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October 26, 2008

Mexico Police Capture Drug Suspect

CNN reported that U.S. authorities confirmed Sunday that Mexican authorities have arrested a reputed senior member of a major Tijuana-based drug cartel after a shootout.

Eduardo Arellano-Felix was arrested Saturday at a Tijuana, Mexico, residence, Special Agent Eileen Zeidler of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said.

Zeidler said authorities received a tip on the location of Arellano-Felix. No other details have been released.

A LA Times story stated that the arrest operation involved more than 100 federal and state police officers and soldiers, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.

Arellano-Felix was one of the "last wanted members of the powerful and brutal trafficking organization."

Arellano-Felix was flown to Mexico City after his arrest, and U.S. authorities will seek his extradition.

Officials say the Arellano-Felix family inherited the Tijuana cartel from Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo in 1989 after his arrest for drug trafficking. The cartel grew into one of Mexico's most powerful organized crime groups by smuggling tons of cocaine into the United States.

Eduardo Arellano-Felix was the last remaining brother who actively participated in the cartel.

"He was the last of the brothers. This was another significant blow to what's left of the Arellano Felix organization," Zeidler said.

Today, the cartel is fractured into two sides, one side run by Eduardo Garcia Simental and another headed by Eduardo Arellano-Felix's nephew, Fernando Sanchez Arellano.

This division has lead to brutal fighting, accounting for nearly all the violence in Tijuana, according to the DEA. More than 400 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Tijuana this year.

Official believe that while Eduardo Arellano-Felix was not the head of the cartel, his nephew sought his advice.


Brushfire Burns Near Getty Museum

A wildfire near Los Angeles burned 100 acres of brush and grass near the world-famous Getty art museum, fire officials said.

There were no injuries or damages reported in relation to the brushfire that started two miles from the museum around 12:30 a.m.

Nearby Interstate 405 was closed for about four hours but reopened for morning rush hour. Despite the freeways reopening, traffic was still congested as drivers sought ways around the fire.

400 firefighters were brought in the help contain the blaze.

The firefighters worked to seven hours for before the fire was declared knocked down at 8:16 a.m., Fire Department spokesman Ron Myers said. Crews were expected to stay near the museum, Myers said.

The Getty Museum is located approximately 10 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.

The New York Times later reported Friday that a brushfire was fully contained.

Police Identify Body Pulled from Mississippi

As covered in a previous blog entry, on Oct. 10, a body was found in a submerged car in the Mississippi River.

On Sunday afternoon, Police identified the body as Kathleen May Spangenberg, 60, of St. Paul, the Pioneer Press reported.

Police were able to identify Spangenberg through DNA, as well as personal papers and a license plate, police spokesman Peter Panos said.

The cause of death is still unknown, but it appears the victim drove into the river as either an accident or suicide, Panos said.

Spangenberg was not close to her family and it was common for her to go years within speaking to them, Panos said.

St. Paul Teen Killed in Shooting

As reported by the Pioneer Press, an 18-year-old female was shot to death Saturday night in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood.

Police received a call of shots fired at 9:35 p.m. The shooting occured near Sixth Street East and Forest Street and the car the victim and a 24-year-old man were in traveled about four blocks to a gas station at Arcade Street and Minnehaha Avenue East, police spokesman Peter Panos said.

Police were unsure if the victims were in the car at the time they were shoot. The man was taken to Regions Hospital in unknown condition for a gunshot wound to the thigh, Panos said.

Later, the Star Tribune released a story identifying the teen girl as Jaques Dortch.

"She was really bright, really happy," her mother, Jah'ne Dortch, said. "She was always trying to help me around the house."

Jah'ne Dortch went on to attribute her daughter's death to gang activity, though police have not publicly discussed a possible motive or indicated if the shooting was gang-related.

Como Pool Closes

Como pool, a destination for local swimmers for the last 46 years, closed indefinately due to the high repairs costs and safety concerns the Pioneer Press reported.

In need for repairs for several years, the price of renovating the pool was predicted to be in the "millions and millions" of dollars. Due to these costs, the pool will not reopen next summer spokesman Brad Meyer said.

"The pool is beyond repair," Meyer said.

Official have not yet determined when another pool might be built to replace Como pool.

