Weather Forecast


REGIONAL BRIEFS: Cottage Grove man charged with torturing dog

Credit Forum News Service

North Dakota

Cirrus expands Grand Forks facility

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Cirrus Aircraft on Thursday announced the expansion of its Grand Forks facility to accommodate a new autoclave oven in preparation for production of the Vision SF50 jet and the company’s SR propeller-driven planes.

Modifications to the Grand Forks facility began in May, although the autoclave wasn’t delivered until Thursday. Construction of the building around the giant piece of equipment will be finished by the end of July with the facility operational by mid-August, the company said in a statement.

Cirrus received a $950,000 loan from the Economic Development, Growth Fund Committee for the project. Cirrus operates a shop in Grand Forks that produces composite parts for its airplanes, employing about 100 people. The expansion is expected to add about 10 jobs in Grand Forks “over time,” said Todd Simons, executive vice president of sales, marketing and support.

An autoclave oven is used in the manufacturing process of composite parts — in this case large parts such as the carbon fiber main spar of the SR series aircraft and the Vision SF50 jet. The spar is the main structural component of the wing. Production of the carbon spar using an autoclave had been outsourced to an out-of-state contractor. Cirrus has said the in-house effort will save the company about $3,000 per plane.


$71 million approved for Oil Patch communities

BISMARCK -- Twenty Oil Patch communities will receive $71 million in energy impact grants for assistance with water-related projects.

Grants approved Thursday by the Board of University and School Lands include:

-- $5 million to expand Crosby’s water supply and wastewater treatment systems.

-- $10 million to expand New Town’s water treatment plant, water and sewer system upgrades and street improvements.

-- $5.7 million for the city of Ray to complete wastewater system improvements and water supply upgrades.

-- $10 million for water supply and sewer improvement projects in Watford City.

-- $3.8 million to extend trunk lines for water supply and wastewater treatment service in Killdeer.

-- $2.1 million for the city of South Heart for the Dakota Prairie Refinery water pressure sewer main project.

The grants awarded Thursday do not include $14 million for hub cities of Dickinson, Williston and Minot.

The state will provide $240 million in energy impact grants during the 2013-15 biennium.

For a complete list of projects approved for funding Thursday by the Land Board, go to

The Land Board also established advisory committees to award $25 million in grants for K-12 schools affected by oil and gas development and $7 million in grants to support sheriff’s departments in Oil Country.


WDAY Radio signs new deal to broadcast UND athletics

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- WDAY-AM Radio of Fargo has signed a new three-year affiliate agreement with the University of North Dakota, broadcasting all of UND's football and men's hockey games and numerous other games and coaches shows beginning in August.

"We are excited to continue a relationship with such a great university," said WDAY Radio operations manager Erick Johnson.

UND athletic director Brian Faison announced Thursday that all 12 of UND's radio affiliates -- including WDAY -- will return to carry the UND Sports Radio Network for the 2013-14 school year. Other North Dakota affiliates are in Beulah, Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Grand Forks, Langdon, Minot, Williston and Wimbledon, as well as Minnesota affiliates in Mahnomen and Warroad.

Clear Channel Grand Forks will once again serve as the flagship station for UND athletics.

WDAY (970 AM) returns with double the signal strength to carry UND football, men's hockey and the UND Coaches Show. Under the new contract, WDAY will air up to 100 mutually agreed upon events.


Photographer Wold is magazine’s N.D. artist of the year

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Fine art photographer Beth Wold of Grand Forks was named North Dakota Artist of the Year in the latest issue of Twin Cities Exploring TOSCA magazine.

In the magazine’s The American Artist Series, 50 artists from across the nation were chosen and profiled to represent each state. According to the site’s website, the goal of the series was to find artists “who excel in their work, are passionate about their art and create art that we believe our readers will appreciate.”

Wold, who hasn’t participated in any art shows or fairs, said she was surprised to receive the email from Gail Weber, editor of the magazine, early this year.

