December 2010 Archives

Arenas the Latest Athlete with Shot at Redemption

Gilbert Arenas, the NBA player who was suspended for most of last season for bringing a handgun into the Washington Wizards' locker room, was traded to the Orlando Magic, providing the troubled star with a fresh start.

According to ESPN, Arenas, a former all-star, had worn out his welcome with the Washington front office with his controversial behavior, but Orlando welcomed him with open arms, making him the most recent athlete to aim for redemption with a new team after outside struggles.

In the most prevalent example of athletic redemption in recent memory, Michael Vick, the NFL quarterback who spent 19 months in prison for organizing a dogfighting ring, has played brilliantly this season to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to the verge of a division title.

Vick's journey was detailed in a recent Sports Illustrated cover story.

Whether Arenas will be able to revive his career in a similar manner has yet to be determined, but by taking chances on troubled athletes like Arenas and Vick, teams are proving that, in professional sports, talent trumps trouble nearly every time.

Eden Prairie Set to Redraw School Boundaries

In an attempt to enhance the diversity of the student body in its elementary schools, the Eden Prairie school board is expected to redraw its school district boundaries in a meeting on Tuesday.

As the Eden Prairie News reported, the school board originally discussed changing the boundaries in September, and now that proposals have been examined, the school is expected to approve a new plan.

According to the Star Tribune, the new boundaries are designed to balance the school size and diversity of Eden Prairie's five elementary schools.

Numerous other school districts in the metro area, facing similar problems with balancing size and demographics of student bodies, are expected to follow Eden Prairie's example if the redistricting plan is accepted, according to the Star Tribune.

"The opportunity for Eden Prairie is to show how to be a leader in a whole new world," said state Rep. Carlos Mariani of St. Paul.

African Immigrants Brawl in Moorhead

A fight broke out early Sunday in a Moorhead parking lot between immigrants from Sudan and Liberia, drawing an estimated of crowd of 100 people.

According to KARE, Moorhead police had to break up the fight that involved a knife, a shovel, a firearm, and a taser shortly after midnight on Sunday.

Police reported that three men sustained injuries in the fight, although none are life-threatening.

The Star Tribune confirmed that the fight was between young men from the war-torn African nations of Sudan and Liberia, marking the most recent event in a history of racial tensions in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Community leaders expressed worry that the actions of these young men might lead to injuries among the older population.

"Our concern is what is happening is not in the interest of both communities," said Gibson Jerue, a Liberian community leader from Fargo.

Tensions Rising Between North and South Korea

Amid concerns of a planned "live-fire drill" from South Korea, the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting Sunday to address the worsening relationship between North and South Korea.

CBS News reported that Russia, which shares a border with North Korea, called for the meeting and is urging immediate diplomatic action to relieve some of the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

China, the most powerful ally of the North, also supported efforts to intervene and prevent the situation from escalating further

South Korea recently announced that it would be conducting live-fire drills to test its military firepower, prompted by a recent North Korean attack on a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors, according to CBS.

Many South Koreans on Yeonpyeong Island, fearful of being caught in the middle of a firefight, have fled for safer ground, according to CNN, and those that are staying are staying in military bunkers.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Military Policy Repealed

The Senate voted Saturday to repeal the armed forces' policy of "don't ask, don't tell", which prevented openly gay people from serving in the military.

According to CNN, the legislation was passed in a 65-31 vote, and it should be signed into law later this week by President Obama.

"Gay and lesbian service members -- brave Americans who enable our freedoms -- will no longer have to hide who they are," Obama said in an e-mailed statement.

According to ABC News, Sen. John McCain was the fiercest opponent of the decision, and he said that he believed the change in policy would directly harm troops.

Since the original law was enacted in 1993, an estimated 13,500 service members have been discharged from the military for revealing their sexual orientation, according to ABC News.

Madoff's Son's Suicide a Cautionary Tale

Mark Madoff, son of convicted fraudulent investor Bernard Madoff, killed himself Saturday in his New York City apartment, exactly two years after his father was arrested.

According to CNN, Mark Madoff had fallen out of touch with his family in recent years, largely believed to be a result of his father's misdeeds.

"Mark was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo," said Martin Flumenbaum, Madoff's attorney.

In talking to close friends of Madoff, ABC News revealed that Madoff was afraid of being linked to his father as a permanent disgrace, and he thought his family would be better off without him.

Madoff's suicide is a sad indication of the collateral damage that can be caused by excessive news coverage.

Bernard Madoff's story was so widely covered in the media and around office water coolers that his son was unable to escape the negative shadow left over.

These are the risks of living in the 24-hour news cycle, a world where every news angle is covered, and the lingering effects can be dangerously unpredictable.

Gray Wolf Close to Removal from Endangered List

The federal government is close to removing gray wolves from the endangered species list.

According to KSTP, the wolves, which live in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, have bounced back from near extinction to population levels nearly twice what is required by the endangered species list.

The Department of the Interior plans to propose a plan for the wolves in early 2011, with a final vote on the plan coming by the end of that year, according to Assistant Secretary Thomas Strickland.

WCCO reported that Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced last week that she hoped the wolves would be removed from the list because they have become a threat to various Minnesota industries.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Klobuchar said that the wolves are "hurting our farms, families and businesses, and our hunting industry."

Winter Storm Forces NFL to Move Vikings Game

The winter storm that roared through Minnesota on Saturday deflated the Metrodome in Minneapolis and will force the Vikings to play a home football game in Detroit.

According to the Star Tribune, the roof of the Metrodome tore in three places due to the weight of the fifth-largest snowfall in Twin Cities history.

The news of the location change disappointed fans who were hoping to see the Vikings keep their slim playoff hopes alive against the New York Giants.

