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News briefs: Paul and Babe, Enchanted Highway are ‘Quirky Landmark’ nominees

The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Minnesota/North Dakota

Paul and Babe, Enchanted Highway are ‘Quirky Landmark’ nominees

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji, Minn., and the Enchanted Highway in southwest North Dakota have been selected for a “Best Quirky Landmark” by USA Today 10 Best.

The giant Paul and Babe statues have stood near Lake Bemidji since 1937. The Enchanted Highway is a series of seven large sculptures along state Highway 21 near Regent, N.D.

To vote and see the other landmarks, which includes the Beer Can House in Houston and Carhenge in Nevada, visit (Alexandria's famous Big Ole statue is not among the top 10.)

Voting will end at noon June 23.

North Dakota

Finley murder trial moves to Fargo

FARGO -- A judge has ordered the trial of a Finley woman accused of murdering her husband be moved from Finley to Fargo.

State District Judge Steven Marquart signed an order Friday changing the venue of the 61-year-old Sherry Midstokke’s trial from Steele County to Cass County.

Midstokke’s lawyer Blake Hankey argued the small population of the town and county and the publicity given to the crime would make it impossible to obtain a fair and impartial jury in Steele County.

Midstokke was arrested and charged with murder after her husband Lyle Midstokke, 66, was found dead on the couple’s bedroom floor Feb. 3.

During an interview with investigators, Sherry Midstokke admitted to killing her husband using drugs and suffocation, according to court documents.


Arctic Cat CEO leaving

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. -- Thief River Falls-based Arctic Cat said Monday its chairman and CEO Claude Jordan has stepped down.

Serving as his replacement in the interim will be Chris Twomey, a member of Arctic Cat's board of directors and a former CEO who served the company for 24 years.

Jordan, who has been with Arctic Cat for six years, has been CEO for the last three; he was earlier president and chief operating officer.

The company said that during his tenure, annual sales grew from $465 million to $700 million.

Chief Financial Officer Tim Delmore has agreed to postpone his previously announced retirement during the transition period.

Woman charged with arson confesses in court

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- A Bemidji woman accused of starting her mobile home on fire in an attempt to evict her son pleaded guilty to arson Monday.

Mary June Klasen, 57, confessed to setting the fire on April 30. She was arrested for felony first-degree arson and pleaded guilty in Beltrami County Court.

Klasen stated in court Monday she has been trying to move her son out of the trailer for five years. She said when she told her son she planned on selling the mobile he "mumbled" he should just burn it down.

"I just went over there and did it," Klasen said. "Started a little fire."

Klasen faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.

Klasen said she knew there was a back door which her son would be able to vacate the trailer.

"I admit I'm guilty, I lit the match," Klasen said.

Wanted: A medical marijuana chief.

By St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Health is seeking a director for its new Office of Medical Cannabis, which will implement the medical marijuana bill signed into law last month by Gov. Mark Dayton.

The job pays between $35.35 and $50.70 an hour, which works out to an annual rate of between $73,811 and $105,862, according to a notice posted last week.

About 10 people are expected to work for the Office of Medical Cannabis, which will operate a patient registry to track whether people are helped by the treatment. About 5,000 people per year are projected to use Minnesota’s medical marijuana program, which will be available to people with certain terminal illnesses or any of eight medical conditions.

The state is taking applications through June 20.

Minnesota’s new law lets patients obtain marijuana in a liquid or pill form, but they won’t be allowed to smoke marijuana or use plant materials in vaporizers. Patients need a doctor’s certification to be part of the registry.

The program is expected to be running by July 2015.

Minnesota seeks NCAA basketball Final Four

MINNEAPOLIS -- After the successful effort to bring the Super Bowl to town in 2018, Gov. Mark Dayton today plans to detail the campaign to land the men’s basketball Final Four.

The local bid for the college tournament has already been submitted, and Minneapolis is one of eight finalists, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. The selection will be made in November.

Local business leaders and sports figures will join Dayton at the Capitol for a 2 p.m. news conference on the latest push, according to a release from his office.

The events are being sought for the $1 billion Minnesota Vikings football stadium, scheduled to open in Minneapolis on the former site of the Metrodome in 2016.

Kelm-Helgen said Minneapolis is applying to host the Final Four in any year from 2017-20.

Typically, the NCAA likes to have sites that host the Final Four host an earlier round of the college basketball tournament the previous year, Kelm-Helgen said, which means 2017 is out. And in 2018 the stadium will be hosting the Super Bowl.

So most likely the local bid will focus on 2019-20 for the Final Four, with preliminary rounds in earlier years, she said.