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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Minnesota man with 27 DWIs back in jail

From the Forum News Service


Minnesota man with 27 DWIs back in jail

NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. - A man here who holds the state record for convictions for driving while intoxicated will be in prison for two years after violating his probation, according to a WDAY news report.

Daniel Bettcher got out of prison in October after serving three years for alcohol-related offenses.

Police arrested him in December on allegations that he was in an establishment that serves alcohol and for drinking alcohol, violations of his parole.

Bettcher has 27 DWI convictions on his record, thought to be the most in Minnesota.


Crookston woman accused of theft from Humane Society

CROOKSTON, Minn. -- A Crookston woman has been arrested after a nearly year-long investigation into alleged embezzlement at the Humane Society of Polk County, the Crookston Police Department said Thursday.

Tracy Janisch, 26, was charged with felony theft, it said.

Police began investigating possible embezzlement on Jan. 31 after the Humane Society alerted them. Investigators learned that more than $30,000 had been taken from the nonprofit group and financial records had been falsified between summer 2009 and January 2012.

Janisch is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 6, police said.


Woman pushes away girl, protects baby while being hit by car

CROOKSTON, Minn. -- A Crookston woman held her infant son in her arms and pushed her young daughter out of the way as she was struck by a car in a school parking lot Wednesday, Crookston police said.

Nykisha Mariscal, 35, rolled across the top of the hood of the vehicle and fell to the ground, all while holding her 1-year-old son, according to a news release.

The accident occurred about 12:30 p.m. at Washington Elementary School.

Officers learned that, besides holding on to her son, she had been holding the hand of her 6-year-old daughter, but managed to push her out of the way.

Tina Olson of Crookston, the driver of the car, was charged with failure to yield right of way to school children and inattentive driving.

Mariscal was taken to RiverView Health in Crookston by Polk County Ambulance. She was treated and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman. The two children, who were taken to the hospital by school staff, had no apparent injuries.


One hurt in car-school bus crash near Strathcona

STRATHCONA, Minn. -- One person was injured around 7:30 Wednesday morning when a car and a school bus collided near Strathcona.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported that none of the 10 children was injured when the bus was rear-ended by a car along state Highway 32, about two miles south of the northern Marshall County town.

The driver of the car, Cindy Brandon, 56, Middle River, Minn., was taken to LifeCare Medical Center in Roseau, Minn., with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the patrol.

The accident was one of 33 on Wednesday and early Thursday in northwest and west central Minnesota, according to Sgt. Jesse Grabow, a patrol spokesman. Those accidents, which included 13 rollovers, resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to eight.

"It was scattered over whole district," he said, although the largest share were along Interstate 94 between Moorhead and Fergus Falls, followed by state Highway 11, between Roseau and Warroad.


North Dakota

ND cities ranked as best performing cities

FARGO - Two North Dakota cities were ranked in the top five 2012 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index.

Bismarck was No. 3 and Fargo No. 5 in the 179 smallest metro listing.

The 2012 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index ranks U.S. cities by how well they create and sustain jobs and economic growth. The study examines jobs, wage and salary, and technology growth.

"These rankings by the Milken Institute are evidence of North Dakota's strong economy, diverse community offerings and good quality of life," North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Alan Anderson said in a news release.

The annual index provides a snapshot of where America's jobs are being created and sustained. It factors in both long and short-term indicators of employment and salary growth, as well as technology output measurements.

The full report is available at


Heitkamp calls for mass violence commission

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is supporting a bipartisan Commission on Mass Violence to address the causes of tragedies such as the Newtown, Conn., school shootings that left 28 dead a month ago, but said it's "unnecessary to violate the Second Amendment to keep schools and children safe."

In a written statement provided to The Forum on Thursday, Heitkamp said her "highest priority" will remain protecting the country's children and securing schools. But she said ideas to curb gun violence presented by President Barack Obama on Wednesday weren't "as broadly inclusive or exhaustive as the severity of this subject requires."

"We must have a serious assessment of mental health services available to families and communities," she wrote. "We must also do everything we can to identify potential perpetrators and prevent those individuals from ever taking the lives of innocent children."

Heitkamp said she supports the idea of a bipartisan Commission on Mass Violence proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that would bring experts together to address the root causes of mass violence and develop a comprehensive plan.


Record year for N.D. airports

North Dakota both saw record numbers of airline passenger boardings last year.

The 2012 total of 135,209 boardings is greater than in any of the previous 10 years, and 67 percent higher than in 2007, , according to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

Air travel across the state finished the year with a record 1 million boardings, which is 18 percent more than in 2011. That, too, is a 10-year record.

Fargo had the most boardings with 364,727, up 4 percent compared to 2011. Boardings at the Grand Forks airport were 15 percent higher in 2012 compared to 2011. Bismarck had 236,172 boardings, up 20 percent. And Minot, the gateway for those traveling to the Oil Patch of western North Dakota, had 224,421 boardings, up 49 percent.


Accused bank robber facing federal charges

FARGO - A man accused of robbing a south Fargo bank at gunpoint shortly before Christmas has been arraigned in federal court.

Timothy Patrick McKenna, 54, was originally charged in Cass County District Court with robbery, a Class B felony.

Court documents say he held up the Gate City Bank at 1501 S. University Drive by showing a teller the handle of a pistol tucked in a stocking cap and demanding all the money she had in her drawer. He was jailed on a $100,000 bond.

Police alleged in a report filed with the state charges that McKenna wished the teller a Merry Christmas before making off with nearly $9,000. A tipster told police McKenna used about $1,000 to pay a bill springing another man's dog from a boarding kennel.

The Cass County case has been closed following McKenna's initial appearance and arraignment in U.S. District Court in Fargo on bank robbery charges this week. He is set for a detention hearing Friday.