News Briefs: DNR shoots bear after complaintsThe following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.
By: Forum Communications Company, Alexandria Echo Press
Editor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.
DNR shoots bear after complaints
ELY, Minn. -- Wildlife officials shot and killed a collared yearling black bear Thursday after it entered an Ely-area garage where children were present.
The bear had been collared in July by Lynn Rogers of the Wildlife Research Institute in Ely, but it wasn’t one of the well-known bears tracked by Rogers and other researchers or followed by the public on Internet webcams.
Conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources responded to a call from residents whose children were in the garage when a bear entered it, according to the DNR. The residents said they attempted to scare it away with an air horn and a stick, and it snarled at them and hung around the area. An incident report says the residents’ kids were then “stuck in the cabin” because of the bear. They had arrived in the previous 24 hours and there was nothing around to attract it, they told officers.
The bear appeared to have been used to humans hand-feeding it, the DNR said.
Based on the landowner’s complaints and request to remove the bear, safety concerns and witnessed behavior, Conservation Officer Dan Starr decided to shoot the bear, the report says. The officers contacted the bear researchers after the bear had been killed.
About 200 Facebook fans of Lily, the best known of the bears being studied by Rogers, have expressed their outrage over the yearling’s death.
Man pleads guilty in shooting death
WILLMAR, Minn. — Delbert Huber pleaded guilty Friday morning to second-degree intentional murder in the Oct. 8, 2011, death of Timothy Larson at Larson’s family farm in rural Belgrade, Minn.
Huber, 82, of rural Paynesville, Minn., admitted in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar that he pointed a loaded rifle at Larson, 43, and pulled the trigger after a confrontation at the farm site. Hours later, Huber called 911 to report the shooting.
Huber’s son, Timothy Huber, 45, is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder indictment regarding the same incident. The first-degree indictment against Delbert Huber was dismissed as a condition of his pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Judge Michael Thompson scheduled Huber’s sentencing for 9 a.m. Sept. 4. According to the plea agreement, Huber is to be sentenced according to state guidelines, which would send him to prison for 25 years. He would be eligible for supervised release after 17 years.
Huber was asked during Friday’s hearing if he pointed the gun at Larson. Huber said, “I pointed it that way. … I thought the rifle was on safe, but it went off.”
Grant funds military biofuel research
MORRIS, Minn. – Scientists in Morris may be helping the United States military increase their use of biofuels thanks to a federal research grant.
The $7 million grant – which is spread among a number of U.S. Department of Agriculture research service offices, university, and industry partners over the next four years – will be used to research ways to make biofuels a more economically viable option for the U.S. military.
Although there are some processes that are commercially available to use oil from oilseed crops in jet fuel, the “price isn't yet competitive” with traditional fuels, said Russ Gesch, research plant physiologist at the North Central Soil Conservation Research Lab in Morris.
Three of the major research areas will focus on streamlining the oil refinement process; breeding the feedstock plants to improve oil characteristics to make them more useful for biofuels; and growing species of oilseed to find out which types are best suited for different environments.
Morris scientists will be trying to determine which species grow best in the area, which will help growers optimize yields and lower the biofuel price, Gesch said.
“The U.S. military wants to wean itself off of depending on foreign sources of petroleum for their supplies, especially in times of war,” Gesch said. “If they can have a domestic source they can rely on, in case the spigots get turned off, that’s huge for them.”
Plan would connect trails from Red Wing to Mankato
RED WING, Minn. -- Outdoor enthusiasts can already follow a paved trail from Red Wing to Cannon Falls, Minn., but if a proposed project comes together as planned, their trips can be extended much farther.
The Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota is looking to link the Cannon Valley Trail to the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail by way of the Mill Towns State Trail, ultimately developing a connection all the way from Red Wing to Mankato, Minn.
The council will hold a “Connect It” event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 11 at Welch Station, a trail head and picnic area along the Cannon Valley Trail, to share the idea.
While linking the three trails is the goal, there are other steps that need to be completed first — namely, the construction of the Mill Towns State Trail.
The concept of the Mill Towns State Trail has been in development since 1993, Parks & Trails Council spokeswoman Lisa Filter said. Although it recently received its official designation, only three of the total 25 miles it will eventually stretch have been laid down, she added.
Iowa 26-year-old killed in rollover near Nisswa
NISSWA, Minn. – A 26-year-old man from Ridgeway, Iowa, died in a single-vehicle rollover one mile south of here early Friday morning.
Rocky Lund was driving his 1994 Chevy pickup northbound on Highway 371 at 2 a.m. when he veered off the right side of the road and rolled his truck, an incident report from the Minnesota State Patrol said.
The Brainerd Police Department, Breezy Point Police Department, Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office and Pequot Lakes Police Department responded to the accident.
The cause of the accident is undetermined, and the rollover is still under investigation, the report said.
Man killed in rollover
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — A Worthington man died early Friday morning at Sanford Worthington Medical Center after being involved in a one-vehicle rollover.
