Recently in Local News Category

University student attacked after Twins game

A University of Minnesota student and her friend were attacked on the Hennepin County Bridge as they walked home from a Twins game. Neither Kelly nor her friend Dave gave their last names, but they are featured in a video in WCCO's video library. They relive the event as it happened on the bridge.

Kelly explains they punched Dave first and then her as she stood there watching in shock. The three attackers then stole Kelly's purse and later threw it in the river. In both the video footage and the news article, Kelly says her checkbook and a DVD she had with her were lying on the pavement after the attack and her purse was located in the river later. The reporter mentions Kelly's only valuable item in the purse was a flash drive with a final project for school on it.

In both the video and the article, there are a lot of quotes from Kelly. She says she was hurt emotionally and physically, which can be seen from the bruises on her face and her distraught tone. She says she posted an angry letter on Craig's list in hopes that her attackers, none of whom Kelly or Dave could identify, might see it and not hurt others again.

Possibility of new trial for St. Paul Toyota driver

WCCO posted a video in their video library broadcasting the story of a St. Paul man whose Toyota Camry killed three people in a car accident in 2006.

The crash occurred off Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. Koua Fong Lee was convicted by a jury a year later of criminal vehicular homicide.

Now, Lee's lawyers are arguing that sticky accelerators in his 1996 Toyota may have been at fault for the crash. Toyota has recalled other models for that problem, but the 1996 model wasn't part of the recall. His attorneys are also arguing about the brakes and the cruise control. An inspection of the vehicle is underway because other Toyota drivers have complained about similar problems. However, WCCO said they were not able to get their cameras inside the inspection.

Lee's attorneys want him out of jail, but county attorneys say it isn't that easy because there was previously a lot of investigation and analysis and Lee was still fairly convicted of killing those people.

WCCO reported that it could be several weeks before the results of the inspection are in, and then it could be an additional 15 days before a decision about a new trial is made.

Tom Petters sentenced

Tom Petters was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Thursday, April 8, after being convicted of 20 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.

His $3.7 billion scheme included hedge funds, pastors, missionaries and retirees among its victims, the Star Tribune reported. They said that Petters apologized to those who were hurt by his actions, but he didn't admit guilt. He claimed he didn't know about the fraud within his operations at Petters Group Worldwide, but U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle said he didn't believe that statement.

The defense said four years of prison time would suffice as punishment for Petters, but Kyle said the longer sentence was necessary, the Star Tribune reported. However, he did not grant the maximum of 335 years, as prosecutors had argued, because 50 years was basically a life sentence anyway for 52-year-old Petters-- he would be 93 before he could go free, if he got time taken off for the 18 months he's already served and/or for good behavior.

According to the article, Judge Kyle said he would recommend that Petters be allowed to serve his time in Minnesota, which would let him be closer to his family, including his two young sons, but ultimately the decision will be up to the Bureau of Prisons.

The defense said Thursday in court that Petters is innocent and they plan to appeal.

According to the Pioneer Press, on Tuesday, April 13, Petters filed that appeal. However, the article said the corporate insurance policy that has paid for Petters' defense up until now won't cover the appeal, so Petters asked that the court appoint an attorney for him because he's out of money; he asked they appoint Eric Riensche, who has been a part of the defense team throughout the trial, the Pioneer Press said.

Nurse fired after stopping CPR

According to a Minnesota Department of Health investigation, a nurse manager at a Woodbury nursing home stopped CPR for a resident before emergency assistance arrived, violating protocol, said the Pioneer Press.

According the the investigative report, The Woodbury Health Care Center resident's medical record called for full life-saving efforts; the resident suffered from late-stage breast cancer and respiratory problems. However, on December 10, 2009, the nurse manager told a caregiver to stop CPR after the resident went limp. The caregiver continued anyway, but the manager then raised her voice and told him to stop.

