« February 2009 | Main | April 2009 »

March 29, 2009

Obits

An obituary published in the New York Times demonstrated many of the elements discussed in class.

Irving R. Levine's obituary was a good example of the general obituary structure.

The lead began by introducing the Levine with his claim to fame, where he died, when he died and his age. The cause was then written in the second paragraph.

The next paragraphs elaborated on his "claim to fame" as a NBC news correspondent and were followed by the chronology of his life. Finally, the journalist ends the obituary with information about the surviving family members.

The journalist included a lot of strong biographical information but none of it was specifically attributed to a source. This probably is because Levine is important enough for information on his life to be considered well known.

This obituary is effective because it focuses on the most important aspects of Levine's life without sounding like a resume. The key to this effect was focusing on how Levine effected Americans with his economic broadcasts.

Triathlons may cause fatal heart injuries

Triathlons are at least twice as likely to cause sudden death than marathons, according to a study released Saturday by the Minneapolis Heart Institute.

The risk is mainly increased because of the swimming portion in the triathlon, said MPR.

According to statistics, for every million participants in a triathlon, there will be 15 deaths. In a marathon, only four to eight will die.

Even though the risk may be low, triathlons are gaining popularity among people who are not used to such intense exercise. About 1,000 triathlons are held every year, many as charity fundraisers, and several hundred thousand Americans compete, said the Star Tribune.

Dr. Kevin Harris, a cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, ked the study and presented his results at the American College of Cardiology conference in Florida.

Part of the reason the swimming portion is the most dangerous is because cold water constricts blood vessels, which makes the heart work harder and can even trigger an irregular heartbeat.

It is also harder to signal for help or slow down in the swimming portion than in the biking or running portions.

6 dead after shooting in North Carolina nursing home

Six people died and several are injured, including a police officer, after a gunman opened fire in a North Carolina nursing home Sunday morning.

Police apprehended the gunman from Pinelake Health and Rehab in the town of Carthage around 10 a.m., said Los Angeles Times.

A spokeswoman from FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital said that six people were brought to the hospital. Two of the six died at the hospital, but it is unclear whether these two were counted among the six reported dead by the police.

Two of the patients have been discharged, while two were still being treated. No further details have been released on their conditions.

Carthage Police Department Chief Chris McKenzie said to
BBC News that the shooter was an "adult male".

The suspect was also taken to the hospital and will be questioned soon in order to uncover the motive.

The nursing home is about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh and has been open since 1993. It specializes in care for people with Alzheimer's disease.

Palestinian orchestra causes controversy after playing for Holocaust survivors

Leaders of a Palestinian refugee camp shut down a youth orchestra and banned the conductor from returning to the camp after the group played for Holocaust survivors.

Thirteen children, ranging in age from 12 to 18, played Wednesday for about 30 elderly Holocaust survivors at a social club in Holon, Israel. The concert was part of Israeli's annual Good Deeds Day, sponsored by Israeli billionaire Shari Arison, said the Associated Press.

Adnan al-Hindi, the leader of the refugee camp's Popular Committee, a political group that represents the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the children were deceived by Wafaa Younis, the orchestra conductor.

Many parents of the children were told the trip to Holon was an opportunity for artistic expression, but were not given details on the event itself.

“It was a shock and a surprise to the children and their relatives,” he said to the New York Times.

The camp is located on the West Bank in the city of Jenin.

Younis has traveled to the camp for three years to teach music in the camp. Her studio that she rented has now been sealed and she has been barred from entering the camp.

She accused the camp leaders of transferring the orchestra to their control in order to get its funding.

“They want to destroy this group,” she said to the Associate Press. “It’s a shame, it’s a tragedy. What did these poor, elderly people do wrong? What did these children do wrong?”

March 28, 2009

Juror in Craigslist murder trial dismissed

A juror was dismissed Friday from the Craigslist murder case after the defense attorney pointed an inoperative gun at the jurors in a demonstration.

The juror was disturbed by the actions of the defense attorney, Alan Margoles, and asked Scott County District Judge Mary Theisen to be excused, said the Star Tribune.

Margoles represents Micheal Anderson, 20, the man prosecutors say murdered Katherine Ann Olson, 24, by luring her to his home with a false babysitting advertisement on Craigslist in October 2007.

When Margoles began to question the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension firearms expert Kurt Moline about a handgun that was similar to the one used by Anderson, Margoles pointed it in the general direction of the jury.

This action was meant to show jurors how easily the trigger could have been pulled and reinforce the belief that that Anderson killed Olson accidentally and only meant to bring Olson to his home for sexual reasons.

