REGIONAL BRIEFS: Polar bear who escaped during flood has surgeryDULUTH, Minn. – Berlin, the polar bear who briefly escaped from her Lake Superior Zoo exhibit during the June 20 flood, has had a health scare at her current home in St. Paul.
From the Forum Communications News Bureau
Polar bear who escaped during flood has surgery
DULUTH, Minn. – Berlin, the polar bear who briefly escaped from her Lake Superior Zoo exhibit during the June 20 flood, has had a health scare at her current home in St. Paul.
Berlin underwent surgery on Saturday at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, a news release from the Lake Superior Zoo said.
The polar bear had been acting lethargic and vomiting in its new home at Como Park Zoo, said Dr. Louise Beyea, the Lake Superior Zoo’s veterinarian. After an endoscopy, X-ray and ultrasound proved inconclusive, exploratory surgery was performed. It revealed a necrotic mass — tissue that has been killed by disease or trauma — and signs of previous abdominal bleeding, the news release said.
Berlin has been returned to Como Park Zoo and is under observation, the news release said.
Belgrade teacher dies in bicycling accident
BELGRADE, Minn. – The bicyclist killed early Tuesday near here was a teacher and coach in the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa School District.
Richard C. Vos, 38, of Belgrade, a math teacher and BBE wrestling coach, was killed while biking south of Belgrade before 5 a.m. in a crash involving a semi.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Vos was struck by a southbound truck driven by Brian L. Anderson, 50, of Belgrade. The crash occurred just north of the intersection with Kandiyohi County Road 34, which is just south of the Crow River Lutheran Church. Anderson was not injured.
BBE cancelled activities Tuesday.
Judge rejects electronic monitoring in rape case
MOORHEAD, Minn. – A Clay County judge refused Tuesday to change the bail conditions for a Fargo man accused of physically and sexually assaulting a woman in her car in downtown Moorhead last month, despite the prosecution’s revelation that the man is under investigation for alleged offenses in Fargo.
In terse remarks directed at prosecutor Heidi Davies, Judge Lisa Borgen said it appeared the county attorney’s office was trying to use the hearing with media present to pressure her into allowing electronic monitoring of Richard Lee Haaland Jr., 46, who is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the Sept. 6 incident.
At the request of Haaland’s attorney, Borgen also put a gag order on attorneys for both sides, saying speaking with the media about the case is “inappropriate” given its serious nature and the need to protect the alleged victim’s privacy.
Prosecutors had requested $1 million bail in an earlier hearing, but Borgen set conditional bail at $100,000. Haaland posted $100,000 bond through a bail bond company.
Authorities arrest man for drug overdose death
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – Authorities have arrested a 27-year-old man on a third-degree murder charge in connection with the death this summer of a man who died from a drug overdose.
Christopher Allen Tiffany of Fergus Falls was arrested Monday at the Otter Tail County Detention Facility where he was being held on unrelated charges, Lt. Matthew McGuire of the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release.
Investigators concluded that Tiffany helped Tom Rasmusson, 23, obtain illegal drugs, including methamphetamines and heroin, that caused his death. Rasmusson was found dead Aug. 10 in a motor vehicle south of Fergus Falls.
Bemidji pro-amendment church signs vandalized
BEMIDJI, Minn. – More than a dozen signs supporting the marriage amendment that were hanging outside St. Philip’s Catholic Church were vandalized over the weekend.
The signs, which support the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, were spray-painted on sometime in the last few days.
It isn’t the first time the signs have been vandalized. A large sign was torn down in early September, and several lawn signs were found burned and scattered around the church in another incident, according to an email from the church’s parish captain Robb Naylor.
Man gets 20 years for attacking two officers
BEMIDJI, Minn. – A Ponemah man accused of trying to stab two local police officers was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison.
Curtis Jay French, 26, of Ponemah, was sentenced by Beltrami County District Judge Shari Schluchter for two counts of felony use of a deadly force against a peace officer. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for each count, and the sentences will be served consecutively.
According to the criminal complaint, French attempted to stab a Bemidji police officer and a Beltrami County sheriff’s deputy after they responded to a domestic assault about 4 a.m. March 12, 2011.
$380,000 in thefts leads to 21-month term
BEMIDJI – A former employee of Beltrami Industrial Services has been sentenced for stealing more than $380,000 from the company.
Suzanne Marie Lofgren, 50, of Bemidji, was sentenced Monday by Beltrami County District Judge Shari Schluchter to one year and nine months in prison for felony theft – diverting corporate property. Lofgren pleaded guilty to the charge Sept. 12.
Court papers state that a Beltrami County investigation established that Lofgren – the officer manager for the Solway business – stole $381,689.19 from the company between Jan. 23, 2007, and Oct. 24, 2011, for her personal use.
Man arrested for DUI after pickup gets stuck
FARGO, N.D. – A 34-year-old Fargo man was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after police say he got his pickup stuck on railroad tracks in north Fargo, forcing officials to shut down the tracks and delay train traffic, police said.
Officers were called at 12:10 a.m. Tuesday to the tracks near Great Northern Drive and 16th Street North.
After getting stuck, the driver initially spoke with a railroad employee on site but then fled the scene on foot, leaving the pickup on the tracks, Sgt. Jared Crane said. An officer later stopped a suspicious vehicle driving around in the area and found the pickup’s driver in the passenger seat, Crane said.
