April 26, 2009

Blog Analysis Entry: Records/CAR

The Informant

I looked at the four-part piece done by the Star Tribune about the corruption in the Minneapolis Police Department. The reporter most likely used CAR when analyzing numbers. For example, in the second part, it says that Lt. Lee Edwards was being paid by Taylor Trump, and says that the total has been $5,000 over the years. Trump probably didn't memorize that number and give it to the reporter. The reporter probably had to input numbers in spreadsheets or organize his notes into a time line so that he could put together an estimate. The reporter not only needed to know how to use spreadsheets, but he had to know how to use basic computer tools like internet search engines or the data libraries within the Star Tribune so that he could collect information to analyze.

3-year-old struck, killed by truck in St. Paul

A car struck and killed a 3-year-old as she was crossing a St. Paul street Saturday morning.

Mai Yer Moua was following her father, Vang Moua, across Rose Avenue, where they were attending a family ceremony, when a truck struck her. Her mother, Mai Neng Moua, was reaching for their younger child and other things when Mai Yer crossed.

Police spokesman Peter Panos told the Star Tribune that the death appeared accidental, and that the driver, whom he declined to identify, was distraught over the girl's death. It was too early to say how fast the man was going.

"It could be anybody -- it just happened to be his little girl," Mickey Yang, Vang's cousin, told the Star Tribune.

Dinkytown block party becomes a riot, 6 arrested

Minneapolis Police dressed in riot gear subdued a large crowd of students at a block party in Dinkytown late Saturday with tear gas.

The party was part of the school's Spring Jam festivities, students told the Pioneer Press. Minneapolis police responded around 8 p.m., and tried to subdue students on 7th Street and between 14th and 13th Avenues SE with pepper spray, tear gas grenades and foam rounds.

According to the Star Tribune, the crowd grew to around 500 through the night. At least 60 officers responded to the incidents.

Police told the Pioneer Press that students caused damage to cars and started a fire in the street. They also threw rocks and bottles at the officers when they arrived.

The Star Tribune reported some homes in the area were also damaged.

More than 60 officers were on the scene.

Six people were arrested, but no serious injuries were reported.

Kent State University Riot

Police fired baton rounds and used pepper spray in an attempt to break up the crowd of rioting students who started multiple fires in the streets of Kent State University at a college end-of-the-year party.

Kent Police told the

Authorities were monitoring airports in case Zinkhan tried to head to Amsterdam, where he owns a home, or Austin, Texas, where he has relatives, according to the Associated Press.

Police told AP that Zinkhan was outside the Athens Community Center with members of Town & Gown Players, a local theater group, when he got into an argument with one of the players. Later, he returned with two guns and opened fire on the group.

The three victims were identified by police as Marie Bruce, 47, Zinkhan's ex-wife; Tom Tanner, 40; and Ben Teagure, 63. They were shot multiple times, the county coroner told AP. Two others were injured from flying shrapnel, according to AP.

Zinkhan disappeared after dropping his children off at a neighbor's house. His neighbor, Robert Covington, told AP that Zinkhan said he needed someone to watch his children for an hour because of an emergency.

Covington also told AP he asked Zinkhan's daughter about the emergency, and she told him there was "something about a firecracker."

Covington told the New York Times that Zinkhan's children are now in custody of the police.

Zinkhan has a doctorate from the University of Michigan and is a marketing professor at UGA's Terry College of Business. University spokesman Pete Konenkamp told AP he had no disciplinary problems.

Josh Gurly, 21, a university junior who was one of Zinkhan's students, told the New York Times Zinkhan unexpectedly canceled class last weak and told students they did not need to take the final exam.

Australia intercepts refugees

Australia intercepted a boat carrying more than 50 refugees on Saturday off Australia's coast.

Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus told Yahoo! News the boat was carrying 54 refugees and was stopped in international waters by border patrol officers after a tip from an oil rig.

The refugees and two crew members on the boat were taking onto a navy ship, Debus said.

The ship was stopped near Ashmore Island, where there was an explosion on April 17 on board another ship carrying refugees.

The ship was the eighth to be intercepted or to have made landfall in Australia since January. Refugees from previous ships were mainly from the subcontinent and Afghanistan, but the ethnicity of those on the most recent ship is unknown.

April 19, 2009

Man jailed after trying to lure two eight-year-olds into his car

A 21-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly trying to lure two eight-year-old girls into his car Tuesday and show him the way to Concord Elementary School.

According to the Star Tribune, both girls refused and alerted their parents.

District spokesman Doug Johnson told the Star Tribune the incidents happened around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, is in custody pending charges.

