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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Siblings of baby who died in van put in foster care

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North Dakota

Lightning causes fire at oil facility

KEENE, N.D. -- A lightning strike at a saltwater disposal facility near here caused an explosion and a fire Friday morning but did not cause any injuries.

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Jerry Samuelson, emergency manager for McKenzie County, said lightning struck a tank owned by Murex Petroleum about 8 a.m. Friday. That tank exploded and caused three other tanks to catch fire, Samuelson said. The tanks contained produced water from oil wells.

The Keene Fire Department and McKenzie County Sheriff's Office responded, waiting two hours for the flames to subside before extinguishing the blaze, Samuelson said.

No one was hurt.

(AD)

10-year-old struck by minivan in Hettinger dies

HETTINGER, N.D. -- A child who was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in Hettinger has died.

The boy was identified by his grandparents as 10-year-old Dylan Jahner. He had recently finished the third grade at Hettinger Elementary.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol released a statement Friday morning stating the crash that occurred in Hettinger between Dylan, who was on his bike, and a 2005 Chrysler minivan Wednesday evening resulted in the boy's death.

The 67-year-old driver of the van was unidentified and was not injured.

The van was traveling west on Ninth Avenue North, entering the intersection with Second Street North, where Dylan was traveling south on his bicycle. He tried to turn left onto Ninth Avenue at the same time the van was traveling through.

The view at the intersection was obstructed by evergreen trees, and there are no traffic control signs.

The van struck Dylan at 6:44 p.m. He was taken to West River Health Services Hospital in Hettinger and then airlifted to Sanford Hospital in Bismarck.

He was on life support Thursday evening.

The crash remains under investigation.

(DP)

Oil industry shakes off April cold to set another record

BISMARCK -- North Dakota oil production rose 1.3 percent in April, hitting another all-time high despite record cold temperatures for the month and late winter storms that caused widespread road closures.

The state produced 793,249 barrels of crude per day, according to preliminary figures from the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.

Director Lynn Helms said the unseasonable weather contributed to an increase in the number of oil wells waiting for hydraulic fracturing crews. An estimated 490 wells were awaiting fracking at the end of April.

North Dakota had a record 185 new wells connected to natural gas gathering lines in April, said Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.

However, the percentage of natural gas flared remained at 29 percent.

That's because additional compressor stations and pipeline expansions are needed to keep up with the amount of natural gas being produced, Helms said.

The wet spring weather and road restrictions that have continued late into the season have affected the number of drilling rigs in North Dakota, Helms said. The count was 184 on Friday and is expected to climb near 200 in July.

(AD)

Grand Forks base closes family activity center

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The Parent & Child Center at Grand Forks Air Force Base will close Monday because of financial difficulties associated with sequestration, according to the base.

The recreational facility provides a variety of play areas, from bouncy balls to Legos, and a kitchen.

Earlier the base closed its bowling alley for the summer to cut costs.

Base officials stress that there are still many family-friendly activities, including the Community Activity Center, the movie theater and playgrounds.

Sequestration is a nearly across-the-board federal budget cut that began after Congress failed to agree on a way to reduce the budget deficit. The Grand Forks base has been making gradual reduction in nonessential services to cope.

(GFH)

Minnesota

Siblings of baby who died in van put in foster care

MOORHEAD, Minn. -- A judge here ruled Friday that the siblings of a 5-month-old girl who died after she was left alone for hours in a van Tuesday should be placed in foster care.

Responding to a 911 call from Andrew Sandstrom, the infant girl's father, Moorhead police found Christiana Sandstrom dead about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in a van with the windows and doors closed at the family's home.

Police have said the girl was accidentally left in the van, but the investigation is ongoing.

The five other children in the home - three boys ages 6, 5, and 1½ along with two girls ages 7 and 3 - were taken from the home Tuesday night and placed on a temporary basis with their maternal grandmother.

County social workers on Thursday filed a petition to put the children in foster care, citing filthy conditions in the home and a toilet that hadn't been working for some time.

In a hearing on the child protection petition Friday in Clay County District Court, Judge Michelle Lawson ordered that the children be placed in foster care. The grandmother does not live in the area, isn't licensed as a foster home and doesn't plan to seek a license.

The Sandstroms will need to complete a case plan set by social workers to get custody of their children.

