Main | October 2008 »

September 28, 2008

Twins Become Tigers Fans For A Day

The Minnesota Twins shut out the Kansas City Royals in Sunday’s game in Minn. with a 6-0 win, inching them ever nearer to the American League Central title.

If the Detroit Tigers can steal a win away from the White Sox in Monday’s game, the Twins will be celebrating their fifth ALC title in seven years.

The Twins are currently half a game ahead of the White Sox in the title race and would like to clinch that title tomorrow, even if that means becoming Tigers fans for a day.

"I'll tell you what, if they [Chicago] lose, it won't be subdued. We'll have a little bit of fun here. These guys have earned it,? Gardenhire said, The Star Tribune Reported.

The White Sox play the Tigers in Chicago at 2:05 p.m. ET Monday.

Cows Displaced After Hurricane Ike

Thousands of cows are displaced after Hurricane Ike hit Texas a couple weeks ago, some as far as twenty miles.

Helicopters and riders on horseback are working hard to herd the cattle into safer grounds where they can find water and grazing. The task of returning lost cattle to their owners is a daunting process, but everyone is willing to help in the southeast counties of Jefferson and Chambers where the devastation is occurring.

Mike Latta, a rancher and rice farmer said he has recovered 15 of his 400 cows and doesn’t have high hopes that he’ll find the rest. About 10,000 of the estimated 25,000 cattle missing have been found, The New York Times reported.

“It’s total devastation,? Latta said.

Congress has been asked to help affected ranchers and write an emergency appropriations bill.

“We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars of damage,? said Todd Staples, commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture. “You can’t imagine the destruction until you see it,? The New York Times reported.

Structures

In the news story about the 51-year-old woman being killed after being hit by an SUV, the reporter gives the information in chronological order.
The reporter first starts with the lead, drawing the reader into the story and then proceeds to tell what happened, where and when. This is a very useful tactic for writing stories about victims and the situation they were in. It gives the reader the whole story up front, even thought the ending is already stated in the lead.
This story could not have been done any differently. It summarizes the high points in the story, and then brings the reader into the story by using chronology.

Woman Dies After Bike and SUV Hit

A St. Paul woman died Saturday after she was hit by an SUV while riding her bicycle in the vicinity of Snelling and Summit Avenues.

“51-year-old Virginia Heuerbowar was wearing a helmet when she was hit at 8:10 a.m., said Pete Panos, a spokesman for St. Paul police,? The Star Tribune reported.

Heuerbowar died at Regions Hospital in St. Paul about seven hours later after sustaining severe head injuries.

The accident is still under investigation and no tickets were issued, police reported.

Mentally Disabled Woman Supposedly Raped By Driver

A disabled woman was picked up by a driver and allegedly raped in a medical transport van June 18, 2008.

40-year-old Vladimir A. Yulchinchuk of Rogers was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, reported The Star Tribune.

Yulchinchuk picked up the woman from her appointment, ordered her into the van and then stripped and raped her in a back alley not far from her medical treatment center.

“Mental disorders, including paranoia, mild retardation, an IQ of 80 and a brain injury," was the description of the woman’s disabilities given by the director of her treatment center, The Star Tribune reported.

Yulchinhuk was never scheduled to pick up the woman, and denies all allegations.

He was fired immediately from his medical transport job.

September 26, 2008

Gunman Kills 10 at Finnish Vocational School

A 22-year-old gunman opened fire on a vocational school in western Finland Tuesday, killing 10 people and then himself.

Police identified the shooter as Matt Juhani Saari, a 22-year-old student at Kauhajoki School of Hospitality in Finland.

Eight women and two men were killed in the shooting, making it the second school massacre in a year for Finland. All of the victims were students of the school except for one of the males who was a teacher, reported USA Today.

“I heard several dozen round of shots; in other words, it was an automatic pistol,? Jukka Forsber, the school janitor, told the Finnish broadcasting company YLE. “I saw some female students who were wailing and moaning, and one managed to escape out the back door.?

YouTube postings of Saari firing a handgun led police to him a day earlier, but they could find no legal reason to keep him in custody and he was released, The New York Times reported.

“The attacker walked into the school armed with a .22-calibur pistol and carrying explosives. He killed 10 people, burning some of them beyond recognition,? Police spokeswoman Jari Neulaniem said, reported USA Today.

September 21, 2008

Car Accident leaves One Dead and Four Injured

A car crash in Minneapolis on Sunday left one man dead and four others injured.

At about 1:30 Sunday afternoon a northbound vehicle on Park Avenue S. ran a red light and struck an eastbound vehicle.

Three victims are in critical condition and one in stable condition at Hennepin County Medical Center. The passenger in the eastbound vehicle died.

Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said it's unclear exactly which cars the injured parties were riding in. One victim is a juvenile and the others are adults, reported the Star Tribune.

Sources

In the story about Eden Prairie being ranked the top 3rd retirement spot in the country, there are several sources listed in the story itself.
U.S. News and World Report are documented in the story as the source for the story itself. References are made throughout the story, taking information from the magazine to add credibility to the story. All of the information gathered for this story is from records and reports.
The attribution of this story is set in the middle of the text and it isn't given specifically to an individual but citing the magazine. It is not confusing at all and adds to the depth of the story and its credibility.