According to KSTP, an effort was made by the NFL to play the game at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota, but enormous amounts of snowfall on the field made that option logistically impossible.

"Unfortunately, TCF Bank Stadium was shut down for winter and would take several days to prepare for an NFL game," Vikings officials released in a written statement.

The team will now kickoff from Detroit at 6:20 PM on Monday.

WikiLeaks Forcing Changes in Military Protocol

With WikiLeaks continuing to release sensitive information, the U.S. military has taken precautions to prevent more items from being released to the public.

According to CBS News, Maj. Gen. Richard Webber, Air Force Network Operations commander, has banned the use of removable media, including flash drives and CDs, on military networks.

Removable media devices had been banned as recently as two years ago, when a worm was spread among thousands of military computer systems, according to CBS News.

The announcement comes on the heels of an eventful week for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange was arrested on Tuesday in the United Kingdom, where he remains in custody at the present time, but the reach of WikiLeaks has proven to extend well beyond Assange, according to CNN.

With his arrest, governments have been anticipating the possible release of WikiLeaks' rumored "Doomsday files", extremely sensitive documents that Assange has ordered to be released if he is killed or imprisoned.

Newton Wins Heisman Despite Suspicious Voters

Cameron Newton, quarterback at Auburn University, was named the winner of the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, the award given annually to college football's most valuable player.

According to ESPN, Newton received the third highest percentage of first-place votes in Heisman history despite an off-field controversy that nearly cost Newton his eligibility.

Earlier this season, it was reported that Newton's father requested money from schools during the recruiting period in exchange for his son's playing services, a major violation of NCAA rules.

As Fox Sports announced, though, the NCAA determined that Cameron Newton had no knowledge of his father's violations, which allowed him to keep his eligibility.

Newton became the first Heisman winner at Auburn since 1985, and he will try to cement his legacy at the school by winning the national championship against Oregon next month.

New Gopher Football Coach Brings More Yawns than Cheers

Jerry Kill has been named the new coach of the University of Minnesota football team, and the reaction from fans has been lukewarm at best.

Kill, 49, had been the coach at Northern Illinois for three seasons, and he is expected to be introduced at a press conference early this week, according to KSTP.

For Gopher fans expecting a big name to replace Tim Brewster, news of Kill's hiring comes as largely a disappointment.

As ESPN points out, U of M athletic director Joel Maturi sought a "Tubby Smith-like candidate", referring to the championship-winning coach brought in to take over the Gopher basketball program in 2007.

Although Kill has experienced success at every level of coaching, he has never been a coach at a BCS school, and he lacks the name recognition of candidates like Mike Leach and Chris Petersen.

Kill may prove to be a smart hire in time, but by not signing a high profile coach, Maturi has missed out on a chance to rekindle the interest in Gopher football.

For now, only time will tell if Kill can bring the Gophers back to respectability and beyond.

Favre Injured as Vikings Demolish Bills

With quarterback Brett Favre leaving with a shoulder injury early in the game, running back Adrian Peterson stepped up, scoring three touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 38-14 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

According to KSTP, Favre left the game after taking a big hit on his shoulder from Bills linebacker Arthur Moats on the third play of the game.

Backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson played the rest of the game for Favre, throwing two touchdowns to wide receiver Sidney Rice and three interceptions.

According to ESPN, Favre admitted that there was no way he could have reentered the game and been an effective quarterback.

"I couldn't throw," Favre said in his post-game press conference. "I tried to on the sidelines."

Favre's injury makes his status for next week's game questionable, and it jeopardizes his streak of 297 consecutive starts, according to ESPN.

Funeral Held for Wisconsin Hostage Taker

Hundreds of people attended the memorial Sunday for the boy who held his social studies class hostage in Marinette, Wisconsin last week before shooting himself.

Attendees were still trying to wrap their minds around why 15-year-old Sam Hengel held his class at gunpoint for six hours before taking his own life, according to WCCO-TV.

"We don't know for sure what went on in Sam's mind," said Keith Schroeder, Hengel's scoutmaster, "but we know he chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

KARE reports that countless people left written messages for Hengel, including his brother, Ben, who simply wrote, "I will always miss you, brother."

Police are still uncertain as to why Sam Hengel, whom his father described as a quiet leader, tried to hold his class hostage.

WikiLeaks, U.S. Government Face Off

Julian Assange, founder of the website WikiLeaks, demanded that President Obama resign if it is discovered that he allowed U.S. diplomats to spy on officials of the United Nations.

According to CBS News, Assange also called for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to step down as a result of the action.

"The whole chain of command who was aware of this order, and approved it, must resign if the U.S. is to be seen to be a credible nation that obeys the rule of law," Assange said to El Pais, a newspaper in Madrid.

Details of the spying allegations were among the 250,000 secret government documents released by WikiLeaks since last week, according to CNN. As a result of the leak, the backlash from the U.S. government against WikiLeaks has been immense.

"I think the man is a high-tech terrorist," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to CBS about Assange. "He has done enormous damage to our country."

Containment of Israeli Wildfire Progressing

The major sources of the deadliest wildfire in Israel's history have been extinguished, and officials are confident they have the blaze contained.

According to CNN, firefighters have gained control over several major fronts to control the fire, which has killed at least 41 people since it broke out on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been working to get aid for the scorched region from the government and from other nations, according to CNN.

"I want quick solutions," Netanyahu said in response to the fire. "I want all of the people, within days, to be able to return to their homes or alternative housing, until the reconstruction work is finished."

ABC News reports that two teenage brothers were arrested on suspicion of starting the fire, although it is believed to have been an accident.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2010 is the previous archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.