REGIONAL BRIEFS: Police ID victims of mall shootingCOTTAGE GROVE, Minn. -- Police on Friday identified the woman and man who died in a Thursday afternoon murder-suicide at a Cottage Grove strip mall and said the man had threatened the woman before.
From the Forum Communications News Bureau
Historic hotel lost to fire
ORTONVILLE, Minn. — The historic Columbian Hotel in Ortonville burned and collapsed early Friday.
Ortonville Fire Chief Alan Arndt said the fire was reported at 3:10 a.m. Friday, and most of the structure was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. The fire was under control within about 90 minutes, he said, but they were on the scene until late this morning watching for hot spots. There were no injuries.
“With a building that old — so dry and so much wood in it — it went up in a hurry,” Arndt said. The hotel was built in the 1890s and was four stories tall.
The cause of the fire is unknown and will probably never be known because of the collapse, he said.
According to Arndt, no one was living in the hotel, and it had not been open for business for some time. The last business in the hotel was a bar on the first floor that closed five or six years ago. The current owners had been remodeling the building.
Ortonville is at the southern end of Big Stone Lake on the South Dakota state line.
Police ID victims of mall shooting
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. -- Police on Friday identified the woman and man who died in a Thursday afternoon murder-suicide at a Cottage Grove strip mall and said the man had threatened the woman before.
Police Chief Craig Woolery said Chevel Charles Richard, 22, of Eagan, shot his estranged wife, Tensia Marie Richard, 22, of Cottage Grove, after a brief conversation outside of the Anytime Fitness club.
Woolery said Chevel Richard chased and shot at Tensia Richard with a .45-caliber high point handgun as she ran into a nearby Jimmy John's restaurant, where he shot her again and then shot himself in the head. She died at the scene. He died Thursday evening at Regions Hospital.
The Richards were legally married but had separated within the past two weeks, said detective Sgt. Randy McAlister of the Cottage Grove Police Department. The Richards have two young children together.
Second detour begins on Minn. Highway 55
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Motorists on Highway 55 between Highway 75 and Highway 9 will encounter a detour starting as crews work on a culvert replacement project.
The detour will extend the current detour in operation between Highway 59 and Highway 9.
Local traffic will be allowed within the detour zone, but motorists will not be allowed through the construction sites.
The detour route directs eastbound traffic on Highway 55 will north on Highway 75 for three miles, then east on Wilkin County Road 4 and Otter Tail County Road 26 for about 30 miles, then south on Highway 59 for five miles.
Traffic heading west will follow the same detour in reverse. The detours are expected up until Nov. 3.
Traffic on Highway 9 attempting to travel to Highway 55 will be detoured to Wilkin County Road 4.
Vehicle hits road repair equipment
STEPHEN, MINN. -- Two people were injured Thursday when a vehicle hit a piece of road repair equipment in northwest Minnesota.
The accident occurred on Marshall County Road 5, about three miles east of Stephen at about 4:47 p.m.
Workers were preparing a milling machine, which was stationary in the eastbound lane, when a westbound vehicle driven by Gene Anderson, 72, of Strandquist, approached.
According to Minnesota State Patrol, a 1992 Chevy Kodiak, slowed and pulled to the right side of the lane to pass the machine. Another westbound vehicle, a 1978 Ford operated by Lamar Johnson, 79, Kennedy, Minn., passed Anderson and tried to travel between his vehicle and the machine.
The Johnson vehicle sideswiped the Chevy and collided head-on with the milling machine, police said.
Johnson suffered non-life-threatening injuries, while Anderson was treated and released, according to the report.
Pickup hits, kills man walking on highway
DICKINSON, N.D. -- A 28-year-old Dickinson man has died from his injuries after being struck by a truck on N.D. Highway 22 about 6:30 p.m., Thursday, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
Kyle Lenerville, Richardton, was driving his pickup truck north about four miles south of Dickinson when he met a southbound vehicle. Once that vehicle passed, Lenerville came upon a man walking in the middle of the lane, according to the Highway Patrol report.
Lenerville tried to stop but hit pedestrian Brendan Smock, who was taken to the hospital and died Friday morning, according to the Highway Patrol.
Lenerville was not injured and the truck sustained “severe front-end damage.”
This is the second Dickinson-area pedestrian death in less than a week. A 68-year-old Dickinson man died Tuesday after being struck by a truck, Dickinson Police Department Capt. Dave Wilkie said.
Bucyrus fire cause undetermined
BISMARCK -- The State Fire Marshall Division could not conclude the official cause of a wildfire that tore through Bucyrus last week, according to a report released Friday.
After investigating the fire scene on Tuesday, Deputy Fire Marshall Don Temple stated in the report that the fire started in a stubble field on farmland in western Adams County. The cause is undetermined.
The fire — which burned nearly 6,000 acres — started the afternoon of Oct. 17 before burning into the night and destroying four occupied homes and a number of other structures in the small Adams County community.
$1,100 stolen after breast cancer benefit
FARGO – About $1,100 was stolen from the bar tills at The Avalon on Oct. 21 after a Bras on Broadway breast cancer benefit there.
“Somebody had some sticky fingers that night and walked away with some money,” said Scott Motschenbacher, executive chef and general manager at Taste of Italy in The Avalon.
The Avalon staff and benefit coordinators did not call police.
“We didn’t want the authorities involved. We don’t want to turn this into something it’s not,” Moschenbacher said. “We don’t want to point fingers, but it is sad that someone would do something like that, especially at a fundraiser.”
The breast cancer benefit consisted of food, drinks, merchandise, silent auction and 12 bands performing music.
Moschenbacher said several community members have offered to help raise money to replace the stolen donations.
“It’s nice to see people coming forward, and not letting this be a negative thing, but keeping it positive,” he said.
AG’s order bars three contractors from state
BISMARCK – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issues cease and desist orders against three unlicensed contractors Friday for violations of state consumer fraud laws.
Banned from conducting business in the state are: Alex Sweeney and Lou Cueto, doing business as Aqua Dry Restoration; Denis J. Lee, doing business as Ashley Home Exteriors; and Todd A. Copenhaver, doing business as KRC Steel Works LLC and KRC Steel Erectors.
According to Stenehjem in a news release, the Consumer Protection Division initiated an investigation against the contractors after receiving complaints from consumers that work they had paid for in advance had not been completed. The investigation showed that none of the individuals has a contractor’s license, required by state law.