December 9, 2007

Tim Tebow wins Heisman

Sports Illustrated reported that the University of Florida Gator sophomore, Tim Tebow, won the 2007 Heisman Trophy Saturday.

Tebow made history at the event in New York city as he became the first sophomore to win the award in its 72 years of existance. Since the award was first given to Jay Berwanger in 1935 only upper classmen, juniors or seniors, have had the priviledge of winning the trophy that denotes the best player in college football for the season.

"I am fortunate, fortunate for a lot of things," Sports Illustrated wrote that Tebow said. "God truly blessed me and this just adds on. It's an honor. I'm so happy to be here."

To get to the podium on Saturday Tebow had to beat out three other finalist, one of which, Darren McFadden of Arkansas, became the first ever player to finish runner-up in the history of the award two years in a row, the Washington Post reported.

"Tebow received 1,957 points and 462 first-place votes to McFadden's 1,703 points and 291 first-place votes," Sports Illustrated reported.

The other two finalists that finished third and fourth in the voting were Colt Brennan of Hawaii and Chase Daniel of Missouri, respectively.

During his season Tebow put up record numbers. He completed 68 percent of his throws as he became the first player ever to rush for 20 touchdowns and throw for 20 touchdowns in one season.

Tebow has also led the Gators to a 9-3 record as a sophomore.

December 8, 2007

Woman brought 3-year-old to burglary

The Star Tribune reported that three people were arrested for burglary in Andover, including a woman who brought her 3-year-old with her.

The three people allegedly broke into an apartment building and stole money from laundry machines in the building early Wednesday, said Sherburne County Sheriff Bruce Anderson.

The police were called at around 2 a.m. after a resdient reported seeing suspicious people in the building and hearing sounds of what possibly could have been someone breaking into the coin machines at the apartments on West 10th Street, police said.

The St, Cloud Times reported that there were clear signs of forced entry into the building when the police had arrived, Anderson said.

A van was spotted leaving the location and was shortly there after stopped by an officer. Inside were the three suspects and a 3-year-old child, along with evidence of the burglary in the van.

"Sherry Johnston, 32, of Andover; Brian Williams, 25, of Blaine; and Christoper Verwey, 26, of Lino Lakes; were arrested and taken to Sherburne County Jail," the St. Cloud Times reported.

The 3-year-old child was released to family members.

The child's mother along with the other two men face charges of conspiracy to commit burglary.

Teen shot in Roosevelt High School parking lot

The Star Tribune reported that a 19-year-old man was shot Thursday outstide of Roosevelt High School.

Police are currently in search of the gunman that fired and hit the man in the school parking lot at 4029 28th Av. S.

The man was hit with a bullet in the cheek and taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center, police said. He is expected to be released Friday, Sgt. Jesse Garcia, a Minneapolis Police Department spokesman, told the Star Tribune.

Fox News reported that the shooting occured at 9 p.m., while a Roosevelt girls basketball game was taking place in the school. The victim had been identified as having attended the game, but is not a student at the school.

It is still unknown if the shooting was related to an incident at the game where a group was asked to leave, officials said.

"Sergeant Fred McCormick of the Minneapolis Park Police says investigators think a group of young men were standing outside when someone came from around a corner and fired into the group from about 500 feet away," Fox News reported.

The name of the victim has yet to be released.

December 7, 2007

First images of Omaha mall shooter released

The Los Angeles Times reported that Omaha police released the first surveillance images of the 19-year-old shopping mall shooter Friday.

There were three images that were released just two days after Robert A. Hawkins walked into Westroads Mall in Omaha and killed nine people including himself.

KPTM FOX 42 of Omaha reported that the images showed Hawkins entering the mall wearing dark baggy clothes. The first shows him walking into the Von Maur department store unarmed. The second shows him walking in with an apparent bulge under his clothing. The third shows him with an AK-47 held up to his shoulder in a firing position.

"The shoppers killed were identified as Gary Scharf, 48, of Lincoln, and John McDonald, 65, of Council Bluffs, Iowa," the LA Times wrote. "The six employees killed were Angie Schuster, 36; Maggie Webb, 24; Janet Jorgensen, 66; Diane Trent, 53; Gary Joy, 56; and Beverly Flynn, 47, all of Omaha."

Hawkins had a history of trouble in his past. He had battle depression and drugs, as well as had recently broke up with his girl friend and lost his job.

He had spent time in and out of treatment centers and group homes after threatening to kill his stepmother in 2002. He was released in 2006.

