Regional Briefs: Cass Lake man faces kidnapping chargesMINNEAPOLIS – A 28-year-old Cass Lake, Minn., man faces federal kidnapping and assault charges. An indictment filed late Wednesday accuses Robert Elliot Roybal Jr. of kidnapping a girl June 26, 2010, while on the Red Lake Indian Reservation and kicking her.
Cass Lake man faces kidnapping charges (BP)
MINNEAPOLIS – A 28-year-old Cass Lake, Minn., man faces federal kidnapping and assault charges.
An indictment filed late Wednesday accuses Robert Elliot Roybal Jr. of kidnapping a girl June 26, 2010, while on the Red Lake Indian Reservation and kicking her.
Court papers charge Roybal with two counts of kidnapping and a count of assault with a dangerous weapon.
If convicted, Roybal faces a maximum penalty of life in prison on each kidnapping count and 10 years for assault.
The FBI and police from Red Lake and Leech Lake tribal departments investigated the case.
Cass Lake man guilty on 3 sex charges (BP)
WALKER, Minn. – A Cass County jury has found a man guilty on three counts of second-degree of criminal sexual conduct.
Richard Leslie Larsen, 50, of Cass Lake was acquitted of one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct following a three-day jury trial this week in Walker.
The charges stemmed from a May 2011 complaint alleging sexual contact with a person under age 13.
Larsen was remanded into custody pending a sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 17.
State to add dairy research and teaching center (WCT)
WILLMAR, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture this week announced the formation of a new Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Authority whose main task will be to oversee the development of a dairy research and teaching facility. Preliminary estimates to develop the dairy research and education center range from $30 million to $35 million .
The state has set a deadline of Aug. 27 for applications to be on the authority. The nine members will advise the Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System on the design, development and operation of the dairy facility, which will combine research, teaching and consumer education. Appointments will be made by Gov. Mark Dayton in consultation with Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson.
Steve Renquist, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City Willmar Economic Development Commission said Kandiyohi County should be a strong contender for the facility, but will likely face competition.
Bridge will soon be floated into place (HSG)
HASTINGS, Minn. -- The main span for the new Highway 61 bridge over the Mississippi River will be floated toward its final location around Labor Day, Sept 3.
Thousands of people are expected to come down to the riverfront to watch the 545-foot, 6.5-million pound structure get moved, and the Hastings Police Department has been working on a plan to determine where to put them all.
Once the span is in place, there will still be considerable work remaining, but by May, one lane of traffic in each direction will be routed onto the new bridge.
Once traffic is on the new bridge, the old bridge will be dismantled, and crews will be able to construct the final piece of the project, the two northbound lanes over downtown Hastings. Crews can’t build those now because the current bridge is in the way.
One killed, one injured in collision (WCT)
VESTA, Minn. — One person was killed and a 28-year-old Marshall man was injured after a head-on motor vehicle crash about 11 a.m. Thursday along Minnesota Highway 19 west of Vesta.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Michael V. Million was taken to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. for treatment. The name of the driver killed in the crash not been released.
The State Patrol said Million was driving a 2011 Chevy Equinox that was eastbound on the highway and collided with a westbound 1995 Ford Escort.
Power plant decisions delayed until March 1 (DNT)
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Power will get more time to decide the future of two of its older coal-fired power plants after action by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Thursday in St. Paul.
The PUC board went on record saying they believe it’s in everyone’s best interest — economically and environmentally — to retire or repower the old plants at Taconite Harbor and Hoyt Lakes by the end of 2016.
But the commission stopped short of ordering that move, instead giving Minnesota Power until March 1 to come up with a plan for the power plants on which the board can take action.
Minnesota Power will include the future of the plants as part of its regular report — called an integrated resource plan — to the PUC.
Amy Rutledge, Minnesota Power spokeswoman, said Thursday that the company “needed more time to look at the impacts on our reliability, our customers’ rates … and the socioeconomic impacts on the communities where these facilities are located.”
