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March 29, 2009

Analysis (Week of 3/23)

Edward Anderson, man behind mini-doughnut machine

Mike Foster, a business consultant for Anderson's Plymouth-based firm
Anderson's son, Charlie
sales manager Brian O'Gara

The obituary has an alternative lead:
"There might not be a more quintessential food at the Minnesota State Fair than mini-doughnuts, and for that we can thank entrepreneur Edward M. Anderson."

The lead works for the obituary because it shows the connection between Anderson and Minnesotans through the tradition of the Minnesota State Fair and the love of his delectable doughnuts.

The obituary differs from a resume because it is a more emotionally involved tribute to a person's life and accomplishments rather than a straight listing of facts. The obituary also usually employs quotes from those who knew the person featured in the obituary well.

"Zac Efron & Vanessa Hudgens Talk Zac’s Grown-Up Photoshoot"

Zac Efron's image of wholesome teen idol got dirtier earlier this month with a photo shoot for Interview Magazine.

According to Access Hollywood, "going from 'High School Musical' to posing with a nude model was 'pretty crazy' even by his standards.

Efron said that the model he worked with was very professional, and he enjoyed doing the shoot.

"I had a great time," he said. "It was a refreshing kind of change."

Efron's image has had some recent changes while his career is expanding. He told Access Hollywood that he's "looking froward to going in a different direction."

Vanessa Hudgens, Efron's girlfriend, is also admiring the way he is branching out. When asked about the photos, Hudgen's told Access Hollwood, "They're sexy."

"8 killed in North Carolina nursing home"

A North Carolina man, 45, killed seven residents and a nurse in a nursing home Sunday morning.

The gunman, Robert Stewart, wounded three others, including the police officer who stopped the incident.

The incident began around 10 a.m. in the North Carolina Sandhills. Officer Justin Garner, 25, ended the attack after wounding Stewart. Garner was shot in the leg.

According to the LA Times, Stewart was charged Sunday with eight counts of first-degree murder and a single charge of felony assault of a law enforcement officer.

Investigators concluded that Stewart was not involved with the nursing home and his victims in any way, and declined to comment on a possible motive.

"St. Paul school kids report driver tried to lure them into van"

"Several students at Webster Magnet Elementary in St. Paul reported that a Minneapolis man tried to lure them into his vehicle in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood Wednesday morning," according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Ramon Topete Pavon, 21, was charged with aggravated stalking Friday by the Ramsey County attorney's office.

According to the criminal complaint, the incident occurred around 7:30 Wednesday. Children reported that Pavon "called out for them to come over," drove around the block a few times and even exited the van in one attempt.

A 13-year-old girl managed to record Pavon's license plate number.

Officer Amanda Heu witnessed Pavon's vehicle near Case and Payne avenues Thursday. When Heu asked Pavon a few questions, he said that he "had just dropped off his wife at work," and that he had not been driving in the same area the previous day.

After Pavon's wife denounced that his brother had taken her to work the day before, Pavon was arrested.

As of Friday, Pavon has been in Ramsey County Jail with a $20,000 bail.

"Lottery sting might have caught clerks trying to cash in"

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Five convenience store employees and three accomplices are facing lottery fraud charges after they were caught by undercover investigators allegedly trying to cash in winning lottery tickets for themselves."

In December and January, the Minnesota State Lottery's security office and the state's Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division organized and executed a "sting operation." As written by the Star Tribune, the operation tested "whether employees at lottery retailers were lying to players about the value of their tickets and then trying to redeem the winnings."

Clint Harris, the Minnesota State Lottery's executive director, said he was proud that "the majority of the tested employees didn't give into temptation." Only 5 of the 186 stores in the metro area that were targeted did not pass.

Eight people were charged with felony lottery fraud at the investigation's conclusion, with charges that may include a maximum of five years in prison, a $25,000 fine or both.

Lights go out across planet for Earth Hour

Lights went out in major cities around the world in honor of Earth Hour Sunday.

According to CNN.com, "millions of homes and businesses in major cities went dark for one hour in a symbolic gesture to highlight concerns over climate change."

All around the world, famous landmarks went dark. The Sydney Opera House, China's "Bird's Nest" Olympic Stadium and the face of the Big Ben clock tower are a few of those that participated.

World Wildlife Fund CEO Carter Roberts told CNN that he anticipated 100 million participants.

"We need to take action now," said Roberts. "The world is watching to see what America is going to do, because if America acts on climate change, the world will follow."

March 15, 2009

"Dying Woman Wants Plastic Surgery"

According to AOL.com, a British woman dying of cancer plans to have plastic surgery to make herself resemble Demi Moore.