(FF)

Hospital undergoes major upgrade to emergency room

MORRIS, Minn. -- Stevens Community Medical Center will be taking on a new look over the next several months.

SCMC is about two months into a multiphase, $2 million renovation that will effectively reorganize the hospital and provide a state-of-the-art emergency room facility for patients.

The existing emergency room was built in 1977 and was considered state-of-the-art for the time. However, changes in medical practice and patients' expectations for privacy have left the emergency room dated.

"The design really does not lend itself to the way we practice medicine now," said John Rau, president and CEO of the hospital. "If we have a multiple (victim) car accident, all of the patients are literally going to be side by side in one big area."

The new emergency room will have four private areas - one large trauma area and three back-up exam treatment rooms - and a nursing station.

SCMC also will enclose the ambulance bay so that in the winter patients aren't exposed to the outside while they're being moved into the emergency room.

Construction began in April, and the entire project is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

(MST)

Soldier known for fight against cancer dies

ROSEMOUNT, Minn. -- Lt. Col. Mark Weber, the Rosemount soldier who became an inspiration to many as he battled terminal cancer for nearly three years, died shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, according to a post on his Caringbridge site.

According to the post, he died at home surrounded by family and friends, hours after hospice doctors informed him the end was near.

Weber had gained international attention since his 2010 diagnosis of neuroendocrine cancer, which came shortly after he was selected to serve on the staff of Gen. David Petraeus in Afghanistan. He would have been military assistant to the minister of interior in President Hamid Karzai's Cabinet.

The diagnosis kept him from traveling to Afghanistan, but it did little to slow him down. He became a recruiter and promptly set records for the number of recruits he brought in.

Weber was a sought-after speaker in the final years of his life, and his positive attitude in the face of his terminal diagnosis won him admirers around the world.

He called his fight against cancer Operation True Grit and created a combat patch to go along with it.

Details on a funeral and visitation for Weber are pending.

(FR)

Teen killed in Cook County crash is identified

GRAND MARAIS, Minn. -- Cook County authorities have identified the teen killed in a one-car rollover Thursday morning as Dylan Alex Marshall, 14, of Grand Marais.

Marshall was one of three boys, ranging in age from 14 to 18, who were in the car that rolled over after the driver lost control on a gravel road about six miles west of Grand Marais, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office.

Marshall was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. The other two teens suffered injuries that were not life-threatening and were treated at Cook County North Shore Hospital.

The sheriff's office and Minnesota State Patrol are investigating.

(DNT)

Name of man killed in deer stand fall released

LAVELL TOWNSHIP, Minn. -- The 55-year-old Hibbing man who died Thursday after falling off the deer stand that he was working on has been identified as Bruce Richard Stone.

Stone had been working on the roof of the stand in rural Lavell Township when the accident occurred, according to a news release from the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office. Emergency responders from the St. Louis County Rescue Squad, Toivola Fire Department and Life Link III air medical were called to the scene at 11:24 a.m.

"Despite the efforts of the first responders and Life Link air medical staff, the victim died at the scene from his injuries," said a statement from Sgt. Wayne Toewe of the sheriff's office.

(DNT)

South Dakota

Kidnapping suspect sentenced in firearms case

PRESHO, S.D. -- A Presho man accused of kidnapping will be incarcerated for being a felon and drug user in possession of a firearm.

Clint Brown, 36, was sentenced Thursday to 51 months in custody, two years of supervised release and a $100 payment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Brown was indicted by a federal grand jury Aug. 22 and pleaded guilty to the charge April 1.

In 2004, Brown was convicted of three felony offenses arising out of conduct in Lyman County and Pennington County. On Aug. 17, Brown was arrested by state authorities and it was determined he possessed two firearms, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22-caliber rifle. It was also determined that he had been using methamphetamine, and numerous items of drug paraphernalia were found in his Lyman County home.

State charges are pending in Lyman County related to the Aug. 17 arrest and have been on hold as the federal firearms case proceeded.

Brown was indicted by a Lyman County grand jury for allegedly kidnapping his 10-year-old daughter Aug. 17, then choking her, firing a gun near her head and striking her with the butt of a gun. He was also charged in an incident Aug. 15, his daughter's birthday, when he allegedly shot her dog in front of her.

Brown has been remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

(DR)

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