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May 4, 2008

And the Winner Is...?

Minnesota State Lottery officials said Sunday that the sole winning Powerball ticket from Saturday night's drawing was sold somewhere in Rice County of southern Minnesota. Lottery officials said, per their usual practice, that they won't say exactly where it was sold until the winner comes forward, reported the Associated Press in an article ran by both the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

The annuity payment plan is worth $180.1 million spread out over 30 years. The cash option would pay $88 million, or $59.6 million after tax withholding, reported the article.

The winning numbers were 2-28-36-42-46, and the Powerball was 40.

Fairbault, Minn. locals are anxious to detrmine is the unknown winner is one of their own.

"I hope it is somebody I know and I hope it is somebody who really needs it," Crystal Anderson, of Fairbault was repoted having said in the article.

The winner has a year to calim the prize reported the Associated Press. However, it seems locals of Midwestern Minnesota towns and suburbs are anxiously hopeful one of their own will soon claim the proze.


21-year-old man dies after struggle with police

A man whom police said was apparently suicidal and on a controlled substance died Sunday morning after fighting with St. Paul police, being sprayed with a chemical irritant and shot with a Taser gun in an attempt to subdue him, reported the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press Sunday.

The man determined to be a 21-year-old St. paul resident by both papers.

His identity and the cause of death will be released pending results of an autopsy, St. Paul police spokesman Peter Panos said to the Pioneer Press.

Responding to a call for police and paramedics, two officers entered the apartment and were confronted by the man, who was partially clothed. As the officers attempted to calm him down so paramedics could evaluate him, he attacked them, Panos told the Pioneer Press.

It's unclear what led the man to become suicidal and what kind of drug he might have ingested, the Star Tribune quoted Panos as saying.

The identy of the man has not been released.

April 17, 2008

Murderer of a Minneapolis Woman found 2 Years Later

A Faitrbault man was charged Thursday in the death of a south Minneapolis woman whose beaten body was found in a ditch near Northfield in 2005, reported The Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

Antonio Medina, 33, was charged with second-degree intentional murder in the death of Laura Lynn DeMeules, 33, on Nov. 6, 2005.

The leading evidence against Medina were fingernail clippings collected after he was convicted in Hennepin County of a felony drunken driving charge and his routine DNA samples were submitted, it was reported

In January, his profile matched that of an unknown DNA sample found on a fingernail clipping taken from DeMeules' body, the Star Tribune reported.

Both papers reported Medina's bail is set at $1 million.

When investigators interviewed Medina in February, he admitted picking up a woman on Lake Street that night who looked like a picture of DeMeules that police showed him., both papers reported. He said he was drunk and high on crack or cocaine, reported the Star Tribune.

The Pioneer Press reported the complaint reads: "The defendant said that for an unknown reason the female started arguing with him and that she was 'freaking out.' The defendant said he pinned her down and he killed her in the truck."

The victim's father, Duane DeMeules, told the Star Tribune he thanks God they have found his daughter murder and is happy with the amount bail was set at since it will prevent Medina from getting out.

"Now I don't have to worry anymore [that] this person could get ahold of somebody and the same kind of thing happens," he said.

Frightened Victims Call 911 while SUV sinks into St. Coix River

In follow up articles Wednesday, the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press reported on the coditions of the 4 people riding in a SUV , who plunged into the St. Croix River Sunday.

The Pioneer Press gave a brief update on the conditions of the individuals.

According two the Pioneer Press, Kalaiselvi Vijayakumar, 25, was still listed in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul; Deepa Vellusamy, 25, remained in serious condition, as of Wednsday. Rohini Krishnamurthy, 27, of Minneapolis, died Tuesday afternoon at Regions; Mohanraj Pothiraj, 28, of Edina, died Monday morning. The official cause of death for both was complications from hypothermia and near drowning, said Don Gorrie, a spokesman for the Ramsey County medical examiner's office, the paper reported.

