Regional news briefsNews briefs from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota
By: Forum Communications, Pine Journal
Man convicted of murder for fight outside bar
DULUTH -- A St. Louis County jury deliberated a little more than three hours Thursday afternoon before finding a St. Michael, Minn., man guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the November death of a man outside a Proctor bar.
Paul Welle, 33, showed no visible emotion as he stood before Judge Mark Munger as the judge read the two guilty verdicts.
St. Louis County prosecutor Rebekka Stumme told jurors in her closing argument that murder victim Dale Anderson, 60, had a wife, two children, a granddaughter and countless loved ones and all he was trying to do on the night of Nov. 6 when he was knocked to the ground outside the Powerhouse Bar was protect a vulnerable young woman, who he had been told was being harassed by Welle.
Munger sent Welle back to the St. Louis County Jail. The defendant will be held there until sentencing on Nov. 15.
Anderson, a Duluth native who was living in Blaine, died of a brain hemorrhage three days after being punched and falling on the back of his head on a concrete surface. Welle told investigators that he punched Anderson once and was acting in self-defense after Anderson first stepped on his foot and punched him.
$1,100 lost, $900 returned with an apology
HASTINGS, Minn. – After he lost an envelope with $1,100 in cash on the way home from the bank, a Hastings man figured his money was gone forever.
A week later, the money was returned, a least most of it.
The Hastings Police Department received an anonymous letter Wednesday from the person who found the envelope. The person returned $900 of the $1,100 and in the letter the person wrote that they “really needed” the $200 and that they were sorry they had to take some of the money.
Officers were attempting to get in touch with the man who reported he had lost the cash as week earlier so that he can come and recover it, a least most of it.
Trooper involved in injury accident
FISHER, Minn. -- A Minnesota State Patrol trooper was one of two people injured Tuesday night when his patrol car was rear-ended by another vehicle along U.S. Highway 2, about two miles west of Fisher, Minn.
The eastbound lanes of Highway 2 were closed to traffic for about two hours after the accident, which occurred at 7:51 p.m.
According to the report, the accident occurred when Trooper Dean Smith, 47, driving a State Patrol cruiser westbound on Highway 2, turned in a median turn-around area in pursuit of an eastbound speeding vehicle when it was struck in the rear by another eastbound vehicle.
As he entered the roadway, the cruiser, a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe, was struck in the right rear corner by a 2012 Mazda 3 operated by Virgil Benoit, 69, Red Lake Falls.
Both vehicles left the roadway after the collision and rolled. Benoit was transported to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks with non-life-threatening injuries. Smith was taken to Riverview Hospital in Crookston, where he was treated for minor injuries and released.
Both drivers were wearing seatbelts and alcohol was not detected at the scene, according to the report.
Man charged with stealing computers from college
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. -- A 43-year-old Farmington man faces felony theft charges for allegedly stealing two computers from a lab at Dakota County Technical College last April.
According to a complaint filed this week in the Dakota County Attorney’s office, Dennis Bryant Greenwood and another individual walked into a DCTC computer lab April 10 and asked two people working there which computers were broken. Individuals in the lab said they didn’t know, and Greenwood and the other individual left the room, then came back and left with two of the computers.
The school’s chief information officer discovered the computers missing April 17.
A second individual, identified in the complaint as Chad DeYoung, confessed to the theft while giving a statement to Lakeville police regarding an unrelated crime. According to the complaint, Greenwood admitted in a recorded phone call that he and DeYoung had stolen the computers.
Bail set in Moorhead sex assault case
MOORHEAD – A Fargo man accused of punching and sexually assaulting a woman in her car in a downtown Moorhead parking lot made his first court appearance Wednesday in Clay County District Court.
Bail was set at $500,000 cash or bond without conditions or $100,000 with conditions for 46-year-old Richard Lee Haaland Jr.
Haaland is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the Sept. 6 incident. He was arrested late Friday when authorities executed a search warrant at his north Fargo residence.
Moorhead police said tips from the public in response to the release of surveillance video footage were instrumental in identifying Haaland as a suspect.
