Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lazy Squirrel

I saw this squirrel just hanging out by Murphy Hall on Friday. Aren't squirrels suppose to be getting ready to hibernate? This squirrel is lazy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Hometown

This is the view of Minneapolis from the new 35W bridge while it was under construction. In my opinion it's the best view of the city you can get.

I recently found that Minneapolis feels more like my hometown than the place where I grew up. Not that I hate my old stomping grounds of Sauk Centre, but I just feel more in tune with the happenings of Minneapolis. I can't imagine myself anywhere else right now. However, I'm not staying here for long.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's B's turn

It's B's turn to do the dishes. I just did them this morning. Not complaining. At my last place we didn't have a routine and they never got done. One time I went back to my old place to do the dishes and I found maggots in one of the dirty bowls in the sink. However, that wasn't worse than the old potatoes in the drawer. KTK and B are like the Pine-sol lady and Mr. Clean of my world.


This is KTK, my roommate and past interest. She shot me down so we became friends. She currently goes to the U of M to major in art, working to perfect her craft of crafts. She has the cleanest room in the house. She's picky and indecisive.

Katherine Marie Kulzer
Hometown: Greenwald
Birthday: March 25, 1988
Single: YES and looking
Catchphrase: "You better recycle that"
or "Oooo, that would make a good..."
Alright in my book: Yeah.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This is B, my roommate and longtime friend. He recently lives in the room leading to the nook. New employee of Lunds, he now has a job that will keep him off the streets and make sure he's on the straight and narrow. Get him on the subject of Denmark and he'll talk your ears off. Or wait, don't. Please. He's not single, ladies, so don't even think about it.

Hometown: Sauk Centre
Birthday: May 29, 1988
Past Employment: DQ, U of M bookstore
Single: NO
Catchphrase: "Can I borrow..."
or "Well, I don't I have any money right now so..."
Alright in my book: Yeah.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I-35W Reopening: taking a look back

With the new I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge opening this Thursday, Sept. 18, I felt it appropriate to talk about some of the pictures I had taken August 1, 2007 and the related pictures following.

The week of the 35W bridge collapse was one of the longest weeks of my life. Working from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m., it seemed ironic I was only an intern.

I'm not going to bore you with a story I've told a million times. If you want the full story, check these sources: ( a slightly altered version by my hometown paper)

A picture can mean more than just who's in it

The picture of Michael Stoner kissing the hand of his fiance Crystal Manning after surviving the bridge collapse got published around the world days after the event. Janel Klein, Kare 11 personality, also did an interview with the couple.

Only after driving all the way to Spooner, Wisc. to try and find some more information on the couple did we found out that Michael Stoner had been accused of child abuse.

When people found that Stoner was accused of abusing his daughter, some opinions of the picture changed dramatically.

Knowing that Stoner had been accused of abusing his child before we had published the next issue of the Minnesota Daily also made it a difficult decision of whether or not to still run the photo.

We deliberated. As I understand, other papers did as well.

The picture ran on the full back page in the August 8, 2007 issue of the Minnesota Daily.

Looking back, I believe we made the correct decision.

As journalists, we need to depict the stories we tell in an accurate and fair way. Regardless of what Michael Stoner did or did not do, he is still human and was still affected in the bridge collapse that day.

The power of pictures

When we first arrived at the collapse sight, there were still people being pulled from the river and from beneath the bridge. It was hard to keep shooting, but we knew we only had a limited amount of time. The police kept pushing us back, little by little.

There were hundreds of pictures of the fallen bridge, but
few of the impact on the victims and people helping to rescue the victims. What we got was more than just a fallen thoroughfare. We were able to depict the impact on the lives of the victims.

The Coulter family was lucky to survive that day. Brandi, left, made an exceptionally strong impression on me. As I was taking pictures of her she started to look around, her face stark and in shock. Soon she broke out in tears.

Each of the family members was hurt in some way, the mother being the worst. Jim
Gehrz put together an amazing photo story showing the struggle that Paula Coulter and the rest of the family went though during and after the day of the collapse.

