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 K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.
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MOORHEAD, Minn. — A woman accused of trying to shoot a Minnesota State Patrol trooper in the head near Moorhead faces felony charges of attempted murder, receiving stolen property and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a Clay County District Court filing made Thursday, March 8. Melody Victoria Gray, 30, of Milwaukee, Wis., who was shot in the arm by Trooper Mark Peterson during the incident Monday, March 5, was hospitalized at Essentia Health in Fargo for treatment of her wound. Clay County Jail staff said Gray was still at Essentia Thursday afternoon.
BISMARCK—17 school districts have been given the go-ahead to use the ACT exam in place of a required state math and English achievement test for high school students, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler announced Wednesday, March 7. North Dakota is the first state in the nation to obtain permission to use the ACT, instead of a separate state test, as a locally selected measurement of student math and English proficiency, Baesler said.
WISHEK, N.D. — The Wishek School Board and the school district's superintendent are denying allegations that they acted improperly by restricting a mother's access to the elementary school. In a response to a federal lawsuit filed last month by the mother, Kathryn Pinke, attorneys for the board and superintendent requested the suit be dismissed and the board be granted attorneys' fees.
WAHPETON, N.D. — As a school district superintendent you wear a lot of hats: finance expert, manager, leader, teacher, coach. In Wahpeton, don't forget to add bus driver to the list. Superintendent Rick Jacobson has been driving morning and afternoon bus routes since October, when the district's transportation director quit and they lost a driver, too. "It just seemed to be a perfect storm lined up. We were in a terrible spot," Jacobson said. "I had to learn all the routes real quick." Jacobson figured it would be just a substitute gig. Not so.
MOORHEAD, Minn.—A Sabin, Minnesota, man, who authorities say was driving despite having his Minnesota driver's license cancelled, has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and second-degree manslaughter in the death of a 2-year-old boy in a Jan. 6 crash, according to Clay County District Court documents. Jeremy James Sagvold, 42, was charged Friday, March 2. The two felony charges each carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, court documents said.
VALLEY CITY, N.D. — A former correctional officer at the Barnes County Correctional Facility is facing felony charges, stemming from an incident in which he's accused of firing four rounds from a handgun at a vehicle on state Highway 1 in Barnes County earlier this month. Sean Blaskowski, 20, of Valley City, is charged with terrorizing, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault in the Feb. 18 incident, according to Barnes County District Court records.
WEST FARGO — A large fire outside a diesel fuel storage tank at the Magellan Midstream Partners fuel terminal here was safely extinguished after burning more than seven hours and sending up a cloud of hazardous black smoke on Sunday, Feb. 18. Shortly after 5 a.m., dozens of firefighters were dispatched to the blaze at the terminal at 902 Main Ave. E., Assistant Police Chief Jerry Boyer said.
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.