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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Three more charges filed in triple fatal crash

Credit: Forum News Service

North Dakota

Rig accident victim was Montana man

WATFORD CITY, N.D. - A man who died last week after an accident on a drilling rig north of here died from blunt chest and abdominal injuries, the State Forensic Medical Examiner said in a report of death.

Kyle Winter, 22, Kalispell, Mont., was pronounced dead at the Watford City emergency room after he was struck by a heavy object that fell from a point suspended above him, the report said.

The initial report from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration said the victim was crushed by a set of power tongs on Pioneer Rig 74 off state Highway 1806 and McKenzie County Road 10.

Power tongs are used on drilling rigs to handle pipe going in and out of well holes.

The death report also says heart disease was another significant condition present.

The man, an employee of Heller Casing Service Inc., died while receiving treatment from paramedics who were preparing to fly him to Bismarck, OSHA said.

Earlier in January, a Duluth, Minn., man on a hydraulic fracturing crew died in an accident north of Watford City.


U.S. attorney for N.D. to lead Indian issues panel

FARGO -- The U.S. attorney for North Dakota will head a U.S. Department of Justice panel on American Indian issues, according to a department news release Tuesday.

Timothy Purdon will be chairman of the 30-member Native American Issues Subcommittee, the oldest subcommittee of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee.

Sanford C. Coats, the U.S. attorney for western Oklahoma will be vice chairman.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who made both appointments, said the subcommittee is "vital to the department's mission in Indian country to build and sustain safe and secure communities."

Purdon joined the subcommittee in 2010 and served as vice chairman through 2012.


Mayville reports 'major' water main break

MAYVILLE, N.D. -- A "major" water-main break prompted Mayville, N.D., officials to ask residents to conserve water Tuesday afternoon.

"We really don't know very much right now," Mayor Don Moen said. "What we do know is we have a big leak."

Work crews have to find the break before they can assess how long repairs will take, Moen said.

The break, discovered late Tuesday morning, is somewhere on the 27-year-old main line between the water plant and water tower, leaving the city unable to refill the tower as water is used.

Moen said crews will be working late into the night, and could have everything repaired by morning.

"But we can't guarantee things will be fixed by then," he said, noting winter weather is expected to slow progress.


Professional Championship Bullriders in GF canceled

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The Professional Championship Bullriders competition scheduled for March 2 at Grand Forks' Alerus Center has been canceled, the events center said Tuesday.

The competition was originally scheduled for Jan. 19, but was moved to March 2. PCB's Bob Sauber said ticket sales had been sluggish and the group wanted more time for promotion.

PCB had sponsored a competition every January at the Alerus Center since 2006, and Grand Forks had always been a good market, he said.

Ticket holders can obtain refunds at the original point-of-purchase. or Ticketmaster charge-by-phone customers will automatically receive a refund.


Tips sought in shooting prompting power outage

WAHPETON, N.D. - The Richland County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in finding who is responsible for shooting a power transformer near here Friday, leaving many without power for hours.

Deputy Steve Gjerdevig said the incident is believed to have occurred shortly before 7 p.m., Friday. The power outage was reported to the power company at about 6:55 p.m.

Although no shell casings were located at the scene just west of Wahpeton, bullets went straight through the quarter-inch thick metal box, Gjerdevig said. He said it appears the power transformer was shot with a high-powered rifle.

Homes and businesses in Wahpeton were without power for several hours Friday evening. Power was not restored to some buildings until early Saturday morning, Gjerdevig said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Richland County Sheriff's Office at (701) 642-7711.


Library of Congress seeks intern applicants

WASHINGTON - The Library of Congress is accepting applications from college and graduate students interested in taking part in the Library of Congress Junior Fellows Summer Intern program, Sen. John Hoeven, D-N.D., recently announced.

Students interested in library work, exploring key parts of the library's special format collections and working directly with Library of Congress curators and specialists are encouraged to apply.

The 10-week program runs May 28 to Aug. 2 in Washington. Students work under the direction of Library of Congress experts. Fellows also will search and inventory rare collections.

Fellows must be United States citizens in a degree-granting program at an accredited college or university at the undergraduate or graduate level, or have graduated since August 2012 from an undergraduate or graduate program.

Fellows get a taxable income of $300 per week.

To apply, submit a completed application, cover letter, resume, transcript and two letters of recommendation by Feb. 11 to Applications are available for download at


Woman charged with shoplifting 78 Items

FARGO - A 20-year-old St. Michael woman is charged with felony theft in after police say she spent 11 hours in a south Fargo Walmart on Friday, attempting to shoplift 78 items concealed about her person without paying for them.

Court records allege say store loss prevention officers watched Jessie Fay Cavanaugh for several of the hours she was in the store, then called Fargo police when she tried to get into a cab.

She's accused of trying to take 78 items with a combined total of more than $1,000. Court documents say the arresting officer observed that Cavanaugh "appeared to be under the influence of something."

Court records didn't list the items she's accused of trying to steal.

Cavanaugh appeared on the charges in Cass County District Court on Monday.



Three more charges filed in triple fatal crash,

WILLMAR, Minn. -- Prosecutors have filed three more felony charges of criminal vehicular operation against the 22-year-old Cokato man already facing multiple criminal counts for the triple fatal motor vehicle crash Aug. 17 east of Willmar.

The amended criminal complaint filed Jan. 30 in Kandiyohi County District Court brings to 15 the total felony charges against Paul Anthony Wickenhauser. A hearing is set for March 12. The new charges of criminal vehicular operation are for the substantial bodily harm caused to the 5-year-old boy who survived the crash.

Marta Stoffers, 68, of Atwater, her daughter-in-law, Michelle Hoffman, 40, of Eden Prairie, and Hoffman's 8-year-old daughter Julia were all killed in the head-on crash. Hoffman's 5-year-old son, Jason, was injured.

Wickenhauser also faces a misdemeanor charge for having an open container of alcohol.