Lisa Connell, 29, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2007.

"People think I'm crazy for wanting to do this, but I know it will make my last months or years happier," she told London's Daily Mirror. "I want to die beautiful. This is my way of getting the control back in my life."

Angela Connell, Lisa's mother, will pay for Lisa's surgery with money she saved for her wedding. Although she disagrees with the procedure, Angela said she wants her daughter to be happy.

"She is my daughter, I love her and I want to bring joy to her life for however long she may have left," she said.

As written by AOL.com, Lisa's surgery will include liposuction, an eyebrow lift, a breast enhancement and work on her skin and teeth.

Man kills 4 at family gathering in Miami before going home and shooting himself

A Miami man fatally shot his estranged wife and three others Sunday, set his house and truck on fire and then killed himself.

The man, whose name was not released, arrived at a birthday party he was uninvited to and, according to homicide detective Ervens Ford, "told about a dozen people there that he blamed them for his wife leaving him."

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, he open fired, killing his wife, 51, and his wife's mother and daughter. The other victim, whose birthday was being celebrated, was the daughter's boyfriend.

Police said that "the man and his wife were married about four years." They didn't know when she left him.

Juan Sosa, a neighbor, called police after he heard gunshots and saw people running from the birthday party. The second call to police came from someone who saw the man's house and truck on fire and heard more gunshots.

Neighbors of the gunman said "there had never been any problems with police and the man and his wife were often seen in their yard barbecuing."

"4 tourists killed, 3 injured in Yemen bombing"

According to CNN.com, "Four tourists were killed and three injured Sunday when a bomb exploded in the Yemeni city of Al Shibam."

The four fatalities were citizens of South Korea. Although they had died on the scene, they were brought to the hospital immediately following the incident. Of the three injured, one was in serious condition, and their nationality was not determined.

"The explosion occurred about 7:30 p.m.," said Hakim Al-Masmari, editor-in-chief of the Daily Yemen Post. Masmari, who got his information from on-the-scene correspondents, said that the bomb could be hear more than 2 miles away.

The seven tourists had been taking pictures of Shibam when the bomb was detonated.

As reported by CNN.com, terrorists have not been excluded.

St. Paul St. Paul school fires substitute teacher for drinking on the job

A substitute teacher at a St. Paul elementary school was fired Tuesday for drinking on the job.

The teacher, who has not been named, was removed from Roosevelt Elementary after police were called around 1 p.m. Principal Scott Tryggeseth called police and reported that the teacher had been acting "suspiciously."

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "police administered a Breathalyzer to the teacher." His blood alcohol level registered at 0.18.

A pint of Phillips vodka was found in the teacher's possession.

Tryggeseth issued letters to parents after the incident briefly explaining the situation.

"A substitute teacher was dismissed today after we became aware that he may have been under the influence of alcohol. He will not be retuning to our or any other St. Paul Public Schools building," wrote Tryggeseth.

"Bullet will stay in the back of boy shot near Farview Park"

The bullet that hit a Minneapolis boy Friday will stay in his back for the rest of his life.

Truvontee McElroy, 11, was shot in the stomach while waiting at a bus stop near Farview Park. A 15-year-old girl was shot in the leg during the same incident.

McElroy was shot in the stomach. The bullet cut his colon in half before embedding itself in one of his back muscles. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, doctors are weary of removing the bullet as a risk of injuring McElroy more.

McElroy and the other victim were shot near 29th and Lyndale Avenues at 5:45 p.m. Friday from a few blocks away. While police said they have information on the suspect, they have declined to release anything.

No arrests have yet been made.

March 8, 2009

Analysis (Week of 3/2)

The article that I chose is an advance for another film in the Harry Potter series.

The only source attributed in the story, from People.com, is Warner Bros. Studios.

The angle of the story is to announce that the movie based on the seventh book in the series will be released in two separate films. The article heightens the anticipation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II by announcing its release date.

The reporter made this more than a listing by starting with a hook ("Mark your calendar) and then giving further details about Part I, the five previous films in the series and their box office record of $4.5 billion.

Barbie's Dream House is Now a Reality

For her 50th birthday, Barbie's Malibu Dream House was created in a 3,500-square-foot home by Jonathan Adler.

The home, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean, was decorated by Adler for Monday's party honoring the birthday girl. According to The Huffington Post, the mansion is "frequently rented for film and photography shoots" and took Adler six months to plan and a few weeks to install.

Adler, who has served as a head judge on Bravo's "Top Design," was commissioned by Mattel Inc. to decorate the property. The company gave him access to countless Barbie archives for references.

