REGIONAL BRIEFS: Work continues to reopen trailRED WING, Minn. -- As area residents await the day that the Cannon Valley Trail is again open from end to end, many people are working hard to make that day come as soon as possible.
Work continues to reopen trail (RE)
RED WING, Minn. -- As area residents await the day that the Cannon Valley Trail is again open from end to end, many people are working hard to make that day come as soon as possible.
“Things are moving along, but boy this is a lot of work,” trail manager Scott Roepke said.
Storm and flood damage back in June left the trail in need of a lot of attention over the past month. While a portion of the trail from Cannon Falls to Welch, Minn., already has been taken care of, the remaining stretch that leads to Red Wing is still closed off.
Among those braving the heat for the sake of the trail is one of Goodhue County’s Sentence to Service crews. Made up of about 10 people, the group has contributed heavily to getting the Cannon Valley Trail back to its original condition from earlier this summer.
“They all seem to work really hard,” Roepke said. “The first day I was so thankful to have them because without their crew we wouldn’t have made a path from Cannon Falls down to Welch.”
With many of the major issues, such as asphalt repairs, coming to an end, it looks like opening day is finally on the horizon. Anyone interested in using the trail should continually check www.cannonvalleytrail.com to find out when everything is clear. People can also call 507-263-0508 to find out when the trail opens up.
New DNA evidence in unsolved homicide (FF)
MOORHEAD, Minn. – A 1994 disappearance and murder remains unsolved but new DNA evidence could help bring her killer to justice.
Renae Lynn Nelson, 22, disappeared Oct. 28, 1994. She was last seen at about 3 p.m. that day, walking near Eighth Street and Eighth Avenue South in Moorhead.
Nelson’s body was discovered April 6, 1995, near the Red River just west of Comstock, Minn. Authorities ruled her death a homicide.
Investigators said they believe Nelson was strangled to death, though an official cause of death was never determined because her body was so deteriorated.
In February, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office resubmitted evidence to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which received grant funding to hire a forensic specialist to work on selected cold cases.
Tests using improved technology revealed DNA of unknown origin, including hair on Nelson’s clothing.
Authorities are hopeful the DNA will lead to her killer.
Park Rapids doctor reprimanded (BP)
MINNEAPOLIS – A Park Rapids, Minn., doctor has been disciplined by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.
According to a news release, Dr. Vern E. Erickson has been reprimanded for unethical and unprofessional conduct, improper management of medical records and inappropriate prescribing.
Erickson operates Erickson Medical Clinic in Park Rapids, according to information he reported and published online by the Board of Medical Practice.
The board, in a decision this month, said Erickson’s license is conditioned and restricted in several ways.
In addition to the reprimand, Erickson is required to read documents regarding controlled substances for pain treatment and responsible prescribing of opioids by a physician.
Within three months, Erickson must submit a paper for review by the Complaint Review Committee to explain what he has learned and how he has implemented the knowledge into his practice.
Other conditions include undergoing an audit of his prescribing practices within three months and paying a $5,948 civil penalty
The board ruled the stipulation and order will remain in effect for at least one year.
Lack of oxygen killing fish (DNT)
DULUTH -- Fish in tributaries to Big Sandy Lake are dying because of warm water and low oxygen levels, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported today.
Crappies, perch and northern pike are dying, mostly in the streams flowing into the Aitkin County lake — namely the Big Sandy and Prairie rivers and in the areas of the lake nearby, said Rick Bruesewitz, Aitkin area fisheries supervisor for the DNR.
But there also have tullibee dying in the 6,000-acre lake itself, Bruesewitz said, and walleyes have perished in Davis Lake just upstream from Big Sandy.
The problem started with the massive rainfall and flood that inundated Aitkin County in June. That scrubbed wetlands and peatlands of organic matter that moved into the rivers, where microbes are breaking it down. Those microbes are using up all the oxygen and in some cases the tributaries “were nearly devoid of oxygen,’’ Bruesewitz said.
Judge throws out evidence against former UND football player (GFH)
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The attorney for a former University of North Dakota football player believes the drug charges against his client will be dropped after a judge Friday suppressed evidence found in the player’s room.
Mitchell Jon Goertz, 23, was arrested in December when police executed a search warrant at the house he shared with at least three other men.
Goertz, a former linebacker, is facing charges of possession of Adderall, possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana and possession of marijuana paraphernalia after those items were found in his room.
Goertz’s attorney, Blake Hankey, argued that evidence used to gain the search warrant implicated another former player, Kenneth Watkins Jr., and police shouldn’t have searched Goertz’s room. Friday, Northeast District Judge Joel Medd agreed, writing that “Goertz had his own separate bedroom, with his own fridge with his name on it and his name was above the door designating it as his room. The defendant certainly would appear to have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his own room.”
Without the evidence, Hankey said prosecutors have nothing against his client. “I believe the case will be thrown out.”
Prosecutor Thomas Falck and Grand Forks County State’s Attorney Peter Welte were both out the office Friday when the Herald attempted to reach them for comment.
Mobile homes will house teachers (DP, filed late Thursday)
BELFIELD, N.D. ¬¬— Belfield’s Planning and Zoning Board approved a request by the city school district to rezone a portion of city-owned land from commercial to residential for the purpose of placing mobile homes to be used for teacher housing.
Superintendent Darrel Remington approached the Belfield City Council on Monday about amending the zoning ordinance and allowing the school to use the property.
He said the school district is having difficulty finding teachers to fill vacancies that the district currently has because the applicants cannot find affordable housing anywhere in the area.
School board member Tony Krebs, who represented the board at Thursday’s zoning meeting, said the 16-foot-by-80-foot mobile homes will be beneficial to the school district.
“We can’t find teachers,” Krebs reiterated to the zoning board. “The city has been very, very helpful with these lots. It will provide our new teachers with affordable housing.”