May 2013 Archives

Kidnapped Women in Cleveland Rescued: National News

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I chose this article from the Extra Extra section of www.nicar.org.

Since Rep. Mel Watt started in Congress in 1992, he has received $1.33 million in campaign contributions from the finance, real estate and insurance industries.

The records in this story state that President Obama appointed Watt to oversee mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Watt has received more campaign money from financial interests than any other industry of special interest.

Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), in short, govern the integrity of home loans, lending refinancing, and loan modifications.

This article talks about where the campaign money has come from for Rep. Mel Watt, how much it has cost the U.S. government and other finance giants, and the percent of new mortgages Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy (90 percent).

This author, Alison Fitzgerald, accessed the company's websites to get information. She also managed to get information from the U.S. Treasury on the amount Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cost the U.S. government.

There were no interactive graphics included on this site, but the reporter did understand the skills needed to find the statistics she ended up using in her article. She obviously knew how to sift through public records to find the most relevant information that helped the readers understand the depth of the campaign costs for Rep. Mel Watt.

Fitzgerald found an interesting piece of information from the Fannie Mae website, which said Fannie Mae has contributed $3.3 trillion in mortgage credit to the market. She calculated how much both companies have borrowed from the U.S. government.

Fitzgerald related each of her statistics to the time period it was happening in, and how it was relevant/contributed to Watt's campaign.

Alcohol Sales at Lake Harriet: Local News

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Wine and beer is likely to be legalized during summer music shows on Lake Harriet.

The City Council regulatory committee voted on Monday to approve a wine and beer license at the Bread & Pickle, an eatery abutting the band shell on Lake Harriet. It is expected to receive approval from the full council on May 10, the Star Tribune said.

Some city officials say they want to limit liquor sales to just the back patio of Bread & Pickle, KSTPsaid.

Other people say that limiting the sales to the back patio isn't smart. It would make drinking beer or wine at the actual band shell, illegal, KSTP said.

The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council approved the license application, the Star Tribune said.

Two other park/lake eateries, Sea Salt at Minnehaha Falls and Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun, already serve alcohol.

Bread & Pickle owner, Kim Bartmann said it would likely take four to six weeks after approval before the eatery can start serving, the Star Tribune said.

The children of illegal U.S. immigrants, are eligible for in-state tuition at the University of Minnesota after the Minn. senate passed the "Path to Prosperity Act" on Wednesday.

The University of Minnesota, along with other state universities and colleges, will allow undocumented children of illegal immigrants to be granted in-state tuition, financial aid, under the Path to Prosperity Act, also known as the Dream Act, CBS said.

The bill will allow these benefits, provided that the illegal immigrants attend a Minnesota high school for at least three years, CBS said.

Fewer than 500 students will take advantage of the Dream Act. Sen. Sandy Pappas said. It is more of a symbolic act stating that immigrants can also get an affordable college education, Star Tribune said.

The Dream Act is sponsored by Sen. Pappas. It has been debated for the past ten years, but has recently gained momentum as immigration reforms are now prevalent at the state and federal level, Star Tribune said.

Marco Loera, an 18-year-old senior at Mayo High School in Rochester said his parents are not U.S citizens and he's not eligible for in-state tuition rates and aid. He said it would be difficult to afford college without in-state rates and financial aid, CBS said.

A 5-year-old boy fatally shot his 2-year-old sister after firing a rifle he had gotten as a gift, Ky. state officials said.

Caroline S. was in her home in Burkesville, Ky., when her brother fired the rifle he had been given as a birthday present. The incident happened around 1 p.m. Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times said.

CNN reported the shooting, which took Caroline's life, has been ruled an accident, Kentucky State Police Trooper, Billy Gregory, said. Young children in the area are introduced to guns at an early age, he said.

The children's mother has just stepped outside he house for a moment. Caroline was pronounced dead at Cumberland County Hospital, the Los Angeles Times said.

Caroline's death comes after two other incidents involving young children shooting others. In early April, a 4-year-old Tennessee boy fatally shot a 48-year-old woman, and a few days later 6-year-old Brandon Hold as killed in New Jersey after his 4-year-old playmate shot him in the head, CNN said.

The rifle used was a Crickett, a company whose slogan is, "My First Rifle." It is a .22-caliber rifle, and one shot was enough to kill a 2-year-old girl. It is a single-shot rifle and it has a child safety, CNN said.

In Kentucky, it is legal to give a child a rife as a gift, Cumberland County Coroner Gary L. White said. It is not unusual for children to have rifles, he said.


**Cannot find if the last name of this family is STARKS or SPARKS, because it is used differently from article to article. I used Caroline S., to avoid confusion.

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