One of the last pictures I had gotten the day the bridge collapsed was the one above: a helicopter about to land on the 10th Avenue bridge. The bridge was just downstream from the collapsed 35W bridge and used for emergency vehicles soon after the bridge went down.

I was printing this picture off for a fire department (the fire engine on the left side of the picture on the bridge) at a Kinkos. While I was paying for the print, a woman in line behind me saw the picture and started to cry. I never really understood the power that pictures could have on people until that moment.

One year after

There were many familiar faces at the one year anniversary of the bridge collapse. Some there were victims, others were rescue workers and politicians, including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

It was the first time since the collapse that I had seen many of the people. It was odd to see them. These people that I had never talked to before I felt so connected to because I had either taken or seen so many pictures of them and heard their stories of that day.

I met Andy Gannon, a survivor of the bridge collapse from Apple Valley, at an interview I did with WCCO. Even though we had never met, I felt somewhat of a connection to him.

As 6:05 approached, a moment of remembrance was taken on the Stone Arch Bridge for the 13 people that died. Andy Gannon started to cry on his wife's shoulder, Rybak behind him with tears in his eyes. Gov. Tim Pawlenty stood stark and had his eyes fixed forward. The victims seemed uneasy and deep in thought.

It was interesting to compare the emotions of Rybak and Pawlenty. Rybak seemed to show much more emotion, choking up when he spoke earlier in the morning and shedding a few tears on the Stone Arch Bridge. Pawlenty, on the other side, seemed detached and showed very little emotion.

After the ceremony, people went their separate ways, knowing that the new bridge would be done in only a few months. It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that so much action was taken to try and get things back to how they used to be. A new bridge was built, old bridges were inspected, and people went on with their lives. Still, anytime anyone says the word "bridge", I can't help but to think of Aug. 1, 2007.

RNC Week in review

After what seemed like gallons of pepper spray, a year’s supply of smoke bombs, a whole chimneys worth of thrown bricks, and enough flash bang* grenades to make a deaf man's ears start ringing, the 2008 Republican National Convention is finally over.

It was most definitely an interesting week. Not only because there were anarchists roaming around looking for anything to break or drag into the streets, but also because I got to be in the front lines with other people interested in the common good of relaying the truth to the public.

The four days also came with personal stories that I won’t soon forget.

The first day started off civil compared to the last few hours of the same day. War vets rolling by with their son’s caskets, families gathered in front of the capital ready to march, protesters flying flags and waving homemade signs. It seemed tame. Tension was low and the only real news of the matter was the amount of people that had shown up.

Things changed as the day wore on. The sun was high and hot. The shaded areas around the mall of the state capitol started to fill up and the small cliques of protesters started to gather and plot. Soon, the anarchist and “Funk the War” groups had started the march without warning.

I had never been in a riot until the first day of the RNC. It’s amazing really. One moment it’s just a herd of people walking aimlessly down city streets, the next it’s a pepper spray filled maze with shrapnel flying every which way. The amazing part is that it started with just one person throwing something through a window.

After a couple hours roaming the streets of St. Paul every which way, being herded like cattle by cops acting as cowboys with pepper spray pistols, we had ended up in the middle of a small battle between the anarchist group and law enforcement. It felt like being in the middle of a game of dodge ball. One moment I was being pepper sprayed by a cop, the next I was being hit with a hard object thrown by a protester.

The protesters managed to drag countless newspaper stands, trashes and dumpsters into the streets to prevent squad cars from coming up behind them. Apparently, the makeshift roadblocks hadn’t stopped the police from catching up to the protesters. The cops were soon tailing slowly, sirens blazing. The protesters retaliated, smashing every window on one squad car and throwing cans, bottles, and anything they could find at the remaining cars.

This series of events went on throughout the day. During the larger march, the riot police had blocked off the planned route for the peaceful protesters. It took some searching, but we found that by using the sky ways we could enter the blocked off streets and reenter the march. This peaceful afternoon march, although large in numbers, was not as eventful as the protests lead by the anarchists earlier that day.

The day ended with Steve Maturen, the assistant photo editor at the Minnesota Daily, getting hosed with pepper spray to get a sweet centerpiece for the next day’s paper.

