REGIONAL BRIEFS: Fargo police say naked man arrested downtownFARGO – Police say a 31-year-old man who was walking down a Fargo street wearing nothing but shoes and socks early Sunday replied “Why not?” when asked by police why he was naked.
Forum Communications News Bureau
Fargo police say naked man arrested downtown (FF)
FARGO – Police say a 31-year-old man who was walking down a Fargo street wearing nothing but shoes and socks early Sunday replied “Why not?” when asked by police why he was naked.
Dispatchers fielded calls about the naked man as he was walking eastbound at NP Avenue and Fourth Street at 2:47 a.m.
Joseph Clifford Ertelt of Fargo was arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure, Lt. Joel Vettel said. The police report says Ertelt was intoxicated, he said.
It wasn’t clear where Ertelt was coming from or going, Vettel said.
Woman sentenced for embezzlement from tribal program (GFH)
FARGO -- The former director of the Spirit Lake Vocational Rehabilitation Program has been sentenced in federal court for her part in an embezzlement scam.
Martina Kazena, of Fort Totten, N.D., was sentenced to serve three months in a residential re-entry facility, followed by seven months of home detention. She will be on supervised release for three years following the completion of the detention.
Kazena pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to embezzle from a tribal organization and aiding and abetting in January.
While she was director of the program, Kazena admitted to approving program benefits for her husband, William Kazena, and others that did not qualify for them.
Minnesota man admits trying to sell cocaine to deputy (FF)
FARGO – A Minnesota man pleaded guilty Monday to trying to sell cocaine to an off-duty Cass County sheriff’s deputy on March 14 outside a downtown Fargo bar.
Fargo police said Adam Joseph Smith of Otsego, Minn., approached the deputy outside of Sidestreet Grille & Pub and asked if the deputy would like to buy some “blow,” a street name for cocaine.
The deputy declined but told Smith he might have a friend who would want to buy some. The deputy called Fargo police, who had him arrange a drug buy with Smith.
Smith pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing was delayed for four weeks after Smith’s attorney applied on his behalf to have the case transferred to drug court, which normally results in reduced jail time, said Assistant Cass County State’s Attorney Tracy Peters.
Peters said she hadn’t decided yet whether to approve the application.
Downtown building to be auctioned (FF)
FARGO – A large property in a high-profile area of downtown Fargo, a portion of which has sat vacant for years, is going on the auction block in August.
Built in the early 1890s, the property involves a structure that occupies the southwest corner of First Avenue North and Broadway and houses several businesses.
Bill Berg, who runs an auction service in the Hendrum, Minn., area, and is part of a team that is marketing the property, said selling a large building at a prime downtown street corner in the largest city in North Dakota makes the auction one of the most unusual he has handled in 31 years in the business.
Owner Nachhattar Gill said his decision to sell was due in part to the number of inquiries he has received from would-be buyers. He said an auction was the best way to give all of them an equal shot.
TV evangelism pioneer Lundstrom dies (WCT)
WILLMAR, Minn. -- Lowell Lundstrom, founder of Lowell Lundstrom Ministries and Celebration Church, died Friday at age 72 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Lundstrom was among the pioneers in the use of multimedia for religious evangelism. Over a 55-year career, his ministry reached millions of people.
For many years he and his family crisscrossed the United States, spreading the gospel message through music, books, preaching, crusades and television and radio programs. Their weekly half-hour telecast was at one time taped in a studio in Willmar and broadcast on nearly 60 stations in the U.S. and Canada.
His ministry involved his wife Connie and their four children, as well as Lundstrom’s brothers Larry and Leon and their families. Their signature show, “The Lundstroms,” aired weekly for 12 years.
Lowell Lundstrom was born on Nov. 28, 1939, in Minneapolis, later moving with his family to Peever, S.D.
Lundstrom penned more than 600 gospel songs, produced 60 music albums and wrote 15 books. He was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
In 1996, Lowell and Connie Lundstrom founded Celebration Church in Lakeville, Minn. They made their home in Savage, Minn. Connie Lundstrom died in December.