Built in 1962 by Public Pools Inc. for $161,000, the city purchased the pool shortly after when Public couldn't afford to run it anymore. The pool attracted an average of 15,000 visitors a year over the last few seasons.

A Star Tribune story featured the views and thoughts of community members. Concerning with what will come of the land in the future, community organizers will had a community meeting at Como Park's visitor center auditorium.

"All sides agree that something needs to be done," Rhonda DeBough, community organizer for the District 10 neighborhood council, said.


October 19, 2008

Kidnapped Las Vegas Boy Found

The Las Vegas police department announced Sunday that a 6-year-old boy, who had been abducted Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been found safe, CNN reported.

While CNN simply reported that the boy, Cole Puffinburger was found wandering on a sidewalk on the city's east side, the AP elaborated on the story with the information that he was found after he approached a bus driver and asked for a ride home.

"I'm just glad he's safe," Robert Puffinburger, Cole's father, said at a news conference. "I can't wait to see him!"

Cole was kidnapped Wednesday. Three armed men (two according to the AP report) tied up his mother and her fiance and rifled through the home, taking the boy after finding no money, police said.

Police say the men who kidnapped Cole were drug dealers trying to send a message to Cole's grandfather, Clemons F. Tinnemeyer.

Advance Analysis

Concert Advance

This short story is an advance for the upcoming concert by New York band, TV on the Radio. It focuses on the unique aspects of the band, the features that set them apart from their peers. For instance the article says that "not a lot of bands nowadays make records or put on shows like this arty and innovative New York quintet does."

It also plays up the bands attention to detail and how that effects the overall quality of the concert experience. There is also a tie-in for the band's latest album. Here the album is toted as being on "hipsters" best-of lists, trying to spin the album as something al the "cool people" are listening too.

The writer has presented this advance from the standpoint that this is a "cool" band worth seeing. Since that band is not bland, the writer leads readers to venture that the concert will not be either. More details or background information would have kept this advance form seeming a little more like a listing or standard press release.

Overall I believe it presents the concert with an angle and does a fair job of promoting the event. If someone was reading this without knowing of the band, I believe they would be tempted to attend the concert or at least look into the "ambient soul, funky Afrobeat, frantic punk" music.

Earthquake in Tonga

CNN reported that a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the South Pacific islands of Tonga Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, according to the Press Association.

The earthquake at 6:10 p.m. local time and was centred 94 miles south-east of the capital, Nuku'alofa, at a depth of 206 miles. Local residents said the quake did not knock items off of any shelves.

No tsunami is expected, according to the National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Tonga is made up of 171 islands, 48 of the those be inhabitable, and is located near the end of the Pacific "Ring of Fire."

The Real Sarah Palin on SNL

Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin made an appearance on "Saturday Night Live," sharing the stage with Tina Fey, the former SNL cast member who bears a striking resemblance to the Alaska governor, Reuter's reported.

Opening with a mock press conference, featuring Fay mocking the candidate, before switching to a backstage view which featured Palin speaking with show's producer Lorne Michaels.

The skit played on Fey and Palin's resemble when actor Alec Baldwin seemingly mistook Palin for Fey, greeting her with a casual "Hey Tina."

Due to the real Palin's appearance, SNL enjoyed its highest ratings in 14 years.

According to an LA Times blog, the final Nielsen figures will be out later this week, but estimates put the average audience at 14 million with the largest number at 17 million for the show's first half-hour.

Minneapolis Man Charged with Child Neglect

A Minneapolis man was charged with child neglect after leaving two children home alone with an open open heating the house, the Pioneer Press reported.

Lawrence Edward Griffin, 36, approached a squad car around 1:15 a.m. Thursday to tell officers he had left a 14-month-old child home alone for 15 minutes while he went out to purchase cigars.

Police drove him to his home, on the 2500 block of 4th St. NE, where they found the 14-month-old sleeping in a crib and a 4-year-old sleeping in a bunk bed.

Police said the kitchen was hot because of the open oven door. Griffin told police it was the only way to heat the apartment.

Police said Griffin had been gone closer to 45 minutes and they tested his breath for alcohol, which registered a .09 BAC.


Ratchet the Puppy on his Way to the U.S.

An Iraqi puppy adpoted by a U.S. soliders began his trip to the U.S. Sunday after several attempts to fly him to his new home in Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported.

