Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.
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BISMARCK—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum's tab for his trip to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis was about $2,500 higher than first reported, thanks to payments for tickets to watch the Minnesota Wild, an Xcel Energy brunch, a VIP tailgate party and the Taste of the NFL fundraiser, according to emails made public after an open records request.
FARGO — A former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children while he worked at churches in Fargo and West Fargo has pleaded not guilty to two Class B felony counts of gross sexual imposition. Fernando Laude Sayasaya, 53, appearing in orange Cass County Jail garb, said little during the hearing Wednesday, Feb. 14, in Cass County District Court before Judge Steven McCullough.
ANAMOOSE, N.D. — The Rev. Robert Wapenski was beaten on the face, head and back, and speaker wire was used by his alleged assailant in an attempt to choke him to death, according to an affidavit released as part of McHenry County District Court documents unsealed in the case Friday, Feb. 9.
FARGO—Convicted killer Brooke Lynn Crews is still being held at the Cass County Jail, segregated from other inmates, awaiting transfer to the Dakota Women's Correctional and Rehabilitation Center in New England, N.D., according to a jail official. Once she gets to prison, she will be given an orientation that will lay out the rules of prison life, and she will be evaluated, said Barb McGillivray, director of women's services at the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
FARGO — A man who drove an SUV that hit and killed a worker striping a runway last summer at Hector International Airport will not be charged, a prosecutor with the Cass County State's Attorney's Office said. Ryan Younggren said Thursday, Feb. 8, that he informed the Fargo Police Department and Darren Anderson, referred to as the defendant, that he did not believe he had enough evidence to file charges in the case to gain a unanimous verdict from a jury. The "decline" to charge report was issued Jan. 31.
FARGO — It hasn't been determined whether Brooke Lynn Crews, the admitted killer of a pregnant Fargo woman and abductor of her newborn, will testify at the trial of accused accomplice William Hoehn. But she at least will be sitting for a deposition to answer investigators' questions, a prosecutor said Friday, Feb. 9. A date has not been set for Crews' deposition in the case of her boyfriend, Hoehn, said Assistant State's Attorney Ryan Younggren, who noted that the deposition won't be public.
FARGO — A Cass County inmate, initially jailed on a robbery charge, now faces a felony count of having sex with a 16-year-old girl after a match was made, authorities say, with his DNA and samples from a sexual assault kit from 2015. Oscar Kayee, now 26, was 24 years old at the time of the alleged assault. He's charged with sexual assault by a person at least 22 years old who knowingly had sexual contact with a minor 15 years old or older.
MANDAN, N.D. — A father and son face felony charges after a search of their vehicle on Interstate 94 found more than 200 pounds of marijuana and other illegal drugs Sunday, Feb. 4. Robert Earl Smith, 53, of Vancouver, Wash., and Christopher Conkey, 24, of Grants Pass, Ore., were arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver after illegal drugs valued at $1.1 million were found during the search following a routine traffic stop.
FARGO — The last five months have been the hardest of Ashton Matheny's life. With the muscles in his cheek and jaw twitching as he clamped down on his sorrow and anger, the boyfriend of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind and father of their 5-month-old child, Haisley Jo, thanked Judge Frank Racek for sentencing Brooke Lynne Crews on Friday, Feb. 2, to life in prison for her part in Savanna's violent, painful death. "I'd like to thank Judge Racek for not showing any lenience towards Brooke," Matheny said in the rotunda of the Cass County Courthouse after the sentencing.
FARGO — An advocate for ending North Dakota's Sunday closing blue law is switching strategies to get to his goal. Brandon Medenwald, who spearheaded a petition drive for an initiative measure to end restrictions on Sunday business hours, says the petitions have been shelved. Instead, he will focus on getting elected to the state House as a Democrat. He joined two other candidates in officially announcing Wednesday, Jan. 31, that they will seek the Democratic-NPL endorsements in District 41 for the House and Senate.