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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Drug task force investigation results in 13 arrests

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North Dakota

Land Board commits $2.5M for rural Oil Patch roads

BISMARCK - The North Dakota Land Board committed an additional $2.5 million in energy impact grants Friday to help townships in oil-impacted areas repair roads damaged by heavy truck traffic.

During the current biennium, the Land Board has awarded a total of $124 million in grants to help cities, townships and other political subdivisions in the Oil Patch address impacts created by rapid development.

For a complete list of projects approved for funding, go to


Fargo man named Heitkamp state director

MANDAN, N.D. - U.S. Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp has named Ryan Nagle of Fargo as her state director.

Nagle was formerly director of communications and strategic development for SEIU Healthcare Minnesota - a union representing health care workers - and recently directed the coordinated campaign for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL.

"Ryan knows the state and he cares about North Dakota as much as I do," Heitkamp stated in a news release. "Under his leadership, we will build a strong state organization that focuses on being an advocate on behalf of the citizens, communities and employers in North Dakota."

Nagle said in the release that he looks forward to working with Heitkamp's staff across the state "to make sure the issues North Dakotans face every day are addressed proactively."


UND hires education dean

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The University of North Dakota has named Robert D. Hill as dean of its College of Education and Human Development, the university said Friday.

He is a professor and former chairman of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Utah, and will start his new job here July 1.

His predecessor, Daniel Rice, led UND's education college until July 1, 2012. UND professor Dennis Caine has led the college in the interim.

Hill's scholarly interests are in higher education programming and educating adults.

Hill received undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology and school psychology from Brigham Young University, and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Stanford University. He joined the faculty of the University of Utah in 1988.


Swift's Fargo concert not a first-day sellout

FARGO - Tickets were moving well for Taylor Swift's Sept. 6 show at the Fargodome, but were still available after 5 p.m. Friday, the first day tickets were on sale to the public.

Fargodome General Manager Rob Sobolik said "a few" tickets were left in the 20,000-seat arrangement. He said he was "absolutely happy" with the sales clip and said as many as 1,800 more seats may be added before the concert.

Even if Swift sold 21,800 seats, it would not crack the Fargodome's top 10 for attendance. George Strait holds the record, drawing 27,000 for his 1997 show.

Bon Jovi's 2008 show was the most recent top 10 best-seller, pulling in 24,680 fans, good for sixth place. That show sold 21,000 tickets by 5 p.m. the first day of sales.



Head-on crash kills two

WORTHINGTON, Minn. -- A head-on crash Friday morning in southwest Minnesota resulted in the deaths of two men.

Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening reported that Jose Manuel Martinez, 23, of Worthington, was returning home from working an overnight shift in Chandler when he crossed the center line on a county road and struck a vehicle driven by Daniel Niel Kunkel, 66, of Round Lake.

Kunkel retired in 2006 from his role as dean of students at Round Lake-Brewster High School. He had served as a band and choir instructor in the school for many years. Kunkel was on his way to work Friday morning at Reading Bus Lines, where he was a driver.

Wilkening said both Kunkel and Martinez were transported by ambulance to Sanford Worthington Hospital, where they died from their injuries. There were no passengers in either vehicle.


Man pleads guilty to attempted murder

MOORHEAD, Minn. - A Fargo man pleaded guilty Friday in Clay County District Court to a charge of second-degree premeditated attempted murder in connection with a stabbing last summer.

Kenton Wayne Stillday, 38, was initially charged in June with first-degree premeditated attempted murder and first-degree assault following an incident involving his estranged wife.

Stillday was armed with a knife when he chased the victim from her home and pinned her down, according to court documents.

Before stabbing her in the chest, just above her heart, Stillday told the victim: "If I can't have you, no one will," the court documents stated.

Stillday is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 14.

His attorney, Brian Toay, said it is anticipated Stillday will receive a sentence of 10 years and 10 months.


Drug task force investigation results in 13 arrests

FULDA , Minn. -- A Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force investigation led to 13 arrests in southwest Minnesota and the seizure of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, cash and other miscellaneous items.

The arrests began Dec. 7, with execution of a search warrant in Fulda. More search warrants were executed this week in Fulda, a town of about 1,300 people north of Worthington, leading to a dozen more arrests.

One child was placed into protective custody as a result of the investigation.


Medical issue killed man in Highway 10 accident

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - A medical problem is believed to have caused the death of an Elk River man who crashed into a tree off U.S. Highway 10 East here on Wednesday.

John Hamilton DeGroat, 64, was eastbound on Highway 10 in a 2004 Dodge Stratus when he apparently suffered "some kind of medical condition," went into the eastbound ditch and hit a tree, according to Detroit Lakes Police Chief Tim Eggebraaten.

Police officers who arrived first on the scene saw the driver still in the car and had to break the driver's side window to gain access. DeGroat was unresponsive and they performed CPR. He was declared dead at Essentia St. Mary's Hospital in Detroit Lakes.

The crash was reported at 11:49 a.m. Wednesday. DeGroat was alone in the car.

Investigators believe his death was the result of the medical issue and was likely not caused by the crash, Eggebraaten said.