NEWS FOR THE LAKES AREA
David Brusven Plea Hearing
A 29-year-old Elizabeth man pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree burglary and fifth-degree drug possession.
David John Brusven entered the pleas in Otter Tail County District Court. He was involved in a burglary at a home in the 400 block of Spruce Street in Fergus Falls February 1st. Police arrested Brusven after pulling over a car seen leaving the burglary scene. Police found drugs in the car.
Brusven remains jailed. A plea agreement calls for a six-month jail sentence and a stayed 39-month prison sentence. He’ll be sentenced June 1st.
Austin Barry Sentenced
A 19-year-old Fergus Falls man has been sentenced in Otter Tail County District Court to 30 days in jail.
Austin Jon Barry was convicted of a fifth-degree controlled substance crime. He was a passenger in a car pulled over by Fergus Falls police June 10th last year. Police found methamphetamine during a search of the vehicle.
Barry will get credit for 39 days already served. He’ll be on five years probation.
Jordan Miller First Appearance
A rural Sebeka man made his first appearance in Otter Tail County District Court Tuesday on two fifth-degree drug possession charges.
Twenty-year-old Jordan Vergil Miller was stopped for speeding on Highway 10 near Bluffton April 1st. A state trooper found marijuana, LSD and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.
Miller was released on his own recognizance. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 17th.
Rural Erhard Burglary
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a burglary at a residence just south of Edwards on County Road 3.
A suspect or suspects forced open the front door of the residence sometime between Sunday evening and Monday evening. A recent ATV trail was seen leading from the house into a nearby field, to a previously worn path.
Items taken from the home were a dark walnut armoire, two clear-colored glass kerosene hurricane lamps, seven wood pallets, and several small brass religious figures.
Anyone with information about the burglary are asked to call the sheriff’s office.
Rural Pelican Rapids Fire
Fire destroyed a home and its contents northwest of Pelican Rapids this morning.
The call reporting the fire was made just after 6:00 am. Pelican Rapids Fire Chief Trevor Steeves says two houses were located on a farmstead along 450th Street.
The woman in the burning house was not home at the time. Her son, at the other house, came out of the house and noticed his mother’s house had burnt to the ground. Steeves says the campfire last night was in a fire ring. The fire department isolated a propane tank, shutting it off, then mopped up what was left of the fire.
New Fire Chief
The new Fergus Falls Fire Chief took the oath of office at last night’s city council meeting, and was sworn in by Mayor Ben Schierer. Muchow was born and raised in Fergus Falls. He is returning to the department in which his fire service career began. He replaces long time Chief Mark “Sparky” Hovland, who retired at the end of March.
Muchow is a 12 year veteran of the Moorhead Fire Department.
Several people were injured in a rear-end collision early Monday afternoon in Ogema.
The State Patrol says a pickup driven by 68-year-old Gary Erickson of Ogema was in the turn lane from northbound Highway 59 to turn west when a van driven by 27-year-old Timothy Lee of Detroit Lakes rear-ended the pickup.
The pickup occupants suffered minor injuries. Two passengers in the van, 29-year-old Corinne Devall of Detroit Lakes and 34-year-old Erin Vanden of Dent, were taken to Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Detroit Lakes with non life-threatening injuries.
Fergus Falls police investigated a report from a Delta Airlines pilot saying someone in the Fergus Falls area shined a laser beam at the airplane about 11 pm Friday. The plane was flying at 10,000 feet on its way to a landing in Fargo. Police were unable to find a suspect.
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office says a 19-year-old man from Orange City, Florida, was injured when the ATV he was riding in Ottertail rolled Saturday afternoon. The driver, Nathanial Littrell, was riding the ATV in the ditch along Highway 78. He jumped a road approach and rolled the vehicle. Littrell was taken by ambulance to Perham Health where he was treated for injuries to his head, collarbone, and leg. He was not wearing a helmet.