Wind company lays off more than 300
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- LM Wind Power, one of Grand Forks’ largest manufacturers, announced that it would lay off more than 300, citing weak demand and uncertain political support for the industry.
The reductions include 200 full-time production workers, 15 administrative staff workers and approximately 130 temporary workers and contractors, according to the company’s statement.
LM’s remaining workforce is 270, according to Dan Gordon, the company’s human resources manager. The laid-off workers will stay on the job until Nov. 30.
LM Wind Power in Grand Forks manufactures turbine blades for wind power projects.
Tuesday’s announcement blamed industrywide contraction and federal inaction over the Production Tax Credit, a key wind subsidy set to expire at the end of the year.
U.S. demand for new wind power is likely to fall by 70 percent in 2013, the announcement stated, forcing the company to cut workers.
Noonan is Teacher of the Year
WEST FARGO, N.D. – Andrea Noonan, an eighth-grade language arts teacher from Cheney Middle School, is North Dakota’s 2013 Teacher of the Year.
Noonan was honored Wednesday at the middle school in a ceremony presided over by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
“This is just a huge honor. … It’s very overwhelming. It’s a humbling experience,” Noonan said.
Noonan is now the state’s representative in the national Teacher of the Year competition, Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead said.
Noonan’s grandfather, Jim Noonan, was a superintendent for Moorhead and East Grand Forks, Minn., schools.
He died in February, just a couple of months before his granddaughter was named West Fargo’s Teacher of the Year.
“He’s smiling right now, I know it,” Noonan said.
The other three finalists for the award were:
Scott Johnson, a chemistry and anatomy teacher at Bismarck Century High School.
Phyllis Kadrmas, an English teacher at Devils Lake High School.
Linda Hope, a science teacher at Langdon High School.
Victims in double fatal accident identified
CANDO, N.D. -- The North Dakota Highway Patrol has released the names of two people were killed in a collision with a semitrailer 13 miles west of Cando on Tuesday.
The patrol said Dillion Azure, 24, Belcourt, and passenger Calleen Belgarde, 19, Belcourt, were pronounced dead at the scene.
The accident occurred about 9 a.m. atsAzure was driving a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier eastbound on N.D. Highway 17.
A 1985 semitruck with an empty hay rack trailer, driven by Dana McIntyre, 41, Leeds, N.D., had entered the highway from a field going west on N.D. Highway 17.
The Chevrolet failed to negotiate a curve and entered the westbound lane. The semi moved to the right, avoiding the car, but the car continued and struck the rear tires of the trailer, causing the semi truck to jackknife, the patrol reported. The truck went into one ditche while the Chevrolet spun into the other.
Another passenger in the Chevrolet, Alysaa Azure, 19, Belcourt, was injured and by air ambulance from the scene to Trinity Hospital, Minot. Dillion Azure had not been wearing a seat belt. It is not known if his passengers were wearing seat belts.
McIntyre was uninjured.
‘Fit 4 Classroom’ health initiative launched
FARGO – Sanford Health, WebMD and Discovery Education has launched “Fit 4 the classroom,” a program for elementary educators, students and their families to encourage healthier food choices and more physical activity among children.
The program takes a holistic approach to wellness.
For more information, log on to www.fit4theclasroom.com.
Pickup rear-ends school bus
SPENCER, S.D. — At least four students were transported to medical facilities in Mitchell after a pickup rear-ended a school bus Wednesday morning near Spencer.
It was the third crash involving a school bus in the Mitchell area so far this school year, which is only 28 days old.
A white 1999 Ford F-250 pickup driven by Arlo North, 23, of Howard, collided with the back end of a 2006 bus from the Hanson School District. The crash happened at 7:52 a.m. about four miles east of the Alexandria corner on state Highway 38.
North said he had glanced down for a cell phone call just prior to the crash.
“I looked down to see if my phone was on to call my boss; it wasn’t, and when I looked up, a big yellow thing was in front of me,” North said. “I stood on my brakes.”
Hanson School District bus driver Douglas Guericke, 53, of Alexandria, was waiting at a bus stop on Highway 38 when the pickup rammed into the rear of the school bus.