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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Dilworth finds no takers for free land

From the Forum News Service

North Dakota

Sanford suspends Fairview merger negotiations

FARGO -- Sanford Health's top executive, who recently termed a presence in the Twin Cities an "inevitability," announced Wednesday that the health system is withdrawing from merger talks with Fairview Health Services.

The announcement follows strong criticism about a possible merger from the Minnesota attorney general and lawmakers concerned about what they characterized as a "takeover" of the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

"Sanford Health has a philosophical policy of 'only going where we are invited,' and it seems as though the incredibly positive beginnings to discussions of the merger of Fairview Health and Sanford Health has turned into a situation that finds us being unwelcome by some interested parties and key stakeholders of our proposed merger partner," Kelby Krabbenhoft, Sanford's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Fairview assumed control of the university medical center in 1997, and its acting chief executive has said no merger with Sanford would happen without the university's approval.

Sanford is incorporated as a nonprofit in North Dakota and has its principal corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D. It has significant operations in western Minnesota, where it employs 6,000.


Man injured in explosion at oilfield shop

ALEXANDER, N.D. - A 29-year-old Alexander man was injured Tuesday in an explosion at an oilfield shop here, said the McKenzie County Sheriff's Office.

The explosion occurred about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday at Youngquist Brothers Oil and Gas shop in Alexander, the sheriff's office said.

Aaron Callantine was injured and transported to McKenzie County Hospital. He was later flown to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Eric Brooks, area director of the Bismarck Occupational Safety and Health Administration office, said the employee was involved with welding. The office is investigating.

A spokesperson with Hennepin County Medical Center had no information on Callantine.


Second victim dies from Saturday fire in Fargo

FARGO -- A Fargo woman has died from injuries suffered in an apartment fire Saturday that also killed her boyfriend.

Angela Wentz, 42, had been in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis since the fire. She died between 7 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, Fargo Fire Marshal Norm Scott said he was told by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office.

Wentz's boyfriend, Jesse Madson, 30, died in the fire.

Scott determined that the fire, which also displaced 16 other residents from the 20-unit complex, was started by a cigarette that ignited nearby combustibles in the second-floor unit.



Dilworth finds no takers for free land

DILWORTH, Minn. -- Several months ago, the city of Dilworth let it be known that anyone who could come up with an idea for how to use a prime spot of downtown real estate could have it -- for free.

The recipient also would get $24,000 in border city tax credits.

Lots of people made inquiries.

But March 15, the deadline for the city to receive ideas, came and went with no serious plan coming forward.

"We were kind of disappointed we did not receive any proposals," said Ken Parke, city administrator. "We'll have to take a look at Plan B, but we haven't decided what Plan B is yet." The 75-by-140-foot vacant lot used to be the location of a barber shop and an Eagles club.

The city purchased the buildings and, because of their poor condition, tore them down.

Parke said a couple of ideas city officials heard about were definitely worth looking at, but they never heard back from the would-be developers.

City Council member Rick Cariveau said the land would be a great place for something like a dental office or pet grooming service.

"Something that uses a small amount of parking, there's a hundred possibilities," Cariveau said.


Ten indicted on fish poaching charges

MINNEAPOLIS -- Federal prosecutors have filed indictments against 10 people accused of illegally poaching and marketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in walleye and other protected fish on the Red Lake and Leech Lake Indian reservations.

The four indictments charge each of the men with one count of transportation, sale and purchase of fish taken in violation of the Lacey Act, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis.

The Lacey Act, originally signed in 1900, is a conservation law enforcing criminal and civil penalties for the illegal trade of animals and plants.

Prosecutors filed indictments against the following:

-- Larry W. Bellefy, 53, of Bagley

-- Thomas P. Sumner, 54, of Red Lake

-- Brian W. Holthusen, 47, of Red Lake

-- Larry Good, 58, of Red Lake

-- Michael D. Brown, 54, no known address

-- Michael J. Nei, 48, of Bemidji

-- Jerry A. Reyes, 51, of Cass Lake

-- Marc L. Lyons, 61, of Bena

-- Frederick W. Tibbetts, 61, of Bena

-- Alan D. Hemme, 55, of Bena

If convicted, each defendant faces a potential maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. The indictments also seek the forfeiture of the defendants' boats and other equipment used to poach, sell or buy the fish, according to The Associated Press.

The news release said authorities began investigating in July 2009.


Head of energy-efficiency nonprofit gets White House honor

DULUTH -- The founder and CEO a Duluth-based nonprofit that helps local residents weatherize their homes, save money and cut greenhouse gas pollution will be honored today at the White House as one of a dozen "Champions of Change."

Jodi Slick, who started Ecolibrium3 in 2011, will be honored for her work building a small organization first designed to help local residents save energy and which has now expanded to help with ongoing flood relief after last June's deluge.

Slick is one of a dozen activists, businesses and community leaders to be honored, people who are "working to prepare their communities for the consequences of climate change," according to a news release from the Champions of Change Organization.

"It's not really about me. Mostly, I think this (White House event) is about getting these great stories out there about how to build resilient, sustainable communities," Slick said.

In just over two years, Ecolibrium3 has worked to help some 600 residents reduce energy use and costs, including conducting energy audits of their homes and apartments.

The nonprofit then helps residents look for grants and rebates to help cover the cost of upgrades. Ecolibrium3 also offers help in making choices on where to spend money to reduce energy use, save money and reduce carbon dioxide pollution.