Jeffery Kampsula Sentenced
A 49-year-old Fergus Falls man, formerly of Ottertail, was sentenced Friday in Otter Tail County District Court to 19 months in prison. But that’s not the end of the story.
Forty-nine-year-old Jeffery Robert Kampsula was sentenced on a charge of felony theft. He was sentenced to stayed prison time on charges of theft by swindle and aggravated forgery. An Otter Tail County jury found him guilty of all three charges in January.
Kampsula stole several high-priced items from a rural Deer Creek residence that he was renting, and sold them. According to a court complaint, the items stolen included a four wheeler, battery charger, six bottom plow, dump trailer, gas tractor, skid loader, combine, car, and radiators from other machinery. He also emptied a grain bin and sold the soybeans to elevators.
The thefts weren’t discovered until one of the two brothers that owned the rental property died and an inventory was taken.
The sentencing was made interesting when Kampsula informed the court that he would be appealing his jury convictions. He was already turned down for another court trial. District Judge Wally Senyk stayed execution of the prison time because of that appeal. Senyk has given Kampsula 90 days to get an answer of whether the appeal will happen or not. If the appeal is turned down, Kampsula will go to prison. If the theft conviction is overturned, there would be no prison time. However, Senyk indicated that if that happens, he will be imposing local jail time.
Three probation violation cases are also being impacted by the appeal. If Kampsula’s convictions are overturned, there would then be no basis for a probation violation. If the appeal is denied, Kampsula has been ordered to pay just over $35,000 restitution.
Wahpeton Meth Arrest
A suspect is under arrest after authorities raided a Wahpeton home and found methamphetamine with an estimated street value of more than $1 million.
The Southeast Multi-County Agency Drug Task Force says agents executed the search warrant on Friday and found about 13 pounds of meth. Agents also seized drug paraphernalia, two handguns, and an AK-47 assault rifle.
Twenty-nine-year-old Louis Leander Douphinais was arrested on probable cause charges of possession of controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is set at $50,000 cash only.
Aliyus Rudh Sentenced
A Rothsay man will serve a year in jail after being convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Twenty-six-year-old Aliyus Peter Rudh appeared for sentencing in Otter Tail County District Court. He was accused of inappropriately touching a young child from January through December, 2009.
A 48-month prison sentence was stayed. Rudh will get credit for 126 days already served.
Taylor Luster Sentenced
An 18-year-old Sebeka man has been sentenced to a year in jail after being convicted of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.
Taylor Ray Allen Luster reportedly went to a Perham residence on 8th Ave SW on August 5th last year. He was confronted at the front door by three men who blocked him from entering. Then Luster reportedly started to pull a .22 caliber handgun out. As he was pulling the gun out, one of the men punched him. Luster then pointed the gun toward the open doorway and fired. Police found him walking nearby and arrested him.
Luster was sentenced in Otter Tail County District Court. A 36 month prison term was stayed. Luster was given credit for 63 days already served.
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office received a report Wednesday of a break-in to a cabin on Stalker Lake south of Underwood. There is a possible suspect. Authorities have not been able to contact the owner of the property to get a list of possible missing items.
A resident who lives south of Rothsay on 110th Avenue called authorities Wednesday afternoon to report an older wooden granary on fire. The homeowner had been burning a leaf and brush pile when the fire got out of control and started the granary on fire. There were no reports of injuries. Rothsay and Elizabeth Fire Departments responded.
Jason Jensen First Appearance
A Moorhead man, formerly of Menahga, made his first appearance Wednesday in Otter Tail County District Court on burglary and theft charges.
Thirty-one-year-old Jason Everett Jensen is charged in one case with third-degree burglary and theft. He is accused of stealing a pickup from a rural Rothsay detached garage December 8th last year and using it in the commission of a second crime.
He is charged with second and third degree burglary and first degree criminal damage to property in the second case. Jensen is accused of breaking into the Elizabeth General Store December 9th and stealing a safe.
