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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Dairy plant to close, 130 jobs lost

From the Forum Communications News Bureau


Dairy plant to close, 130 jobs lost

DAWSON, Minn. -- Associated Milk Producers Inc. will be closing its manufacturing facility in Dawson by the end of the year, workers there were informed Friday.

The plant currently employs 130 workers. It produces cheese sauces and puddings, and until recently, lesser quantities of consumer packaged, block cheddar cheese.

The closing is the result of a recently announced sale of AMPI's product line that includes cheese sauces to Bay Valley Foods of Oak Brook, Ill., according to Sarah Schmidt, communications director for AMPI in New Ulm.

AMPI intends to focus its attention on its core products, including consumer packaged cheese, butter and dried dairy products, according to Schmidt. She said the Dawson facility was the only plant among AMPI's network of 11 manufacturing facilities that produced aseptic or shelf-stable cheese sauces and puddings.


Hunter dies in ATV rollover

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. -- A hunter died Saturday morning in Becker County when the all-terrain vehicle he was driving rolled over and pinned him, according to the Becker County Sheriff's Office.

Michael Anthony Diieso, 55, of North Palm Beach, Fla., was traveling to his hunting site off Whaley's Road, east of Becker County Road 35, when his ATV rolled and pinned him. When

emergency medical responders arrived, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The sheriff's office received the 911 call about the accident about 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Minnesota's deer hunting season opened Saturday.


Carlos man dies while hunting

OSAKIS, Minn. -- A deer hunter died of a medical condition Sunday while trying to track a deer near Osakis.

According to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, James Allen Swor, 63, of Carlos, was hunting with others on private property on the west end of Pheasant Hill Road in Osakis Township.

Swor had shot a large buck earlier and was tracking the deer into a pine grove. Others in the hunting party had separated while trying to find the deer.

After a period of time, a member of the hunting party backtracked and found Swor on the ground, unresponsive. Attempts to resuscitate Swor were not successful.

Swor was pronounced dead at the scene.


Hunter dies after suffering heart attack

BEMIDJI, Minn. - A 66-year-old Maple Lake man died Sunday after suffering a heart attack while in a deer stand.

The victim has been identified as William Michael Spielmann.

The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office said it received a call from a hunting party at 4:42 p.m. Sunday that a man had an apparent heart attack in his deer stand near the Three Culverts Road in Taylor Township.

According to a news release issued Monday, Beltrami County deputies arrived at the scene about 15 minutes later to find the victim deceased.

Willmar woman killed in crash

GROVE CITY, Minn. -- Meeker County officials have identified Andrea Lee Diaz, 22, of Willmar, as the woman killed in a one-vehicle rollover crash about 3 a.m. Sunday about 7 miles north of Grove City.

According to Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin, Diaz was ejected from the 2002 Lincoln passenger car and was found in a field near the car. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her husband, Lazaro Domingo Diaz, 32, is believed to be the driver of the vehicle. He was extricated from the vehicle and taken by a North Memorial air ambulance from the scene to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where he was being treated in the intensive care unit Monday.

The crash was reported just before 3 a.m. Sunday on Meeker County Road 3 just west of State Highway 4 in Union Grove Township.


Woman found in burned home ID'd

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- An elderly Bemidji woman who was found dead in an early-morning fire Friday at her Bemidji Township home has been identified.

Ingeburg Katharina Tangen, 74, was found dead after emergency personnel responded to a fire reported at her home at 2:43 a.m. Friday on the 1000 block of Tyler Avenue Northwest, according to a press release from the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office.

According to the release, deputies and Bemidji firefighters found the home entirely engulfed in flames. Tangen was found deceased within the home.

An autopsy is pending with the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Ramsey, Minn.


North Dakota

Stolen mail truck found near GF

GRAND FORKS, N.D. --- A contracted mail truck stolen Saturday night in Fargo was recovered early Monday along Interstate 29 near Grand Forks.

