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News Briefs: Police seeking man last seen in St. Cloud

Editor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

MINNESOTA

Historic matching gift for red kettle donations

ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- Due to a matching gift from a group of anonymous donors who pooled $2 million worth of matching funds, all donations made to The Salvation Army in Minnesota and North Dakota today and Saturday will be doubled.

This is the largest two-day matching gift in Salvation Army history.

“Across the region, donations are down 20 to 30 percent, but an outpouring of generosity now can turn things around in every county of both states,” according to Lt. Col. Robert Thomson, Salvation Army commander for Minnesota and North Dakota.

To double a donation today and Saturday, give at a kettle, call (800) 725-2769, stop by a local Salvation Army and drop off a check dated Dec. 20 or Dec. 21, or give online at www.SalvationArmyNorth.org.

Police seeking man last seen in St. Cloud

FOLEY, Minn. -- Police in Foley are asking for help locating a man missing since Dec. 9.

Jamie R. Wylie, 31, was at a friend’s house in St. Cloud on Dec. 9 when a relative or friend last had contact with him by cellphone. He left his friend’s house upset and hasn’t been seen since, according to Foley Police Chief Katie McMillin. Foley is northeast of St. Cloud. Wylie’s wife lives in Foley, but he doesn’t have a permanent address, McMillin said.

Wylie is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 160 pounds. He has a tattoo that says “Dana” on his left wrist and the name “Jason” tattooed on his right forearm. He has a young son.

Wylie is a native of Cottage Grove, near St. Paul.

Wylie was reported missing Sunday. McMillin said she released the information Wednesday to help the search.

A “Find Jamie Wylie” Facebook page was launched Wednesday as family and friends try to locate him.

Anyone with information about Wylie's whereabouts is asked to call the Foley Police Department at (320) 968-0800.

DFL Senate campaign committee fined $100,000

WORTHINGTON, Minn. -- The Minnesota DFL Senate campaign committee was fined $100,000 this week by the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board after it determined that Democratic campaign organizations improperly worked together.

The board found that 13 candidates coordinated photos for mailings sent out by the Senate committee.

The fine was one of the largest in state history for a campaign violation. Democratic leaders agreed to pay the fine but denied any wrongdoing.

State campaign finance rules forbid collaboration between candidate campaigns and independent groups, such as the Senate Democratic committee. For the mailings to be permissible, the candidates should not have any input.

While the fine is levied against the caucus campaign committee, no penalties will be assessed against the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the individual candidates or the candidates’ own campaign committees.

Dayton calls Minneapolis police plan off base

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton strongly criticized the Minneapolis police chief Thursday after she announced a state agency would investigate officer-involved incidents in the state's largest city.

There is no such deal, Dayton said, and the idea goes against the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s mission.

Chief Janee Harteau announced Wednesday that the BCA automatically would handle her department's most serious internal investigations. For example, the BCA would investigate any shooting death involving an officer.

Dayton called Harteau's announcement “very inappropriate.” He said his public safety commissioner, who oversees the BCA, had not agreed to such an arrangement.

No cases are automatically handed over to the BCA, he said, and the BCA does not have enough personnel to handle that. Each request for BCA assistance goes through a process to determine whether the aid is warranted.

Many of the requests are for specific tests that local communities, mostly outside the twin Cities, do not have the ability to handle.

If Minneapolis could turn over all of its major internal investigations, Dayton predicted, other cities would expect similar treatment.

Ice too thin for vehicles

Reports of vehicles breaking through ice in Beltrami and Douglas counties last week prompted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to warn that ice remains too thin.

“Ice is never 100 percent safe,” the DNR's Greg Salo said. "Winter recreationists need to think twice before driving out on the ice because the ice in many places is still not strong enough to support vehicles.

Last winter, six people died from breaking through ice with snowmobiles or vehicles, the DNR reported.

The DNR recommends the following depth of ice before venturing on it:

-- 4 inches for walking.

-- 5 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.

-- 8 to 12 inches for a car.

-- 12 to 15 inches for a medium-sized truck.

Wells Fargo to move downtown Minneapolis employees

MINNEAPOLIS -- Wells Fargo plans to relocate many of its Twin Cities employees to a new office complex near the new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

The bank company announced Thursday that 5,000 workers will be moved from leased space around the area to two connected buildings. The Wells Fargo workers will have 1.1 million square feet.

“The investment in this project – more than $300 million – represents our continued commitment to downtown Minneapolis and to the state of Minnesota,” Chief Executive Officer Dave Kvamme of Wells Fargo Minnesota said.

Cash seized from home of synthetic drug dealer

DULUTH — Authorities say they seized more than $750,000 in cash Wednesday from the Superior, Wis., home of Jim Carlson, the man convicted of selling synthetic drugs from his store in Duluth.

Synthetic drugs and suspected marijuana were found in the search conducted by Duluth and Superior officers and the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, Duluth police said. Other items seized include body armor, ammunition and high-capacity magazines.

