September 2010 Archives

Bloomington to restore bike trails around Bush Lake

The city of Bloomington is set to restore and pave a three-mile stretch of bike trails in the Bush lake area, according to the Star Tribune.

The project to restore portions of the 20-year-old trails will cost $902,705, paid for by various Metropolitan Council recreational grants.

Bush Lake is only the second most popular park in the area, according to the Star Tribune. The distinction for first place, garnering anywhere from 325,00 to 350,000 users annually, belongs to Normandale Lake park. Normandale Lake was voted as the No. 4 picnic area in Minnesota, according to WCCO News.

The city said it hopes to encircle the entire lake with trails one day, but the Star Tribune said that likely won't happen any time soon, as residents still own private property along portions of the shore. It's also a popular swimming beach and fishing area for local residents.

Gardenhire hit with stray ball

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was hit in the head Saturday with an errant throw during batting practice, according to the Associated Press.

The report also said that following the incident, Gardenhire passed a concussion test, which is good news for Twins fans who saw Justin Morneau's season end July 7 in a similar impact. Morneau has been dealing post-concussion symptoms for the better part of the past two and a half months, and a return has all but been ruled out, according to 1500 ESPN.

The Detroit News said Gardenhire will "think twice" about where he stands after having to spend most of Saturday's game against the Tigers in the visitor's clubhouse being monitored by medical personnel.

Attribution in Star Tribune's flooding story

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In Sunday's Star Tribune story about rivers flooding in Minnesota, only one source is cited. That source is Department of Transportation spokeswoman Rebecca Arndt.

In the lead, they do not cite her name because it would clutter up the intro. They simply refer to her as a transportation official who "announced more road closings due to flooding." They continue on in the article and reveal that said official is indeed Arndt, and that she works for the Department of Transportation as a spokeswoman.

Each paragraph reveals new information, and all of it courtesy of Arndt. The reporter did their job, and that was listen to Arndt's statement or read her release, and put it into news context. The way she is referenced throughout the article is easy to follow and articulate.

My best guess is that this was a press release from the Department of Transportation or at the very most, the Star Tribune called for a follow-up interview on the release and was put in contact with the spokesperson rather than an official.

Minnesota river floods

The National Weather service said the Minnesota River was a mere two feet below flood levels Saturday, according to KSTP news.

The Department of Transportation said that Highway 99 at the east edge of St. Peter closed Sunday morning due to flooding, according to the Star Tribune.

Southbound Highway 169 has already been closed between Mankato and St. Peter, and the Star Tribune said the northbound lanes may be in danger of closing soon as well. The flooding is caused by steady thunderstorms in the area from Wednesday through Friday.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has already visited one flooded area in the Zumbro River Valley, according to the Star Tribune. This visit was prior to the Minnesota River reaching flood levels, but Pawlenty has already said that he will meet with legislative leaders Monday to determine a time frame for a special session to address the issue.

Man dead after shooting in St. Paul

One man was fatally shot following an argument after a birthday party in St. Paul Sunday, according to the Star Tribune.

Another man involved was shot in the leg. Though his injuries were not life threatening, he was taken to Regions Hospital. It is believed that both victims knew the shooter and that the incident stemmed from an argument at a nearby party, police said.

Police are still interviewing witnesses but no arrests have been made, police said Sunday, according to WCCO radio.

WCCO also said that the two men were leaving a party, and that the first man was found dead in the street when police arrived on the scene.

Hyundai recalls 2011 Sonotas

Hyundai is recalling 140,000 model year 2011 Sonata according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, CNN reports.

"On some of these vehicles the steering column intermediate shaft universal joint connections may have been either improperly assembled or insufficiently tightened," the NHTSA said. Essentially what that means is that some of the models may experience decreased steering ability and maneuverability.

It's the second such recall for this model, as an earlier recall was deemed necessary for complications with the door latches, the AP reported.

CNN reported that two defective vehicles were found to be from the same plant in Montgomery, Alabama, one of the biggest plants for Hyundai in the United States.

College grads break even by age 33

A study was released concluding that the average student at a four-year university breaks even on the investment of college by age 33, according to USA Today.

The "break even" number assumes the student enrolled to a four-year school at age 18, and accounts for the four years in which they were absent from the workforce, compared to a high school graduate.

There have been studies like this in the past, but one study in 2003 concluded that the unemployment level of college grads had surpassed that of high school dropouts, according to the Economic Policy Report.

The USA Today also said the report concluded that college are more likely to exercise, volunteer, vote and read to their kids, and were less likely to be obese or smoke.

"For the typical student, the investment pays off very well over the course of a lifetime -- even considering the expense." College Board of Advocacy and Policy Center said.

China completes first wind farm

China recently completed its first wind farm off the coast of Shanghai, according to CNN.

