REGIONAL BRIEFS: Sex offender caught volunteering at schoolSUPERIOR, Wis. -- A convicted sex offender will spend nine months in jail for working with children at a Superior school and church.
From the Forum Communications News Bureau
Sioux Falls tops list of best cities for aging (FF)
The upper Midwest is a good place to grow old, according to rankings released Tuesday by the Milken Institute.
Sioux Falls, S.D., topped the inaugural “Best Cities for Successful Aging” report among 259 other small metropolitan areas across the United States. Also on the small-metro list was Bismarck, N.D., at No. 3; Rochester, Minn., in fifth; Rapid City, S.D., pulling in at No. 10; and Fargo at 18th.
The rankings are meant to encourage competition among cities to improve services for aging Americans, the authors said.
Sex offender caught volunteering at school (ST)
SUPERIOR, Wis. -- A convicted sex offender will spend nine months in jail for working with children at a Superior school and church.
Michael Ira Burns, 31, of Superior pleaded no contest last week in Douglas County Circuit Court to felony charges of child sex offender working with children, sex offender-failure to update information and false swearing.
Burns was sentenced to five years of probation and nine months in jail, among other requirements.
Burns was convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a child in Washburn County Circuit Court in 1998. He is prohibited from working or volunteering in a position that requires him to work with children younger than 16.
Burns volunteered to help with an event at a Superior elementary school in November.
Superior police also found Burns had given false information about internet use to the Department of Corrections.
In addition, Burns admitted that he lied in court and on the birth certificates of two children, claiming to be their biological father when he was not.
Burns also volunteered at a church clothes closet in Superior that provides clothing for children up to age 14 until the church pastor realized Burns was a sex offender.
Driver charged in fatal crash had blood-alcohol content of 0.351 (WCT)
GLENWOOD, Minn. — A man charged with drunken driving in an accident that killed the son of a college basketball coach had a blood-alcohol content of 0.351, more than four times the legal limit of 0.08, police records show.
Dana Allen Schoen, 38, of Starbuck, Minn., made his first court appearance Monday on three criminal vehicular homicide or operation charges for allegedly driving while impaired and causing a motor vehicle crash that killed 5-month-old Drake Bigler Saturday evening in Pope County.
Drake Bigler, the son of Brad and Heather Bigler of Marshall, Minn. Brad Bigler is the men’s basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. Heather Bigler was driving a GMC Acadia that collided head-on with a Dodge pickup driven by Schoen.
According to the criminal complaint against Shoen, a preliminary breath test at the scene of the crash, showed his blood-alcohol content at 0.351.
Heather Bigler, and another passenger, Heather’s grandmother, Sharon Schuler, 74, of Granite Falls, Minn., were taken to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D.
According to state records, Schoen has two previous drunken driving convictions. In both cases, his blood-alcohol content was greater than 0.20.
Man charged with murder (BP)
WALKER, Minn., – A 28-year-old Pine River man faces second-degree intentional murder for the death of a man earlier this month.
Dane Joseph Riley appeared Monday in Cass County District Court on charges of murder and interference with a dead body.
The charges stem from the death of Mark Andrew Huesman, 27, of Pine River.
Cass County sheriff’s officials received a report July 20 that no one had seen or heard from Huesman in a week.
A news release said investigators discovered Riley had picked up Huesman at a house sometime early July 14.
Officers located a burn pit near Riley’s house where “officers found the remains of charred clothing.” Huesman’s remains were found on the property.
The release also said a woman at the Riley residence told officers that she had been awakened by the sound of two gunshots early July 14. The woman told officers she went outside the home, where she saw Riley on top of Huesman and striking him in the chest. Huesman begged Riley to stop, she said.
The woman told officers she screamed and Riley ordered her back inside. He later told her not to say anything.
Sex offender faces commitment hearing (MST)
MORRIS, Minn. – The Stevens County Attorney’s Office has asked a court to determine if a man who was found guilty of sexual assaults in Stevens and Kandiyohi counties should be committed to a sex offender program indefinitely or released.
Jerry Everett Pahl, 40, who listed his last address in Hancock, Minn., was scheduled to be released from prison on Monday after serving a prison sentence for felony domestic assault. At a hearing Monday, the court ordered that Pahl, a Level 3 sex offender, remain in prison until the results of the civil commitment petition are determined at a hearing in November.
If Pahl is deemed to be a “sexually dangerous person,” he will be committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program and sent to a secure treatment facility in Moose Lake, Minn..
In 1990, when Pahl was 18, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. In 2007, Pahl was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in Kandiyohi County in a case involving a female vulnerable adult.