The Star Tribune feature a more in-depth article but reported the death toll at only one, Pothiraj, the driver of the car. The Star Tribune focused on the story of the 911 calls placed while the car was sinking.

Pothiraj called the Washington dispatcher, panicked and begging someone to rescue them, a little before, 10 p.m., the Tribune reported.

"I'm going to die in here," Pothiraj finally said, seconds before the Washington County dispatcher heard pounding and then lost phone contact the Tribune reported.

The Tribune reported that according to the 911 transcript released Monday Pothiraj also told the dispathcher. "We don't know swimming," And then crying said, "Yeah, our car is going to sink now." Toward the end of the six-minute call he said, "We are going to drown."

A women in the vehicle placed another 911 call after, and minutes after the vehicle sank Stlllwater police and rescurs were on the scene to get the passengers out of the car, the Tribune reported.

To read the entire Star Tribune article, which includes the story of the rescuers, click here

April 13, 2008

Minnesota Superdelegate Backs Obama

One of the last uncomitted Democratic superdelegatesfor Minnesota has decided to back Barack Obama , said to the Obama campaign Friday and reported the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

Nancy Larson, a democratic National Committee memeber is reported by bothe papers to have told the Associated Press after many hours spent talking to both campiagns and others she has decided to back Obama because she believes he will bring new people into the political process and has the best chance of winning in the November elections.

"It's looking more and more that the one person who can do it is Barack Obama," both papers reported Larson said.

Larson is one of nine superdelegates supporting Obama. Three are backing Clinton reports the papers.

U.S. Representative Collin Peterson is reported to be the only uncomitted superdelegate from the state.

Former Gopher Football Player Found Not Guilty of Rape Charge

The Minnesota Daily and The Star Tribune reported former University of Minnesota football player Dominic Jones was acquited of third-degree sexual assault charges Friday afternoon.

The former Gopher player, was found guilty of fourth-degree assault charges, according to the verdict.

Jones will be sentenced on May 29, the charge carries a presumed sentence of 24 months "stayed." That means he would not have to serve it unless he violated his probation reported the Star Tribune.

Defense attorney Earl Gray told the Star Tribune Jones could face a year in jail, but would likely get work release and be out sooner. He would have to register as a sex offender, the paper reported, but the Minnesota Daily reported the defense attorney said Jones is going to appeal the charge.

"I think it's a victory for him," defense attorney Earl Gray said to the Minnesota Daily.

Jones refused to comment to the Star Tribune, citing he need to catch up on his studies. The Star Tribune reported Jones has missed school since jury selection began March 31, but is on track to graduate in the fall with a degree in sociology.

April 6, 2008

Everyone's doing it and that's the problem?

The Star Tribune reported Saturday a recent study found that 25 percent of 14- to 19-year-old on a national level have at least one of the four common sexually transmitted diseases and Minnesota's "enlighted" soulution is to push more sex education, counseling and treatment.

The Minnesota Legislature has recently considered more tax-funded initiatives such as a $1.3 million bill for screening and public education, reported the Tribune.

However, Katherine Kersten of the Tribune said in a article Saturday the real reason for the epidemic is being ignored- too many children are having sex too soon.

"Try mentioning this at your next dinner party or parents meeting at school, and watch the eyes roll. What 1950s TV rerun are you living in? Sure, a little abstinence education never hurt anyone, the common wisdom goes, but we all know -- wink, wink -- that kids are going to 'do it'," she wrote.

The article focused on the myths of youth sex. For example, the liberation of sex is often a untrue cliche for youth and that young women are as eager to have sex as men.

The article cites the expierences of Shalom Ross, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Minnesota, who has chosen abstinence and claims the adults placed in authority of her education are undercutting her and other young people who have "opted for sexual-discipline and true love." She says the safe sex message to students has an underlying message that sex is inevitable.

Kersten article also highlighted unnamed research that has confirmed premarital sex puts young women at significant risk, not only for pregnancy and STDs, but also related problems like infertility and emotional risks. The apparently opinionated Ross said one of the emotional risks is "the feeling of worthlessness that comes from being around the block a few times."