Hawkins left a suicide note, but it did not indicate why he had went to the mall and opened fire, Omaha police said. After taking his life it is unlikely the police will ever know the answer to that question.

Tons of oils spill into Yellow Sea

CNN reported that a collision between an oil tanker and a barged caused thousands of tons of oil to spill into the Yellow Sea just off the coast of South Korea Thursday.

The barge was carrying a crane that punctured a hole in the side of the Hebei Spirit releasing around 10,000 tons of oil into the sea at about 7:15 a.m. local time.

The BBC reported that around 30 Coast Gaurd boats along with four helicopters were trying to contain the oil following the spill.

The spill has been contained, CNN reported.

The effects on the environment are expected to be limited due to the current weather conditions.

"Because of the current wind and wave movements the maritime ministry is not expecting to see much environmental damage on the west coast of Korea," the Maritime Ministry of Korea told CNN.

The BBC reported that the spill is the worst in South Korea's history. The most oil previously spilled was 5,000 tons back in 1995.

Oil does not mix with water, instead it just sits at the surface. The clean-up teams may try to contain the oil by surrounding the spill with booms to keep it contained to one area, the BBC reported.

December 2, 2007


This story from KHOU-Houston, and documents trends in ATM robberies. They used data from police reports and compiled the information to find hot spots for ATM robberies in Houston. Once they located these hot spots the reporter went and described possible reasons for the higher robbery rate at those locations.

The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting aided in the data analysis for the story.

The reporter, however, would have to be able to use a program that could chart out the robberies in Houston. For example, a spread sheet. Once that data was entered into a program, it would become clear which locations had more ATM robberies than the others. They would then be able to further investigate those locations and find out if it is the surroundings that are the cause for the increased robberies or other problems like poor landscaping or lighting. In any case, once the reporter was able to chart the crime data they would be able to notice trends. These trends are then what make stories.

December 1, 2007

Evel Knievel Dies at 69

The LA Times reported that Evel Knievel, a legendary stuntman, died at the age of 69 Friday in Clearwater, Fla.

Knievel, who jumped his motorcycle over Greyhound buses and other large obstacles during his career, earned the title of American daredevil. During his career as a stuntman he broke 38 bones and had several concussions from failed jumps that resulted in crashes.

His health had been deteriorating for years due to diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is an untreatable condition.

"When you spoke with him, it was an effort for him to finish a sentence without taking another breath," Knievel's graphic design artist Bob Corbett told TIME.

Knievel reportedly had trouble breathing in his Clearwater home, and died before an ambulance could take him to the hospital, the LA Times reported.

Knievel will be remembered for not only his spectacular jumps over gaps as far as 150 feet, but also for some of his crashes. One notable crash at Caesars Palace that left him in a coma for a month.

"At a time when the nation was still struggling with the effects of the Vietnam War and Watergate, Knievel became an iconic American hero figure in his tight-fitting, red-white-and-blue jumpsuit," the LA Times reported. "His image was used to market motorcycles, crash helmets, Halloween costumes and candy."

Snow storm hits Minnesota

The Star Tribune reported that a vast majority of the state of Minnesota was put under a winter storm warning Saturday as the state witnessed its first winter storm of the year.

The snow began falling in western Minnesota Saturday morning. It is predicted that many areas around the state will see as much snow accumulation of about six inches. Northeastern and central-eastern parts of the state may even see up to 16 inches of snow, the National Weather Service said.

The Pioneer Press reported that the Minnesota Department of Transportation has been preparing for the storm, which they were told about days in advance.

"The department has more than 800 snowplows at 150 stations throughout the state, including 18 stations in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, and nearly 1,500 snowplow operators," the Pioneer Press reported.

The plows will be needed to help clear off the roads as quickly as possible to increase the safety for those driving in the storm, that has reduced the visibility in some areas to only a quarter mile.

As many as 137 traffic accidents were reported across the state of Minnesota including 88 in the Twin Cities between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., MnDOT reported.

Drivers are urged to reduce speeds, buckle up, use headlights and increase following distance to try to avoid accidents, police said.

The Star Tribune reported that with days of advanced notice of the storm, Minnesota residents have prepared by buying shovels, as well as sand and salt.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the low 20's for the duration of the storm, which is expected to continue until early Sunday morning.

November 28, 2007

Death at Ramsey Co. jail leads to added nurse

The Star Tribune reported that the death of a jail inmate in October due to complications from diabetes led to the addition of a night nurse Tuesday in the county budget.

Randy Gallmeyer was found dying in his jail cell on Oct. 21 due to complications from diabetes that may have been prevented with a night nurse on staff, Sheriff Bob Fletcher told the Star Tribune. He had only been in the jail for 34 hours before he was rushed to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where he died soon the next morning.

