Tuesday, February 15, 2011

WKNJ Newscast #1: 2/15/11

WKNJ Newscast
February 15, 2011
Michelle Illg

Good afternoon, it’s Tuesday, February 20, 2011 at _____________ o’clock and you’re listening to 90.3 WKNJ-FM, Union, New Jersey, and I’m _____________ with the news.

In Local News…

Governor Chris Christie is being accused of spinning numbers in his campaign to promote and create new charter schools for “A” districts, or economically depressed areas. While the governor is attempting to claim that charter school students are outperforming those in regular public schools, that is true only when one looks at selective statistics. Overall, in the words of Rutgers scholar Bruce Baker, “There’s a marginal difference between charters and other poor schools, and it’s hard to know what to attribute that difference to, if it is a difference.” So currently, national data confirms that while some conventional or some charter schools may be better than others, there is no evidence that one type is generally more effective or successful than the other. They tend to separated by mere percentage points when compared by average scores or passing rates.

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Meanwhile, at the Jersey shore, there is still a very real concern over organized crime and the mob. Although most agree that this is now a greatly reduced threat to the state’s ports, and certainly has given way to the huge issue of modern terrorism. One member of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office said, “The mob isn’t what it used to be…I don’t see it as any threat to our security…I hate to say it, but they are patriotic, and they believe in the American way.” But not everyone feels exactly the same, knowing that the mob is in business for money, and fearing that people who are paid to look the other way for certain shipments might just start a slippery slope to more dangerous things. Last month’s FBI raid indicted numerous members of the International Longshoremen’s Association in New York and New Jersey. Over the past 8 years the ILA has enforced a strict code of ethics and cracked down on crime connections in an effort to protect its workers.

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In National News…

Representative Gabirelle Giffords’ relatively rapid progress in recovering from the gunshot wound to her head on January 8 is a positive sign. From lip-syncing songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Happy Birthday” to greeting her brother-in-law on the International Space Station over the phone, Giffords has been pleasantly surprising everyone around her, and working hard on regaining her physical, mental, and verbal abilities. She is now demonstrating good posture and comprehending what her aides share with her about current events, and has even defeated a nurse in a game of tic-tac-toe and requested toast to go with her oatmeal. New York neurosurgeon Dr. David Langer believes that her wound “probably   didn’t irreversibly damage her speech center” and that “with time, she ought to be very functional.” Because the part of the brain that controls singing is close to but not the same as the one that controls speaking, singing is a standard technique used to treat brain injuries as well as stutters. The portion of Giffords’ skull that has been removed is intended to be replaced at the end of the month, which is “well ahead of schedule.” Supported by family and friends who are optimistic about her speech and mental recovery despite the great fragility of those regions in the brain, Giffords’ inspirational fight to relearn and return to a normal life continues at a very hopeful, but not wholly guaranteed, pace.

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In 2005, NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft photographed the comet known as Tempel 1, and also hit it with an 820-pund projectile. A little after 11:30 pm last night another of their spacecraft, this one called Stardust, whizzed by the same comet at over 24,000 miles per hour and snapped 72 high-resolution photographs of its surface from 125 miles—its closest approach. Curious scientists want to compare the new images with their old ones to learn something about “the inner workings of comets” and find out whether mysterious depressions are impact craters, like the one left by their first mission in 2005, or caused by explosions of underground ice converted into gas. Tempel 1, being the first one to be seen twice at close range, will give us a lesson in comet history and hopefully help determine whether the scientists are looking at areas that are hundreds or millions of years old. It has taken Tempel 1 five and a half years to complete one entire orbit of the sun, moving as close in as Mars and as far out as Jupiter.

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 A disturbing mystery in Spokane, Washington, has still not been solved since a bomb was discovered on a bench on January 17, the day that a march in honor of Reverend Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. had to be rerouted. White supremacist sentiments are still somewhat common under the surface of this very predominantly white area of the northwest near Idaho, and now a renewed sense of fear has cropped up that some such people may seek to begin striking terror around this region once more. A Ku Klux Klan leader was quoted in The New York Times as claiming that not only did the Klan not have the capacity to create such a weapon, but that “bombing people” is “a pretty extreme measure even from our end.” Some suspect that there may have been political motives because many of the marchers were elected officials, but racism is widely supposed to have been the main driving force. A week earlier, a contract had been signed to build a new road named after Dr. King. Representatives of the city are concerned with emphasizing that as a whole, Spokane is an essentially a healthy, open, accepting community and not one based on racism and discrimination. This bomb had been hidden in a backpack with t-shirts and is believed to have “contained metal pellets covered in a chemical” that may have been rat poison, and an F.B.I. spokesman described it as “capable of killing or injuring multiple people."

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In International News…

In the wake of 18 days’ worth of protesting from hundreds of thousands of people in Cairo, the nearly 30-year reign of former authoritarian Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (HOSE-KNEE MOO-BAR-ACK)  officially ended on Friday, with the country’s military taking over while they await a democratic election scheduled to take place in six months. Strikes and protests from police officers and workers of all kinds demanding improved conditions continued until the military worked to clear everyone out of Tehrir (THE-REAR) Square yesterday. Thus far the military has cooperated personally with the young leaders of the revolution and promised a transition to civilian rule, although many still worry about the possible future consequences of having them in power. Successful uprisings such as Egypt’s and Tunisia’s have touched off a tremendous wave of unrest throughout the Middle East, including Bahrain, Iran, and Algeria. While the Egyptian protestors have achieved one victory and are generally in high spirits, complete trust of the military’s decisions in the meantime is still not possible, and the armed forces certainly have their work cut out for them in dealing with the ever-increasing numbers of grievances being voiced by the nation’s people.  

