April 2012 Archives

Computer assisted reporting analysis

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In a nine-month investigation by NewsChannel 5 (Nashville, Tenn.), Phil Williams shows that the wiring used on many planes "should not be used for airborne application."

From reading the article I discovered that Williams found test videos revealing issues with these types of wire came from the Federal Aviation Administration's own files. He also used a scientific report from the FAA's own experts calling the wires unfit for use on aircraft. There is also a listing of which aircraft have "Kapton" and PVC/Nylon wiring on the station's website.

Williams would have had to be very familiar with the FAA website and navigating the files. He would have needed to know how to access the databases as well as understand what they said. He also uses several sources to discuss the issues so he is very well connected or knew how to find these people in the databases.

Social site created to connect athletes and fans

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The International Olympic Committee has launched The Olympic Athletes' Hub, a site designed as a platform to unite athletes with fans, USA Today reported.

The Hub aggregates the Facebook and Twitter feeds of over 1,000 current and former Olympians and tracks user use -- rewarding fans who interact daily on the site with exclusive video and prizes.

During the Olympic Games, which start July 27, fans will be able to interact with the athletes, get live updates, watch videos and get training tips from the likes of Nadia Comaneci, Edwin Moses, Mark Spitz and others. Cooler still, fans will be able to engage in text chats with athletes live from the Olympic Village during the games, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to USA Today, during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, there was no official integration of the Olympics with Facebook and Twitter, which then had 100 million and 6 million users, respectively.

Man dies after jumping from 10th Avenue Bridge

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A man died after jumping from the 10th Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis around 9 a.m. Thursday, the Pioneer Press reported.

Police don't believe the man, whose identity has not been released, was a University of Minnesota student, said University of Minnesota police Lt. Dave Wilske.

At least three witnesses on the bridge said they saw the man sitting on the edge of the railing, push his body off the ledge and fall just before 9 a.m., the Minnesota Daily reported.

The man, 54, landed on hard dirt about 100 feet from the water on the east side of the Mississippi River. The man's briefcase found on the bridge indicated he worked at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Soldiers return home to Minnesota

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More than 200 soldiers from the National Guard will be returning to Minnesota on Wednesday, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Guard's First Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division - or better known as the Red Bulls - are arriving home after a year's deployment. They will be the second group to come back to Minnesota after a year in Kuwait.

The group of 219 soldiers is among nearly 3,000 Red Bulls who will be returning to Minnesota over the next few weeks. They represent the state's largest single deployment since World War II, according to the Pioneer Press. The thousands of soldiers were deployed to either Kuwait or Afghanistan, the Minnesota Daily reported.

They will arrive throughout the day in Pine City, Cloquet, Duluth, Hibbing, Anoka, St. Cloud, Brainerd, Bloomington and elsewhere throughout the state.

George Zimmerman's bail set at $150,000

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A Florida judge on Friday set George Zimmerman's bail at $150,000 and imposed restrictions on his release from jail, in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the New York Times reported.

In setting the bail, the judge, Kenneth R. Lester Jr., said that Zimmerman could have no contact with Martin's family and no access to alcohol or firearms and that his movements would be monitored electronically.

Judge Lester also set a curfew that would require Zimmerman to remain at home from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. and require him to check in with authorities every three days.

Zimmerman offered an apology to the victim's parents, who were in the courtroom.

"I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was," Zimmerman said in his first public remarks since the Feb. 26 shooting. "I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not."

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Martin family, dismissed Zimmerman's apology as self-serving. Crump said that on a website Zimmerman established to help raise legal and living expenses, Zimmerman "never once said 'I'm sorry,'" Crump said at a news conference. "Why today?" the Los Angeles Times reported.

Dick Clark dies at 82

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Dick Clark, the music industry maverick, longtime TV host and powerhouse producer, died today at the age of 82, ABC News reported.

Clark's agent Paul Shefrin said in statement that the veteran host died this morning following a "massive heart attack." Attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful, Shefrin said.

Famed for his hosting duties on American Bandstand and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve, Clark suffered a stroke in 2004 that forced him largely into retirement, although he continued to make appearances on the New Year's Eve special alongside Ryan Seacrest. His stroke came a year after he announced that he had Type 2 diabetes, Los Angeles Independent reported.

