Associated Press News Summaries for Saturday
Posted by KSJB News on 7/22/2017 7:30:00 PM.
Associated Press news summaries for North and South Dakota and Minnesota.


LISBON, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Highway Patrol has identified a 14-year old girl who died when her bicycle was struck by a vehicle near Lisbon.

The patrol says Bethany Elijah died at the scene Thursday morning on a gravel road east of town.

The patrol says the driver, a 75-year-old Lisbon man, was traveling east and navigating an uphill curve when he encountered the girl, who was traveling west.

The driver was not injured.

The crash remains under investigation.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Officials say at least 268 rural wildfires have been reported in North Dakota this year, which has put stress on volunteer firefighters.

Director of Homeland Security Greg Wilz tells the Bismarck Tribune that state may consider the possibility of stipends for rural volunteer firefighters who are sometimes responding to multiple blazes daily.

Severely dry conditions have increased the risk of wildfires in much of the state.

Wilz says more than half of the wildfires this year have occurred in July. He says the top causes of the fires reported are from farming equipment and lightning strikes.

MEDORA, N.D. (AP) — Two small wildfires burning in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota are 90 percent contained.

The National Park Service says both fires are in remote, rugged territory and are less than a square mile in size. The National Park Service says the Jones Creek Fire is 5 acres and the Halliday Well Fire is 11 acres.

Lightning started both fires. The area is in extreme drought this summer.

The agency says trails in the area that had been closed due to the fires are now open.


MEDORA, N.D. (AP) — Six North Dakota natives are in the cast and band at this year's annual musical in Medora, the largest number in recent years.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that Taylor Leet of Bismarck, Alyssa Scott of Fargo, Misti Koop of Grand Forks and Damon Fichter of Dickinson are four of the 12 singers in this year's Medora Musical. Former Bismarck mayor and longtime Medora performer Bill Sorensen is co-hosting the show, and Bismarck native Zach Schmidt is the band's drummer.

More than 1,000 people audition for the musical each year regionally and nationally, with cast members coming from around the country.

Koop was the only North Dakota native on stage when she began performing in 2012. She says it's fun to have new North Dakota natives involved in the musical.

WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) — The president of the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton has apologized for comments he made on a Fargo radio show about the value of a high school diploma.

John Richman was talking about the amount of education necessary for a person to be a contributing member of society when he said a high school diploma provides "enough education to be a ward of the state."

The Wahpeton Daily News reports that Richman was heavily criticized on social media. North Dakota Republican Party district chairman John Trandem also said on a Fargo TV station program that Richman's words were "unfortunate."

Richman told the newspaper he realizes he offended some people and made a mistake. He said, "I do apologize because it was never my intent to offend anyone."


RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Rapid City woman who pleaded guilty to stealing money from military veterans has been sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to repay at least $45,000.

The Rapid City Journal reports reports 41-year-old Cassandra Koscak worked as a representative of veterans who receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Koscak pleaded guilty in federal court to misappropriation by fiduciary, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. Authorities say she transferred money from at least two veterans' accounts to her own.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Jeffrey Viken on Tuesday gave prosecutors 90 days to determine the full amount Koscak must repay.

Court records show she has repaid $20,000 so far.

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Many local officials have called a soybean processing plant that's being built in the northern part of South Dakota a huge economic win for the state, but it's difficult to find data or details to back those assertions.

The Aberdeen News reports that the history and status of Ag Processing Inc.'s soybean plant in southern Nebraska can more accurately predict what Aberdeen and the surrounding area can expect.

Many of the same things officials have said about Aberdeen's plant match what was said when the expansion of the soybean processing facility in Hastings was announced.

Yet, some things are different. For example, some of the infrastructure was already in place in Hastings.

The Aberdeen soybean plant is expected to begin operating in fall 2019.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reminding the public that some sandbars in the Missouri River between Nebraska and South Dakota are closed to recreational use to keep endangered bird species' nests safe.

The Corps says endangered interior least terns and threatened piping plovers are currently nesting on sandbars around the Fort Randall Dam in South Dakota and Ponca State Park in Nebraska. The birds use the sandbars to lay their eggs and hatch chicks.

Corps Senior Program Manager Mark Harberg says closed sandbars are marked with signs warning the public to keep out of the area, but that some signs have been vandalized.

The nesting season runs from mid-May through August.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Ron Parsons, a Sioux Falls attorney who has specialized in appellate and constitutional law, has been nominated by President Donald Trump for U.S. attorney for South Dakota.

The White House announced the nomination, subject to confirmation in the Senate, on Friday.

Parsons, 49, is a partner at Johnson Janklow Abdallah Reiter and Parsons. The Argus Leader reported that one of his specialties has been handling appeals in the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Parsons clerked for 8th Circuit Judge Roger Wollman. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota — he has a collection of short stories to his credit — and his law degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law.

Parsons would replace Randy Seiler, who took the post in 2015. Parsons lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and daughter.

BATAVIA, Ill. (AP) — Ground has been broken on the site of a physics experiment that would send subatomic particles 800 miles underground from the Chicago suburbs to South Dakota.

Friday afternoon's groundbreaking for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility was held simultaneously at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and Sanford Lab in South Dakota. Construction over the next decade will create the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment . The project includes 1,000 scientists and engineers from more 30 countries.

The experiment would send a beam of neutrinos 800 miles through the earth to let scientists study their interaction with other particles. The beam would be one of the biggest U.S. particle physics projects in many years.

Neutrinos are so fast and small that scientists have barely detected them for study. Experts say the ultimate goal is to better understand the origins of the universe.

