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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Group home worker accused of raping woman

Credit Forum News Service

North Dakota

State mill profits up 48 percent

BISMARCK -- North Dakota’s state-owned mill saw a $3.9 million increase in profits for fiscal year 2013.

The 48 percent increase makes it the third-most-profitable year in the North Dakota Mill & Elevator’s 90-year history.

The mill’s financial performance was reviewed Tuesday at the state Industrial Commission meeting.

Vance Taylor, general manager of the Grand Forks mill, said the increased profits were driven by the 3 percent increase in shipment volumes, high spring wheat production and plant efficiency by state mill employees.

The mill transferred about 52 percent of its profits -- $5.6 million -- to the state’s general fund and $595,000 to the state agriculture fuel tax fund. The remaining dollars will be used to operate the mill.


Breeder waives rights to regain seized dogs

FARGO -- A Wheatland man whose 170-some dogs were seized from his apparent puppy mill this month waived his rights to regain them in Cass County District Court, paving the way for the animals – 10 of whom are expecting more puppies – to be adopted by others.

Darcy Darrell Smith, 51, was not at Tuesday’s civil court hearing that was set to decide whether he could regain custody of some of his former dogs. He filed a stipulation Monday waiving his rights to the dogs.

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said Judge Steven McCullough’s order giving the sheriff custody of the dogs will allow him to begin working with local rescue agency 4 Luv of Dog to seek permanent homes through the community. All but 13 are eligible for adoption.

Laney said he would defer to the rescue organization’s procedure for seeking homes for the animals, since it has expertise in finding new homes for dogs.

Cass County prosecutors said they were still considering whether to charge Smith with a crime after authorities seized the dogs from his breeding operation July 10. Prosecutors said they are waiting for additional documentation of the dogs’ medical conditions.


Titan Machinery opens doors in Jamestown

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- Titan Machinery began operating Tuesday in its new facility, according to store manager Tom Hausmann.

Operations began as the last details of the certificate of occupancy were being finalized by city officials, said City Administrator Jeff Fuchs. At issue were concerns that the water flow supplied by Stutsman Rural Water District were not sufficient for the fire sprinkler system.

Attorneys for the city and Titan worked on the wording of the indemnification agreement Tuesday. The agreement holds the city harmless in the event a fire caused damage to the Titan building while fire suppression systems are not fully in place.

"The agreement is in place in principle if not signed," said City Attorney Ken Dalsted. "Working directly with the Titan people we were able to work things out."

A certificate of occupancy was not issued Monday because of a lack of verification of the building's fire suppression system and alarms, Fuchs said.

The city of Jamestown and Stutsman Rural Water District engaged in an eight-month-long territorial dispute over the Titan Machinery location, which ended in June with a tentative settlement.

Hausmann said both water and sewer were operational at the new location, although work continues on the sewer lines serving the building.


Work to begin on Beck-Odegaard Wing addition

FARGO – A groundbreaking ceremony for the Fargo Air Museum’s Beck-Odegaard Wing addition will be held 10 a.m. Aug. 10.

Gerry Beck and Robert Odegaard were founding members of the museum and believed in the dream of a rotating flying museum.

The new building will display the B-25 Mitchell that Beck donated in the early years with hopes to create an interactive diorama to share the World War II history and stories of the Doolittle Raiders.

A 2013 Ford Boss 302 Mustang raffle is also currently being held to raise funds for the addition. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the Fargo Air Museum, 1609 19th Ave. N.

For more information, call  Paul Highness at (701) 293-8043 or visit


Two plead guilty in gun smuggling sting

FARGO -- Two men pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Fargo to charges stemming from a gun smuggling sting Feb. 5 outside a Grand Forks motel, according to a prosecutor.

As part of a plea deal, Shawn Hartnell, 29, of Fort Frances, Ontario, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to export firearms illegally, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Chase said.

Dylan Dowton, 20, of Jerome, Idaho, pleaded guilty to aiding Hartnell, a Canadian citizen, in illegally obtaining firearms to smuggle into Canada.

Both men faced charges with maximum penalties of 10 years in prison, but the plea agreement will reduce their sentences. Their sentencing hearings haven’t been announced.

Hartnell had been smuggling firearms into Canada for more than a year, Chase said.

According to the indictment, Hartnell sent Dowton $10,000 to buy guns in Idaho and deliver them to Grand Forks. Hartnell then sold six semiautomatic weapons for $24,000 to undercover U.S. and Canadian agents posing as Canadian buyers in the parking lot of the Settle Inn in Grand Forks.



Woman found slain at rural Willmar residence

WILLMAR, Minn. -- A 79-year-old Willmar woman was found slain Monday in her residence.

Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog said deputies responding to a welfare check found the body of Lila Warwick a little after 5 p.m. Monday at her residence just outside the Willmar city limits.

The State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's mobile crime lab was called to the scene, where officials determined the death was a homicide.

Hartog said Tuesday that details of the case were not being released to avoid jeopardizing the investigation. Law enforcement officials do not believe the public is in danger, he said.

Warwick lived alone. There have been no arrests in the case, which remains under investigation by the sheriff's office and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office dispatch center at (320) 235-1260. Callers with information will be directed to investigators, Hartog said.


Group home worker accused of raping woman

WOODBURY, Minn. -- A Woodbury man stands accused of sexually assaulting a vulnerable adult living at a group home.

Matthew Chicago Dugbe Sr., 59, made his first court appearance July 22 on two felony counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of criminal sexual abuse by staff of a vulnerable adult, a gross misdemeanor.

A criminal complaint alleges that last December, a woman reported a sexual assault to her job coach at Midway Training Services in St. Paul. Woodbury police began investigating the report, which involved a woman with "diminished capacity" and cognitive disabilities who lives in a Woodbury group home.

She told police that around midnight Dec. 14, Dugbe -- a part-time staffer at the group home -- unlocked her bedroom door, took off his pants and raped her. The next morning, Dugbe re-entered the room, rubbed up against her and tried to remove the covers, the complaint states.

Dugbe quit the job before being questioned by police. He eventually admitted to sexual contact with the woman, claiming she had initiated the contact, the complaint says. A sexual assault exam revealed DNA evidence linking Dugbe to the woman through sexual contact, the complaint says.

Both felony charges carry maximum penalties of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

Dugbe is scheduled back in court Aug. 21.


Officer’s firing at vehicle deemed ‘reasonable and legitimate’

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. -- The Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office has determined that a Grand Rapids police officer used “reasonable and legitimate” force when he fired his weapon at a fleeing vehicle whose driver tried to ram and run patrol units and civilian vehicles off the road July 4.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the incident, which occurred about 5:35 p.m. The BCA presented its finding to the Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office for a charging decision. A prosecutor determined that no crime was committed by law enforcement.

The incident started when a suspect tried to flee the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office and a high-speed pursuit ensued. When the fleeing vehicle entered Grand Rapids city limits, Grand Rapids police Officer William Saw discharged his weapon into the suspect’s vehicle. Neither the officer nor suspect was injured.


South Dakota

Mitchell man pleads guilty to voting twice

MITCHELL, S.D. -- A Mitchell man pleaded guilty Tuesday to the felony crime of voting twice in an election.

Craig Guymon, 54, originally pleaded not guilty to the charge in July. But in court Tuesday in Mitchell, when Judge Tim Bjorkman asked what Guymon did, Guymon replied, "I voted at the polls in the morning and voted at the auditor's office by absentee ballot in the afternoon."

He was referring to the June 4 Mitchell school board election, in which he was a vocal supporter of the two losing candidates in the four-way race for two seats.

Absentee ballots were allowed until 3 p.m. on Election Day. Poll workers found Guymon's name in the poll book and later discovered his absentee ballot.

Guymon will be sentenced at a later date. His attorney, Ron Volesky of Huron, said that, according to a plea agreement, the state agrees not to oppose a request for a suspended imposition of sentence. A suspended imposition would give Guymon the chance to keep the felony off his record if he follows all the terms of his probation.

The maximum penalty for the crime is two years in prison, a $4,000 fine or both.

Bjorkman set sentencing for September.


Driver accused in two deaths had a 0.232 blood-alcohol content

LAKE ANDES, S.D. -- A blood sample taken from the driver accused of running over two U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees had a blood-alcohol content of 0.232, nearly three times the legal driving limit of 0.08.

Ronald Fischer Jr., 29, of Lake Andes, is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, a felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. He made his initial court appearance Tuesday at the Charles Mix County Courthouse in Lake Andes.

The charges stem from a crash that killed Dr. Robert Klumb, 46, of Pierre, and Maegen Spindler, 25, of Cazenovia, N.Y. Klumb was the lead research biologist in the Pierre office for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Cazenovia was working as a fisheries technician assistant for Klumb during the summer.

Klumb and Spindler, who were in the area to conduct research on the Missouri River, were on foot in a hotel parking lot in Pickstown on July 8. Fischer's vehicle failed to stop at the stop sign at a highway intersection and then traveled into the parking lot, where it struck Klumb and Spindler at highway speeds, court documents say.

Fischer is being held on $200,000 cash bond. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for next month.


Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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