The white Isuzu truck was found at 3:53 a.m. parked along the interstate a couple of miles north of the Thompson exit, according to Lt. Gary Grove of the Grand Forks Sheriff's Department.

The vehicle had been reported stolen from a parking lot at the U.S. Post Office in Fargo.

"It appears that there wasn't anything in it," Grove said Monday. "We impounded the vehicle and secured it."

The vehicle is registered to Gustafson and Sons Inc., a private company that contracts with the Postal Service, according to the official report.

Grove said the sheriff's department received a report early Monday advising officers to check I-29 for the stolen vehicle.


Nebraska man receives 230 days in luring case

FARGO - A Nebraska man who pleaded guilty in Cass County District Court to luring a minor by computer was sentenced Monday to the 230 days in jail he has already served.

An additional 135 days were stayed for five years, during which time Michael S. Vallar of Kimball, Neb., will be on supervised probation. Vallar was also fined $775.

According to court records, the mother of a 13-year-old girl was accessing her daughter's Facebook page when Vallar approached her online.

The mother began instant messaging with Vallar, telling him she was a 14-year-old girl.

During the chat, Vallar claimed to be 40 years old and asked if the girl would send him a nude picture, court records state.


Simpson's ex-girlfriend arrested for robbery

FARGO - A woman who was once O.J. Simpson's girlfriend was arrested Saturday night on a robbery charge stemming from an incident at the West Acres Shopping Center.

Fargo police Lt. Joel Vettel said officers were called to the mall about 8 p.m.

When they arrived, mall security officers were holding two women.

Vettel said police believe one of the women, identified as Christie Prody, 37, of Moorhead, Minn., attempted to steal the other woman's purse and an altercation ensued.

The two women ended up on the ground and the fight was stopped by mall security, said Vettel, adding that Prody was arrested and charged with robbery, a class B felony.

In April, Prody was charged with stealing painkillers when she worked as a nursing assistant for a Moorhead couple. The case is still pending.

Prody met Simpson in 1996, the year after Simpson was acquitted of the killings of his wife and a friend. Simpson and Prody dated for 13 years.


Pedestrian struck by van dies from injuries

FARGO - A woman who was injured Wednesday when she was hit by a minivan while trying to cross a major thoroughfare in south Fargo died of her injuries over the weekend, Fargo police said Monday.

Lauren Kandt, 23, Fargo, was trying to cross 32nd Avenue South in the area of 39th Street when she was injured.

Police said it appeared she was trying to cross the street in an area with no crosswalk.


N.D. Head Start conference this week

BISMARCK - The North Dakota Head Start Association will hold its fall conference, "2012 Early Childhood Professional Institute," on Wednesday and Thursday at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck.

The event includes national, regional and local speakers, including Mary McLean, director of the Early Childhood Research Center, and Laetitia Mizero, director of Lutheran Social Services' New American Services.

The conference is targeted staff at the 14 Head Start programs in North Dakota but is also appropriate for regional Head Start and early child care professionals.

It is open to the public, with conference and registration available online through


Another guilty plea in drug ring

FARGO -- An 11th person charged in the Grand Forks-based synthetic drug ring blamed in the deaths of two teenagers pleaded guilty Monday in federal court here in a deal with prosecutors.

Dillon John Breen, 25, of Grand Forks, admitted he conspired with Andrew Spofford and others to distribute hallucinogens made by Spofford, including the two drugs blamed in the deaths of Christian Bjerk, 18, and Elijah Stai, 17, in June, according to Chris Myers, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case.

Breen also admitted distributing large amounts of cocaine and marijuana with others from January 2011 until June of this year.

He faced a possible sentence of 20 years and a $1 million fine.

Under the plea deal, Myers said he will recommend a lesser sentence, based on Breen's criminal history, the amount of drugs involved and his cooperation in the case.

In setting Breen's sentencing for Feb. 4, U.S. Judge Ralph Erickson told him the court isn't bound by the plea deal.