News Briefs: Two killed, two injured in crash near International FallsEditor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communications Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.
Editor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communications Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.
Two killed, two injured in collision
INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. -- Two people from International Falls died and two Illinois residents were injured in a head-on crash Thursday on U.S. Highway 53 in northern St. Louis County.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported that a Ford pickup was traveling north on Highway 53 about 7:45 a.m., about 25 miles south of International Falls, when it crossed the center line and struck a southbound Pontiac Grand Am.
Both occupants of the Grand Am — the 24-year-old man driving and a 23-year-old woman passenger, both from International Falls — died at the scene, the patrol reported. Their names had not yet been released Thursday.
The driver of the pickup, Burton Pinchuk, 68, of Naperville, Ill., and a passenger, Glen Wegworth, 69, of McHenry, Ill., were transported to Rainy Lake Medical Center in International Falls, then flown to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth.
Pinchuk was taken from the scene in critical condition, the Patrol reported. Wegworth’s injuries were classified as non-life-threatening. Both men were wearing seat belts.
New bridge over Highway 61 ready to move
HASTINGS, Minn. – Putting the main span of the new U.S. Highway 61 bridge over the Mississippi River at Hastings has been delayed, meaning there will be no road closure in Hastings this weekend.
Moving the main span for the bridge will begin today with crews rolling the 545-foot main span from an assembly site out onto the river. The main span weighs more than 6.5 million pounds. It is resting right on a number of self-propelled modular transports, which will move the span from its current location down to the waterfront.
The span will sit on two barges until it is ready to be floated down and lifted up. The earliest that will happen is Tuesday. When that does take place, the Highway 61 bridge in Hastings will be shut down for 48 to 60 hours.
Man who kidnapped son avoids prison
DULUTH -- A Cloquet, Minn., man who kidnapped his 7-year-old son from his ex-wife for 11 days in March was sentenced Thursday to two years at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center and 10 years of supervised probation and was ordered to undergo chemical dependency and mental health evaluations.
James Leon Nordrum, 42, escaped a 68-month prison sentence when his defense attorney, Terri Port Wright, successfully argued to Judge Heather Sweetland that there were substantial and compelling reasons for her client to be treated locally while on probation and not sent to prison.
Port Wright argued in a written memorandum to the court that Nordrum qualified for a shorter-than-guideline sentence and probation because he didn’t physically harm his son, was cooperative with law enforcement, respectful and remorseful in court, and that he was amenable to probation.
Port Wright said that during the time Nordrum kidnapped his son and held him at a rural cabin in St. Louis County’s Stoney Brook Township that he cooked the child’s favorite meals for him, played with him throughout the day, read his favorite books to him, made sure he was clean and had a comfortable place to sleep.
Moorhead investigating garbage bin fires
MOORHEAD, Minn. – A south Moorhead neighborhood has been plagued with garbage bin fires for the past month or so, according to Fire Chief Rich Duysen.
Duysen said about half a dozen fires have been reported in metal garbage bins south of Minnesota State University Moorhead in an area from roughly 10th Avenue to 18th Avenue between 16th and 20th Streets South.
In most cases, apartment building garbage bins have been involved.
So far, no buildings have been damaged, but the worry is a fire could spread to a nearby structure, Duysen said.
The fires are typically reported between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., he said.
“It happens often enough to know it’s not accidental,” Duysen added.
Richwood rollover victim identified
RICHWOOD, Minn. – The Becker County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victim of a rollover on Wednesday near Richwood as Nicholas Alan Lehmann of rural Callaway.
The sheriff’s office said Wednesday that Lehmann was found dead after apparently being ejected from an SUV that overturned on County Highway 34 just east of Richwood, about 12 miles north of Detroit Lakes.
The crash was reported about 7:45 a.m. No other details were available.
Nursing home, hospital recognized for safety
DAWSON, Minn. — Johnson Memorial Health Services, a hospital and nursing home in Dawson, has earned a top designation by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for going above and beyond in meeting safety requirements.
Johnson Memorial is the first nursing home — and only the second hospital — in the state to achieve the Safety and Health Recognition Achievement Program, or MnSHARP.
“Most places can’t meet the qualifications,” said Ken Peterson, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
“It’s a big deal,” said Kathy Johnson, chief executive and administrator. Several Dawson residents joined in a recognition event Thursday.
