November 2011 Archives

Central Corridor construction heating up

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The Central Corridor construction will be heating up before the weather cools, according to Finance & Commerce.

Construction crews will ramp up their efforts before halting when the ground freezes, said Laura Baenen, communications manager for the Central Corridor LRT project.

The Metropolitan Council says a three-mile stretch of University Avenue in St. Paul will reopen Wednesday, said Baenen, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

The Metropolitan Council estimates that the project is 32 percent complete, and a dry fall helped the contractors make a Nov. 30 deadline, according to Finance & Commerce and MPR.

Star Tribune uses survey for story

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The Star Tribune's recent article, Survey says state is on the wrong track, used numbers in a way that was not overwhelming.

The lead simplifies a survey's actual findings to say "more than half."

The story then falls into a more specific second paragraph, noting similarities with last year's survey.

The reporter may have used some math to arrive at the numbers, but it is unclear.

The numbers come from a survey from St. Cloud State University. It probably does not include all the numbers from the survey.

80 percent of school districts pass levies

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Almost 80 percent of Minnesota school districts passed at least one school levy on Tuesday, according to KSTP.

Over half of all school levies in Minnesota were passed, reported the Pioneer Press.

These numbers are the best in Minnesota since 1997, according to the Minnesota School Boards Association, reported KSTP.

In the Twin Cities area, however, only two of the eight districts passed their levies, according to the Pioneer Press.

"People are willing to raise their taxes," said Bill Morris, an analyst for school districts told, according to the Pioneer Press.

Mario Monti to be Italy's prime minister

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Economist Mario Monti accepted a mandate on Sunday to serve as Italy's prime minister, according to CNN.

Monti will replace Silvio Berlusconi, who resigned Saturday amid Europe's debt crisis, according to CNN.

Monti is taked with creating a new government that can withstand the current debt crisis, according to the New York Times.

"We owe it to our children to give them a dignified and hopeful future," Monti said, according to the New York Times.

Berlusconi called his resignation "an act of generosity" in a video broadcast on television, reported the New York Times.

Penn State, admins may face litigation

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Penn State and some of its faculty could face litigation following a sexual crime scandal at the university, reported the New York Times.

CNN reported that Tom Corbett said a new law is needed to make sure reports of alleged child sexual abuse are made to government authorities.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see if a bill was passed between now and the end of this year," Corbett said, according to CNN.

The New York Times reported that litigation could follow, with at least one expert noting elements of a possible conspiracy are there.

"If Penn State was smart it would spend whatever it takes to find the victims, settle with them, provide treatment and begin rebuilding the image of the university as a place where the safety of children was put above the football program," said Stephen Rubino, a lawyer specializing in sexual abuse cases, according to the New York Times.

Officials reach deal to buy Arden Hills site

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Ramsey County officials reached a deal to buy the Arden Hills site of a proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium for $28.5 million, reported the Pioneer Press.

The price should not top the $30 million budget, commissioners told Gov. Mark Dayton, reported the Star Tribune.

The county has until Aug. 1, 2012 to cancel the purchase if the stadium can't be built there, said commissioner Rafael Ortega, according to the Star Tribune.

A report by Met Council last month warned that land transfer and cleanup costs could approach $70 million, far more than the budget allows, according to the Pioneer Press.

"We've got an agreement with Uncle Sam," said Tony Bennett, a Ramsey County commissioner who believes the deal can meet budget.

Professor hopes to crowdfund lion photos

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A University of Minnesota professor is using a "crowdfunding" strategy to earn money to transmit photos of lions from Tanzania, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Professor Craig Packer has worked to place "more than 200 heat- and motion-activated cameras" in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, reported the Star Tribune.

According to the Minnesota Daily, these cameras produce over a million images a year, but without Internet access, the team cannot transmit them back to the university.

The team estimated it will need $14,000 to get their station online, and hopes to raise this money through the SciFund Challenge online, reported the Minnesota Daily.

"People who are interested in this type of work can actually donate and do their part in helping us complete this project," Packer said, according to the Star Tribune.

Hackers plan to take down Iowa caucuses

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Anonymous, a worldwide group of computer hackers, announced plans to take down the Iowa caucuses, reported the Des Moines Register.

"Both parties are desecrating the American democracy and committing crimes against humanity on behalf of the American people," a video states, which Anonymous claims responsibility for, according to the Des Moines Register.

According to the Huffington Post, the intended attack follows others, including revealing the IP addresses of child porn viewers and a threat to take down Facebook.

The FBI has carried out 75 raids and arrested at least 16 people in connection to hacking operations claimed by Anonymous, and sees the group as a potential national security threat.

Andy Rooney's obituary is traditional

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The New York Times's obitiary of Andy Rooney followed the traditional format fairly well.

It cites a statement by CBS News and quotations from friends and co-workers.

Rooney's obituary includes a few paragraphs about his suspensions from CBS, following offensive comments.

The lead is standart for an obituary, and it does work. Since Rooney was such a character, a more creative lead could have worked, too.

The obituary is different from a resume because it includes much more voice and focus on his opinions, not his work experience.

Occupy MN refuses to remove signs

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Occupy MN protesters are refusing to remove their signs, contrary to Hennepin County's requests to have them removed, reported Minnesota Public Radio.

County officials said protesters did agree to moving their belongings so that the county can flush out the sprinkler system, but they refused to remove signs taped on government property, reported Minnesota Public Radio.

Fox 9 News reported that security officers have removed the signs twice, but protesters insist they aren't budging.

Minnesota Public Radio estimated 40 protesters defende the group's movements Friday, and none were ticketed or arrested.

The group plans to expand their demonstration to a home in North Minneapolis, which is currently being foreclosed upon, reported Minnesota Public Radio.

Hunting claims two deaths

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A hunter fell from his tree stand to his death Saturday near Saum, Minnesota's second hunter death during opening weekend, reported the Star Tribune.

Authorities identified the victim as 72-year-old Gene A. Berthiaume of St. Paul, according to the Pioneer Press.

According to the Pioneer Press, emergency personel administered first aid, but Berthiaume was pronounced dead at the scene.

This was the second hunting-related death of Saturday, the first day of the year for hunting in Minnesota.

Arthur Joseph Knafla, 84, died from a fall off his tree stand when his clothes caught on fire, reported the Star Tribune.

Cain asks journalists to read code of ethics

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Presidential hopeful Herman Cain and his campaign said he's "back on message," following a week of maneuvering sexual harassment allegations, and encouraged journalists not to dwell on "rumors," reported the L.A. Times.

"Don't even go there," Cain told a reporter who asked about the allegations Saturday after a Tea Party event, according to the L.A. Times.

Cain told reporters to read a copy of "the journalistic code of ethics," according to the New York Times.

Republican Jon M. Huntsman wanted more clarity on the situation.

"It's up to Herman Cain to get the information out and get it out in total," Cain said, reported the New York Times.

Iran has nuclear capability, says UN report

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Iran has mastered critical steps to producing nuclear weapons, according to details leaked from an imminent United Nations report, said the New York Times.

According to documents and other records, a Soviet weapons scientist and experts in Pakistan and North Korea helped Iran become nuclear capable, reported the Washington Post.

U.S. intelligence agencies believed Iran had halted nuclear experiments in 2003, but secret intelligence provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency indicate Iran continued the weapons research, according to the Washington Post.

The New York Times says the Obama administration is taking a backseat approach, giving the IAEA full decision-making power.

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