April 2011 Archives

Former Sony chairman dies at 81

Norio Ohga, the former president of Sony and is credited with creating the compact disc, died Saturday at the age of 81.
Ohga died of multiple organ failure in Tokyo, Japan, reported BBC News.
According to BBC News, Sony recruited Ohga in 1953 when he was still at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and hoping to pursue a career as an opera singer.
He rose in the ranks and in the 1970s he became the company's president, increasing the company's growth in movies, music, and video games, reported CNN.
Ohga always saw a potential for the compact disc and drove the company to introduce the format. Ohga used his training as a musician to push for the 12 cm disc because it could fit the entirety of Ludwig Van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony without interruption.
In 1989, he oversaw the $3.4billion purchase of Hollywood studios Columbia Pictures, reported BBC News.
BBC News reported that Ohga stepped down from the president position in 1995 but continued to serve as chairman and representative director until 2000.

Kids get served alcohol at Olive Garden and Applebees

Is serving an alcoholic beverage to a child at a sit-down restaurant an easy mistake to make? After all, a wait staff handles hundreds of orders in a day, and accidents happen.
Twice over the past month, at two popular restaurant chains, two kids got a little extra surprise in their cups, reported Time. The restaurants said they are providing safeguards against children receiving alcoholic beverages.
On March 31, at an Olive Garden in Lakeland, Fla., a 2-year-old was served alcoholic sangria, not orange juice, reported USA Today. Then, tuesday, at an Applebee's in Madison Heights, Mich., a 15-month-old boy's sippy cup was supposed to be filled with apple juice but was filled with margarita mix and alcohol.
After these incidents, the two restaurants started devising plans to prevent drunk little kids in the future, reported Time.
Applebees said it has switched to pouring apple juice from single serve containers while at Olive Garden, sangria will be mixed to order individually instead of in batches, reported Time.

Xcel Bird Cams show first eggs of the season

It's officially bird cam watching season.

Just this week cameras captured the first peregrine falcon eggs at Xcel Energy's power plant nest boxes, reported KSTP.

Bird Cams A. S. King plant in Oak Park Heights and Sherburne County (Sherco) plant near Becker, Minn., have nesting boxes and cameras offering streaming video, reported the Star Tribune.

From now through mid-summer, you can watch the falcons going about their daily lives on streaming video, reported KSTP.

The first Bird Cam was installed at the King Plant in 1997, reported the Star Tribune.

Steelroot sculpture series to open at the Arboretum

When the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11, rubble fell near Manhattan's historic St. Paul's Chapel where George Washington once worshipped. No damage was done to the chapel; instead, an old sycamore tree took the blow, reported the Star Tribune.
Sculptor Steve Tobin paid tribute to that sycamore tree and 9/11 by creating a monumental 20-foot bronze casting of the tree's stump and roots. This sculpture, called the Trinity Root, is the only piece of art memorial on display near the site of the tragedy, reported the Star Tribune.
The project was a turning point in Tobin's life, as he felt he could no longer create another piece made from bronze that was comparable to the Trinity Root. He switched to steel and his style switched from naturalism to modernism, according to the Star Tribune.
As a result, a series of sculptures called Steelroots, will be on display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen starting Saturday, reported the Star Tribune.
Total, there will be 16 giant sculptures located throughout the Arboretum, reported the Chaska Herald.

Southwest Airlines grounds plane after cabin rips open

Brenda Reese awoke from a "gunshot-like sound" as her Southwest Airlines plane cruised at 36,000 feet on Friday, reported the Associated Press. When she looked up, she could see the sky through a hole torn in the cabin roof.
After a sudden descent and loss of cabin pressure, passengers scrambled for oxygen masks as the 737 Boeing made an emergency landing.
One passenger saw a flight attendant and another passenger pass out from a lack of oxygen, hitting their heads on the seat in front of them, reported the Associated Press.
Nobody was seriously injured, Whitney Eichinger, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines told the New York Times Saturday.
"You can see completely outside," Reese told The Associated Press. "When you look up through the panel, you can see the sky."
The plane had substantial visible damage to its nose and that at least one dead crane was stuck to the front when it landed, reported CNN.
Reese said passengers applauded the pilot after he emerged from the cockpit following the emergency landing at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station/International Airport, reported the Associated Press.

3 dead after grocery store shooting

A man and a woman died Friday after being shot in the break room of a Brooklyn Park grocery store by another store employee.
Abigail M. Fedeli, 20, was shot in the neck and died at the scene. Michael Habte, 22, was taken to North Memorial Medical Center, where he later died, reported Fox 9.
The shooters name was not released, but Brooklyn Park Deputy Chief Craig Enevoldsen identified the shooter as the dead woman's ex-acquaintance, reported the Star Tribune.
The shooter immediately left the area after the incident and police tracked him down to Minneapolis via his cell phone, reported Fox 9.
As police authorities closed in on him, he shot himself near West River Parkway and his body was found under the Washington Avenue Bridge, reported the Star Tribune.
Festival Foods was closed Saturday and expected to re-open on Sunday, reported the Star Tribune.
"Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and we ask that you keep them in your prayers and continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time." reads a statement sent to Fox 9 News by Lauri Youngquist, President of Festival Foods.