Gallmeyer's death led to talks about whether the jail was providing proper medical care. Adding a night nurse to the jail's staff was quickly proposed.

MSNBC reported that Ramsey County board members voted 6-1 Tuesday at a budget meeting in favor of adding a night nurse as well as a part-time clerical worker to the 2008-09 budget. The two positions will combine for an added $163,000 for the budget. The final decision will be made Dec. 18.

A nurse will immediately be hired for the jail, director Rob Fulton told the Star Tribune.

Gallmeyer was found in his cell with a blood sugar level almost 10 times over the normal level. He had refused two glucose level checks earlier in his stay at the jail.

It is possible that with a night nurse on staff they may have been able to recognize that Gallmeyer needed the test. Others on staff are not educated to realize the severity of his condition.

"It's difficult for the staff to make medical evaluations after 10 o'clock, and they generally tend to err on the side of sending them to the hospital," Fletcher told the Star Tribune. "But they don't have the expertise, and so it's far preferable that trained medical staff are on site and can make those decisions."

The decision to add a nurse to the staff is done in hope of preventing any future deaths at the jail.

November 27, 2007

Killer Escapes from Prison in Trash

The Los Angeles Times reported that a man convicted of murder escaped from a medium-security prison in Pennsylvania Sunday after hiding in a trash can.

Malcolm Kysor, 53, was reported missing after gaurds doing a routine inmate count noticed that he was not in his cell at the State Correctional Institution-Albion.

Apparently Kysor hid himself in a garbage can that was taken out to a loading dock and hauled away by a truck. He was helped by another inmate, according to a criminal report.

In 1987 Kysor was found guilty of first-degree murder. He beat Barney Fenton, 40, to death.

The prison is located just southwest of Erie, and houses close to 2,300 inmates, Sue McNaughton, a state Department of Corrections spokeswoman, told ABC News.

The FBI are currently searching for Kysor. They are offering a reward to anyone that can disclose his location.

November 26, 2007

Iranian Fighter Jet Crashes into Sea

CNN reported that an Iranian air force plane crashed into the Oman Sea Monday.

The F-4 Phantom crashed just off the southeastern coast of Iran, the IRNA, an official news agency in Iran, said.

VOA News reported that the jet crashed at 12:45 p.m. local time. Neither the status of the pilot nor the cause of the crash have been released.

The crash brings light to the degraded state of the Iranian air force, one that used be very strong before the U.S. placed an embargo on goods sent to Iran in 1979, CNN reported. The embargo still remains in place today.

"U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran after the revolution have made it hard for Tehran to buy spare parts for its military and civilian aircraft," VOA News reported.

Since then, Iran has made little progress in their flight technology. They still use F-14s, F-4 Phantoms and F-5s that were used around the time of the Vietnam War.

Recently Iran has turned to Russia and China in search of warplanes to help revive their air forces, CNN reported.

Iran has been working to release their own fighter jet. A plane similar to the U.S.'s F-5 was recently introduced for testing.

November 18, 2007

Michigan coach Carr to retire Monday

ESPN news reported that Michigan's head football coach Lloyd Carr will retire Monday ending a 13 year career at Michigan.

Carr announced the decision to his players Sunday in a team meeting on the University of Michigan campus.

The announcement came following a 14-3 loss to Big Ten rival Ohio State Saturday. The loss marked the fourth straight loss to the Buckeyes.

The 62-year-old coach led the Wolverines to a 121-40 record, including five Big Ten championships and the 1997 national championship, in his 13 years as head coach. The .752 winning percentage was third among active coaches. Also, he has led Michigan to a bowl game in every single year as their head coach.

The Sports Network reported that this year Michigan went 8-4. The season started off with back-to-back losses to Appalachian State at of the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division 1-AA, and Oregon. The loss to Ohio State Saturday contributed to his 6-7 record against the Buckeyes all time.

"It was a move many expected last winter when he altered his contract, paving the way for this to be his last season on the sideline, and later made sure the school gave all of his assistants unprecedented, two-year deals," ESPN reported.

The decision to retire will end a 28 year career at Michigan. He was the defensive backs coach for the Wolverines from 1980-86, then a defensive coordinator from 1987-94 before becoming head coach in 1995.

"It's a hard thing to deal with," safety Jamar Adams told ESPN. "We're like a family, and when the head of your family is leaving, it's hard."

Carr is expected to announce the decision in a televised news conference Monday at 10 a.m. (et), the Sports Network said.