Edina deputy police chief Jeff Long declined to identify the two girls who were walking home from school when the suspect approached them.

A citizen spotted the suspect talking to the girl, learned what happened, and followed him to get the license plate number before calling police.

The suspect told police he was lost and needed to find his way home, Long told the Star Tribune.

"He said he was sincerely lost and looking for directions," Long said. "The problem we saw with that was that he claimed he talked to a couple people, including a man, but we have not had anyone step forward to say that."

Long also told the Star Tribune the suspect asked to speak to an attorney and has had a criminal history that includes burglary and assault.

Woman dies after fleeing suspect hits her car

A woman was killed and two others were injured after a collision Saturday night between a suspect fleeing Roseville police and the woman on Saturday night.

Shoua Vang, 48, was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital after Tito Fonzio Campbell, 33, left Interstate 35E in a stolen Chrysler and crashed into her car near Larpenteur Avenue in St. Paul, according to the Pioneer Press.

Vang's son declined to comment, according to the Star Tribune.

The incident began after Roseville police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle near Highway 36, the Star Tribune reported. After chasing Campbell eastbound on the highway, police stopped because the suspect passed other cars in "a dangerous manner by using the right shoulder of the highway." Campbell was not being pursued by the police when he crashed into Vang.

Campbell was arrested on the scene of the accident, Roseville police told the Pioneer Press. He is being held on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide.

Police also told the Pioneer Press that there was an eight-year-old boy in the suspect's car that was hospitalized at Region's with non-life threatening injuries, but his relationship with the suspect is unknown. The man in Vang's car was hospitalized at Region's in serious condition.

Campbell was taken to Region's hospital for a blood-alcohol draw, according to the Pioneer Press. His blood alcohol level was not released.

Driver charged in Texas crash that killed 5 kids

Police filed charges of intoxication manslaughter Sunday against a man who lost control of his car while using a cell phone on Saturday night, causing the vehicle to run into a rain-filled ditched and kill five children inside.

Chanton Jenkins, 32, was in custody facing four counts of intoxication manslaughter for each of the children found dead so far, Houston police spokesman Kese Smith told the Associated Press.

Smith also told AP that the results of a blood alcohol test were pending, but Jenkins failed a field sobriety test following the crash. It occurred after heavy rain.

Jenkins was the father of three of the victims, a relative told police. AP reported that they are still looking for a 3-year-old girl. Bodies of a 4-year-old, 7-year-old and 11-year-old boy were found in the vehicle, and the body of a 1-year-old girl was found Sunday.

Jenkins, another adult and a 10-year-old girl escaped from the vehicle.

The adult passenger told police that four of the children in the vehicle were Jenkin's children, including the girl who escaped. It was raining heavily when Jenkins answered the phone, and when he hung up he lost control of the car and went into the ditch.

The other two girls, who were sisters, were cousins of Jenkin's four children, according to Cheri Smith, 40, whose cousin is the mother of the two little girls.

Nevada passes bill that eases smoking ban

The Nevada Senate passed a bill Friday that would ease the terms of a voter-approved measure banning smoking in Nevada bars and other public places.

The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act bans smoking in any indoor space that serves food and where minors are present. According to the New York Times, the new bill will allow smoking in taverns that serve food if they do not allow people under 21 to enter.

The Associated Press reported that the bill, which is moving to the Assembly for consideration, would also allow businesses to create separately ventilated smoking rooms.

“One house says it’s O.K., if you’re over 21, to go ahead and kill yourself and everyone around you — ‘We think that’s great, it’s your freedom’ — but the other house says, ‘Wait a minute, my gosh, if they have cancer we’ve got to take care of them,’ ” Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, told the New York Times. “People don’t seem to see the connection between the two.”

Lee opposed the bill, and was one of the few to vote against it.

Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, said that the bill doesn't disregard the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, because an amendment made to the bill calls for fines of up to $2,000 for bar owners who fail to keep minors out.

"I defy you to look at the amendment ... and find something in there that says we have ignored the will of the voters, and we want to expose children to second-hand smoke, and we want to expose other people to second-hand smoke," Amodei told AP.

Smoking is currently banned in restaurants and bars that serve food, in slot machine sections of grocery and convenience stores, and at video arcades, shopping malls, schools and day-care centers. On the gambling floors of casinos, however, smoking has not been banned.

Many 'Lost Canadians' gain citizenship

Many unsuspecting people gained Canadian citizenship after an amendment on Canada's Citizenship Act took effect on Friday.