An interesting finding of the article was monogmous married women were the most sexually satisfied according to Kersten. The findings of this research were not given, but if true could show that the most erotic sex might be sex with commitment.

To see Kern's entire article click here.

I-94 Bus Crash Kills 1

The AP Press reported a bus carrying students and their chaperones home from a band trip to Chicago rolled over on Minnesota highway, I-94, Saturday killing one student and injurying dozens of others on board according to authorities.

Forty-seven people were on the bus traveling westbound 30 miles outside of Minneapolis when at shortly before 6 a.m. it rolled and slid into a ditch, said State Patrol dispatcher Tom Aspling to the AP.

The Star Tribune reported 43 students, four chaperones, a tour director and the driver were on board.

The bus was one of two carrying band students from Pelican Rapids High School on an all-night trip home from a four-day cultural tour of Chicago said the Star Tribune.

Tenth-grader Jessica Weishair was killed and two students were left in critical condition as of Saturday night the Star Tribune reported.

Rescuers spent hours prying students out of the wreckage. Some who were pinned under the bus or thrown from it were taken by ambulance and helicopter to nearby hospitals. The westbound lanes of I-94 in that area were closed all morning the paper reported.

This was the second Minnesota bus crash this year.

March 30, 2008

Blackface skit causes contoversy at NDSU

The Star Tribune reported Noth Dakota State University has become part of the ever-growing list of schools trying to dertermine how to deal with the issue of when a white student applies black paint in an attempt to imitate a person of color.

The paper reported a controversial skit was performed by male members of the Saddle and Sirloin Club as part of the Mr. NDSU contest sponsored by the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, where a white student wearing blackface potrayed Barack Obama receiving a lap dance.

Member's of the co-ed group for students interested in agriculture and the sorority sponsoring the event have apologized and the school has condemned their actions..

The Star Tribune reported blackface was originally used in theater in the United States. Many blacks consider it racist and believe that it furthers racial stereotypes.

The entire article can be found here

Gunthrie Theater Architect Receives Fields Highest Honor

Both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press reported Jean Nouvel, the french architect who designed the Guthrie theater in Minneapolis, was awarded with his field's highest award Sunday.

The architect of the blue-clad complex in the Minneapolis mall district won the 2008 Pritzker Architecture Prize, an honor the Star Tribune likened the honor to winning the Nobel Prize.

The Star Tribune article focused first on the Guthrie Theater. Reporting that Victoria Newhouse, a judge for th honor said, "The building is theater in itself -- exciting, contextual and relates well to the city and to the [Mississippi] river."

The paper also reported that when reached by phone at his Paris office Nouvel declined to rank it or any of his other projects, but said the Guthrie was a "wonderful experience" and a "great adventure."

The Tribune article then went on to highlights Nouvel's career.

The Pioneer Press article took a different approach. The article focused on the facts of the award, including other recipients and when the formal cereminy will be.

The Pioneer Press reported Nouvel joins Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando and I.M. Pei in receiving the top honor in the field in recognition of his high-rises, museums and performance halls around the world and will receive the award in June in a ceremony at the LIbrary of Congress. His prize will be a bronze medallion and a $100,000 grant.

Nouvel told the Pioneer Press, also in a phone interview from France, the reason he believes he was chosen for the honor.

"I think they understand very well that I fight for specific architecture against generic architecture," he said. "Every project is an adventure."


March 16, 2008

Masked man robs bank for perhaps second time

A masked gunman robbed a St. Louis Park TCF Bank Thursday morning for perhaps the second time and is suspected by authorities to have robbed other local banks as well.

The police are on the lookout for the man they believe is also responsible for the Feb. 1 robbery at the same bank, along with two robberies of the TCF Bank in St. Anthony, reported the Star Tribune.

The suspect is described as a black or Hispanic male between the ages of 25-35 years old. He is believed to be about 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall, between 180-200 punds, and wearing a black nylon mask, gray sweatchirt, brown down jacket, black running pants, tennis shoes and black gloves.