His company, Dick Clark Productions, produces shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and awards broadcasts including the Golden Globes, American Music Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards.

Clark also hosted the Pyramid game series and TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes. He has also hosted pageants such as Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.

Clark is survived by his wife, Kari Wigton, and three children from previous marriages.

Mayor Rybak plans for north Minneapolis

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A shooting this week in north Minneapolis is part of a citywide uptick in violent crime. Police say young gang members are driving some of the violence, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Minneapolis police are investigating the shooting death of Jody Patzner Jr., 22, who was killed earlier this week on the city's north side.

Mayor R.T. Rybak made it a point to mention the jump in violent crime in his State of the City address Wednesday. He called the shooting of Patzner a "horrible incident," and said the city cannot become complacent when it comes to fighting crime.

Using the Capri Theater in north Minneapolis as his backdrop, Rybak called for improvements in public safety, housing, jobs, transit and opportunities for young people in the north Minneapolis neighborhoods, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Rybak said that if north Minneapolis grows, the entire region will benefit.

"This city of compassion is what it is today because we believe we are all in this together," Rybak said. "And if one neighbor, or one neighborhood, is challenged, we all step up to level the playing field."

Weekend storms tear through the country

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A father and two children in a trailer, plus two other people who were in a car in the same Oklahoma town, were killed when a string of tornadoes tore through parts of the Midwest on Saturday and early Sunday, CNN reported.

Those fatalities in Woodward are the only ones known to have resulted from this weekend's storms. But millions of people were bracing for even more severe weather late Sunday afternoon and night.

The agency has received 126 reports of possible tornado touchdowns Saturday and early Sunday in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.

Local media reported that Spirit Aerosystems Inc., a Boeing airplane manufacturer, had also been hit, with reports of structural damage and that hazardous chemicals had leaked out. One picture circulating on Twitter showed a picture of a broken airplane fuselage, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Titanic disaster remembered 100 years later

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Exactly a century after the ship went down, passengers lined the decks of MS Balmoral, which has been retracing the route of the doomed voyage, USA Today reported.

The Titanic, the world's largest and most luxurious ocean liner, was traveling from England to New York when it struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912. It sank less than three hours later, with the loss of all but 700 of the 2,208 passengers and crew.

In Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the Titanic was built, a memorial monument was unveiled Sunday at a ceremony attended by local dignitaries, relatives of the dead and explorer Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic on the ocean floor in 1985.

David Haisman, 74, a retired seaman from the English port town of Southampton, mourned the loss of his grandfather who had been on his way to Seattle to start a new life in the United States with his wife and daughter.

"I've been brought up with the story but now I could feel it," he told Reuters. "My mother used to tell me how she got into lifeboat 14 and her feet became soaked with the 3 to 4 inches of water that remained in the bottom despite bailing."

The last time she saw her father was when he cupped his hands and shouted "I'll see you in New York".

The FBI's famed "Most Wanted" list on Tuesday added a 30-year-old suspected child pornographer who authorities say has eluded capture in Minnesota, Wisconsin and other Midwestern states, the Star Tribune Reported.

Eric Justin Toth, a former third-grade teacher at the prestigious Beauvoir-National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., is the newest addition to the list, joining people the FBI call the worst of the worst fugitives, ABC News reported.

Toth has been sought by the FBI's Washington Field Office for almost four years since he was indicted in December 2008 after pornographic images were found months before on a school camera that Toth had used for some time. It is unclear how many children he has allegedly abused and possibly molested. Details of an indictment against him in Washington are under seal at the federal court, according to FBI officials.

Toth was last seen in Arizona in 2009 after he was believed to have been on the run through Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota, according to the FBI. Officials suspect that Toth works as a tutor and possibly as a male nanny seeking access to children.

Gary Tinsley dies at 22

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Gary Tinsley, a University of Minnesota senior and former Gophers linebacker, was found dead early Friday morning in Roy Wilkins Hall, the Minnesota Daily reported.

