April 26, 2009

"Chewing gum may raise math grades in teens"

As reported by Yahoo! News, "chewing gum may boost academic performance in teenagers," according to a study, funded by Wrigley, released Wednesday by U.S. researchers.

Craig Johnston and his group from Houston's Baylor College of Medicine found that "students who chewed gum during math class had higher scores on standardized math test after 14 weeks and better grades at the end of the term than student in the class who did not chew gum."

The research team studied 108 math students, ages 13 to 16 years. The students attended a charter school in Houston, Texas.

Approximately half of the students were given Wrigley's sugar-free gum to chew during class, tests and homework. The other half of students were given nothing.

Gil Leveille, executive director of the Wrigley Science Institute, said he thinks "chewing gum helps reduce stress so students can do their best work."

"Morning-after pill to be available to 17-year-olds over counter"

As reported by The Los Angeles Times, "The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that it would allow 17-year-olds to buy the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B without a prescription."

The change in policy occurred after U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman rejected a policy last month from the Bush administration that restricted people under the age of 18 from purchasing non-prescribed emergency contraceptive pills.

The FDA agreed to Korman's ruling. The LA Times wrote that, in a statement Wednesday, the FDA said that it would "support expanded marketing of Plan B to 17-year-olds upon receipt of a request from the drug's manufacturer. Males 17 and older could also buy the drug for their partners."

"No useful purpose would be served by continuing to deprive 17-year-olds access to Plan B without a prescription," Korman said. "The record shows that FDA officials and staff both agreed that 17-year-olds can use Plan B safely without a prescription."

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights said she was glad for the policy change.

"We commend the FDA," Northup said. "It is a key step for the agency as it seeks to restore confidence in its ability to safeguard public health and leave politics at the lab door."

"Hamline University seeks info on anti-gay graffiti"

According to The St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Anti-gay graffiti was discovered Wednesday morning on the Hamline University campus in St. Paul, and officials are asking for help identifying who is responsible."

Hamline spokeswoman JacQui Getty said a majority of the graffiti was found on the Theta Chi fraternity house and the Admissions House. Other words and images were put on shrubbery and walls around the campus.

This vandalism occurred during Hamline's Rainbow Week, which "celebrates and raises awareness about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community," The Pioneer Press reported.

"We are a very inclusive community," Getty said. "It was a shock."

This is Rainbow Week's third year, and nothing like this happened before, Getty said.

Hamline President Linda Hanson said Wednesday, everything possible is being done to find those responsible.

"As a community, we embrace multiculturalism and aspire to be exemplary as an inclusive learning community," Hanson said. "Such acts will not be tolerated at Hamline."

"Bombings kill nearly 90 in Iraq"

As reported by CNN, "Suicide bombers in Iraq launched two deadly attacks Thursday killing at least 55 people in Diyala province and at least 28 people in Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said."

The bomber in Diyala detonated his explosive vest at a restaurant in Imam Wais, more than 40 miles northeast of Baghdad.

In addition to the 55 fatalities, the bombing injured 67 others. An Interior official said the attack targeted Iranian pilgrims. The pilgrims had stopped for lunch at the restaurant where the bomber attacked.

The bomber in Baghdad, who was female, "attacked a crowd of National Police," according to CNN. The bombing killed 28 people, both police and civilians, and wounded 52.

April 25, 2009

"Beekeeping legalized in Minneapolis"

According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously agreed to lift a 34-year-old ban on apiaries within city limits Friday.

Council Member Diane Hofstede proposed the lift, which requires prospective beekeepers to have applications approved. The applications should be available around June 1.

Qualifications for application approval depend on the size of the beekeepers' lots. If lots are more than 4 acres, "keepers will need consent from all property owners within 150 feet of the hives and 80 percent of the owners within 250 feet of the hives," The Star Tribune reports.

On typical city lots, beekeepers will need to obtain "consenting signatures from all abutting property owners," and 80 percent of the owners within 100 feet of their property.

No more than two hives are allowed to be kept on a typical city lot. The lot would need to be surrounded by a fence and, as written by The Star Tribune, have "flyaways devised with barriers to get bees to altitude quickly when the hive is near a property line."

Beekeepers would also be required to get schooling and a city permit. Initially, the permit would cost $100, and would cost $50 annually.

Analysis (Week of 4/20)

For this week's analysis entry, I looked at an "5.5 SECONDS," an article from The Washington Post.

The author, a journalist for the Washington Post, uses extensive computer skills to organize facts about the case. A timeline with 360 degree views of different points in the incident is used with interactive links showing where the officer fled and where the suspect died. Below the pictorial timeline is a detailed written timeline accompanied by related audio from police radio dispatches and 911 calls.

The author also includes a link to an in-depth ICR from the police department involved in the case. Evidence is also provided on gun details, ShotSpotter sensors, police memos, autopsy findings, a police interview, and other key documents. A 3-dimensional map of the crime scene is included with details on specific locations, physical evidence, and various measurements of movement patterns. A video entitled "A Father's Grief" is also included. The video is an interview with the victim's father, including pictures of the boy.

The journalist obviously has a great set of computer skills. She was able to compile a great deal of evidence through public records, photographs and film footage. She also created numerous views of the crime scene through 360 degree photographs and a 3-dimensional diagram.

April 19, 2009

"Man Jailed for Peeing on Woman on Plane"

According to AOL News, a man was sentenced to three weeks in jail for urinating on a 66-year-old woman during a flight last month.

