March 2011 Archives

A Minnesota sports legend passes away

Glenn (Gos) Gostick will be remembered as a baseball statistician, coach, catcher and athletic trainer in the history of Minnesota sports.
As a legend in baseball for his ability to analyze players and the game, Gostick was often called on by sportswriters to talk about Hall of Fame votes and one Twins player even used his statistics in contract negotiations, according to the Star Tribune.
Every year, Gostick would hand out a copy of "The World of Gos" to his friends, family, managers, writers and even his doctor, which included a year's worth of baseball statistic sheets, which he wrote on graph paper.
However, Gostick did not share these statistics with just anyone.
According to the Star Tribune, Gostick never answered his door and never had a working phone number, forcing sportswriters to write him letters.
Before he was a recognized baseball statistician, Gostick was the University of Minnesota Gopher's starting catcher from 1949 to 1951 in addition to playing for a few minor league teams including those in Duluth, Mayville, Ky., and Muskogee, Okla.
Gostick died of a heart attack last week at the age of 83.
According to the Pioneer Press, he was found near statistics research used for compiling "The World of Gus," which he had been working on the previous day.
Before he died, Gostick requested that he have no funeral service. Instead, he wanted his body to be donated to the University of Colorado medical school.

The 101-year-old dancer

On Saturday, those who knew and loved Ida Arbeit joined to celebrate her life at the Wellington Assisted Living in St. Paul.
Arbeit, the 101-year old dancer, died on Tuesday, March 15th, leaving behind an extraordinary story.
Born to Russian immigrants living in New York City on Dec. 7, 1909, Arbeit began dancing during the depression and became the first student of Helen Tamiris in 1928.
However, when Tamiris started the Federal Dance Theater Project under the Works Project Administration, Arbeit was forced to lie.
"All the dancers wanted to join," Arbeit told the Star Tribune. "But you had to be poor. I wanted to dance, so I lied."
Besides her work with the Federal Dance Theater Project, Arbeit also worked with Kairos Dance Theater, a modern dance company in St. Paul.
Maria DuBois Genné, who is the artistic director of Kairos, described Arbeit as "a dancer who happens to be 99" not "a 99-year-old dancer," according to an interview she did with American Jewish World News two years ago.
Arbeit's last live performance with Kairos was in December 2010.
To the very end, it was clear that Arbeit was always up for change. In fact, she didn't move to St. Paul until she was 99 years old after her son convinced her to move from Long Island in 2008.
The last time she danced was just one day before her death, the Star Tribune reported.

The wrestling past of Allen Ruby

Allen Ruby is best known as the lead lawyer in the case against Barry Bonds, the former San Francisco Giants player whose charges include lying to a federal grand jury about knowingly using performance-enhancing supplements, the Associated Press reported.
However, his wrestling past prepared him for challenges in the courtroom.
Before going to Stanford Law School, Ruby wrestled professionally and his upbringing played a large role in his passion for the sport.
"My dad was a wrestler, and then a wrestling booking agent and a wrestling booking promoter," Ruby told the Associated Press. "And it was a family business, so I wrestled and announced and did various things in and around the business basically until I went to law school."
Although wrestling does not seem to have much of a connection to studying law, Ruby said he wanted to be a lawyer ever since he was seven years old.
Turning 66 in July, Ruby said he can't imagine having any other career where he would get to meet so many interesting people, the Associated Press reported.
In the courtroom, Ruby commands attention. He is dramatic with his motions and skeptically cross examines those on the stand.
Besides the case against Bonds, Ruby has defended NFL players and political leaders, such as Ron Gonzales, the former San Jose Mayor.
So far in the case against Bonds, Allen has been in the public eye as the representative for the team. He has displayed his cut-throat techniques with his "opening statements" and "unrelenting cross examinations," The Recorder reported.

Claude Angeli's journalistic fight against technology

Claude Angeli is a die-hard newspaper fanatic. The 79-year-old executive editor of Le Canard Enchaîné in France believes in an old-fashioned approach to journalism.
He writes all of his articles in long-hand and fewer than half of his staff of 16 journalists work on computers.
"If we put our stories up on the Internet, who would buy the paper on Wednesday?" Angeli said to The New York Times.
However, Angeli's old-fashioned ways are part of his success.
In France, where large daily newspapers such as Libération and Le Figaro are failing, Angeli's combination of satire, investigative reporting and columns keeps him on top. There are no advertisements in Le Canard Enchaîné.
He attributes some of his best investigative reporting to the change in office in 2008. Since Nicolas Sarkozy took office, Angeli's newspaper affectionately refers to him as "Sarkoléon," according to The New York Times.
Since many government officials in France don't hold the highest opinion of Sarkozy, Angeli thinks there have been more leaks than usual. This has lead to intriguing stories and a 32 percent rise in circulation. Le Canard Enchaîné now prints 700,000 copies weekly, according to Spiegel Online.
In the past year, Angeli's 20-page newspaper has uncovered many scandals involving the French government, including "the public official who charged about $16,800 worth of cigars to the state and the one who lied about the size of his house to get around zoning laws in Provence," The New York Times reported.
Angeli told The New York Times, "It has been an interesting year."
Angeli, who did not originally plan to become a journalist, has been at Le Canard Enchaîné for 40. Taking over 20 years ago, Angeli said that he has no plans of giving up writing or editing, even at 79 years of age.