According the Pioneer Press, the state investigation said the nurse acted outside her scope of duties when she not only prematurely halted CPR but also declared the resident's death before a higher authority. They said the care center trains its staff on American Heart Association guidelines for CPR and no sanctions were issued against them.

The nurse manager claimed she didn't know she wasn't supposed to stop CPR, the Pioneer Press said. However, several other workers understood the correct CPR protocol, according to a state investigator, which is to continue CPR unless they are too tired, someone else arrives to take over, or a physician declares a patient's death. The nurse manager was then fired; she had had been disciplined twice before for her behavior and once before for not following wound management protocols.

The care center did say this incident does not reflect their usual level of quality and care by their "devoted" staff, the Pioneer Press said.


Sapor Cafe and Bar

The Star Tribune reviewed the restaurant Sapor (Latin for flavor) Cafe and Bar, which is a four-block walk from Target field.

The 10-year-old restaurant features the cooking of chef Tanya Siebenaler, who offers menus options inspired by cuisine all over the world, including India, China, Morocco, Russia, Italy, Mexico and the American Southwest, the Star Tribune said.

The article described the bar atmosphere as cozy and the restaurant area as pleasant when crowded but otherwise a little cavernous with its beige, copper and brown colors. However, the article mentioned that the co-owner of the restaurant, Julie Steenerson, is usually lurking around the place interacting with customers. She greets and seats customers, hangs coats, runs dishes to the kitchen or drinks to tables, and is just generally amiable and chatty with the customers, the Tribune reported.

The dishes served at the restaurant vary in taste and worldly influence, the Tribune said, but there are a few recommendations that seem to please many people. These include the variety of soups the restaurant offers, Kung Pao chicken, ribs, fish and, for dessert, churros.

The restaurant is also one of few that still accepts personal checks, the Star Tribune said. Because of its "Minnesota Nice" atmosphere and its proximity to Target Field, the article said Sapor hopes to bring in business from the sports fans.

Rites of Passage

The Star Tribune reported on a coming-of-age event at the Minneapolis Marriott on a recent Saturday evening. The event, called Rites of Passage, featured 20 young men marching into the Marriott's ballroom to the sound of African drumming. The young men had just completed a six-month program signifying their passage into adulthood.

The article began with a shocking story about Taylor Williamson, one of the initiates. Right before Christmas last year, Williamson's father passed away, and Williamson said he didn't know how he would deal with that loss. He said he found comfort through his family and the brothers in the Rites of Passage program.

The other initiates were also from the Twin Cities area, the Star Tribune said. They said the students displayed a range of interests in sports, arts and academics, and most have aspirations to continue on to college.

The ceremony lasted 90 minutes, the Tribune reported. During the ceremony, the initiates went from being clothed in tuxedos to donning robes similar to those of African kings. This symbolized their parting ways with childhood, the article said.

The Star Tribune said initiate Kasey Boyd said the program gave the young men a chance to connect across different schools. The article also noted the young men visited a correctional facility as part of the program, and the men said it was a place they never wanted to be.

Rites of Passage co-founder Linda Baker Keene told the Star Tribune that many people focus on kids in trouble, but they wanted to honor the kids who were doing things right. The Tribune said the young mean learned about health, money, time management and business etiquette.

The article said the program has had over 200 graduates from public, private and charter schools, and most continue on to higher education. The young men form lifelong bonds with each other, said Henry Crosby, who has co-chaired the program for 10 years. The Tribune concluded by mentioning that the ceremony blended traditions from different cultures and included such things as ceremonial drinks and lit candles to represent values like unity, self-determination and faith.

Al Newman, a former Minnesota Twins infielder and base coach, and Mark LeVoir, an NFL lineman from Eden Prairie, are working with the company My Local Ad Space (MLAS) to raise money for local high schools.

The Star Tribune said MLAS offers businesses a package that helps to enable more Web traffic and customers. MLAS gives 25 of the company's monthly fee, about $50 to $100, to a charity of its choice. They reported that Newman and LeVoir are working with MLAS to promote local high schools, and specifically their athletic programs, as options for a charity.