Every inch of the home has been personalized for Barbie. Her bedroom is floored with pink carpeting with her initial. Adler also filled her closet with 50 pairs of pink peep-toe heels, included an in-house vintage Barbie doll museum and parked a pink Volkswagen New Beetle - complete with a pop-up vanity in the trunk - in her garage.

"Barbie was a dream client," Adler said. "She exists as fantasy and is the perfect client because she's always happy and fun and loves everything. I thought to myself, 'How would Barbie live?' She would have a house that is glamorous, kittenish, chic, colorful and happy - as well as functional."

After Monday's party, Barbie's custom furnishings will be shipped to the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. They will be used to furnish a special pink-tinted Barbie Suite that will be available for event bookings.

"Hit-and-run victim remains in critical condition"

The Apple Valley woman, 26, struck by a hit-and-run motorist last week is still in critical condition, according to the Pioneer Press.

Joan LeVasseur was brought to Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville after she was hit by a vehicle at the intersection of Cedar Avenue and 153rd Street around 9:15 p.m. Friday.

The vehicle, which left the scene without stopping, was described as a large and light-colored.

LeVasseur, who is deaf, was later transferred to Hennepin County Medical Center, where she was treated for head trauma, a severe brain injury, facial lacerations, a broken hand and fractures on her legs and pelvis.

The Pioneer Press wrote that "anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Apple Valley police at 952-953-2700 or the Dakota County Communications Center at 651-322-2323."

"Suicide bomber targets Iraqi police, 32 killed"

A suicide bomber killed 32 people in Baghdad at the entrance of the city's main police academy Sunday.

According to MSNBC, the blast was "the second major attack to hit Iraqis in three days and the deadliest to strike Bahdad in nearly a month."

The bomber detonated his explosives while driving his motorcycle into a group of people near the side of the academy.

The victims killed included 19 special guard recruits, nine policemen, four traffic police and approximately 60 others were wounded.

A few hours after the explosion, the U.S. military announced that 12,000 American and 4,000 British troops will vacate Iraq by September.

Maj. Gen. David Perkins said the troop withdrawals will "reduce U.S. combat power from 14 brigades to 12 along with some supporting units."

"It's indicative that al-Qaida feels threatened. They're feeling desperate. They want very much to maintain relevance," he said.

"Charges dismissed in St. Paul shooting case"

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, assault charges were dismissed Friday against a St. Paul man who was accused of "participating in the shooting of a pregnant woman, her fetus and her boyfriend last May on the city's upper East Side."

Lee Vang, 31, was charged with three counts of second-degree assault in November. Vang had not originally been involved as a suspect until he was included in a confession from Evalyn Bheaanu.

Bheaanu pleaded guilty to all three charges in August, saying that Vang shot through Andrea Benhamin's apartment door on May 18. She said that Vang did that "because he was mad that Bheaanu had been beaten up and robbed earlier that night."

The Star Tribune reported that Benjamin was shot in the stomach and "later gave birth to a pre-term baby boy." The baby was injured by the bullet, which went through his buttocks and leg.

Benjamin and her baby both survived.

Bheannu is serving 36-, 46- and 61-month sentences simultaneously.

"1 dead in Illinois church shooting"

A gunman killed a minister and injured two congregation members of an Illinois church during Sunday morning's service.

According to the Los Angeles Times, pastor Fred Winters was killed after the unidentified suspect shot him with a .45-caliber handgun.

As told by Master Trooper Ralph Timmins, "the man walked down the aisle during the early service at First Baptist Church in Maryville." The gunman "exchanged words" with Winters, pulled out a gun and shot Winters once.

After the suspect's gun jammed, he "pulled out a knife and injured himself." Congregation members tried to restrain the suspect. Two were injured.

The LA Times reported that "Timmins said officials didn't know if Winters and the suspect knew each other."

Winters was a pastor at First Baptist for almost 22 years and a father of two.

March 1, 2009

"For exposing himself to young girls, man gets 84 days in jail, six years' probation"

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that "a Fridley man will spend 84 days in jail and be on probation for six years following a sentencing hearing Friday for exposing himself to several girls last year."

Brian Erik Thompson, 26, will begin his sentence on March 13. In addition to his jail sentence, Thompson must pay a fine, "remain law-abiding," abstain from contact with the victims, minors or "vulnerable adults," access the Internet only if approved, and "possess no pornographic or sexually explicit material."

Thompson pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct in November. He was charged with three incidents in 2008 where he exposed himself to girls younger than 16.

"I know that it was wrong," Thompson told Judge Robert Awsumb.

"I'm so sorry for that. I wish I could take it back, take it all back. I want to let you know that this won't happen again," Thompson said.

