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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Man charged with threatening to kill Obama

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North Dakota

Japanese beetles found around N.D.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Dozens of Japanese beetles have been identified around North Dakota, including infestations in Grand Forks and West Fargo, according to state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

More than 60 Japanese beetles were found in West Fargo; about a dozen beetles were found in traps around Grand Forks last week, and additional beetles were found in traps in Fargo and Bismarck. The first groups of beetles were discovered in traps in West Fargo on July 16.

Goehring said that if not controlled, the beetles are a danger to crops and plant life in North Dakota.

The North Dakota infestation can be traced to Bailey Nurseries in St. Paul, Goehring said.

Because of new fumigating procedures on recent shipments of plants to North Dakota, beetles were able to burrow into the soil of refrigerated plants.

Goehring said the cold temperatures inside refrigerators eliminated the effects of fumigating.

Members of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture are now working with parks and recreation departments in each affected city to set up traps and control the infestation.

(GFH)

Most dogs seized from breeder now in foster care

FARGO -- All but 14 of the 174 dogs seized by Cass County sheriff’s deputies July 10 from a Wheatland breeder have been released from a Casselton animal clinic and sent to foster homes, a sheriff’s department spokeswoman said Thursday.

The 14 dogs still need foster homes, said Sgt. Tara Morris. The others were distributed through 4 Luv of Dog animal rescue and other area animal organizations to homes throughout the region.

Morris said the Casselton Veterinary Clinic had calculated that the cost of caring for the dogs since their seizure had topped $100,000.

An estimated $33,000 has been raised by a public fund established for the dogs’ care. It will be applied to offset the cost of care, Morris said. The clinic plans to waive the remainder of the cost, she said.

Darcy Smith, the dogs’ owner, has asked for a court hearing to determine whether his dogs can be returned to him. The hearing is set for Tuesday.

In a brief filed in Cass County District Court this week, Cass County prosecutors said the dogs were kept without access to food or water, and without air conditioning or ventilation in hot conditions.

The brief also said the dogs were kept in kennels saturated with urine and feces that, with inadequate grooming, culminated in severe matting.

(FF)

UND alumna to deliver commencement speech from space

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- University of North Dakota alumna and astronaut Karen Nyberg, who is currently aboard the International Space Station, will deliver the university's summer commencement speech Aug. 2 from space, the university said Thursday.

Nyberg, who hails from Vining, Minn., is the first UND alum and the sixth Minnesotan to launch into space. She is serving a six-month mission in space that began in late May.

(GFH)

Downtown leads pack of proposed Fargo city hall sites

FARGO – Chances are good the proposed new city hall for Fargo will be somewhere downtown.

During a meeting Thursday morning, a site selection committee listed about 16 places that deserve consideration with 14 of those sites are downtown.

The majority of the committee wants to seriously consider repurposing the current city hall space along the riverfront, which could involve renovating the Fargo Civic Center and Centennial Hall.

The group has set a deadline of Oct. 3 to pick the site. City leaders want construction of the 60,000- to 70,000-square-foot building to be bid out by late fall 2014. The budget is about $8 million to $12 million, which will likely include some state aid.

(FF)

Minnesota

Minnesota reports first West Nile case of year

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota’s first human case this season of West Nile virus was reported Thursday. State health officials said the man, from Murray County in southwest Minnesota, became ill with West Nile fever this month and is recovering.

Health officials are urging Minnesotans to protect themselves from mosquitoes by routinely using repellents and taking other precautions against mosquito bites.

This time of year is a high-risk season for West Nile virus, said David Neitzel, a state Health Department epidemiologist specializing in diseases carried by mosquitoes.

About one out of 150 people bitten by a West Nile virus-infected mosquito will develop central nervous system disease (encephalitis or meningitis). About 10 percent of people with this severe form of infection die, and survivors can suffer from long-term nervous system problems.

Most people bitten by infected mosquitoes develop West Nile fever, the less severe form of disease, or fight off the virus without any symptoms.

Illness from West Nile virus can occur in residents throughout Minnesota and among all age groups. However, the risk is greatest in western and central counties, which typically have the greatest number of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, the primary mosquito carrier of the virus in Minnesota.

