Forum News Service
The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, stretching from the oilfields of western North Dakota to the plains of South Dakota and to the shores of eastern Minnesota.
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VALLEY CITY, N.D.—A Valley City police lieutenant who resigned in July in the face of a second internal investigation against him was accused of having sex in a squad car and in the department's evidence room, authorities say. The allegations against Lt. David Swenson couldn't be proven or disproven, Police Chief Fred Thompson said in a press conference Wednesday, Oct. 5. "This is a 'he said/she said' situation and neither party wants to cooperate," Thompson said. "It is unfortunate that there cannot be a definitive conclusion to this case."
NEW TOWN, N.D. — The New Town Ambulance Service will be able to purchase new equipment thanks to an $80,000 donation from Slawson Exploration Co. The check presented this week will allow the ambulance service to purchase radio equipment, medication infusion pumps and CPR devices. New Town, in the heart of the Bakken, continues to see about a 10 percent increase each year in ambulance calls, said ambulance service manager Brandon Gosch.
GRAFTON, N.D.—A Grafton woman who locked children in cages and forced one to eat dog food as punishment will change her plea. Jordan McKay Nelson, 24, filed a plea agreement Tuesday, Oct. 5, in Walsh County District Court for a Class B felony child abuse charge. She also faces seven Class C felonies—three counts of child abuse and four counts of felonious restraint.
MAYVILLE, N.D.—A black-and-white portrait hangs near the foyer of Tiffany Moen's home in rural Mayville. The shot printed on the canvas depicts Moen holding her son, Andrew, when he was about 4 years old at a family outing to a pumpkin patch. Andrew, now 9, has autism—he was nonverbal when the photo was taken and didn't start speaking until more than a year later.
CAVALIER, N.D.—A Cavalier man who faced 60 child porn charges and went through 4 years of court hearings and motions will avoid jail time. Douglas L. Swanson, born in 1955, entered Alford pleas Tuesday in Pembina County District Court for 10 Class C felony counts of possessing certain materials prohibited. An Alford plea means he does not admit guilt but agrees prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him.
FARGO—A man charged in Clay County District Court with killing a woman and setting a house on fire in Moorhead in June appeared in Cass County District Court on Wednesday, Oct. 5, in connection with a robbery charge stemming from an incident at a Fargo liquor store. In the Moorhead case, Justin Marshall Critt, 39, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Melissa Willcoxon, 49, whose body was found June 28 in the burned-out remains of a south Moorhead home that Willcoxon had been watching while the homeowners were away.
BISMARCK—Benjamin Berg, 18, of Bismarck, drowned Tuesday while hunting waterfowl in the Arena State Game Management Area in northeastern Burleigh County. Maj. Kelly Leben, of the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department, said the department received a call at 4:16 p.m. that Berg had entered the water to retrieve a bird that he and his hunting partner had shot. He was struggling to get back out of the water when his partner lost sight of him.
NIAGARA, N.D. — A man who died in a farming accident Monday, Oct. 4, near Niagara has been identified as 34-year-old Jared A. Horejsi of Petersburg. Horejsi was found dead near the header of a combine Monday morning by deputies with the Grand Forks Sheriff's Office. Lt. Gary Grove with the Sheriff's Office said there is no reason to believe the death was anything but an accident. Niagara is about 40 miles west of Grand Forks.
FARGO — Winona LaDuke once had a dream about riding a horse against the flow of an oil pipeline. The dream inspired her to organize a protest ride along the Sandpiper route, a pipeline project planned for north-central Minnesota that's since been put on hold. LaDuke, an activist, writer and environmentalist, said the same dream is now spurring her and as many as 80 other riders to travel 270 miles of the Dakota Access pipeline route. The riders will stick to the ditches of county roads, roughly following the path of the pipeline, she said.
DICKINSON, N.D.—Students at Dickinson State University were back to an unceremonious Wednesday, 24 hours after Murphy Hall was evacuated and a faculty member was injured in a classroom explosion Tuesday afternoon. Chemistry professor Ken Pierce was preparing a classroom demonstration around 3:30 p.m. when an incident occurred resulting in a small explosion.