Possible candidates to replace Carr next season include Les Miles of LSU and NFL coach Jon Gruden of Tampa Bay, ESPN reported.

November 16, 2007

U adds text message to emergency alert system

The Star Tribune reported that the University of Minnesota turned to text messages as a form of an emergency alert for students and faculty Friday.

The university has creted the TXT-U option that is available to students and faculty that wish to be alerted of emergencies around the university.

Minnesota Public Radio
reported that students and faculty would be sent a text message to their phones with details about the situation and what they should do.

The instantaneous nature of a text message makes university officials believe that this is a great way to spread the news quickly.

"There was a huge uproar that it took four hours to deliver 60,000 e-mails after the bomb scare [on the university's Twin Cities campus] a couple of days after Virginia Tech," university spokesman Daniel Wolter told the Star Tribune.

In case of an emergency the university could send up to 30,000 text message within a minute. This would provide students and faculty with more time to respond to such events.

The texts will be used sparingly, however, to ensure that students don't ignore the messages. They will only be used for emergencies such as bomb threats or to report a students has been spotted with a gun on campus. The emergency texts will not be used for minor theft reports.

"Text messaging technology is something students use daily, if not hourly. Any way that the administration can help increase safety, especially on things that have happened before -- (such as) at Virginia Tech -- is really a good thing," Emma Olson, undergraduate student body president at the university, told Minnesota Public Radio.

This idea gained support after the shooting at Virginia Tech that occurred last spring. A quicker alert system was needed to inform students.

Other schools in Minnesota have adopted similar plans, including St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

TXT-U will cost the university $10,000 per year, and they can use it as often as they want.

Work on I-35W bridge to pick-up next week

The Star Tribune reported that work on the I-35W bridge will pick-up significantly over the next week, state transportation officials said Friday.

Some of the activities that will take place over the next week include the assembly of a 250-ton lifting capacity crane. The crane will provide support for drilling efforts in the bridge building process.

In the coming weeks, steel I-beems will be put into place to support the bridge. As many as 10 a day will be put into place, over a 100 total will be pounded into the ground.

The construction will be noticeable, more so audibly than visibly. Because of the loud noise that will come from the area the work is limited to taking place between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The Star Tribune reported that according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation the process "involves steel-on-steel impact and generates a significant amount of noise."

In a matter of time, another shift will most likely be added to the contruction process taking place from 6 p.m.-4:30 a.m.

During this time workers will use a special kind of lighting called "balloon" lights that shine downward, and reduce the light disruption to nearby residents.

Dump trucks and loaders will be used in the grading of rock on the north side of the river. The noise from these vehicles and machines may be noticeable for those close to the construction.

"MnDOT is urging the public to stay away from the bridge construction area for safety reasons," the Star Tribune reported. "The best place to view construction activity, the agency said, is on the west side of the 10th Avenue Bridge."

November 14, 2007

Four transplant recipients contract HIV from donor

The New York Times reported that four transplant recipients contracted HIV from an infected donor, which was the first case the virus has been spread through transplants in at least 13 years.

Hepatitis C was also tranmitted to all four patients. This is the first time that any recipient of an organ transplant has contracted both HIV and hepatitis C.

The occurance of this is rare, but it does point to the inadequate testing process for organ donation. The most commonly used test fails to detect diseases if they are administered too early in the course of the disease.

The Associated Press reported that the transplants took place in January at three different hospitals in Chicago, including University of Chicago Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The recipients didn't find out about their contraction of the diseases until the last two weeks, medical officials said.

The screening questionaire administered by the Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donation in Elmhurst, Ill., stated that the donor had said they took part in high-risk behavior, the New York Times reported.

Their test for HIV and hepatitis, however, came back negative. Therefore the doctors at the hospitals in Chicago went ahead with the transplants.

It is probable that the donor contracted the diseases weeks before their death, medical officials said.

"Dr. J. Michael Millis, the chief of transplantation at the University of Chicago, said the patients were devastated, and the doctors heartbroken," the New York Times reported. "But Dr. Millis said the diseases were treatable."

The ELISA test is the most commonly used, but often fails to detect the viruses in donors that have recently been infected.

Another, more sensitive test known at the NAAT test is more likely to pick-up viral infections earlier, but is expensive and very inefficient. Time is of essence with transplants because the organs go bad very quickly after a donor has died, doctors said.

Dr. Robert Brown, director of the liver transplant program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia told the New York Times, “There is always a drive toward better testing, but if it leads to more organ wastage, we’ll probably hurt more people than we help.?