Environmental groups have contended the two plants are too old and inefficient to be fitted with additional pollution-control equipment and instead should be shut down permanently or refitted to run on cleaner-burning natural gas.
Man convicted in drunk driving death (BP)
PARK RAPIDS, Minn. – A Hubbard County jury convicted a man here on 11 charges for a drunken collision that killed a 52-year-old woman.
Dean James Roehler, 23, of Park Rapids, was driving from Moondance Jam near Walker to Park Rapids on July 14, 2011, when he crossed the centerline of Highway 34 and struck a minivan driven by Patricia Ann Borman.
Borman was killed and her daughter and grandchild were injured.
The jury found Roehler guilty Wednesday on three counts of criminal vehicle homicide, six counts of criminal vehicle injury and two counts of drunken driving.
Roehler is in custody pending sentencing. A hearing has been set for Sept. 4.
Court papers in the case state Roehler was intoxicated on a combination of alcohol and a powerful sedative called Midazolam at the time of the accident. His alcohol content was initially listed as 0.05 percent, but a blood test later indicated a 0.095 percent at the time of the accident and a 0.086 percent upon arrival at a hospital two hours later.
Man in hospital after he falls 3 stories (DNT)
CLOQUET, Minn. -- A 26-year-old Cloquet man is in the hospital after falling off the roof of the three-story Mexico Lindo building in Cloquet at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday.
“It appears the man was stepping from the roof of one building to another and thought there was roof in between,” said Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande. There is a gap of about 2 feet between the buildings.
The man fell and landed on the ground between the two buildings that make up the Mexico Lindo restaurant and bar in downtown Cloquet. Cloquet Area Fire District transported the man to Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet. The police chief said the man had some serious injuries, but he didn’t think they were life threatening.
According to Lamirande, the only way to access the roof of the buildings is from the outside. He said he did not think the man and a companion were authorized to be on the rooftop.
Director of Bemidji events center fired (BP)
BEMIDJI, Minn. - The executive director of the Sanford Center has been fired from his job, marking the second time such a move has been made since the entertainment and event facility opened in 2010.
Roger Swanson, who took over the post officially at the start of the year, lasted just more than seven months in the job. VenuWorks, which manages and operates the facility, made the move Wednesday.
“Mr. Swanson was dismissed for undisclosed violations of the VenuWorks code of conduct as well as not upholding VenuWorks professional standards,” a news release issued this morning said.
In the news release, VenuWorks President Steven L. Peters said “VenuWorks prides itself as an upstanding and professional company and does not tolerate any conduct that does not represent VenuWorks or its employees at the Sanford Center in the best possible way."
VenuWorks said it would not comment further on Swanson’s dismissal, citing employee privacy.
Swanson was named the interim executive director last October, after the sudden resignation of Bob LeBarron. VenuWorks then named Swanson to the position full-time starting in January.
Swanson came to Bemidji after stepping down as executive director of the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D.
VenuWorks said it has begun a national search for a replacement. In the interim, Regional Vice President Andy Long will oversee day-to-day operations.
State pulls home’s child care license (DNT)
VIRGINIA, Minn. -- Lisa Wright acknowledges her house can be cluttered. That can happen, she said, when you’re caring for up to a dozen children.
“You can either have your house spotless or have kids,” the Virginia woman said this week.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services sees the matter differently, citing 17 violations as the agency revoked her family child care license Aug. 3. Violations included excessive amounts of dirt and rubbish, and a strong “urine-like” smell; toxic substances such as ice-melt chemicals and bleach accessible to children; and two guns and ammunition accessible in the home’s basement.
Wright, 58, has the right to appeal, but said she won’t.
At least a couple of parents who trusted their children to Wright said the state overreacted to faults that weren’t central to giving their children quality care.
“My children genuinely loved her, and she genuinely loved them,” said Niecie Strand of Virginia, who has two daughters, ages 5 and 8. “That was important when they were in child care. I wanted them to feel like they were at home.”
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