University police received a call at about 7:40 a.m. Friday from a roommate who found Tinsley, 22, unresponsive in his room. University police Chief Greg Hestness told the Minnesota Daily there were no immediate signs of foul play, but the police are treating it as a suspicious death.

After the news of his death spread through campus Friday, students held a candlelight vigil in his memory.

Minnesota's athletic department announced Monday it has established the Gary Tinsley Memorial Fund in remembrance of Tinsley, ESPN reported.

According to a release, donations to the fund will help Tinsley's family with funeral expenses and help Minnesota players with their travel expenses to attend Tinsley's funeral in Florida.

Tinsley, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, was on his way to graduating in May with a business marketing and education degree but he will be awarded his degree posthumously.

A four-year member of the Gophers football team, Tinsley was a force on defense. He started every game in his past two seasons at middle linebacker and led the team in tackles his junior season with 90. In his final season with the Gophers this past fall, he finished second on the team in tackles with 87 and recorded nine tackles-for-loss and four sacks, the Minnesota Daily said.

Diversity analysis

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My friend Amanda is part Vietnamese so together we looked at the article "Students support Vietnamese detainees." She's a sophomore at the University and has lived in the United States her entire life. Her mom is Vietnamese and has family living in Vietnam.

The article doesn't involve much about the actual topic of race but instead focuses mostly on the petition for human rights and how students here at the University of Minnesota are involved.

Amanda pointed out that the article did say that many students feel great responsibility to bring awareness to the issue because of family members living in Vietnam, but does little to go into anything more personal than that. There are a few people talking about how that affects them and a statistic about how people of Vietnamese descent make up the second-largest Asian group in Minnesota.

Overall, Amanda said she liked the quotes used and how the reporter spoke with students with family in Vietnam to get personal perspectives and thought they did a good job simply overviewing the issue. The article wasn't meant to go into a deep background of the Vietnamese culture but she likes how it ends on a personal note.

Minneapolis man carged in Victoria's Secret thefts

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A 45-year-old Minneapolis man is facing one felony count of aggravated theft after a string of thefts at the Victoria's Secret in Uptown, where he allegedly took over $2,000 in bras, underwear and perfume, the Minnesota Daily reported.

According to the criminal complaint, the manager of the Hennepin Avenue store called police on Thursday to report that a man had just stolen a large number of bras from the store, Fox 9 said.

KARE 11 said officers were called to the store on March 29 and told by the store manager that a man had just walked out after stealing a large number of bras. They quickly spotted the suspect walking down Lake Street and arrested 45-year-old Elbert Lee Wilkins.

According to the Minnesota Daily, Wilkins theft from the incident totaled $682 and is accused of other reported thefts in the area in recent days.

Charging documents accuse Wilkins of also stealing $121.47 worth of curling irons from the CVS Pharmacy on Lake Street on March 15, and stealing $374 worth of perfume and $312.50 in underwear from Victoria's Secret on March 22. He is also accused in another bra theft of $681.

If convicted, Wilkins may spend up to five years behind bars and could also be subject to a $10,000 fine.

Celebration of Kentucky win turns dangerous

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Authorities reported that one man was wounded by gunfire early Tuesday in Lexington, numerous small fires were set and dozens were arrested as thousands celebrated Kentucky's win over Kansas to claim another NCAA title, the Associated Press reported.

Battalion Chief Ed Davis of the Lexington Division of Fire and Emergency Services said he saw the shooting as he was filling out paperwork on a wreck involving a fire engine. Davis said he heard yelling about 25 feet away, and one man started shooting at another. Police Lt. Clayton Roberts said no arrests had been made in the shooting, which happened shortly after 2 a.m. EDT. The gunman disappeared into the crowd and behind some buildings and police could not locate him, Roberts said.

About two hours after the game, police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said police had arrested people for charges such as criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, alcohol intoxication and setting fires. She said officers were still making arrests but didn't have a precise estimate. She said police had used some pepper spray to break up fights.

A car crashed into the patio area at a bar and grill where some people were dining, but the metal-and-brick wall kept the vehicle from getting onto the patio, she said.

