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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Superior man killed in conveyor belt accident

Credit Forum News Service


Day care provider charged in infant's death

FARMINGTON, Minn. -- A 45-year-old Farmington woman has been charged with manslaughter after an infant in her care died last summer.

Rebecca Lynn Graupmann was charged with two counts of manslaughter in the second degree, one count of endangerment of a child, one count of neglect of a child and interference with a death scene. The charges all relate to the death of 3-month-old Kaiden Robert Staebell. Graupmann was the child's day care provider.

A criminal complaint was filed Tuesday in Dakota County, according to a news release from County Attorney James Backstrom.

Farmington police were called to the Graupmann residence July 31 on a report that a child in the home had stopped breathing, was unresponsive and was "blue and cold."

Paramedics were unable to revive the child, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the release, Graupmann's account to police changed several times when confronted with new details about the scene.

The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy determined that bleeding from Kaiden's nose and evidence collected at the scene led to the conclusion that the child died of probable positional asphyxia.

The manslaughter charges are felonies. The remaining three counts are gross misdemeanors.


Duluth Radisson reopening is postponed again

DULUTH -- The reopening of the Radisson hotel in downtown Duluth has been pushed back again, but this time only a few days to June 6.

The hotel has been closed since its water service line broke March 13 during a planned repair job. It flooded the basement mechanical room, knocking out power and damaging the boilers, heating and cooling systems and power panels.

Utilities as old as the hotel itself, which opened in 1970, have been replaced, hotel officials say.

A targeted May 1 reopening was pushed back to May 15, then to June 2 and now June 6.

"There's been a delay in getting pieces and parts together, the inspections and meeting codes, and just getting up and running," General Manager Jeff Briner said.

The hotel was preparing for a soft opening, so it had taken only 50 reservations for June 2-5.

While the power has been back on for more than a week, the hotel still lacks running water, which is expected to be back on next week.


Bookkeeper accused of stealing from gas station

MOORHEAD, Minn. -- A gas station worker here faces felony theft charges after she allegedly admitted stealing from her company to save her mother from a hoarding situation.

Two felony theft charges were filed Monday in Clay County District Court against Thelma Leonora Honl, 49, of Moorhead.

Court documents say her employer, Petro Serve USA in Moorhead, hired a private investigator to look into its concerns that Honl, a bookkeeper with the company, was stealing from the business.

The investigator and Petro Serve set up a sting operation that caught Honl on surveillance video tucking an envelope of $620 in cash into her purse, the criminal complaint alleges.

Police claim in court records that Honl met with the investigator and admitted taking money from the business, giving him envelopes containing more than $2,000.

Court documents allege that after the investigator passed on the information to Moorhead police Oct. 31, Honl admitted in a police interview she had taken money starting in October because she needed to move her mother, a hoarder, into a safer environment.

She told the officer she intended to replace the cash with money from her 401(k), court records say.

Her first court appearance is set for June 6.


North Dakota

Governor names new transportation director

BISMARCK -- Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Wednesday appointed Grant Levi as executive director of the state's Department of Transportation.

Levi had been serving as the interim executive director since November, when he was appointed to temporarily fill the position following the retirement of Francis Ziegler.

The position is responsible for the daily operations of the department, which has a $2.1 billion biennial budget and 1,063 employees who provide services for motor vehicle, driver's license, and the operation, construction and maintenance of the state's highways.

Levi has worked for the DOT since 1980, holding positions in the Valley City District, the Fargo District and at the Central Office in Bismarck. He served as the deputy director for engineering from 1999 until his interim appointment in 2012.

"His depth of knowledge is a tremendous asset to us," Dalrymple said. "He knows North Dakota like the back of his hand."

Levi's appointment becomes effective immediately, although little will change.

Levi said one of the largest challenges he will continue to face is providing the services and safety as the state continues to grow.

"Our mission is about safely moving people and goods," he said.


No tankers for Grand Forks Air Force Base

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Grand Forks lost out to a Kansas base in its bid for a new air refueling mission.

The U.S. Air Force's announcement Wednesday wasn't surprising to John Marshall, a Grand Forks attorney who has been involved in several base realignment and closure rounds over the past 25 years.

"It's exactly what I had been told and what I expected to have happened," Marshall said.

Grand Forks Air Force Base was one of four finalists named in January to be the active-duty main operating base for the KC-46A flying tanker. McConnell Air Force Base at Wichita, Kan., was ultimately chosen to host the tanker aircraft in 2016, and a base at Altus, Okla., was chosen to host a new training mission for the KC-46A.

The decision comes after years of attempts by base officials and political leaders pushing for the selection.

Grand Forks remains one of two alternate candidates for a subsequent round of tanker base selections, which will take place no later than fall 2015.

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., along with U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued a statement saying they will continue to try to bring in a tanker mission to the base.


Flooding closes Neche border crossing

NECHE, N.D. -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection has closed the Neche international border crossing because of flooding, the agency announced Wednesday.

Drivers can use ports of entry at Pembina to the east of Neche or at Walhalla to the west to travel between Canada and the United States.

Information on port hours and wait times is on the CBP website at



Superior man killed in conveyor belt accident

SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Authorities have released the name of the man killed Tuesday in an industrial accident in Superior.

David M. Clink, 30, of Superior, was killed after his arm or clothing was caught in a conveyor belt system at White Cedar Shingles and Lumber Co. It appeared that Clink was pinned against the machinery and was asphyxiated.

Clink was working at the business alone at the time. He was found by a co-worker, who notified authorities about 7 p.m.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified of the incident and responded to the scene Wednesday to conduct its investigation.