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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Crop crusher will serve time, pay for damages

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North Dakota

Williston bypass route approved

WILLISTON, N.D. - County commissioners here voted Tuesday to approve a route for a truck bypass around Williston, echoing similar action taken by city commissioners last month.

The bypass route is not the one city and county leaders preferred because it is longer and will affect more property owners. However, the North Dakota Department of Transportation learned that the preferred route would disturb Native American burial grounds and sensitive cultural resources.

Williams County Commission Chairman Dan Kalil said the commission unanimously approved a modified route that will avoid the sensitive area.

"We all know that compromises have to be made," Kalil said.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation will continue its environmental assessment and hold a public hearing in the spring, said Jamie Olson, a department spokeswoman.

Design for the bypass is expected to be complete this summer or fall with construction beginning later this year, Olson said.


N.D. Guard unit put on alert

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- A Jamestown-based North Dakota Army National Guard unit has received an alert notification for possible mobilization.

The 817th Engineer Co. has been notified recently of its possible mobilization by its leadership.

If mobilized, approximately 100 soldiers would serve in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in spring 2014 to Afghanistan. The unit previously served in Iraq from June 2007-June 2008 and as Company B, 141st Engineer Battalion from Dec. 2003 until Feb. 2005. The unit specializes in combat engineering tasks.


Cando man gets 6.5 years for child porn

BISMARCK -- Jerry W. Gibson, 46, of Cando, N.D., was sentenced Monday to six years and six months in federal prison on a child pornography charge in federal court in Bismarck, according to Timothy Q. Purdon, U.S. attorney for North Dakota.

Gibson possessed images on his home computer depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and admitted to using the Internet to download those images, Purdon said.

Gibson pleaded guilty Aug. 22 to possession of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Besides prison time, he will have five years of supervised release and register as a sex offender.


Fargo man gets life for drug trafficking, robbery

BISMARCK -- Fred Miles Thompson, 55, of Fargo was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison on charges of drug trafficking and abetting a robbery in furtherance of drug trafficking in federal court in Bismarck, according to Timothy Q. Purdon, U.S. Attorney for North Dakota.

Thompson pleaded guilty Oct. 4 to distributing in the Fargo area between 50 and 200 grams of a mixture containing methamphetamine as part of a drug conspiracy.

He also admitted to requesting Steve Gibson, Mason Peet and Charles Butcher to rob a Stop-N-Go convenience store in south Fargo on Oct. 26, 2011. They used a .22 caliber rifle.

Thompson received a 40-year sentence on the drug charge, and the life sentence on the robbery charge.

The robbers have also been sentenced in Cass County District Court.

Gibson pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and got four years in prison. Peet pleaded guilty to robbery and terrorizing and got four years. Butcher was convicted of criminal conspiracy and got 10 years.


Belcourt man gets 4.75 years for drunk driving fatality

FARGO -- Koleman J. Gourneau, 30, of Belcourt, was sentenced Monday to four years and nine months in federal prison on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in federal court in Fargo, according to Timothy Q. Purdon, U.S. Attorney for North Dakota.

On Oct. 12, 2011, Gourneau left Betty's Bar west of Belcourt on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. He was driving drunk when his SUV struck and injured a person, leading to her death.

Gourneau pleaded guilty Sept. 24. Besides prison time, he will have three years of supervised.


Two Sanford doctors receive research grants

FARGO - Proposals from two Fargo doctors were among five chosen for a Sanford Health initiative to support medical research.

One grant involves health coaching for breast cancer patients. The other involves fitness for hockey players.

Dr. Benjamin Noonan, with Sanford's orthopedics and sports medicine program, has a proposal to evaluate the reliability of a sprint skate test that is commonly used to measure the athlete's power and resistance to fatigue.

Dr. Shelby Terstriep, with Sanford's Roger Maris Cancer Center, has a proposal to decrease insulin resistance in breast cancer patients with obesity and elevated insulin levels. These tests will be conducted during breast cancer treatment with the aid of a health coach.

Proposals from three Sanford doctors based in Sioux Falls, S.D., also were also funded.



Auto repair business catches fire

MILTONA, Minn. -- Firefighters from three departments battled a fire today at an auto repair business in downtown Miltona, a town north of Alexandria in Douglas County.

Thick clouds of black and gray smoke poured out of an overhead door of the shop as Miltona firefighters ventilated the Wade's Automotive and Repair building. Parkers Prairie and Carlos fire departments brought in tankers and manpower to help fight the smoky blaze.

The shop at 109 Main Street, owned by Wade Eide, is located next to Iverson Insurance Agency, which was evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Witnesses at the scene reported hearing loud popping noises from inside the garage area of the shop when the fire started shortly after 10 a.m.

Douglas County sheriff's deputies also assisted at the scene and detoured traffic from entering Miltona on County Road 14.

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Man who found diamond ring gets to keep it

MOORHEAD, Minn. - Police say a man who found a 1-carat diamond last fall outside a Moorhead pizza place will get to keep it after no one came forward to claim it.

The south Moorhead man, who police say wishes to remain anonymous, found the oval diamond in September in the Holiday Mall parking lot near Little Caesar's Pizza. He had it appraised by a local jeweler who valued it at roughly $7,000.

In the process, the man learned that the diamond had an identification number that might be retained by the original owner or jeweler. He turned the diamond over to Moorhead police for help in trying to find the rightful owner. Police said the International Gemological Institute confirmed that the diamond had never been registered.

Under state law, if goods or money are found in a public or semi-public place, police may return them to the finder after a reasonable amount of time, Jacobson said, noting Moorhead police use a 90-day threshold.

Jacobson said the man's good faith efforts in trying to find the diamond's owner demonstrated "another fine example of the character of the citizens of our community."


Crop crusher will serve time, pay for damages

WILLMAR, Minn. -- Bronson Cody Evenson, 20, of Willmar, was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation, 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for driving his pickup through farms fields near, causing thousands of dollars in lost crop yields.

Evenson also must pay $12,699.99 in restitution in the case, follow the recommendations of a chemical use assessment, submit to testing and not use or possess drugs or alcohol.

District Judge Michael J. Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court ordered Evenson to serve 30 days in jail starting Friday and the remaining 60 days can be deferred if he complies with the conditions of probation. The felony conviction of first-degree criminal damage will be reduced to a misdemeanor if Evenson complies with the conditions of sentence.

The charges were filed after the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office received reports July 28 and 29 from farmers that someone had driven a vehicle through their fields near the Willmar airport and north of Pennock.

A citizen later reported a pickup with cornstalks stuck to it, leading authorities to Evenson.