Anyone with information can contact the Minneapolis FBI at (612) 376-3200.

Tragic accident leaves coma surviver dead

The Star Tribune reported a young woman was killed in a car crash early Thursday morning, almost 13 years after she survived a car accident that left her in a coma.

Nikki Anderson was killed at about 1 a.m. after she hit a light pole and then a tree, causing her 2003 Chevy Impala to catch fire.

Police and rescue workers attempted to estinguish the fire and pull Anderson from vehicle, however the fire was too intense and they were rescuers were forced to back away.

A 12-year-old Anderson suffered head injuries in a car accident near Fargo, N.D. causing her to be left in a deep coma for nine weeks. The avid horse rider became somewhat of a local celebrity after when she recovered after several visits from the St. Paul mounted patrol.

March 9, 2008

Dementia. Solution: Drugs rather than help

The Star Tribune tells the story of Meta Miller, a hospice and nursing home patient with dementia who was given antipsychotic drugs to deal with her illness, which made her to screaming and her personality change worse.

To cope, with the hysterics patients with dementia may have, thousands of nursing homes nationwide are doing the same thing Miller's care did: using powerful antipsychotic drugs to quiet them, a step that at times is easier than taking staff time to fix the problem and Medicaid officials are alrmed by the practice.

Medicaid, which regulates and pays for most nursing home care, has ordered Minnesota nursing homes to crack down on the issue. In 2007 38 percent of the state's 398 nursing homes were using dangerous antipsychotic drugs inappropriately, a rate 27 percent higher than in 2006. said the Star Tribune.

Often the drugs that have become the No. 1 paid for drug by Medicaid perscribed to about 30 percent of all nursing home patients, is perscribed whether the patient is psychotic or not the paper said.

In Minnesota the paper reported the drugs are given routinely to 32 percent of state nursing home residents with behavior problems, such as dementia, but up to 15 percent of residents who don't have that daignosis are treated as well, the state Department of Health reported.

The behavior of patients with dementia can be the most difficult situations for both nursing homes and families to deal with, and after aid has been attacked by a patient it is easy to understand why they might want them drugged, but Dr. Robert Sonntag, an aging specialist with HealthPartners' division of geriatric services said sometimes the drug treatments don't help and makes the patients worse.

A rush to perscribe drugs is not the answer, usually the person is simply trying to communicate something and when it is figured out what you can deal with the real problem, said John Brose, a Minneapolis psychologist who consults at more than 100 nursing homes.

To read Miller's story and more facts about the treatment of patients with dementia click here to see the Star Tribune's article "People with dementia getting drugged rather than helped."

March 5, 2008

Health Officials Tell Bars- No More "Theater Nights"

Health Department officials issued an ultimatum Wednesday for Minnesota bar owners attempting to get around the smoking ban by holding "theater nights."

The Star Tribune reported officials said the practice of declaring bar patrons actors and hanging up a blaybill, does not constitute a theatrical production, which is exempt from the smoking ban, and there will consequence according to state officials.

The "performances" have been successful in learning back customers who were lossed after the ban and has revived bar business, the paper said.

State Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan told the paper the theatrical exemption was never intended be used for the benefit of smokers and the state can fine violators up to $10,000.

But bar owners doubt the consequences, one of them claiming they held "theater nights" after health officials warnings and have not been penalized reported the Star Tribune.

There is some confusion over who will be enforcing the law. State health officials told the paper they will work with local agencies to bring the bars into compliance, while other local health officials said it will be left up to the state.

the issue may go to court, said Rob Fulton, director of St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health.

The Star Tribune reported some bar owners hope that the popularity of "theater nights will cause legislatures to comproise the ban, but Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, one of the ban's leading proponents, said there will be no compromise.

Magnan said the law was created to protect Minnesotans from the effects of second hand smoke and all establishments are expected to comply. The paper reported she said her department iddued the statement on Wednesday to make it clear "theater nights" would not be tolerated.