Eden Prairie Ranked Top Three for Retirement

Coming in just behind Bella Vista, AR, and Boulder, CO, Eden Prairie claimed the 3rd healthiest retirement spot in the country.

U.S. News and World Report publish annual rankings of ideal retirement cities based on cost of living, recreational opportunities, climate and other ideologies, reported The Star Tribune.

Eden Prairie is home to 100-miles worth of trails, many parks, lake accessibility, fitness centers, and new community center.

“The 10 cities on the list were "way ahead of the curve" when it comes to providing places to exercise, promoting strong social support and encouraging healthy lifestyle habits, the magazine said,? reported The Star Tribune.

Tainted Baby Formula Causes Scare in China

Three babies are dead and more than six-thousand are left sick after ingesting Sanlu baby formula containing Melamine, a product used to make plastics and fertilizers.

This toxic formula can cause kidney stones and even kidney failure to infants who drink the formula for a sustained amount of time, reported The New York Times.

Water is often added to dilute milk and increase supplies for many companies. Melamine is then added to increase the protein levels diluted from the water.

The Sanlu Group, one of China’s largest dairy companies, was thought to be the sole distributor of the tainted product, but investigators have traced the toxic formula to 21 other dairy companies, including China’s largest, reported The New York Times.

“While most of the suspect dairy products are only sold domestically, two of the companies involved exported baby formula to five countries in Asia and Africa. Other products such as milk, yogurt and ice cream went to Hong Kong,? reported USA Today.

“My concern is whether or not people will be held accountable and whether they will be put in jail. They might simply buy their way out,? said Zhang Gaofeng, father of a 22-month-old victim in Beijing.

Ike Washes Away Public and Private Boundaries

Hurricane Ike ripped through Texas and is leaving hundreds of homeowners to battle the state for their property due to new tide lines.

Homes that were not destroyed from the 26-foot waves that hit the coast of Texas now face the iron hand of the law if they are too close to newly created tide lines, reported Las Angeles Times.

The 1959 Texas Open Beaches Act is being put to the test now that homeowners are sitting on newly acquired state soil. The act was enacted to keep public property between high and low tides and sell the rest to homeowner, but Ike drew a new line leaving many homeowners without homes or compensation.

"We're talking about damn fools that have built houses on the edge of the sea for as long as man could remember and against every advice anyone has given," said A.R. "Babe" Schwartz, the former senator who wrote the law.

Rebuilding the beaches is not an option and homeowners will not know if they can rebuild or make repairs for a year until the tide boundaries become set again.

Homes that were completely destroyed by the hurricane are able to collect insurance but it is uncertain whether homeowners who now live on public property will receive compensation if condemned by the state, reported Las Angeles Times.

"No one has ever successfully beaten the state when the state comes after you under the Open Beaches Act," said Charles Irvine, a Houston coastal law attorney. "But everyone still tries to think up innovative arguments."

Teenage Clinic Postponed At Hopkins High School


Contraceptives and STD testing would have been offered by a new on-campus clinic at Hopkins High School had the school board not received complaints.

Parents’ rights and an increase in student sexuality were among the complaints, reported the Star Tribune. After such complaints, the school board postponed the clinic plans indefinitely.

“As a superintendent, it's my job to ensure that the school board has every angle on the issues and items that are on a board agenda," said Superintendent John Schultz.

Nineteen-year-old Jamie Bell from Eden Prairie spoke at the Sept. 4 school board meeting. She said the West Suburban Teen Clinic, which is what the Hopkins clinic would be based upon; enabled her to lie to her parents about sex and other things, reported the Star Tribune.

"You need to uphold the desires of the parents," Bell told the school board. "My parents tried to protect me, and the clinic took that right away."

The West Suburban Teen Clinic is primarily a reproductive health clinic but is now offering adolescent primary and acute services. Hopkins High School would have been the first suburban school to offer such care had the clinic been approved.

Hopkins students are still able to access health care from the West Suburban Teen Clinic in Excelsior, ten miles away.

"We are very happy to work closely with Hopkins Schools to build community support, to assess the needs of their students and to provide any help and support we can," said Terry Bosacker, executive director of the clinic. "We will work together with the school to see what a suburban model looks like."

September 14, 2008

Leads

According to The New York Times, Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s leader, is seriously ill and is likely to have suffered a stroke weeks ago, American officials said Tuesday, raising the prospect of a chaotic power struggle in nuclear-armed North Korea.

This news lead starts off with all of the five W's. The "who and where" are tied together in the very first sentence; Kim Jong-Il, North Korea's leader. The "what" is that he is seriously ill. He suffered a stroke weeks ago relating to the "when" factor and the "why" is that it's raising the prospect of a nuclear-armed power struggle.

All of these elements help to make the lead catching to the reader and draw them into the story by giving the facts first.
Detail is used when describing when the day of the week of the report, and when the stroke occurred. The more basic or general details are telling us that there is a power struggle, but it doesn't allude to who is involved.