The project is complete before the United States has even begun construction on its first such farm, leading CNN money to conclude that China is "winning the renewable energy race." Congress' failure to pass an energy bill was cited as the primary reason the U.S. has fallen behind. The emerging renewable energy market is also creating jobs in China, CNN reports.

The farm currently accounts for less than 1% of Shanghai's energy, but the New York Time's says even that powers 200,000 households, all while reducing CO2.

Analysis: Lead in a story about American's release

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"Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- A jubilant American Sarah Shourd reunited with her mother in Muscat, Oman, on Tuesday after Iranian authorities released her from a Tehran prison where she had been held for 14 months."

One reason I chose to analyze this lead was the use of the word "jubilant" in the opening. While not incorrect, it's rare to see a word that some may consider editorialized. Not all news organizations would choose to use the word, but CNN apparently decided that it is acceptable in this situation.

There are several items in the lead that make this story newsworthy: timeliness, prominence, conflict and impact.

As far as the "W's" are concerned, the lead contains all the pertinent ones. Who? Shroud. What? Released and reunited with her mother. Where? Oman/Tehran. When? Tuesday following a 14-month stay in prison. The where and when require more information than the other two, and thus are a larger part of this stories' introduction.

Aside from the word "jubilant" (which I mentioned earlier is perhaps appropriate here), the lead is a hard-news lead and there was not a lot of leeway as to what could and could not be included.

71 fans ejected from Wisconsin football game

Seventy-one people were escorted out of Camp Randall Stadium by UW-Madison police during Saturday's game, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

Of the 71 ejected, 46 were students and 25 people were arrested (29 students). Thirty of those 71 people were ejected and cited for underage drinking or possession of alcohol, according to the Associated Press.

Madison instituted a "Show and Blow" problem in 2009 which requires ejected students to pass a breathalyzer test prior to re-entry to the stadium, according to Madison's student newspaper, the Badger Herald. There was initial backlash from the student population due to the "large drinking culture" surrounding the college.

The program is similar to Minnesota's "Check BAC" program, instituted in TCF Bank stadium's inaugural season, ESPN reports, citing an AP article. The program was revised this year to attempt to iron out some perceived problems, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Shoreview man kidnapped

The search is ongoing for a Shoreview man who was apparently kidnapped Friday, the Associated Press reports. Ramsey Country Police are still looking for Matthew William Anderson after he called his wife Friday and said he'd been kidnapped by two men.

Anderson told her at the time that he believed that he was in Iowa, but Ramsey County Undersheriff George Altendorfe said the phone call was traced to the Wisconsin Dells area, according to the Star Tribune.

The AP reports that a crime alert released by the Department of Public Safety said he was last seen Friday afternoon at his job in Roseville. The Star Tribune said that his wife, Amber Anderson, said she believes there is no reason to believe he would just leave, and that she believes his life is in peril.

Couple hikes 1,550 miles around Superior

A Willow River, Minn., couple completed a 1,550 mile circuit around Lake Superior Saturday, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The journey lasted four and a half months and began in late April.

Mike Link, 64, and Kate Crowley, 60, set off on the journey to celebrate Link's retirement from the Northwoods Audubon Center in Sandstone, Minn.

The couple said, "Day eight might have been the day when we walked in rain, which changed to sleet, which changed to snow...but there never was really a day where we were depressed and feeling down about it at all," according to the Northland's News Center.

Northland's News Center also said the couple plans to set off on another lengthy hike in 2011 in New Zealand. Link and Crowley told the Duluth News Tribune that they plan on writing a book.

High school football player dies during game

A high school football player was rushed to the hospital Friday during the game and died shortly after, according to CNN.

Reginald Garrett -- the senior quarterback for West Orange Stark High School in Southeast Texas -- was taken to the hospital after an on-field collapse and apparent seizure. He didn't survive the night, much to the dismay of a a small crowd that had gathered in the hospital's lobby.

Head coach Dan Hooks told the Beaumont Enterprise that Garrett had a history of seizures, but that he didn't suspect anything was wrong when Garrett first came off the field. He then collapsed on the sidelines and trainers had to remove his his uniform and pads before he was loaded in an ambulance and taken to the hospital.

American Hiker released

Sarah Shourd was released from Iranian prison and returned to her mother's home in Oman, according to CNN.

Shourd and two other Americans were hiking in Iraq and were detained after allegedly crossing an unmarked Iranian border. The three were held captive for 14 months before Shourd's bail was posted Tuesday.

The report stated that a judge allowed for Shourd's $500,000 bail to be posted due to a pre-existing gynecological condition. Shourd said her primary concern is now the freedom of her former prison mates, including her fiancee Shane Bauer. "They should be standing here with me," she said, "They don't deserve to be in prison a minute longer than I do."

The other Americans' release is no sure thing; according to an Associated Press report on MSNBC, the two face Iranian criminal spy charges, and could face up to ten years in prison if convicted.

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