REGIONAL BRIEFS: Court upholds Wisconsin limits on collective bargainingA federal appeals court Friday upheld a controversial Wisconsin law that limits public workers’ collective bargaining rights.
Credit: Forum News Service
Two men injured in explosion at oil well
WILLISTON, N.D. – Two men were injured Friday afternoon in an explosion at an oil well site northwest of here.
The Grenora Rural Fire Department responded to a tank battery explosion that occurred after 12:30 p.m. Friday northwest of Blacktail Dam, said Nathan Andorff, a member of the fire department and Grenora’s director of public works.
The explosion occurred while the men were working on a tank battery at the site, Andorff said. One man suffered burns all over his body and the other man had a broken leg, Andorff said.
The men were taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Williston. Information on their conditions or if they were transferred to another facility was not available Friday.
Police encouraged by latest prostitution sting
FARGO – Police here say they’re encouraged by the results of their latest prostitution sting, which led to one arrest at a south Fargo motel.
Lt. Joel Vettel said police contacted more than 20 advertisements Thursday for one-on-one dancing services, many of which police believed to be covers for prostitution services.
“Really, the overwhelming theme we got was, ‘We no longer respond to motels because we know that Fargo police are conducting stings at area motels,’ ” Vettel said.
Ebony Michelle Lee, 23, of Minneapolis, was arrested on suspicion of prostitution.
Police had received intelligence from citizens and other law enforcement agencies that some of the ads were connected to the human trafficking of underage girls as prostitutes, but none of the calls to those ads panned out, Vettel said.
The second round of calls focused on online ads and print ads for dancers, he said.
Court upholds Wisconsin limits on collective bargaining
A federal appeals court Friday upheld a controversial Wisconsin law that limits public workers’ collective bargaining rights.
The law is constitutional, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined. That overturned a lower court’s ruling from last fall that the law was unconstitutional for government and education employees.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker pushed for the law’s passage last year. The plan drew thousands of protesters to the state Capitol in Madison and caused Senate Democrats to flee the state to delay a vote on the measure.
Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, said the ruling was “great news for the taxpayers of Wisconsin.”
“Act 10 established important reforms on how government is run by providing the tools and flexibility for managing local budgets,” Harsdorf, referring to the law’s official title, said in a statement.
A group of unions challenged the law’s constitutionality in 2011 and the case has made its way through courts since then.
“For nearly two years, those opposing Act 10 have tried every angle to have it struck down and invalidated. Today’s decision by the 7th Circuit confirms what I have stated from the beginning. Act 10 is constitutional,” Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said.
Antique cars lost to fire
WACOUTA, Minn. -- Steven Freij always said when he turned 75 years old he would start reducing his collection of cars, but a fire early Friday morning beat him to it.
“I sure didn’t think I was gonna cut them down this way,” the 59-year-old said.
Almost a dozen classic cars — more than half of Freij’s collection — were destroyed along with a pole barn in a fire that was discovered at about 3 a.m. Friday on his property just south of Red Wing. It was reported by a driver on Minnesota Highway 61.
Among Freij’s belongings that were destroyed were many antique cars aging back to the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. In addition to the classic vehicles, the pole shed stored antique gas pumps, memorabilia from car shows throughout the country and a variety of other nostalgic collectibles.
According to the sheriff’s office, the shed and everything in it was valued at between $500,000 and $800,000.
“Luckily, only one of my buildings went down,” Freij said.