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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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.
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.