Starting a lead as hard-news gets the reader interested up front and tells them what they need to know. It utilizes the inverted pyramid method of writing by giving the readers the most important facts first and then adding details in the following paragraphs. This method allows readers to grasp the concept of the story and decide whether or not it is worth reading further.

$100 Million For Checked Baggage

Continental Airlines will average about $100 million a year in fees and savings by charging passengers to check their luggage, reported USA Today.

An increase in fuel prices has caused airlines around the country to raise their fares and lower available seating. According to USA Today, an SEC filing Thursday said Continental’s percentage of seats filled will drop 1 to 2 percent but the company will see “substantially higher? mainline domestic yields.

“More bookings on significantly less capacity is simply a drawn-out way of expressing 'pricing power,"' JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker wrote. "While we are often dismissive of bookings commentary, Continental's language appears (to us) an effort to assuage largely misplaced investor fears that demand is poised to crater."

Starting Oct. 7, Continental, the nation’s fourth-largest airline will begin charging $15 for passenger’s first checked bag. The New York Times reported that bags exceeding weight and size restrictions could be subject to additional fees, the airline said.

Hurricane Ike Leaves Rescuers To Clean Up

Hurricane Ike hit the coast of Texas late Friday with 12 to 15-foot swells. Claiming at least thirteen people, Ike ripped through Texas leaving a trail of destruction as far as Houston.

Of the 57,000 residents of coastal-city Galveston, 20,000 residents were estimated to have disregarded the mandatory evacuation orders, reported the New York Times. The Associated Press reported that state and federal officials were forced to conduct 1,984 rescues, including 394 by air, making it the largest search-and-rescue effort in Texas history.

Over 2 million Texans are without power as of Sunday and it could be weeks before power is fully restored in the area officials said.

“We’re asking people just to be patient.? R. David Paulison, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in an interview on CNN on Sunday. “Don’t be in a hurry. If you’re in a safe place, whether a shelter or hotel or motel, or staying with friends and family, just stay right there.?

Experts say the storm was not as bad as predicted in spite of the overwhelming flooding. Stacey Stewart, a senior hurricane analyst at the National Hurricane Center, said a shift in the storm’s track to the north just before landfall might have kept the rise in sea levels on the lower side of what had been forecast, reported the New York Times.

The Associated Press reported that President Bush made plans to visit the area Tuesday. On his trip to Texas, Bush said he intends to express "the federal government's support - sympathy on the one hand and support on the other - for this recovery effort and rebuilding effort."

Kim Jong-il Said To Be Recovering From Brain Surgery

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-il was not present on Tuesday for the country’s 60th anniversary parade, leading to speculation he was seriously ill.

Kim could have partial paralysis on one side of his body due to a stroke that occurred last month reported the Star Tribune. Doctors possibly from China and France were said to have performed the brain surgery. Conditions have improved after Kim’s operation and he is showing no signs of slurred speech, which is a common side effect.

Officials said the episode prompted analysts to consider the chaos that would ensue if Kim does not recover enough to resume power. If the “Dear Leader? was incapacitated, it could have serious implications in North Korea's nuclear disarmament negotiations, reported the Star Tribune.

“A leader from the current political elite with strong ties to the military would take over,? Peter Hayes, director at the Nautilus Institute, told the New York Times.

None of Kim’s three known sons or his daughter has been selected to take over the dynasty, but analysts said on Wednesday, the most likely situation would be the stakeholders in Pyongyang forming a collective leadership, the New York Times reported.

Twins Ballpark Looking For $3 Million In Upgrades

Mayor R.T Rybak will be proposing a $3 million upgrade for “little projects? around the new Twins ballpark.

According to MinnPost, if the City Council approves of the project, it would become the first city money invested in the new ballpark. The plans would improve pedestrian areas as well as transit access around the park.

"It's a first for the city," Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat said of the $3 million; "We've been waiting for this at the county . . . We hope the City Council works quickly, swiftly and affirmatively . . . It's a good first step, and we look for more. We'll keep pressing you, Mayor," reported MinnPost.

A 3 percent entertainment tax, which will begin in 2010, will be taken from Twins ticket sales inside the new park. This will pay for the “little projects? which will be prepaid by the city.

Money earned from the entertainment tax will be used for future safety and traffic control around the ballpark, reported MinnPost.

"It's money that wouldn't be generated if the ballpark wasn't here," Rybak said.

Too Many Kids

According to the Star Tribune, a Bloomington day care center was over its limit by eight children on Aug. 28th. A 22-month-old boy was found strapped in a car seat, unresponsive, that day according to a warrant made public on Thursday.

22-month-old Demar Joseph-Amir Hicks died two days after the incident.

Doris Meeks and her daughter run Mama D’s Day Care in Bloomington. According to the police warrant, Meeks and her daughter had conflicting accounts of who put the baby down for a nap.

"I don't know what happened, but they were over on kids, and that's a no-no," LuAnn Schmaus, a spokeswoman with the Hennepin County public affairs office reported to the Star Tribune.

Cause of death has not yet been determined, according to the Star Tribune, but the day care's license has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.