March 2, 2008

68 citations: Not enough to keep off the road.

Court records show a persisiting problem in Minnesota is illegal drivers staying on the roads even after repeated convictions, fines, jail stays and court orders not to drive, despite attempts to confront and reform such drivers.

In Minnesota 14,091 people have been cited for five or more times because the either do not have a liscense or have had it withdrawn and more than 500 have been cited 14 or more times, according to the Star Tribune analysis of state traffic records..

Police often catch people who are driving without a liscense, however the penalty is the same in most cases, no matter what number offense it is and the repeat offenders are difficult to keep off the road, the paper reported.

In some cases, iot appears the only time offenders are not driving is when they are locked up said police, court officials and others.

James Monroe Crumble is part of the problem and does not belong behind the wheel of a car yet that is where police contunually find him, said the Star Tribune. Last Sunday, he was cited in North Minneapolis for the 68 time the paper reported.

"They are coming in over and over again, said John Choi, a St. Paul attorney whose office has repeatedly prosecuted Crumble, to The Star Tribune.

Many of the offenders seem to get into a vicious cycle they cannot get out of and ignore what the courts say, since they see their own need as "paramount," said Gregory Pye, senior commander for traffic enforcement in the St. Paul Police Department.

Often offenders don't have much money, so the fines, reinstatement fees and insurance problems multiply, even people who want to become legal drivers may find it hard to get out of the cycle, Moi said.

To see the Star Tribune's entire article on the problem click here.

Monticello basketball player awakens in hospital after heart attack

A Monticello high school basketball player who suffered a heart attack, awoke Sunday afternoon at North Memorial Medical Center from an induced coma and his first question was whether his team had won the Friday game he collapsed during, reported the Star Tribune.

Adam Thielen awoke and was able speak to his family and friends after his body was rewarmed to a normal 98.6 degrees and the coma-inducing drugs were removed, the paper reported.

The Tribunes original article reported starting center Adam Thielen, came off the court as part of the normal player roation, five minutes after the game against Rogers had started according to the Monticello basketball coach, Bruce Blader-Lanoue. two minutes later, he collapsed from the bench and "then he just sprawled onto the court," he said.

A fireman and paramedic attending the game used the schools portable definrillator twice to restart his heart, school officials said.

A ambulance crew repeated the treatment on the way to the hospital, Thielen said.

The Friday game was the annual senior night had honored Thielen as the only senior on the team. Thielen who is known by his friend's as "A.T." collapsed during the game declared "A.T. Night."

The Tribune reported the Thielen family gave thanks for the prayers and support on the www.caringbridge.org
website and under the request asked for no vistors so Thielen could rest and prepare for tests in the next few days.

February 23, 2008

Bruininks faces criticism over tuition concerns

"The headlines scream 7.5 percent and it scares people away from the institution...I don't know how you can get the message out that you are still affordable to an average, middle-income family." - Sen. Claire Robling

Bruininks visit to the capitol for a university funding request, turned critical Thursday over the expected increase in the University of Minnesota tuition.

Bruininks, who was requesting funding of $225.5 million from the Senate Higher Education Committee, for building maintenance and renovations, faced opposition and criticism over the 2008-2009 increase from Sen. Claire Robling reported the Minnesota Daily.

"The headlines scream 7.5 percent and it scares people away from the institution," The Daily reported Robling said. "I don't know how you can get the message out that you are still affordable to an average, middle-income family."

Bruinicks was reported to have downplayed the rising tuition by emphasizing scholarships and programs offered by the university, which cut down on cost for some students.

The Daily reported in a separate article Friday that tuition would be balanced by scholarships offered next school year. The article focuses on the changes that will be made, the scholarships offered, and compares the university's tuition and aid to that of other colleges.

February 22, 2008

Woman Charged in Bus Crash in US Illegally

The Star Tribune reported the woman involved in the Cottonwood, Minn. bus crash that killed 4 children was charged today, and according to Federal authorities is living in the US illegally under an alias.