A legend passes away at 79 years of age

After spending six weeks in the hospital, Hollywood icon, Elizabeth Taylor, passed away from congestive heart failure at the age of 79, the Associated Press reported.
Taylor was the epitome of Hollywood royalty, staring in films such as "A Place in the Sun," "Cleopatra," and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Throughout her career she won three academy awards and a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute in 1993.
Although she may have appeared flawless on screen, her off-screen life was complicated. Taylor was married eight times, including twice to Richard Burton and once to former Sen. John W. Warner.
Warner spoke of her "classic face and majestic eyes," according to the Associated Press.
Once news of her death spread, many other Hollywood figures had nothing but good things to say about Taylor.
Elton John was reported to have said she embodied "the very essence of glamourous movie stardom."
Joan Collins called her "the last true Hollywood icon."
Besides her work in Hollywood, Taylor was also part of the fight against AIDS as a supporter of research. She was recognized by the American Foundation for AIDS Research for standing up for those with the disease, even when HIV was new to the industry.
Fans who admired Taylor from afar have flocked to Twitter and her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to pay their respects and grieve for the lost legend, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Taylor was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Cemetery after a private service in the Grand Mausoleum on Thursday.

Man swept away in tsunami is rescued

Despite losing both his house and his wife, a man who was caught up in the destruction of the tsunami in Japan clung to the roof of his house for two days before being rescued.
"I thought it was the last day of my life," said 60-year-old Hiromitsu Shinkawa.
Shinkawa and his wife were packing up their valuables after the earthquake when their house was hit by the ensuing tsunami, TIME magazine reported.
Surrounded by debris, Shinkawa had a hard time calling attention to himself, despite waving a red flag.
"Several helicopters and ships passed by, but none of them noticed me," he is reported to have said.
When he was finally found by rescuers, Shinkawa was 10 miles off the coast of northeastern Japan, still floating on a portion of his roof.
Japanese troops plucked him from the ocean using a small boat, the Press Association reported.


While in New Hampshire for a GOP fundraiser, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann had trouble recalling America's Revolutionary War history.
"You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord," Bachmann said in an attempt to rile up the crowd. "And you put a marker in the ground and paid with the blood of your ancestors the very first price that had to be paid to make this the most magnificent nation that has ever arisen in the annals of man in 5,000 years of recorded history."
However, "the shot heard around the world" was in Massachusetts, not New Hampshire.
Despite her mistake, Bachmann later admitted and brushed off her flub on her Facebook page, a City Pages blogger reported.
Besides her American history slip-up, Bachmann was greeted with applause from GOP supporters when talking about the race for presidency in 2012.
According to staff and wire reports in the Star Tribune, she emphasized that she was committed to denying President Obama a second term.. However, Bachmann did not confirm whether or not she would be the one to run against him.
Although Bachmann said that a final decision would come early summer, those in attendance cheered when said said, "Are you in for 2012? I'm in!"

Minneapolis citizens come together to tighten gun control

On Friday, the Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign stopped by Minneapolis City Hall to rally in support of rules that would make it more difficult for felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill to buy guns.
The loophole that many of these normally restricted consumers are finding: gun shows.
Omar Samaha, who lost a sister in the Virginia Tech shooting, is the main spokesman for the Fix Gun Checks campaign. He said he was able purchase guns with no questions asked at a gun show two years ago.
In fact, there are many people who don't realize this problem.
The misunderstanding is so widespread that Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay recently had to tell another police chief about the loophole, he told the Star Tribune.
According to Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota law permits a private seller to sell a gun without conducting a background check, whether at a gun show or not.

Obama stands for women's rights

On Saturday, President Barack Obama promised to continue the push to gain equal rights for women.
Included in his efforts are the issues of fair wages, poverty and access to education in higher professions such as math and engineering, the Associated Press reported.
"At a time when folks across this country are struggling to make ends meet -- and many families are just trying to get by on one paycheck after a job loss -- it's a reminder that achieving equal pay for equal work isn't just a women's issue," Obama said in his weekly address. "It's a family issue."
According to The Wall Street Journal, Obama is working with legislators to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The president attempted to pass this bill in the past, but it was blocked by the Senate.
Republicans feared that passing this bill, which fell short by just 60 votes, would open up litigation to employers by getting rid of punitive and compensatory damage awards, the Associated Press reported.
However Obama is going to try again, stating that the unequal wages are a problem.
"Today, women still earn on average only about 75 cents for every dollar a man earns," he said. "That's a huge discrepancy."

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake on Friday morning prompted Japan to declare a state of emergency for five of their nuclear reactors at two power plants. The aftermath of the earthquake left workers struggling to get the units under control after they lost the ability to cool, the Associated Press reported.
The main cooling system at Unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant failed after the earthquake and following tsunami interfered with the electricity, shutting down the emergency generators.
"[This situation] has the potential to be catastrophic," Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies Robert Alvarez told USA Today.
When the emergency was first announced, 3,000 people were evacuated within a two mile radius. However, the evacuation zone was increased to 6.2 miles when higher radiation levels were detected both inside and outside of the facility.
According to the Associated Press, this is the first state of emergency declared at a nuclear power plant in Japan's history.


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