REGIONAL BRIEFS: Ailing horses, llamas seized from farmVERGAS, Minn. -- Inhumane conditions resulted in law enforcement seizing 11 horses and three llamas last week from a farm six miles southeast of Vergas. An additional six horses were found dead.
Credit: Forum News Service
Ailing horses, llamas seized from farm
VERGAS, Minn. -- Inhumane conditions resulted in law enforcement seizing 11 horses and three llamas last week from a farm six miles southeast of Vergas. An additional six horses were found dead.
One of the rescued llamas, a baby, later died at the rescue ranch from complications of septicemia, probably due to a lack of colostrum, which is found in a healthy mother’s breast milk. Criminal charges were pending against the owners of the farm, Bill and Penny Fick.
The rescued animals were taken to High Tail Horse Ranch and Rescue near Hawley to begin a long road to recovery. There were six quarter horses, a draft horse, a pony, an Arabian and two paints.
High Tail owner Charlotte Tuhy said the animals were in “various stages of hunger and underweight. Some of them are in quite a bit of pain.” She and volunteers from the ranch worked on the rescue with the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department and the Minnesota Humane Society.
Man gets 52 years in killing, kidnapping
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. -- A Bovey who admitted shooting two people, one fatally, and kidnapping his estranged wife was sentenced as expected Thursday to 52½ years in prison.
William Levi Payne, 26, pleaded guilty last month in State District Court in Grand Rapids to second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping, terroristic threats, first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and violating an order for protection.
According to the terms of the plea agreement reached last month and accepted by the judge Thursday, Payne will receive a prison sentence of 52½ years, of which he will have to serve at least 35 years, followed by 17½ years of supervised release.
According to court documents, Payne knew his estranged wife, Sarah Payne, and a male friend, Paul Russell Johnson, 32, were at Johnson’s Grand Rapids home when he went there Dec. 22. Payne shot Johnson and his mother, Rosemary Oberg-Johnson, 59, and kidnapped his wife. Mother and son were both critically wounded and airlifted to hospitals in Duluth. Oberg-Johnson died of her wounds Dec. 27. Johnson is said to be recovering.
Rainbow Rider electric hybrid buses hit the skids
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- As hybrid hype rages through the nation, one public transit company has ditched the technology that promised fewer greenhouse gases and lower fuel costs because it didn’t deliver.
Rainbow Rider received $845,000 in 2010 as part of the federal stimulus program to purchase eight electric hybrid buses. After two years of complications with Variable Torque Motors, Rainbow Rider has decided to go back to straight gasoline. VTM provided an add-on component that works in conjunction with gas engines to create an electric hybrid system.
Harold Jennissen, director of Rainbow Rider, said the company worked with VTM and Cummins Crosspoint through four version changes on each bus without success. After not seeing any mechanical advantages or fuel savings, Rainbow Rider decided to remove the system last month.
Jennissen said Cummins is working to upgrade the hybrid system, and if it is successful, the hybrid motors that Rainbow Rider still owns could be upgraded and reinstalled.
Charge against UND’s Knight dropped
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A misdemeanor charge against University of North Dakota men’s hockey player Corban Knight was dropped this week in Grand Forks.
Knight was charged with “unlawful deliver to certain persons,” stemming from a team party in September. The charge was for supplying alcohol to the party where there were people under the age of 21.
Four other UND hockey players, Danny Kristo, Carter Rowney, Joe Gleason and Andrew MacWilliam, changed their plea to guilty for the same charge.
Knight is a nominee for the Hobey Baker award for the top player in men’s college hockey.
Five charged in Medora prostitution case
DICKINSON, N.D. -- Five people -- all from outside North Dakota -- have been charged in connection with a January incident involving an alleged prostitute in Medora.
John Bartek, 29, and David Hewitt, 24, both of Rock Springs, Wyo., along with Eric Boord, 36, of Castle Rock, Colo., Alfred Lupo, 60, of Evans, Colo., and Byron Hosey, 48, of Jackson, Miss., have been charged with criminal conspiracy to hire an individual to engage in sexual activity, according to a release from the Medora Police Department.
On Jan. 14, Medora police -- with assistance from the Billings County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Highway Patrol -- responded to a call at a residence in Medora.
The charge is a Class B misdemeanor. The release states that a “complaint alleges that all agreed to hire another with the intention of engaging in sexual activity” and that a woman was “hired to come from Dickinson to Medora.”
(DP, filed Wednesday)
Early March snow boosts flood risk again
FARGO -- Early March snowfall slightly increased the risk of major flooding on the Red River.
In its latest outlook released Thursday, the National Weather Service pegged the Red’s chances of topping the 30-foot major flood stage in Fargo-Moorhead at 88 percent, up from 79 percent in the last flood outlook Feb. 21.
Thursday’s outlook gives the river a 5 percent chance of exceeding 38.2 feet, up from a 5 percent chance at 37.8 feet in the last outlook. Officials say Fargo is well-protected to 38 feet without sandbagging. The city’s record flood crest is 40.84 feet on March 28, 2009.
Flood risks increased another 5 percent to 10 percent in most areas since the Feb. 21 outlook, the weather service said.
The Red River now has a 75 percent chance of exceeding major flood stage at Wahpeton and a 53 percent chance at Pembina. The Wild Rice River at Abercrombie has a 58 percent chance of major flooding, the outlook stated.
Heitkamp meets with Air Force executive
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., met this week with acting Undersecretary of the Air Force Jamie Morin to advocate for North Dakota bases, her office said Thursday.
Morin oversees organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of airmen, including the Air National Guard, and their families.
Heitkamp’s office said she reminded Morin about existing infrastructure and community support at Grand Forks Air Force Base, which make it ideal for the KC-46 aerial refueling mission. She also discussed missions for the Guard’s 119th Wing in Fargo, including the proposed C-27 mission.