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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Man rescued after canoe overturns

From the Forum News Service


Man rescued after canoe overturns

LITCHFIELD, Minn. – A canoeist was rescued Tuesday night in west-central Minnesota after his canoe tipped and he walked through thick woods and a cornfield.

Robert Tiwari, 45, of New Prague, was not injured.

Tiwari told Meeker County authorities that he had rented a canoe from The Riverside Store in Forest City at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and planned to canoe the North Crow River for a few hours, camp and return Wednesday.

He said the river current was stronger than he had anticipated and his canoe overturned.  Tiwari was able to get back into his canoe, paddle to shore and walk through a dense wooded area and a cornfield to a road.

After Tiwari called 911, a dispatcher was able to determine his approximate location by asking him to describe his surroundings. Deputies eventually located Tiwari by driving in the area and activating sirens.Tiwari told the dispatcher when the sirens were most audible.

Tiwari declined medical attention and was driven by a deputy back to his vehicle.


Special ed teacher seeks GOP nod for governor

HIBBING, Minn. -- Rob Farnsworth, a 35-year-old special education teacher from Hibbing, announced Wednesday that he will seek office as Minnesota’s next governor. He said he intends to seek the GOP endorsement.

This will be Farnsworth’s second run for political office. In 2010, he also sought his party’s endorsement to run against Congressman Jim Oberstar, but Farnsworth stepped aside when Chip Cravaack received the Republican nod instead.

Farnsworth, the son of a miner, has been a union member for 15 years and previously served as a union local president while working as an educator for the Department of Corrections. He says the Republican Party should stop thinking of labor in adversarial terms and should instead stress common goals.

“Union members should understand that Republicans want to create jobs, and that’s good for unions,” he said.

He stressed education as a key issue, calling for school-to-work programs to help more young people find gainful employment after high school graduation.

Farnsworth said he also will advocate for more investment in the state’s roads and bridges, and called for increased school security.

Farnsworth earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s degree in special education from Minnesota State University in Mankato.


Body of missing St. Hilaire man found in nearby bean field

ST. HILAIRE, Minn. -- The body of the St. Hilaire man missing for two weeks was found Wednesday less than a mile from the town, said Pennington County Sheriff Ray Kuznia.

Searchers found Thomas O’Hara, 40, about 1:30 p.m. in a soybean field.

He last was seen Aug. 8, walking north along state Highway 32 toward Thief River Falls.

He had been known to walk away from home before and his family didn’t report him missing until Aug. 12. Kuznia said his office got several calls after issuing a news release Tuesday seeking the public’s help.

The U.S. Border Patrol provided a helicopter, and Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls provided all-terrain vehicles for the search.

“It was actually one our deputies on an ATV and a couple firefighters who found his body,” Kuznia said.

Official identification of the body and cause of death will be determined by an autopsy by the medical examiner in Grand Forks, Kuznia said. But the body found was wearing clothing similar to what O’Hara last was seen wearing.

There were no obvious signs of anyone else or any weapons at the scene and no obvious cause of death, although it was clear O’Hara had died some time ago, he said.


Speed cited in rollover of tanker truck

HIBBING, Minn. -- Speed appears to have been a factor in the rollover of a Dyno Noble tanker truck that was carrying explosive ammonium nitrate last week at the entrance of Hibbing Taconite, the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

The truck’s driver, Dan Joseph Richards, 62, of Virginia, appeared to be traveling too fast as he tried to turn onto the mine entrance road from County Road 5 in Balkan Township, according to officials.

The case has been referred to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office in Hibbing for review and possible charges.

A Minnesota State Patrol inspection of the truck and trailer found no violations that would have contributed to the accident, authorities said.

The accident happened just after 8 a.m. Friday. The truck was carrying more than 20 tons of ammonium nitrate, which is used for blasting operations at the mine.

Authorities were able to quickly determine that the material was not leaking, and no evacuations were needed. The tanker’s contents were loaded onto another truck and hauled away.

Richards was transported to Range Regional Medical Center in Hibbing for treatment of minor injuries.


North Dakota

Mosquito-control workers injured in crash with train

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Two Grand Forks mosquito-control workers were severely injured Wednesday morning when their off-road utility vehicle was hit by a train on the west side of the city.

Kyle R. Johnson, 28, was in critical condition and Jonathan A. Bartel, 22, was in serious condition, according to Altru Hospital, where the two were taken.

Both men are Grand Forks residents and they were on duty with the city.

The accident happened around 8:30 a.m. at the BNSF railroad crossing on 17th Avenue South.

Johnson was driving the familiar orange-colored mosquito-control vehicle and apparently failed to yield to a northbound train, according to a preliminary police investigation. The vehicle ended up in a ditch on the east side of the track.

The name of the train operator, who was not injured, was not immediately released.

According to BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth, the train was hauling rocks from St. Cloud, Minn., to Devils Lake. She said in an email that she did not know how fast it was going.

The crash remains under investigation, police said in a news release.


Jamestown College becomes University of Jamestown

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- Students admitted to Jamestown College this year became students of the University of Jamestown on Wednesday, as the school announced a long-considered name change with much fanfare.

"It's going to be a great journey forward," President Bob Badal told faculty, staff, students and media at the Reiland Fine Arts Auditorium.

Badal emphasized the school's long tradition as a private liberal arts college founded by Presbyterian settlers in 1883, and referred to the school's recent advances -- enrollment projections for a head count of 1,000 students, partnerships with institutions abroad and an increasingly diverse student population.

He also referred to the school's new Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which begins Tuesday with a class of 26 students, at the college's satellite facility in Fargo. The school also offers a master's degree in education and an online registered nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Changing from "Jamestown College" to "University of Jamestown" will likely cost between $25,000 and $35,000, Badal said, and the school already has received a gift from a donor to help with the cost, making it "a blip for us."


Petition proposed for N.D. outdoor heritage fund

BISMARCK -- Conservation advocates took their first step Wednesday toward getting a measure on the November 2014 statewide ballot to set aside a bigger slice of oil revenues to protect North Dakota’s outdoor heritage.

Backers of the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Fund filed a proposed petition with the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger said his office will review the proposed petition to initiate a constitutional measure before approving it for circulation.

His office and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem have five to seven days to draft a petition title, a short summary that must fairly represent the proposal. The petition title must be approved by Aug. 30.

The measure would set aside 5 percent of the oil extraction tax, which would raise an estimated $150 million during the 2013-15 biennium, according to state projections for the tax.

The group has about a year to collect the 26,904 petition signatures needed to get the measure on the Nov. 5, 2014, ballot.



Schaffhausen house could aid Habitat for Humanity

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- The Schaffhausen house in River Falls where three girls were killed more than a year ago by their father could end up helping Habitat for Humanity, the girls’ grandmother has suggested.

A sheriff's sale auction for the house drew no bidders Aug. 13. That means the property is retained by Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union of St. Paul, which held the original mortgage.

Aaron Schaffhausen, 35, was convicted last month of killing his daughters -- Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5 -- at the house in July 2012. He's serving a life sentence.

The three sisters' grandmother, Becky Stotz of Springfield, Ill., said she and her husband, Phil, who volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in Springfield, have an idea to link the house and that organization.

"We wondered if the house could be dismantled and the parts used as building supplies for Habitat in River Falls," she said. "What would be left when the house is cleared away is a bare lot. The credit union could then move forward and build another house, create a community garden or whatever on that spot."

Stotz said Jim Farr, executive director of St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity, and Jon Simonson from Affinity Plus seemed receptive to her idea.


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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