Bond and bail are set at $25,000. His next court appearance will be April 17th.
Nicholas Peterson Plea Hearing
A Bluffton man has pleaded guilty in Otter Tail County District Court to first-degree criminal damage to property.
Nineteen-year-old Nicholas Tyrell Peterson, according to a court complaint, got his pickup stuck in a ditch on a minimum maintenance road May 22nd last year east of Henning.
Peterson went to a nearby residence and stole a John Deere tractor from a shed. He tipped the tractor over trying to pull his pickup out of the ditch. There was $6600 damage to the tractor.
A plea agreement calls for a 30-day jail sentence and restitution. Charges of theft, third-degree burglary, and underage drinking and driving are expected to be dismissed.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 19th.
Man Rescued After Falling Through Ice
A 69-year-old Sauk Rapids man was rescued from West Silent Lake west of Dent after he fell through the ice while fishing just after noon Wednesday.
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office says the unidentified man was fishing when he broke through. He was able to hold onto the side of the ice and call for help. A person in the area checking a cabin heard the calls for help and called authorities.
Members of Dent Rescue and Vergas Rescue were able to break through the ice with rescue equipment and rescue the man. Becker County authorities used an air boat to retrieve personal items still in the lake.
The man was taken to a Detroit Lakes hospital suffering from hypothermia. Chief Deputy Barry Fitzgibbons says the man is expected to make a full recovery. The Sheriff’s office will release his name later as they are currently trying to notify family members of the incident.
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office is advising that the ice is not safe and not worth the risk of traveling on. Becker County rescued two people Tuesday night after their ATVs went through the ice on Height of the Land Lake east of Detroit Lakes.
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office is investigating two burglaries reported in the county Tuesday.
J & K Marine in Vergas was reportedly forced open sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning. An undetermined amount of cash was taken.
Another burglary was reported at Jeff’s Truck & Trailer Service northwest of Fergus Falls.
Again, the building was forcibly entered. Gas tanks on vehicles in the building were drilled through. It appears the suspect or suspects were stealing gas.
There are no suspects.
David Resch Arrested
An Underwood man is under arrest after allegedly stealing a car and leading authorities on a short chase.
Twenty-eight-year-old David Thomas Resch is accused of stealing a Cadillac Escalade from the parking lot of the Erhard Liquor Store just after 2:00 pm Tuesday. A few minutes later, a state trooper spotted the car on Otter Tail County Highway 24 near County Highway 3 at Maplewood State Park.
A short pursuit ensued before the car was driven off the road into Maplewood State Park. The car became stuck in a grassy meadow and started the grass on fire, which started the car on fire.
The trooper’s line of sight was obscured by a hill and he couldn’t see that the suspect driver had fled on foot. A large area of grass was burning in the park.
Sheriff Brian Schlueter, on a hunch, took a road and saw Resch. Resch was arrested without incident on probable cause charges of motor vehicle theft and fleeing. The stolen vehicle was a total loss.
James Stanislowski First Appearance
A rural Perham man has been charged in Otter Tail County District Court with engaging in electronic communication relating to sexual contact with a minor and distributing via electronic communication materials related to sexual conduct.
Thirty-two-year-old James Alan Stanislowski is accused of contacting the minor using a computer and of sending obscene photos to the youth in June through July, 2016.
Stanislowski made his first appearance on the charges this week. He was released on his own recognizance. His next appearance is May 22nd.
Matthew Hamilton First Appearance
A 39-year-old Fergus Falls man has been charged in Otter Tail County District Court with second-degree burglary, receiving stolen property, and theft.
Matthew John Alden Hamilton is accused of breaking into a Fergus Falls home in October, 2016, taking several sets of car keys and stealing a pickup. Police found the stolen pickup at a residence in the 100 block of East Summit Avenue. A search warranted was executed at the residence and the other sets of keys were found. A warrant was issued for Hamilton’s arrest.