"Siegfried and Roy stage comeback for charity"

According to Yahoo News, illusionists Siegfried and Roy will take their "final bow" in a one-night-only charity performance in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The Keep Memory Alive Foundation will be hosting the event during which Roy Horn and Siegfried Fischabacher will perform a single illusion. The promoters wouldn't say if tigers would be involved, and that the act "was expected to last no more than 15 minutes."

The performance will benefit the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and will be held at the Bellagio hotel-casino.

In October 2003 Horn, now 64, was attacked by one of the duo's Bengal tigers during a live performance. The tiger "sank its teeth into Horn's neck...and dragged him offstage," leaving him partially paralyzed with a damaged neck artery and a crushed windpipe.

After performing together for 45 years, "Siegfried and Roy" came to an immediate close.

The center that their Saturday performance will benefit is where brain disorders similar to Horn's are treated. It "is set to open later this year in a building designed by architect Frank Gehry," as reported by Yahoo News.

The performance will air in a one-hour special on ABC's "20/20" on March 6.

"Romanian plane survives emergency"

A plane made an emergency landing in Romania on Saturday, injuring none of its passengers.

The plane, belonging to Romanian airline Carpatair, was forced to land at Timisoara International Airport after the landing gear jammed. It was in transit from Chisinau to Timisoara.

According to BBC, the pilots, Yuri Lyakhov and Leonid Babinsky, circled the Saab 2000 around the airport for almost two hours in order to use up fuel. The plane finally landed with its nose down on a 200 yard foam bed.

There were 47 passengers and 4 crew members on the flight. The passengers included Romanians, Moldovans, Germans, Italians and Greeks.

No one on board was injured.

"We did our job without feeling like heroes. We weren't scared. We are trained for these kinds of situations," Lyakhov said.

Analysis (Week of 2/23)

For my analysis I chose to focus on a press release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and an article about the press release from The New York Times.

When comparing the two items, I found a considerable difference in the tone of each written document. The press release gives a detailed statement about the changes it plans to make with prescription medications, explaining the positive results of doing so. The article, on the other hand, paints the FDA's revisions in a recognizably negative light. The reporter's wording and choice of quotes all view the changes as unfavorable.

The press release and the newspaper article also differed in their use of statistical information. These include the amount of money spent by the nation on medical errors "that could be avoided," studies that show "that fewer than one in 10 physicians routinely read drug labels," and the number of deaths in hospitals every year due to medical errors.

Nothing was mentioned about advertising in press release as well. However, the following was written in the article:

"The new rule does not affect the drug information sheets that patients routinely receive, but is likely to result in major changes to drug advertisements and may offer some liability protections to drug makers."

"2 NFL players among boaters missing in Florida"

According to CNN, "two NFL players are among four boaters missing since Saturday night off Florida's Gulf Coast."

Marquis Cooper, a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders, and Corey Smith, who played for the Detroit Lions for the past three seasons, have not been seen or heard from since they left for a fishing trip on Saturday near Clearwater, Florida.

The other two missing are William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler, former University of South Florida football players.

The Coast Guard started searching for the four men around 2 a.m. Sunday. Most of their search has been done by air because of "poor visibility from heavy waves.

As reported by CNN, "searchers have focused on 750 square miles of open water in the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles west of Clearwater Pass." The men had left around 6:30 a.m. Saturday from the Seminole Boat Ramp.

The boat the men took out, is a center-console 21-foot single-engine vessel made by Everglades Boats. It's considered to be "unsinkable."

Cooper's father, Bruce, described his son as an "avid fisherman."

"Fishing is his first love, it always has been," Cooper's wife, Rebekah, said. "I have a lot of faith in him out there."

Family, friends and teammates of the four men have been expressing their prayers and concerns over the incident.

"It feels like my greatest fear coming true -- it doesn't feel real," Rebekah said on Sunday afternoon. "I'm just waiting for a phone call."

"2 teens shot at Southdale Mall"

Two teenage boys, 15 and 18, were shot during a gang-related fight in a Southdale mall parking lot Friday evening.

According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune, one of the boys was shot in the leg and the other was shot in the abdomen, requiring surgery. Both boys, whose names have not been released, were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis after the incident in the parking lot outside the J.C. Penney store.

Police Cheif Mike Siitari said that "at least four shots from a .45-caliber handgun were fired during the clash between the rival Hispanic groups."

The shooter, who has not yet been identified, is "believed to be between 16 and 18 years old." Investigators have been reviewing security tapes from that evening in an attempt to find more clues.

"No arrests had been made as of late Friday," Siitari told The Star Tribune.