The woman, who is using the name Alianiss Nunez Morales, ran a stop sign outside the southern town Tuesday when her van hit the bus, which then fell onto a pickup truck said Lyon County Attorney Richard Maes.

Morales is charged with four counts of criminal-vehicular homicide, running a stop sign and driving without a license at the time of the crash.

Maes told the judge that ICE officials had located an Alianiss Nunez Morales in Puerto Rico but the woman's family said the woman involved in the accident was not their relative, which made the agency concerned about the jailed woman's identity.

Maes asked the judge to hold the woman without bail, citing her questionable identity, but since none of the charges involve allegations of using false identification Morales bail was set at $400,000 without conditions or $200,000 with an assortment of conditions. The defendant's attorney, Manuel P. Guerrero, of St. Paul, protested that the bail set was the same as denying her bail due to her financial situation.

Morales next court appearance is set for April 21.

An injured Morales appeared in District Court this morning and through an interpreter told the court that her name is Alianiss Morales, that she has been working in a Cottonwood cabinet shop for about a month and was living with her boyfriend in a Minneota, Minn., trailer.

"She's grief-stricken about the accident," Guerrero said of Morales. "She's hurting about what happened to the kids."

Lakeview School, where the students attended, will be closed Monday for the funerals of brothers Jesse Javens, 13, and Hunter Javens, 9, both of Cottonwood. Also killed were Reed Stevens, 12, of Marshall; and Emilee Olson, 9, of Cottonwood.

There were 28 students on the bus. In addition to Hancock, eight children remained hospitalized Thursday in Sioux Falls, S.D., Marshall and Rochester.

February 15, 2008

Rochester Man Dies Saving Swimmer While on Vacation

A Rochester man died saving a friend's son from drowning during a tropical vacation last week reported The Star Tribune.

Marcus Mack, 35, died saving D'Angelo Tines, 10, after large wave engulfed them and several others off a Limon, Costa Rica beach.

The two were riding the waves during a cruise stop when the waves overwhelmed them. Mack pulled the boy to the surface and pushed him toward the shore. D'Angelo survived. Mack did not.

"My son came up, and said, 'Mom, they're drowning! They're drowning!" Jenny Tines, Mack's friend and they boys mother said. If Mack had not have there her son would have absolutely died on the Carnival Cruise vacation Tines said.

Tines watched as her husband, saved a young girl in their group and then tried to save the life of Mack.

Tines thought Mack was safe when he caught ahold of small buoy ran out to him by a worker at a nearby park, but he suddenly lost hold and disappeared in the waters.

Mack's body was eventually brought from the water's. Members of the group tried to revive him, but it was too late.

Mack was described by Tines as a man with "a million-dollar smile," who was a loving a father. Tines said tha friends and family do not want his life story to be about his death.

Mack's, who owned a party promoter and disc jockey business, body was flown back to Minnesota today.

A memorial is being held for him for him Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. and his funeral will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. Both services will be held at Rochester Community Baptist Church. memorials can be made to the Mack Fund, Edward Jones finacial services, 4057 28th St. NW., Suite 400, Rochester, MN 55901.

Mack is survived by his girlfriend, Nicole Arnold of Rochester; children, Alanah L. Mack, Marcus A. Mack and Carmelo M. Mack, all of Rochester; brothers Elliott Norwood and Rashad Norwood, and sister Lisa Norwood, all of Rochester.

February 14, 2008

In Honor of Valentine's day

Tonight a loving couple plans to say "I do"

Sarah Stanchfield, 31, plans to walk down the isle to the man her parents consider the right man for their daughter.

In a feature article, The Star Tribune reported Sherm Stanchfield, the brides father said, "she talked since she was a teenager about finding a nice man and getting married."

Stanchfield found the right man in Jim Lunquist, 49.

On the top of their wedding cake will be a dancing bride and groom, a tribute to the passion that brought them together.

