April 2012 Archives

Analysis on records.

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USA Today did a report on how lead factories that have been gone for years have left a dangerous poison in cities nationwide.

In order to do the story, the reporter had to go into public records to determine when the EPA and government had tested the soil from the old factory and found out that it was contaminated. However, the government failed to tell citizens about the danger.

USA Today did a 14-month investigation that found the EPA had put thousands of families and children in harm's way.

The investigative report showed widespread evidence of government failures when it came to lead factories.

USA Today looked at old insurance maps, city directories, and telephone books to discover that certain smelters did exist even though governments in Minnesota, Indiana and Washington denied they ever did.

This is just a small example of the large record digging and analysis that the USA Today reporter did.

The report also need some computer skills because there are a couple of graphics next to the story that shows how lead can pollute soil, and a graphic about lead in soil.

The reporter needed to know how to make that graphic on a computer in order to better tell his story.

The graphic on how lead gets into the soil is a step by step process where the reporter uses pictures to help demonstrate how it happens.

Without knowing how to create such a visual graphic, the reporter probably would have had a hard time describing how it happens, and it would also take up a large amount of space and confuse the reader.

The graphic helps a lot by visually showing how the process works.

The reporter did a lot of work for this story that included a lot of digging through old documents, and determining what those documents mean for the safety of citizens near old lead factories.


Pakistani jet crashes

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A Pakistani passenger jet crashed in a wheat field as it was trying to land during a thunderstorm at an airport near the capital city of Islamabad, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that 127 people were aboard the plane, but Reuters reported that there were 131 passengers.

The plane was traveling from the countries largest city, Karachi, and crashed about five nautical miles from the airport, according to Reuters.

A governor minister expressed that there was little hope of any survivors, the AP reported.

The airplane was operated by Bhoja Air, and an official said there were 116 passengers and up to six crew members, according to Reuters. However this fact causes discrepancy between the two reported numbers.

A violent thunderstorm was hitting the capital at the time of the crash with heavy rain and winds, the AP reported.

The last major aviation accident in Pakistan happened in July 2010 when another passenger airplane carrying 152 people crashed into the hills overlooking Islamabad, according to Reuters.

Dick Clark dies

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Dick Clark, the TV host for many shows including "American Bandstand," and "New Year's Rockin' Eve," died Wednesday in Santa Monica Calif. He was 82, the New York Times reported.

Spokesman Paul Shefrin said Clark died of a heart attack at St. John's hospital, a day after he was admitted for an outpatient procedure, MSN.com reported.

Clark had a stroke in 2004 shortly before he was suppose to appear on his New Year's Eve telecast. He returned a year later and continued to make brief appearances, despite that his speech had been affected by the stroke, the New York Times reported.

Clark had a boyish look to him which earned him the nickname of "the world's oldest teenager." He bridged the gap between the new rebellious music scene with traditional show business, according to MSN.com.

Clark hosted many award shows, comedy specials, shows based on T.V. outtakes and the game show "$10,000 Pyramid," according to the New York Times.

The original "American Bandstand" ran from 1957 to 1987 and introduced talents from Buddy Holly to Madonna, MSN.com reported.

He was born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, New York, in 1929, according to MSN.com.

Clark's first two marriages ended in divorce, he is survived by his wife, Kari Wigton; three children, Richard, Duane, and Cindy; and two grandchildren, the New York Times reported.

Pat Summit steps aside.

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Tennessee women's head basketball coach, Pat Summit, is stepping aside and taking the title of "head coach emeritus," according to ESPN.com

Longtime assistant coach Holly Warlick will take over for the sport's winningest coach, ESPN reported.

On Aug. 23 Summit revealed that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, according to SI.com.

Summit, 59, will now report to the athletic director and help the women's team that she turned into a powerhouse that won eight national titles, according to ESPN.com.

Summit has been the coach at Tennessee for 38 years. Her last game as coach came in a regional final loss to eventual national champions Baylor, SI.com reported.

Last season Summit handed the majority of her duties to her assistants as she needed to focus more on her health, ESPN.com reported.