Groupon now offers real estate

A Chicago real estate firm teamed up with the online discount company, Groupon, to offer clients rebates on property purchases.
Dream Town Realty is the first real estate company to offer a residential real estate deal through Groupon, reported the Kansas City Star.
The deal was that Dream Town Reality would pay their customers $1,000 at the closing of a home worth at least $150,000 if they purchased a Groupon coupon for $25 this week, reported United Press International. The offer will run for a week.
The coupons apply to both traditional and distressed properties, reported the Kansas City Star.
With this new deal, Groupon is expanding its range of offerings, reported United Press International. "Our big picture is we're really an emerging company," said Dream Town founder and President Yuval Degani. "What we're trying to do is acquire new customers."

Family escapes fire in St. Paul home

A St. Paul house caught fire Wednesday, causing a mother and her five children inside the home to flee for their lives.
According to the St. Paul Fire Department, the fire broke out around 11 p.m. in the 1000 block of Wilson Ave. in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood, reported the Star Tribune.
A 7-year-old girl said she was plugging in an electric heater in her bedroom when sparks flew onto her bed and started it on fire, reported the Pioneer Press.
When the fire started, the mother called 911 and fled the house with her children, reported the Star Tribune.
When the firefighters arrived, the single-story house was already engulfed in flames.
Everyone in the house escaped safely and the only injury was a burn to the 7-year-old girl's finger who was plugging in a space heater when it sparked.

St. Paul man sentenced for stealing from the DNR building

A St. Paul man who pleaded guilty in February to stealing tools and more than 20 mounted animals from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was sentenced Thursday.
Timothy Heidenreich, 38, apologized to the DNR at his sentencing, where he was ordered to pay $8,204.74 in restitution to the DNR, reported the Star Tribune.
He was given a stayed sentence of one year and nine months in prison and was put on probation for five years, reported the Star Tribune.
Heidenreich is one of three men that broke into the DNR building in January and stole $40,000 worth of property, reported CBS Minnesota.
Shane J. Rylander, 40, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the stolen property, reported the Star Tribune. Terry K. Cotton, 37, pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

U.N. plane crashes in Congo, killing 32

A United Nations plane crashed Monday as it landed in Kinshasa, Congo, killing 32 of the 33 people on board.
The plane was traveling from the city of Kisangani on the Congo River and had 29 passengers and four crew members, reported the New York Times. The passengers were United Nations officials, peacekeepers, humanitarian workers and electoral assistants.
"The plane landed heavily, broke into two and caught fire," a United Nations source told Reuters. The weather was rainy and windy at the time.
The New York Times reported that planes crash frequently in the Democratic Republic of Congo because of low maintenance.
The United Nations' peacekeeping mission is to back up the Congo government efforts to fight rebel groups that have been attacking part of the country since the 1998-2003 civil war that killed five million people, reported Reuters.

Midwest economy continues to improve

The economy in the Midwest and in Minnesota continues to improve as agricultural and manufacturing businesses grow.
The Star Tribune reported that Minnesota suppliers enjoyed their 20th consecutive month of improvements to employment, sales, production, and inventories in March, despite declines in other parts of the Midwest.
The overall economy in the Midwest remained strong, though, as shown by the Mid-America business conditions index, reported Bloomberg Businessweek. The index had declined to 61.4 in March from February's 63.2, but any index above 50 indicates economic growth.
In Minnesota, fifteen out of eighteen manufacturing sectors reported growth that was significantly above the neutral level, reported the Star Tribune.
The Minnesota index for March was 58.7, reported the Star Tribune. Minnesota's other indexes were high, too: 80.2 for new orders; 72.3 for production/sales; 66.5 for delivery lead time, and 61.9 for inventories.
Economics professor at Creighton University, Ernie Gross, noted that employment in the Midwest continued to grow, reported Bloomberg Businessweek. "Our surveys over the past several months indicate that the region will add another 100,000 by the end of 2011 leaving the region down 379,000 jobs, or 3.0 percent, since beginning of the recession."

Traffic fatalities at lowest level since 1949

Traffic fatalities dropped 3 percent in 2010; the lowest it has been since 1949 despite an increase in the number of miles Americans drove last year.
Since 2005, fatalities have dropped 25 percent, from a total of 43,510 fatalities in 2005, according to the Department of Transportation.
The decline corresponds to the slow recovery of the national economy and that people drove less during the recession, reported USA Today.
Public awareness campaigns, safer road design, and improved vehicle safety are other reasons for the decrease in fatalities, Barbara Harsha, director of the Governors Highway Safety Assn., told the Los Angeles Times. The Governors Highway Safety Assn. is a non-profit organization that represents state highway safety offices.
Roy Lucke, director of research at Northwestern University's Center for Public Safety said that a change in the attitude of the American people also led to the decline, reported the Los Angeles Times. However, distracted driving is on the rise, Lucke said, as people continue to text and call while in the driver's seat.

Hundreds killed in Ivory Coast violence

Hundreds of people died last week in Ivory Coast in an attempt to overthrow Laurent Gbagbo's forces near the town of Duekoe.
Supporters of the country's UN-recognized president, Alassane Ouattara, fought against Gbagbo's forces after Gbagbo regained control of the state TV headquarters, reported the Guardian.
It is unclear how many have died. The United Nations said Saturday that 330 were killed, reported the New York Times, but the International Committee of the Red Cross said more than 800 people were killed.
The Red Cross team arrived in Duekoe on Thursday. Spokesman Kelnor Panglungtshang told CNN that the Red Cross was helping to identify and recover the bodies on the streets and that 15,000 residents of the town sought refuge in a Catholic mission.
The United Nations said more than 100 people were killed by Gbagbo's forces and around 200 were killed by Ouattara's forces, reported the New York Times.

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