Police handed out numerous citations, many for alcohol-related offenses, Roberts said. "I think that we're taking a more zero-tolerance approach," she said. "That has a part to play in it, but also people started celebrating much earlier than they did on Saturday. The amount of time to become intoxicated and the amount of time for us to be in contact with these intoxicated people has increased."

Emergency medical workers transported about 25 people to hospitals for treatment, mostly minor, Davis said. A lot of them were people who were intoxicated, while some had been hit by thrown objects or been involved in fights.

The comotion was also broadcast by Twitter as it was happening. The official Twitter account of the Lexington Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 526 sent out pictures and stats from the riots in real time with an assist from the Lexington Herald-Leader and Steve Collier of NBC-TV's Lexington affiliate, USA Today reported.

University of Kentucky student body president Micah Fielden took to Twitter with words of caution.

"We won the game but don't be destructive. Let's be smart and act like we've been here before (more than 7 times)," Fielden tweeted.

University nursing dean cited for reprisal

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University of Minnesota Nursing Dean Connie Delaney faces a state human rights finding of discrimination and retaliation for firing an employee who filed an internal workplace complaint, the Star Tribune reported.

Delaney is already under university reprimand for a hiring infraction for hiring a former student for a faculty position while he held a full-time job in Iowa. The Star Tribune also reported in March that Delaney used her department budget to give her brother a job and pay consulting fees to two people with ties to her school's fundraising arm. Provost Karen Hanson found that Delaney violated university policy and stripped her of hiring authority for positions of 30 hours a week or more until June 2013.

The probable cause ruling, issued in February by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, centers on an executive assistant whose job was terminated by Delaney in 2010 after she went to the university's Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office (EOAA) with allegations of unfair employment practices. The ruling could result in state mediation or litigation, the Minnesota Daily reported.

The Department of Human Rights investigation found that within weeks of learning about the complaint Delaney decided not to renew the employee's appointment.

Kevin Lindsey, state Human Rights Commissioner, also issued a probable cause finding of disability discrimination in the case. Evidence indicated that the worker performed "very well" in her job and had physical ailments, including multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome and an anxiety disorder that qualified her as a disabled person, the Star Tribune reported.

The disability finding was based on evidence that the dean was indifferent to the accommodation needs of her aide and was unhappy when she took time off for doctor's appointments. The Human Rights Department concluded that the worker's disabilities also were "likely factors" in her ouster, the memorandum said.

Delaney has written to student, faculty and external supporters and expressed regret for employment contracts. She has also accepted full responsibility for non-compliance in the hiring of her former student. "I regret that, in these times, we have not been able to maintain our focus on the incredibly positive trajectory that we have been on as a school, but have needed to stop to look backwards," Delaney wrote to students.

James Murdoch steps down as BSkyeB chairman

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James Murdoch stepped down Tuesday as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting, surrendering one of the biggest jobs in the Murdoch media empire in a bid to distance the broadcaster from a deepening phone hacking scandal, the Associated Press reported.

Murdoch, who had succeeded his father Rupert Murdoch as chairman in 2007, will remain on the BSkyB board. Nicholas Ferguson, the deputy chairman, will succeed him, the Financial Times reported.

"I am aware that my role as chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organization," the 39-year-old Murdoch said.

Ferguson, who retired as chairman of SVG Capital in March, will become the first person outside the Murdoch family to chair the company since its formation in 1988. Tom Mockridge, who replaced James Murdoch at News International, gained a new title of deputy chairman of BSkyB.

1940 census released

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The federal government unsealed individual records from the 1940 U.S. Census Monday morning -- 72 years after they were made, MPR News reported.

With 3.9 million images scanned from more than 4,000 rolls of microfilm, the database represents the largest collection of digital information ever released by the Archives, and the first time a census has been released online, Boston.com reported.

Paula Stuart-Warren told MPR News that she found out her family includes a John Dillinger get-away driver, a counterfeiter and a pioneering heart transplant surgeon.

But according to MPR News, the records aren't indexed, which means searchers can't plug a relative's name into a search engine to find the data. They have to know the address and find the enumeration district -- that's how census-takers carved up America's cities and countryside into smaller slices to count everyone.

Questions asked included value of home, marital status, education, citizenship, employment status, occupation, and income.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

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