Summit's career ends with a 1,098-207 record with 16 regular season Southeastern Conference championships and 16 SEC tournament titles, ESPN.com reported.

Under Summit Tennessee never failed to reach the NCAA tournament. They were never seeded lower than No. 5 and reached 18 Final Fours, according to SI.com.

Vikings' stadium plan in trouble.

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The proposed public subsidy plan for a new Vikings stadium was defeated by a House panel Monday night, according to the Star Tribune.

The bill had cleared two previous House committees fairly easily earlier this month, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Legislature planning will shut down in two weeks, leaving the $1 billion plan in extraordinary need for support, the Star Tribune reported.

The bill was voted down 9-6 in a vote that was bipartisan in its opposition, the Pioneer Press reported.

For the stadium plan to receive any hope at all, it will likely need to be resurrected by a Senate panel that considered the bill last month, according to the Star Tribune.

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley was very disappointed in the decision, and said that it is a mistake to think the Vikings and the NFL will continue to operate under the status quo, the Pioneer Press reported.

There were also a couple of amendments to the bill that were possible major setbacks for the stadium legislation, the Star Tribune reported.

One amendment removed the language of the bill that exempted the stadium project from a Minneapolis charter requirement that mandates a public vote for stadium expenditures of more than $10 million, the Pioneer Press reported.

Bakdash gets 40 year sentence.

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Tim Bakdash was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday for running down a group of University of Minnesota students one year ago, according to the Star Tribune.

Bakdash, 30, showed little emotion as the judge delivered his sentence. His attorney said Bakdash has been on several medication for depression, and that emotions are hard to come by, according to the Pioneer Press.

Bakdash did apologize to the family of Benjamin Van Handel, who Bakdash killed, as well as the two victims that survived and their families, according to the Pioneer Press.

Van Handel's family and friends wore baby blue shirts with the letter B on the front and the dates of his birth and death, according to the Star Tribune.

The punishment was more than twice what the defense had wanted, and even more that what the prosecution argued would be appropriate, according to the Pioneer Press.

Bakdash will be nearly 57 when he will be eligible for parole, according to the Pioneer Press.

The sentencing came exactly a year and a day from the night Bakdash drunkenly drove onto the Dinkytown sidewalk and hit the three victims, according to the Pioneer Press.

A jury found Bakdash guilty of second-degree murder and eight other felonies last month, according to the Star Tribune.

U.N. approves Syria observers

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The U.N. Security Council voted on Saturday to deploy U.N. military observers to watch over the cease-fire between the Syrian government and the opposition rebels, according to the Associated Press.

The 15 member Security Council voted unanimously that called for the Damascus government to follow through on the cease-fire plan it accepted earlier in the month, according to the New York Times.

Russia and China had vetoed two resolutions that would have condemned Syrian President Bashar Assad's government for the attacks on protesters, according to the AP.

There were some mortar shells strikes on Homs from government armed forces on Saturday, but over all the cease-fire has been holding, the New York Times reported.

At least six were dead from both sides from the attacks, according to the New York Times.

The cease-fire formally started Thursday and is the center of Kofi Annan's peace plan that aims to end the year-long bloodshed that has killed about 9,000 people, according to the UN, the AP reported.

The first team of observers consists of only 10 to 12 people. Annan envisions a mission that consists of about 250 observers in the future, according to the AP.


Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said the fate of the the overall health of the city is directly linked to the fate of north Minneapolis in his State of the City address, Wednesday, according to the Minnesota Daily.

The address took place at the Capri Theater on West Broadway and lasted nearly an hour, as Rybak talked about nearly the same themes as he did six years ago, according to the Star Tribune.

Rybak noted many of the neighborhood's successes, such as how violence has dropped nearly 45 percent since his last State of the City at Capri Theater in 2006, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Rybak spoke a significant amount about the city's past accomplishments and existing programs, but he also talked about several goals for the North Side, according to the Star Tribune.

