of MN Morris campus Wisconsin residents pay $2400 per year less than Minnesota residents.

The states do have a way to even things out. At the end of the year they use a formula that takes into account the number of students and cost of tuition and determine which state owes the other money. In the 2003-04 school year Wisconsin payed Minnesota more than $6 million. However, that money does not go to the schools, it goes to the Minnesota general fund. So, schools in Minnesota are getting less in tuition from Wisconsin students, and then the state is getting the extra money. I'd be willing to bet that that money does not go back into education.

There are several problems here. The first is that the agreement needs to be renegotiated, which is in progress. The second is that Minnesota tuition rates are rising faster than in Wisconsin, making the problem worse. The state needs increase spending on schools, which should help keep tuition down. More importantly the schools need to examine their budgets and focus their money on education. Funding needs to be directed in a way that keeps tuition rates down, while improving the quality of education. Universities have a tendancy to spend money where it is not needed. One example is the renovation of buildings. While I agree that there are many buildings on our campus that need renovation, the University tends to go overboard on these projects.

Posted by Ryan at 3:16 PM

July 24, 2005

"MPCA must revise its water cleanup plan for southeast"

MPR

I recently read an article titled, “MPCA must revise its water cleanup plan for southeast,” that talked about the pollution that affect the Root River. The Root River is a famous trout stream in southeast Minnesota but it is being polluted by runoff from farms in the area. The water is used to be clear but now after recent rains it looks like murky. The pollution from the farms presents a real threat to all of the life in the river. The State came up with a plan to clean up the river but the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy felt it was inadequate and filed a lawsuit. The plan that the State came up with did not meet the total maximum daily load (TMDL), which is a measure of the amount of pollution is allowed in a body of water. The lawsuit lead to a court ruling which says that the State has to come up with an acceptable plan by September of the federal EPA will take over.

I chose this story because I am concerned with the environment and I think that this is an important issue. Usually, you hear about big companies polluting but you seldom hear about how much pollution farms put off. I think that farmers should have to pay for some of this cleanup because after all they are the ones that caused it. I have seen some of this pollution myself when I was a music festival in Geneva, Minnesota last September. Near the location of the festival were several farms and a lake. The lake was covered in dense weeds and there was a layer of algae. From biology and environmental classes that I have taken I was pretty sure the cause of all the plant growth was runoff from farms. I think that there should be stricter regulations on farmers who use fertilizers and pesticides. If they pollute they should have to pay just like corporations have to.

MAP

Posted by Chuck at 8:56 PM