Stanchfield and Lundquist have another thing in common according to The Star Tribune. They both have down syndrome.

Their relationship began when Stanchfield asked Lundquist to dance and to be her boyfriend, said Sharon Baer, who has provided in-home services for Lundquist for about eight years.

"He told one of the staff that it's like another part of his heart just opened up when he met her," Baer said.

“She is my soul. That is true,? Lundquist said, while holding Stanchfield's hand.

The Star Tribune reported Lundquist realized Stanchfield was the woman he wanted to marry after he traveled to Denmark with Lifeworks, a nonprofit organization based in Eagan that helped both Lundquist and Stanchfield find job in late 2005. Lundquist yearned for his girlfriend and belived the trip was making him a man. Upon his arrival he got down on his knee and proposed to Stanchfield, without consulting anyone. Lundquist said yes.

The couple will face challenges due to their disability. However, Mary Gaash, who counseled the couple, said the couple had answer to every challenge presented to them and that the marriage could be good for them since they will be joining their abilities.

Experts agree said The Star Tribune, it is not uncommon for people with Down Syndrome to form companionships and that with the right support systems couples may benefit.

In a ceremony attended by family and friends, the couple will celebrate Valentine's Day by saying "I do."

February 8, 2008

4-year-old Minneapolis Boy Missing

A 4-year-old Minneapolis boy is believed to have been taken from his home Wednesday night by a family aquaintance.

Desmond Keith Reed is reported to have been taken from 3118 Morgan Ave. N. by Lashawn Barbara Kreighbaum, who also goes by Shawna William. Kreighbaum, who is an aquaintance of both the boys mother and his babysitter, is believed to have taken him while under the care of his babysitter.

Reed is not believed to be in immediate danger according to the Minneapolis Police Department.

However, the motive behind Kreighbaum action are unknown.

The Pioneer Press reported Reed is a black boy, around 3 feet tall with a light build and a short afro. He was last seen wearing SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas with a navy blue winter coat and black boots.

Kreighbaum is a black female, around 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a dark complexion. She has a thin to medium build and has blonde and brown weaved hair that is chin length. A tattoo on her arm reads "SHAWN" and she has a small nose ring. She was last seen wearing a red leather jacket, a white skullcap, white gloves and shoes, and faded jeans. The Star Tribune reported her as 25 years old. The Pioneer Press reported her as being between the ages of 35 to 38.

Kreighbaum, from Chicago, may be driving a Ford Taurus with liscense plate number EUC181.

No Amber Alert has been issued since the boy is not believed to be in immediate danger by police.

"We have some speculation and leads, but we don't have anything confirmatory," said Srgt. Mark Sauer. "We'd like to be able to talk to her and find out exactly what happened, but we don't believe he is in danger."

If you have any information please call the Minnesota Police Department at 612-348-2345.

Continue reading "4-year-old Minneapolis Boy Missing" »

Metro Transit Ridership up in 2007

Metro Transit reported it's highest ridership total in 25 years, providing more than 77 million rides in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region in 2007.

Ridership increased by 3.4 million over 2006 or a 4.8 percent increase.* The count was based on both Metro Transit bus ridership and the Hiawatha Light Rail.

This is the highest rates since 1982, a year which was also marked by record high gas prices.

The Pioneer Press reported the General Manager, Brian Lamb, said in a press release that although factors like high gas prices, road construstion, and the I-35W bridge collapse did contribute to increased ridership, passenger have continued riding even as gas prices have dropped.

"Ridership growth in 2007 is not a one-year phenomenon. It continues a positive trend," Lamb said. (as reported by the Star Tribune)

Lamb added convience items had intensified over the past year.

7.2 million people used Metropass in 2007, an increase of 12.2 percent since the previous year. Metropass is a pass which employers provide at full or reduced cost to employees.

In 2007, The University of Minnesota student riders U-Pass increased by 9 percent or 4.3 million rides.

The newest convience, a fare debit card, was used by 25 percent of riders.