“I don’t really even know how they came across me,” she said.

However, with a portfolio full of endangered animals and exotic landscapes, it’s easy to see why Wold’s photographs stood out from other North Dakota artwork.

“It’s really nice because they can choose painters, sculptors …” she said. “Photography is sometimes overlooked as an art, so it’s kind of nice to be chosen as a photographer.”

Wold’s photography can be purchased at



Willmar police say flag burner has confessed

WILLMAR, Minn. -- The Willmar police say officers have secured a confession from a 40-year-old man for burning U.S. flags at two downtown businesses.

According to a post on the department’s Facebook page, the man, a local resident who will not be named until he is formally charged, confessed Thursday to burning both flags at separate locations June 1.

Police identified the man as a person of interest and a possible suspect within a few days of the original reports, the Facebook post states, but to prevent any false accusations, a “diligent police investigation continued.”

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension provided services for video enhancement, and that assistance helped investigators gain enough evidence to properly interview the suspect, who then confessed, the posting says.

An official arrest was not made, as the crimes are misdemeanors and were not witnessed. The suspect’s name will be released in the next few days after formal charges have been filed, police said.


Salvation Army employee faces child sex, porn charges

DULUTH -- A Salvation Army youth basketball coach who appeared in televised announcements promoting the benefits of the program has been charged with twice sexually assaulting a preteen boy and in a separate incident photographing him in sexual positions.

Peter Jay Olson, 47, was arraigned Thursday in State District Court in Duluth on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, possessing pictorial representation of minors and use of a minor in a sexual performance. All four crimes are felonies. The guideline prison sentence for a first-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction is 12 years in prison for someone with no prior criminal record. Olson has no prior criminal record.

Olson was also a Lake Park Little League coach in Duluth and his alleged victim was one of his players. According to the criminal complaint, Olson has admitted to investigators that he sexually assaulted the boy in a Salvation Army office and at the defendant’s home.

The judge set bail at $400,000 with no conditions, or $200,000 with conditions that he not leave the state, obey all laws, and have no contact with minors. Olson didn’t immediately make bail and was being held Thursday evening in the St. Louis County Jail.


Cottage Grove man charged with torturing dog

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. -- A Cottage Grove man faces felony animal torture and cruelty charges after saying he killed his dog over a dispute about where the animal should be kept, authorities said.

George R. Nichols, 37, was charged in Washington County District Court in the death of a miniature pinscher that Nichols told a relative he had killed with a machete. The severely injured dog was found pinned under a toppled portable toilet and was later euthanized.

Nichols told police the dog was his property, he could do whatever he wanted with the property and that he had killed chickens with a machete while growing up on a farm, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday.

Cottage Grove police were called June 21 by Nichols’ sister, who reported that her brother was acting strangely and that they had argued about where the dog, named Jack, should be kept during the day. Nichols had been staying at his sister’s home, but she wanted him to leave.

A passer-by found the dog and it was taken to Oakdale Emergency Animal Hospital, where it was euthanized.

Police was later was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and booked into the Washington County jail. The torture charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.


South Dakota

Less drought has farmers optimistic

MITCHELL, S.D. -- The latest edition of the U.S. Drought Monitor shows the drought is loosening its chokehold on South Dakota.

The monitor shows that 46 percent of the state is experiencing no drought, 54 percent is abnormally dry, but only 28.6 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively, are experiencing moderate and severe drought conditions.

What a difference six months can make.

On Jan. 1, the entire state was experiencing some degree of drought. Nearly a third of the state was in exceptional drought and the remainder was experiencing moderate to extreme drought conditions.

“Things look pretty good -- as good as things can be right now,” said Steve Preszler, 54, who farms 500 acres of corn in Hutchinson County. Like most land south of Interstate 90, Hutchinson County suffered some of the state’s worst drought conditions in 2012.


Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
(715) 243-7767 x241