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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Missing boy found dead in home

From the Forum Communications News Bureau


Daylight savings prompts reminder

ST. PAUL - Statistics collected from Minnesota fire departments in 2011 reveal that the peak time for home fire fatalities is between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and 29 percent of residential fire deaths that year occurred in homes without working smoke alarms. Those are two reasons the State Fire Marshal supports the annual "Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery" campaign.

Early Sunday, daylight-saving time ends and clocks must be turned back one hour. State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl said Minnesotans also should change batteries in every smoke alarm to assure adequate warning in case of a fire.

About two-thirds of fire deaths nationwide occur in homes without working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Most commonly, alarms fail due to missing or worn-out batteries.


Woman found dead after house fire

BEMIDJI, Minn. - A woman is dead after a house fire east of Bemidji early Friday morning.

Bemidji firefighters received a call at 2:49 a.m. about the fire in the 1000 block of Tyler Avenue.

Firefighters arrived at the Bemidji Township home to find it engulfed in flames. The fire caused an estimated $98,250 in damage to the home and its contents, according to a news release issued by the Bemidji Fire Department.

Crews contained the fire to prevent it from spreading to other structures on the property.

Once the blaze was extinguished, firefighters discovered the body of an elderly woman. Her name has not been released pending notification of family members.

"We have no reason to believe foul play is involved, be we want to get our investigation done," said Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp.


Missing boy found dead in home

ROSEAU, Minn. -- An 8-year-old Roseau boy was found dead Thursday after being reported missing earlier in the day, police said Friday.

Joseph Taylor Jr., who authorities described as a boy with special needs, was unable to speak as a result of medical issues. He was reported missing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Local law enforcement and emergency personnel conducted a search of the area around his home. He was discovered unresponsive in an uncovered sump pump hole in his home, police said.

CPR was administered, and an ambulance took Taylor to LifeCare Medical Center in Roseau where he was pronounced dead.

Foul play is not suspected, according to police.


Woman's child care license revoked over stabbing allegation

DULUTH -- A Duluth woman's child care license has been revoked after an investigation revealed she had stabbed a household member as children watched.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services notified Nicole Marie Ek on Tuesday that her license has been revoked. She has the right to appeal the action.

Ek could not be reached for comment. The St. Louis County Attorney's Office said there are no criminal charges against her.

Ek's license had been suspended on May 31 after the commissioner of the Department of Human Services determined that the "health, safety and rights of children in your care were in imminent risk of harm," the notice stated. That came after the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Department determined that "on May 27, 2012, you stabbed a household member with a knife," the notice stated. "Minor children were present and witnessed the incident."

Ek had been licensed to care for up to 12 children in her home, according to the Department of Human Services website. The website showed no previous licensing violations.


North Dakota

John Deere expansion could add 100 jobs

VALLEY CITY, N.D. - The John Deere manufacturing plant here plans a $20 million expansion expected to add up to 100 jobs in the next five years.

The project, announced Friday, calls for an expansion of 100,000 square feet, with operations expected to begin next fall.

"We would expect to add 50 to 100 jobs within the next five years," said David Bradford, Deere & Co.'s plant manager in Valley City.

The plant, the city's largest employer, now employs more than 330 full-time employees. The plant added 65 jobs in the past year. Valley City's population is about 6,800.

The factory, which makes air seeding and fall tillage equipment for farmers, provides more than $13 million a year in pay and benefits, Bradford said.

The average pay is $21 an hour, he added.