Man sentenced in drunkendriving death (GFH)
CROOKSTON, Minn. -- A Grand Forks, N.D., man who was drunk when he caused an accident on U.S. Highway 2 near Fisher, Minn., killing a Crookston woman, was sentenced to four years in prison Monday.
Daniel Dean Johnson, 21, was also ordered by Judge Tamara Lynn Yon in state District Court in Crookston to pay $15,482.97 in restitution in the Feb. 3 death of Darcy Jablonski, 39.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported that at 2:16 a.m., Feb. 3, Jablonski’s car collided with Johnson’s pickup, which was stopped facing west in the eastbound lane. Fog limited visibility at the time of the accident.
Johnson, whose blood alcohol content tested twice the legal limit of .08, entered a Norgaard Plea on the charge of criminal vehicular homicide on April 20.
The plea admits guilt, but states the defendant is unable to remember the facts due to intoxication or amnesia.
Man pleads guilty in death of 5-month-old (FF)
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – A Pelican Rapids, Minn., man who pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree manslaughter in connection with the November death of his girlfriend’s 5-month-old son will serve 57 months in prison under the terms of a plea agreement, the prosecutor said.
Pedro Larios Mendoza, 31, who is in the United States illegally, will be deported after serving his prison sentence, said Assistant Otter Tail County Attorney Michelle Eldien.
Charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Court records described the boy as having suffered skull fractures, bruising and brain hemorrhaging, along with older rib fractures and a wrist fracture that was still healing.
Mendoza, who was watching the boy Nov. 18 while his girlfriend was at work, told police the boy fell off the bed and must have hit his head on a jar of coins on the floor, court documents stated.
In court Friday, Mendoza admitted he’d been drinking and left the child alone on the bed. Eldien said he acknowledged that evidence doctors and experts would have presented at trial would have shown the baby’s injuries were caused by blunt force or some other intentional act.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 25.
N.D. man hurt in motorcycle crash (FF)
WAUBUN, Minn. – A 49-year-old man from Abercrombie, N.D., was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident Sunday afternoon in Becker County, the Minnesota State Patrol said.
Kevin Bernier was with a group of riders going westbound on State Highway 113 about 26 miles east of Waubun at about 4 p.m. when he hit a soft spot on the road and lost control, the patrol stated in a news release.
Bernier’s bike went off the right side of the road, struck a highway sign and came to rest in the ditch. He was thrown from the motorcycle, the patrol said.
North Memorial Ambulance of Park Rapids, Minn., transported Bernier to Essentia Health in Fargo. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
Bernier was wearing a helmet, and alcohol was not a factor in the accident, the patrol said. The 2008 Yamaha RS motorcycle was severely damaged.
Weak scrap metal markets blamed for layoffs (DNT)
DULUTH -- A stagnant scrap metal market and a glut of new steel has forced Two Harbors manufacturer Stanley/LaBounty into layoffs, general manager Steve Tarr said Monday.
Tarr would not offer details on the number of layoffs or the number of employees at the plant but did say he expects the cuts to be temporary.
The plant manufactures specialized equipment including hydraulic metal shears for the demolition and scrap metal industries. Tarr said demand for the equipment is off as prices for scrap metal have dropped dramatically along with new steel prices, which are down because of a glut on the market.
Tarr said scrap metal is selling at $308 per ton today compared to $400 and more in May. That’s a 25 percent decrease in prices that has scrap dealers holding on to what they have until prices recover, Tarr said.
Strong winds knock out power (DNT)
DULUTH -- About 1,700 Lake Country Power members had no electric power Monday after severe winds blew through the Iron Range on Sunday night, July 22.
The areas of Britt, Sand Lake, Aurora and Gilbert, Minn., were hit the hardest, said Tami Zaun, public relations coordinator for Lake Country Power.
“Some of the poles are broken and lines are down.” she said.
It could be a few days before power is restored, because many downed trees are blocking roadways, Zaun said.
Reports of tornadoes haven’t been confirmed, said Carol Christenson of the National Weather Service in Duluth.
She drove through some of the damaged area Monday and saw extensive tree damage from “downburst winds.” Those are strong winds that usually come with cooler air that accompany the downdraft of a thunderstorm and cause damage on the ground.
“They could reach the strength of a tornado,” Christenson said.