KYLE, S.D. (AP) — Law enforcement leaders from the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Pennington County are working on an agreement to make it harder for violent offenders to escape justice by fleeing to another jurisdiction.

Tribal leaders met with the Pennington County sheriff and states attorney and the Rapid City police chief Thursday night in Kyle. Oglala tribal member Dave Swallow expressed concern about a cooperative agreement, saying the 1851 treaty with the U.S. government precludes any county presence on the reservation.

KOTA-TV reports law enforcement leaders hope to convince tribal members that cooperation is key to improving public safety and that there's no effort to impinge on tribal sovereignty.

Rapid City Chief Karl Jegeris says it will take patience and persistence to work out an agreement.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis city councilwoman says she's had positive dealings with the mayor's pick to take over the police department, but she wonders whether it might be better to bring in an outsider.

Linea Palmisano, who represents the ward where a police officer shot an unarmed Australian woman who had called 911 last weekend, said Saturday that she's known Assistant Police Chief Medaria Arradondo for some time. She says she's relied on him to explain police initiatives and has always been impressed.

But the councilwoman says she thinks it might be too difficult for someone from within the department to make the cultural changes needed to curtail police violence.

Mayor Betsy Hodges on Friday nominated Arradondo to take over as police chief from Janee Harteau, who resigned at Hodges request amid the investigation into the July 15 shooting of Justine Damond.

CHAMPLIN, Minn. (AP) — A 92-year-old Minnesota man still runs three to four miles about four times a week.

KARE-TV reports that John Keston has 53 marathons under his belt.

Keston was once an actor who appeared on stage in London and on Broadway. He also appeared in numerous print and TV advertisements for everything from bank services to candy bars.

He taught classical singing at Bemidji State University, where he ran — and won — his first race at the age of 55.

From his late 60s to his 80s, he broke many U.S. and world records for runners in his age group.

He was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2001.

Keston says he keeps running because he doesn't "want to expire too early in life."

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt says he will authorize legislative pay raises for his colleagues in the House.

The Star Tribune reports the Republican made the decision Friday, and a day after two state legislators sued alleging that he had violated the state Constitution by not approving a $14,000 raise.

Minnesota voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 that handed the power over lawmaker pay to an independent council. That body raised pay from $31,000 to $45,000 annually.

State senators started receiving the higher pay earlier this month, but Daudt said he wouldn't pay to cover those higher salaries for 134 House members and blocked them.

Daudt says in a statement he relented because it's "constitutionally required to pay legislators the prescribed amount."

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Researchers at the University of Minnesota went to the State Fair to discover what makes the perfect smile.

Minnesota Daily reports that Sofia Lyford-Pike, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon and assistant professor at the university, went to the 2015 state fair to see what the average person finds appealing in a smile.

Lyford-Pike works on patients with paralyzed faces and routinely makes decisions about how to change their smile.

Stephen Guy is a faculty member in the university's Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He says more than 800 participants rated computer-generated smiles based on how pleasant, genuine and effective they were.

Researchers adjusted the smiles' width, the angle and the amount of teeth shown. The smiles that were in the middle for all characteristics performed the best.

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona is telling armed drivers how they should handle themselves if they get pulled over by police.

The gun-friendly state recently changed its rule book for the road in a bid to avoid deadly encounters between police and people behind the wheel.

Arizona is among a small number of states instructing drivers on what to expect during traffic stops. But it appears to be the first to use its driving rules to address situations in which motorists are armed.

The changes in the state that allows people to carry weapons without permits were sought by a lawmaker who wants to avoid confrontations such as one that killed Philando Castile.

The Minnesota man, who had a gun permit, was fatally shot during a 2016 traffic stop after telling an officer he was armed.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — St. Paul police say one person was killed and two people were critically injured after a car sped through a stop sign and struck a Metro Transit bus.

The Star Tribune reports that it happened at about 7:30 p.m. Friday in St. Paul's Frogtown neighborhood.

Police spokesman Steve Linders says a 26-year-old man driving a white sedan ran a stop sign after fleeing the scene of a minor accident, hit a median, went airborne and slammed into the bus, slicing through it.

Police say a 48-year-old man riding the bus was ejected when the vehicle collided with it. He died at the scene.

Another bus passenger, a 19-year-old man, was taken to a hospital with critical injuries. Police say the driver of the car also is in critical condition.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An unarmed Australian woman's fatal shooting by a Minneapolis police officer who is a Somali-American has turned an unwelcome spotlight on the city's Somali community.

Negative comments have included former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's recent statement that Officer Mohamed Noor was an "affirmative-action hire by the hijab-wearing mayor of Minneapolis." She was making an apparent reference to the fact that Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has worn a head scarf when meeting with leaders of the city's Somali-American community.

Bachmann also suggested Noor may have shot Justine Damond for "cultural" reasons.

Police Chief Janee (juh-NAY') Harteau (har-TOH'), who resigned Friday, said Noor's race and ethnicity had nothing to do with the July 15 killing of the 40-year-old Damond, who was shot after she called 911 to report a possible rape.


EDEN VALLEY, Minn. (AP) — Two organizations are offering a total of $11,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever released approximately 38,000 mink from a central Minnesota farm.

The Star Tribune reports that Fur Commission USA is offering $10,000 and Tri-County Crime Stoppers is offer $1,000 for information about how more than $750,000 worth of mink were released from Lang Farms near Eden Valley earlier this week.

Fur Commission USA Executive Director Michael Whelan says thousands of the mink have died from heat, stress and dehydration. Most of the animals that died were young and hadn't yet been weaned from their mothers.

Whelan says the incident is being investigated by the Stearns County Sheriff's office and the FBI.

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