Jon Paul Jacobson was arrested on suspicion of DUI. The pickup, which was registered to him, was impounded, Crane said.
Sanford to open new children’s clinic in ND
BISMARCK, N.D. – Sanford Health on Tuesday announced plans to open a new children’s clinic on the north side here next year.
The 9,000-square-foot clinic will look like a castle, Sanford’s signature look for its children’s health facilities. It is slated to open late next spring.
“As pediatricians, we want to give children the care they need in an environment that puts them at ease and helps them feel comfortable, Dr. Melissa Seibel, a Sanford pediatrician, said in a statement.
The new clinic will be at 765 W. Interstate Ave.
Brother of ND Sen. Kent Conrad’s dies
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Roan Conrad, older brother of Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., died Saturday in New York City, according to a brief statement released by the senator’s office Tuesday.
Roan Conrad was 72.
“Roan fought a courageous battle with cancer,” Kent Conrad said in the statement. “We are relieved that his pain has ended. He was a brilliant, brave and loving brother and family member. He will be missed.”
49-year-old Hector man dies in rollover crash
GARDNER, N.D. – A 49-year-old man from Hector, Minn., died in a trucking accident shortly after 11 a.m. today near Gardner, the North Dakota Highway Patrol reported.
The man, whose name hasn’t been released, was traveling eastbound on Cass County 26 about four miles east of Gardner when the truck drifted off the blacktop road into the south ditch, the patrol stated in a news release.
The driver overcorrected and lost control, and the truck went back onto the road where it rolled and entered the south ditch a second time, the patrol stated in a news release.
The driver was ejected and died at the scene, the release stated.
Dickinson teen accused of taking gun to dance
DICKINSON, N.D. — A 16-year-old who was taken into custody Friday after allegedly brandishing a firearm on school grounds is a Dickinson High School student, said Dickinson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Douglas Sullivan.
The juvenile male was cited into juvenile court after being released from police custody following a call coming in alerting authorities of an individual brandishing a gun in the DHS parking lot just past 9 p.m. during the school’s homecoming dance, according to a report filed by the Dickinson Police Department.
Nobody was hurt during the incident and the firearm – which was not a handgun – was not loaded, said Dickinson police Capt. Joe Cianni.
Sullivan would not say Monday whether or not the incident could lead to an expulsion.
The alleged incident occurred on school grounds, just yards from the DHS homecoming dance following the Fargo South versus DHS football game.
Costco store to open Tuesday in West Fargo
WEST FARGO – Costco will open here Tuesday.
The membership warehouse at 750 23rd Ave. E. will open at 8 a.m. The 152,000-square-foot warehouse is the first Costco location in North Dakota.
The store on the corner of Interstate 94 and Veterans Boulevard will include a gas station, bakery, fresh meat and produce section, one-hour photo department, tire center, hearing aid center, and an optical department that will be staffed by an independent optometrist.
Reprimanded attorney represented both sides
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Grand Forks attorney Blake D. Hankey has been reprimanded by the state Supreme Court for representing both the victim and the accused in an assault and terrorizing case.
He had failed to disclose this fact in communications with an assistant state’s attorney about the alleged perpetrator’s case, according to a court opinion. When the assistant state’s attorney confronted him, he lied and said he had cleared any conflict with law partners.
Hankey, who was licensed to practice law in North Dakota in 2005, was reprimanded by the court and ordered to pay $7,200 for the cost of disciplinary proceedings.
Dickinson study of hotel growth draws feedback
DICKINSON, N.D. – City officials here are worried there will be too many hotels if growth in the hospitality industry continues at its current rate.
“It’s a lot coming at us very quickly,” Terri Thiel, Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau director, said at a City Commission meeting on Monday. “We look ahead into the future and try to find that optimum balance.”
The commission used the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the hospitality industry and did not make any decisions at Monday’s meeting. It is trying to figure out the impact of the growing hotel business on the city’s economy, both long- and short-term.
“Do you start limiting just hotels?” asked Comfort Inn Manager Melissa Johnson. “Or are there other businesses you’re concerned about over-growing as well?”
Belfield man pleading to murder: ‘I just snapped’
DICKINSON, N.D. – Dirk Huber pleaded guilty Monday to murdering the mother of his child last year in Belfield.
Huber, 42, who was accused of suffocating Nicole Lynn Radebaugh in August 2011, sat in silence, then began to cry and repeatedly uttered, “I’m sorry,” before he addressed Judge William Herauf.
“I stopped over to her apartment, your honor. We were having an argument,” Huber said. “Things in the past that kept bugging me were brought up. I wanted clarification, an explanation. We argued a lot. She made faces at me. I don’t know what happened after that. I just snapped.”
Murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole. A prosecutor recommended a 30-year sentence.
A sentencing will be held sometime after Jan. 15.
18-year-old ID’d in fatal two-vehicle collision
LANTRY, S.D. – A Mitchell Technical Institute student died at 6:29 p.m. Friday as the result of a two-vehicle collision about four miles south of Highway 212 in rural Ziebach County, on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.
Tribal Police Chief Burton In-The-Woods confirmed the death of Arleigh Jay McLellan, 18, of Lantry, but declined to provide further details.
He said the accident remains under investigation by Detective Gordon Leaf of the tribal police.