Thirty-nine Minnesota employers with fewer than 500 employees, mostly in the manufacturing industry, have qualified so far. The Department of Labor and Industry has a similar program, MnSTAR, for employers with more than 500 workers. Only one hospital in the state has earned MnSTAR certification; 31 large employers in all are certified.
Wind turbine part falls off truck, blocks road
EDGELEY, N.D. – A wind turbine component that fell off a truck near Edgeley on Thursday forced officials to temporarily close U.S. Highway 281 to oversize loads.
The road was expected to remain closed to oversize loads until Friday afternoon. Normal traffic and semi-trucks were able travel around the closed portion of the roadway by using an adjacent frontage road.
‘Twilight’ star supports animal cruelty measure
DICKINSON, N.D. – Kellan Lutz, a Dickinson native and star of the “Twilight” movie series, has announced his support of North Dakota’s Measure 5 that would toughen animal cruelty laws.
Lutz “was saddened and shocked to learn that my home state is one of only two states in the country that fails to take proper action in the cases of extreme acts of cruelty against animals,” according to a news release.
“Supporting this initiative is the best way to ensure that laws truly represent our values,” Lutz said in the release.
The measure will go to North Dakota voters Nov. 6.
Change of plea set in Derby Girls theft case
FARGO – The former Derby Girl who has previously denied stealing thousands of dollars from the organization is scheduled to change her plea to guilty next month.
Louise Jauss was scheduled to stand trial Tuesday on a felony theft charge, but the trial has been canceled and a plea hearing is set for Oct. 8 in Cass County District Court.
According to court documents, Derby Girls members suspected Jauss, the club’s treasurer, of stealing $21,000 from the organization. Court records allege a private auditor found about $13,000 in unauthorized transactions, mainly ATM withdrawals.
Jauss pleaded not guilty to the theft charge May 31. The Class C felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
A message left for Jauss’ attorney Thursday morning was not returned.
Prisoner transport firm doesn’t want to pay
FARGO – A prisoner transport company says it should not have to pay costs to farmers who helped flush an escaped convict from a North Dakota cornfield.
A federal lawsuit against Extradition Transport of America asks a judge to order restitution for several law enforcement agencies and the farmers who formed a posse for the October 2011 search.
Authorities say about $95,000 was spent recapturing Joseph Megna, who was being transported from Florida to Washington state.
The feds say the action is possible under a 2000 federal law passed following the escape in New Mexico of an inmate convicted of murdering an 11-year-old Fargo girl, Jeanna North.
The company says in a response filed Wednesday that the federal court does not have jurisdiction in the case and it should be thrown out.
Fargo man gets 11 years on porn charges
FARGO – A Fargo man was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Thursday to 11 years in prison on charges of distributing and possessing child pornography.
After serving his time, Blaine Denis Campbell, 36, will be placed on supervised release for 10 years.
Campbell earlier pleaded guilty to trafficking in images and videos depicting young boys engaged in sexual conduct, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fargo.
In all, Campbell possessed about 600 images and 24 videos of child pornography involving adolescent boys, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Sheriff cracks down on speeding deputies
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost continues to crack down on speeders within his own department.
Deputy Rod Huot recently received a letter of counseling for driving a patrol car at more than 90 mph on rural county roads two days in a row because he was late for work. On Thursday, the appealed to the County Commission, saying he was being singled out and bullied by a lieutenant.
Rost defended the disciplinary action before the commission. “One thing I’m going to have in this department is accountability to the public, to you guys, and they need to understand it hasn’t been here in the past but it’s going to be here in the future.”
Three deputies have also received letters of counseling for speeding for no apparent reason. One drove 84 mph all the way to Belcourt to pickup prisoners. One drove around construction barricades and ran a stop sign in Minot and one led a high-speed pursuit into Larimore.
The commission voted to uphold Huot’s reprimand.
Victims of accident near Voss ID’d
VOSS, N.D. -- Steven Eugene Hovde, 62, was killed and Jeannie Lynn Stockert, 47, was injured in the Wednesday morning accident near Voss, according to the state Highway Patrol.
The names of the Forest River, N.D., residents were withheld by the Patrol until Thursday afternoon.
Hovde was westbound in a Chevrolet Silverado pickup on Walsh County Road 15 and Stockert was his passenger. The vehicle left the road about 2 miles west of Voss, entered a ditch, vaulted over the driveway, landed in the ditch and came to a rest.
Stockert was taken to the hospital by a passerby. Hovde declined and was found dead by emergency crews arriving on the scene.
The patrol said they did not wear seatbelts. The accident remains under investigation.More from around the web