REGIONAL BRIEFS: Man pleads guilty in cross burningBEMIDJI, Minn. – One of the men accused of placing a burning cross in a Beltrami County resident’s yard has pleaded guilty to a felony charge. Derek Daniel Barnes, 20, pleaded guilty before Beltrami County District Judge Paul Benshoof to felony stalking with an aggravated violation of committing the crime because of bias.
From the Forum Communications News Bureau
School board member faces fourth DWI (DNT, filed Tuesday)
MOOSE LAKE, Minn. -- The chairwoman of the Moose Lake School Board faces drunken driving charges for the third time in six years and the fourth since 1992.
Kristine Marie Lyons, 59, was arrested last Aug. 15, and charged with two counts of gross misdemeanor second-degree driving while impaired. Lyons was stopped by a Minnesota State Trooper about 11:47 p.m. after a complaint about an erratic driver on Interstate 35.
According to the complaint filed in the incident, the trooper pulled Lyons over and she acknowledged that she had been drinking alcohol. A preliminary breath test showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.151, according to the criminal complaint.
State Supreme Court to review property inspection case (RE)
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Supreme Court announced Tuesday it will review a lawsuit against the city of Red Wing regarding its rental inspection code.
The Institute for Justice, a law firm representing nine landlords and two tenants challenging the city’s code, filed a petition for review in July after the state Court of Appeals ruled those challenging the ordinance had not proven it was unconstitutional, as they claimed.
Under the city’s code, rental housing inspectors can enter properties if landlords or tenants refuse initial inspections, provided inspectors get approval from a judge. The city has applied for administrative warrants for inspections in the past but has not been successful.
Those challenging the rental inspection code claim that provision violates their constitutional rights to “be secure in one’s home and to be free from unreasonable searches,” Institute for Justice Minnesota chapter attorney Anthony Sanders said.
Man sentenced for child porn (SWC)
MINNEAPOLIS -- A Cottage Grove man will spend more than 14 years in prison for possessing and distributing child pornography.
Steven M. Borgan Jr., 31, was sentenced Wednesday to 170 months in federal prison after a hearing in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. Borgan, who had pleaded guilty to one count of child pornography in November 2011, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, which prosecuted the case authorities discovered a peer-to-peer website Borgan used to share child pornography in November 2010. In July 2011, police searched a home where Borgan was staying and his vehicle. Authorities recovered roughly 11,341 images and 2,053 videos of child pornography. Some of it included sadistic, masochistic or otherwise violent content, according to the sentencing announcement.
Borgan pleaded guilty to one count of distributing child pornography in November 2011.
The case stemmed from an investigation involving the Minnesota Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Cottage Grove Police Department, FBI task forces in Nebraska and Indianapolis and Iowa authorities. It was part of a national Project Safe Childhood anti-child abuse and exploitation initiative.
Benedict man dies after logging accident (BP)
CASS LAKE, Minn. – A 50-year-old Benedict man died in a logging accident Tuesday afternoon when he was struck by a tree that fell from a logging boom.
According to the Cass County Sheriff’s Department, Joel Wayne White was transported to Cass Lake Indian Health Services where he was later pronounced dead. He received a crushing injury after a large tree fell from a logging boom and hit him.
The accident occurred just before 3 p.m. in Pike Bay Township.
White was taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul for an autopsy.
White was an all-state basketball player at Laporte High School, where he also coached the boys’ basketball team from 1998-2002 and girls’ basketball team from 2002-2010.
Fire contained after burning 700 acres (GFH)
GREENBUSH, Minn. -- Crews have mostly contained a brushfire burning northwest of Greenbush in northern Minnesota, but smoldering peat remains a concern, officials say.
Dan Carroll, a fire team leader for the Department of Natural Resources in Warroad, said the fire has burned about 700 acres and is contained to the south side of Roseau County Road 7, known locally as the “Juneberry Road.” About 300 of those acres are in the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area.
The burn site is just east of an area where 30,000 acres burned last fall. No injuries or property damage have occurred.
Carroll said flames are confined to pockets within the interior of the burn area, but a considerable amount of peat is smoldering. That requires a different firefighting tactic. Instead of dowsing the ground with water, crews are digging down and mixing soil and clay with the peat to extinguish the fire, Carroll said.
About 35 people, most of them operating bulldozers and track machines, were on the ground at mid-afternoon Wednesday, but the crew was expected to grow to about 80 by early evening, Carroll said.
Man pleads guilty in cross burning (BP)
BEMIDJI, Minn. – One of the men accused of placing a burning cross in a Beltrami County resident’s yard has pleaded guilty to a felony charge.
Derek Daniel Barnes, 20, pleaded guilty before Beltrami County District Judge Paul Benshoof to felony stalking with an aggravated violation of committing the crime because of bias.
Sentencing has been set for Oct. 10. Barnes, who remains in Beltrami County Jail, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Ryan Fairbanks Andree, 19, is charged with felony aiding and abetting stalking/harassment. He will next appear in court Sept. He is out of jail on bail.
According to the criminal complaints, Barnes constructed an 8-foot-tall cross that he and Andree drove it to the residence. Barnes propped the cross against a tree in the yard, lit it and he and Andree fled the scene.
The home was occupied by a woman who ran out and doused the flames using a garden hose. The woman is white with two adult daughters who are mixed-race with a black father.
The family has since moved from the home.
Woman accused of child endangerment misses court date (BP)
BEMIDJI, Minn. – A warrant has been issued for a former Bagley woman accused of child endangerment.
Bianca Jean Hazelrigg, 21, failed to appear for a hearing Monday in Beltrami County District Court. A warrant for her arrest was issued that day for failure to appear.
Hazelrigg, who lived in Bagley but now lives in St. Cloud according to her Facebook page, is charged with gross misdemeanor endangerment of a child by putting them in a position that could cause them harm or death.
Court documents state Hazelrigg left four children unattended June 9 inside her car in 88-degree temperatures for 29 minutes as she shopped inside the Bemidji Target for swimsuits.
Hazelrigg posted bail in June with the conditions that that she not leave Minnesota without written court approval, among other conditions.
Teacher, principal evaluation input sought (FF)
BISMARCK – The state Department of Public Instruction is inviting the public to submit comments on proposed statewide guidelines to evaluate the work of teachers and principals.
DPI has a web site at www.dpi.state.nd.us/ESEA/comment.shtm that posts separate teacher and principal evaluation guideline documents. This site also provides forms to submit comments.
Comments can be submitted through Oct. 31. Comments received by Sept. 1 will become part of documentation for the state’s application for a waiver of certain provisions of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
From October 2011 to July, a committee of K-12 educators, lawmakers and higher education representatives drafted proposed guidelines on teacher and principal evaluation to create uniform guidelines.
For more information, contact Greg Gallagher at (701) 328-1838
Special Olympics seeking nominations (FF)
FARGO – Special Olympics North Dakota is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012 and is currently accepting nominations for outstanding individuals, groups or organizations that have made a significant contribution to the program through time, funding and volunteering.
Awards will be announced at the annual banquet Oct. 20 at Fargo’s Ramada Plaza and Suites.
Some award categories are: athlete of the year, coach of the year, outstanding volunteer, outstanding organization award, youth service award and continuous service award.
For more information, call (701) 746-0331