The next two days were different for me. Because of conflicts with class (I’m a University of Minnesota Journalism student) and editing duties at the paper, I wasn’t able to make it to the second day of the RNC. However, I heard there was some pretty crazy stuff that went down. I included a link toward the bottom of the page to read more about that. Wednesday was the least exciting. Sure Sara Palin spoke, but we had to use an AP photo because our spot inside the convention wasn’t decent.

Thursday, the fourth and final night of the RNC, was a day that we anticipated to be violent. As the march started, I could tell things between the police and protesters were tense. Rumors were flying around that anarchist groups were going to target the media and that the cops were going to be using whatever necessary force to shut down the march as quickly as possible.

The first intersection that the march had gotten to was immediately stopped by police in riot gear. The crowd chanted, “Let us march!” The cops weren’t about to let anyone into downtown St. Paul.

The march continued up a hill onto an overpass bridge leading to downtown. Law enforcement rushed to block off the bridge with horses. At one point, there were snow plows on the top of the hill. I’m not sure what the police were planning on doing with them, perhaps to intimidate?

Even after repeated warnings, the cops didn’t use force and waited for all the protesters to leave the bridge. Once the protesters knew they didn’t have a chance of getting across the bridge, they bolted for the next open thoroughfare near Cedar and 12th Streets.

Here, police gave three warnings, about five to ten minutes apart, telling protesters to “exit to the north” or be arrested. After more than fifteen minutes went by, riot police blocked off the intersection leaving and surrounded about sixty people in the middle to be arrested. They were instantly directed to sit down to be taken into custody one by one.

I had gotten lucky. I was in the middle. So as not to be confused with the protesters, I immediately approached an officer (the nicest looking one) and showed him my credentials. I, along with three or four other journalists, was able to stay on the median of the intersection.

From the median, we all got a clear picture of how the law enforcement handled unwilling protesters. With a knee on her neck while being zip-tied, one protester screamed out, “Don’t arrest me, arrest Bush!”

Many of the soon to be arrested protesters stuck with their chants, fists and peace signs raised in the air: “You’re sexy, you’re cute, take off those riot suits!” Others just sat and cried, pale and ready to pass out.

After 45 minutes of cheering on their arrested comrades, the protesters were on the move again. This time, I had lost them for a while. When I heard a sudden explosion, I immediately ran to the source of the sound.

As people were running by I asked, “What happened? What’s going on?” No one had an answer.

The Sears parking lot, the source of the sound I had just heard, soon filled up with protesters and riot police. Flashbang grenades went off every few seconds.

As I was running toward the back of the Sears lot I witnessed a young lady being pepper sprayed, thrown to the ground, told to “stay the f--- down!” and then pepper sprayed again as the police man in riot gear walked away. The girl was helpless. Maybe 5’ 6”, 120 pounds, and after the first time maced she wasn’t going anywhere. A man turned to me after seeing exactly what I had seen and said, “Did you see that?” We both didn’t believe what we saw.

After that, riot police were everywhere.

I got a call from Steve Maturen: “I can’t see, I can’t see! F***! I can’t see!” He had gotten pepper sprayed.

I told him to stay where he was and to try to get help from someone around him. After the phone call abruptly ended, I was in panic mode and was running around frantically to find Steve. Two minutes later I called him back but I heard nothing but screaming.

Then I called him back again. again. again. No answer. I waited. Called again. No answer. Called again. No answer.

Finally, Karlee Weinmann, a reporter from the Minnesota Daily, informed me that someone called her and said that Steve had gotten arrested. Even though it seems like bad news, it was a relief to me. Steve was safe.

With some settlement in my mind, I went back to the Daily to upload and choose photos for the next day’s paper.

Soon after we had arrived back, Steve called and announced that he was fine and released. Tara Sloane, a staff photographer at the Daily, went to pick him up. After he got back, we chose some pictures and got the paper out for the next day.

Friday night was spent sleeping.

Thursday was also a night not soon to be forgotten because of Stephen Maturen. Read his story here: and view his pictures here: EARTHTONESSMM

*Flash. And then bang. Flash bang.