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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Body found in burned vehicle

From the Forum Communications News Bureau

North Dakota

Funerals set for two N.D. National Guard soldiers

BISMARCK - Funeral arrangements for two North Dakota National Guard 818th Engineer Co. soldiers killed in action Dec. 3 have been set.

The funeral for Sgt. 1st Class Darren M. Linde is set for 1 p.m. MST today at the Richland County Event Center in Sidney, Mont. Burial will follow at the Sidney Cemetery. Fulkerson Funeral Home, Sidney, is in charge of Linde's funeral arrangements.

Spc. Tyler Orgaard's funeral is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Church of Corpus Christi, Bismarck, with burial following at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan.

Visitation for Orgaard is set for 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, with a 7 p.m. prayer service at Eastgate Funeral Home, Bismarck.


Grains conference this week

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The annual Prairie Grains Conference, will be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. More than 700 people and 50 exhibitors are expected to attend.

Conference topics will include wheat, soybeans, weather, marketing, precision agriculture, taxes, financial records, a post-election farm bill analysis and crop insurance, among other things.

Conference partners are the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, Minnesota Barley Growers Association, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion council, Northland Community & Technical College Farm Business Management and the North Dakota Barley Council.


Guilty plea given in case linked to heroin death

FARGO - A Grand Forks, N.D., woman admitted in U.S. District Court on Monday to providing the heroin that led to the death of popular Fargo blues guitarist Cody Conner last summer.

Nicole Wadsworth, 24, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distributing a controlled substance resulting in death.

She faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum of 20 years, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers said. Sentencing will take place in March.

Wadsworth was involved in distributing the heroin that 26-year-old Seth Lund injected into Conner, Myers said.

Lund pleaded guilty in October to injecting heroin into Conner's arm June 6 while in a Fargo residence with Wadsworth and 27-year-old Nathan Evenson of Fargo. Conner died shortly after from a heroin overdose.

A conspiracy charge against Evenson is pending. Lund's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 23.


NDSU to analyze sugar beets for biofuel

FARGO - The North Dakota State University Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, grant supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency, will work to develop enhanced energy sugar beets that are optimized for biofuel production.

Other partners in the $1.8 million, three-year program are Plant Sensory Systems, Baltimore, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who will engineer beets to use fertilizer and water more efficiently and produce higher levels of fermentable sugars.

NDSU will lead the project's economic and environmental analyses.

The energy beets will have lower production costs and increase yield for biofuels without competing against food-grade sugar.



Moose to be added to endangered list

DULUTH -- The moose will be one of 67 animals added to Minnesota's official endangered species list under a proposal announced Monday by the Department of Natural Resources.

The moose, which has seen a dramatically declining population, will become an official species of concern on the new list -- the first major update to problem species in Minnesota since 1996.

The updated endangered species list, in the works since 2007 and now open to public comment, also includes 114 native plants. Under the proposal, the state's updated endangered species list would bulge from 439 species to 591 species.

The species of concern status for moose won't limit whether hunting seasons can continue - that would happen if they move to threatened or endangered status.

The DNR will hold five public meetings across the state on its endangered proposals.

Comments also may be submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings, 600 N. Robert St., St. Paul, MN 55164-0620; or by e-mail to For more information, go to


Christmas tree, baby Jesus sculpture stolen

ANGUS, Minn. - A Christmas tree, a Bible and a sculpture of baby Jesus were among the items stolen during a burglary Friday morning at a rural church in northwest Minnesota, authorities say.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office is investigating the burglary at Melo Lutheran Church in rural Angus.

The large amount of property stolen also included Christmas ornaments and sculptures of Mary and Joseph, the sheriff's office stated in a news release Monday.

Angus is about 25 miles northeast of Grand Forks, N.D.


Body found in burned vehicle

NASHWAUK, Minn. -- The Itasca County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 68-year-old Nashwauk man whose body was found inside a burned vehicle.

The Sheriff's Office received a 911 call of a building and vehicle on fire in Balsam Township on Itasca County Road 8 about 10:30 p.m. Friday.

The Balsam Township Fire Department and deputies responded to the scene, an abandoned homestead, where they found a vehicle parked next to an old garage, both of which were on fire. They found the body of Louis Stewart in the driver's seat after the fire was extinguished.

The Sheriff's Office was assisted at the scene by the Minnesota State Patrol and is coordinating the ongoing investigation with the Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office. Foul play is not suspected.


Beltrami Co. bank robbed

KELLIHER, Minn. -- Authorities in Minnesota are looking for a person who robbed a Beltrami County bank Monday afternoon.

A statement from the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office said a person entered the First State Bank of Big Fork in Kelliher, about 55 miles northeast of Bemidji, just before 2:30 p.m. wearing a white hooded jumpsuit, black tennis shoes, black gloves and a white plastic Halloween ghost mask. The person was carrying a black bag and brandishing a shotgun with a "silver-type" barrel.

The suspect left on foot and headed east with an undetermined amount of money. The statement said no car was seen at the time of the incident, but authorities have information that a small car, with a 52-to-58-inch wheel base and 7.5-to-8-inch tires, may have been involved.

The sheriff's office is asking for information on anyone with the clothing fitting the account of the incident or who has acquired a large amount of cash with no apparent source.


Annual Itasca winter bird count set Sunday

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. - The annual Audubon Christmas bird count is set for Sunday at Itasca State Park.

Participants should meet in the lobby of the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center between 7:30 and 8 a.m. for assignment of count areas. Bird count will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Information collected is used to track migration patterns and changes in winter bird species abundance throughout North America.

For more information, call (218) 699-7259.


South Dakota

Dakota Wesleyan president leaving

MITCHELL, S.D. -- Robert "Bob" Duffett once said the students and staff at Dakota Wesleyan University have always chosen to "walk a different path," to learn, achieve and serve.

Monday, after 12 years as president of the private college in Mitchell, Duffett announced he will take another path himself, as he has accepted the presidency of a university in Pennsylvania.

Duffett will become president at Eastern University, a private Christian school in St. Davids, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, in July.