The agency reported that the buses were efficient in 2007. Buses were reported to have been on time 89 percent of the time, while trains were on time 97 percent of the time.

By March 2008 Metro Transit plans to add up to 20 percent soy biodiesel to its fuel, in addition to the 19 hybrid electric buses it added to its fleet in 2007.

*reports from the Star Tribune and The Pioneer Press differed in the percentages given. The percentages given in this report were taken from the Star Tribune.

February 1, 2008

Obesity: Minnesota Fat vs. Minnesota Lean

Minnesotans have the chance to take control of obesity or let it take control over them according to a report released Wednesday by Blue Cross and Blue Shields of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health. If obesity is left uncontrolled health care cost will rise and workplace productivity will suffer.

The Pioneer Press gave a portrait of the two directions Minnesotans could take in the fight against obesity.

Fast food, sweetened drinks, low-impact jobs and activities, and dependency on cars contribute to the rising rate in obesity.

If current trends continue 76 percent of adults will be obese or overweight by 2020. According to Dr. Marc Manle of Blue Cross, "If we ignore obesity and allow current trends to continue, health care cost are going to rise dramatically." Total health care cost would be about $5080 per capita.

Additionally, diabetes and heart disease would become more common and fewer companies would provide health plans.

If Minnesota levels remain the same as 2005, the percentage of obese or overweight adults will be 14 percent less than if the problem continues to esculate and only $4274 would be spent on health care per capita.

Dr. Sanne Magnan of the State Health Commission said, "we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work tackling obesity. It's a community effort."

Minnesotan can tackle obesity by making better personal choices. Employers should encourage exercise and offer better food, and citizens would benefit if cities built trails.

The Star Tribune published a report Wednesday addressing the issue of obesity as well, but from a different standpoint.

They reported that two prominent obesity skeptics are debating two obesity experts in the British Medical Journal this week.

Patrick Basham and John Lunick are health policy experts at the conservatice Democracy institute and co-authors of "Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade." They believe health risks of obesity are overblown. They said, "Media claims about an epidemic...often exceed the scientific evidence and mistakenly suggest an unjustified degree of certainty."

Nancy Sherwood, a researcher for Health Partners and Robert Jeffery, a professor at the University of Minnesota hold an opposing and more popular viewpoint. According to them the co-authors are singling out specific data and ignoring the whole body of research.

They say the body of research shows a clear trend.

January 31, 2008

Cab Driver Attacked by Passenger with Axe

A taxi cab driver was attacked by a passenger with an axe early Thursday morning in Downtown Minneapolis.

The victim was Mohd Farahid, who also goes by Mohammed, according to the Star Tribune. Farahid was reported as attacked both near 32nd hundred block of Adrich Avenue N., and 34th and Colfax Avenue N. at around 12:15 a.m. Chuck Nastrom, a dispatcher for Blue and White Cab Company, who Farahid called for help, said the cab driver was robbed and attacked. Farahid broke his hand after he fell fleaing the vehicle. WCCO reported Farahid was treated for 25 stitches in the back of his head at North Memorial Center, Robbinsdale. He is in fair condition.

The alleged attacker was a black man between 25 to 30-years-old. Farahid was attacked after a disgreement over change for a large bill, Scott Stalin, a manager at the cab company and friend of the victim said. After he told the passenger he did not have change the passenger said maybe he had a five dollar bill, reached into his coat, and instead of money pulled out the hatchet he used for the attack.

Lieutenant Greg Reinhardt of the Minneapolis Police Department said, "This is very unusual and particularily frightening." Other attacks have been made on cab drivers, "but not with a hatchet. This is so unique and out of the blue. This is a rare event."

Minneapolis cab drivers are no strangers to violence, said Stalin. Cab drivers are often the victims of harassment and robbery. Farahid had been previously robbed (as reported by KARE11).

Stalin said, that to impove the safety of cab drivers, the drivers should report problem addresses so the company can block them from their system.

If anyone has any information on the attack please call the Minnesota Police Department Unit at 612-673-2941.

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