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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Girl in coma after rescue from Willmar lake

Credit Forum News Service, expect two Williston items that must receive Williston Herald credit

North Dakota

Hardware giant Menards bringing store to Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. -- More than three years after the original announcement, Menards is coming to Williston.

The hardware giant officially signed its contract for the Sand Creek Town Centre, according to Terry Metzler, operations manager of Granite Peak North Dakota, and Tom Rolfstad, executive director of Williston Economic Development.

Despite rumors and reports, Metzler said Menards never pulled out of the initial talks but rather needed more time to finalize its plans and paperwork, which was seconded by Rolfstad.

“A lot of it has been internal to Menards,” Rolfstad said. “We really haven't been privy to that knowledge … clearly they had to take their time to think this through.”

Part of the hesitation on the part of Menards likely stemmed from workforce and housing issues it experienced in Minot. The company resorted to bringing workers in from locations in Wisconsin to fill positions.

Metzler and Rolfstad said the Williston store is going to be a new concept store, making it one of the largest locations in the country.

“This won't be any kind of shaved-down, minor experience,” Rolfstad said. “It should be the best Menards has to offer.”

(Must credit Williston Herald -- not for Web use)

Woman injured in shooting outside Williston Walmart

WILLISTON, N.D. -- A woman was injured in a shooting early Friday outside Walmart.

The Williston Police Department said a 911 call came in at 2:27 a.m. reporting shots fired in the Walmart parking lot.

When officers arrived, they located a female inside the Lonnie's Roadhouse Cafe with a gunshot wound to her thigh. She was transported to Mercy Medical Center by ambulance.

The police have not released her identity or the extent of her injuries.

The Williston Police Department continues to investigate.

(Must credit Williston Herald -- not for Web use)

Breeder petitions to regain custody of seized dogs

CASSELTON, N.D. -- The breeder whose 174 dogs were seized by sheriff’s deputies this month has petitioned to regain custody of the dogs.

Darcy Smith, the Wheatland breeder, had five days to file for custody of the dogs, which are under quarantine at Casselton Veterinary Service.

Cass County prosecutor Leah Viste said the county will fight Smith’s efforts to have the dogs returned to his care.

“We don’t feel he has the ability to care for them,” Viste said.

Authorities found the dogs July 10 in what they described as life-threatening conditions. Their kennels were stacked three deep in single-wide trailers on Smith’s farmstead. As many as five dogs shared a kennel in filthy, cramped conditions.

A judge will decide later this month if the dogs will be returned to Smith.

If the judge decides the dogs will stay with the county, they may become available for adoption, Viste said.

Right now, the dogs can’t be placed anywhere permanently.

The hearing is set for July 30.


Postmaster general plans N.D. visit

WASHINGTON – Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe will visit North Dakota in August to see firsthand the population growth in the western part of the state, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven announced Friday.

Donahoe recently pledged to improve mail delivery to North Dakota oilfield housing units and to assist with meeting Postal Service hiring challenges in the state.

Donahoe said he has directed staff in the Sioux Falls, S.D., regional office of the Postal Service to work on recruiting more employees at competitive pay levels, with one person working full time to meet North Dakota’s staffing needs .



Girl in coma after rescue from Willmar lake

WILLMAR, Minn. -- An 11-year-old Willmar girl remained in a coma Friday after she was rescued from drowning Thursday afternoon Willmar’s Foot Lake.

Willmar police Capt. Jim Felt said emergency responders were notified around 3:45 p.m. Thursday that a child was unaccounted for and underwater. By the time authorities and ambulance crews arrived, bystanders had found the girl, brought her to the beach and started CPR.

The quick response helped restore the girl's pulse and respirations, Felt said. She was taken by ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital and airlifted to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. The girl remained at the hospital Friday, according to information given to police from her family, Felt said. The family members were unsure whether the girl's state of unconsciousness was part of her treatment, Felt said.

Daniel Ruter and Robert Rodriguez, both of Willmar, began searching for the girl after friends she was swimming with notified an adult that they could not find her. The adult called 911. Ruter and Rodriguez found the girl in about 7 feet of water and brought her to shore.

Melissa Bobrowski and Travis Toews, lifeguards from Canada in town for the Sonshine Music Festival, began CPR and continued until emergency responders arrived.

The girl was unaccounted for, and possibly underwater, for about three or four minutes, Felt said.


Man falls 40 feet from grain elevator

ULEN, Minn. -- A man who fell 40 feet from a grain elevator here was taken to the hospital early Friday morning.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident around 7 a.m. The man, whose name has not been released, fell on his back onto a pile of fertilizer. Authorities said he was alert and responsive, though complaining of back pain.

He was transported by ambulance to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.

The grain elevator in Ulen is owned by West Central Ag Services.


Aurora man charged with possessing child porn

AURORA, Minn. -- An Aurora man was charged with three crimes Thursday for allegedly photographing a girl younger than 18 in various stages of undress.

Michael Gene Jewell, 34, is charged with dissemination of pornographic work involving minors, possessing pictorial representation of minors and interference with privacy against a minor under 18.

A St. Louis County sheriff’s investigator received information from a Douglas County, Wis., sheriff’s deputy of a computer containing files of child pornography.

A search warrant was executed at Jewell’s residence July 10. A video contained photographs of the female in various stages of undress, authorities say. It appeared the photos were taken by a motion-activated camera.

Jewell was taken into custody. He told the investigator that he was ashamed of what he had done, the complaint stated.

The defendant’s next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 5.


South Dakota

Five injured in house explosion believed to be propane-related

WINNER, S.D. -- Five people were injured early Friday when an explosion blew apart a home in Winner.

Winner police Officer April Al-Salihi said the explosion occurred shortly before 6:30 a.m. The five people inside the home at the time -- Audrey Ferguson, 66, Ardith Perry, 37, David Frank, in his 50s, William Schroeder, 14, and 7-month-old Angel Frank -- were hospitalized with burns and other injuries. Ferguson remained at Winner Regional Healthcare Center as of Friday afternoon, but the other four had been transported to a burn unit in Minneapolis, Al-Salihi said.

Al-Salihi is Ferguson's daughter and was notified of the explosion around 6:45 a.m. by a dispatcher at the Winner Police Department. When she arrived and saw the pile of rubble that was once her mother's home, her reaction was one of shock.

"I'm still in shock," she said.

Investigators believe the blast was caused by a propane line in the upstairs part of the home, Al-Salihi said. Winner Fire Chief Darin Nelson told The Associated Press that the state fire marshal is investigating.

The blast, which virtually leveled the home, was powerful enough to blow a large section of the roof across a gravel road and into a nearby yard. There was no serious damage immediately visible to surrounding structures.


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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