No arrests were made.

Carlson, who remains in custody at the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River, Minn., after his Oct. 7 conviction on 51 federal crimes, shares the home with his girlfriend, Lava Haugen.

Duluth police Lt. Steve Stracek said the search was the result of information obtained after the conviction, and that charges could be filed in relation to the search.

Some of the discoveries could come as violations of the conditions of release for Haugen, who was convicted of four federal crimes. She has been ordered not to possess any controlled substances and is barred from possessing any firearm, destructive device or other weapon, except for purposes of legal sales at the Last Place on Earth store.

NORTH DAKOTA

Wild Card 2 winning ticket sold in Dickinson

DICKINSON, N.D. -- A recent customer of a Dickinson convenience store has a big early Christmas present waiting.

North Dakota Lottery marketing manager Ryan Koppy said Thursday morning that a ticket matching the winning Wild Card 2 jackpot numbers from Wednesday’s drawing were sold at the Pit Stop.

Played in four states including North Dakota, Koppy said the winning ticket is worth $673,574, though, as of late Thursday morning, nobody had come forward to claim the prize. The winning numbers for the drawing were 2-9-14-22-30 and the Queen of Clubs. The jackpot starts off at $200,000 and grows until a player gets the five numbers.

Koppy said the ticket is the second Wild Card 2 jackpot winner sold in North Dakota, with the first coming in March. The winner has 180 days from the drawing to claim the prize.

Man who ran over officer sentenced to 12 years

FARGO – The Fargo man who ran over a city police officer last month, and then was caught on tape telling his girlfriend in a jail phone call that he should have killed the man, was sentenced Thursday to 12 years.

Jack Michael Christensen, 49, pleaded guilty Thursday in Cass County District Court to Class B felony assaulting a peace officer, and to leaving the scene of an injury accident and aggravated assault, both Class C felonies.

Two other charges were dropped as part of a plea deal Christensen struck with prosecutors. He will receive credit for 45 days served.

Officer Brent Malone was trying to stop Christensen for questioning Nov. 4 in connection with a stabbing in Fargo.

When Malone approached the vehicle, Christensen stepped on the gas, hitting the officer and knocking him unconscious, prosecutor Tristan Van de Streek said.

Christensen, who has a lengthy criminal history, was certified as a habitual offender by Judge Steven Marquart.

Fargo hotels offer free rooms on Christmas Eve

FARGO -- TMI Hospitality is offering its Room in the Inn program again this year on Christmas Eve.

Each of the company’s 180 hotels, including three in Fargo, are offering free rooms Tuesday to those who have a friend or family member hospitalized, in a nursing home or in a treatment center during the holidays.

The Fargo hotels participating in the program are Comfort Suites, (701) 277-4476; Fairfield Inn & Suites, (701) 281-0494; and Residence Inn, (701) 282-2240.

For more information about the program and to check availability, call the hotels and mention the Room in the Inn program.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Judge tosses part of 4-H cheating suit

WHITE LAKE, S.D. -- A judge has thrown out some claims for monetary damages made by a White Lake family suing two state 4-H officials.

Greg Kroupa of White Lake sued on behalf of his daughter, Bayley Kroupa, 18, in March 2012 after she was banned from 4-H competition. She allegedly had shown a different swine at the 2011 South Dakota State Fair than at her county fair and represented the two animals as one -- a violation of the 4-H code of ethics. The family denies the allegation.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier threw out a portion of the lawsuit seeking money individually from two state 4-H officials -- Rod Geppert and Peter Nielsen -- based on alleged violations of Bayley Kroupa’s First Amendment right of association and 14th Amendment right to due process.

The family had asked for $500,000 in punitive damages, plus $300,000 for alleged humiliation and at least $50,000 for civil rights violations.

Family attorney Rollyn Samp said Kroupa has the right to appeal Schreier’s decision, and that monetary damages still could be awarded in the case.

“There may be monetary claims against others,” Samp said.

WISCONSIN

Man charged in connection with school threat, lockdown

SOMERSET, Wis. -- A New Richmond man was charged Thursday with disorderly conduct in connection with a verbal threat at Somerset Elementary School.

The incident Thursday morning prompted a lockdown of all Somerset district schools for the entire day. Police officers were stationed in each of the four schools.

The suspect, Andrew J.R. Wallace, 20, was identified using school district security procedures, according to a Somerset police news release.

With assistance from New Richmond police, the man was located at a New Richmond residence and taken into custody, Somerset Police Chief Doug Briggs said in the release. Wallace was taken to the St. Croix County Jail and charged.

Police were notified shortly after 8 a.m. that an adult had threatened a student at the school. The student told a teacher about the threat.

School district administrator Randy Rosburg said the threat was to kill an unidentified student. The suspect was arrested sometime before 11:45 a.m., he said.

Rosburg said the tone in the schools was quiet Thursday.

“It was a feeling of the unknown -- thoughtful. The focus was on what we can do to manage the situation in a safe manner,” he said.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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