"Ratchet" was picked up by an animal rescue group in Baghdad on Sunday. He was adopted by Army Spc. Gwen Beberg, 28, of Minneapolis.

Operation Baghdad Pups tried three time to get Ratchet out of the country.

Beberg and her dog have become well-known through her attempts to adopt the puppy. An earlier Star Tribune story reports on some on the background information.

The puppy was confiscated at the Baghdad airport after one attempt to fly him out of Iraqi and it was reported that he was alive at the time after Beberg said she fear he would be destroyed if he was left behind. Later news broke that he had been placed on a plane in route to the US.

Over 30,000 have signed a petition urged the Army to allow the puppy to return home with the solider.
Beberg and a fellow solider rescued the puppy from a burning pile of trash on Mother's Day.

October 12, 2008

Meeting/Press Conference Analysis

News Release
News Report

On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer and Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman held a press conference in order to release the National Biofuels Action Plan (NBAP). The plan details the collaborative efforts of Federal agencies to accelerate the development of a sustainable biofuels industry.

The news release goes into detail on how, why, and when the plan was first developed. As a response to President Bush's plans to change the way America uses fuel in the 2007 State of the Union Address, the plan is a means in which to meet the president's goal of meaningful biofuels production by the year 2022.

The release states seven areas of research that will receive accelerated federal funds under the NBAP:
Sustainability
Feedstock Production
Feedstock Logistics
Conversion Science and Technology
Distribution Infrastructure
Blending
Environment, Health and Safety

The news report choose to focus in a specific topic that was discusses, mainly what the NBAP means for future ethanol production. In doing this, I believe the reporter chose a topic that is relevant and perhaps most familiar to readers. While the news release is informative, it is very detailed and does not lend itself well to the average reader. However, the news story gets down to what matters and simplifies to for easier reading. Seeing how the use and production of ethanol has been in the news lately, it was an appropriate choice of topic.

The news report includes a quote about how ethanol can "improve sustainability, feedstock production, feedstock logistics, our conversion of cellulosic materials into ethanol, to distribution infrastructure, blending higher inclusion of ethanol into transportation fuels and environment, health and safety considerations."

The report also informs readers that the NBAP calls for the use of higher ethanol blends in cars and that in doing so we move "toward more ethanol in our transportation fuels reduces our dependence on foreign oil, improves the environmental foot print." This selected quote is relevant and timely to the publics concerns of high gas prices and the government's plans for the future.

Hemorrhagic Fever in South Africa kills Three

The U.N. health agency is investigating a mystery disease that killed three people in Johannesburg, South Africa, CNN reported.

Officials from World Health Organization believe the disease is a form of hemorrhagic fever, although tests have were negative for Ebola, Lassa fever, Rift Valley fever, Marburg fever and other main types of hemorrhagic fever.

A spokesperson from the WHO said the first death on Sept. 13 was a tour guide who became ill in Zambia. A paramedic and a nurse that assisted in the treatment of the first victim later died. All three died from external and internal bleeding, according to Reuters.

120 people are currently being monitored by the WHO.

On Sunday, it was announced that health officials believe the disease may be rodent borne.

"The causative agent of the disease ... may be a rodent borne arenavirus related to the lassa fever virus of West Africa," Lucille Blumberg of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases was quoted as saying.


Chemical Leak in Western Pennsylvania

2500 residents were evacuated Saturday when a chemical leak caused a toxic cloud to form and float through Petrolia, a town north east of Pittsburgh, the Associated Press reported.

A material called oleum, similar to sulfuric acid, leaked from a tank at the Indspec Chemical Corp. plant , plant manager Dave Dorko said.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection said that authorities were concerned that the toxic cloud had the potential to cause respiratory damage and skin burns.

Residents within three miles of the plant were evacuated and allowed to return home on Sunday.

Authorities tested the air determined that no traces of the toxic chemical remained, Freda Tarbell, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said.

"It's about as dangerous as you can get," said, Ed Schrecengost, a former Indspec employee. "It's a very fuming acid. A quart bottle of this material could fill a household in two seconds."

Fire Burns Forest North of Los Angeles

A forest fire burned 750 acres north of Los Angeles on Sunday, threatening an animal sanctuary and homes , CNN reported.