The act was introduced in 1947 as the first citizenship law in Canada. The new amendment will help thousands of people who were either stripped of their citizenship or were told they were not eligible for citizenship, including children of Canadians born abroad who lost citizenship after not registering with the government and those who gained citizenship in another country, according to Yahoo! News, since an old law did not allow dual citizenship.

Danielle Norris, an immigration spokeswoman, told Yahoo! News that the law was amended partly because of the mass evacuation of Canadians living in Lebanon, after Israel attacked in 2006.

Yahoo! News also reported that the immigration department estimates hundreds of thousands of Canadians living abroad could be affected by the amendment.

Though this law helps some, some do not benefit. Sharryn Aiken, a law professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., told Canadian Broadcasting Centre that the law prevents the grandchildren of Canadians who are living abroad from receiving citizenship if they were not born in Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told CBC the new rule is in place to prevent those who do not pay taxes from passing citizenship to their children.

April 12, 2009

Blog Analysis Entry: Diversity

AP IMPACT: Citizens held as illegal immigrants

This article talks about how citizens of the United States, especially those of the Hispanic population, are held as illegal immigrants and ultimately deported, despite their citizenship. It address the issue of racial profiling and hostility towards a specific group of people, since that is one of the main reasons why Hispanics are targeted. It presents racial profiling as a problem in government that should be solved, and the kicker clearly demonstrates how the reporters feel about the issue. Even if the person had been born on U.S. soil, if he or she is not good at speaking English, he or she is not believed to be a citizen, and the person is then suspected of being an illegal immigrant. This story used multiple things to convey information, including data and statistics, quotes and the stories of multiple people who have been affected by this. They also attribute the information they found, linking some to documents obtained by the Freedom of Information Act.

I find it surprising that government officials would be hostile towards Hispanics and extremely skeptical of their citizenship, even if their computers and files state explicitly that the person is a citizen. I also find it surprising that some immigration centers will mislead those people into signing documents that would get them deported if they have a right to be in the country.

A bill to regulate the tattoo industry introduced

A bill regulating the tattoo industry is in the Legislature and has drawn both support and opposition from tattoo artists across the state.

The bill would mandate state health-related practices for artists and require training and inspections, according to the Star Tribune.

Though there are no current state regulations, some cities and counties in Minnesota have ordinances, and artists need to follow federal health and safety regulations.

The bill, which is not the first attempt to regulate tattooing in Minnesota, is believed by supporters to be a form of protection for people who wish to get a tattoo in a tattoo parlor.

"It's not a good thing that any guy with a couple thousand dollars can just open a shop," Dwayne Holt, a tattoo artist and shop manager at Anchor's End Tattoo in Duluth, told the Star Tribune. "You couldn't go and get your hair cut by someone who just picked up the scissors this morning."

Tanika Nolan, one of the 20-year owners of ACME Tattoo Co. in St. Paul, opposes the bill because she believes the bill to be too broad. The regulations and guidelines go beyond public health, Nolan told the Star Tribune, and they might make it harder to enter the profession and push tattoo artists underground.

Pierce Butler extension may force moves in St. Paul

A proposed road extension linking Midway to the East Side could run through two businesses, and both owners do not want to leave.

The project is an extension of Pierce Butler Route, from Grotto Street to Interstate 35E, according to the Star Tribune. New changes to the plan include buying out the properties where Daisy Huang's Super Foods and Gennadiy Yermolenko's proposed Capitol Car Co. sit.

"We're doing business for the neighborhood; they can't just move us wherever," Huang told the Star Tribune. "Our business is where we are today. We don't think this would work elsewhere."

Huang spent nearly $3 million in renovating her grocery store and bazaar in recent years. Yermolenko spent about $1.5 million redeveloping the old salvage yard nearby that he recently purchased.

Tait Danielson Castillo, the executive director of the District 7 Planning Council, said initial plans put the road north of Huang's business.

Project manager Eriks Ludins told the Star Tribune that the neighborhood knew about the change in plans in 2007. He also said putting the road north of the store would have included 1,500 feet of bridge and would have made the project more costly.

Fires burn Christian center on Easter

A fire in a New Hampshire town damaged dozens of wood buildings in a 146-year-old Christian center, according to the Associated Press.

The fire, which started around 4:30 p.m. at the Alton Bay Christian Conference Center on Lake Winnipesaukee in Alton Bay, was under control by about 8:30 p.m.

State Fire Marshal William Degnan told AP that no civilians were injured. One firefighter was hurt when a propane tank exploded, and others were treated for smoke inhalation or exhaustion.

Degnan said the strong lake winds helped spread the fire.

The center was founded in 1863. It features cottages, a 70-room motel and a park for recreational vehicles, according to AP.