REGIONAL BRIEFS: Man convicted in wolf killingMINNEAPOLIS -- A 55-year-old Lake County man was convicted Friday in Federal District Court in Minneapolis for his role in the illegal killing of two wolves in 2010, when the animals were still protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
From the Forum Communications News Bureau
Man convicted in wolf killing
MINNEAPOLIS -- A 55-year-old Lake County man was convicted Friday in Federal District Court in Minneapolis for his role in the illegal killing of two wolves in 2010, when the animals were still protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
A jury found Vernon Lee Hoff of Finland, Minn., guilty of violating the Endangered Species Act and making false statements to a federal officer. Hoff was indicted in July along with co-defendant Kyler James Jensen, 31, also of Finland.
According to the U. S. Attorney’s office, evidence was presented over a four-day trial that Hoff lied to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials when asked whether he spoke on the telephone with Jensen about transporting two wolf carcasses that Jensen purposely killed with his vehicle Feb. 17, 2010. After the call, according to prosecutors, Jensen loaded the two gray wolves into his vehicle, traveled to Superior National Forest and buried them with the use of a bulldozer.
Prosecutors said Friday that Jensen pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.
The two men will be sentenced at a later date.
Wolves in the Great Lakes region were officially removed from federal protections earlier this year and are now open for limited hunting and trapping in parts of northern Minnesota.
Crookston dealership owner sentenced
MINNEAPOLIS -- A Crookston business owner was sentenced Thursday in federal court on several counts of tax fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota.
Jason Leas, co-founder of Best Used Trucks of Minnesota, was sentenced to six months in prison on one count of failing to pay federal excise taxes, one count of failing to file a federal excise tax return and one count of filing a false individual federal income tax return for tax year 2007.
He was charged in May and pleaded guilty in June.
Best Used Trucks imported new trailers, grain boxes, and gravel boxes from a Canadian manufacturer, which subjected the company to federal excise taxes upon selling them afterward, the U.S. Attorney said.
Leas admitted that he knew he had to pay the 12-percent federal excise tax and file them on tax returns, but did not. He owed at least $80,100 in excise taxes.
Big & Rich, others added to WE Fest lineup
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – WE Fest added some big names to its 2013 lineup.
The duo Big & Rich, known for the hits “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” and “Lost in This Moment,” headline the additions, which also include Gary Allan, Little Big Town, Rodney Atkins, Dustin Lynch and Katie Armiger.
2013 headliners Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Eric Church were announced at this year’s WE Fest.
The country music festival runs August 1, 2 and 3 at Soo Pass Ranch just outside of Detroit Lakes, Minn.
Tickets range from $109 for a three-day general admission pass to $600 for a VIP seat. For more information go to www.wefest.com.
Public meeting on the course will be Tuesday
RED WING, Minn. -- Questions still fog the future of Mississippi National Golf Links, but citizens will have a chance to share their ideas for the land Tuesday.
A public meeting to discuss the course, which has played host to professional-level tournaments, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Red Wing Public Library.
No decisions will be made at the meeting. It will be a chance for people to gather more information about the course and land, get an update on litigation and ask questions and provide comments on the future of the the course, city staff said.
Mississippi National operator Wendell Pittenger announced in a September newsletter to members that he would close the course at the end of last month. Equipment is now being auctioned off, Red Wing city council members said. The city tried to stop that from happening, but the court did not grant the injunction request.
Acme Tools to open Williston store
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Grand Forks tool distributor Acme Tools will build a store in Williston, to take advantage of the region’s oil-driven economy, the company announced this week.
The Williston store will be Acme’s fifth location in North Dakota and 10th in the upper Midwest, according to a company statement.
“Northwest North Dakota and northeast Montana are important and growing markets for Acme Tools,” said Steve Kuhlman, vice president of corporate operations.
The new store will have 20,000 square feet of showroom, office and warehouse space and will be located near the intersection of U.S. highways 2 and 85, the statement said.
Kuhlman said the store’s merchandise will cater to building and construction industries in the region as well as oil and gas companies.
Williams County, with Williston as the county seat, leads the state in taxable sales and purchases, totaling $1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2012.