Jerome Kenneth Kingzio, 28, was charged with assault Tuesday after pleading guilty to urinating on the woman during the flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

Kingzio stood up and urinated on the woman during the flight. As reported by AOL News, "the victim was headed to Hawaii on March 21 for a scuba diving vacation and was watching an in-flight movie."

The woman is still suffering emotionally, U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo Jr. said.

"Couple and their 3 children found dead in Maryland home"

According to The Los Angeles Times, "A father, 34, killed his wife and their three young children before fatally shooting himself in a northwest Maryland home," on Saturday.

Christopher Alan Wood killed himself after fatally shooting his wife, Francis Bilotti Wood, 33, and their children.

Their sons were ages 5 and 4, and their daughter was 2-years-old. The boys were found in their beds, the girl was found in the master bedroom with Francis and Christopher's body was at the foot of his bed.

The bodies were discovered around 9 a.m. Saturday, by a relative who immediately notified police.

The children had "traumatic cuts" in addition to the gunshot wounds.

"Investigators also found a shotgun and other items they believed were used to cut the victims," the LA Times reported.

"I'm still sick to my stomach," neighbor Peggy Lawrence said. "Makes you realize you never know what's going on in people's lives."

"Vandal throws eggs at Norm Coleman's St. Paul home"

As reported by The St. Paul Pioneer Press, "a young man threw eggs at former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's house" Tuesday night.

Around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, Coleman "heard thumping" on the door of his home. When he looked outside, a young man was saying various obscenities, and threw another egg at Coleman.

"I kind of ducked," Coleman said. "I ran after him but I didn't get him."

Coleman described the young man in his late teens or early 20s, and he was riding a bicycle.

The suspect said, "I (expletive) can't stand what you represent," Coleman said.

The suspect was not caught, police spokesman Peter Panos said. If found, he will be charged with a misdemeanor criminal damage to property.

"Car fleeing police crashes on I-94"

According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune, "A car fleeing Minneapolis police on Friday afternoon drove onto eastbound Interstate 94 going the wrong way and crashed head-on into two cars."

After a police officer saw an Audi speed through an intersection at about 60 miles per hour, he turned his lights and siren on and pursued the vehicle.

As the Star Tribune reported, "the car turned north onto Lyndale Avenue going the wrong way on the one-way street."

The officer was ordered to cease the pursuit, said Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia. He then watched as the driver headed down an I-94 exit ramp into oncoming traffic.

The car, going the wrong way, eventually hit two vehicles. There were no serious injuries.

According to Garcia, the driver told police he was racing another vehicle.

"At least 20 killed in Pakistan suicide bombing"

A suicide bomber killed at least 20 people and wounded 15 others in Pakistan on Saturday.

Fatalities included soldiers, civilians and police, and more than 11 military vehicles were damaged.

The bomber "rammed his vehicle into a security forces convoy," CNN reported.

The incident occurred in the village of Doaba in Islamabad. According to Farid Khan, deputy police superintendent in the Hangu District of North West Frontier Province, the attack was near a security checkpoint.

April 12, 2009

Man charged with trying to start fire at Mall of America

"A 24-year-old Minneapolis man is accused of three felonies from two incidents in which he allegedly made terroristic threats and tried to start a fire at the Mall of America," according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Andrew Nietz was taken to the Hennepin County Jail Thursday, with one charge of arson and two of terroristic threats.

Nietz told police officers he had an "incendiary device" at the mall April 1. That day, "a backpack loaded with an aerosol can had exploded and caught fire in the third-floor transit area," the Star Tribune reported.

According to the complaint, Nietz told officers "he was a terrorist, that he had rocket-propelled grenades and that he knew all about guns."

On Tuesday, was accused of attempting to light transit brochures on fire. He told security officers that he was a terrorist and that he had explosives.

The suspect confessed to the both incidents and threats he made towards police and security officers in a police interview.

"St. Paul Planned Parenthood clinic sees record protests - on both sides"

As reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, more than 2,000 people protested outside St. Paul's Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, "making it the largest group in more than 25 years of Good Friday protests."

Brian Gibson, Pro-Life Action Ministries executive director, said the large attendance came from "the pro-abortion atmosphere coming out of the White House and Congress, and people wanting to show there are still pro-life people out there."

A counter-protest group also set a new assembly record, in a food drive outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Highland Park.

Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said the "pledge-a-protester" event raised more than $14,000 for the Hallie Q. Brown Food Shelf.

"Fifth body part 'from same man'"

According to BBC News, a man's torso was found Saturday in a ditch in England, belonging to the same victim whose other body parts were found across the country.

The torso was found inside a suitcase near the main A10 road.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that the torso, found in Ware, Hertfordshire, is connected to "an ongoing joint murder investigation taking place between detectives in the Bedordshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit and detectives in Leicestershire."

The unidentified victim's legs, forearm and head were each previously found in different locations.

April 11, 2009

"Court fines mother for phoning son too much"

As published on Yahoo News, a 73-year-old Austrian woman was fined by a court for stalking her son with numerous phone calls.

The unidentified woman, from Klagenfurt, called her son up to 49 times per day over two-and-a-half years. She was fined 360 euros by the city's court.

According to Kleine Zeitung, an Austrian newspaper, the woman said she "just wanted to talk to him."

"I've never seen my grandchild -- who is already 15-years-old."