Hamilton made his first appearance on the charges Monday. Bond was set at $50,000 and cash bail at $5,000. Hamilton’s next appearance is scheduled for April 7th.
Franken Rural Budget Meetings
President Donald Trump recently unveiled his $1.15 trillion budget. Minnesota Senator Al Franken wants to know how the budget, as proposed, would affect rural areas of Minnesota.
Two of Franken’s team held a meeting in Fergus Falls Tuesday to get the reaction of local employees who work with people receiving government aide. Twelve of the government’s 15 cabinet agencies would face cuts as proposed.
Jake Schwitzer, State Policy Advisor for Franken, says rural communities would be impacted more than metropolitan areas.
People at the Fergus Falls meeting said the loss of low income heating assistance would be a problem, especially with Minnesota’s cold winters. There could be a loss of such things as funding to fight the opioid problem and programs to get low income residents out of poverty. Farmers worry about the impact of tariffs on imports. Public schools worry about the impact of school vouchers.
Schwitzer says roughly a half dozen such meetings will be held in rural areas around the state to gather information on the impact the president’s budget will have.
Man Shot in Face
A man was shot in the face early this morning in Fargo. Police responded to 911 calls of multiple gunshots fired in the 2500 block of 15th Street South just before 2:30. Deputy Police Chief Joe Anderson says officers responding to the reports spotted a car speeding north from the area and it was pulled over at the corner of 1st Avenue and 10th Street South.
Anderson says at this time, they don't have any information about a suspect or if anyone else may have been shot. The woman driving the car pulled over and a male passenger have been detained for questioning as detectives piece together what happened. Anderson says the shooting victim is not cooperating. He says it's possible the people in the car were taking the victim to the E.R. Police did recover bullet casings in the street outside apartments in the neighborhood. Anderson could not say how many shots were fired but initial reports indicated as many as 8 shots were heard. Investigators are also canvassing the area to see if anyone may have witnessed the shooting.
Crosby Mayor Faces Criminal Charges
As the mayor of Crosby faces numerous criminal charges, the Crosby City Council is weighing its options. At least two members of the Crosby City Council said Monday they want the mayor to step down after he was arrested earlier this month.
Sixty-eight year old Mayor James Hunter faces five charges: felony second degree assault with a dangerous weapon, felony theft by swindle, felony receiving stolen property, felony lawful gambling fraud, and gross misdemeanor engaging in the business of a vehicle financing company without a license.
Hunter stands accused of swindling his lover's husband out of $90,000 through the sale of his business, along with the other alleged crimes.
Hunter was briefly jailed, but later released. He posted bond.
After a last-minute addition to the agenda of Monday's city council meeting, Council Member Paul Heglund publicly called for Hunter to step down, saying he had damaged the town's reputation. By law, the council can only take action if the mayor is absent for 90 consecutive days.
A motion hearing for Hunter's case is scheduled for April 6th and an omnibus hearing is scheduled May 30th.
Outstanding Media Service Award
Fergus Falls Sportscaster Craig Olson is this year’s recipient of the Minnesota State High School League’s Outstanding Media Service Award. The award, in its third year, honors a media member for their excellence, dedication, and commitment to coverage of high school sports.
High School League Communications Coordinator Tim Leighton says representatives of the 525 member schools nominate individuals for the award. And he says it wasn’t just Fergus Falls High School that nominated Olson. There were over 35 candidates nominated for this year’s award. Olson received the award during half time of the Class 3A championship game Saturday night at the Target Center. He’ll also be featured in the high school league’s quarterly magazine being sent to schools in April.