The fire started around 2 a.m. in the Angeles National Forest, approximately 20 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, according to fire officials. Approximately 400 firefighters were on the scene.

The fire has been 10% contained, Mike Freeman, the Los Angeles County fire chief, said.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that two residences and three mobile homes were destroyed along with a garage and three outbuildings.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Stanton Florea said about 1,200 people were evacuated as the fire approached the city limits.

The fire also threatened a near-by animal sanctuary and rehabilitation facility. Wildlife Waystation is a nonprofit agency that cares for over 400 animals, including lions, bears and deer. Some animals have been evacuated incase winds cause the fire to switch direction.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Body Found in Car Pulled from Mississippi River

A body was found inside a car after it was pulled from the Mississippi River near, Harriet Island, the Star Tribune said.

An additional report on the incident reveals that a back hoe hit the submerged car while workers were dredging the river as part of a Harriet Island renovation project.

Workers removed the car from the river and saw what they believed to be a decomposing body.

"I looked in the car, it looked like an airbag, and then I saw the legs," said one worker who wished to remain anonymous.

Police have not yet identified the body, although they believe it has been in the water for a long period of time.


Pioneer Press: John Brewer

Argument Lead to Fatal Shooting of Augsburg Student

According to charges filed against a 16-year-old boy, an argument lead to the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Augsburg student outside of a Minneapolis community center last month, theStar Tribune reported.

Ramadan Abdi Shiekh Osman was charged with second degree murder in juvenile court. The juvenile court petition said Osman argued with the victim, Ahmednur Ali, outside the Brian Coyle Community Center at approximately 5 p.m. on Sept. 22.

Osman stuck Ali in the head with his gun and shot him before fleeing the scene, the charges said.

Police said that Osman may have been affiliated with a gang and several shootings have been reported in connections with Ali's death.

Witnesses to the crime were did not initially come forward because of fear of retaliation, police said.

In an earlier report on the shooting, no witnesses had come forward to police. There was also no known motive.

"We have talked to quite a few people who weren't witnesses who wish they had more to offer. But there are witnesses who haven't come forward," Capt. Amelia Huffman said.

The first report offers more personal information into the victim's background. Ahmednur Ali was a volunteer at the local community center where he was shot. He often played basketball with kids and taught computer skills.

Jennifer Belvins, head of the community center, said Ali had wanted to give something back to his Somali community.

Ali studyed political science and international relations at Augsburg College, was a member of the college's soccer team and was involved with a Muslim student association.

October 5, 2008

Tanzanian stampede leaves 20 children dead

A stampede at an overcrowded dance hall in Tanzania killed 20 children and left 50 others injured, lthe Associated Press reported.

At least 400 children were dancing to English and Kiswahili songs, for the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday, inside the hall in the town of Tabora when the stampede occured, regional police commander Daudi Siasa said.

The children became trapped inside the hall, who's capacity is only 200, due to the stampede.

President Jakaya Kikwete sent condolences the children's families. At least 16 victims have been identified and families began funeral arrangements Thursday.

Tanzanian police began questioning the managers of Bubble's Club discotheque on Thursday, according to a story by the AFP.

"A team has been formed to investigate the incident," Tabora regional commissioner Abeid Mwinyimusa told AFP.

Tabora regional commissioner Abeid Mwinyimusa said the stampede that took place between between 5.30 p.m. and 6.15 p.m. on Wednesday.

The cause of the stampede remained unclear, but state-run Daily News newspaper reported it might be due to a malfunctioning air conditioning system.

A government offical told AFP that the disco hall was small and crowded and it appears that is why the children died from the stampede and suffocation.

Analysis of Spot News and Follows

Using the two stories on the UW-Madison marching band suspension, one can see how am ongoing news story progresses as more information is available.

The first story from the AP gives reader the basic information on the story. The information is packaged for a large news audience. The lead deals with the main facts: the band was suspended for hazing.

The story then details the fact that a band must sit-out and important game and has quotes from the band's director on his decision to suspend the band.

The second story, while was from a local news source, gives more in-depth information on the story and offers additional details on what was done in the bands absence. As this story is for a local audience, it can be more specific and personal than the first, more generalized, story.

The news is advanced by the inclusion of quotes from band member's parents and those involved with Saturday's game who were affected by the band's suspension.