Rybak placed a high priority on improving housing in order to get more people to move into the city, according to the Minnesota Daily.

The mayor also announced a program called Urban Scholars that will bring in mainly black college students as City Hall interns, the Star Tribune reported.

Rybak said that if north Minneapolis prospers, the whole region will benefit, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Trayvon Martin shooter charged with murder.

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A law enforcement official said the shooter in the killing of Trayvon Martin will be charged with second degree murder and is in custody, according to the Associated Press.

Angela B. Corey, the prosecutor, called for a press conference at 6 p.m. in Jacksonville Wednesday to announce the charges against George Zimmerman, 28, who fatally shot Martin while on volunteer crime watch, according to the New York Times.

There was never an arrest earlier because of Florida's stand your ground law which gives people leniency in a killing case by claiming self-defense, according to the AP.

Earlier in the week Corey said that she would not convene a grand jury in investigating the case, but would make the decision herself, according to the New York Times.

Zimmerman had been in hiding the past several weeks after receiving multiple death threats, according to the New York Times.

The lack of an arrest caused a public outcry over Martin's death. It sparked many rallies in the Orlando area, and all over the country, according to the AP.

The shooting occurred Feb. 26 when Martin was returning to his father's girlfriend's home when Zimmerman approached him. Zimmerman told police that Martin had punched him in the face and tried to take the gun when he was returning to his truck, according to the AP.

Zimmerman then told cops he shot Martin in self defense, according to the New York Times.

Ozzie Guillen suspended for Castro comments

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The Miami Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen five games for his comments about Cuban leader Fidel Castro, according to ESPN.com.

The suspension will take effect immediately, and came before Guillen was to have a press conference explaining his remarks that caused major public backlash, according to SI.com.

Guillen told Time magazine that he loves and respects Castro for being able to stay in power for so long, si.com reported.

Guillen, speaking in Spanish Tuesday morning in Miami, apologized to the city, and its Latin-American community. He said that he feels like he has betrayed the Latin community, according to ESPN.com.

The Marlins recently opened their new stadium in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. The team is trying to rebuild its fan base with the help of the large Cuban community of Miami, according to SI.com.

The Marlins were quick to refute Guillen's statement and said that in no way does the Miami organization respect the brutal dictator, according to ESPN.com.

This is not the first time Guillen has such controversial words. He once used a gay slur when referring to a reporter, he defended illegal immigrants, and just recently admitted to drinking in excess after road games, according to SI.com

Brooklyn Park shooting.

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Three people were found dead Monday morning at an in-house daycare in Brooklyn Park after someone shot them, then fled on a bicycle, according to the Star Tribune.

Police responded to a call of suspicious activity at 8117 College Park Drive around 6:30 a.m., according to the Pioneer Press.

The officers found three victims from an apparent homicide, but would not release their identities or how they died. Police did say they were all adults, according to the Pioneer Press.

A relative identified the victims as DeLois Brown, 59, who operated the day care, and her parents, the Star Tribune reported.

Police think the shooter escaped on a BMX bicycle and could be armed. However, they police do not think he is a danger to the public, the Pioneer Press reported.

The shooting caused a search that lasted into the afternoon, and even shut down the nearby Hennepin Technical College campus until mid-afternoon, reported the Star Tribune.

The suspect has been described by police as a black male in his early 20s wearing blue jeans, a navy blue sweatshirt with a grey hood, and two 1 inch stripes down the back, according to the Star Tribune.

The day care has been licensed since 2010 and has no record of receiving any sanctions, according to the Pioneer Press.

Diversity Analysis

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The Boston Herald did a story on students who are marching to Sanford Fla. to make sure Trayvon Martin stays in the spotlight of the nation.

I had my friend Tyler, who is an African-American, read the article and tell me if he found it to be stereotypical of what he has seen. Tyler is a sophomore at Minnesota State Moorehead University.

Tyler did not find the way this story was reported to be stereotypical at all. He said he found it to be very neutral.

The reason he found it to be neutral was because the writer never says that these are black students doing the marching, just students.