A high speed chase that started in Moorhead, ended in Detroit Lakes more than 90 minutes later when the suspect was caught. 26 year old Zachary Rogers of Moorhead fled in a stolen pickup after he was confronted by a homeowner as he attempted to burglarize a home in the Tessa Terrace Addition on Moorhead's south side. The chase passed through Clay, Wilkin, Otter Tail and Becker Counties. Speeds hit more than 100 mph as Rogers attempted to elude authorities, sometimes driving on the wrong side of the road and dodging stop sticks laid out to disable his truck. Lt. Mike Detloff says Rogers abandoned the truck in somebody's yard and was tracked down by a police K-9. He was treated for dog bites before being taken to jail. Rogers is facing a long list of charges including assault, burglary, and possession of stolen property and fleeing.
ATV through Rush Lake
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office was called late Saturday afternoon on a report that an ATV with two passengers went through thin ice on the north side of Rush Lake northeast of Ottertail.
The driver of the ATV is identified as 50-year-old Joe Lafrentz of St. Cloud. His passenger wasn’t identified. The two were able to climb out of the water. There were no injuries. The ATV has already been removed from the lake by Tri State Diving in Detroit Lakes.
Conceal Off Duty Bill
State Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria is a co-author of a bill that would allow Minnesota off duty peace officers to carry firearms in private establishments. And private establishments may not bar that from happening.
The legislation is a reaction to the NFL policy of banning off duty police officers from taking guns into NFL games. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association is fighting the NFL in court. Ingebrigtsen says the NFL is concerned for the safety of fans and the security personnel hired by each team. He doesn’t see it as a problem.
Currently, the other professional sports clubs in Minnesota do allow off duty officers to carry weapons inside sports venues. But in some cases, they are required to report that they’re carrying and report what seat they’re in.
Dangerous Ice Conditions
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is warning of extremely unpredictable ice conditions on all Douglas County lakes. The sheriff’s office has responded to several reports of ATVs and persons that have broken through thin ice on multiple lakes this past week.
Extreme caution must be used if venturing out on the area lakes as the ice conditions can change within a matter of a few feet. If you must go out on the area lakes, wear a life jacket and be prepared to do a self rescue when you fall through the thin ice.
Good Year For Maple Syrup Production
It is turning out to be a good year for area Maple Syrup Producers. Most producers don’t start their runs until around March 20. The cooler weather is necessary for starches to break down into sugars. Minnesota Maple Syrup Producers Association Past President Stuart Peterson, who owns and manages Camp Aquila Pure Maple Syrup at Star Lake near Dent says everything is going according to plan. The best conditions are 20 degree nights and 50 degree days. However, a warmup followed by a deep freeze can also give the syrup an off taste, which can result in a darker syrup that’s difficult to market. Some Central Minnesota maple syrup producers are keeping an eye on the weather. Peterson says the only bad season in recent memory was 2012, which was one of the lowest production years on record.
Dalton Garage Fire
Fire destroyed a detached garage at a residence southeast of Dalton early Thursday morning. The garage was fully engulfed when Dalton firefighters arrived at the Timothy Mounts residence about 1:45 am. The home’s residents were home at the time of the fire but were not injured. The cause of the fire is believed to be an outdoor wood burning furnace located next to the garage.
Becker County Bat Disease
Becker County is among six counties in Minnesota where a disease that can kill hibernating bats is present. The Department of Natural Resources says white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in Becker, Dakota, Fillmore, Goodhue, and Washington counties. The first confirmed case was last March in St. Louis County. Recent DNR surveys have found the annual bat count down from 31 to 73 percent in locations where the disease has been found.
The disease is named for the white fungal growth observed on infected bats. It is not known to pose a threat to humans, pets, livestock or other wildlife.
The DNR is working with federal and state officials to consider a variety of treatment trials, to test new fungicides that may kill WNS spores. Treatments are unlikely to eradicate WNS, but could slow the spread and reduce the number of bat deaths.
WNS was first documented in North America in 2007 in eastern New York and has since spread to 30 states and five Canadian provinces, killing more than 5.7 million bats.
The DNR asks anyone who sees a sick or dead bat to submit a Bat Observation Report. DNR staff reviews the reports and additional follow-up or testing is conducted as needed.