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September 30, 2007

Favre Breaks All-time TD Record

Green Bay Packers quarterback, Brett Favre, breaks Dan Marino's all-time touchdown record in the first quarter vs. the Vikings at the Metrodome. Favre threw his 421st and 422nd touchdown pass as the Packers defeated the Vikings 23-16, Sunday.

Favre threw zero interceptions with the Viking defense attempting to make him the all-time leader in interceptions as well.

Favre now holds the NFL all-time record for career passing attempts, career completions, career touchdown passes and career wins as a starting quarterback.

The Packers remain unbeaten at 4-0 going into week five against the Chicage Bears.

Violence in Darfur Continues to Escalate

Humanitarian groups have been the target of recent violence in Nyala, Sudan. Several of their vehicles have been hijacked and group members have been critically wounded in recent days.

In the past four years, nearly 200,000 have been killed as a result of the conflict in Darfur. According the the UN, Darfur is the host of the world's largest humanitarian effort. Some groups have halted their humanitarian efforts in the area because of the recent attacks. These efforts could be jeopardized if aid groups continue to feel targeted. Because violence in Darfur is unpredictable, it makes it difficult to foresee future attacks.

As some aid groups pull more of their workers out of the area due to the violence, refugees are concerned because many cannot live without the humanitarian efforts.

Unique Approach to Youth Crime Finds Home in Minneapolis

The National Summit on Violent Crime in America in Schaumburg, Ill, referenced Minneapolis for its holistic approach to youth violence. This approach views violence among children as a public health issue and a police problem. Officials nationwide believe that the city of Minneapolis may have some answers in the fight on crime in the population of our youth.

Minneapolis has instilled many programs in the past year to "reach out further" to the troubled youth in the community. With help from the truancy and curfew center as wells as local hospitals, the ability to identify at risk teens at a much earlier time is becoming easier.

Police officials from other big cities including San Fransisco and Milwaukee were curious to hear how Minneapolis was reducing their youth crime. As the programs continue to reach out to youth crime in Minneapolis, the crime rates are expected to decline. Many other cities are already catching on to the approach in hopes that it will help lower crime rates in their area.

Rushford's Winter Coming Too Soon

After the flood of Rush Creek six weeks ago, Rushford, Minn. is struggling to rebuild before winter hits. Up to 15 inches of rain in some areas left much of the town destroyed. The town school has been recently re-opened, but the local grocery store still remains closed and the State Farm Insurance agent is working out of a trailer home.

The need for carpenters, electricians and plumbers is crucial as the temperatures continue to drop. Many of the residents of Rushford are hoping to be back in their houses by Christmas. This is becoming harder to accomplish as the media coverage continues to dwindle and volunteers become less frequent.

The financial struggle to rebuild has been especially difficult. Nearly the entire town did not have flood insurance policies, so virtually none of the damages were covered. As the town continues to rebuild, they hope that the winter temperatures can hold off, even in Minnesota.

September 23, 2007

Electronic Records a Possible Violation of Privacy Act

The United States government has been collecting electronic records on travel habits of Americans, but since 2002, the amount of the data they are collecting has expanded. These records are used as a part of the Department of Homeland Security to determine the security threat of traveler's entering the U.S.

Personal travel records are held for 15 years and are analyzed by the department's Automated Targeting System.

Data collected includes who people are traveling with, how many carry on items they have, and even as specific as what their carry on items are. This is why some are saying that it could be a violation of the Privacy Act. Activists are claiming that the government is "trying to build a surveillance society."

Currently, the data collection is exempted from portions of the Privacy Act.

Possible New Species Found in Indonesia

A team of scientists in Indonesia claim that what originally was thought to be remains of humans with a physical disorder may be that of an entirely separate species. Three wrist bones were found with other remains in a cave on the island of Flores and are claimed to not be from humans.

The separate species, known as Homofloresiensis, has much smaller skulls than that of humans today. The grapefruit-sized skulls are why scientists originally thought that they were from a group of "little people." They also have wrist bones that are smaller and more primitive than that of modern humans.

A report, which was published in the journal Science, says that this species lived 120,000 to 10,000 years ago and rethinks human evolution.

TCF Stadium Construction Site to Pay Fines

After an inspection by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in April, University of Minnesota could face tens of thousands of dollars in fines for seven potential environmental violations. The source of the problem is the TCF Stadium construction site on the Twin Cities Campus, which was dumping pollutants into the Mississippi River.

The University of Minnesota was issued a warning by the agency and the amount of the citation will depend on the severity of the violations and the impact of the pollution. Possible violations included dirt in the streets surrounding the site, inadequate filters to stop water runoff and pollutants found in the Mississippi River.

They were ordered to stop discharging groundwater from the site into the storm sewer. University officials said that the problems were corrected immediately. They report that the site is no longer the source of any environmental violations.

Girl Critically Wounded in Gang Related Shooting

A 12-year-old girl was critically wounded on Friday evening on Oliver Avenue in North Minneapolis. The child, whose name has not yet been released, was shot in the head from approximately one block away. She was walking home from a party when the incident occurred. She was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center where she remains in critical condition.

City officials are concerned that violence among young teens is on the rise in Minneapolis. The ages of children involved in shootings are becoming younger, with similar instances occurring in the past year in North Minneapolis.

Police do not believe that the bullet was intended for her. No arrests have been made in connection to the shooting, but police have descriptions of two suspects.

September 16, 2007

Earthquakes Leading to a Repeat of 2004 Tsunami?

