News Briefs: Man accused of endangering daughters as he drove drunkEditor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Editor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Man accused of endangering daughters as he drove drunk
MOORHEAD, Minn. – A Moorhead man is charged with felony drunken driving after his twin 12-year-old daughters told police their father was driving up to 100 mph with them in the car, drinking beers he had the girls open for him.
Thomas Eugene Iverson, 47, is charged in Clay County District Court with two counts of felony driving while intoxicated and two counts of endangering a child in a situation that could cause harm or death, a gross misdemeanor.
According to court documents filed in the case Monday, Iverson was pulled over by a Clay County deputy Friday at 8:48 p.m. for speeding “well in excess” of the 30 mph speed limit on U.S. Highway 10 in Dilworth.
According to the complaint, Iverson registered a blood alcohol concentration of 0.24 percent – three times the legal limit for driving.
In addition to describing the high speeds and drinking, one girl in the car told a deputy she had pretended to throw up to try to get her father to slow down, according to the complaint.
Minnesotans advance in national Christian music awards
SOLWAY, Minn. – A northern Minnesota musician and his band are nominated in the top five for national music awards.
Kent Dudley and his band Bended Knee have advanced into the top five in four categories for Christian Voice Magazine’s 2012 Country Gospel Music Fan Awards, known as the CGM Awards.
The public is invited to vote for the eventual award-winners in each category at www.christianvoicemagazine.com/cgmtop5vote.html. Voting will be held through March 31.
Dudley of Solway is nominated as Favorite Male Vocalist of the Year, Favorite Songwriter of the Year and Favorite Musician of the Year; Bended Knee is nominated as Favorite Band of the Year.
Winners of the CGM Fan Awards will be announced at the CGM Fan Awards program April 27 at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
This ballot marks the final found in voting for the CGM Awards. Nominations were first accepted during November. A January ballot announced the top 10, from which online voters selected their favorite top-five musicians.
Runestone Electric Association to get $22 million loan
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- Runestone Electric Association is among rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 12 states to receive loan guarantees to improve facilities and implement smart grid technologies, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced.
The $22 million loan was approved in February; REA was the only co-op in Minnesota to receive a loan.
“With assistance of loan funds, rates will stay more affordable for members over the long run,” said REA Chief Executive Officer Rick Banke.
The loan was granted based on a work plan submitted to the federal government, along with a lengthy loan application. REA completes a new work plan every three to four years. The loan, plus interest based on U.S. treasury rates, will be paid back over approximately 35 years.
REA will be building 82 miles of distribution line, above and below ground, and making other system improvements. The cooperative serves rural communities in Douglas County, eastern Grant County, northern Pope County and some of Todd County.
Public comment sought on services for children
BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Developmental Disabilities Division will host public meeting via video conference to gather public comment on its policy, which addresses services for children from birth through age 2 with developmental disabilities or delays and their families at 6:30 p.m. March 14 and at 7 p.m. March 19.
The meeting will be held at the following area sites: Lake Regional Human Service Center, Devils Lake; Southeast Human Service Center, Fargo; and South Central Human Service Center, Jamestown.
For more information, call (701) 328-8930 or (800) 755-8529.
Smoking bans had no economic impact, study finds
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Restaurant and bar sales in the city were unaffected by two smoking bans approved in the past decade, according to a new economic impact study.
“Neither benefited or were hurt by the legislation,” University of North Dakota economics professor Cullen Goenner, who conducted the study, told the City Council on Monday.
Instead, outside factors such as growth in Grand Forks’ economy and a strengthened Canadian dollar pointed to an increase in overall restaurant and bar sales during the study’s timeframe.
The state banned smoking in restaurants in 2005, and the city banned smoking in bars in 2010.
The neutral results were good news to anti-tobacco activists who had pushed for the bans.
“Even a neutral impact is a positive thing,” said Theresa Knox, a public health nurse and member of the Grand Forks Tobacco Free Coalition.
The study was sponsored by the tobacco coalition, and Knox said it’s a standard procedure for communities wondering about the effects of a new law. In the past, the coalition has conducted surveys of community attitude and perception toward the anti-tobacco laws.
“This (study) has a little more weight to it,” Knox said.
Attorney dismissed in child death case
DICKINSON, N.D. -- A motion was granted Monday to dismiss an attorney from representing one of the parents charged with abuse in the death of their child in Dickinson.
Kevin McCabe, who represents Andrue Saunders, made the motion to dismiss Thomas F. Murtha IV because he said his client spoke to Thomas Murtha Sr. about the facts in the case prior to being charged with Class C felony abuse or neglect of a child.
Saunders, 23, and his ex-wife, Theresa Saunders, 23, both are charged, but have adverse views in the case involving the 2011 death of their child.
Thomas F. Murtha IV with the Murtha Law Office was later hired by Theresa Saunders, who is the other defendant in the child abuse case.
Southwest District Court Judge Zane Anderson granted the motion to dismiss Thomas F. Murtha IV, saying she wanted to make sure the case could move forward without problems.
The criminal complaint states the defendants consumed illegal drugs while the infant was in their Dickinson home. The child, less than a year old, died Oct. 5, 2011.
An autopsy found traces of cocaine and methamphetamine in the child’s body, the complaint said.
Man dies in jail
SUPERIOR, Wis. -- A 37-year old Superior man died in the Douglas County Jail last week, apparently of complications from a stomach ulcer.
Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec announced Tuesday that Clifford G. Walker died soon after laying down in pain, despite jail officer’s efforts to revive him.
Dalbec said in an interview that Walker, awaiting trial on drug charges, had not informed the jail staff of any past medical problem and didn’t mention he was in pain until other inmates noticed he was on the ground.
“He told people he didn’t feel well and was going to lay down, and that was it,’’ Dalbec said.
Dalbec said officers rushed to Walker’s aid and rendered CPR until paramedics arrived. But efforts to revive Walker failed and he was pronounced dead at the jail.
An autopsy was performed Saturday in Anoka County, Minn. According to Dalbec in a press release, “preliminary results indicated massive internal bleeding due to a perforated ulcer.”