Moline said, however, that the handgun could not be fired unless the shooter cocked the hammer and pulled the trigger. The gun could accidentally fire only if it was already cocked, said the Pioneer Press.

Also on Friday, a former cellmate of Anderson's said that the defendant often bragged of his notoriety as the "Craigslist murderer" while in the Scott County Jail.

Two dead and 50 injured from Red River Flooding

The deaths of two people were reported to the North Dakota Health Department Saturday. The cause of death was cardiac-related due to flood prevention exertion.

The department also reported 50 other injuries related to the flooding of the Red River. They included small injuries such as wrist and ankle stress to serious car accidents, according to an article in the Pioneer Press.

The residents of Fargo and Moorhead received good news Saturday, however, when the National Weather Service said the Red River appears to be temporarily cresting at a lower level than predicted, said the Star Tribune.

The river's all-time high reached 40.82 feet after midnight Saturday but has decreased to 40.65 feet by 12:15 p.m.

Forecasters say that the reason for the decrease is the cold weather. The cold temperatures froze the water in the river, which has significantly slowed its rise. However, the worst may not be over with a winter storm predicted early next week to bring snow and wind gusts.

President Obama assured those affected by the flooding in his weekly radio and Internet address that he will keep watch on the Midwest floods.

"Even as we face an economic crisis which demands our constant focus, forces of nature can also intervene in ways that create other crises to which we must respond — and respond urgently," the president said.

"I will continue to monitor the situation carefully," he pledged. "We will do what must be done to help."

Already the region has received help from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


March 13, 2009

Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend, doctors charged with giving her drugs

Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend and two of her doctors were charged Friday for frequently supplying the former Playboy model with prescription drugs since 2004.

Howard Kevin Stern, 40, and doctors Sandeep Kapoor, 40, and Khristine Eroshevich, 61, have been charged by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office for "prescribing, administering and dispensing controlled substances to an addict" and "unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance," reported Los Angeles Times.

"These individuals furnished thousands of prescription pills to Anna Nicole Smith, often for no legitimate medical purpose," California Attorney General Jerry Brown said in a statement.

Prosecutors said both doctors prescribed thousands of drugs to Stern, who gave them to Smith between June 2004 and January 2007, according to an article in the Star Tribune.

Brown said in his statement that the drugs included opiates, benzodiazepines, and other controlled and non-controlled substances.

Each doctor was also charged with obtaining a prescription for opiates by "fraud, deceit or misrepresentation," and obtaining a prescription for opiates by giving a false name or address.

Examiners said Eroshevich authorized all 11 of the medications found in the Florida hotel room where Smith was found unresponsive on Feb. 8, 2007.

Prosecutors are unsure how long the three could face in prison if convicted.

German teenager kills 15 in school shooting

A 17-year-old teenager killed 15 people Wednesday at his former high school near Stuttgart, Germany.

Tim Kretschmer opened gunfire around 9:30 a.m. at Albertville-Realschule in the small town of Winnenden, reported BBC News .

Nine students, eight of them female, and three teachers were shot with a 9 mm Beretta pistol.

When police arrived, Kretschmer fled. Around 12 p.m. he hijacked a car and told the driver to head toward head towards Wendlingen, a town about 25 miles away.

He continued on foot until he reached a car salesroom, where he shot and killed a salesman and a customer.

He exchanged fire with police until, witnesses say, he shot himself.

When investigators searched Kretschmer's house, they found pornographic films, violent computer games and a collection of horror and action films that included "Rambo First Blood," "Freddy vs. Jason," and "The Marksman," reported International Tribune Herald.

The teen was also familiar with firearms. His father, who legally owned 15 weapons, belonged to a gun club that Kretschmer often went to for target practice.

In 2008, Kretschmer went to several treatment sessions for depression at a psychiatric clinic but failed to complete outpatient care.

Hat worn by Aretha Franklin floods millinery with business

The hat worn by Aretha Franklin at President Obama's inauguration ceremony has caused business to boom at a Detroit millinery.

Luke Song, owner of Mr. Song Millinery, has received more than 5,000 orders for his spring version of the "Aretha Hat" since its debut at the inauguration, reported the New York Times.

The grey felt hat, which was adorned with a large, sloped, rhinestone-laced bow, will be on display at the Smithsonian until it moves to a permanent spot in Obama's presidental library, reported NME Magazine.

Although Song refused to sell replicas of Franklin's hat, the spring version, which is priced at $179, will be similar and available in several pastel colors.

Song's business, Moza Incorporated, made around $1 million in 2008; it is expected to make six or seven times more this year.