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Also attempting to follow the Egyptians’ lead are hundreds of Yemeni students, who clashed with pro-government supporters at a university sit-in yesterday, where they were demonstrating against their own authoritarian President of 30 years, Ali Abdullah Saleh (AH-LEE AB-DULL-UH SAH-LEH.) The students were beat with sticks after the two opposing groups began chanting their slogans at one another. This came on the fourth straight day of antigovernment protests in Yemen. Another violent battle between pro- and anti-government protestors “occurred in the southern city of Taiz (TA-EEZ)” yesterday as well, injuring at least five. Over the weekend 120 people were reported to have been arrested in other protests in Taiz. Yemen is an extremely poor and delicate nation whose President is an anti-Al Qaeda ally of the U.S., and has recently tried to placate dissenters by making certain concessions. But this past Sunday saw the largest demonstrations yet, comprised of people dissatisfied with anything less than the President’s immediate removal from office. The slower steps advocated by opposition parties are unsatisfactory to the students, whose spontaneous Sunday protests resembled the “leaderless revolts” in Egypt that became revolutions. The youth here used text messages to organize themselves, although online networking was less important than in Egypt and Tunisia because fewer Yemenis have Internet access. There were reports of injuries on Sunday but no deaths. Secessionists in the south who want to break away from the rest of Yemen have also been inspired by all the protesting, although things have been more violent there than in the north. Since Mubarak’s resignation, Yemeni police have been preventing people from gathering in their capital’s central square, which—in yet another coincidence—is also named Tahrir Square.

More news, sports, and weather coming up………

(play PSA #1 here.)

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In Sports…

From the National Hockey League Scorecenter, we have the Detroit Red Wings defeating the Boston Bruins four to two.   

It was a very close match between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres, but New York took the victory with seven points to six.

Following a six-game losing streak, the New York Rangers finally came back by defeating the Philadelphia Penguins five to three.
And another loss for Philadelphia came when the Los Angeles Kings took down the Flyers in a one-nothing match.
Tonight at 8 pm it’s the Washington Capitals up against the Phoenix Coyotes and the St Louis Blues taking on the Vancouver Canucks (KEH-NUX.)

In basketball, the New Jersey Nets are playing the San Antonio Spurs tonight at 7 pm.

Tonight at Madison Square Garden, the 135th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show has brought thousands of dogs to Manhattan. This is the country’s second oldest sporting event after the Kentucky Derby. Tonight’s exciting competition saw four group winners: the Scottish Deerhound from the Hounds, a in Pekingese (PEEK-ING-EEZ) in the Toys, the Chinese Shar Pei (SHAR-PAY) in Non-Sporting, and a Bearded (BEER-DED) Collie from the Herding group. Tune into USA Network tomorrow night from 8 to 11 pm for the Sporting, Working, and Terrier groups, followed by the coveted Best in Show.
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In local martial arts, heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko (FAY-DOR EH-MEEL-EE-EN-ANK-OH) suffered a crushing defeat by Antonio Silva on Saturday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It was his second consecutive loss, and he made it through two rounds before a physician called the fight off due to his severe eye injury. Fedor has been suspended for 90 days and cannot return in fewer than 91, thanks to a mandatory CT scan that has also been ordered. The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board suspended six other fighters as well after the Strikeforce card at Izod Center. However, Emelianenko, who has been considered among the world’s greatest heavyweight fighters over the past seven years, is starting to consider retirement. Accepting Saturday’s defeat gracefully, he said, “Maybe it’s time for me to leave…I’ve had a long sport life. Maybe it’s God’s will.”
Your WKNJ hourly weather update …

Today we’re back down from yesterday’s unusually warm temperatures, looking at a high of 36 degrees and an overnight low of 24. It should be sunny throughout the day and mostly clear at night. We’ll have temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to mid-30s between 6 pm and 9 pm, but feeling more like 12 to 25 thanks to the wind chill factor. Tomorrow, expect it to be partly cloudy with a high of 48 and low of 37, and a little less of that crazy wind but more humidity—so once again, this week seems to be warming up a little for all of us who have a long walk across campus.

Tune in later for meteorology reports on 90.3 FM.

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In Entertainment…

This year’s Grammy Awards were a series of surprises. Most notably, the record and song of the year prizes were taken by “Need You Now,” a hit from the Southern trio known as Lady Antebellum. And the award for Best Album was given to “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire, which is a seven-member Canadian indie-rock band. Finally, anticipated top contenders Justin Bieber and Drake lost the trophy for Best New Artist to a 26-year-old Oregon jazz musician Esperanza Spalding. Lady Antebellum’s wins in five out of six nominations continued to demonstrate the major popular comeback that country music has made over recent years. But it wasn’t only the winners that shocked the Staples Center audience that night. “F-bombs” and other taboos dropped during performances by  Lady Gaga, Cee Lo Green, and Eminem led to censored moments of silence on the CBS broadcast. Seth Rogen’s ad-libbed jokes regarding Miley Cyrus and marijuana, a dancer’s apparently harmless fall from a riser, outrageous costumes and performance gimmicks, and a second song from Arcade Fire following their acceptance speech also fired up the ceremony. In addition, two historic firsts included a win for a number written for a video game, as well as for iTunes original content—namely, a version of Train’s hit “Hey, Soul Sister.” Some other performers were Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Mick Jagger, Katy Perry, and a quintet honoring Aretha Franklin that included Martina McBride and Christina Aguilera.

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That’s it for your news. You’re listening to 90.3 WKNJ-FM, Union, New Jersey. I’m _____________________ and we’ll be right back after this.

Your news writer for the day has been Michelle Illg.

(Play PSA #2 here.)


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