The case with Trayvon Martin has been predominately stressed by African-Americans. I do not know if the reporter just assumed people would think they were black students, or if he didn't want to single it out as a "black" issue.

Tyler found that the way the reporter wrote the story made it seem that students from all races were coming together to see that racial profiling is put to an end.

We both found the quotes to be racially neutral as well. Any number of races could have said them. It is not as if the quotes are saying, "I am a proud African-American, and I don't want to see this injustice anymore."

The reporter did a good job in grouping students together as one, and showing how this isn't a black vs. white thing, but how the students are coming together to fight injustice.

It very well could have been all black students, but that cannot be told through the story.

Gopher football player dies in dorm.

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Former University of Minnesota football player Gary Tinsley was found dead in his room at Roy Wilkins Hall Friday morning, according to the Pioneer Press.

Tinsley, 22, was found unresponsive on the floor in his room by his roommate around 7:40 a.m., Emergency personnel were unable to resuscitate him when they arrived, according to the Pioneer Press.

Tinsley started all 12 games at middle linebacker for the Gophers and was second on the team with 87 tackles in the 2011 season, according to the Star Tribune.

Police are treating the situation as a suspicious death since it involves a young athlete, according to the Pioneer Press.

Tinsley came out of First Coast High School in Florida. He recently participated in the Gophers' pro day last month, showcasing his skills for several NFL team representatives, according to the Star Tribune.

He also had his share of trouble early on in his career when he was cited for fleeing police and underage drinking after being involved in a brawl that followed a Gopher football game in 2009, according to the Pioneer Press.

Gopher quarterback MarQueis Gray told reporters that he was just texting Tinsley earlier Thursday night, according to the Star Tribune.

A candlelight vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m. outside of Roy Wilkins, the Pioneer Press reported.

Syrian attack in Damascus

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Syria launched an assault only miles away from the capital Thursday contradicting reports of a cease-fire plan and prompting the leader of the U.N. to say the conflict has got worse, according to the New York Times.

The fighting undermined hopes that after a year of conflict violence would end soon. France accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of trying to trick the world by accepting special envoy, Kofi Annan's, plan to pull troops away from populous areas, reported the Associated Press.

Annan said that the Syrian government informed him they pulled troops from the cities of Idlib, Zabadani, and Dara'a, according to the New York Times.

The U.N. Secretary-General said that the crisis is getting worse even though Syria accepted Annan's plan, the AP reported.

The U.N. has estimated more than 9,000 people have been killed including at least 500 children, the New York Times reported.

Observers are skeptic that Assad will adhere to the plan because he may lose control in some parts of the country if he were to withdraw troops now, according to the AP.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian government attacked several towns across the country Thursday, including two cities that are near to the largest city in Syria, according to the New York Times.

The U.N. is looking for a team of 200-250 soldiers to monitor a cease-fire, according to the AP.

Many Western politicians hope that the latest cease-fire attempt will succeed, but many don't see such a possibility, according to the New York Times.


Photo ID amendment passes Senate

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The Minnesota Senate put approved putting the photo ID constitutional amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Republican controlled Senate approved the bill 35-29 on Wednesday, which could change the Minnesota voting system significantly, the Star Tribune reported.

It would require all voters to show ID at the polls, it would create a new system of provisional voting, would stiffen eligibility requirements, and the only usable ID would be "government issued, according to the Star Tribune.

Republicans argued that the amendment is needed in order to fight voting fraud. Democrats said that it would disenfranchise voters who did not have a government issued photo ID, the Pioneer Press reported.

All speakers of the Senate expect that there will be court challenges to the amendment, the Star Tribune reported.

The legislature passed a photo ID bill last year, but it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. The Republicans decided to go the constitutional amendment route to avoid another veto, according to the Pioneer Press.

Wildcats win eighth title.

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The University of Kentucky Wildcats won the NCAA basketball title Monday night by defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 in New Orleans, according to ESPN.com.

It was Kentucky's eighth championship in school history and their first since 1998, according to ESPN.com

It was the first national title for Kentucky coach John Calipari, according to the New York Times.