Padang, Indonesia has been the site of huge earthquakes and tsunami warnings in the past days. Just two days after the 8.4 magnitude earthquake, experts are saying that the worst is yet to come. After shaking four Southeast Asian countries, killing 17 and causing a 10-foot tsunami, villagers are seeking shelter on any flat land away from the coast. Seismologists are predicting an earthquake similar to the one that triggered the Asian tsunami in 2004 in the days to come.

The tsunami that crashed into villages on Sumatra's coast caused minimal damage, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon said on Wednesday. A U.N. assessment team reports that a large-scale international relief operation was not needed at this time.

Biker's Murder Still Unexplained

Mark Loesch, a 41-year-old Minneapolis father of four, was found nearly dead early Thursday morning after leaving for a bike ride late Wednesday night. After being found around 7am on Thursday morning, Loesch was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics in the 3700 block of Elliot Avenue S.

After putting a new tire on his bike, Loesch announced to his wife that he was going for a quick ride. As an avid biker, this was not an uncommon occurence. She called police after realizing her husband had not come home by the time she awoke on Thursday morning. Loesch was not carrying a cell phone or any money, leaving his death a mystery.

Authorities are asking anyone with any information to contact the Minneapolis Police tips line.

Local Protesters Mirror Antiwar March in D.C.

1500 protesters stretched nearly four city blocks on Saturday in an antiwar march in St. Paul. Protesters marched from the St. Paul Cathedral to the Xcel Energy Center, continuing on to the State Capitol.

The Xcel, site for the 2008 Republican National Convention, has become a symbol for Republican war policy says local demonstrators.

The event lasted nearly two hours and was similar to an antiwar march in Washington D.C. with thousands of protestors marching from The White House to Capitol Hill.

September 15, 2007

Hurricane Humberto Leaves Meteorologists Speechless

Hurricane Humberto, the first hurricane to hit the US since 2005, left meteorologists without words last Thursday. It grew faster than any storm on record, escalating from a depression to a full-scale hurricane in 18 hours with winds reaching 85 miles per hour. At least one person was killed while more than 100,000 lost power. The damage left behind by Humberto was large considering there was virtually nothing on satellite imagery suggesting a tropical storm on Wednesday of last week, the day before it hit the Texas-Louisiana coast.

Meteorologists are having a hard time finding possible trends on fast forming hurricanes like Humberto since this was such an extreme case and it is not possible to draw conclusions from one instance. Analyzing these fast forming storms would help meteorologists prepare the public, providing them with ample time before the storm actually hits.

LEAD: The lead in the version of this story is a direct lead. It explains what (Hurricane Humberto), where (the Texas-Louisiana coast), when (last Thursday), information that suggests it was a fast forming storm, and also specific numbers on wind speed, how many lives were lost, how many lost power and how long it took to form. This lead is direct and concise, leaving no information untold after reading the first sentence.

September 10, 2007

Bin Laden Tapes to be Released

Videotape from Osama bin Laden is set to release with the upcoming sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on World Trade Center buildings and Pentagon. The video is expected to surface sometime in the next 72 hours as stated on kare11's website.

This video will capture the first new images of bin Laden in almost three years. His last video message was in October 2004 and more information regarding it can be found here.

Despite the long period of time without a message, the Department of Homeland Security has no credible information suggesting an increased threat to the United States. Threats of future attacks will depend on bin Laden’s message released in the video.

Bids on Vick's Notes Reach $10,000

Bids reached $10,000 on Thursday for the alleged notes from Michael Vick’s official apology given in response to charges in a dog fighting scandal. Startribune explores this issue further at their website.

The Humane Society of the United States is selling the outline of his speech on eBay with proceeds going to an account used to prevent dog fighting. It has not yet been verified whether these notes actually belong to Vick. The eBay auction site includes a photograph of the notes and a message from The Human Society of the United States.

The Human Society of the United States president Payne Pacelle wants to turn Vick’s actions into something positive by helping animals with money accrued from the auction. More information on the fund can be found at their website.

AFSCME Strike Hits Home on U Campus

AFSCME employees at the University of Minnesota began striking Wednesday morning seeking higher wages. These employees include clerical, technical, and healthcare workers across the Twin Cities, Duluth, Crookston, and Morris campuses. Strikers marched on Northrop Mall at noon Wednesday, day one of the strike. No negotiations have been made thus far. University of Minnesota Office of Human Resources provides more information regarding the negotiation process on their website.

While there were large turnouts at the picket lines across the U of M campuses, university officials claim that nearly two-thirds of union employees came in for work.

As the first week of classes went on as scheduled, Wednesday strikers welcomed a visit from Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate, John Edwards. More about her visit at Startribune's website.

Giuliani Visits St. Paul Café

Former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani visited Parkview Café in St. Paul this morning. The café was filled with media and supporters during Giuliani’s quick stop.

As the Republican Party’s front-runner in the race for president, he believes he can competitively campaign in all 50 states as opposed to the 20 or 25 states he sees his republican competitors claiming. Despite Minnesota not voting republican in the past 35 years, Giuliani views himself as the only republican candidate who can win in this state as he insists on wcco's website.

After greeting local supporters over a cup of coffee, he briefly addressed the collapse of the 35W bridge saying he would like to stop seeing money go towards “bridges to nowhere? in attempt to prevent such disasters in the future. Startribune covers more information on Giuliani's response to the bridge collapse on their website.

Before continuing on to a private fundraiser, he commented on immigration policy and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson’s candidacy announcement earlier in the week. The Republican National Convention is set to take place in St. Paul September 2008.