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REGIONAL BRIEFS: 5 injured in fish house explosion

Credit: Forum News Service


Man dies in snowmobile accident

BIGFORK, Minn. -- A 38-year-old Bigfork man was found dead Saturday after a snowmobile accident on the Bigfork River in Itasca County.

Daniel Hollinday apparently was killed after his sled struck a large rock on the shore of the river Friday evening. He was thrown onto smaller rocks on the shoreline, where he died, according to a report from the Itasca County Sheriff's Office.

The Itasca County dispatch center received a call about 10 a.m. Saturday from a woman who said that her husband had gone snowmobiling by himself Friday night, and she last had contact with him at 9 p.m.

Sheriff's deputies and the sheriff's search and rescue team responded and located Hollinday's body after the dispatch center received a report at 11:43 a.m. of a man with no vital signs lying next to a sled on the Bigfork River in Itasca County's Liberty Township.

Responding deputies confirmed the deceased snowmobiler was the same man who had been reported missing earlier that morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

(DNT - Hallinday is cq)

Lynx deaths investigated

ELY, Minn. -- Federal officials are seeking the public's help in figuring out who was responsible for the death of a Canada lynx -- and they're offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

The carcass of the federally-protected cat was recovered March 15 from the ice near the boat ramp on Ely's Anderson Lake. The specimen was sent to Ashland, Ore., home of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory; the only facility in the world dedicated to crimes against wildlife. Lab analysis there determined the predator cat had been caught in a leg-hold trap.

Two Canada lynx corpses were recovered in St. Louis County this year, and another two were found last year. Canada lynx have been designated a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

5 injured in fish house explosion

WILLIAMS, Minn. -- Five people were injured Sunday morning in an apparent propane explosion in an ice fishing house on the shore of Lake of the Woods at Zippel Bay, north of Williams.

The accident occurred about 8 a.m. in the privately owned building.

All five were transported to Lakewood Health Center in Baudette, Minn., and then airlifted to a burn center in Duluth, according to the Lake of the Woods Sheriff's Department.

The victims are: Rodney Bolstad, 51, Hillsboro, N.D., his sons, Jacob Bolstad, 28, East Grand Forks, Minn., and Joel Bolstad, 19, Hillsboro; and William Huotari, 45, and Allen Stokke, 56, both of Fargo.

Sheriff Gary Fish said the explosion appears to have been an accident.

The blast blew out some windows and resulted in burn marks through a portion of the structure, the sheriff said, describing the damage to about 50 percent of the building.

The five had stayed in the fish house overnight, according to the report.

Nolan names constituent aide

DULUTH -- Former Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson has been tapped by his one-time opponent, Democratic U.S. Rep.-Elect Rick Nolan, to oversee constituent-services offices in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.

On Thursday, when Nolan is seated, he will open his first two district offices, including a "flagship" operation in Duluth and another office in Brainerd, according to Mike Misterek, the future congressman's chief of staff. He said future plans call for additional offices on the Iron Range and in the southern part of the district, but he said it would be premature to announce any additional immediate plans.

Anderson, who ran for the congressional seat but lost to Nolan in the primary, will be based in Duluth but will float throughout the district as needed. Additional field staff members are expected to be named in coming weeks.

Kensington Runestone Park to grow

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- Douglas County has been awarded a $337,000 grant that will be used to add 84 acres of land to Kensington Runestone Park.

The 84 acres of land on the south end of Eng Lake. There no definitive plans are in place for the land as of yet. One suggested use for the expansion is horseback riding trails.


North Dakota

Sustainable ag groups to meet

BISMARCK -- Three area agricultural organizations that stress soil sustainability will hold their annual workshops during the same week at the same location.

The North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, the Burleigh County (N.D.) Soil Conservation District and the Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association will hold their 2013 events during the week of Jan. 7 at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck.

"This is the first time we'll be all going together in the same week. Before, one of the groups would hold their meeting one week somewhere and the other groups would hold their meetings another week somewhere else," says Roger Ashley, a North Dakota State University Extension Service agronomist stationed in Dickinson, N.D., who's involved with the zero till group.

Tying in with the three meetings is the proclamation by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple that Jan. 6 to 13 is Soil Health Week in the state.

The North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition holds its annual workshop Jan. 7. The Burleigh County Soil Conservation District holds its annual workshop Jan. 8. The zero till group's workshop and trade shows runs Jan. 8 to 10.


Investment broker accused again

FARGO - A Fargo investment broker who received a cease and desist order last June for allegedly defrauding a client is now accused of bilking a married couple out of more than $250,000.

Two counts of Class B felony theft were filed against Robert Henry Medhus on Friday in Cass County District Court.

If convicted, the 65-year-old faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each charge.

According to the investigative report by the state Securities Department:

In a July 2 interview, Medhus allegedly admitted that he forged checks made out to the couple in the amounts of $234,400 and $22,104 and deposited them into his account for his personal use.



Victim in fatal fire identified

WINTER, Wis. -- The body of an 84-year-old man found in the wreckage of a Christmas Day fire in the town of Winter has been identified as that of Harold Kingery.

Investigators found Kingery's remains two days after extinguishing the blaze that destroyed his home.

The State Fire Marshal's office assisted in the investigation, and the Sawyer County Sheriff's office reported Monday that the fire is believed to have started with a heater in the residence. The same report said the cause of Kingery's death and the cause of the fire "are not suspicious in nature."

The Winter Fire Department first responded to the fire at 9:59 p.m. Dec. 25.