Pahl is currently being held at the Kandiyohi County jail in Willmar, Minn. The court will appoint an independent examiner to provide an assessment of whether Pahl should be committed. The commitment petition lists Pahl's nearest relatives living in Hancock, Willmar, Alexandria and Sauk Centre, Minn.
Man who shot officer would face murder charges, if alive (RE)
LAKE CITY, Minn. -- Alan Sylte would face first-degree murder charges had he not killed himself after shooting a Lake City police officer who later died, the Wabasha County Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety released the attorney’s statement along with findings based on a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation into the 2011 death of officer Shawn Schneider.
The office would have forwarded charges of first-degree murder of a peace officer and premeditated first-degree murder to a Wabasha County grand jury.
Sylte shot Schneider Dec. 19 as two officers responded to a domestic call involving a handgun at 618 West Lyon Ave. After Schneider was shot, law enforcement from seven agencies surrounded the home. Inside, they found Alan J. Sylte Jr., 25, Hager City, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The weapon was the same one used to shoot Schneider. Schneider died December 30, 2011, as a result of his injuries.
Facebook flap leads to kicked-in door (FF)
MOORHEAD, Minn. – A Moorhead man is accused of kicking in a door because he was upset that his ex-girlfriend deleted him from Facebook and he was no longer able to view pictures of their daughter.
Clinton Dean Corry, 25, is charged with one felony count and one gross misdemeanor count of damage to property.
Corry’s ex-girlfriend said she didn’t live at the residence, but she stayed there often and Corry knew that.
According to the complaint filed in Clay County District Court, Corry had dropped off their daughter at a Moorhead residence the morning of June 3. He and his ex-girlfriend argued for about five minutes before she shut the door and locked it, at which point he allegedly kicked the door once and then left.
The door was split down the middle and pushed away from the frame, the complaint states. The cost to replace the door and frame was estimated at more than $2,000.
Only minor injuries in plane crash (FI)
FARMINGTON, Minn. -- Pilot Benny Harris Svien of Northfield, Minn., walked away from his 2002 Kit Fox two-seater airplane after it crashed into a Dakota County cornfield Tuesday afternoon.
Svien, 61, was walking around and talking to Dakota County sheriff’s deputies and paramedics after the crash, which occurred about 2 p.m. A county deputy accompanied Svien to Northfield Hospital, where he was going to get stitches for a cut received in the crash.
Dakota County sheriff Dave Bellows marveled at Svien’s piloting abilities.
“More often than not, you have pretty serious injuries or fatalities in these situations,” Bellows said. “I give a lot of credit to the pilot.”
According to Bellows, Svien was flying at about 1,700 feet and preparing to land when the aircraft malfunctioned. Svien was able to take the plane down most of the way before it crashed into the cornfield.
Svien ran through the cornfield to a nearby farm, where he reported the incident. By the time the Farmington Fire Department arrived, the aircraft was engulfed in fire and was a complete loss.
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were called to the scene, which is typical in plane crashes, Bellows said. The plane will be removed after the FAA and NTSB finish their investigations.
Second Williston bypass to be finished in 2012 (FCC, filed separately earlier)
BISMARCK – Work will be completed this year on a second temporary truck bypass that will further relieve traffic within Williston, N.D., officials announced Tuesday.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple and state Department of Transportation Director Francis Ziegler said the state plans to resurface a section of County Road 9 and County Road 6 to serve as a second temporary bypass around Williston’s eastern edge.
The second bypass was requested by Williston city officials and Williams County commissioners.
A temporary bypass around the western edge, utilizing County Road 6, County Road 1 and U.S. Highway 2, is expected to be complete in late August, officials said. Construction on the east bypass is projected to begin this fall with completion by the end of the year.
The temporary routes will provide traffic relief while officials continue planning a permanent bypass along the west side of Williston.
RRBC to tour DL Basin (GFH)
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. -- The Red River Basin Commission will tour the Devils Lake Basin on Thursday.
The RRBC, a non-profit organization that works across the political boundaries of Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota on land and water issues, also will meet at Stump Lake Park following the tour.
The tour, which begins at 9 a.m. from Devils Lake, will include: the $85 million Devils Lake East End Outlet; the $9 million Tolna Coulee Control Structure, both of which were placed in operation earlier this summer; construction on the $10 million Minnewaukan (N.D.) Public School; along with road and railroad raises that have been done or are ongoing as part of the two-decade-old basin flood fight.
Devils Lake has risen by more than 30 feet and quadrupled in size since 1992, reaching a record elevation in 2011 of 1,454.4 feet above sea level, just 3.6 feet from spilling from its banks into the Sheyenne River Valley, which empties into the Red River.