The Wildcats were up 16 points with 10 minutes to go in the game. Kansas was able to comeback, like it has done all tournament, and cut the deficit to five with 1:37 left on the clock, according to ESPN.com

Kentucky star Anthony Davis dominated the game with only managing to score 6 points. He finished with 16 rebounds, 6 blocks, 5 assists, and 3 steals, according to the New York Times.

Davis was name the Final Four's most outstanding player, according to the New York Times.

Calipari and Kansas coach Bill Self had met in the finals once before when Self's Jayhawks were able to beat Calipari's Memphis Tigers in overtime, according to ESPN.com.

Calipari has long been criticized for his recruitment of players that spend one year in college and then bolt for the draft, but this win is a validation for his style of recruiting, the New York Times reported.

This year Kentucky has at least six NBA prospects that will enter the draft, according to the New York Times.

Lucky for Calipari he has mastered the art of rebuilding on the fly, ESPN.com reported.


Minnesota teen was driving when mobile home crashed

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A 17-year-old Twin Cities boy was behind the wheel of a mobile home when it crashed in eastern Kansas, killing five members of his family and injuring 13 others, according to the Star Tribune.

Adam Kerber was driving when the mobile home plunged off Interstate 35 and into a ravine as the family was heading home from a motocross event in Texas Sunday morning, the Star Tribune reported.

Kerber's license had several restrictions on it including all passengers must be wearing seatbelts. Only two of the 18 people were fastened in and it was not clear if seatbelts were available to those riding in the trailer attached to the mobile home, the Pioneer Press reported.

Kerber was in critical condition as of Monday, according to the Star Tribune.

Those that died were Melissa Kerber, 24, and Tom Kerber, 25, of New Prague and Jessica Kerber, 10, Joy Kerber, 14, and James Kerber, 12, of Jordan, according to the Pioneer Press.

Other victims were taken to area hospitals in Kansas, two of which were listed in critical condition, according to the Pioneer Press.

The children that died were students in the Jordan School District and were on spring break the previous week, according to the Star Tribune.

Numbers Analysis

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The New York Times did a report using numbers to show how Republican primary turnout is down compared to the 2008 caucuses.

The reported uses a lot of percentages to report how the raw numbers of the voting turnout has gone up, but the population of eligible voters have gone up even more.

The reporter also uses numbers to report the populations for voter turnout in some states.

The numbers are not overwhelming at all really if you understand basic percentages. Also the reporter spaces out the times where he uses the numbers so that the reader is not just looking at a list of numbers.

It doesn't look like the reporter used math to do the reporting. It just looks like he took the data that was given to him and reported it.

The sources of the information are completely listed. The reported used a poll from the New York Times and CBS. He also used an expert from George Mason University on voter turnout. There was also a study done by the Bipartisan Policy Center in the report.

All of the sources are told in the fact block that the numbers are used in except for one, but there is a source listed a couple of paragraphs above that could be the same for these numbers.

The report sometimes tells how voter turnout is down in some states without using actual numerals as well.

The numbers used in the report are effective in telling the story. They are spaced out well and give a better sense of what is happening at the primaries.

Minneapolis police shoot man with a knife

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A Minneapolis officer shot and wounded a man who reportedly threatened the officer with a knife Sunday morning, reported the Star Tribune.

Police were called to the intersection of Lyndale and Franklin avenues around 9 a.m. on a report of a man accosting a woman, according to the Pioneer Press.

When the officer arrived, he approached the arguing couple. The man then pulled out his knife and threatened the officer. The man refused to drop the knife and as the officer backed away the man continued his threats, reported the Pioneer Press.

The officer backed away across two lanes of traffic, and the man continued to approach the officer. That is when the officer shot the suspect, according to the Star Tribune.

The officer's identity has not been released, and he has been placed on administrative leave, the Star Tribune reported.

The suspect's identity have not been released as well, reported the Pioneer Press.

The man was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, and is expected to survive, according to the Star Tribune.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

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