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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Truck carrying ammonium nitrate rolls over

Credit Forum News Service


Truck carrying ammonium nitrate rolls over

HIBBING, Minn. -- A tanker truck carrying more than 20 tons of ammonium nitrate rolled over Friday morning as it was turning into Hibbing Taconite. None of the ammonium nitrate spilled and the truck driver suffered only minor injuries.

The Dyno Nobel truck tipped just after 8 a.m. as the driver was turning from County Road 5 into the Hibbing Taconite facility, according to mine owner Cliffs Natural Resources. The HibTac entrance is in Balkan Township about two miles west of Chisholm and about four miles north of Hibbing.

Ammonium nitrate is an explosive material used in the blasting process at the mine, Cliffs said. None of it spilled from the tanker, and less than 5 gallons of fuel oil spilled from the truck. All leaks were contained by shortly after 9 a.m. with little environmental impact, officials said.

The driver, whose name was not released Friday, suffered minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to Range Regional Medical Center in Hibbing.

The highway was closed as Cliffs crews transferred the truck’s entire load of about 42,000 tons of ammonium nitrate to another tanker. Once complete, the wrecked tanker was righted on its wheels and was removed from the highway by 2 p.m.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.


Fish kill investigated in Renville County

DANUBE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is investigating a fish kill along about 10 miles of the West Fork Beaver Creek south of Danube in Renville County.

The kill was reported Wednesday evening. On Thursday, Hawk Creek Watershed Project and MPCA staff took dissolved oxygen readings in the creek, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff took fish samples.

Dissolved oxygen had dropped as low as 0.1 milligram per liter, 50 times below the standard of 5 mg/L needed to sustain healthy aquatic life. Observers saw many dead fish and other aquatic life, including northern pike, smallmouth bass, creek chubs, suckers, bullheads, shiners and other minnows, as well as crayfish and dragonflies.

Investigators do not believe toxic chemicals were present.

On Friday, the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative near Renville reported that a valve in the facility’s wastewater treatment system had been left open Wednesday evening, resulting in a discharge of untreated water into a ditch that goes into West Fork Beaver Creek. The amount was estimated at more than 4,000 gallons but less than 20,000.

The cooperative’s water quality permit from the MPCA does not authorize discharge of untreated wastewater. The cooperative is working to install treatment measures, which were expected to continue over the weekend.


Man banned from having gun shoots himself in leg, police say

WHITE EARTH, Minn. -- Authorities responding to a report of a shooting here Thursday determined that a convicted felon who isn't supposed to have a gun accidently shot himself in the leg.

Kristopher Lee Villebrun, 28, of White Earth, was taken by air ambulance to a Fargo hospital after what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The shooting occurred just before 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

John Seiling of the Becker County Sheriff's Office said that when officers arrived, they were told the injury had been caused by a drive-by shooting. But an investigation and witness interviews confirmed the shooting was accidental, Seiling said.

The entry wound was in Villebrun's left thigh and the bullet exited the back of his leg. It appears to have been caused by a .22-caliber weapon. Villebrun’s wound is not considered life-threatening.

Authorities said Villebrun is a convicted felon and can’t legally possess firearms.


Giant cake honors casino’s anniversary

CARLTON, Minn. -- Guests at Black Bear Casino and Resort entering the lobby Friday were greeted by a giant depiction of a 500 pound black bear atop a mountain.

“People think it’s a work of art or a sculpture, but it’s all edible, from top to bottom,” said Jeremy Schrupp, designer for How Sweet It Is Cakes.

The Duluth-based bakery has been working on the 12-foot-tall cake for weeks. Schrupp, owner Eileen Brown and four other employees were assembling the edible work of art Friday afternoon as part of Black Bear’s 20th anniversary celebration.

The cake was carted from downtown Duluth in three large pieces — two sections to make up the mountain and then the 500-pound bear to place on top. Some wooden pieces inside the cake provide structural support and the bear’s face is foam, but everything else is edible.

The bakery created two new flavors for the cake: wild rice and cranberry and wild rice and maple.

The cake will be on display at Black Bear in Carlton until Monday, when casino staff will slice and serve it. How Sweet It Is Cakes also made 1,000 cupcakes for the event for the guests and employees who want to sample the new flavors before the cake is cut.

(DNT Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5)

Former Bemidji police chief injured on bicycle tour

PAYNESVILLE, Minn. -- A former Bemidji police chief was struck by a car and injured Friday while biking on a tour across central Minnesota.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office said the accident happened at 9:12 a.m.Friday when a motorist allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign about two miles north of Paynesville and struck Gerald Johnson, 55.

Johnson was airlifted to the St. Cloud Hospital by Life Link, the sheriff’s office said. He was in fair condition.

Johnson was on his second day of the Bicycle Around Minnesota tour, biking from Albany to Spicer.

The sheriff’s office identified the driver of the car as Josie Magnan, 22, of Grove City. She was treated at the scene.


North Dakota

One driver identified in fatal semi crash

VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- The North Dakota Highway Patrol has identified one of the two men killed in a two-semi crash near here Wednesday morning as Allen Tofsrud, 46, of Leeds.

Tofsrud’s semi collided at an angle with another driver’s semi at Highways 1 and 46 about 9 a.m. Wednesday about 20 miles south of Valley City, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Tom Herzig.

The eastbound semi on Highway 46 missed a stop sign at the intersection and hit the other semi, which was northbound on Highway 1.

Both trucks were totaled and came to rest in the northeast ditch of the interchange. Both men were dead at the scene.

Herzig said the name of the second driver is still being withheld as the investigation continues.


South Dakota

Tribe seeks city's blessing for $34 million casino

OACOMA, S.D. -- The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and the city of Oacoma will have their first joint public discussion Monday about a $34 million casino proposal.

At a town board of trustees meeting, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Chairman Michael Jandreau plans to address the city’s concerns about the project, which would close Lower Brule's Golden Buffalo Casino and place a new casino inside city limits just off the Oacoma exit on the north side of Interstate 90.

"Anytime two bodies of people can meet positively, it's always productive," Jandreau said Thursday, "even if one side has concerns that appear to be negative. I've always said that truth is a great stabilizer."

Last week, the Oacoma board wasn't ready to give its blessing to the project. Its main concerns were the increased demand on the water treatment facility and the sewage treatment facility, traffic patterns and questions about taxes.

"A project of this magnitude placed on a town of 400, there's a lot of potential for expenditures," said Mike Schreiber, Oacoma town board president. "I think it's too early to put our foot down one way or another.”

Lower Brule Tribe Consultant Richard Rangel said the project is in its early stages.


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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