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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Part of wall collapses at baseball stadium

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Credit: Forum News Service

Minnesota

New owners to keep ballclub in Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- Alexandria fans who want to see Northwoods League baseball continue in this city can put their minds at ease after a new group of local owners became official Wednesday morning.

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Alexandria's Scott Allen, Shaynen Schmidt and Shane Schmidt joined Minnesota Baseball Academy owner Adam Barta in forming the new ownership group for the Northwoods League franchise in Alexandria.

League President Dick Radatz Jr. wouldn't release the price the organization was sold for but was excited about how this came together after taking over the team from former owner Shawn Reilly this winter.

"I think we're very relieved," Radatz said. "There were a number of inquiries. I think we could have sold to a number of different people, but I think this was the best option, truthfully."

The group is in the process of finalizing a lot of things before the first pitch of the season against Duluth on May 29. Included is a change in name from the Beetles to the Alexandria Blue Anchors.

The team also has hired former Minnesota Twins player and third-base coach Al Newman as field manager for 2013.

(AEP)

Part of wall collapses at baseball stadium

DULUTH -- The top 4 to 6 feet of a 20-foot-tall brick wall collapsed Wednesday night at a baseball stadium in West Duluth. The damaged section stretched for more than 200 feet on the part of the wall that faces neighboring homes to the northwest.

City electrician Luke Meints was at the stadium at 8:30 p.m. after a neighbor reported hearing a loud thud in the area. Meints came to check for any exposed wiring and other hazards near the collapse. No one was hurt.

The stadium is used by the Duluth Huskies baseball team, and Huskies owner Michael Rosenzweig was at the site at 10 p.m.

"There's been an issue with bowing on the wall," he said, and the city has worked to shore it up.

Rosenzweig said the freeze and thaw pattern of the winter and recent strong winds were likely the culprits.

"I think Mother Nature finally took over," he said.

The city has been asking the state for help in shoring up the stadium that was built by the Works Progress Administration.

(DNT Photo , Photo)

DNR to host aquatic invasive species class

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Northwest Region will offer volunteer training workshops for citizens interested in informing the public about aquatic invasive species and how to prevent their spread.

Sessions are planned from 5 to 8 p.m. April 5 at the Fergus Falls DNR Office, 1509 1st Ave. N., and from 9 a.m. to noon April 20 at the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn on the Lake, 1155 Highway 10 East.

Sessions must have a minimum of 20 attendees. To register, call (218) 739-7576 ext. 259 or email Nathan.olson@state.mn.us. Include contact information in case of cancellations.

For more information on invasive species, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/.

(FF)

Man accused of having nearly 4,000 child porn images

WILLMAR, Minn. -- A Willmar man faces felony charges after authorities said they found nearly 4,000 images and videos of child pornography on his computer equipment.

Stephen Elliot Titrud, 38, made his first court appearance Wednesday on two felony charges of possession and dissemination of pornography.

According to the complaint filed in Kandiyohi County District Court, 540 of the items on the computer hardware were identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as images of 114 known child victims of exploitation.

Unconditional bail was set at $20,000. Titrud's next appearance is April 1.

The complaint says the investigation began in September 2011, when agents from the Internet Crimes Against Children division started an auto program that trolls a list of suspected Internet protocol addresses for pornography, downloading the images as it finds them.

A video showing child pornography was downloaded via file sharing from an IP address that was identified as Titrud's computer. Willmar police served a search warrant on the Willmar address in November 2011 and collected two computer towers and an external hard drive.

(WCT)

North Dakota

Man found with syringe, porn, charged

FARGO -- A Fargo man has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after court documents state he was discovered in someone else's apartment building bathroom with a burned broken glass light bulb, pornography and women's underclothes inside his backpack.

Christopher Mahoney, who is 46 or 47, was charged Tuesday in Cass County District Court with Class C felony possession of drug paraphernalia.

Court documents state police officers responded March 8 to a call of a suspicious male hanging out in an apartment building bathroom.

When officers arrived, Mahoney was just leaving the bathroom. He told them he did not live in the building, but had been walking home and stopped by when he needed to use the bathroom.

Inside the bathroom, officers found a bloody syringe on a shelf above the toilet, and "quite a bit of pornography laying around the bathroom, which Mahoney admitted that he had accidentally left," according to court documents.

When police asked to search Mahoney's backpack, they found the lightbulb and women's underclothes, along with more pornography. Mahoney told officers the syringes and bulb were not his, and that someone he was with must have put them in his backpack.

(FF)

Hearing delayed for Fargo murder suspect

FARGO -- Prosecutors in a case against a Fargo man accused of killing his wife and then calling police to pass it off as a suicide agreed Thursday to delay his case, saying they're still getting evidence.

Ronald Rogers, 46, was charged Feb. 23 in Cass County District Court with murdering his wife, Elizabeth. A conviction on the Class AA felony murder charge could carry a lifetime prison without chance for parole.

Rogers appeared in court Thursday, where his attorney asked that his hearing be continued, saying prosecutors hadn't provided them with all of the evidence in the case.

Cass County Assistant State's Attorney Tristan Van de Streek agreed to the request, saying his office had received new gunshot residue evidence as late as Wednesday.

Rogers' next court appearance is set for May 15. photo

(FF)

Kiefer pleads not guilty to mistreating horses

BISMARCK -- A New Salem man accused of mistreating horses and mules has pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor charges in Burleigh County.

William Kiefer, a longtime Fargo investment adviser, earlier this month pleaded not guilty to similar charges in neighboring Morton County.

Authorities seized more than 150 animals from Kiefer's properties in the two counties in January after finding nearly 100 dead animals.

(FF)

Calf head mysteriously mounted on post

DICKINSON, N.D. -- Drivers on a rural road just north of Dickinson on Wednesday encountered a disturbing and, so far, unexplained scene.

The apparently severed head of what appeared to be an Angus yearling calf was displayed ominously on a stake about two miles north of the city.

The head was mounted above a "Private Property" sign that serves as an outline to Howard Newton's ranch, though the landowner said Wednesday he doesn't know how or why the head was placed on his sign.

"I first saw it a day or two ago, but it was on the ground when I saw it originally," Newton said. "After that, I noticed that someone had elevated it to new heights. I have no idea what it's all about. I figured someone was having fun with it, so I thought I'd let them."

The only identifying markers on the head was an orange tag on the right ear, indicating that the calf had been vaccinated, reading "45 VCF 1685 NDBVCAC."

Newton, who doesn't own cattle, said he didn't plan to take the head down.

"That's the least of our concern out here," he said.

(DP)

South Dakota

Poll gives Rounds edge over Noem in a primary

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A national polling firm says U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and former Gov. Mike Rounds would have a close contest in a Republican primary for a South Dakota Senate seat next year.

Public Policy Polling, based in Raleigh, released polling data Thursday. It shows Rounds with a slight lead over Noem if they met in a primary. Both would defeat Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson in a general election matchup, according to PPP.

Speculation has been rampant lately that Johnson will retire rather than seek re-election next year.

Rounds leads Noem 43 to 39 percent in the poll. Noem, however, has a higher favorability rating with GOP voters at 71 percent positive and 18 negative, while Rounds is at 67-17.

In a survey of all voters, Rounds has a 51-34 favorability ranking, while Noem is at 49-42.

Johnson, who is in his 26th year in Congress and third term in the Senate, has a 44 percent approval rating, with 45 percent disapproving of his work.

Rounds leads Johnson 52-41 in a hypothetical matchup, according to PPP, while Noem has a lesser margin, leading Johnson 49-45, according to the poll.

(DR)

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