Franklin has been a frequent customer of Song's millinery for 20 years. He told the New York Times that he didn't know which hat Franklin would choose for the inauguration, because he sold her three to choose from, but he was glad with her decision.

“It was the one I was pushing her to wear," he told the New York Times.

Many of Song's customers wear the hats to church, synagogues and tea parties, and his hats range in price from $200 - $900.

March 10, 2009

Franken will wrap up case Wednesday

The end of the Senate election trial is in sight after Al Franken's lawyers announced that they plan to rest their case Wednesday.

Final witnesses were heard in court Tuesday, signaling an earlier than expected conclusion of the race for the U.S. Senate seat, reported the Star Tribune.

"We feel good about how our case went, feel good about how we came in leading, and we think we have put into evidence a strong case," lead lawyer Marc Elias told the Star Tribune Tuesday. "We're not there yet ... but we're ending what has been a very long postelection process."

Norm Coleman, who challenged the election recount after Franken was ahead by 225 votes, took more than five weeks to present his side to judges while Franken took seven days if the case wraps up Wednesday.

After Franken is done presenting his case, a small group of voters separate from Coleman or Franken's cases will have the opportunity to argue over the absentee ballots that were rejected. Once that is done, Coleman and Franken will have a chance for rebuttals before closing arguements.

In order to win the case, Coleman must find enough votes from a pool of 12,000 rejected absentee ballots to overturn the current vote count, reported the Pioneer Press.

Substitute teacher fired for being drunk during class

A St. Paul substitute teacher was escorted home from his 4th grade classroom after he apparently had been drinking from a flask of vodka.

Scott Tryggeseth, principal of Roosevelt Elementary West Side School of Excellence, called police around 1 p.m. after a teacher reported the substitute teacher acting suspiciously, reported the Star Tribune.

Police found a pint of Phillips vodka in the man's bag. He was escorted home after blowing a 0.18 on a Breathalyzer test, reported the Pioneer Press.

The man has not been identified but has worked sporadically for St. Paul Public Schools since September 2005.

Tryggeseth assured parents that the man would not work for the district ever again in a letter sent home with students Tuesday.

Sgt. Crum told the Pioneer Press he was unsure if any crime was committee and plans to review the situation with the city attorney's office.

He also said there were conflicting reports on how much students understood the situation. Crum said to the Pioneer Press that the students may have been talking about it but Sharon Freeman, executive director of elementary education for the district, said there was no evidence of this.

The district's policy prohibits the use and/or possession of alcohol on school grounds but does not specify disciplinary measures.

March 8, 2009

Advance

In the article, Bhutan Day held in St. Paul, the Star Tribune advanced an upcoming Bhutan Day celebration.

However, the story is more than just a listing or advertisement because it has a certain angle. The immigration of Bhutanese refugees is a highly relevant issue because the city has become home for many refugees recently.

The article cites Minnesota Public Radio as a source.

The article also includes details about Bhutan, such its current political situation and why the refugees are fleeing.

Lastly, the article gives a description of the event for readers who may be interested in attending or learning more.

Carbon monoxide leak in University of Chicago dorm

150 University of Chicago students were relocated Sunday when high carbon monoxide levels were detected in the dormitory's basement.

Firefighters arrived at 5454 S. Shore Dr. around 1:30 p.m after someone in the building reported a gas leak. The carbon monoxide levels were about 400 parts per million in the basement, said fire department spokesman Joe Roccasalva to the Chicago Tribune.

A building engineer was taken to a hospital in good to fair condition as a precaution.

The fire department evacuated the building and sent five ambulances to the dormitory as a precaution. Emergency crews shut down the boiler and carbon monoxide levels have been decreasing ever since, reported the Chicago Sun Times.

The dormitory is Shoreland Hall and has the capacity to hold 700 students. However only 150 students were in the dormitory at the time. They are currently being housed in a neighboring building.

Illinois pastor killed by gunman

A gunman killed a pastor during a church service Sunday, then stabbed himself and two others as parishioners tried to subdue him.

The gunman entered the First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill., shortly after 8 a.m. and walked down the aisle toward Pastor Fred Winters, reported an Associated Press article in the Wall Street Journal.

The two briefly spoke before the gunman pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and shot Winters once.

Illinois state police spokesman Ralph Timmins said the gunman's gun then jammed, so he pulled out a knife and stabbed himself and two others that were trying to tackle him.

The two people that tackled the gunman suffered non-life threatening injuries while the gunman's injures are said to be "very serious," reported CNN.

Winters was pronounced dead at Anderson Hospital, said spokeswoman Natalie Head to the Associated Press.

The gunman had been taken to a local hospital before being flown to one in St. Louis, where his condition is not immediately known.

