Weather Forecast


REGIONAL BRIEFS: O.J.'s ex pleads guilty in drug theft case

Credit: Forum News Service

North Dakota

Mom who pushed DUI bill, cited for DUI

BOTTINEAU, N.D. - The mother of two boys killed by a drunken driver last summer was cited for driving under the influence after rolling her car last weekend, just days after she and her husband stood behind Gov. Jack Dalrymple as he signed a bill strengthening the state's impaired driving penalties.

Sandra P. Hernandez, 30, of Souris, wasn't hurt in the rollover crash that happened at 9 a.m. Saturday about five miles north and two miles east of Newburg, said Capt. Gary Orluck of the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Citations were filed Monday in Bottineau County District Court against Hernandez for Class B misdemeanor DUI, as well as failure to give immediate notice of a reportable accident and leaving the scene of an accident with a fixed object, both infractions.

The latter citation indicates the 2004 Pontiac struck a wooden guardrail.

An initial court appearance is set for May 28.

Hernandez and her husband, Juan Ruiz, publicly advocated and testified for stronger DUI laws after their sons, Alaries Ruiz, 5, and Cyris Ruiz, 9, were killed when a pickup truck ran over the tent they were sleeping in at a Lake Metigoshe campground July 7.


N.D. PSC begins proceedings against Dakota Prairie

BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Public Service Commission has initiated insolvency proceedings against Earth Harvest Mills of Harvey, which does business as Dakota Prairie Organic Flour Co.

Randy Christmann, the PSC commissioner with the grain warehouse licensing portfolio, acknowledged that the agency on April 26 had petitioned the Wells County Court in Fessenden to be appointed trustee, and to begin the process of distributing the company's $50,000 bond.

Christmann said the current insolvency action was triggered by a $26,000 claim against the company on April 26.

Christmann said the PSC was aware of about $2.9 million in credit sale contracts and about $85,000 in cash sale contracts that have not been paid.

Grayson Hoberg, the company's chief executive, the company has received numerous publicly backed loans and grants. The most recent was a $7.3 million loan, backed by U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development guarantees. The company also has received a handful of North Dakota Development Fund marketing grants, which have helped the company enter Asian and European markets.


Timberlake coming to Fargo

FARGO - Pop star Justin Timberlake will bring "SexyBack" to the Fargodome on Feb. 7.

The Fargodome announced the show Monday morning, but did not release ticket information. The Fargodome website said ticket information would be announced at a later date.

The 32-year-old star released his third solo album, "The 20/20 Experience," in January and starts his world tour on Oct. 31. His first album in seven years already landed two top-10 hits, "Suit & Tie" and "Mirrors".

The former 'N Sync star has topped the charts as a solo artist with "SexyBack," "My Love" and "What Goes Around... Comes Around". He has earned six Grammys and four Emmys.


Victim of fatal fire identified

LIDGERWOOD, N.D. - The Richland County Sheriff's Office has released the name of a woman who died in a house fire at 7:45 a.m. Sunday in Lidgerwood.

A preliminary investigation identified the woman as Donelda Kae Hanson, 52, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. Her body was taken to Bismarck for an autopsy.

Her boyfriend, 50-year-old Jeffory Solomon, had exited through the back door but was unable to help Hanson escape. He sustained minor burns to his hands and legs and was treated by Lidgerwood Ambulance at the scene.

The Lidgerwood Fire Department said the house was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived.

The state fire marshal said it appeared the fire was caused by smoking materials.


Ex-Arizona deputy pleads guilty in attack

FARGO - A former sheriff's deputy for Maricopa County in Arizona pleaded guilty Monday in a Cass County court case that alleges he drove to West Fargo to beat up a man who slept with his wife.

Timothy Abrahamson, 41, of Glendale, Ariz. pleaded guilty to one count of Class C felony aggravated assault.

Charging documents state Abrahamson drove to West Fargo Sept. 16 and confronted the victim, Jason Swart, in the driveway of Swart's home.

Swart, an high school classmate of Abrahamson's wife, reconnected with her on Facebook. Court documents state Swart lost part of an ear in the assault.

The judge ordered a pre-sentencing investigation. A sentencing date hasn't been set.



Sex offender faces another assault charge

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- A day after he bailed out of jail, where he was being held for failing to register as a predatory offender, authorities say Jeremy Bruce Cournoyer raped an 11-year-old in a Bemidji home.

