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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Man in critical condition after dive from Otter Tail Lake dock

Credit Forum News Service


Man accused of threatening to kill another in fireworks dispute

CHISHOLM, Minn. -- A 61-year-old Britt man was in custody Friday after allegedly pulling a gun and threatening to kill another man in a dispute over fireworks Thursday night.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office reported that deputies were called to a fireworks complaint about 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Great Scott Township, about 12 miles northeast of Chisholm.

While deputies were on their way to the area, the sheriff’s office reported, the suspect drove to the nearby property of a 43-year-old West St. Paul man to confront him about fireworks.

The suspect allegedly pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the head of the property owner and, in front of other witnesses, threatened to kill him.

The 61-year-old man was arrested without incident, and authorities executed a search warrant at his residence. Officers seized several handguns that fit the description provided by the victim.

The suspect is being held on tentative charges of second-degree assault, terroristic threats and damage to property.


Man in critical condition after dive from Otter Tail Lake dock

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. -- A Breckenridge man was listed in critical condition Friday after taking a dive head first off a dock on Otter Tail Lake.

Gene Erickson, 35, dove into 3-foot-deep water Thursday on the east side of Otter Tail Lake, according to a news release from the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office. A witness noticed that Erickson became unconscious after the dive and brought him to shore.

He was alert for a “short period of time” before he stopped breathing and lost his pulse. Bystanders performed CPR and his pulse and breathing were restored.

He was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in the Twin Cities for treatment, according to the report.


Officer fires at vehicle during chase; teen arrested

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. -- A 17-year-old Grand Rapids boy led Itasca County authorities on a high-speed pursuit Thursday, during which a Grand Rapids police officer fired shots at the fleeing vehicle.

The Itasca County Sheriff’s Office reported Friday that the incident started about 10 miles east of Grand Rapids about 5:35 p.m., when a deputy responded to a domestic-assault complaint. The deputy located the suspect in a vehicle and attempted to perform a traffic stop, but the driver fled. That led to a chase in which speeds approached 100 mph. The sheriff’s office said the suspect tried to ram two squad cars head-on, forcing the squads into the ditch.

As the suspect approached Grand Rapids, Officer William Saw, a three-year veteran of the Grand Rapids police, fired shots at the vehicle; no one was hit.

The pursuit ended on U.S. Highway 169 about 10 miles south of Grand Rapids, with the assistance of the Minnesota State Patrol. A Grand Rapids police officer and an Itasca County deputy received minor injuries while apprehending the suspect.

The 17-year-old driver was charged Friday with one count of domestic assault, three counts of use of deadly force against a peace officer and one count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle — all felonies, among other charges.


Bicycles taken from program for needy kids

WILLMAR, Minn. -- A dozen bicycles ready to be given to needy children were removed this week from the warming shed in Lincoln Park.

The bikes belonged to the Wheels4Kids program affiliated with the Willmar Child Guide Program and Willmar Community Education and Recreation.

With financial support from Willmar Kiwanis, the program accepts donated bikes, and volunteer Jim Bode repairs them to give away.

When Bode last left the shed Saturday, he had more than a dozen bikes lined up bearing tags that read “Fixed.” When Christine Hilbert, who organizes the program, arrived at the shed Wednesday, she found several bikes in a pile and the “Fixed” tags on the floor.

“This was full, completely,” Bode said as he gestured around the large empty space in the shed. About 25 bikes he uses for parts were left untouched at the far end of the room. Bike stands and some tools were also left in the room.

Bode had lined up the finished bikes and taken a photo of them, so he was able to show the photo to Willmar police Officer Gene Schneider when he arrived.

Two doors were tagged with spray paint in the past few days, too. A pitchfork was painted on one door, and three 6’s and a pitchfork were painted on another. Schneider said the tagging could be unrelated to the bike thefts.


Motorcyclist killed in crash is identified

DULUTH -- The victim of a fatal motorcycle crash in Gnesen Township on Thursday morning has been identified.

Benjamin Scott Jones, 24, of Rice Lake Township, died after his motorcycle struck a sport utility vehicle on Rice Lake Road just before 11 a.m., the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office said Jones was traveling north when he tried to pass the SUV just as it made a left turn into the Gnesen General Store driveway.

The motorcycle and the SUV went into a ditch. Jones was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a helmet. The SUV’s driver also was hurt, but the injuries were not life-threatening, the sheriff’s office said.