It is unknown whether the gunman and Winters knew each other.

Teenager safe after being kidnapped

An Amber Alert that was issued around midnight Sunday for a 17-year-old teenager was canceled after the victim called police shortly after 1 a.m.

Amy Henning of Elbow Lake, Minn., was kidnapped at gunpoint by her stepfather, David Sabby, on Saturday at the West Ridge Mall in Fergus Falls, Minn., reported the Star Tribune.

Henning has a restraining order against Sabby, 46, of Elbow Lake, Minn.

Henning and her stepbrother, who is not biologically related to Sabby, were going to see a movie around 7:30 p.m. when Sabby approached them in the parking lot with a gun. Sabby bound the stepbrother with duct tape and put him in the car Henning drove to the theater. Sabby then fled with Henning outside of the city limits, said Fergus Falls police.

The stepbrother freed himself after 30 minutes and called police.

Sabby released Henning on Sunday and she fled in Sabby's truck to a gas station where she called police.

Sabby was arrested by police when he approached a home near Swan Lake in Otter Tail County looking for a phone.

He is currently being held in Otter Tail County Jail. Police are considering charging him with felony kidnapping, felony possession of a firearm and second-degree assault, reported the Pioneer Press.

Police still do not know the motive for the kidnapping. They also say that Henning was physically uninjured.

Suicide bomber in Baghdad kills 28

28 people were killed and 57 were injured Sunday when a suicide bomber detonated explosives outside a police academy in Baghdad.

The bomber drove his motorcycle into a crowd of people before detonating explosives, reported the BBC. Five of the 28 killed were policemen.

The attack is Iraq's deadliest suicide attack in a month and came after the relative peaceful January elections.

Authorities say that same police academy has been targeted before. On Dec. 1, a suicide bomber wearing a vest killed 15 people and injured 45, reported New York Times.

BBC says that securities measures have been put in place to prevent these attacks, such as concrete blocks and checkpoints, but because there are so many police and recruits coming into the center, security is a challenge to control.

The need to expand Iraq's police and military forces come as 12,000 U.S. soldiers received word that they would not return to Iraq as scheduled.

Body found in Ham Lake golf course

Groundskeepers at a Ham Lake golf course found a body frozen in a pond Friday afternoon.

Only the man's face could be seen above the ice on the 16th hole at Majestic Oaks Golf Course, reported the Star Tribune. The rest of his body was frozen beneath 2 feet of water.

Investigators worked overnight to remove the body, Fox News. They first cut a refrigerator-sized chunk of ice out of the pond and then used a steamer from the Anoka County Highway Department.

Anoka authorities have not identified the man yet, reported the Star Tribune in a follow-up article.

A wallet was found on the man, but authorities will not release the man's identity until the autopsy.

The man's body was preserved well but it will take up to two days for the body to thaw before an autopsy can be conducted.

Investigators believe foul play is involved and that the body was in the area before the November freeze.

March 1, 2009

Press Conference vs. News Story

When President Obama spoke Feb. 9 in his first prime-time news conference, reporters from the New York Times wrote a comprehensive news story using both the given transcript as well as outside information.

In the article, Obama Makes Case as Bill Clears Hurdle, reporters used the speech's transcript in order to clearly state the speech's main points and use quotes to provide support and color.

Although the speech was designed as a press conference, the reporters made the story fair and credible by providing outside background information on the stimulus bill and related the speech to other current events.

If the reporters solely reiterated the contents of the speech, they would not have done their jobs. But by incorporating details from past events, opinions from other people involved, and filling the reader in on the entire issue at hand, the reporters crafted a complete news story.

Obama names Kansas governor as health secretary

Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas accepted President Obama's nomination Saturday for secretary of health and human services.

The Democratic governor endorsed Obama early in his presidental campaign and is known for her bipartisanship, reported the New York Times.

Sebelius' nomination came after Senator Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination because of a failure to pay $128,000 in taxes.

Her position requires overseeing 65,000 employees and a $700 billion budget.

A formal announcement of her nomination is expected on Monday.

The announcement came days before a summit on health reform is scheduled to meet at the White House, according to an article in the
Washington Post
.

The summit will address problems such as soaring health care costs and holes in coverage. It also hopes to encourage public support for an overhaul in the current health care system.

Like Obama's "fiscal responsibility" summit last week, the event will begin with a speech by the president and continue with group discussions led by administration officials.

Obama has proposed to set aside $634 billion for a new reserve fund that would help pay the cost of changing the health care system to provide universal coverage. Currently, about 46 million Americans have no coverage and the number is expected to rise as more people become unemployed.