The second lead focuses on the official investigation efforts, giving the reader additional information not available and the time of the original report. Instead of just noting the suspension, it details how the bands 300 members are being individually interviewed.


UW-Madison Band Suspended for Hazing

The Associated Press reported on Friday that all 300 members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison marching band have been suspended indefinitely amid allegations alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct.

The band was not allowed to play Saturday during a U.S. college football game between the Badgers and Ohio State at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.

Mike Leckrone, band director since 1969, said he made the decision to suspend the band after he received a tip with allegations of hazing. It was the first time in his career that the entire band has ever been suspended and prevented from playing at a game.

Local publication, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gave additional details on the UW marching band's situation.

As part of the investigate on the hazing allegations, University of Wisconsin officials began interviewed band members individually Friday night.

“They’re trying to do it as quickly as possible to get to a resolution,? UW-Madison spokeswoman Amy Toburen said. “Hopefully, it can be a resolution that can bring the band back.?

In 2006, the university band was put on probation for seminude dancing, sexualized banter and hazing that occurred during a road trip to Michigan. Officials said the most recent allegations are similar to those brought against the band in 2006.

Frozen Chicken Dinners Lead to Salmonella Poisoning

32 people in 12 states were sickened with salmonella poisoning after failing to properly cook frozen chicken dinners, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a health warning, citing frozen dishes in which the chicken is raw, but breaded or pre-browned. These dishes which appear to be cooked include "chicken cordon bleu," "chicken Kiev," or other varieties of stuffed chicken breasts.

The warning as issued on Friday after Minnesota officials discovered the link between the chicken dinners and salmonella illnesses in Minnesota and the additional 11 states.

A Star Tribune report on the Minnesota illnesses provides further details on the salmonella outbreak.

Since July, 14 cases of salmonella have been linked to the frozen chicken entrees, the Minnesota Department of Health said. All 14 have recovered.

The chicken products in questions were made by Milford Valley Farms, who has been linked to six salmonella outbreaks in the state since 1998, the Health Department said.

Kirk Smith, a supervisor of the foodborne disease unit, urged consumers to avoid using microwaves to cook raw poultry.

In Minnesota, most brands of the affected products no longer say the products are microwaveable.

Twin Cities Marathon Winners

Fernando Cabada ran the fastest time at the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon, winning the race's men's division, the Star Tribune reported.

Cabada, 26, finished in 2:16:32, just one minute and six seconds ahead of second place finisher, Matt Gabrielson, a Minnesota native.

"At 20 miles I just got real mad and said, 'You're tough, attack these hills, you've done all the work, you're running for a lot of people today,'" Cabada said.

Cabada said he got into running because of pressure to play basketball and baseball from his jail-bound father. It wasn't until a growth spurt in his junior year of high school that he won his first cross-country race.

Russian Olga Glok won the women's division, finishing in 2:32:38. This was her first career marathon win.

Another winner from Sunday's race was Kara Goucher who won the U.S. national women's 10-mile road race championship this morning, as reported by the Pioneer Press.

Gloucher, a former Duluth resident, ran the 10 miles in 53 minutes, 15 seconds, a course-record time.

"I thought I was going to run faster. Really, I think my legs are pretty dead. If I would have tapered down, I think I could have run two minutes faster," Gloucher said.

Equipment Malfunction aused Monticello Nuclear Plant Shut Down

Glitches in the equipment that operates and protects the Monticello nuclear power plant was the reason for the plant's automatic shutdown in September, the Star Tribune reported.

The plant returned to full operation on Wednesday, after being shut down at zero percent power for three weeks. During this time, no radiation was released, said the plant's owner, Xcel Energy.

The equipment malfunction lead to a visit from the a special inspection team from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), who will report their findings next month. The NRC has inspected the plant once before in 1991 after an unexpected shutdown, Xcel officials said.

The power lose resulted from a broken cable that disconnected the plant from its main transformer and source of electricity, NRC documents stated and Xcel site vice president Tim O'Connor said.

MPR reported on the initial shut down. At this time is was believed a fuse opened up on the line that supplies electrical power to the single-unit nuclear plant, said Xcel spokesman Thomas Hoen.

Original statements also did not predict the amount of time that would be required to reopen the plant. "The plant right now is at zero percent power, and will be remaining at zero percent power for the next few days at least," Hoen said.