(WCT)

Red Lake breaks ground on government center, tribal college

RED LAKE, Minn. -- With an eagle soaring overhead, the Red Lake Nation on Thursday celebrated the groundbreaking of its new government center and tribal college.

"Here in Red Lake we pride ourselves on our history, our culture, and most importantly, our land," said Floyd Jourdain Jr., tribal chairman. "It's really a good feeling to walk up here and see our brotherly eagle, our inspiration, circling around here today. That's always a good sign for the Anishinaabe people."

The tribe will construct two new buildings atop a bluff overlooking Red Lake. The complex, with separate buildings for the 27,400-square-foot government center and 42,000-square-foot college, has been designed by DSGW Architects of Duluth to look like a soaring eagle.

The tribe secured more than $21 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program to fund the project.

The new college will have an Ojibwe immersion Head Start and day care for up to 60 children, a 5,330-square-foot library, an Ojibwe Language Center, a student cafe, a wellness and fitness center and sweat lodge. It also will house the tribal archives.

Also included in the project, expected to be complete by September 2014, will be centralization of the tribe's governmental functions, now spread throughout the reservation in several old buildings.

(BP)

Wisconsin

Man charged with threatening to kill Obama

MADISON, Wis. -- A 33-year-old St. Croix County man has been arrested and charged with three counts of threatening to kill President Barack Obama and the president’s family.

Nicholas J. Anderson of Baldwin was indicted by a grand jury last week, but the indictment was sealed until a warrant could be issued and he could be taken into custody, said a spokeswoman from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison.

Anderson is accused of making the threats in three emails sent to the CIA on May 21, June 17 and June 18, said the spokeswoman. She said the emails threatened the president “and some of the threats also included threats to kill the president’s family -- his wife and children.”

In the May 21 email, Anderson threatened to kill the president and his family, stating "the assassination attempts are about to start flying," according to the indictment.

In the first June email, Anderson threatened to kill the president, and then in a third he threatened to kill the president's wife and children, the indictment states.

Anderson has made an initial appearance and pleaded not guilty. A two-day trial is set to begin Nov. 18 in Madison.

(RFJ)

South Dakota

Mitchell man will admit voting twice, prosecutor says

MITCHELL, S.D. -- A Mitchell man plans to admit voting twice in the June school board election.

Craig Guymon, 54, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of voting more than once in an election, a felony, according to Davison County State's Attorney Jim Miskimins.

In exchange for Guymon's guilty plea, prosecutors have agreed not to make a recommendation at Guymon's sentencing hearing.

"We'll leave the sentence to the discretion of the judge," Miskimins said.

Guymon and his attorney will be free to recommend whatever sentence they think is appropriate at a change of plea hearing later this month.

Guymon is accused of voting twice -- first by absentee ballot on Election Day, June 4, and later by normal ballot at the polling place. Absentee ballots were allowed until 3 p.m. on Election Day. He faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

Guymon has unsuccessfully run for school board positions multiple times, but he was not a candidate in the June election. He is locally infamous for his sometimes bizarre behavior, which includes maintaining a website devoted to his opinions called The Book of Guymon and sending mailers to Mitchell residents claiming that Catholics are conspiring to manipulate the city.

(DR)

Pastor plans alternative to Sioux Falls gun rally

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Gun advocates demonstrating this weekend in Sioux Falls may have some unarmed company, thanks to the pastor of a Mitchell church.

At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, members of South Dakota Open Carry -- a group that supports the right to carry firearms openly in public -- plan to carry guns during an organized walk on South Minnesota Avenue.

In response, the Rev. Kristi McLaughlin, a Sioux Falls resident and pastor at Anew United Church of Christ in Mitchell, is organizing an alternative demonstration at the same time and place.

But McLaughlin doesn't want her demonstration to become an anti-gun rally.

"It's more of a response to the idea of being comfortable with weapons in public," she said. "I would like for us to have an alternative image of the society we live in."

In South Dakota, any resident who legally buys a firearm is allowed to carry it almost anywhere as long as it isn't concealed. A permit is required to carry a concealed weapon.

McLaughlin said she doesn't want to attack the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, but questions whether society should be comfortable with people carrying guns in the streets.

Jesse Rierson of South Dakota Open Carry did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

(DR)

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