The Star Tribune reported that Newman said that because of the economy, it's hard for kids and their parents to afford to play sports, so this innovative way to raise money might help keep kids in sports and out of trouble. Sports equipment prices and participation costs have hurt sports enrollment in high school, Newman said. The Tribune reported that Newman said he hopes this money will help relieve some of the pressure placed on families who can't afford to enroll their students in sports.

LeVoir said he wants to reach out to more businesses in Eden Prairie as well as those in Massachusetts and the New England area, where he has played with the Patriots since 2008, according to the Tribune.

Newman said he is taking advantage of his status as a local celebrity to enable him to discuss money and the possibility of free money with businesses, the Tribune reported.

University wrestler finishes season 31-0

NCAA champion wrestler Jayson Ness graduated with a degree in technology education in fall 2009, according to the Minnesota Daily, so he was able to focus sole on his sport in the spring.

The Daily said Ness finished this season 31-0 and won the Big Ten meet in March with a 4-0 record. He then went on to win the NCAA championship.

Ness said he has put a lot of time into wrestling, and all his hard work as finally paid off, the Daily reported. They also reported that the play that won him the NCAA championship was named the No. 1 play of the weekend on ESPN'S SportsCenter and said Ness said it was unreal to see himself on SportsCenter because wrestling usually isn't featured on the show.

The Daily said Ness was awarded the Hodge Trophy, an award given annually to the nation's top wrestler, and as the recipient he became the first Minnesota wrestler to win the trophy.

The Daily reported Ness is in graduate school at the University of Minnesota but said he doesn't know exactly what his future plans are. However, the Daily did say Ness said he will continue to be involved in wrestling no matter where his future paths take him.

American poet Ai dies

The American poet Ai died March 20 at the age of 62. According The New York Times, Ai died of pneumonia, a complication of previously undiagnosed cancer.

The obituary acts as a feature of Ai's work--the New York Times said Ai's poems, which are nearly all dramatic monologues, have been widely recognized. The Times said Ai's poems varied in their characters, from male to female to likeable to unlikeable.

This poem is local to me because I've studied Ai's poetry in some of my creative writing classes. This obituary works because it focuses on the details of Ai's achievements while also giving readers background information.

For example, the Times said Ai received a National Book Award in 1999 for "Vice: New and Selected Poems" and offered a sample of her poetry. The article also explained that the poet, originally named Florence Anthony, changed her name when she was young to "Ai," which means "love" in Japanese.

It makes sense for the Times to have written the obituary mostly about Ai's work and not about her family life--the article said Ai found out she was the product of a scandalous affair her mother had and that when she died she had only one immediate survivor, a half-sister.

The one thing the article is missing is information about funeral services, but perhaps this is because she is a noteworthy figure, so service information was not included in the obituary for that reason.

Obituary of Margaret Moth

According to the Star Tribune, CNN photojournalist Margaret Moth, 59, died Sunday. They said a CNN spokesperson confirmed Moth died in Rochester, MN, in hospice care. She had terminal colon cancer, according to her CNN obituary.

Both sources profiled Moth as an independent, fearless woman who was always looking for challenges and who never complained--even after enduring a gunshot wound to the face and surviving. The Star Tribune said she changed her name from Margaret Wilson to Margaret Gypsy Moth because she said she wanted to have her own name, not one determined by her father.

The Star Tribune said Moth started with CNN in 1990 and covered the Israeli invasion of the West Bank in 2002, the rioting following Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984 and other world conflicts, including some in the Middle East.

The CNN obituary focused more on Moth's personality than her job. They included quotes that peg her as humorous and fearless, whereas the Star Tribune portrayed her more like a female role model.

Both obituaries work, but together they complete the picture of who this woman was. She was a local character to those who worked with her and to us who may have seen her coverage on TV. The obituaries both said Moth said it was important for her to know she had lived her life to the fullest, and when she died she felt she had done that.

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