The 32-year-old appeared in Beltrami District Court Monday, where he was sentenced to one year and two months in prison on the failure to register charge. But Cournoyer could face as many as 30 years in prison if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, the count he was charged with Wednesday.

In the criminal complaint filed by the Beltrami County Attorney's Office, Cournoyer is accused of sexually assaulting the 11-year-old victim April 19. The previous day, Cournoyer either worked with a bail bondsman or paid $2,000 and was released from the Beltrami County Jail.

In the complaint, Cournoyer is charged with raping the child in the bathroom of a Bemidji home.


Steam trains arrive for celebration

DULUTH -- Duluth will be the place to be for steam locomotive enthusiasts this weekend.

And for the first time in years, more than 500 of them will arrive from the Twin Cities on a train pulled by the historic Milwaukee Road 261 locomotive.

The 261's two-day visit will be its first to Duluth in several years and its first trip following a four-year overhaul. It is operated by the Minneapolis-based Friends of the 261.

"We love coming to Duluth; it's an extremely popular trip, and the overnight thing works well," said Friends COO and 261 engineer Steve Sandberg.

Planning for the 261's post-overhaul inaugural excursion began some time back. Visit Duluth helped advertise the trip, which sold out.

The passengers will ride in 15 cars, all dating from the 1940s and 50s.


Court upholds Hawley man's conviction

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed the conviction of a Hawley man who appealed his disorderly conduct conviction for yelling, swearing at county deputies, and kicking the doors of the Clay County courthouse, on the grounds that it was protected speech under First Amendment law.

Duane Hansen, 60, was sentenced to serve six days in July 2012 after a judge convicted him on a single count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct stemming from an Aug. 26, 2011, incident in which Hansen became obstreperous with a county employee after she was unable to get the phone number of a county commissioner for him.

In the unpublished appeals court opinion, Judge Natalie Hudson wrote that the employee said she "was glad that there was a counter between us" and that the employee would have been concerned for her safety if she had been working alone.

Deputies were called to remove Hansen from the building, upon which he swore at them and kicked the front door.

Hudson, who with Judges Terri Stoneburner and Carol Hooten heard the case, wrote in the opinion that Hansen's language and conduct fell outside First Amendment protection because the disorderly manner of delivering that speech disrupted the county offices, which falls outside First Amendment protection.


O.J.'s ex pleads guilty in drug theft case

MOORHEAD, Minn. - A woman who gained local notoriety for being the former girlfriend of O.J. Simpson has pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and drug possession after being accused of stealing drugs from an elderly couple in whose home she worked as a nurse.

Christie Prody, 38, pleaded guilty Monday in Clay County District Court to one charge of second-degree burglary and one charge of fifth-degree drug possession, both felonies.

Prody told the court she had already ingested the stolen lorazepam she took from the home when officers arrived to question her April 5, 2012.

Prody told the court she was in full-time treatment while living at Center Inc. in Fargo. She said she also sees a counselor weekly, and that she has been sober for seven months as of May.

Judge Steven Cahill ordered a presentence investigation for Prody before her sentencing on June 28.


Man killed in rollover

GRYGLA, Minn. -- A Warroad man died in a one-vehicle rollover accident Friday evening near Grygla in northwest Minnesota.

The Marshall County Sheriff's Department has identified the victim as 36-year-old Michael Thiesen.

According to the report, the vehicle was discovered at about 7 p.m. Friday. It was upside down in a ditch with standing water along Marshall County 2, about 5 miles south of Grygla.

When the vehicle was pulled out of the ditch, the victim's body was found inside.

The body has been taken to University of North Dakota in Grand Forks for an autopsy.



Wis. wolf population drops slightly

HAYWARD, Wis. -- After Wisconsin's inaugural season of wolf hunting and trapping last fall, the state's wolf population has declined only slightly.

The 2013 Wisconsin wolf count indicates there are a minimum of 809 to 834 wolves in the state, including 215 packs and 15 lone wolves, according to Department of Natural Resources officials. The count compares to the 2012 estimate that ranged from 815 to 880 wolves, including 213 packs and 20 lone wolves.

"The thing people were concerned about was whether the recent hunting and trapping seasons would have a depressing effect on the wolf population, and I don't see that in the numbers and the number of packs," said Ken Jonas, DNR area wildlife supervisor at Hayward.

Last fall, hunters and trappers took 117 wolves statewide.

Wildlife officials said all known wolf mortalities for 2012 fell within expected ranges, including 117 from hunting and trapping, 76 from depredation control, 24 from vehicle collisions, 21 from illegal kills and five from unknown causes.