Mitchell James Benson, 20, of Worthington, died from injuries in a single-vehicle accident on a county road two miles north of Worthington, according to information released by the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office.
According to an accident report, the sheriff’s office was notified at 12:57 a.m. Friday that an injured person had been brought in the hospital’s emergency by a driver who had come upon the accident.
Missing woman later found at WE Fest
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Authorities located a missing 22-year-old woman Friday afternoon after she disappeared while attending WE Fest, a Becker County Sheriff’s Office news release said.
Morgan Elizabeth Schliesman was reported missing by friends and family Thursday afternoon from the Oatfield Campground.
Eyewitnesses had last seen her late Wednesday or early Thursday.
Less than an hour after Becker County authorities asked for the public’s help in finding her Friday afternoon, the sheriff’s office sent out a second news release saying Schliesman was found.
Woman killed in rollover in Mahnomen County
NAYTAHWAUSH, Minn. – A Lengby woman died in a fatal rollover accident on a county road near here Thursday, and alcohol is believed to have been a factor, the Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Tamara Laurie Clark, 53, was found dead at the scene by deputies after her 2001 Chevrolet pickup rolled off a curve in the roadway along Mahnomen County Road 1 just east of County Road 4, about 13 miles north of Naytahwaush.
Clark was ejected from her pickup, the release said.
Clark’s stepson, Jedidiah Angus Clark, 32, was found by deputies in a ditch near the accident, officials said. He was treated by paramedics, taken into custody but later released pending further investigation.
Tamara Clark’s body was transported to the medical examiner’s office at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine in Grand Forks, officials said.
Hallock canola crushing plant holds grand opening
HALLOCK, Minn. -- Northstar Agri Industries is inviting the public to its new canola crushing facility’s grand opening celebration Wednesday in Hallock, according to a news release.
The event starts at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast, followed by a tour of the facility. At 10:30 a.m., local, state and federal speakers will speak.
The company produces canola meal and canola oil. The new plant four miles south of Hallock on Highway 75 will employ more than 50.
Citizens’ group drop fight against wind farm
RED WING, Minn. -- A case that was initially brought to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, was later reconsidered by the PUC and was eventually heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, has reached the end of its road.
All the way along, the case of an industrial wind farm proposed in Goodhue County by AWA Goodhue Wind featured several different groups fighting against the wind company. By the time the matter reached the Court of Appeals, however, the Coalition for Sensible Siting was the only challenger left.
Now it too has decided not to fight for any more appeals. CSS attorney Dan Schleck released a statement on behalf of the group Thursday night, saying, “The Coalition for Sensible Siting will not pursue an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.”
Back in June when the appellate court decided to uphold the PUC’s decision to issue a site permit to AWA Goodhue Wind, members of the coalition were unsatisfied with the ruling and began considering their options, which included the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Although its case won’t move forward in court, CSS said the organization will remain “a voice for citizens in the industrial wind arena.”
Fire destroys grain elevator
MUNICH, N.D. -- A fire destroyed the main grain elevator at Munich Elevator and Oil Co. Thursday.
The elevator was fully engulfed in flames when the fire department arrived shortly after the call came in at 3:30 p.m., according to Fire Chief Bruce Wirth.
He called in eight other fire departments from surrounding communities to help fight the flames and protect nearby buildings and fuel and chemical tanks. Another 10 or 12 farmers brought water tanks for the firefighting effort.
Firefighters brought the blaze under control by about 7 p.m. Some stayed through the night as the fire continued to burn.
“It’s still burning itself out,” Wirth said Friday morning.
Munich is in Cavalier County, about 45 miles north of Devils Lake.
Wirth estimated about 50 volunteer firefighters and another 40 to 50 people helped with the effort. Local residents provided food and water to those battling the blaze.
The elevator reportedly was filled near capacity with grain from this year’s harvest.
A damage estimate has not been released, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Two city workers accused of theft reinstated
GRAFTON, N.D. -- Two Grafton city employees suspended and accused of stealing copper wire from the city were reinstated at a hearing Tuesday in front of the City Council’s Labor Relations Committee.
Russell Geddes and Kelly Laskowske were initially suspended in early June as police alleged employees of the city Municipal Utilities Electrical Department had stolen and re-sold $3,000 in copper wire.
Superintendent Brent McMillan and another employee, Brady Strom, were also charged and remain suspended.
Geddes and Laskowske still face charges though Geddes’ attorney, Neil Fleming, said he believes the reinstatement will affect the criminal charge against his client.
“As the criminal case plays out, what happened will become more apparent,” said Laskowske’s attorney, Tyler Morrow.
He said the two men informed city officials of the issue and were acting in good faith. “Kelly and Russ saw a situation they were uncomfortable with and took it forward. The council made the right move and reinstated him. You never want to discourage individuals from reporting inappropriate things they’re seeing a boss do.”
All four men have preliminary hearings set on Wednesday.