‘State of Manufacturing’ report to be released next week

WILLMAR, Minn. -- Minnesota’s fifth annual “State of Manufacturing” survey will be released Wednesday at the MinnWest Technology Campus.

The annual statewide survey, conducted by Enterprise Minnesota, reports on the state’s manufacturing outlook and top issues in the industry. The data are collected through telephone surveys and focus groups with manufacturing executives across the state.

The event is co-hosted by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, the University of Minnesota Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center, the MinnWest Technology Campus and the Southwest Initiative Foundation.

The “State of Manufacturing” report will be presented by Bob Kill, president and chief executive of Enterprise Minnesota.


North Dakota

Former N.D. first lady Jean Guy dies

FARGO -- Jean Guy, first lady of North Dakota from 1961 to 1973 and a mentor for many young women interested in public service, died Friday surrounded by family members in Fargo. She was 90.

She had suffered a stroke two weeks ago, according to a statement released by her five children through the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, and “had not been the same” since her husband, former Gov. Bill Guy, died April 25 at the age of 93.

“She spent more than 70 of her 90 years with the love of her life, our father,” the statement read. “She was his best friend and closest adviser. Their marriage was, in every way, a true and loving partnership.”

Jean (Mason) Guy was born in 1922 in Selfridge, N.D. She attended what then was called North Dakota Agricultural College in Fargo, now North Dakota State University, graduating in 1944 with a degree in home economics.

While her husband served as governor and after, Jean Guy was engaged in many public activities, including with the Kennedy Foundation Memorial Center, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, the NDSU President’s Advisory Board. In 1979, Gov. Arthur Link appointed her to the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education. She served as the board’s chair in 1985.

Funeral arrangements are not complete.


Four more arrests made in death of Williston rancher

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Authorities have made four additional arrests and have issued a warrant for a fifth suspect in connection with the shooting death of Williston rancher Jack Sjol.

Jeremy Weyrauch, 31, and Ronald Gibbons, 27, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, Class AA felonies.  Weyrauch is being held in the Williams County Jail and Gibbons is being held in Pierce County, Wash.

Isaac Steen, 31, was arrested on suspicion of facilitation of murder, a Class C felony. Amber Jensen, 29, was arrested on suspicion of hindering law enforcement, a Class C felony. Both are being held in the Williams County Jail.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Teresa Steen, 33, for facilitation of murder.

The arrests were made Wednesday, said Sgt. Detective Amanda McNamee with the Williams County Sheriff’s Office. No other details were released.

All individuals are local Williston residents except Gibbons, who is from Washington, McNamee said.

Ryan Stensaker, 33, Williston, was arrested May 16 and charged with Class AA felony murder.

Sjol, 58, was last seen April 24 and was missing until his body was found in Williams County three weeks later.



Schaffhausen home to be auctioned off

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- The house in River Falls where Aaron Schaffhausen killed his three daughters will be auctioned off in a sheriff’s foreclosure sale Aug. 13.

Schaffhausen defaulted on the mortgage in March 2012. That was two months after he and his wife divorced and he moved to Minot, N.D. -- and four months before he killed his daughters, Amara, Sophie and Cecilia.

Schaffhausen stopped making payments on the mortgage in January 2012, leaving $181,000 unpaid.

He’ll be sentenced July 15. In April a jury rejected his insanity defense. He had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted arson.

Meanwhile, a fundraiser is planned July 20 for a playground in honor of the Schaffhausen children. A motorcycle run will start in River Falls and make several stops, ending with a poker game.


South Dakota

Man falls asleep with gun, accidentally shoots himself

MITCHELL, S.D. -- A man suffered minor injuries shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday when he fell asleep on his back porch with a loaded handgun and accidentally shot himself in the midsection, authorities said.

Mitchell police said the 34-year-old man was sitting alone in a lawn chair on the back porch of his residence when a family member turned on the porch light and opened a nearby door. Startled by the light and noise, the man woke up and unintentionally pulled the handgun’s trigger and shot himself.

The man suffered minor flesh wounds but was able to transport himself to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, police said.

“Quite frankly, he was very fortunate,” police investigator Joel Reinesch said Friday.

The man told investigators he had just retrieved the handgun and several other items from his truck after a long day at work when he decided to sit down on his porch with a glass of water and a cigarette, and then dozed off, Reinesch said.

The man’s name was not being released because no criminal charges have been filed, Reinesch said. The Davison County State’s Attorney’s Office will determine whether to file charges once all the investigative reports have been finished.


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.
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